The creeping dictatorship of the Left... 

The primary version of "Political Correctness Watch" is HERE The Blogroll; John Ray's Home Page; Email John Ray here. Other mirror sites: Greenie Watch, Dissecting Leftism, Education Watch, Gun Watch, Socialized Medicine, Recipes, Australian Politics, Tongue Tied, Immigration Watch, Eye on Britain and Food & Health Skeptic. For a list of backups viewable in China, see here. (Click "Refresh" on your browser if background colour is missing). See here or here for the archives of this site.

Postmodernism is fundamentally frivolous. Postmodernists routinely condemn racism and intolerance as wrong but then say that there is no such thing as right and wrong. They are clearly not being serious. Either they do not really believe in moral nihilism or they believe that racism cannot be condemned!

Postmodernism is in fact just a tantrum. Post-Soviet reality in particular suits Leftists so badly that their response is to deny that reality exists. That they can be so dishonest, however, simply shows how psychopathic they are.


30 April, 2012

Media censored seven hate crime mob attacks in Grand Rapids, Michigan

You didn't hear about this is the media, but on the weekend of March 24th and March 25th at least seven white people were brutally beaten by mobs of blacks in Grand Rapids, MI. Five of the victims filed police reports. At least two other victims exist, and there are probably others. The local media has refused to report the cruel attacks and the authorities are resisting any serious charges.

I talked with one of the victims, 37 year old Jacob Palasek. He is a full time student and does computer work part time. He was attacked by a wolf pack of thugs on the corner of Sixth Street and Broadway in Grand Rapids, Michigan just after midnight on March 25th. The location is a mix of stores, offices, and residential neighborhoods. Jacob lives near where he was attacked.

As he was walking to his apartment, he saw three black males loitering. One was on a bicycle. The suspect on the bicycle rode up beside him. Suddenly the thug smashed him in the side of the head with a chain. He was hit two or three more times in the head with the chain before he broke loose and ran to the nearest home. He knocked on the door, hoping the owner would call the police.

All three of the black males then attacked him on the porch. They yelled “this is what you deserve you white piece of shit.” Jacob was hit in the head with the large chain more times. Jacob broke free again and hid behind a dumpster. The attackers initially chased him, but broke their pursuit and walked away. There were some cars driving by and the thugs may have thought a driver was calling 911.

All seven known victims were attacked within about six blocks of where Jacob was attacked. The victims were in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Some of the victims were attacked during the day in broad daylight.

Jacob believes he could have died if he was hit with the chain more times. He still has bad headaches and has not been able to work since the attack. Jacob doesn't have insurance and can't afford the correct medical treatment. His landlord is now threatening to evict him from his apartment. Since he was not able to work, he has missed a rent payment. A victim's relief fund is planning to give him a small amount of money. However, police did not even tell him the fund existed so he applied very late. He is still waiting on the help.

The police listed aggravated assault with a weapon and ethnic intimidation, Michigan's state hate crimes law, on the police report. Jacob identified two of the perpetrators. However, police have told Jacob that the thugs will get off easy because they are only 17. Police told him that the thugs will not serve time in prison for the brutal hate crimes.

Police said that the suspects will not be tried as adults. They will only face juvenile boot camp instead of prison. A detective told Jacob that they believe all the attacks were racially motivated. The detective also told Jacob that he believed the Trayvon Martin media frenzy is what prompted the attacks. Jacob also believed that the thugs were seeking revenge for Trayvon Martin before the detective confirmed this belief.

To add insult to injury, not a single media outlet in all of Grand Rapids reported the brutal hate crimes. Jacob has contacted the local paper and his local news affiliates repeatedly. None will report the story. He has also contacted numerous politicians, none of whom has helped.

He even wrote to US Rep. John Conyers. Conyers is a black US rep from Detroit who was a co-sponsor of the Federal Hate Crimes Act. The exact stated purpose of the Federal hate crimes act was to help people like the victims in Grand Rapids. When someone is a victim of a violent racially motivated attack and the local authorities won't pursue serious penalties, the DOJ is supposed to pick up the slack and apply Federal hate crimes charges.

Eric Holder, who heads the DOJ, says he is investigating ways to charge George Zimmerman with a Federal crime. Think Eric Holder will concern himself with the white victims of horrific hate crime mob attacks in Grand Rapids?

For the past two years black on white racially motivated mob attacks have been occurring in the United States weekly. Local media outlets typically only have little blurbs about them and censor all mention of race. Numerous major media outlets now openly admit to having a policy of censoring black crime, so as not to “stigmatize” black people. Political correctness supersedes public safety. The response from the authorities has been one of constant downplaying. None of the perpetrators are ever charged with a hate crime.

Now it has reached a point where the media in some markets are refusing to even report black on white hate crimes. How many other horrific black on white hate crime mob attacks are going on that we have never heard about?


When did Britain become the kind of country that tolerates voting fraud?

Labour's massive expansion of postal voting opened the door to electoral fraud

The old woman was pleased to see me, though undoubtedly confused as to why a 16-year-old boy she’d not previously met was crouched by her chair. I’d never been in a sheltered housing day-room before, but it doesn’t take more than a moment to register the residents’ tangible desire for company – any company – and it unsettled me. Because it was this desire that we were there to abuse.

“Hello. I’m here on behalf of the local Conservatives. It’s to remind you about the elections next week. Have you sent in your postal vote, yet?”

I’d accepted the canvassing mission because “We have to get there before the Labour Party does; they’ll vote for whoever comes first”; and of course, as a new Young Conservative, I wanted our party to win. But even a teenager’s conscience is sufficiently developed to tell right from wrong, and I knew, from the elderly woman’s trusting smile, that this was wrong. Twenty-odd years before the Electoral Commission got round to suggesting that maybe party activists should stop asking voters for their postal votes (PVs), I resolved that I’d never ask for one again.

My decades-old embarrassment seems almost quaintly innocent now: I was only asking for completed and sealed PVs, in order to ensure they reached the returning officer on time; no one in Ayrshire Conservatives would have dreamt of interfering with the actual vote itself.

For there was once a sanctity to the act of voting; your vote was between you and your conscience. Even Presbyterians like me understood something inviolable to take place in the instant between the pencil being gripped and the cross being marked; the act was so secular-holy that it would have been an obscenity for a third party to witness it, let alone interfere with it. That’s why we had curtains on polling booths. And that’s why only the bedridden (and servicemen) were excused the walk to the polling station: it was your civic duty to make the effort to vote.

No more. Since those days, of course, we’ve had a Labour government, and were it still in power, I suspect by now we’d be voting on X Factor-style 0898 numbers (“Hello! You’ve got through to Harriet Harman’s Vote-Line! Votes cast after polling day may not be counted, though you’ll still pay a heavy price”) or by scraping at petrol station scratch-cards (“They’re All The Same! So Why Not Vote By Lucky Dip?”).

What Labour did achieve was a deliberate, massive expansion in voting by envelope. Since nearly every government minister started off as a party activist, they must have known the potential for abuse that such a switch entailed, but they pressed on regardless; we reap what they sowed.

In the London borough of Tower Hamlets, where a Ken Livingstone supporter is mayor, the number of registered voters increased by a “surprising” 7,023, in a single month, between April and May 2010. Likewise, in a borough with a large Bangladeshi community – not a society to which the concept of communal voting is unknown, or one famous for its liberated women – the proportion of postal votes has inexorably grown.

Some of the worst frauds have made their way to the courts. In a case in Birmingham, in 2005, Judge Richard Mawrey likened our postal vote-heavy system to that of a banana republic. The same judge is reported this week as saying that postal voting fraud remains rife.

It’s not the cases that get to court that matter, though. It is sufficient for us all to be aware of the ongoing violation of the secret ballot’s sanctity, for a mockery to be made of our entire democratic process. Postal vote fraud is widespread; we all know this; the effect is corrosive.

But it’s OK. A report by the Electoral Commission – which rates electoral registration in Tower Hamlets as “good” – tells us to chill. The key finding in its review of 2010 general election fraud was to declare itself not “aware of any case reported to the police that affected the outcome of the election to which it related nor of any election that has had to be re-run as a result of electoral malpractice”. It’s bad enough we pay for this quango at all, worse that it prefers to be “not aware” of the widespread voting malpractice in such boroughs as Tower Hamlets.

The Electoral Commission is still led by Jenny Watson, even after the 2010 polling day debacle. She’s on a hundred grand a year, and is described on her Wikipedia page as a “long-term campaigner for women’s rights”. Were I a “long-term campaigner for women’s rights”, let alone in charge of the state outfit that regulates elections, I’d have something to say about patriarch-driven postal vote farming in communities where many women remain culturally and linguistically excluded from the mainstream.

Jenny Watson’s quango may be blithely unconcerned about the potential of postal vote fraud to affect next week’s London mayoral election. I wonder if Ken Livingstone’s supporters in Tower Hamlets take a similarly indifferent view of its potential?


The "Hate Speech" Prosecution of Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Plà

Efforts are currently underway in Spain to criminally prosecute Catholic Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Plà of the diocese of Alcalá de Henares. It seems he had the audacity to deliver a homily from the Bible during a Good Friday mass extolling the virtues of the sinless life.

And as bad as this was—reading aloud from the Bible on Good Friday and all—everything he did was acceptable until he included “homosexual behavior” as one of the sins to be avoided. This brought out the ever-predictable torches-in-hand witch-hunters promoting, above all else, the notion that any and all of criticism of homosexual behavior must be harshly stamped out, and those uttering such blasphemies must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Appealing to the force of law to ban politically incorrect ideas and censor the words that shape them is, of course, nothing new. We need glance no further than to our old friend George Orwell’s prophetic look into the future, 1984. Recall that Big Brother sought to control not only all thoughts but all language used to form thoughts, and the totalitarian regime Orwell described made any alternative thinking a “thought crime"—or, in the vernacular of the book, a “crime think.”

Orwell’s point was that if something can’t be said—because the words have been criminalized, banned, or no longer exist—then it is far more difficult to think it.

In considering “hate speech” laws and the plight of Plà, many lessons from Orwell can be applied. We know, of course, that law itself represents society’s standard of conduct, defining acceptable from unacceptable behavior. And the end goal of any law is the elimination of certain specified criminal behaviors. With that stated, what can we make of a law that bans the mere utterance of certain words? Indeed, what are we to make of a law when its real objective is to ban certain “dangerous ideas”?

The growing popularity and use of “hate speech” laws—which ban the expression of certain words—is much like the creation of a new and “improved” language, where the dictionary continuously shrinks rather than grows.

For those comfortable with a shrinking rather than a growing dictionary, the ever-expanding use of “hate speech” laws is no cause for alarm. But let’s pose a few questions. Having opened the Pandora’s Box of such laws, and in light of the endless supply of unwanted, stupid, and obnoxious ideas and speech, why not expand these laws to eliminate any speech the government deems bad?

Seriously—having already legitimized the banning of certain “dangerous” or “hurtful” words, where do we as a society stop?

Orwell once famously said, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” In other words, he and others believed that, without the freedom to offend, free speech and free thoughts cannot exist.

Ideas are indeed sometimes dangerous things, especially ideas that seek to challenge or even change the current status quo or existing orthodoxy. And is there really any point in having certain protections for freedom of speech if there is only freedom to express the most popular or politically correct ideas and opinions?

To be sure, the freedom to offend can propagate stupid and irrational ideas. But such freedom is also the chief means available to fight against tyranny, or fascism, or communism, or to overturn foolish but widely accepted dogma.

Think about it this way: does freedom to speak have any real value when it only protects the expression of popular or politically correct views? This was the world of Joseph Stalin; it was the world of North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il, and is today the reality in several fundamentalist Muslim nations, where the expression of certain politically incorrect ideas can get you killed.

The punishing of speech and the expression of certain offensive ideas is a classic slippery slope. It starts so disarmingly with baby-steps, then gradually gains speed, and in time, gives birth to a society where free speech is no longer free, and people whisper words they believe are true for fear of punishment or retaliation.

We are reminded of these things as we see the efforts against Bishop Plà unfolding in Spain. The attempt to bring criminal “hate speech” charges against a sitting Catholic bishop for doing nothing more than preaching orthodox Christian doctrine illustrates that we may be closer to Orwell’s 1984 than most realized. And we may be further down the proverbial slippery slope than we thought.


Employment is a contract, not a right

Comment from Australia

Australia’s industrial relations system does not treat the employment contract as a simple contract between two equal agents, but as a relationship with unequal constraints and expectations. Toyota’s sacking of 350 workers last week has brought the issue of ‘unfair’ dismissals to the public sphere, but while the debate centres on the manner and basis of these dismissals, the more fundamental issue of consent has been ignored.

A defining principle of contract in common law is its voluntary nature. A contract is an agreement between two parties that is valid only as long as both parties consent to it. One cannot contract with someone who does not consent, and if one party no longer wants to be involved with the other, they can simply terminate the contract. If employees want to leave their employer, they don’t have to explain why they want to leave. All that matters is that they no longer consent to the contract for their labour.

Unfortunately, the law as it stands today is not a two-way street. Employees may quit work for whatever reason they see fit, but the employer cannot fire employees without ensuring that their reasons for terminating the employment contract are ‘fair.’ No longer is it a simple matter of consent but a case of arbitrary value judgments forbidding dismissals deemed ‘harsh, unjust, or unreasonable.’

Because of unfair dismissal provisions, employers often hang on to undesirable staff. Workers who would have already lost their jobs, and received an important market signal, are kept on out of fear of legal action. Employees may be unproductive, skip work often, not adhere to safety protocols, have a poor attitude, or simply have personality clashes. Whatever the reason, if the employer deems an employee no longer fit to work, keeping the worker employed can be detrimental to both productivity and workplace culture.

Firing workers is not a decision made lightly. Employers must be certain that the worker cannot improve. They then must consider redundancy payments and the cost of finding and training a replacement. This is a time-consuming and costly process in itself, but with the addition of unfair dismissal laws, the employer must also consider the costs of conciliation and arbitration arising from an unfair dismissal claim, and the extra ‘go away’ money needed if the claim is successful.

As a result, employers often try to sack undesirable staff under the cover of economic hardship. They may cite falling consumer demand, a financial crisis, a strong currency, high input prices, etc. It doesn’t really matter. They are simply carrying out a process long overdue and getting rid of employees who have long overstayed their welcome.

The charade needs to end. The law must reflect the reality that employment is a voluntary contract, and when one party no longer consents, the contract must be terminated.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


29 April, 2012

The modern woman's dirty secret

Story  from Britain.  There is obviously a degree of self-mockery below and there is a possibility that it could be a total spoof.  Nonetheless, it is true that there are still some women who take pride in keeping an immaculate home.  And those I know don't feel a bit in need of being "liberated".  I once remarked to one of them that I couldn't see anything that needed cleaning in her immaculate house, only to be greeted by the reply:  "But I can"!

My name is Bryony Gordon and I have a dirty secret. I love cleaning. I mean I really love it. If cleanliness is next to godliness, one day I shall be made a saint - a saint with an exceptionally well-polished halo and a nice line in rubber gloves.

As the sun streamed through the windows last weekend, highlighting every bit of dust and slight smear of dirt in my home, I did not think: "Oh no, I am going to have to waste a glorious day up to my elbows in muck." Instead, I got up at 8am with joy in my heart and a bottle of bleach in my hand. Because I love the smell of bleach more than any perfume.

It came as no surprise to me, then, to read that one out of three women secretly loves cleaning. Researchers have discovered that many find the process "relaxing", "satisfying" and "therapeutic", though only four in 10 would admit this to a partner - possibly due to horrid sexual stereotypes. I have no such qualms. My boyfriend enjoys tidying almost as much as I do. We fight over who gets to wash up ("me!" "No, me!"). We quarrel over whose turn it is to do the vacuuming. And we often have arguments over the iron which will one day end in third-degree burns.

The study found vacuuming, tidying and wiping surfaces clean are the chores women most enjoy. Cleaning the toilet and the oven are not so popular. On average, more than four hours a week are spent cleaning - "more" being the key word here, given that on Sunday I spent six hours vacuuming, washing, dusting and raking the garden of old leaves and cigarette butts (so satisfying).

To me, the most shocking thing about this survey isn't that a third of women enjoy cleaning, it is that two-thirds of them don't. Perhaps that is simply because I have chronic obsessive compulsive disorder. Most likely it is because we have been brought up to see cleaning as a chore, as something put-upon women of the 1950s did while their husbands earned money and seduced their secretaries.

The idea of a woman tending to her house became dirty, filthy, shameful, each mop of the floor a violent blow to feminism. But now that having a cleaner is no longer a Downton Abbey-style luxury and more of a middle-class necessity, the humble art of tidying has practically become a lifestyle choice. A hobby, even, akin to those trendy fashionistas who claim to knit and crochet in their spare time.

There is nothing more delightful than the sound of debris being sucked up a vacuum cleaner. Who could fail to be aroused - yes, aroused - by mopping away spillages from the kitchen floor? There is simply no lovelier way to spend a Sunday evening than ironing in front of the television; the smell of fresh starch and orange-and-pomegranate ironing water filling the room and your bed linen.

As saintly as this all sounds, the truth is that my love of cleaning is entirely self-serving. It makes me feel smug and allows me to cleanse myself of all sorts of other sins, such as coming home drunk and forgetting to pay the bills. Nobody can get cross with you if you have spent two hours cleaning the oven.

Tidying is a good way to claim superiority and get what you want. Indeed, there's a new survival guide for frustrated wives by a woman named Kerri Sackville. It is called When My Husband Does the Dishes (He Usually Wants Sex!). But it can work the other way around, too.


No sex discrimination in sport  (Title IX)  -- unless  it's against boys, of course

A group of officials in New York has taken the drastic step of banning a 13-year-old boy from playing for his high school's all-girls field hockey team for a simple if ludicrous reason: He's simply too good.

As reported by New York CBS affiliate 1010 WINS, Fox News and a variety of other outlets, 13-year-old Southampton (N.Y.) High student Keeling Pilaro will not be allowed to compete for the Southampton field hockey team in fall 2012 because he has simply been too dominant a player over the past two seasons. Pilaro began competing for the Southampton varsity field hockey team at just 11 years of age, and at age 13 still stands a tiny 4-foot-8 and 82 pounds.

What Pilaro lacks in dominant physical stature he makes up for in international experience. The teen was raised in Ireland, until his family came to Long Island, and he grew up playing field hockey in Europe, where the sport is relatively popular among boys just as it is in the U.S. among girls.

In 2011, Pilaro was the only boy to compete in the sport in Suffolk County, N.Y., and he emerged as Southampton's leading scorer with 11 goals. To try and stem that influence -- and the possible influx of other male athletes in the sport -- New York's Section 11 (which includes Suffolk County) decided that Pilaro had too significant an advantage when compared to other field hockey players, ostensibly just because he is of a different gender.

"As a sport, it's a girls sport," Section 11 executive director Ed Cinelli told MyFoxNY.com. "When a boy plays, it leads the way for other male players to come in and take over.

"[Pilaro is] having a significant adverse effect on some of his opposing female players. The rules state he would be allowed to play if he wasn't the dominant player."

Clearly, there are no physical justifications for banning Pilaro, as his mother made clear.

"He is not a physical dominating presence on the field by any stretch," Fairley Pilaro told 1010 WINS. "In fact, he's far below the girl's varsity height and weight."

Southampton male field hockey star Keeling Pilaro — 1010 WINSSouthampton male field hockey star Keeling Pilaro — 1010 WINS

Pilaro's father has already unsuccessfully appealed the decision once, and the family has a second appeal of the decision scheduled to be heard in May.

While Section 11's decision to ban Pilaro may be an attempt to protect competitive equity among its field hockey programs, it is likely to open up an enormous can of worms by doing so. Even Dana Edell, the executive director of the SPARK movement, an activist organization for the equality of girls in sports, raised concerns about what banning Pilaro would do to the enforceability of Title IX regulations and the equality of opportunity between the sexes.

"If he's not allowed to try out for the team, that opens up the door for all kinds of discrimination," Edell told MyFoxNY. "It's the coaches responsibility to make sure the players are safe. And a boy should not be penalized because he's good."

The issues raised when boys compete in traditionally all-girls sports are not new ones, with competitive equity and physicality often raised as concerns. Still, with lack of better outlets for their specific skills, there are often no real solutions to the issues raised by the likes of field hockey and swimming coaches in states such as Massachusetts. In May 2011, Massachusetts field hockey coaches attempted to institute guidelines which would limit the areas and amount of time boys were allowed to be on the field during a game, but the rule changes were eventually rejected by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association's Board of Directors over fears it would violate Title IX.

Now, if Pilaro is successfully kept out of varsity competition in 2012, other states and governing organizations may seriously investigate opportunities to fundamentally limit male players' participation in female sports, regardless of whether that is fair, just as it would be considered unfair to bar a female football player interested in competing for her school's team as a place kicker, lineman or even a running back if she so chose.

"This is an issue of safety, equity, and liability," Reading (Mass.) High field hockey coach Mim Jarema told an MIAA meeting at which the Massachusetts rule changes were discussed. "It's time for us to take up this challenge."

Now those steps are being boldly taken two states to the south, even though it seems laughable to consider the player who has brought it on is a safety risk to the competitors around him.


Miss America Contestant Told Not to Mention Pro-Life Views

In a new interview, Miss Delaware, Maria Cahill, who is a pro-life advocate, talks about how she was instructed to not mention anything about her pro-life views during the pageant.

Maria is the second oldest of seven children, and has always been passionate about the pro-life movement:

“It came from growing up in a household where the value of life was respected no matter what the case. I became even more involved when I met women that were contemplating abortion. Seeing the pain in their eyes and hearing them talk about the fact that they believed that there was no other way out was heart wrenching; and honestly made me want to make a difference,” she has said.

She previously indicated the Miss Delaware organization would give her the opportunity to publicly share her beliefs.

“I have heard that because I am in the public eye, I have no right to speak about the pro-life movement. I feel the total opposite. There is a crown on my head for a reason. I am trying to save innocent lives and if it takes a crown for people to maybe consider this issue a little further, then my mission has been accomplished,” she said.

Now, in an interview with Town Hall, she says the Miss America pageant did not want her to share her pro-life views.

“I heard a lot of people say that because I was Miss Delaware and represented the Miss America Organization, for that reason, I had no right to talk about anything political,” Cahill tells Townhall. “In my mind, I thought exactly the opposite.”

As Elisabeth Meinecke, Townhall Magazine Managing Editor, indicates:
To Cahill, abortion is not part of any GOP “war on women” or infringement on women’s rights.

“With this [birth-control] mandate and the so-called ‘war on women,’” she says, “I feel like people don’t know both sides and they’re not getting to the real root of the problem, and that is another life is at stake. I think getting to the root of the problem is where the solution lies.”

Cahill offers a much-needed voice in the movement, one that is not afraid or ashamed of her beliefs. Referring to the use of the empty platitude created by pro-abortion activists of “My body, my choice,” she exposes its lack of morality: “No one likes to think of themselves as selfish. But whenever those terms get thrown around like ‘My body, my choice,’ you’re just bringing it all back onto yourself, and, to me, that’s selfish, whether people want to believe it or not.”

She has attended the March for Life every year as well, including an appearance this past January as Miss Delaware.

“I was really debating going as Miss Delaware or not. I did not tell my directors I was going,” Cahill reveals.

But, she is glad she did. Speaking of her experience of this past March for Life, Cahill said the best part was how thankful people were that they had another voice in their corner

Cahill is a prime example of someone who recognizes that beauty is not only seen in a beauty contest but in the wonderful and awesome development of human life before birth and she is willing to stand up to the powers that be to proclaim that truth.


Australia: Member of Sudanese gang jailed for his role in gruesome three-week robbery rampage

Africans are a big problem in Melbourne.  The episode below is only one of many.  Rather than feel gratitude towards the country that gave them refuge from war-torn Africa, many of them seem to feel only contempt for the rest of the community.  Africans in America have the threadbare excuse that they resent being the victims of slavery.  There is no such excuse in Australia

A MEMBER of a gang of Sudanese youth who attacked 13 victims during a three-week robbery rampage has been jailed for almost six years after a judge said the courts could not tolerate unprovoked violence against soft targets on Melbourne's streets.

The assaults and robberies were "violent, it was unforgivable, it was brazen, it was frightening," County Court Judge Michael Tinney said today in sentencing Ring Chol, now 19, to a maximum five years and 10 months and a minimum term of three years and four months.

Some of the victims, attacked after leaving western suburban train stations or walking alone in St Albans in mid afternoon, had left Australia after the bashings, the court heard.

Judge Tinney said Chol's group, which included offenders aged 13 to 16, targeted vulnerable people, some of whom were bashed, threatened with a knife or bottle, or laughed at during attacks - despite offering to hand over possessions during the 22-day spree in June 2011.

"Just take my wallet, take my phone, take my bag, just leave me alone, I will die," one victim told his attackers after trying to flee.  "Yet he was punched repeatedly by you and at least two others" and lost consciousness during the assault which lasted 10 to 15 minutes, Judge Tinney said.  "These were cowardly and often brutal attacks," the judge said.

"Many people in this community no longer regard public transport as a safe option.  "This court must send a clear and loud message."

Judge Tinney said hardly a day goes by when soft targets are not subjected to robbery and assault in Melbourne and unprovoked violence must no longer be tolerated by the courts, if it ever was.

In one incident Chol stood on the bumper of a taxi and threatened to smash a rock into the windscreen unless the driver gave over property, and in another a victim was followed from Keilor Plains train station to his home where his house window was smashed and three vehicles damaged.

While bailed for the original offences, Chol breached curfew and has since been charged with two other assaults committed in central Melbourne for which he is yet to face court, Judge Tinney said.

He said Chol suffered post traumatic stress from the horrors he witnessed growing up in Sudan and what was described as "three years of hell" being subjected to racially-motivated violence in Egypt before coming to Australia as a 14-year-old.

But Judge Tinney said while some sentence reduction was called for due to his earlier trauma and his youth, the nature and gravity of the offending should be condemned.

Chol pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery, six robberies, two counts of recklessly causing serious injury, four counts of criminal damage and one count of attempted robbery.

Two child offenders are yet to be dealt with in the Childrens' Court and other members of Chol's group have not been identified, the court heard.


Diversity Training Doesn’t Work, But It Persists Anyway, Due to Compulsion

by Hans Bader

Diversity training doesn’t work, according to an article in Psychology Today. In it, Peter Bregman notes, “Diversity training doesn’t extinguish prejudice. It promotes it.”

But don’t expect it to stop. Government regulations often require that a school be accredited, a condition that accreditors like the American Bar Association use to force law schools to run costly diversity and sensitivity-training programs or use racial preferences in admissions (despite the dubious legality of some such diversity programs and admissions preferences). Such mandates have contributed to the growth of a vast and costly “diversity machine” in college administrations. (And as a condition of practicing law in California, I had to take continuing legal education on the topic of “elimination of bias in the legal profession.”)

Time magazine had a story on April 26, 2007, entitled “Employee Diversity Training Doesn’t Work.” Employers pay millions every year for diversity training, but often the training backfires and blows up in the face of the employer that paid for it. In Hartman v. Pena (1995), the Federal Aviation Administration got sued for sexual harassment after it subjected employees to three days of diversity training that scapegoated white males. After a federal judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit against it, the agency had to pay out a settlement to the white male employee who sued.

Diversity training often imparts bad legal advice to supervisors and employers that can come back to haunt them in court. Experts on civil-rights law can find such training annoying and misleading.  Gail Heriot, a law professor and member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, complained about sexual harassment and diversity training she received at the University of San Diego, in a state (California) where harassment training is mandatory under state law. The training sent the message that criticisms of affirmative action by white male employees are something that the employer should “nip in the bud” through investigations.

That was bad legal advice, since criticism of affirmative action is protected against retaliation by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1981, and other laws, even when the affirmative action program criticized turns out to have been perfectly legal. Even court rulings that have upheld private-sector affirmative action programs, such as Sisco v. J.S. Alberici Const. Co. (8th Cir. 1981), have allowed workers to sue employers who punish them for criticizing affirmative action. In the public sector, such punishment also violates the First Amendment. The California Department of Corrections attempted to fire John Wallace after he angrily denounced its affirmative action plan to the Hispanic female employee he perceived as benefiting from it.  An appeals court, however, ruled that his criticism of the plan was protected speech, and barred his termination, in California Department of Corrections v. State Personnel Board, 59 Cal.App.4th 131 (1997).

Employers can be quite gullible about the claims made by “diversity” trainers, allowing minority trainers to promote racial stereotypes that would provoke outrage if they were subsequently repeated by white managers or employees. For example, Glenn Singleton, a wealthy “diversity” trainer, has claimed that “white talk” is “impersonal, intellectual, verbal” and “task-oriented,” while “color commentary” is “emotional.” If a white person said this, it would rightly be regarded as a ridiculous, racist stereotype that relegates black people to inferior status. (California Superintendent Jack O’Connell, a white liberal, was publicly embarrassed, and called racist, after he repeated a belief that Singleton shared with him that black people are loud. Singleton also embarrassed the Seattle Schools in a landmark Supreme Court case.)

Major employers have paid out millions of dollars in discrimination claims because of diversity-training programs. One Fortune 500 company paid out tens of millions of dollars in response to a class-action racial discrimination suit by minority employees, which was fueled by remarks managers made after undergoing mandatory diversity training (they joked about jelly beans used in the training to represent minority employees. That, coupled with a poor quality recording in which a manager’s reference to “Saint Nicholas” was misinterpreted as the N-word, created a furor).

Diversity training triggers workplace conflict and lawsuits, by compelling employees to talk about contentious racial or sexual issues, with resulting acrimony, and remarks that are misinterpreted or perceived as racist or sexist. For example, in Stender v. Lucky Stores (1992), statements made by managers during sensitivity training were held by a court to be evidence of discrimination. Some judges take a dim view of diversity training.  In Fitzgerald v. Mountain States Tel & Tel. Co. (1995), where employee reactions to diversity training gave rise to a lawsuit, a federal appeals court noted that “diversity training sessions generate conflict and emotion” and that “diversity training is perhaps a tyranny of virtue.”



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


28 April, 2012

For Societal Well-Being, Marriage is Foundational

I think that there is much truth in what  Marybeth Hicks says below but, given the way current divorce laws are weighted against men both in the USA and Britain, a man would have to be mad or seriously underinformed to marry in those countries.  No wonder many men "won't commit".  It could be financial suicide.  I myself have been married four times with no real adverse outcomes  -- but I do live in Australia,  which is a much more relaxed and hence saner society than most of the rest of the world

It’s official. Brad and Angelina are engaged, succumbing to pressure from family members to finally tie the knot.

Back in the day, that pressure would have come from a worried mother, or more likely, a protective father and the business end of shotgun.

But this is 2012. The family pressure to marry comes, in this case, from the Jolie-Pitts’ six children. Though the couple once said they wouldn’t marry until the privilege to do so was afforded to everyone, their political statement in defense of gay marriage ultimately lost out to the need to make a promise to their kids.

Who knows if this celebrity marriage will have more staying power than most? So far, their devotion to their children appears to reflect a certain level of commitment. But it takes much more than shared parenting to make a marriage. It takes work.

According to a 2010 study from the Pew Research Center, only about half of all adults were married as of 2008. In 1960, that number was 72 percent. And marriage itself is becoming a luxury of the wealthy and well-educated. The Pew study indicates there now is a 16 percent gap in marriage rates between college graduates and those with a high school diploma or less. In 1960, that gap was only 4 percent.

Worse, growing numbers of adults say marriage itself is becoming obsolete. In 1978, 28 percent of registered voters thought the institution of marriage was an outdated idea. Today, nearly 40 percent think this is so.

If the institution itself has not quite gone the way of the dodo, certainly the expectation that marriage is a lifelong commitment might be considered optimistic, at best.

Divorce is a likely outcome for between 41 percent and 50 percent of first-time married couples (the frequency of divorce depends on which research you believe), with 60 percent of second marriages ending in divorce and a whopping 73 percent of third marriages failing.

As the Huffington Post’s “Divorce” page reminds us, “Marriages come and go, but divorce is forever.” (Huffington Post doesn’t even have a “Marriage” page. Go figure.)

Former Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum used his campaign to remind us that successful marriages are crucial to the health and well-being of a society.  “Marriage is a society’s lifeblood,” he said. “Not everybody can or will marry, but all of us (married or not) depend on marriage in a unique way. Marriage is foundational: It creates and sustains not only children, but civilization itself.”

According to the Family Research Council, marriage is “the most important social act, one that involves much more than just the married couple.”

“To begin with, extended families are merged and renewed through a wedding. It also is through marriage that the community and the nation are renewed.

“Marriage also has beneficial social and health effects for both adults and children, and these gifts benefit the community and the whole society. … The future of the nation depends on the creation of good marriages and good homes for children.”

Of course, we don’t get married to save the nation. We don’t imagine our families as “mitigating structures” for the community, or as an economic force to uplift our towns and neighborhoods.  We marry for love.

Twenty-five years ago today, I married the love of my life, Jim Hicks. We couldn’t know then what it meant when people told us that a lifelong marriage would take work and sacrifice and selflessness.

We couldn’t imagine the frustrations and disappointments along the way, just as we could not have dreamed of the blessings and bounty that God - in his inexplicable grace - has allowed us to enjoy.

We only hoped for children, but never envisioned the four human beings whose mere existence affirms our own and personifies our love.  We simply said, “I do.” And then we did. With prayer and patience, love and laughter, we uphold the covenant we made all those years ago.

Obsolete? Not even a little bit. Love endures forever.



Some great British comedies no longer "correct"

Cowardly broadcasters are blacklisting TV classics like It Ain’t Half Hot Mum for fear of causing offence

BBC2 is currently halfway through airing a documentary series suggesting that the 1970s was a very misunderstood decade. Although it has briefly mentioned that several comedy shows of the era reflected the roots of a sexually permissive society and environmentalism, it is a fair bet that some of the more controversial – but truly groundbreaking – productions will be quietly ignored.

Morecambe and Wise is still lauded as the gold standard of the era, with The Two Ronnies a close second, but the swift fall from modern grace afforded to most other offerings of the time is a telling barometer of changing societal attitudes, and not always for the better.

Comfortable stockbroker-belt cheese, represented by Terry and June in their detached suburban house, has long since gone out of fashion, unless accompanied by a dysfunctional family aspect. And Man About the House – and its spin-offs George and Mildred and Robin’s Nest – are rarely aired since increasing gender equality meant even the merest hint of female subservience was frowned upon. However by far the biggest shift has been in the area of race.

One would struggle to discover it now, but the ‘70s brought forth a plethora of comedies inspired what was then the brand new idea of multiculturalism. A nation that was still emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, complete with a suspicion of foreigners, was coming to terms with the societal friction immigration invariably brings. And doing it rather well.

Differences were highlighted and ridiculed by shows such as Mixed Blessings, which charted prejudice surrounding inter-racial marriage. Racist Alf Garnett was laughed out of the house by his own daughter and made to look a hypocritical fool. And the macho, sometimes violent, animosity of Love Thy Neighbour – in which the ‘white honky’ Eddie mostly ended up being portrayed as an ignorant dinosaur – were all lost to our screens a long time ago, despite their arguably highlighting irrational bigotry on both sides.

To TV audiences, it’s like they never existed, with few programmers brave enough to schedule repeats. Their passing hides a valuable historical record of our nation’s agonising over race, and the consequential realignment of values to suit the modern age – all told with a slice of subtle education and a healthy dose of slapstick.

This denial of history has been subtle for quite a while, but has ironically been elevated by the BBC this week deciding that It Ain’t Half Hot Mum be marked as unsuitable for modern re-runs on the grounds of political correctness.

While BBC2 is admirably laying to rest myths about 1970s culture and attitudes, their schedulers have sent a different signal in condemning a series which was a major comedy success and enjoyed up to 15million viewers at its peak, all innocently chuckling through its seven year run.

Not uniquely for its age, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum lampooned the entire cast. There were stereotypes - of that there is no doubt - but they were just as likely to be the authoritarian stereotypical military Brit in the form of Windsor Davies, or the ineffectual fish out of water soldier, Gunner ‘Lofty’, as they were ‘Indian, Burmese or Japanese’ according to the reasoning behind the programme being shelved.

The BBC points to the terms of its trust status in censoring - because that is exactly what it is - this highly successful series based on their own self-administered sensibilities. That it was considered for repeats in the first place proves that it was likely to be popular, and was not black-balled as a result of projected apathy or lack of viewers. This means the decision was political, not based upon whether it was funny enough to merit re-screening or not.

This is perfectly illustrated by the fact that all the comedy series mentioned are available to buy on DVD at far from subversive sites such as Amazon. Even multicultural stereotype promoter Mind Your Language is available -  at a premium price - too. We’re perfectly free to watch these programmes. Just not, it would appear, on the BBC.

The recently-announced decision to exclude It Ain’t Half Hot Mum from future programming is all too depressing. Not only by depriving younger viewers an insight into what the BBC admits was ‘a different time’, but also by attempting to pretend that prejudices, even comical ones, never existed in the post-war era.

If we are to learn by history, the denying of it can serve no purpose except to encourage many to cast themselves as victims of politically-correct marginalisation and consequentially reinforce prejudices on race, rather than break them down.

Is the BBC really trying to say that the 1970s public – which they entertained without too many qualms at the time - were largely racist and uncaring? Many alive today who have experience of the decade would undoubtedly take that as a profound insult.

Additionally, if the BBC is quoting stereotypes as a reason for banning comedies from the 1970s, Dad’s Army’s black or white portrayal of Germans – complete with caricatured ‘Jerry’ accents – must surely soon be for the chop. As will ‘Allo ‘Allo, a show whose sole comic vehicle was stereotypical portrayals of Europeans, and authored by the same David Croft who crafted It Ain’t Half Hot Mum.

It is very sad that, yet again, something as innocent and life-enhancing as comedy is being censored as if it were damaging to the nation, when quite the opposite is true.

Political correctness is, or should be, promoted as a way of improving lives not detracting from them. By banning a TV show in which millions have found enjoyment, the BBC are playing the modern game of pandering to the too-easily offended, and depriving the many a dash of simple comedy joy for fear of feeding an ever-vanishing minority of bigots.

They mean well, without question, but without conflict comedy fails; it was the situation which provided the comedy. With friction comes fun. Dispensing with It Ain’t Half Hot Mum tries to rewrite history through censorship, is a condemnatory slap in the face to those who enjoyed it, and employs political correctness as a tool to yet again make life that little bit more dreary.


Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians

Just as Jews were once expelled from Arab lands, Christians are now being forced from countries they have long inhabited.

The church in Bethlehem had survived more than 1,000 years, through wars and conquests, but its future now seemed in jeopardy. Spray-painted all over its ancient stone walls were the Arabic letters for Hamas. The year was 1994 and the city was about to pass from Israeli to Palestinian control. I was meeting with the church's clergy as an Israeli government adviser on inter-religious affairs. They were despondent but too frightened to file a complaint. The same Hamas thugs who had desecrated their sanctuary were liable to take their lives.

The trauma of those priests is now commonplace among Middle Eastern Christians. Their share of the region's population has plunged from 20% a century ago to less than 5% today and falling. In Egypt, 200,000 Coptic Christians fled their homes last year after beatings and massacres by Muslim extremist mobs. Since 2003, 70 Iraqi churches have been burned and nearly a thousand Christians killed in Baghdad alone, causing more than half of this million-member community to flee. Conversion to Christianity is a capital offense in Iran, where last month Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was sentenced to death. Saudi Arabia outlaws private Christian prayer.

As 800,000 Jews were once expelled from Arab countries, so are Christians being forced from lands they've inhabited for centuries.

The only place in the Middle East where Christians aren't endangered but flourishing is Israel. Since Israel's founding in 1948, its Christian communities (including Russian and Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Armenians and Protestants) have expanded more than 1,000%.

Christians are prominent in all aspects of Israeli life, serving in the Knesset, the Foreign Ministry and on the Supreme Court. They are exempt from military service, but thousands have volunteered and been sworn in on special New Testaments printed in Hebrew. Israeli Arab Christians are on average more affluent than Israeli Jews and better-educated, even scoring higher on their SATs.

This does not mean that Israeli Christians do not occasionally encounter intolerance. But in contrast to elsewhere in the Middle East where hatred of Christians is ignored or encouraged, Israel remains committed to its Declaration of Independence pledge to "ensure the complete equality of all its citizens irrespective of religion." It guarantees free access to all Christian holy places, which are under the exclusive aegis of Christian clergy. When Muslims tried to erect a mosque near the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, the Israeli government interceded to preserve the sanctity of the shrine.

Israel abounds with such sites (Capernaum, the Hill of the Beatitudes, the birth place of St. John the Baptist) but the state constitutes only part of the Holy Land. The rest, according to Jewish and Christian tradition, is in Gaza and the West Bank. Christians in those areas suffer the same plight as their co-religionists throughout the region.

Since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, half the Christian community has fled. Christmas decorations and public displays of crucifixes are forbidden. In a December 2010 broadcast, Hamas officials exhorted Muslims to slaughter their Christian neighbors. Rami Ayad, owner of Gaza's only Christian bookstore, was murdered, his store reduced to ash. This is the same Hamas with which the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank recently signed a unity pact.

Little wonder, then, that the West Bank is also hemorrhaging Christians. Once 15% of the population, they now make up less than 2%. Some have attributed the flight to Israeli policies that allegedly deny Christians economic opportunities, stunt demographic growth, and impede access to the holy sites of Jerusalem. In fact, most West Bank Christians live in cities such as Nablus, Jericho and Ramallah, which are under Palestinian Authority control. All those cities have experienced marked economic growth and sharp population increase—among Muslims.

Israel, in spite of its need to safeguard its borders from terrorists, allows holiday access to Jerusalem's churches to Christians from both the West Bank and Gaza. In Jerusalem, the number of Arabs—among them Christians—has tripled since the city's reunification by Israel in 1967.

There must be another reason, then, for the West Bank's Christian exodus. The answer lies in Bethlehem. Under Israeli auspices, the city's Christian population grew by 57%. But under the Palestinian Authority since 1995, those numbers have plummeted. Palestinian gunmen seized Christian homes—compelling Israel to build a protective barrier between them and Jewish neighborhoods—and then occupied the Church of the Nativity, looting it and using it as a latrine. Today, Christians comprise a mere one-fifth of their holy city's population.

The extinction of the Middle East's Christian communities is an injustice of historic magnitude. Yet Israel provides an example of how this trend can not only be prevented but reversed. With the respect and appreciation that they receive in the Jewish state, the Christians of Muslim countries could not only survive but thrive.


Young Australian Aborigines are the principal authors of their own misfortunes

It's no good blaming the police

What is the likely fact missing from the following droll entry in the NSW Police media log for Wednesday, September 28, last year?

"Police have arrested two boys aged 15 and 11 following the pursuit of a stolen car in Sydney's inner west this morning. About 3.30am police spotted a stolen white Honda Civic travelling along Parramatta Road at Stanmore.

"The car failed to stop after being directed and a pursuit was initiated … The pursuit was terminated after … the car crashed into a gutter at an intersection [in Petersham].

"When police approached the car, the 15-year-old driver was allegedly armed with a pair of scissors … The driver, from Glebe, was subjected to a breath alcohol analysis and returned a reading of 0.042."

The same likely fact is missing from a incident two weeks later on October 11, reported on smh.com.au: "A 14-year-old girl allegedly failed to stop for a random breath test and led officers on a high-speed car chase before crashing and rolling a car in western Sydney this morning, police say."

The car chase took place about 3am in the western suburb of Whalan.

There have been other similar incidents leading up to the depressingly predictable crash and shooting in Kings Cross early on Saturday, when a stolen car, driven by a 14-year-old, ran down two pedestrians.

What sort of kids are on the streets after 3am, in stolen cars, drinking alcohol, driving recklessly and resisting police?

You know the answer. The statistical probability points to a subculture that is overwhelmingly over-represented in arrests, convictions, incarceration, child abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, alcohol abuse and substance abuse. This subculture functions in a culture of moral apartheid, which perpetuates the vicious cycle.

It was inevitable that a feral teenager in a stolen car was going to run over someone. Cars are more lethal than guns. They kill or seriously injure thousands of people a year, while guns are used in only several dozen murders or attempted murders a year.

In Kings Cross on Saturday morning, Sarah Roberts and Tanya Donaldson were on the footpath when they were bowled over. Roberts, 29, was rushed to hospital. The joyriders going to Kings Cross in a stolen car were begging for trouble and it duly came when a police foot patrol, attempting to stop a vehicle that had already hit two women, fired into the front window to immobilise the car.

In so doing the police wounded the 14-year-old driver and the 17-year-old front seat passenger. The police were aiming at the windshield, not the occupants. When a car is being driven with such callous indifference to safety that two pedestrians are knocked over, police must assume the car's occupants are also dangerous and attempt to subdue them quickly. These incidents take place in instants, not minutes.

It turns out that the driver of the car has been known to police since he was eight. Eight! Five occupants of the car, including two 14-year-olds, were later charged with various offences.

Yet since the incident the two who were shot have been presented as victims, with stories about anger in Redfern. At a rally outside NSW Parliament on Wednesday organisers accused police of "attempted murder".

Predictably, Anthony Mundine, he of the quick fists and quick mouth, entered the fray via Twitter: "Heartbreaking day for me visiting 14 y.o kid shot by police at Kings Cross. I'm at loss to understand how cops could shoot unarmed kids!!!"

He later added: "Barry O'Farrell needs to take a serious look at his police force. All I keep hearing about [is] trigger happy cops killing people. Wrong fo[r] real!!!"

It is not "trigger happy cops" the community is worried about. The bulk of the anger coming out of the Kings Cross drama is from a much wider community sick of violent, self-destructive behaviour by young Aborigines. The community is sick, too, of the constant use of the term "disadvantage" to rationalise the irrational and excuse the inexcusable.

Mundine continued to dig a hole for himself on Twitter yesterday - "police intentionally shot to kill!" - followed by this: "Yes the kids should be trailed [sic] for what they did! But the police should be trailed [sic] for attempted murder!"

Sarah Roberts and Tanya Donaldson were minding their own business when they were mowed down by a dangerous fool. As to their welfare, Mundine had nothing to say, other than this: "DID THEY DIE???"



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


27 April, 2012

Black Panics and White Hispanics

 Mike Adams

In my many years of serving on faculty hiring committees, I have often heard the statement “minorities and women are encouraged to apply.” It usually follows in close proximity to the statement “our institution does not discriminate on the basis of race.” The two statements cannot be reconciled by logic. But, then again, logic is considered a form of white oppression at the postmodern university.

Nor can those hiring statements be validated empirically. Not all minorities are encouraged specifically to apply at my university. Orthodox Jews are not encouraged. White Mormons are not encouraged. And neither are white Hispanics. We really discriminate when we take affirmative action against discrimination. I hope someday we take affirmative action against illogic.

This practice of establishing certain preferred minorities has been going on for a long time.

Make no mistake about it: At issue in the Zimmerman case is not whether he had a right to overpower Martin. The power struggle in the Zimmerman case stems from race-baiters' worry that Hispanics will overtake blacks as the most powerful racial interest group in America. That is why Jackson and Sharpton are clinging on to Martin like Marion Berry on a crack pipe.

In their struggle to maintain racial minority supremacy, black civil rights leaders regularly invoke the one-drop rule. The one-drop rule states that anyone who has even a drop of black blood is considered black. The rule was once used by white racists in the South. They thought that anyone who had a drop of black blood was contaminated, so to speak. Just a drop of black blood made them both intellectually and morally inferior.

However, now blacks are using the one drop rule to advance their own political agenda. Given that half of black pregnancies end in abortion, blacks must have some means of keeping their numbers and corresponding political influence from dwindling.

Of course, the one-drop rule operates differently with respect to Hispanics. Black civil rights leaders now want to say that having a single drop of white blood means you are white, not Hispanic. The reason for that is obvious: open-border immigration has made Hispanics the largest minority in America – numerically, if not politically, speaking.

It is also worth noting that these Hispanic immigrants are often Roman Catholic. That means they are less likely to abort their children than someone who practices black liberation theology. It helps explain why Hispanics are now 15% of the United States population while blacks constitute only 12%.

The gradual displacement of blacks as America’s preferred minority is producing a powder keg of racial tension in Florida and elsewhere. So much so that even the normally wise Bill Cosby can’t quite come to terms with it. Cosby wants to think this is all about guns but it isn’t. It’s about race, Bill. And the wave of inter-racial violence in the wake of the Zimmerman release should have tipped you off.

Things are going to get worse before they get better. Mitt Romney has a high probability of choosing Senator Rubio as his running mate. He is going to run on a pro-life and pro-gun platform, regardless of his true beliefs, which are virtually indiscernible. And Hispanics will support Romney/Rubio in record numbers.

Eventually, blacks will figure out that the real threat to young men like Trayvon Martin was not a white Hispanic named George Zimmerman. It was a white supremacist named Margaret Sanger.


Black racist

If a white guy said this stuff he would be out on his ear but nothing dents Marion Barry

I think Washington DC is lucky to have Filpinias to do nursing jobs that blacks obviously don't want.   The small, gentle and sentimental Filipinas must think they have descended into hell when they arrive in DC

For the second time in less than a month, D.C. Council member Marion Barry is having to fend off criticism that he unfairly singled out an ethnic group as he attempted to explain how to get more African Americans trained and employed in the District.

At a hearing Monday on the University of the District of Columbia’s budget, he spoke about the need to train more African Americans to become nurses. In a video of his remarks aired by WTTG-TV, Barry noted a growing number of nurses are “immigrants” from the Philippines.

“[I]f you go to the hospital now, you’ll find a number of immigrants who are nurses, particularly from the Philippines,” said Barry (D-Ward 8). “And no offense, but let’s grow our own teachers, let’s grow our own nurses, and so that we don’t have to go scrounging in our community clinics and other kinds of places, having to hire people from somewhere else.”

The National Federation of Filipino American Associations called Barry’s remarks “racist” and “bigoted.”

“We reject this continued Asian bashing by elected officials like Mr. Barry and demand that he apologize for his insensitive and irresponsible remarks,” Ed Navarra, chairman of NaFFAA, said in a statement. “We also call on him to engage in a meaningful dialogue with our community so we can better educate the broader American public about the significant contributions that our diverse immigrant communities have made to this country.”

On Tuesday, Barry said he was attempting to make a larger point about the university and the country’s demands for nurses.

“UDC ought to be a premier nursing school in the country. The nursing shortage is so bad we have to bring in nurses from the Philippines. What’s negative about that? Nothing’s negative about that,” he said. “It’s an asset to the United States to have access to nurses from other countries, but I want UDC to be the premier nursing institution.... Every time I mention a group, it’s not negative, it’s a fact.”

Earlier this month, Barry was forced to apologize after an election night screed in which he referred to Asian-owned businesses in Ward 8 “as dirty.”

Several of his council colleagues, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) and several Maryland lawmakers of Asian descent publicly condemned Barry’s statements as divisive.

Barry’s remarks Monday appear to track with his long-held views that the city needs to do more to reduce unemployment, particularly in neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River. Along with Barry, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and a majority of the D.C. Council have embraced policies to require or encourage local businesses and institutions to hire more District residents.

Barry stressed during Monday’s hearing that local colleges could help lower the unemployment if schools such as UDC, which has a growing nursing program, redoubled efforts to identify and train potential nurses.

Because of shortages nationwide, for years hospitals have had to turn overseas to bolster their ranks of nurses. More than half the foreign-trained nurses come from the Philippines, according to a 2005 study by Minority Nurse, which focuses on career and education training.

But Navarra said Barry made a hurtful mistake by singling out an ethnic group. “Filipino nurses and teachers have performed admirably in America’s health care and educational system, and they don’t deserve the harmful and xenophobic rhetoric that pits them against other American professionals,” Navarra said.

Barry’s relationship with the Asian American community could come to a head Thursday, when he’s to conduct an oversight hearing on the Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs.

As chairman of the Committee of Aging and Community Affairs, Barry oversees several District agencies designed to serve as liaisons between the government and minority communities. He created several of the offices when he served as mayor in the 1980s.


Obsession with safety is risking our children's well-being

A decade after child protection checks began, common sense and compassion have been sidelined

Imagine living in a society governed by fear: fear of the authorities, fear of your fellow citizens’ covert suspicions and overt accusations, fear of having even your most decent human impulses twisted into an unthinkable crime.

It’s the stuff of police states, of Kafka and the Communist revolution and the Stasi-dominated dystopia of the DDR. It is also, experts warn, a damning snapshot of Britain today.

Take the example of tousle-headed toddler Abigail Rae, who died because the passing adult who could have – should have – saved her, was too frightened to stop his van, scoop her up in his arms and take her to safety, lest he be branded a pervert.

The two-year-old, who had strayed from her Warwickshire nursery and was spotted toddling along a village road by a bricklayer driving past, was later found, drowned, in a pond. Commenting at the inquest of the case, which took place in 2002, the coroner remarked that: “This is perhaps a sad reflection on our society, but you may well understand the circumstances.”

We can understand, perhaps – the unpalatable truth is that the driver’s fears were far from unfounded – but surely we can’t condone his inaction?

Much is made of the “crisis of childhood” besetting youngsters growing up in our over-sexualised culture. Perhaps it’s time we asked ourselves whether there isn’t an even greater crisis in adulthood.

A decade after the introduction of Criminal Records Bureau checks, we have developed such a preoccupation – some would say out-and-out hysteria – about rooting out paedophilia that common sense and compassion have been sidelined, to everyone’s cost.

“There’s been a shift towards a 'better safe than sorry’ approach towards those working or involved with children that isn’t based on logic,” says Helene Guldberg, Open University psychologist and author of Reclaiming Childhood: Freedom and Play in an Age of Fear. “We have absurd situations where you can’t take photographs of your own child in public places, or a man isn’t allowed to sit beside an unaccompanied child on an aircraft, and this assumption of guilt, of sinister motivation, is really corrosive to society.”

The CRB system was established in the wake of the Soham murders of 2002, when Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, both aged 10, were murdered by Ian Huntley, who had been employed as a school caretaker, despite having faced a number of accusations of sexual assault.

Few dispute that its introduction has weeded out unsuitable candidates who previously gravitated towards jobs working with children. But there are those who believe its widespread (mis)use has brought more losses than gains.

Guldberg argues that it is impossible for any sense of community to exist without trust. If all other adults – particularly men – are perceived as a potential risk to children, then we reach a situation where only the parent is responsible for a child, and other adults shy away from intervening, even where a child is in danger.

“One study found that 75 per cent of men admitted they would not help a child in distress, for fear of what it might look like to others,” says Guldberg. “A total of 23 per cent would ignore the child completely, the others would find a woman to assist.”

That level of fear may be shocking – but the high tidemark of mistrust isn’t far behind. Of those men, 67 per cent said they themselves would be concerned about the intent of another man who approached a distressed child.

According to libertarian campaigners, The Manifesto Group, CRB checks – all 32 million of them to date – are no guarantee of safety. On the contrary, mass vetting leads to an abdication of personal responsibility and an assumption that child safety is the sole preserve of the state.

Nor is the “better safe than sorry” ethos confined to children’s welfare. Risk aversion and an almost farcical over-reliance on regulations is fast becoming ingrained in our psyche.

Last week saw the comi-tragic instance of 25 firefighters too entangled in red tape to wade into shallow water and rescue a seabird trapped in a plastic bag. They were, understandably, labelled “ridiculous”.

But what words are there to describe the scenario in 2007, where police support officers stood by, uselessly, as courageous 10-year-old Jordan Lyon dived into a pond to save his younger sister? She lived, but he drowned, because not one grown-up was willing to help. And who can forget the appalling fate of Alison Hume, the Ayrshire woman who fell down a mineshaft in 2008? She languished underground for eight hours, and died of a hypothermia-induced heart attack, despite a winch being available – because the regulations stated it was only for the use of official rescue workers.

However, it took the death of a charity shop worker in a 3ft deep boating lake to bring about real change. Simon Burgess, 41, suffered an epileptic fit in March 2011 and died as emergency crews looked on. Police and paramedics were specifically ordered not to enter the water, a shocking revelation that led the Government to dispense with the health and safety barriers that have been hindering emergency workers. As of last April, officers who carry out “heroic acts” without regard to their own safety are now protected from prosecution. But in the wider community, goodwill and good sense are still open to almost wilful misinterpretation.

In November year, a Tyneside supply teacher was suspended on the grounds of “gross misconduct”. Martin Davis’s “crime”? He gave a stranded 17-year-old pupil a lift home. The student made no complaint and Davis, 59, was cleared of any wrongdoing, but he has struggled to find employment since.

No one disputes that young people need to be protected from predatory adults, but the CRB checks, which were originally a safeguard used in the context of professionals working unsupervised with children, have proliferated exponentially.

They are carried out by a private company, Capita, at a cost of £1.5 billion, as increasing numbers of organisations insist that virtually anyone carrying out community work – whether arranging flowers at church or taking elderly people to the shops – must be vetted.

Local councils have subjected tree surgeons and a burger van operator to CRB checks, on the grounds that they work near schools. Even the Duchess of Cambridge underwent a CRB check before beginning volunteer work with the Scouts on Anglesey, presumably to reassure any parents worried about the intentions of the future Queen of England.

Older people are disproportionately affected by the checks carried out on the one million people a year who apply to do voluntary work. Often, they find themselves footing the bill, which is £26 for a standard check and £44 for an enhanced check.

“What our members really object to is the application of the law,” says Geraldine Bedell, editor of the social network site Gransnet. “They don’t have some rosy notion that checks aren’t needed, but they are irritated and exasperated by the number of them; some have had half a dozen or more CRB checks. There’s an absence of common sense.”

A childminder will have a CRB check to work with children, but if she also wants to be a classroom assistant, she will need a second check, and a third if she wants to help out with the Brownie pack.

According to Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood, disproportionate anxiety is destroying the quality of our children’s early years. Our perception of danger has been distorted by our exposure to technology. “Because we have such a screen-based culture, and watch rolling news and are bombarded by pictures on the internet, we are being emotionally hijacked by imagery that bypasses the rational centres of the brain and makes us fearful,” she says.

“Reading a newspaper means we have to process information through words, which enables us to assess the risks. But we are losing that common sense and our sense of commonality, which makes it more and more difficult to trust people.”

The growing influence of Twitter and instant messaging means that negative opinions and emotions can be expressed and conveyed at the touch of a keypad. We assimilate other people’s views with little thought and become accustomed to spectating rather than instigating. That acquired passivity has a trickle-down effect, says Richard House, a senior lecturer in psychotherapy and counselling at the University of Roehampton.

“Twenty or 30 years ago, if someone saw a child either in trouble or causing trouble, a grown-up wouldn’t have thought twice about getting involved,” says House. “Nowadays, people have a greater tendency to play the bystander; rather than responding instinctively, they are more worried about negative repercussions and possibly being seen as an abuser.”

But this tendency to hang back, governed by fear, until someone “more appropriate” comes along, ideally waving their CRB certificate, may not be in our best interests after all. The uncomfortable fact is that if we don’t step in to save someone else’s child, then how can we complain when nobody steps in to save ours?


Putting Faith Under House Arrest

For decades, atheist groups have strategically involved themselves in questions of religious freedom, and they have done so chiefly by fighting to have all Christian symbols and texts removed from public view. But in recent years, as this fight has continued, it’s become evident that it’s not just symbols and texts they want removed from public view, rather, it’s Christians themselves.

In truth, it now seems that their end game is to put Christians into such a small corner that the only place left for open faith is behind the closed doors of your home.

This is explicitly seen in what one group of homosexual activists, One Colorado, is pushing via their effort to alter the Colorado Constitution to limit, for all intents and purposes, the exercise of religious liberty to one’s home or one’s church.

They propose to change Section 4, Article II of the state constitution to read:

In assessing whether government has burdened freedom of religion, a person’s or a religious organization’s right to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief is the ability to engage in religious practices in the privacy of a person’s home or in the privacy of a religious organization’s established place of worship.
One doesn’t have to be a constitutional scholar to understand that these changes basically say that citizens cannot complain that their religious freedoms have been violated so long as they can worship freely in their homes or in their churches.

This is a not-so-clever attempt at making sure that the Christian message never makes it out of private homes and churches. And it would be an astounding constitutional revision—one that puts faith under house arrest. But perhaps it is not so astounding, when one considers how our American president has been busy pushing the novel idea of “freedom of worship” to replace our inalienable right to freedom of religion. This sleight of hand starkly demonstrates what “freedom of worship” really means.

The attempt to remove Christianity from the public arena can be seen implicitly in the way groups like the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers are pressuring the Air Force to remove Bibles from on-base lodging rooms. Under the guise of fighting against “a special privilege for Christianity,” atheists are seeking to have Gideon Bibles removed from the rooms by equating the placement of those Bibles with “insensitive practices that illegally promote religion over non-religion or unethically discriminate against religions or differing beliefs.”

At the same time, such atheists and freethinkers give lip service to the First Amendment, but their actions show that they’ll only be happy when the First Amendment extends no further than our front door. (Remember, in pushing to change the Colorado Constitution, they were careful to say “in” your private house or private church.)

Under these terms, it seems fair to wonder if the choir loft must now be soundproofed, lest stray strains of “Amazing Grace” slip beyond the church doors and out into the forbidden zone.

The bottom line is that your choice as to whether you can worship God and live out your faith as a free citizen is, at this very moment, being shaped by the demands of leftists and proponents of the homosexual agenda who have sworn fealty to the force of law rather than theology. These groups, whether One Colorado or the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, ultimately believe your right to practice religion according to the dictates of your conscience has to align perfectly with the dictates of theirs.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


26 April, 2012

How stupid to claim you're too clever for motherhood

Sandra Parsons has some germane comments below but she misses out the key deficiency in the thinking of the unfortunate Lucy Worsley.  Ms Worsley seems to think that dilettantish activities are the peak of enjoyment and fulfilment.  Almost any mother could tell her that children are the greatest joy in life,  compared to  which all other things are a footnote.  Ms Worsley is not liberated;  she is lost

By any reckoning, TV historian Lucy Worsley has done pretty well for herself. In addition to her day job as chief curator of Historic Royal Palaces, the 38-year-old has written three books, made umpteen TV programmes - and has also found love, sharing a London riverside flat with her architect boyfriend.

Just about the only thing she hasn’t done is bear a child.

In an interview this week to publicise her latest programme, Antiques Uncovered, she explained that this was her deliberate choice. ‘I have become the poster girl for opting out of reproduction. I am happy to stand up and be counted,’ she declares.

All well and good, you might think. Women who decide not to have children are often made to feel somehow lacking, so three cheers to Lucy for standing up for them.

Until, that is, you read what she said next: ‘I have been educated out of the natural reproductive function. I get to spend my time doing things I enjoy.’  No doubt this was intended as a rather flip, humorous comment. It’s backfired for two reasons.

First, it’s astonishingly patronising. Does Dr Worsley really believe that because she has a history degree from Oxford, she’s somehow too intelligent for the act of child-rearing? Or is she merely saying that those of us whose brains (or upbringing) did not propel us to the dreaming spires should accept motherhood as the summit of our intellectual ambition?

Second, for someone who calls herself a feminist historian, she appears to be hopelessly confused about what equality really means. Because while it’s difficult to be a working woman as well as a wife and mother, at least being the first of these no longer precludes also being the other two.

Indeed, anyone who assumes that women with an Oxford degree have allowed themselves to be ‘educated out of the natural reproductive function’ is entering very dangerous - and regressive - territory indeed. What next? A sort of sliding scale for women to keep handy during their childbearing years? No degree at all? Excellent! Have as many children as you like. A degree from Manchester or Bristol? Fine - have two! A first from Oxford? Sorry, but it would be a waste of your brain to reproduce.

In reality, of course, there are many women just as well educated as Lucy Worsley who’ve managed to have both children and a fulfilling career. Her fellow historian and Oxford graduate Amanda Foreman has five offspring, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has three and BBC Economics Editor Stephanie Flanders two.

There are countless more who’ve made sacrifices big and small for the sake of their families, including turning down promotions, changing careers and giving up work altogether.

What I find particularly distasteful is Dr Worsley’s tone, which implies she’s too superior for the messy business of raising children. Your ability to be a mother has nothing to do with your educational attainment and everything to do with the universal qualities of selflessness, generosity, compassion and patience.

Lucy Worsley’s ambition is to make history as popular as The X Factor, and I’m all for it. But before she goes any further, can I suggest that she looks at the history of her own sex? Not so long ago, the choice was quite simple: you could be a nun, a bluestocking or a mother. You could also be burned at the stake.

So give us more history, by all means, Dr Worsley. But please make it clear that women are lucky enough today to live in more enlightened times — and whether we have children or not has nothing to do with how clever we may (or may not) think we are.


Children's favourite books removed from British library shelves after parents complain they’re 'offensive'

Public libraries have had to withdraw dozens of long-standing children's favourites after parents complained they were offensive.

Anxious adults have taken action over stories deemed to be racist, blasphemous, violent or otherwise unsuitable, a survey has revealed.

Roald Dahl was among those criticised, with his Revolting Rhymes and Even More Revolting Rhymes singled out over the celebrated author's use of supposedly coarse language.

And while young readers have been enjoying Dahl's satirical fairy tales for decades, even classics such as The Nutcracker and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves were said to be too sinister or frightening for children.

Library staff have had to investigate each of the complaints and have often ended up moving the offending books out of the children's section, or removing them altogether.

Racism was a common cause for concern, with the much-loved Babar and Tintin series accused of exposing children to ethnic stereotypes.

Librarians in East Sussex removed copies of Babar's Travels, in which one of the cartoon elephant's adventures finds him faced with 'savage cannibals'.

Those wishing to borrow it must now order it specially, after staff upheld a complaint that it contained offensive stereotypes of black Africans.

A similar complaint saw staff in Lewisham, London, remove Herge's Tintin in the Congo, while elsewhere the title has been transferred to the adult's section.

Children's author David McKee, creator of Elmer the Patchwork Elephant and Mr Ben, attracted more complaints than any other writer.  Parents claimed Tusk Tusk - his book about a dispute between black and grey elephants - was racist, while the wealthy main character of Denver was said to promote the idea of an unfair gap between rich and poor.

Meanwhile, the insults hurled between the characters in Two Monsters - such as 'twit' and 'dumbo' - were thought too aggressive for young ears.

A surprised Mr McKee told the Sunday Telegraph his books were meant to celebrate the differences in society.  He said: 'I think the complaints seem to come from the parents rather than the child. 'Children often seem to get the point. It would be rather boring if all books simply started "once upon a time" and ended "happily ever after".'

Nicholas Allan's More and More Rabbits, about two rabbits who can't stop having babies, has been praised for teaching numeracy and broaching the difficult subject of where babies come from.

But librarians in West Lothian pulled the book after one anxious parent said it the content was inappropriate.

The gruesome Horrible Histories series - which seeks to take the stuffiness out of the subject - was said to celebrate and trivialise violence, while one reader feared its sister series Horrible Science would encourage children to carry out dangerous experiments.

Parents worried that titles such as The Big Ugly Monster and the Little Stone Rabbit - in which a lonely monster fashions friends out of stone - would damage children's self-esteem.

And staff in Newcastle library removed Flabby Cat and Slobby Dog from the health and wellbeing section after it was said to give a negative message about obesity.

The survey of 98 library authorities took in more than 300 complaints from the last five years about 'unsuitable, inappropriate or offensive' works. Half of them were about children's books.


An angry retort to Bettina Arndt from a feminist

But she ends up agreeing that Bettina has got her facts right

If you read this weekend’s Sunday papers, you will have been thrilled by an incredible piece of news: Bettina Arndt is the first human being to have visited an entirely different universe.

The voyage happened during her piece, Why women lose the dating game; Bettina visited the universe - hitherto only speculated about by astronomers - and found an alien entity who, coincidentally, was called Clem Bastow. This alien entity reached the end of the article and found herself nodding in cautious agreement.

FOOLED YOU! The alien was me! And I have been struggling with this strange new sensation for the past day: what does it mean for you when a large part of a Bettina Arndt article rings true?

First things first, in case you think this article is being written by my dog and I’m actually chained up in a basement somewhere: there’s plenty she didn’t get right, namely, women’s role in the dating game. “Many thought they could put off marriage and families until their 30s, having devoted their 20s to education, establishing careers and playing the field,” says Arndt of silly women nationwide. “But was their decade of dating a strategic mistake?”

Sometimes you just gotta wonder if Bettina even likes women. She seems so determined to decry feminism - even when, as she’s done here, she doesn’t expressly say as much - and defend the plight of the poor men left sobbing in the movement’s wake.

However, on the topic of the misogynist cesspool that is the “dating scene”, unfortunately, she’s spot on.

I used to laugh about things like The Game and the idea of “pick-up artists”, dismissing them as little more than a horror story from across the pond, but then I was hypnotised into a relationship by a 38-year-old Darth Vader impersonator who sidelined as a counsellor who helped young men pick up chicks.

He worked as a ‘guest lecturer’ - or something - with a lifestyle coach who taught meek dudes things like “same night lays” and how to avoid “the verbal leakage of power” (no, I don’t know what that is, either).

These blokes weren’t really interested in actual relationships, and they didn’t have to be, because there were always going to be more single women who were willing to step up to the plate if another demurred.

By that token, the census analysis Arndt quotes - “68,000 unattached graduate men in their 30s for 88,000 single graduate women in the same age group” - isn’t surprising.

Likewise, the experience of Gail - who found that men her own age on dating websites were only interested in younger women - rings true. I am still half-heartedly engaging in the sisyphean saga that is “looking for someone nice to go on dates with”, and now that I’m 30 (well, almost), I find I am almost exclusively contacted by men who are 15 to 20 years older. Who’s contacting the women who are 45+?

In short, it’s hell out there. But here’s where I begin to become human once more, and remember what it’s like to disagree with Bettina Arndt: why do we carry on as though these women who have reached their late-30s and early-40s and found themselves (“still”) single have thrown their lives away?

Yes, it’s nice to share your life with someone - all but the most misanthropic or committedly lone-wolf-ish of us know that. However the tone of Arndt’s piece suggests that we should capitulate to the good-enough husband (even trotting out Lori Gottlieb’s Marry Him!, which was listed as a favourite text in the online dating profile of a man I recently encountered who insisted that “[his] crotch!” wanted my phone number).

As Arndt puts it, “many women are missing out on their fairytale ending”. As someone else in the article, Penny, puts it: “We were told we were special, we could do anything and the world was our oyster."

Hate to break it to you, Penny, but all of that is true - provided you don’t need the pearl inside that oyster to be a man.


Proposed Ordinance Would Force Kansas Churches to Host Gay Weddings

According to advocates, religious freedom may be under attack in Hutchinson, Kansas. There’s a controversial ordinance being considered in the local community that would force churches to host gay weddings and parties.

According to Fox News’ Todd Starnes, the Hutchinson City Council is going to consider whether sexual orientation and gender identity should be added to the city’s human relations code. If this action is approved during next month’s expected vote, churches may find themselves in a tough position.

Hutchinson Human Relations Commission has explained that, under the new regulations, churches that make their buildings available for the general public would not be able to refuse gay couples. This essentially means that churches would be forced to, via rental agreements, support gay nuptials.

“They would not be able to discriminate against gay and lesbian or transgender individuals. That type of protection parallels to what you find in race discrimination,” Meryl Dye, a spokesperson for the commission, said in an interview with Fox News. “If a church provides lodging or rents a facility they could not discriminate based on race. It’s along that kind of thinking.”

But Matthew Staver, chairman of the conservative Liberty Counsel Action, said that the proposal isn’t in line with American values.

“It is a collision course between religious freedom and the LGBT agenda. This proposed legislation will ultimately override the religious freedom that is protected under the First Amendment,” he proclaimed. “What we are ultimately going to see is churches forced to confront this law, forced to do things and allow their facilities to be used by people and for events that diametrically undercut the mission of the church.”

So, let’s say the ordinance passes and a church refuses to comply. Unless there’s an exemption for houses of worship when the measures passes, a discrimination complaint can be waged by gay couples or individuals who are refused rental service. If churches are, indeed, found guilty of not complying, fines and other penalties would come into effect.

But, as Starnes notes, it’s not just churches that may be impacted by the proposed ordinance:
    The Hutchinson measure would also have a major impact on private businesses and landlords. Restaurants, bars and retail shops would be required to provide special bathrooms for individuals who may have male body parts but identify as a female.

    According to a FAQ sheet provided by the city, employers would also be forced to allow workers to dress based on their gender identity…

    “Dress codes would not be precluded as long as an employer allows an employee to appear, groom and dress consistent with the employee’s gender identity and gender expression,” the FAQ stated.

    As far as bathrooms, the city FAQ stated, “A transgender person must be allowed to use restrooms appropriate to their gender identity rather than their assigned gender at birth without being harassed or questioned.”

    The city’s revised ordinance would also require transgender individuals to use the locker room and shower facilities of their choosing.

The FAQ document that highlights all of the information presented within the provision can be read here. There‘s no doubt that religious freedom hounds will be monitoring the vote to assess churches’ rights and to ensure that the government doesn’t overstep First Amendments bounds. On the flip side, supporters of the ordinance will surely fight on for what she see as equal rights in its passage.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


25 April, 2012

This linguistic engineering invades our lives and loves

Officialdom’s frenetic replacement of words like son and wife with words like ‘carer’ and ‘partner’ diminishes our identities

I have always been fascinated by the language we use to express our view of everyday life. But it wasn’t until the death of my mother three years ago that I realised how words could be used to diminish our identity and pressure us to adopt new values.

As soon as I heard that my mother had a stroke, I went to see her at our local hospital in Kent, England. On arrival, I introduced myself to the nurse with the words, ‘I’m Frank Furedi, I’m Clara’s son’. The woman looked up at me and said, ‘You mean you’re her carer’. ‘No, her son’, I responded. But she was insistent: ‘No, you are her carer.’

Later, one hospital administrator explained to me that they used the word carer because it included all; apparently not every patient has a close relative to look after them.

In Australia, the Department of Health and Ageing defines everyone who provides help to an ill or frail person as a carer. On its website it notes that ‘many carers don’t consider themselves to be carers - they see themselves as just family members’.

Outwardly, this is a simple and uncontroversial statement of fact. But when you examine it closer, it offers a chilling reminder of who defines your identity. You may think you are family but, according to this administrative formula, you are ‘carers’.

The word carer may be inclusive, but if a special connection between mother and son is transformed into a bureaucratic typology, then something very important has been lost. The relationship between patients and their family, friends and paid help all involve care, but they convey fundamentally different meanings to the people concerned.

This linguistic engineering, this tendency to redefine human relations through a vocabulary that corrodes their special, unique and intimate qualities, is often promoted as a way of making all of us feel included. The first time I felt ambushed by linguistic policing was in the 1990s, when I read a report on how to deal with child abuse in a religious setting. The author, Helen Armstrong, argued that the church should respond by changing its traditional language. Why? Because ‘religious language often depends on a positive view of the value and trust placed in fathers, parents and family’ and it therefore may offend victims of abuse. The report warned against the use of a language that ‘represents God as father or as protector’ and said we should rethink ‘the range of “family” language used in religious thinking’.

The implication of Armstrong’s arguments was that the positive valuation of the family discriminated against victims of abuse, and therefore a new language should be made mandatory. If the celebration of the family is seen as troubling to those who have had negative experiences with their parents, then what intimate relationship can be unashamedly avowed these days? Certainly not that of husband and wife. As the Flinders University’s guide to using inclusive language explains: ‘Language that reinforces the assumption that all personal relationships are exclusively heterosexual denies the lived realities of same-sex couples.’ Accordingly, it advises using the term partner instead of wife or husband.

Like carer, the term partner has the advantage of homogenising every relationship, eroding their distinctions and instead making them all conform to an inoffensive generic formula. Insisting that I was my mum’s son was proof of my emotional illiteracy, apparently. But to refuse to be called partner and actually to embrace discriminatory appellation such as ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ - that is a marker of gross insensitivity, we are told. Better that you call your wife a spouse.

And it is now official. Those applying for a visa to migrate to Australia are told by www.australia-migration.com that ‘if you are married, then you apply for the spouse visa’. It helpfully informs applicants that spouse is ‘the Australian husband or wife’.

Thankfully, you can still acknowledge that you are married. What is at issue is who you are married to. Numerous advocates of same-sex marriage argue that the association of marriage between a husband and wife is an expression of discriminatory prejudice. So a few years ago a submission by the Melbourne-based Human Rights Resource Centre to the inquiry into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009 insisted that references to wife and husband should be removed from section 45(2) of the act. The submission also took exception to the ‘gendered’ term ‘man and woman’ used in marriage and opted for the term ‘union of two people’.

In Canada, where same-sex marriage was legalised in 2005, terms like husband and wife have already been removed from much official documentation. A similar approach is proposed for Britain in the Lib-Con government’s consultation on same-sex marriage, which implies, in Brendan O’Neill’s words, that ‘bureaucrats have the right to define our relationships, and by extension to govern them’.

Meanwhile in Sweden, campaigners are urging the authorities to introduce ‘gender-neutral’ language. They want to do away with any linguistic expression of difference between the sexes (such as the use of apparently discriminatory words like ‘he’ and ‘she’ or ‘boy’ and ‘girl’) in favour of having everyone speak in a fully PC, new and neutral fashion.

Whatever you think of a world in which sons are called carers, lovers are described as partners, husbands and wives are reinvented as spouses or just ‘two people’, and no one says ‘boy’ or ‘girl’, you should at least acknowledge that it is a very different place to one where people cultivate their own identities and traditions to determine who they really are.

It is important to understand that these new administratively sanctioned terms are not simply different words that express the same old identities or relationships. No, when a son is transformed into a carer, then the defining features of his relationship to his mother become obscured, maybe even lost. When religious organisations are told to use a language that treats the family as no big deal, then they cease to serve as institutions that can give spiritual meaning to their members. When marriage is reinterpreted as merely the union of two people, or a partnership of spouses, then the identity of a husband and wife is steadily eroded and loses its deep-rooted symbolic significance. Linguistic engineering impacts in a very real and very negative way on how we conceive of ourselves and how we think about our most intimate bonds.

The words we use really, really matter. They shape our view of ourselves and of our fellow citizens. In an open, tolerant society, people should possess the freedom to choose how they define themselves and others.

Unfortunately, today there are powerful cultural forces that believe they have the moral authority to decide what words the rest of us can use to describe ourselves, our loved ones and our relationships. Language is a far too important an area of human life to leave to the administrators and experts. We need the courage of our convictions to use the words that best express what we are about.


Another pathetic excuse from lazy British police

Police refused to chase quad bike gang who stole kayak ... because thieves had no helmets

When Rebecca Jones directed police towards a gang of thieves making their getaway on quad bikes she naturally expected officers to tear off in hot pursuit.  But she was left speechless when they called off the chase moments later – on the grounds of health and safety.

They told her that they did not want to risk causing an accident because the gang were not wearing crash helmets and were driving wildly.

Instead, the officers simply gave up and let the thieves disappear into the distance with the  £700 kayak they had stolen from Miss Jones.

The legal executive said the gang struck as she and her boyfriend joined her parents on the water of a weir on the River Dearne at Harlington, in South Yorkshire.

As the group prepared to set off, the quad bikers raced up  and snatched her kayak before driving off with it strapped to one of their machines.

Miss Jones, 28, and her boyfriend, Mark Skirrow, 27, gave chase and tracked the thieves across fields in the hope that the police would take over once they arrived. ‘The police were called immediately and they also followed the gang and caught up with them on the road,’ said Miss Jones, from Swinton, near Rotherham.

‘But they had to abandon the pursuit because of health and safety concerns as the quad bikers were driving erratically and not wearing helmets.  ‘My boat was stolen and there is nothing much I can do about it.’

The police are not understood to have made any arrests.

Health and safety rules have been blamed for inaction by the emergency services in a number of incidents – many of them much more serious.

In March last year Simon Burgess, 41, drowned in a 3ft-deep lake in Hampshire when a policeman and a paramedic were ordered not to rescue him.

In 2009, Philip Surridge, 42, died after firemen refused to rescue him from a frozen lake. He screamed ‘Don’t let me die’ but the crew – sent to Brightwell Lake in Northamptonshire – did not go in because they were not trained in water rescue. In 2008, Karl Malton, 32, drowned in 18in of water in Lincolnshire when a senior fire officer stopped his men climbing down a 15ft bank after a ‘risk assessment’ was carried out.

His body remained face down in the water for three hours after a decision was made to send for a ‘water rescue team’ based more than 50 miles away.

The year before that, Jordan Lyon, ten, drowned in a pond in Wigan after police community support officers said they were unable to help him because they did not have ‘major incident training’.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said of the kayak theft:  ‘Officers were instructed not to begin a pursuit. An area search was conducted and all lines of enquiry were explored, unfortunately without gain.  ‘South Yorkshire Police perform a risk assessment based on the circumstances of each incident.’


Moonbats’ Heads Explode Over Marine Crusaders

A culture ashamed of its own religion and history has an obvious psychological disadvantage on the battlefield. Yet since it’s a pillar of leftist ideology that Muslims were the good guys during the Crusades, moonbats at blowing gaskets over this:
    A recent decision by the Marine Corps to reinstate “Crusaders” as the name of its Fighter Attack Squadron 122 — replacing “Werewolves” — and adopting the red cross of the medieval Knights Templar was blasted as unconstitutional and willfully ignorant by a civil rights group Wednesday. …

    VMFA-122 based out of Beaufort, S.C., used the Crusaders symbol from 1958 up to 2008…

That’s when it was changed to Werewolves to be more politically correct, since our rulers would rather have us identify with evil supernatural creatures that degenerate into animals than with heroes who took the fight to the enemy on behalf of Western Civilization during Islam’s long centuries of relentless forcible encroachment on Christendom.
    Dozens of military members, including Marines in the affected squadron have contacted MRFF reporting that the name has been changed back, and that the symbols had already been painted on the vertical stabilizers of the F-18s.

Whimpers Mikey Weinstein, founder of the militantly anti-Christian Military Religious Freedom Foundation:
    “They’re being told, ‘the enemy gets to have Allah in their fight. We need to get our Lord and Savior back into our fight.’”

Lt. Cmdr. Wade Weigel explains it differently:
    “It’s a way for our Marines to draw on the service of the Marines before them, and to make their own history under the same name. As the squadron prepared to celebrate its (70th anniversary), my intent was to return the squadron to the Crusader name since 50 of the squadron’s 70 years were under that name. The name change is a reflection of our heritage.”

If there is one thing liberals hate, it’s heritage. Naturally they are threatening legal action. Maybe they can get the name changed to the Flying Dhimmis.


'Victims' Who Persecute

 Jeff Jacoby

HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY always falls during the week that follows Passover. At first glance, the two would seem to have little in common -- one memorializes the millions of European Jews annihilated by Nazi Germany; the other commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from slavery in ancient Egypt.

Yet for all their obvious differences, a fundamental similarity links these two crucial chapters in Jewish history. Both were attempts at genocide, and in both cases the perpetrators justified their savageries by claiming that they were the real victims, threatened by the people they intended to wipe out.

At the Passover Seder, retelling the 3,000-year-old story, Jews read the passage from Exodus in which Pharaoh rationalizes the lethal repression he is about to inflict on the Hebrews. "Come, let us deal wisely with them," he declares. "Otherwise they may become so many that if there is a war they will join our enemies, fight against us, and leave the land." His notion of dealing wisely: slave labor, followed by mass murder. "Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, 'Every boy that is born to the Hebrews, you shall throw into the Nile.'"

Thirty centuries later, the same pattern preceded the Holocaust.

"The Jewish people stands against us as our deadly foe," railed Adolf Hitler in 1922, "and will so stand against us always." More than 100,000 Jews had served in the German army during World War I; 12,000 had fallen in battle. Yet Germany's defeat was blamed on a "stab in the back" by disloyal traitors -- especially the Jews. To this baseless libel the Nazis added others, such as the grotesque claim of race defilement. "The Jews were responsible for bringing Negroes into the Rhineland with the ultimate idea of bastardizing the white race," Hitler seethed in Mein Kampf. Such a villainous enemy could be shown no tolerance and given no quarter: "It must be the hard-and-fast 'Either-Or.'"

Within weeks of coming to power, the Nazis launched the reign of terror that would culminate in the Final Solution. At every step, their crimes against the Jews were described as self-defense. "The Jews of the whole world are trying to destroy Germany," screamed government posters as the Nazis unleashed a boycott of Jewish-owned businesses. "German people, defend yourselves!" In every issue of Der Stürmer, the Nazi newspaper published for more than 20 years by Hitler's ally Julius Streicher, a Page 1 banner proclaimed: "The Jews are Our Misfortune!"

Down through the millennia, this has been the model for the most virulent, violent anti-Semitism. Jews were depicted, facts and logic to the contrary notwithstanding, as victimizers. Then they were victimized with astonishing ferocity and inhumanity.

In her magisterial history of the 14th century, A Distant Mirror, Barbara W. Tuchman describes how readily the outbreak of the Black Death was blamed on the Jews -- and with what murderous results:

"On charges that they were poisoning the wells, with intent 'to kill and destroy the whole of Christendom and have lordship over all the world,' the lynchings began in the spring of 1348 on the heels of the first plague deaths. The first attacks occurred in Narbonne and Carcassonne, where Jews were dragged from their houses and thrown into bonfires…. The charges drew a picture of an international Jewish conspiracy emanating from Spain, with messengers from Toledo carrying poison in little packets [and] rabbinical instructions for sprinkling the poison in wells and springs."

The Jews' defenders, including Pope Clement VI, pointed out that these were demented lies -- Jews were dying of the plague like everyone else, and the plague raged even in places where no Jews lived. Yet so powerful was the fury against them, and so avid the hunger to believe them guilty of every bad thing, that thousands were slaughtered or dispossessed.

Anti-Semitism is mankind's oldest hatred, irrational, obsessive, and seemingly indestructible. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born activist whose childhood was spent in Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, recalls being instructed "practically on a daily basis that Jews were evil, the sworn enemies of Muslims whose only goal was to destroy Islam." She grew up hearing Jews blamed for everything from AIDS to war; "if we ever wanted to know peace and stability," she was taught, "we would have to destroy them before they would wipe us out."

The Jew-haters always see themselves as victims, and their victimhood becomes their license to persecute. It is a phenomenon as old as the pharaohs and as contemporary as Al-Qaeda. Hitler took it to an unprecedented scale. But while Hitler died in 1945, genocidal Jew-hatred lives on.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


24 April, 2012

British internet censorship proposals hit a rock

Ministers are ready to reject tough proposals to protect children from online pornography, claiming strict curbs would breach web users’ civil liberties.

Campaigning MPs and child protection charities want a default block on access to pornographic websites for everyone, with adults having to apply specifically to view them.

They demanded the ‘opt-in’ measure last week after it emerged that children were becoming addicted to sexual content on the web even before reaching their teens.

But, despite previous pledges to get tough on the issue, ministers are instead leaning towards a less stringent option under which internet providers would merely give users the opportunity to filter out pornography more easily.

Under these proposals, subscribers would be asked a ‘yes or no’ question about whether they wish to continue being able to access adult material, enabling parents to block access for their children. The question will be asked on only one occasion.

But MPs and charities say this will not adequately safeguard children because it will rely on their parents being responsible and proactive enough to ask for access to be blocked.

In addition, it could be children who see the question first and answer it, not the parents – defeating the object.

They say that only by ensuring children have as little chance as possible of seeing online porn – by blocking access as standard – can they be adequately protected.

Campaigners had hoped for tougher action in the light of previous statements by David Cameron and his ministers. The Prime Minister has spoken of his desire to protect children from online porn, and last autumn, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt pledged to change the law if internet providers did not take action.

Tory MP Claire Perry, who last week led calls for the Government to take stronger action, said she was holding meetings this week to lobby ministers about including an ‘opt-in’ proposal in a forthcoming green paper consultation.

She said it would be ‘really disappointing’ if the idea was excluded from the paper, adding: ‘If there’s no age check there then we’re not solving the problem. I understand the ideological objections but I don’t think that’s a fact-based argument to make. I just think our kids deserve more than empty phrases like “civil liberties”.’

Ministers want this to be extended retrospectively, with existing users asked too – and insist they will consider legislating if ISPs fail to take action.

A DCMS source said that it would not be right on civil liberties grounds to block all access and force everyone to opt in if they wish to access adult material.

‘You should have to make that choice yourself,’ the source said. ‘At the moment, ISPs have said that they will offer the filter to newcomers, but we want to see it extended to everyone.’

But Miss Perry said: ‘We are calling for a formal analysis of the opt-in proposal. We looked at all the facts – does it cost more, does it slow down internet speeds, and we could find no evidence that it would.

‘We will be lobbying hard over the next few weeks to see if we can’t get an official consultation on an opt-out. This is a government that really takes child protection very seriously. It is about how much further we should go.’

She said of the proposals for a ‘yes or no’ question: ‘We know that children are often the internet-savvy ones in a household.

‘What we would like is for people to have to prove they are over 18 to lift the age content bar – like they do with mobile phone providers.’

Fiona Mactaggart, a Labour member of the group which wrote the report, said: ‘The Government is failing to lead on this. It says it wants to protect children but it needs to put those actions into words.

‘The problem with opt-out systems is that they tend to be very complex and take ages to do, meaning parents might not bother and think, “I don’t need to do it now”. And maybe they don’t need to, because their children are too young – but what happens when they grow up and start finding these sites?

‘The answer is to introduce an opt-in system, and I am fairly confident that the profits that ISPs make from porn sites will mean they will make opting in much easier than they are currently making opting out.’

John Brown, of children’s charity the NSPCC, said: ‘We would take the view that child safety should take precedence over civil liberties arguments.

‘We are in a Wild West period with the internet, and we believe that an opt-in system would not constrain civil liberties because over-18s would still be able to access this content.’

But Nick Pickles, from civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, said: ‘It’s good that ministers recognise that parents are responsible for bringing up children, not the Government.

‘Claire Perry’s proposals would have meant unprecedented interference in what people do in their own homes and how they bring up their children.’

Last night, a spokesman for the Department for Culture Media and Sport said: ‘It is vital we do all we can to protect children from inappropriate material online. We are very clear that more must be done to protect children from harmful content.’


A temporary retreat for Britain's safety police

The economy remains in tatters and a cataclysmic crisis looms in the eurozone. But, in recent days and weeks, we have started to see a fight-back against the regimented forces of joylessness which have dominated our big occasions for too long.

The number of street parties planned to mark the Diamond Jubilee — 6,500 and rising — is already more than 1,000 up on last year’s Royal Wedding, and there are several weeks to go.

According to the Local Government Association, Coventry is the top street party city outside London (with 58 parties), while the leading counties are Hertfordshire and Nottinghamshire (well over 100 each).

It is not just down to deep affection for the Queen and a resurgent interest in royalty after last year’s Royal Wedding. There is also a sense that its time to reclaim our enjoyment from the killjoys.

We are fed up with being bossed around, with being told what we cannot do. Officialdom has not relinquished its control but there has been a softening of the grip.

North Yorkshire County Council, for example, has waived the cost of road closures for Jubilee street parties. In the London Borough of Hackney, any party for fewer than 200 people needs no licence at all.

There are still plenty of footling directives, of course. Jobsworths in Hampshire, Essex and elsewhere are still insisting that street bunting requires planning permission.

Nonetheless, the box-tickers are  in retreat.

There was another small but significant example of that this month involving the pageant on the Thames. The skippers of many boats were dismayed that strict limits had been imposed on their passenger numbers in the name of health and safety.

In the case of some of the Dunkirk Little Ships, the figures were comical. Boats which had carried hundreds at a time to safety under repeated attack from German artillery and the Luftwaffe in 1940, were being restricted to half a dozen souls on board in 2012.

Apparently, they might capsize and there just wouldn’t be enough rescue boats to cope.

Just two years ago, most of these boats had cheerfully sailed back over the Channel — the busiest sea-lane in the world — for a 70th anniversary reunion at Dunkirk with a full complement. Now, for a short inland voyage, at a stately speed of 4mph, they were to be reduced to a skeleton crew by the authorities.

But the members of the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships, as one might expect, put up a fight on behalf of the skippers, arguing that if anyone did get into any trouble, there would be no shortage of vessels to provide immediate assistance. They’ve done it before, after all.

Then an amazing thing happened: an outbreak of common sense. The Thames authorities, the pageant organisers and the skippers sat round a table, talked it through. To their credit, the river authorities were prepared to listen to people who knew what they were doing. The skippers, in turn, acknowledged that packing the Thames with 1,000 boats is not without exceptional risks.

The result: an easing of the restrictions. The skippers sailed away in high spirits.

There was a similar result last month for the team who want to salute the Queen in a waka, a Maori war canoe. Initially, the fluorescent bib brigade sucked on their pencils and shook their heads. This mighty dugout with its strapping Kiwi crew might be fine in a Pacific swell but it would be too risky to chance an afternoon on the Thames.

Once again, though, the pageant organisers sat down with the authorities and the ban was reversed. Good sense had prevailed.

What it boils down to — Hallelujah! — is an acknowledgement of the human dimension in great events. Just because a few people behave like idiots, we don’t all have to be treated as such. Amazingly enough, a crowd has a great capacity to police itself.


Australian child abuse inquiry:  Beware of what you wish for

The result will be a coverup

Dr Jeremy Sammut

In an Australian first, the Victorian government announced this week that a parliamentary inquiry will be conducted into the handling of child sexual abuse cases by the Catholic and other churches.

It is impossible not to sympathise with victims who feel they will finally get the chance to hold their abusers to account. Giving people the chance to tell their stories can have a cleansing effect.

Child abuse often occurs when those in positions of authority remain silent or fail to listen to children who complain about it. Ending the silence provides an opportunity to learn lessons and make sure the same mistakes are never repeated.

Premier Ted Baillieu expressed this sentiment when he said, `We regard child abuse as abhorrent and we will endeavour to do whatever we can to prevent it from happening.'

But having worked in this field for a number of years, I am increasingly sceptical about our willingness to openly address very contentious issues that are highly relevant to the welfare of children.

Some big silences remain in the debate about child protection. Contemporary society would prefer not to talk about key problems, such as the fact that single-mother households are over-represented in cases of child abuse and neglect.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, `a relatively high proportion of substantiations [of reported child abuse and neglect] involved children living in lone mother families'. The Australian Institute of Family Studies estimates that child abuse in such households is `about two and half times higher than would be expected given the number of children living in such families.'

This problem was created by the Whitlam government when it introduced the single mothers pension in 1973. This made it possible for women who did not work and did not have bread-winning husbands to raise children at taxpayers' expense. What has ensued is the rise of a dysfunctional underclass of welfare-dependent single mothers with a complex range of personal and social problems, including substance abuse, domestic violence, and an inability to properly parent children.

A Senate committee recently recommended that the federal government issue an apology for the pre-1970s policy of forcing unwed mothers to give up their babies for adoption. We also need to admit that efforts to right perceived wrongs, starting with the creation of the single mothers pension, have precipitated a social disaster.

But we are reluctant to admit this because telling the truth about `diverse' family structures is not politically correct. We are culturally deaf, as it were, to the fact that all `families' are patently not equal when it comes to securing the welfare of children.


A Picture of Life in Gaza

Following the unilateral withdrawal of Israeli security forces in 2005, no one can claim that the Gaza Strip is "occupied territory."  This still hasn't stopped the usual critics from making other accusations about the misery of the people there, such as charging that the Palestinians are "under siege" from Israel and starving as a consequence.

In fact, the only siege that the people of Gaza are under is what they bring on themselves.  Their government uses donated humanitarian aid to smuggle rockets which are then fired into Israeli population centers.  When this fails to provoke Israel into conflict, Palestinian terrorists cross the border and attempt to kidnap or kill Israelis in their own land.

Likewise, there is absolutely no starvation in Gaza.  The Palestinians receive enormous amounts of free assistance from the rest of the world and are so well-fed that the territories are actually the eighth most obese "country" in the world according to the World Health Organization

When it comes to Gaza and the life of Palestinian "refugees", the gap between myth and fact is so dramatic that perception almost stands reality on its head.  Health and quality of life in the territories vastly exceed the average in most parts of the world - and not just where people are in more obvious need, such as Africa, but even in developed countries like China and areas of South America.

The poverty rate in Gaza is 16% - roughly equal to Spain, Germany and California.  The rate of poverty is actually higher in Greece, most of the EU, and even parts of the United States, such as Washington D.C.  As researcher Daniel Greenfield has pointed out, at 24%, even the poverty rate in Israel is actually 50% higher than in Gaza!

Gazans receive more free food aid per month per capita than anyone else in the world, including those living in famine-stricken regions. The average Somali, for example, receives seven times less in aid.  The average Zimbabwean, with a life expectancy of 46, also receives about seven times less in food aid than the average resident of Gaza - who has a life expectancy of 73 (even higher than in Russia, Malaysia and neighboring Egypt).

It seems that while Palestinians shows one side to gullible visitors and the international media, Western taxpayers are actually subsidizing something entirely different.

SOURCE (See the original for lots of pix)


Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


23 April, 2012

Archbishop of York victim of 'naked racism', claims ally

This is all too funny.  Senior C of E clerics  can stand His Grace being black and foreign-born but being a genuine Christian who respects Bible teachings on homosexuality is unforgiveable.  They are even willing to resort to racist remarks to justify their hostility to him.  I wouldn't be surprised if most of them were covert homosexuals themselves

The early favourite to become the next Archbishop of Canterbury is the victim of “naked racism” by critics who are trying to besmirch his name, one of his closest supporters has claimed.

The outspoken Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, was born in Uganda and is the only black bishop in the Church of England. A former aide, who is about to become the Church’s director of communications, said there was a “stark contrast” between the way Dr Sentamu was portrayed and the treatment of other bishops.

“At its best, the besmirching of John Sentamu has revealed that strand of snobbery which views outsiders as lacking class, diplomacy or civility — in other words 'not one of us,’” said the Rev Arun Arora.

“At worst, it has elicited the naked racism which still bubbles under the surface in our society, and which is exposed when a black man is in line to break the chains of history.”

His allegation of an “anonymous whispering” campaign against Dr Sentamu has the potential to be hugely damaging to the Church.

It recalls the last time that the Church sought a new Archbishop of Canterbury, in 2002, when the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, then Bishop of Rochester, was described as a “Paki Papist” by an unidentified cleric.

Dr Sentamu has spoken in the past about his experience of racism but stressed that any abuse came from outside the Church.

However, two bishops who spoke to The Sunday Telegraph on condition of anonymity drew, unprompted, on Dr Sentamu’s African birth in their criticism — one likening his temperament to that of an “African chief”.

He said: “I think Sentamu is clearly going to be a very strong front-runner, although I think there are also the people who are not quite sure that he is suitable in terms of the way he behaves, because he is quite tribal and the African chief thing comes through.

“My preferred candidate would be [the Bishop of] Norwich, who is very level-headed, sensible and would actually do the job well and has a lot more kind of stability. You wouldn’t know where you were with Sentamu, whereas you would with Norwich.”

The second bishop, who is retired, said Dr Sentamu had some “outrageous moments” which had been “balanced” out by Dr Rowan Williams.  He added: “There is something in Sentamu which retains his African views and approach, which can be at one time an asset and another time can be a problem.”

The retired bishop said Dr Sentamu’s African background was apparent in “his understanding around issues of human sexuality”. The Archbishop has opposed Government proposals for same-sex marriage.

Last night, The Sunday Telegraph gave both bishops the opportunity to put their comments on the record but they declined. Both denied their comments were racist.

Their words will be seized on by supporters of Dr Sentamu, who fear a whispering campaign against him.

He was immediate favourite to become Archbishop of Canterbury when Dr Williams announced his departure last month, but is now in third place with bookmakers, behind the Bishop of Coventry and the Bishop of Norwich.

The comments by Dr Sentamu’s former aide were published on Mr Arora’s blog on March 23, before his new appointment was announced.

Dr Sentamu, a former barrister and judge, has campaigned against racism and advised the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry.

In 2000, he criticised police after an officer refused to justify stopping him and searching his car near St Paul’s Cathedral.

Earlier this year, he received racist emails after speaking out against plans to legalise same-sex marriage.


British doctors 'forced to carry out sex-change ops' under rules meant to 'marginalise Christian medics'

Christian doctors have criticised a new ruling that they claim will force them to carry out sex-change operations against their will.

Under new guidelines drawn up by the General Medical Council, they will no longer be able to refuse to perform the operations on the grounds that they are against their religious beliefs.

Until now, section five of the GMC code said: ‘You may choose to opt out of providing a particular procedure because of your personal beliefs and values.’

But a GMC meeting last week decided that doctors will be banned from opting out of providing sex changes as they are ‘only sought by a particular group of patients and cannot therefore be subject to a conscientious objection’.

Dr Peter Saunders, who runs the Christian Medical Comment blog, said: ‘Legislation and regulations are being used to marginalise Christian health professionals in Britain.  'This new GMC guidance is a clever piece of double-speak.’

Doctors were told they are  free to practise medicine in accordance with their beliefs, he said, yet they were also told that if this involved ‘denying patients access to appropriate medical treatment or services’ then  they must ‘set aside their personal beliefs’.  He added: ‘British medicine in the 21st Century now involves practices which many doctors regard as unethical.

This latest guidance by the GMC will  be seen by many as a further  attack on the right to practice independently in accordance with one’s conscience, which  lies at the heart of being a true health professional.

‘A significant number of doctors do not wish to be involved in sex-change operations or prescribing contraceptives  to unmarried couples.’

A GMC spokeswoman said last night that the new guidelines – currently for consultation – only reflected the ‘law of the land’.   She said the Equality Act 2010 already prohibited doctors from discriminating against people who are undergoing gender reassignment treatment.


Homosexual hotel

They check in but they don't check out (Whoops!  Sorry!  I  was getting confused with something else)

The Marriott hotel chain is known for its comfortable rooms and amenities. But in addition to a plethora of appeasing services, the popular company also offers value packages to individuals who are gay. Curiously, numerous hotels within the Marriott chain offer what they call “OUT” packages.

At the Renaissance Washington Marriott in Washington, D.C., for instance, the deal includes chocolate covered strawberries, sparking wine upon arrival and a copy of NaviGaytour Magazine, among other benefits.

In addition to offering this deal in Washington, D.C., other “OUT” cities include Seattle and Philadelphia. These plans differ from the D.C. option in that they offer breakfast rather than chocolate-covered strawberries and wine.

The main thrust of the deals seem to be predicated upon an urge to attract a gay customer base, while distinguishing the company as particularly diverse and accepting. The Marriott web site even has a section called “Gay Weddings & Events,” which is devoted to helping individuals plan their noteworthy occasions.

In the end, it may simply be a PR game, but one that seems to be working. Take, for instance, the testimonials that have been published on the company’s web site:

“This year’s Lavender Law was the biggest in history with over 1500 lawyers students in attendance, and we were thrilled to be back at the Hollywood Renaissance. I regularly send notes to my national sales rep praising Marriott as being the most LGBT-friendly brand with which I work.”

“DC Capital Pride was very fortunate to have theRenaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel as the host and a Presenting Sponsor for our 2011 celebrations. Our partnership with the Renaissance elevated the caliber of this year’s celebrations and the experiences of our attendees. Everyone felt respected and valued, and we hope to work with Marriott Hotels again.”

Based on the evidence, it does seem as though the Marriott is, indeed, distinguishing itself at the most LGBT-friendly hotel chain.


Mix, matching class and race

Apparently the soaring national debt and the threat of a nuclear Iran are not enough to occupy the government's time, because the Obama administration is pushing to force Westchester County, N.Y., to create more low-income housing, in order to mix and match classes and races to fit the government's preconceptions.

Behind all this busy work for bureaucrats and ideologues is the idea that there is something wrong if a community does not have an even or random distribution of various kinds of people. This arbitrary assumption is that the absence of evenness or randomness  -- whether in employment, housing or innumerable other situations  -- shows a "problem" that has to be "corrected."

No speck of evidence is considered necessary for this assumption to prevail at any level of government, including the Supreme Court of the United States. No one has to show the existence, much less the prevalence, of an even or random distribution of different segments of the population -- in any country, anywhere in the world, or at any period of history.

Nothing is more common than for people to sort themselves out when it comes to residential housing, whether by class, race or other factors.

When there was a large Jewish population living on New York's lower east side, a century ago, Jews did not live at random among themselves. Polish Jews had their neighborhoods, Rumanian Jews theirs, and so on. Meanwhile German Jews lived uptown. In Chicago, when Eastern European Jews began moving into German Jewish neighborhoods, German Jews began moving out.

It was much the same story in Harlem or in other urban ghettoes, where blacks did not live at random among themselves. Landmark scholarly studies by E. Franklin Frazier in the 1930s showed in detail how different neighborhoods within the ghettoes had people of different educational and income levels, with different male\female ratios and different ways of life living in different places.

There was nothing random about it. Within Chicago's black community, the delinquency rate ranged from more than 40 percent in some black neighborhoods to less than 2 percent in other black neighborhoods. People sort themselves out.

None of this was peculiar to blacks or Jews, or to the United States. When emigrants from Scotland went to Australia, the Scottish highlanders settled separately from the Scottish lowlanders. So did emigrants from northern Italy and southern Italy.

Separate residential patterns that are visible to the naked eye, when the people are black and white, are also pervasive among people who physically all look alike. Charles Murray's eye-opening new book, "Coming Apart," shows in detail how different segments of the white American population not only live separately from each other but have very different ways of life -- and are growing increasingly remote from one another in beliefs and behavior.

None of this matters to politicians and ideologues who are hell-bent to mix and match people according to their own preconceptions. Moreover, like many things that the government does, it does residential integration more crudely than when people sort themselves out.

Back in the days when E. Franklin Frazier was doing his scholarly studies of the composition and expansion of black ghettoes, he found the most educated and cultured elements of the black communities living on the periphery of these communities.

It was these kinds of people who typically led the expansion of the black community into the surrounding white communities. By contrast, government programs often take dysfunctional families from high crime ghetto neighborhoods and put them down in the midst of middle-class neighborhoods by subsidizing their housing.

Whether these middle-class neighborhoods are already either predominantly black or predominantly white, the residents are often outraged at the increased crime and other behavior problems inflicted on them by politicians and bureaucrats.

But their complaints usually fall on deaf ears. People convinced of their own superior wisdom and virtue have no time to spare for what other people want, whether in housing or health care or a whole range of other things.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


22 April, 2012

Christian radio ad banned by order of a British Cabinet minister: So much for the 'Christian fightback', Mr Cameron

This ban would seem to prove the point that the Christian group was trying to make

David Cameron's 'Christian fightback' has been undermined in the courts by one of his own Cabinet ministers.

A radio station was barred from broadcasting an advertisement on the rights of Christians at work after an intervention by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Hunt said the advert should be kept off the air because it was 'political'.

A High Court judge agreed  yesterday and said that Premier Christian Radio was 'trying to make changes to society'.

Mr Justice Silber ruled that the station should be banned from airing the advert, which asked for information from listeners who feel marginalised at work.

Mr Hunt is the second of Mr Cameron's ministers seeming to go against the Prime Minister's claim earlier this month that a 'Christian fightback' is under way and that 'the values of Christianity are the values that we need'.

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone has opposed the rights of Christians to wear crosses at work in a submission of the Government's views in two test cases to the European Court of Human Rights.

She has told the European judges that the Government believes Christians denied the right to wear a cross at work should find another job.

In his judgment in the Premier Radio case, Mr Justice Silber said that 'it must  be stressed that it has not been suggested in any way that the stance of the Secretary of State is in any way anti-Christian, or that his reasoning would not apply to any other religion'.

But radio station chief Peter Kerridge said the ruling was 'wholly reminiscent of a totalitarian state' and 'a direct threat to the democratic right to freedom of speech'.

The case was brought after the radio advertising regulator said the 30-second advert should not be broadcast because it was 'directed to a political end'.

The advert said that, according to surveys, 60 per cent of Christians think believers are being increasingly marginalised at work. It asked listeners to report their own experiences to its website because 'we are concerned to get the most accurate data to inform the public debate'. The advertisement said: 'We will then use this data to help make a fairer society.'

The Radio Advertising Clearance Centre, an industry-funded body which checks radio ads to ensure that they comply with the law, said the appeal should not be broadcast.

When the radio station went to court to challenge the decision, Mr Hunt stepped in to ask the judge to enforce it.

Mr Justice Silber said in his ruling: 'The advertisement was seeking to obtain information and it stated that such information would be used to inform the public debate and to help make a fairer society.  'This information which it was seeking would be used so as to try to make changes to society.'

He said the regulator was right to halt the advert because it was political, and he added that the rules did not break European human rights guarantees of freedom of expression.

Mr Kerridge said after the ruling: 'Our application was dismissed because we planned to inform the public debate and help make a fairer society.  'The decision represents a direct threat to the democratic right to freedom of speech and we intend to continue the fight through the appeal process.  'It greatly reduces the right of ordinary people to have their say in democratic debate and, regrettably, seems to be wholly reminiscent of a totalitarian state.

'Surely all reasonable and decent people from all walks of life would wish to see a fairer society and to engage in a robust debate as to how that society would look.'

Christians have notably failed to win any of a series of legal clashes over the past two years. Losses have included those of an Islington registrar who declined to conduct civil partnership ceremonies and a Relate counsellor who refused to give sex advice to gay couples.

In a further case, Christian hoteliers were refused the right to decline to let rooms to unmarried couples.


Unfortunate woman gravely misled by Leftist ideology

All the research says genetics is the major influence on behaviour, with family influence virtually nil.  But Leftists preach the opposite. So the woman below was misled into adopting  two little girls  born of a feral mother

Cherry and John believed bringing up the sisters in a stable and loving home with all its middle-class trappings — a large five-bedroom house, a village school and supportive grandparents — would conquer all. They had hoped to create a happy family life and raise well-adjusted girls.

Sadly, the reality couldn’t have been more different. Despite the couple’s utmost devotion, today both daughters, now in their early 20s, are in prison.

Maryann’s crime was so shocking — she was one of a vicious gang who burnt and tortured a vulnerable woman with a red-hot iron and slashed her with a kitchen knife — that it made national newspaper headlines.

Today Cherry, 52, still struggles to comprehend what happened to her children — and admits that in many ways the adoption has ruined her life. Her marriage to John crumbled under the strain and she suffered a stroke, which doctors put down to severe stress.

So where did it all go wrong? And does this story demonstrate a child’s genetic make-up determines their future, rather than the love and care lavished on them?

‘It seems naive now but we did think time and lots of love would be enough,’ says Cherry. ‘The first sign something was wrong came shortly before we adopted the girls. We’d been to visit them at the foster parent’s house, where we saw Maryann suddenly turn on her foster mother and scratch her face.

‘It was a shocking attack — she violently grabbed the woman’s chin and really dug her nails in. But the social worker just brushed it off. She told us “once she’s in a permanent and loving home, she’ll soon settle down”. John and I believed her.’

They put the incident out of their minds, just overjoyed to be parents at last. ‘From a young age, I’d always yearned to be a mum. But when I met John I had to tell him I couldn’t give him any children. I’d already had five miscarriages in a previous relationship. I’d also had two stillborn babies and lost both of my fallopian tubes in ectopic pregnancies.’

After she and John underwent two failed courses of IVF, they decided to adopt. A year later, in January 1992, having undergone rigorous checks with social services, Cherry and John, 34, were finally approved for adoption.

Within three months, following several visits to the girls, they brought their new daughters home.

Cherry, from Bath, recalls: ‘For years I’d watched enviously as friends and family all had babies. Now I threw myself into being a mum, determined that Maryann and Nicola would have the very best of everything.

‘John and I painted the spare room pink, splashed out on brand new prams and dressed the girls in designer clothes. When I went out passers-by commented on how gorgeous they both were and I was so proud.’

The girls appeared to settle well. ‘Maryann called us “new Mummy and new Daddy” at first, but within weeks she was just calling us Mummy and Daddy.’

However, six weeks after they arrived, there was a chilling sign of the mayhem to come.

‘I had given Maryann a box of dolls,’ recalls Cherry. ‘I could hear her in her bedroom singing to herself, but when I went in I was horrified. Every single doll had been dismembered — their limbs had been wrenched off and their eyes gouged out. It must have taken all her strength. Yet, Maryann just sat there looking angelic.’

When she began playgroup, her frightening behaviour quickly escalated.

‘She couldn’t play properly with other children. If she wanted a toy, she would hit them violently. She swore and she kept soiling herself. After a matter of only weeks, the playgroup expelled her.’

Shortly after, the couple moved from their luxury flat into a large 17th century five-bedroom house in Wiltshire with rambling and formal gardens.

Maryann began at the local village school — but the same  problems occurred.

‘I would turn up at school to find the teacher with a bag of stinking clothes where Maryann kept soiling herself,’ says Cherry. ‘And it wasn’t long before we were called in to see the head teacher. Maryann was out of control — she couldn’t concentrate on her work, she kept running off and taking off her clothes inappropriately in the playground. She even climbed a builder’s ladder onto the school roof.

‘She was slapping other children and stealing from them. Heartbreakingly, she had no friends — we invited people to her birthday party and no one turned up.’

Worse, the school head and social services pointed the finger at Cherry and her husband. 'Humiliatingly we were asked if we had problems in our marriage that were making Maryann like this.’

By now Cherry had discovered in a newspaper that the girls’ biological mother had recently been imprisoned for 15 years for murder. For legal reasons, the Mail cannot reveal the full circumstances of her crime.

‘That terrified me — could Maryann have inherited any of her traits? And yet when we asked social services for help, all they gave us were parenting tips such as making reward charts. All our requests for professional help were ignored.’

Maryann’s behaviour got worse. ‘She destroyed her bedroom, pulling all her furniture apart and swinging on it and breaking it.’

With hindsight, Cherry says that as she got older Nicola, too, was prone to tantrums. ‘We didn’t realise she, too, was having behavioural difficulties, such as finding it hard to concentrate at school, because our attention was so taken up with Maryann.’

The older girl’s behaviour increasingly wore the couple down.

‘John was old-fashioned. He’d been educated privately and believed sterner discipline was the key, such as sitting on a naughty chair for long periods. But Maryann didn’t care — she could sit there for hours.

‘I believed hugging her when she had a tantrum was the answer. Nothing worked, but discussing what to do for the best caused endless heated rows between us.’

Soon John and Cherry were sleeping in separate rooms.

By the time Maryann was nine, Cherry took her to see her GP, who referred them to family counselling – but once again they were simply ‘lectured on parenting techniques’. Aged ten, Maryann was seen by an educational psychiatrist.

‘I suggested Maryann needed specialist help — but was refused because although she was causing mayhem, she wasn’t doing anything such as smoking, which they saw as a sign that a child was off the rails.’

Cherry says: ‘All of it took a huge toll on our marriage. John was often away on business and would come home and blame me for not being stricter, while I felt resentful he was away and I was left to cope on my own. The adoption and the worry had just taken over our lives.  ‘Any spark John and I had was long gone and replaced by bitter blame and rows. If we hadn’t adopted, I believe we would still be together. But the strain ruined our marriage.’

The strain proved so much that Cherry had a stroke, spending six weeks in hospital while her mother looked after Maryann.  ‘Despite exhaustive tests, doctors couldn’t find a cause and told me they believed it was due to severe stress.’

Maryann was to spend the rest of her teenage years going from one care home to another, committing a trail of petty crimes such as theft. Cherry continued to visit her in the homes, and never gave up on her. ‘But no one, no care home, could cope,’ she says.

By now Nicola was also becoming a problem. Cherry says: ‘Although Nicola wasn’t violent like her sister, she’d always had problems.

‘By the age of 14, she, too, was expelled from school. A year later she emptied my bank account and went on a spending spree. It was the final straw and I was forced to put Nicola into a home for troubled teens.’

The problems didn’t end there. ‘In 2010, she met a lad with similar problems and made the mistake of trying to smuggle drugs to him in prison.’

Nicola was caught and sentenced to 18 months in jail. By the time she was imprisoned, in December 2010, Maryann was also under arrest for her part in the gang attack and torture of the vulnerable woman.

She hadn’t calmed down while in care, nor when she’d been given her own flat by the council on turning 18. ‘She smashed it up and allowed drifters in,’ says Cherry. ‘It was just a slippery slope until something terrible happened.’

It did — and in March last year, Maryann, 22, was jailed for eight years after admitting false imprisonment and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

‘Ironically they have followed exactly the same pattern as their mother,’ says Cherry. Today John rarely sees the girls. Cherry occasionally visits them in prison — most recently in October last year.


Urban Outfitters promoting homosexuality

Clothing giant Urban Outfitters, fresh from their previous outing with controversy after stocking supplies from the communist-sympathizing Obey Clothing, has gotten on the wrong side of consumers again, this time with an ad in their April clothing catalogue depicting two women kissing.

In response, the group One Million Moms, which advertises itself as opposed to the exploitation of children in the media, has taken to its website to denounce the picture and call on parents to throw out any Urban Outfitters catalogues they receive.


Australia:  A typical Leftist attack on responsible people

People who have saved rather than spending all their money as soon as they get it are to be penalized by not getting the same retirement benefits as the shiftless. And since those who have saved have almost certainly put more into the system by way of taxes, it is doubly unfair

SELF-FUNDED retirees and part-pensioners will be forced to pay more for aged care under means tests from July 2014.  But seniors will be protected against over-charging by life time fee caps of $60,000 and new rules to limit costs.

Family homes will be spared from new means tests as long as they have a family member living in them.

The changes are part of a $3.7 billion overhaul of aged care announced by the Gillard Government yesterday to prepare the "creaking" system for growing demand from ageing Baby Boomers.

Julia Gillard said the changes would address a "crisis" in aged care that saw a massive shortage of care packages and expensive upfront bonds imposed on nursing home residents.

She defended the new means tests, saying they would ensure people paid what they could afford. "For the first time in aged care, fairness will also get a look in," Ms Gillard said.  "For too long, pensioners have had to subsidise those who are much better off.  "Those who can support themselves and contribute a bit more should, and we must look after the needs of those who can't."

The aged-care shakeup would focus on helping older people stay at home and prevent those who go into residential care from being forced into fire sales of their family homes, Ms Gillard said.

More elderly people will be able to live in their homes after the Government creates about 40,000 new subsidised home care packages over the next five years.

But for the first time, people receiving new at-home care will be hit with extra "care fees" of up to $5000 a year for part-pensioners and $10,000 for self-funded retirees earning more than $43,000 a year.  The new charges will only affect people who need aged care for the first time after July 1, 2014.

Fee packages will come with cooling off periods in a bid to end the practice of elderly people being forced to sell their homes quickly to secure a nursing home place.

People who rely solely on the aged pension, who make up about 51 per cent of those in aged care now, will not pay any extra fees above current basic charges of up to 17.5 per cent of the single pension.

Accommodation charges and other fees will be assessed by a new Aged Care Financing Authority modelled on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Pricing Authority.


Five Myths of America's 'Racist' Criminal Justice System

 Larry Elder

Calling America's criminal justice system "racist" is not confined to "civil rights leaders" like the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Then-Sen. Barack Obama, during the 2008 presidential campaign, said it, too. Blacks and whites, said Obama, "are arrested at very different rates, are convicted at very different rates (and) receive very different sentences ... for the same crime."

When the man who became president of the United States says this -- the No. 1 law enforcement officer -- it must, therefore, be true.  Let's examine five major assumptions behind this assertion.

1) Blacks are arrested at higher rates compared to whites -- but wrongly so.

Not true. While only 13 percent of the population, blacks accounted for 28 percent of nationwide arrests in 2010 and 38.1 percent of arrests for violent crime (murders, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault). But are they unfairly arrested? Studies find that arrest rates by race are comparable to the race of suspect identification by victims.

For example, in a given city, x number of robbery victims describe their assailants as black -- whether or not the suspect has been apprehended. It turns out that the race of those arrested matches the percentage given by victims. This has been found repeatedly across the country, in all categories of crime where the race of an assailant is identified. So unless the victims are deliberately misidentifying their assailants -- unconcerned about whether the suspect is apprehended and knowingly give a false race -- blacks are not being "over-arrested."

2) Blacks are convicted at higher rates and given longer sentences than whites for the same crime.

Not true. Differences in conviction and sentencing rates by race are due to differences in the gravity of the criminal offenses, prior records or other legal variables. A 1994 Justice Department survey of felony cases in the country's 75 largest urban areas actually found lower felony prosecution rates for blacks than whites and that blacks were less likely to be found guilty at trial.

3) The sentence disparity between powder and crack cocaine is racist and accounts for a large percentage of imprisoned blacks.

Not true. Concerned about the deadly effect of crack within their own communities, black members of Congress led the charge to pass the 1986 federal drug laws. The bill that was passed -- which included the crack/powder sentencing disparity -- did so with the support of the majority of black congresspersons. None at the time objected to the sentencing disparity as "racist."

In 2006, the feds tried 5,619 crack sellers, and 4,495 of them were black -- out of the 562,000 blacks in state and federal prisons at the end of that year. Add in county and city jails, and the figure rises to 858,000. And states' crack cocaine laws are not the culprits. Only 13 states employ differing sentencing guidelines for crack vs. powder -- and their differential is much smaller than that of the feds.

4) The "War on Drugs" accounts for a large number of blacks behind bars.

Not true. In 2010, blacks were 31.8 percent of all arrests for drug crimes. But arrests for drug offenses are only 12.4 percent of all non-traffic arrests in the country and accounted for 14.2 percent of the offenses for which blacks were arrested.

5) More blacks are in jail than in college.

Not true. "More blacks (are) in jail than college, in every state," said Jesse Jackson in 2007. That same year, presidential candidate Sen. Obama, echoed: "More young black men languish in prison than attend colleges and universities across America."

If Jackson and Obama refer to black men of the usual college-age years, their claim is not even remotely true. The Washington Post "Fact Checker" wrote: "According to 2005 Census Bureau statistics, the male African-American population of the United States aged between 18 and 24 numbered 1,896,000. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 106,000 African-Americans in this age group were in federal or state prisons at the end of 2005. ... If you add the numbers in local jail (measured in mid-2006), you arrive at a grand total of 193,000 incarcerated young black males, or slightly over 10 percent.

"According to the same census data, 530,000 of these African-American males, or 28 percent, were enrolled in colleges or universities ... in 2005. That is five times the number of young black men in federal and state prisons and two and a half times the total number incarcerated. If you expanded the age group to include African-American males up to 30 or 35, the college attendees would still outnumber the prisoners."

Racism against blacks exists, but it is no longer a meaningful obstacle to success. People are not angels. Some people are rotten. Humans make mistakes -- and always will. But the facts do not show a "racist criminal justice system."

There may be votes in teaching people to think like victicrats. But the problem of the high rates of black imprisonment will not be solved by falsely screaming racism.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


21 April, 2012

Red Ken:  Just another Leftist hypocrite

The British Left are so attached to their dysfunctional  socialized medicine system (the NHS) that they despise private hospitals.  So when one of them uses a private hospital it is seen as letting the side down.  But the NHS is so bad that the temptation to bypass them is strong.  And the Labour candidate for Mayor of London has just done such a bypass.

The most egregious  such bypass was by "Red Queen" Barbara Castle, during the Wilson government, who was famous for saying that it was "obscene to carve your way to a hospital bed with a checkbook".  But when her son got sick, guess where she sent him?  And she sent him under a false name!

You will find no mention of that episode in Wikpedia or anywhere else much outside my writings but there is a 1975 newspaper article here which mentions her words on the matter. 

I remember the episode well personally as I had just written a book on politics at the time.  The internet has a short memory but I don't

Despite her towering hypocrisy, Harold Wilson still elevated her to the peerage

Ken Livingstone’s campaign to regain the London mayoralty faced embarrassment last night after Labour peer Lord Sugar urged voters to reject him.  Lord Sugar said that ‘no one’ should vote for Mr Livingstone, despite him being the official Labour candidate.

The damaging outburst came after Mr Livingstone was forced to admit using an unnamed private healthcare firm to carry out annual health checks unavailable on the NHS.

The revelation yesterday opens the former mayor up to accusations of hypocrisy, as he has vociferously campaigned against the Coalition’s ‘privatisation’ of the  Health Service.

Shortly afterwards, Apprentice star Lord Sugar took to Twitter to tell his 1.8million followers: ‘I don’t care if Ed Miliband is backing Livingstone. I seriously suggest NO ONE votes for Livingstone in the Mayoral elections.’  He later added: ‘Livingstone must NOT get in on May 3.’

The intervention could amount to a breach of party rules, and will trigger calls for Labour leader Mr Miliband to discipline the business mogul, who served as enterprise tsar under Gordon Brown.

Earlier this week, in answer to a comment from a journalist  that he was looking tired, Mr Livingstone insisted that he had lost a stone during his campaign against Tory incumbent Boris Johnson, and his doctor was pleased he was ‘so fit’.  He said: ‘I’ve been having an annual medical for about ten years. This is the best it has ever been.’

A spokesman for Mr Livingstone later confirmed that the medicals were carried out by a private firm, saying: ‘Like many people he has an annual check-up from an external provider – if he ever needs to see a doctor for anything it is with his local GP, or with other NHS services.’

Just a few weeks ago, Mr Livingstone wrote: ‘The people of our capital city deserve top-quality care and demand our healthcare should not be broken up, sold off or be privatised by the back door.’

Earlier in the campaign for the May 3 election, Mr Livingstone was criticised for channelling his income through a private company to reduce his tax bills, despite describing people who use these kind of legal tax avoidance measures as ‘rich b******s’.

A spokesman for Mr Johnson said yesterday: ‘This is yet another example of Ken Livingstone’s hypocrisy.  ‘Now we learn that while campaigning as a defender of the NHS he uses private healthcare.’

A Labour source said: ‘There is a long history of Alan Sugar and Ken Livingstone not being the best of friends. Lord Sugar wasn’t encouraging people to vote for any of Labour’s rivals.  ‘Lord Sugar is a Labour peer but his views have always been very much his own.’

A spokesman for Mr Livingstone – who was once expelled from Labour after standing as an independent candidate in his victorious 2000 mayoral campaign – said: ‘Everyone knows that Ken and Lord Sugar aren’t that friendly.’

Lord Sugar also tweeted that he would not consider standing as mayor himself.  ‘It’s been suggested I run for mayor,’ he wrote. ‘Not possible, too many commercial conflicts, no time, more to the point I would not know where to start.’

Two years ago Lord Sugar - or Sir Alan as he was known then - was tipped as a favourite to replace Mr Livingstone as the Labour candidate for the job.  He was thought to be one of the only people likely to be able to oust Boris Johnson from the seat.

The Apprentice star and founder of Amstrad told the London Evening Standard at the time that he was flattered by the poll, but there were many conflicts with his numerous business interests.

Last week, Mr Livingstone was accused by his own party of crying 'crocodile tears' after it emerged that a political broadcast that made him weep used paid 'supporters’ reading from a script.

The Labour mayoral candidate wept at a screening of his advert featuring 28 unnamed Londoners spelling out why the capital needed Mr Livingstone back in charge.

He had described the saccharine production as a 'real tearjerker'. Labour leader Ed Miliband even patted his shoulder to console the former mayor as he rubbed his eyes during the screening on Wednesday.

In reality, Mr Livingstone had seen the film the night before, raising questions about why he was apparently caught off-guard. Last night Labour admitted that the 'ordinary Londoners' had actually been reading from a script.

They were also paid expenses for their time after the advertising agency BETC hired people from the street.

It is also believed one of the 'actors’ is a paid-up member of the Labour Party. The advertisement was created by film-maker Johnny Maginn of Mustard Films.


Yet another false rape claim from Britain

Another product of  moral collapse

A John Lewis sales assistant has been jailed for crying rape after becoming embarrassed by a sadomasochistic sex session she arranged with a stranger.  Kirsty Sowden, 21, met the man she would go on to accuse of attacking her after advertising herself on a website for no-strings-attached encounters.

Although she was trying for a baby with her boyfriend at the time, she visited Andrew Boarer’s home and voluntarily participated in a sex session that involved her wearing a leather dog lead and being spanked.

Shortly after leaving the flat in Maidstone, Kent, however, she became racked by guilt and called police claiming she had been raped. She said a balding stranger in his 40s had raped her in a park after grabbing her arm as she left a gym in nearby Gravesend.

Sowden, met her victim online after advertising herself as a 'BDSM princess'  - standing for Bondage, Domination and Sadomasochism - on a no-strings attached website.

Police eventually untangled the dominatrix’s web of lies and charged her with perverting the course of justice. The investigation had already cost nearly £14,000 and wasted a staggering 376 hours of police time.  Sowden, of Northfleet, Kent, pleaded guilty and was jailed for 14 months when she appeared at Maidstone Crown Court on Monday

Sentencing, Judge Philip Statman said: 'I see little sign of genuine remorse from you or, indeed, any real understanding of just how serious your actions have been.  'Rape is a dreadful crime. False allegations of rape undermine the plight of genuine victims. The impact on your victim has been considerable.

'What occurred in the privacy of his home, however much certain members of the community may find that reprehensible, has been made public.  'He has had to move on in work. He has been made the subject of ridicule. The police inquiry involved many officers and many, many hours of police time at considerable expense.

'You are a highly intelligent, well-educated young woman. At the time you were in good, full-time employment. But at the end of the day there is absolutely no doubt this offence passes the custody threshold.'

Sowden met Mr Boarer online in March last year. He was going through a divorce at the time and the pair arranged to meet at his flat.  She agreed to strip off within five seconds of her arrival and the pair indulged in various sex acts, including intercourse. Mr Boarer also put her in a dog collar and lead and spanked her.

In evidence to the court, he described how Sowden had said her boyfriend would kill her if he found out. 'They were trying for a baby and she felt guilty,' he said.

Shortly after the shop assistant had left his flat, she contacted police claiming she had been raped.  She described being attacked by a stranger as she left a gym in Gravesend, Kent, dragged into a park and sexually assaulted.  Police arrested a man based on her description but soon realised he was innocent.

As a separate line of enquiry, police traced DNA samples which led them to Mr Boarer, who was arrested at his workplace in front of a large number of colleagues.  He was questioned and held in a police cell before being released on bail.

It was only later that the police discovered an online exchange between the suspect and Sowden and realised that she had been lying.

Speaking after the case, DC Richard Dorey said that hundreds of hours and thousands of pounds were put into the investigation.  He said: 'The sentence of 14 months in jail is a fair sentence. It should stop people making unfounded allegations and is a very serious sentence for someone so young.  'She was maintaining, up to the last minute, parts of the account. She didn’t seem to want to be completely truthful.'

Malcolm Gilbert, who works for rape charity Family Matters, today condemned Sowden’s actions.  He said: 'The position of the group is unanimous in condemning any woman, or indeed any man, who makes false allegations because of the harm to genuine rape victims, to undermine the whole business of rape.  'It condemns all false allegations and they feel it should be pursued by the police in the way it has here.'


Lazy British police again

Not much in the way of standards there either

When Mike Inkley discovered burglars had ransacked the pavilion at his cricket club, he immediately rang the police.  But he was shocked to be put through to a call centre and be told that officers would not come out to a ‘non-residential burglary’.

Instead, he was told, it could take up to two days before police could take the details of the crime – in a ‘telephone appointment’. To add to his anger, he was told not to go inside the pavilion and check if anything had been stolen until a scenes-of-crime officer had been dispatched, a process which could take up to 24 hours.

The response, from a force which has been told it needs to make savings of over £40million, will add to fears that property crime is increasingly being treated as a low priority.  In the end, after the 50-year-old had told the call centre worker the response was unacceptable, officers were dispatched to the ground a few hours later.

Yesterday Mr Inkley said the call centre system risked undermining public faith in the police.  ‘We want an officer to come round and tell us it’s all right and everything is under control – not speak to someone from a call centre 30 miles away.  ‘It just lowers your confidence in what they do.’

The company director was walking his dog at Walton-le-Dale cricket club in Preston, where he is chairman, when he discovered steel doors had been forced open and cupboards ransacked.

He rang the new non-emergency 101 number from his mobile phone and was informed the force did not send officers out immediately for non-domestic burglaries.

He was told he could make a witness statement to the ‘telephone investigation unit’ in the next couple of days, and to keep out of the pavilion until a forensics officer had inspected it. After a member of staff from the call centre rang back, he insisted that someone was dispatched.

A scenes-of-crime officer duly arrived four hours after he reported the crime and a police officer two hours later.

Yesterday Mr Inkley described the policy of sending an officer out only if one was demanded as ‘lunacy’.  ‘It just means criminals will continue doing those sorts of burglaries because they know they will never get caught.’

The thieves who broke in last week are thought to have been searching for keys to the club’s lawnmowers.  In the end they left empty-handed, though not before causing £200 worth of damage.

Rachel Baines, chairman of the Lancashire Police Federation, said she sympathised with Mr Inkley.  ‘Whatever the incident is, people want to see a police officer and I totally understand that,’ she said.

Lancashire Police said the telephone investigation unit had been introduced last November to resolve ‘less serious’ crimes more quickly.  A spokesman said the employee had been wrong to tell Mr Inkley that it would not be possible to send an officer immediately.  ‘If a victim of crime wants us to deploy to the scene then we will,’ he said. ‘We are investigating this burglary.’

He added that the call centre worker who told Mr Inkley an officer would not be available has subsequently been ‘spoken to’.


Australia:  Prayer rooms at football?

HAVING succeeded in convincing the AFL to introduce prayer rooms at all venues, Bachar Houli was unfazed last night by a stinging backlash sparked by former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett, who called the idea "stupid" and "political correctness gone mad".

Football fans took to websites to condemn and ridicule the move, but at his home in Melbourne the AFL's first Muslim player told The Australian: "The main thing is we've got what we want, and you can't change that.

"At the end of the day, people want to go and enjoy the footy as well as continue with their beliefs, and if it means they have to pray once a day at the footy, we're not asking for much."

Mr Kennett said the move was "ridiculous" and complained that political correctness had replaced "the great days" of football, when there were few stands, mud on the ground, meat pies sold for sixpence and fans braved "the smell of the urinal".

Describing Australia as "a Christian society of many faiths", the former Liberal premier and former Hawthorn club president said communities should not have to change their "very fibre" to accommodate multiculturalism.

"To put prayer rooms into sporting venues is not part of the Australian lexicon, it's not the way in which we've behaved," he said.  "I think it's an overreaction, I think it's political correctness, I think it's absolute rubbish. It's not practical, it's stupid, it's political correctness gone mad."

Houli, who plays at Richmond, where he prays before and after games, pressed for prayer rooms to be introduced at grounds in his capacity as the league's multicultural ambassador.

He said devout Muslims, who pray five times a day, were forced to pray in carparks or stairwells during games, and said more Muslims would come to the football if they had a place to pray.

Multi-faith prayer rooms have been introduced at the MCG and Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, and Sydney's ANZ Stadium. The AFL intends to press for prayer rooms at all other venues, including the SCG.

The move was welcomed by Muslim leaders, including Muslim Australia vice-president Ikebal Patel, who said the AFL deserved full marks.  "What is the harm?" he asked. "What's the problem in someone enjoying a game of footy and at the same time being mindful of their religious obligations, whatever they may be.

"Full marks to the AFL for being inclusive when we have people from different backgrounds and faiths. It's not only Muslims who might like to pray. It is engaging with God, and they might even be praying for Hawthorn to win."

The AFL's newest club, Greater Western Sydney, backed the move last night, saying: "Western Sydney is a culturally diverse region and the Giants welcome all people regardless of their background. We are proud of the contribution clubs like Muslim AFL team the Auburn Tigers have made to growing the game in Western Sydney, and the Giants would be happy to support any initiative which makes the game more accessible for all people."

AFL chief Andrew Demetriou said the league had an obligation to make venues welcoming to people of all cultures.

Many football fans took to websites to condemn the move. "What next, the Adhan over the loudspeakers instead of the final siren?" posted one Richmond fan. "Or . . . half-time breaks to coincide with mid-afternoon prayer? Or designated women-only areas at the ground on the top deck completely out of sight and earshot of any men? Actually, that one's not a bad idea.  "Seriously though, I don't like this decision at all and it's just another example of how this country is changing."

Others posted: "This is OUR game and I'm sick of all this multicultural crap that is dividing our country"; "The last bastion of Australian culture to be stripped away from us in the name of Islam"; and "Football should be football. It's a religion in itself. Let it be."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


20 April, 2012

Don’t ban it. Get over it!

The banning of silly Christian bus adverts reveals the contempt in which the mayor holds ordinary Londoners

Last week, Boris Johnson, the perennially silly mayor of London, announced that he would ban a planned series of posters on London buses which shouted: ‘NOT GAY!  EX-GAY, POST-GAY AND PROUD. GET OVER IT!’ The message was penned by the Christian campaign group, the Core Issues Trust, which believes that homosexuality is curable through therapy and religious teaching.

It is a little bizarre that London buses have become the preferred forum for society’s culture wars. This spate of religious bus-side bickering kicked off in 2008, when the British Humanist Association (BHA) ran adverts on the side of London’s buses that read: ‘There is probably no god, so stop worrying and enjoy your life.’ This led the lobby group Christian Voice to report the poster to the Advertising Standards Agency on the basis that the BHA had no evidence that there was no god. Unsurprisingly the complaint went nowhere. The Core Issues Trust campaign is an implicit response to another billowing bus-poster campaign which was run by gay-rights campaign group Stonewall earlier this year. This one read: ‘SOME PEOPLE ARE GAY. GET OVER IT!’ The fact that these organisations think they can win arguments with the public simply by shouting shrill, one-line campaign slogans at us betrays their lack of faith in the public’s intelligence. In reality, people take a bit more convincing than being told to ‘stop worrying’ or ‘get over it’.

That said, the Core Issues Trust is undoubtedly a bit nutty. It reminded me of the hilarious anti-homosexual, yet overtly camp ‘True Directions’ programme in Jamie Babbit’s brilliant 1999 movie But I’m A Cheerleader, in which a suspected lesbian is dispatched to undertake 12 steps of therapeutic conversion away from the ‘unhealthy homosexual lifestyle’. Like the anti-gay ‘boot camp’ in the movie, the Core Issues Trust says in its vision statement that it establishes networks with local churches to assist with ‘sexually damaged and wounded adults’ through engagement with ‘professionally trained individuals’ and ‘expertise’ to bring Christians back from the homosexual brink. It hosted a conference in January entitled, ‘The Leper Among Us: Homosexuality and the Life of the Church’. While this was seized on by the Guardian as evidence of the organisation’s overt bigotry, the conference was in fact designed to ‘lift the stigma’ around homosexuality in the church so that ‘homosexuals are no longer treated like lepers’. This was more an example of the group’s guitar-jangling therapeutic outlook than its hateful homophobia.

Yet while the Core Issues Trust is a bit weird, the more offensive and dangerous idea that emerged in the course of the discussion around the posters was the elite’s belief that this act of censorship was justifiable in the name of ‘tolerance’. Following Johnson’s decision, ‘tolerance’ became the virtue of the hour. Johnson himself said that ‘London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and intolerant of intolerance’. Ken Livingstone said the adverts were ‘damaging for anyone who believes that London is the greatest city in the world because of its tolerance’. A spokesperson for Transport for London said ‘we do not believe that these specific ads are consistent with TfL’s commitment to a tolerant and inclusive London’.

Appealing to tolerance to justify the ban shows how debased the elite’s understanding of this important liberal virtue has become. A truly tolerant society is one in which people are free to make up their own minds about challenging ideas. John Stuart Mill recognised the importance of tolerance in his essay On Liberty. He argued that ‘though the silenced opinion be an error… it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied’. In other words, it is only through the free engagement with ideas that people arrive at sure convictions. No matter how often politicians attempt to defer to ‘tolerance’, Livingstone’s suggestion that people may be damaged through their exposure to this ‘collision of adverse opinions’ shows that the elite impulse driving the ban is anything but tolerant. In fact, it appears that Johnson et al have in fact become ‘intolerant of tolerance’ – they would much rather make up our minds for us.

This bastardisation of tolerance is particularly worrying at a time when the law is frequently used to restrict religious expression. The provisions of the Equalities Act 2010 have allowed for Christians to be sued for expressing their religious belief. The most famous example is the case of Peter and Hazelmary Bull, two Christians who were forced to pay £3,600 to two homosexuals for refusing them entry to the bed and breakfast which they ran from their home. In Scotland, performing a religious gesture at, or on the way to, a football match could now land you with a criminal conviction under the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act (Scotland) Act 2012. There are numerous cases of religious preachers being prosecuted for harassment where their views have strayed outside what the police deem to be acceptable. Taken on its own, banning a silly poster may seem trifling. It is more worrying at a time when legal interference with religious belief is becoming routine.

True tolerance demands robust engagement with challenging ideas. It requires us, as thinking people, to be sure enough in our own arguments that we are able to win intellectual battles with our opponents, rather than feeling it necessary to silence them. The Core Issues Trust may be wacky, objectionable and even wrong. But if we want a truly tolerant society, we should ignore the bastardised conception of tolerance emerging from our confused mayoral candidates, and remember the words of Mill: ‘Complete liberty of contradicting and disproving our opinion, is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for purposes of action; and on no other terms can a being with human faculties have any rational assurance of being right.’


U.S. Catholic Group Protests ‘Gay Jesus’ Film & Stage Show: A ‘Blasphemous Homosexual Play’

The new documentary, “Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption,” follows 108 Productions‘ revival of Terrence McNally’s controversial play “Corpus Christi.” The stage production, which first debuted in New York in in 1998, retells the Christian redemption story, with Jesus Christ being depicted as a gay man living in Texas during the 1950s.

The play’s resurgence is already being met with mass protest, as is the film’s documentation of the revival. The Catholic group America Needs Fatima is spearheading an online petition against both initiatives. As for the stage production, ANF calls it, a “blasphemous homosexual play.” Already, the group has collected more than 13,200 signatures supporting this charge.

The boilerplate protest message that the organization allows interested parties to send out comes with the following subject: “Stop The Blasphemy!” The letter reads:
    I strongly protest against the showing of the blasphemous play Corpus Christi, which includes a Christ-like figure who reportedly has sexual relations with his apostles, and of the movie which promotes it, Corpus Christi: Playing With Redemption.

    The Person of Jesus Christ is Sacred and untouchable. To portray Him as a homosexual, or even to insinuate it, is an unspeakable blasphemy which I reject with all my soul.

    Gay Jesus Depicted in Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption Causes ControversyI ask you to immediately cancel the showing of this movie and play, and to offer a public apology to Our Lord Jesus Christ and to all God fearing Americans.

While critics are staunch in their opposition, backers — particularly those behind the production — deny that the play and the film supporting it cross any lines. Instead, proponents maintain that the subject matter is timely and will assist in helping to dispel homophobia and bullying.

“Our tour aims to change the story on religious bullying and homophobia in all ages and walks of life, by teaching our audiences to love themselves for who they are,” James Brandon, the co-founder of 108 Productions and an actor in the play, said in a statement. “As the voices of intolerance around the world continue preaching ignorance and hate, we will keep raising our voices from a place of love — and as our tour continues, we will spread that love to places where love for LGBT people is lacking.”

As the controversy heats up, those behind the projects have no intention of backing down. As SF Weekly has noted, the play caused a major uproar years ago as well. So, controversy, it seems, is par for the course for those promoting “Corpus Christi.”


Thinly veiled antisemitism is resurgent in Australia too

As many Western leftists abandoned Israel following its post-1967 occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, Sinai and the Golan Heights, instead embracing the then novel Palestinian cause, Grass remained pro-Israel. Some four decades later, few would describe Nobel-prize-winning author Grass, 83, in the same terms.

Grass' controversial recent poem What Must Be Said, published in the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, severed any friendship that existed between himself and the Jewish state. Grass alleged that a nuclear-armed Israel "threatens the already fragile world peace" and railed against the inability of Germans to take Israel to task for fear of being labelled anti-Semitic. Nine stanzas of poetry sparked a global outcry.

It is self-evident that a former Waffen SS (Nazi military unit) member should exercise extreme caution when commenting upon the actions of the nation-state he unwittingly brought into existence. Still, the decision of Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai to declare Grass persona non grata scarcely requires condemnation. Censoring writers is the antithesis of liberal democracy, however repugnant their views may be.

Much of the debate over Grass' poem has centred on the equation of democratic Israel with the Iranian theocracy and his trivialisation of the existential threat posed by regime in Tehran (whose leader has threatened to "wipe" Israel from the map). Yet, perhaps the most repugnant element of Grass' poem was his Freudian suggestion that Israel was contemplating an attack in order to "annihilate the Iranian people".

At best, Grass is guilty of attention-seeking opportunism. At worst, his attack constitutes classical anti-Semitism in two respects.

First, it rehashes allegations of mendacious Jewish behaviour and conspiratorial, censorious control of governments and the media.

Second, Grass's casting of Israel as the likely next perpetrator of genocide implies that Jews are collectively possessed of evil intentions.

The Grass scandal is hardly some isolated phenomenon. Rather it points to a far deeper intellectual and moral malaise on the political left, although as British journalist Nick Cohen pointed out in a penetrating recent essay for Standpoint magazine, what has been described as the new anti-Semitism from the far left and militant Islamic groups was in fact "extraordinarily consistent" during the previous century.

Anti-Semitism masquerading as anti-Zionism has stolen a march in the early 21st century, albeit shorn of overt racism. Instead, the world's oldest hate manifests itself politically via the bizarre demand that Israel, alone among the world's nations, must cease to exist in favour of a bi-national Palestine. For academic Philip Mendes, such fundamentalist discourse demonises "all Israeli Jews and all Jewish supporters of Israel as the political enemy".

Most depressing of all for this committed two-state supporter is the thundering silence of the Western left. As Ari Shavit, a columnist for the left-wing Israeli daily Haaretz, writes: Grass's poem "doesn't contain Goebbels-like propaganda" yet the "words said by Grass and the words not said against Grass prove that the gangrene of delegitimisation is gradually spreading and devouring us".

Australia, too, has not been immune to such developments. Witness the ugly Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions rallies staged outside the Israeli-owned chocolate shop Max Brenner throughout last year, where protesters literally chanted blood-libels ("There's blood in your hot chocolate"). Yet the response of leading left intellectuals, who ought to know better, was to uncritically defend the protesters.

Those protests were the handiwork of Students for Palestine, a front group of the far-left Socialist Alternative group, itself routinely accused of anti-Semitism. It was no coincidence that the same folks recently planned to protest outside the Adass Israel Synagogue on Sabbath. Amazingly, the demonstration was cancelled not out of any concern about anti-Semitism but because "anti-Zionist Jews" were allegedly among the congregants.

This is a new twist on an old far-left strategy whereby the views of a tiny minority of radical anti-Zionist Jews are ostentatiously paraded. Not only is Israel routinely libelled, but anti-Semitism is written off as a disingenuous tactic of Zionist polemicists. Thus, Michael Brull, writing on ABC online's The Drum, described self-confessed jihadist Mohammed Merah, who last month murdered four French Jews, as not anti-Semitic but a "secular" killer.

Israel is hardly a perfect nation but the interventions of Grass et al are passing strange. Over the past 15 months, an estimated 13,000 Syrians have perished as a result of President Bashar Al-Assad's brutal crackdown. This is roughly the same number of casualties produced by the Israeli/Palestinian conflict since the onset of the 1948 war. Yet Grass's poetic stylings avoid altogether the continuing Syrian bloodbath. What must be said indeed.


Leading Australian conservative politician blasts attitude of 'entitlement'

SHADOW treasurer Joe Hockey has condemned systems of "universal entitlement" in Western democracies, contrasting this attitude with the concept of "filial piety" thriving across Asia where people get what they work for and families look after their own.

Speaking in London, Mr Hockey said that by Western standards the highly constrained public safety net in Hong Kong and other Asian places might seem brutal "but it works and it is financially sustainable".

"Contrast this with what we find in Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States. All of them have enormous entitlement systems spanning education, health, income support, retirement benefits, unemployment benefits."

Government revenues fell far short of meeting the cost and the difference had to be made up by borrowing.

While he was less critical of Australia, saying that over the years there had been some key decisions to reduce spending, Mr Hockey said it still had "a lot of spending by government which many voters see as their entitlement".

Pressed on the ABC’s Lateline about whether the Coalition would look at the whole range of entitlements, Mr Hockey said: "Yes.’"

Australia needed to be "ever vigilant" and to compare itself with its neighbours. Australia had moved a long way but this "doesn’t mean we shouldn’t move further’".

In his speech, he said countries with a lower level of entitlement were free to allow business and individuals to be successful. "It reduces taxation, meaning individuals spend less of their time working for the state, and more of their time working for themselves and their family."

Both sides of the Western political spectrum were to blame for the entitlement mentality. "Perhaps the  real problem is the exuberant excesses of politicians."

But now, he said, "the age of unlimited and unfunded entitlement to government services and income support is over ... We are now in an era where leaders are much more wary about credit risk."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


19 April, 2012

'I was appalled by the killing of Osama bin Laden': British far-Leftist says terror leader should never have been shot

Ken Livingstone waded into further controversy yesterday by claiming U.S. special  forces were wrong to kill Osama Bin Laden.

To the surprise of observers at a Westminster lunch, the Labour veteran declared that the death of the world’s most notorious terrorist had ‘appalled’ him.

Mr Livingstone – who is trailing Tory Boris Johnson in the London mayoral race – has previously caused anger over terrorism with his outspoken support for Irish republicans and Palestinian militants.

But his comments on the death of a man who masterminded the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians around the world are likely to raise further doubts about his suitability for high office in London, where Al Qaeda bombings killed 52 in July 2005.

He told a lunch for political journalists: ‘I was appalled to see Osama Bin Laden in his pyjamas shot in front of his kid.  ‘The best way to demonstrate the values of a Western democracy is you put Osama Bin Laden on trial and challenge what he says.’

Mr Livingstone, whose Left-wing views saw him ostracised by Labour under Tony Blair, also hailed Ed Miliband’s ‘genuine Labour values’ and suggested that next month’s mayoral contest was a dress rehearsal for the general election expected in 2015.

He said: ‘For the first time in my life I’ve been invited for dinner with the leader of the Labour Party, so there’s a shift there. Ed represents genuine Labour values – that’s why I voted for him and believe he will make a real change if we win.


A wise Scotswoman

Grabbing a coat as I dash out of the door to collect my 11-year-old daughter from school, I catch sight of myself in the hall mirror. It’s never a joy to behold.

Inevitably, the remnants of mascara hastily applied in the morning have all but gone, my cheeks are flushed and there’s the double chin I know will disappear only  with surgery.

And, as I look down, I realise I haven’t bothered to change out of the Lidl fleece and supermarket jeans I flung on when I walked the dog in the morning.

At the playground gates, I stand like a thorn between the roses. I know I’ll never win any awards for my looks - except perhaps for Most Frumpy Mummy.

While I wouldn’t belittle myself so much as to say I’m the definition of ugly - although the mirror on a Sunday morning might disagree - I’m definitely more ‘plain Jane’ than Jane Birkin.

While some people have their imperfections, and when put together still look stunning, mine just make me look imperfect.

But far from being disheartened or disappointed by my image, I’m delighted - because there are many upsides to being the ugly duckling.

My suspicion that it’s to my advantage was confirmed when I read Samantha Brick’s recent account in the Mail of the problems she’d encountered for being too attractive.

While Samantha says she has struggled to make female friends because women are jealous of her beauty, I think the opposite is true for me. The fact I’m no threat in the looks league means I’ve always had lots of pals.

All my life I have gathered beautiful women around me like a Victorian butterfly collector. My current friends - the women with whom I gossip over coffee, walk the dog and go to parties - tend to be stunning, toned and well-groomed.

But it was the same even when I was a girl. Growing up on a farm in rural Scotland, fashion and appearance weren’t things that were important to me.  I spent my life in jodhpurs or clothes that wouldn’t show the mud.  What was the point of a pretty dress when there was a saddle to buy?

While the other teenage girls would be scouring Jackie for make-up tips, I’d be drooling over a new rug for my pony in Horse & Hound.

I certainly didn’t have any pressure at home to try to glam myself up. My mother, who in her youth was a stunner, had taken to rural life like a duck to a grimy pond.

Her favourite daughter, from the four she had produced, wasn’t the one in the prettiest dress, but rather the one who could make her clothes last longest between washes.

However, despite my lack of interest in what I looked like, even at 15 my friends were the prettiest girls in the school.

There was Vicky - slim, blonde and with a smile that could light up the geography room. Two decades later, I was still comforting male friends pining over her.

Then there was Vivien - petite, brunette and slightly mysterious - the polar opposite of me, who was plump, blonde and loud.

Another was Ann, who oozed sex appeal before any of us knew what it meant, but you knew the moment she entered any room, even without seeing her, because of the sound of boys’ jaws hitting the ground.

But even though I was wearing knitted socks while these girls preferred sexier 20 denier tights, the friendships worked. I wasn’t competing against them to become the alpha girl, or vying for the attentions of the coolest boys.

In fact, what I did was make them look good when standing beside me. Of course, at first I’d wonder why they were always dancing with boys, but I didn’t lose sleep about it and was a good lesson to learn.

And, for my part, having the best looking friends in the year meant I was part of the package when it came to inviting the in-crowd to parties.

It’s not as though my love life has been as dry as the Sahara - I’ve even managed to get married twice.

It’s just if you don’t look good, it’s very easy for men to overlook you in that first instance. You have to develop other ways to attract them.

My first husband fell for me because I told him some salacious gossip that intrigued him more than any model looks I might have had, or designer top I might have been wearing.

My second husband - I live in Edinburgh with him and my three children - works in agriculture, so any well-groomed woman has him running for the hills.

Much more HERE

Are our street names sexist?

A tiny proportion of streets in Rome are named after women, while nearly half are named after men - and it is a similar story in other major cities around the world. Outrageous sexism, a simple fact of history, or both?

Place your finger on a street map and it's far more likely to land on a road named after a man than one named after a woman. You may not have given it much thought, but Maria Pia Ercolini has. The geography teacher in Rome says her city's landscape is dominated by men and wants that to change.

It all began when she wrote a cultural guide to Rome, celebrating the role of women in the city's history.

"During the research I realised that you never see traces of women. History just cancelled the women - they're not here," she says.

Ercolini and a team of 26 women painstakingly went through every one of Rome's 16,550 streets to determine the gender balance.  They found that 7,575 (45.7%) of the city's streets were named after men and just 580 (3.5%) were named after women.  "That's proof of the discrimination," she says.

"Men made the history - the known history. In Italy it is very strong because we have so many [male] saints and religious people like the Pope. Religion is so full of men."

Of Rome's eight main streets, two are named after men - the Via Cavour, referring to Camillo Cavour, a leader of Italy's 19th Century unification struggle, and Via Giulia, named after "Fearsome" Pope Julius II.

The other six are named after inanimate things, from the Via del Corso, which alludes to a medieval horse race, to the Via Sacra, so-called because it passes key religious sites in the ancient Roman Forum.

Local authorities, which have the final say over street names, are now being urged to redress the balance.


Australia: Must not express conservative views about male/female differences

(The LNP is the major conservative party in  my home State of  Queensland.  It has just won a  landslide election  -- JR)

An LNP staffer has resigned after sending an email to a Queensland feminist about the superiority of men, telling her to "get a life" and calling her a "sourpuss" for writing an opinion piece about the need for more women in parliament.

Max Tomlinson, the then media adviser to Liberal National Party Senator Ian Macdonald, wrote to Dr Carole Ford after she penned a newspaper column criticising the lack of female representation in Queensland's parliament.

In his email, Mr Tomlinson tells Dr Ford "like most women, you probably don't possess the necessary drive, determination and decisiveness that men innately possess.  "It's not a personal criticism; it's a fact of biology.

"That was part of nature's grand design to enable men to be stronger, more fearless and more determined than their sisters. Sorry, Carole, fact not fiction."

This morning, Mr Tomlinson told brisbanetimes.com.au that he had resigned from his job with Senator Macdonald because of the publication of what he described as a private email.  He said he had no further comment on the matter.

At the beginning of the email, Mr Tomlinson said while he usually ignored "sourpusses" like Dr Ford, he was compelled to write to her after reading her "pathetic" piece about the drop of women's representation in Queensland parliament from 49 per cent to 18 per cent.

Mr Tomlinson argued history had shown it was men who are naturally equipped to succeed above women.  "Where, for example, are the great female explorers, mountaineers, warriors, inventors, chefs?" he said.   "Blokes dominate most areas of human endeavour because nature equipped them with something called testosterone."

He goes on to write about his "wonderful wife" who suffered judgment from women such as Dr Ford because they chose to be homemakers.

"Women like my wife are the life-givers, the embodiment of sacrificial love [the purest form of love], the primary keepers of the flame of civilisation that separates us from the animal world, and yet the Sisterhood frowns on them for not joining the anti-male club that you so typify," he said.

"The anti-male world of conspiracy theories in which you and the Sisterhood inhabit is the complete antithesis of the world in which positive women thrive."

He signed off the email "I repeat: Get a Life. Kind Regards, Max".

Dr Ford said the email was insulting and she had found it overly aggressive for what she had considered was a fairly tame piece published by The Courier-Mail. 

"It's just extremely disappointing that any man in 2012 would think that way," she said.  "It surprised me that in this day and age people would get angry about a request for women to have better representation in parliament. It's astounding that people would be angry that we make that request."

Dr Ford said she had been married for 43 years and had three children and in her first lecture she talked about the work women did "both paid and unpaid" and was a supporter of stay-at-home mothers.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


18 April, 2012

An hilarious attempt to measure morality

This "philosopher" (below) is a chump who seems to know nothing of prior work in his field.  He has attempted to reinvent the wheel and predictably come up with a very poor product.  As someone who has written for the academic journals on both the philosophy and psychology of morality,  perhaps I should put up a few notes on his work.

The best known attempt to measure moral development is of course that by Kohlberg  -- which took the Piagetian approach of watching  how children's moral ideas develop.  Kohlberg's two "highest" levels of moral development were not however based on observation but rather on Kohlbeg's own liberal ideas.  As such they are just an expression of opinion and  are not in any way authoriative.

Then of course we have the work of Haidt, which is much more empirical and in many ways persuasive.  I have recently discussed Haidt at length however so will go no further at this point other than to say that Haidt must be regarded as the leading authority in his field, albeit with some things yet to learn.

In the work of Steare (below), however, we see a reversion to the Kohlberg approach of "science" by opinion.  And he seems to think that he has nothing to learn from research that others have done in the field.  That double arrogance has led him into one large and very risible mistake.  He appears blissfully unaware that the questions he asks are close to identical with the questions that psychologists use to detect lying  (i.e. "lie scales" or "social desirability scales) so any correspondence of his conclusions  to reality is purely coincidental.  His arrogance has led him into naivety.  He is a clown trying to make sense out of self-serving  statements that are unlikely to be true.

So it is no surprise that he found that older women were more moral.  In my studies too  I have found that older women were more prone to  to "faking good" (i.e. have high lie scale scores).
In the battle for the moral high ground, it seems we have a winner at last.  A leading philosopher has claimed that women are more moral than men.

Professor Roger Steare developed the ‘Moral DNA’ test four years ago to measure both a person’s morality and the changes in their value systems when they enter the workplace.

Professor Steare said the results show that your gender and age are most likely to influence your morality – with women and the over-thirties proving the ‘most moral’.

Those taking the test are asked to rate a series of statements about their personal and work life – for example, whether their colleagues or family would say they were ‘honest’ or ‘competent’.

They then have to evaluate assertions about themselves, such as ‘I always honour people’s trust in me’ and ‘I am good at exercising self-control’. Those taking part then receive a report naming them as one of six personality types – Philosopher, Judge, Angel, Teacher, Enforcer or Guardian.

And he revealed that as we get older, we also appear to become more moral.  ‘What stood out from the answers was that obedience decreased with age, while reason increased – a logical occurrence as we make the transition from youth to experience,’ he added.


It is time we burst this “bubbling”

Freedom of movement in Britain?

Is it fair that the vast majority of supporters, who behave well, should have their freedom to travel to a popular leisure activity curtailed because of the risk that there will be disorder caused by a small number of troublemakers? That’s the question posed by the rise of the ‘bubble’ match.

‘Bubble’ football matches are the culmination of years of growing restrictions on football fans who follow their team to away matches. Bubble matches are ‘kettling’ on wheels. Travelling fans must be transported on licensed coaches and under police escort, from a designated pick-up point to a designated drop-off point. No independent travel is allowed to the match by car, train or any other means of transport. Fans often must pick up their tickets on route, for example at a motorway service-station at a halfway point. Their freedom of movement is suspended.

Only last weekend, bubble restrictions were imposed on Portsmouth supporters travelling to Southampton for the local derby between two neighbouring teams from England’s south coast. Even if you lived a long distance from the point of departure - including in Southampton itself - as a Portsmouth fan, you were required to leave from the specified Portsmouth departure point in order to go to the match. This is a condition of ticket sales. Fans were met by the police in Southampton, and escorted to and from the ground through what the police call ‘the sterile area’. The Pompey (Portsmouth) Supporters Trust vice-chair, Ken Malley, spoke out against these restrictions: ‘We are against bubble matches because of the human rights issues and because it gives the idea that all football fans have to be controlled.’

Through research and freedom of information (FoI) requests, the Manifesto Club - the civil liberties group I have written a report for - has identified at least 48 bubble matches that have taken place, involving at least 14 major clubs in England and Wales. In spite of loud protests from supporters’ clubs – and declining trouble at football matches – these extreme travel restrictions are still being considered and implemented.

The impact of bubble matches

In order to impose restrictions on travelling supporters, a number of clubs issue vouchers rather than tickets. The vouchers are then exchanged for tickets at a designated point on route to the stadium, often a motorway service-station. The ‘voucher for ticket’ exchange is policed, and travel beyond the point of exchange is also controlled, with coaches and minibuses, but usually not private cars, permitted to travel on to the stadium.  

Unsurprisingly, a significant number of fans are put off going to bubble matches, and ticket revenue for the clubs is reduced. At one of the restricted matches, for example, Bristol City took 200 fans to Swansea rather than the usual 2,000, a 90 per cent reduction in support for their team on the day.

The extreme measures involved in bubble matches cause considerable disruption for fans. This is not surprising, because the whole system is designed for the convenience of the authorities – the police and the clubs – rather than for the supporters.

Clubs’ restrictions on visiting fans may make matches cheaper to police. This will happen if the risk category, into which all matches are graded, is lowered because of the tighter controls imposed. Clubs may therefore be tempted to opt for bubble matches, despite their unpopularity, since the savings can be close to £20,000 for a Championship-level fixture.

Of course, authorities claim that these restrictions make visiting supporters feel safer. However, a perverse result of the bubble restrictions is that football supporters can be more exposed to troublemakers, because they are travelling in a convoy of readily identifiable vehicles. Supporters travelling independently by car or train can usually move unobtrusively in and around the stadium, with the application of a minimum amount of common sense and caution. When this is effectively banned, supporters are wholly reliant on police security.

The ‘bubble’ group is unlikely to endear itself to opposing supporters. Indeed, these high-security measures can ratchet up fear and distrust. The sight of kettled supporters being escorted to and from the ground can lead to the very taunting and abuse which the authorities would presumably like to see reduced.

Criminalising football fans

It has become commonplace for travelling football supporters to be regarded with suspicion at best, and as alien and dangerous at worst. Pat-down body searches before entering the ground have been added to bag searches as common practice. Filming of supporters by the police has also become routine. The number of stewards at matches has been growing, as have reports and incidents of their heavy-handed behaviour. Some grounds have introduced webcams for stewards to film spectators at matches, and the practice looks likely to spread.

The bubble match is merely the most extreme example of restrictions on away fans’ freedom of movement. A more common form of restriction comes in the application of the Traffic Commissioner’s Guidelines, under which police can advise coach companies on the route they should take and the time they should arrive in the host town or city.

Although travel restrictions are not as severe as in bubble matches – independent travel is not banned entirely – these guidelines can still lead to extreme restrictions on coach-travelling fans.

One recent case affected Carlisle supporters, travelling for a match in Preston on 26 December 2011. The head of Carlisle United Supporters Club, Kate Rowley, had arranged through her brother (a parish priest in Preston) to stop at the Blessed Sacrament Club prior to the game for food and drink. Food was purchased in readiness for their visit. However, their plans were thwarted when Lancashire Police imposed restrictions on their travel, which meant that coach parties were prohibited from stopping.
Arrests in decline – bubble matches are not necessary

These extreme travel restrictions occur at a time when violent or disorderly incidents in and around football grounds have declined markedly. In the season 2010-11, total attendance at professional matches in England and Wales was more than 37million, representing by far the largest spectator events in Britain. The total number of arrests in that season was 3,089, which represents less than 0.01 per cent of all spectators, or one arrest for every 12,249 people. This was a record low according to the Home Office.

Although bubble matches affect clubs with a history of crowd disorder, all current indications are that football-related violence is at an historic low. It is highly questionable, therefore, whether these extreme travel restrictions are necessary and proportionate.

Bubble match restrictions do not target the minority of troublemakers. Instead, they punish all away fans, and hope to deter the violent minority by doing so. This is surely wrong in principle. Under Britain’s common law, people are treated as innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around. People are held accountable for their own actions, not punished for the actions of others.

We call on football clubs, the police and local authorities to reject and end the extreme and discriminatory practice of bubble matches. Instead, police and football authorities should concentrate on tackling troublemakers and incidents of disorder directly, with the co-operation of football clubs and supporters’ organisations.


Islam’s Affinity with Force and Fraud

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was a literary hoax and forgery of disreputable antecedents. It claimed to be the records of a conference of Jews to mastermind the subjugation of the world. Occasionally, in the mainstream media, one hears the Protocols being pooh-poohed. Infrequently, a scholar of Islam and Judaism will appear as a guest to discuss the fabrication of the Protocols and the horrendous crimes it inspired.

The sordid literary genealogy of the work is a series of mongrel plagiarisms and adaptations, appropriated for political reasons by antisemitic writers and the Tsarist secret police. Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, an 1864 political satire by French writer Maurice Joly (parts of which were plagiarized from Eugene Sue’s Les Mystères du Peuple (1856), was the chief source the Protocols, and intended to excoriate Napoleon III.

Dialogue and narrative were freely lifted from Joly’s work and only slightly altered to appear in a chapter of Biarritz, an 1868 novel by the antisemitic German novelist Hermann Goedsche. This chapter contained not only plagiarized portions of Joly’s work, but also a scene from Alexander Dumas père’s novel, The Queen’s Necklace (1848, in which none of the conspirators were Jewish). The specific chapter that deals with the conspiracy of Jewish elders, "The Jewish Cemetery in Prague and the Council of Representatives of the Twelve Tribes of Israel,” which also involved Freemasons as co-conspirators, was translated into Russian in 1872 and appeared as a pamphlet.

Philip Graves, a correspondent for the London Times, first exposed the Protocols as a hoax in a series of articles in 1921. Other investigators subsequently built on his work and helped to thoroughly repudiate the Protocols. Herman Bernstein, an American writer, journalist, and diplomat, in the same year published History of a Lie, which also repudiated the Protocols. Nevertheless, Henry Ford underwrote the publication of the Protocols from 1920 to 1922, until ordered to cease by the courts and to publish an apology. Ford saw the Protocols as an alliance between Jews and Bolsheviks. He claimed to have been duped by his underlings.

Still, even before 1921, opposing forces found the Protocols useful as an expression and tool of antisemitism. Monarchists and White Russians before and after the 1905 and 1917 Russian Revolutions cited the work to blame everything on the Jews. In 1903 the Protocols were serialized in a St. Petersburg newspaper, but in 1905 declared a fraud by the Tsar’s chief minister, Pyotr Stolypin.

This was a major indictment of Pyotr Rachkovsky, the former head of the Tsar’s secret police, the Okhrana, and the purported author of the book-length version of the Protocols, called The Jewish Programme to Conquer the World, published in 1903. Radio Islam, however, claims that Sergyei Nilus published the book in 1905, although another site claims they appeared in a chapter of another book written by Nilus, a mystic. The true origins of the book-length version of the Protocols remain as murky and offensive as the bottom of a cesspool.

Yet, even for all the scholarly debunking that occurred beforehand, and whatever their bizarre pedigree, the Protocols remain a force to contend with. Adolf Hitler made the Protocols required reading for all German students. The twenty-four sections of the Protocols served as a justification for the Holocaust. Like the purity of the Aryan race (or of any race, for that matter), the Protocols were fictive in origin and exposed as a collective lie and a heinous defamation. The Protocols plot was the mother of all conspiracy theories, and has had a tenacious longevity. It is the Nosferatu of schizoid politics; demonstrate its bogus origins, drive a stake through its heart with evidence, and it is back haunting the darkness.

Witness the continued belief in anthropological global warming. It has been repudiated and proven to be a fraud manufactured and manipulated by power-lusters determined to reduce man to subsistence level or worse. Yet countless people still believe in it, regardless of the evidence. Laws remain on the books to force men to give up their cars, their food, their “carbon footprints.” Obama has subsidized several solar power companies (which have gone bankrupt despite taxpayer subsidies), he has vetoed new oil pipelines and oil exploration development, and allowed the EPA to condemn coal mining to extinction. All in the name of a fairy tale in which juggled numbers, bewildering graphs, and dramatic but misleading photography substitute for caricatures of bearded Jews rubbing their hands together in avarice.

The Protocols are a kind of Hansel and Gretel fairy tale in which the wicked witch gobbles up the children and cackles in triumph. Yes, a fairy tale. Not a very nice one to read to children.

But it is read to and by countless Muslim children in Gaza, the West Bank, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and anywhere else where Islam reigns.

Islam – not “militant” Islam, not “extremist” Islam – but just plain Islam uses the Protocols as the keystone in its agenda. Just as environmentalists believe in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and Al Gore’s hockey sticks and Hollywood-produced slide show.

Why? Because the Protocols fit the racism and bigotry of Islam. Because facts, evidence and reason are the enemies of Islam. Because Islam has an agenda, part of which is to extinguish Jews from existence, in addition to subjugating all non-Muslims to Sharia law in a host of caliphates governed by a global caliphate.

But, except on anti-jihadist websites, one never hears about how real is the Islamic agenda of conquest, or, as a few other articles have called it, The Protocols of the Elders of Islam.

Much more HERE

Australia: Left-wing critique of US alliance is a little hit and myth

More media distortions and reinventions of history

The Australian-American Alliance is a constant feature of national politics since at least the Pacific War and certainly since the formalisation of the ANZUS Treaty in 1951. Even so, it remains central to the contemporary political debate.

On the ABC TV Four Corners program last night, Major-General John Cantwell reflected on the challenges he faced when commanding forces in Afghanistan. The retired general wondered how he could tell individual soldiers and their families that serving alongside NATO forces in Afghanistan was worth it in view of the potential sacrifice involved. However, he acknowledged that "at the highest level of strategy" the Australian-American alliance, and the mutual obligations that go with it, are of importance to Australia.

In yesterday's Australian, Sydney University historian James Curran described the tension that developed between the then-new Whitlam Labor government and the Nixon administration in 1973 and early 1974. This led the Americans to query the value of the alliance and to consider the re-location of US intelligence-gathering installations located in Australia.

These were the darkest years of the alliance and reflected the fact that many, but by no means all, senior Labor Party figures either queried the value of, or were opposed to, the alliance. Nowadays no one in the Labor caucus would fit this description, and opposition to the alliance finds expression within sections of the Greens and among some leftist groups.

As a general rule, Australians do not have to check the calendar to learn that it's getting close to Anzac Day. ABC TV and/or radio invariably obliges with a documentary overwhelmingly critical of Australia's involvement in one or more military commitments. This fits with the familiar left-wing line that Australia has fought other people's wars.

Certainly this was the case with the Vietnam War documentary All the Way, which aired on ABC1 last Thursday. Presenter and co-writer Paul Ham concluded the documentary in the language of the other-people's-wars brigade. According to Ham: "In the end we lost what we hoped for. America retreated across the Pacific and Australia faced an uncertain future in Asia. The Vietnam War dragged us screaming and kicking to an obvious reality that we are part of Asia and that we can only rely on ourselves for our security. And yet we fight on in new wars with old allies - still in the dark, still trusting our friends." The reference was to Afghanistan.

All the Way was based on Paul Ham's Vietnam: The Australian War, published in 2007. Like the documentary, Ham's book contains valuable information along with some valid criticisms about how the US military fought the war and how the Australian Coalition government at the time failed to adequately explain the conflict.

However there is a significant difference in content and tone between the book and the film, perhaps explained by the fact that ABC staffer and documentary maker Anne Delaney directed and co-wrote All the Way.

All the Way runs familiar criticisms of Liberal Party founder Robert Menzies. According to the documentary, Menzies "claimed the double red/yellow peril was on our doorstep". Yet Menzies never referred to the "yellow peril".

In fact, Australia's military commitments during the time of the Menzies government supported some Asian governments against some Asian communist or extreme nationalist regimes or movements - namely in the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency, Indonesia's Confrontation of Malaysia and Vietnam.

All the Way also claimed that the Americans forced "conscription on Canberra" because the US wanted more American troops in Vietnam. This is mythology. Conscription for overseas services was introduced in November 1964, well before Australia decided to send combat forces to South Vietnam. Also, as Peter Edwards makes clear in the 1992 official history Crises and Commitments, the prime reason for conscription was to help Britain defend Malaysia against an attack from Indonesia, and to help defend Papua New Guinea.

Moreover, as Craig Stockings points out in his edited collection Anzac's Dirty Dozen (2012), the commitment was entered into "not out of any misguided loyalty or foreign coercion, but as a consequence of cold self-interest".

In 1965, Australia was genuinely worried about the military designs of the nationalist Sukarno regime in Indonesia. Menzies and others believed that if Australia supported the US in Vietnam, then the US was more likely to support Australia against Indonesian militarism in the region.

Successive Australian leaders - with the exception of Whitlam in the early 1970s - have embraced the US alliance because they believed it in Australia's national interest. This was the case in Vietnam. It remains the case concerning Afghanistan.

There were many Vietnamese who supported the US and Australia at the time. Just as there are many Afghans who support NATO's involvement today.

But you would never know this from viewing the Ham/Delaney documentary All the Way, or many like it.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


17 April, 2012

Nazi Germany:  People who weren't there still don't understand why

Below are some excerpts from  a review of the latest book about the Nazi disaster.   It is written by a historian but he still seems to be puzzled by why it all happened.  Postwar lies have blinded him.  So let me give very briefly the answer he lacks:

Hitler's ideas -- antisemitism, racism, eugenics, nationalism etc  were nothing unusual in his times  -- particular among Leftists of his times. And here is why people get confused:  Postwar Leftists have fostered the myth that Hitler was a Rightist.   Given his vast evils, they need that myth.  Yet there was nothing conservative about him.  He was a far-Leftist who believed in government control of everything in Germany.

Once you realize that, it all becomes clear.  With his socialist  "we will look after you" message and his nationalist "we are the greatest" message, Hitler had just about the most powerful political message possible.  And he presented it so passionately and emotionally that people believed it.  They wanted to believe it.  They saw what he said as just and right.   He came  across as a kindly father figure and many Germans loved him -- and followed him to the bitter end.  And many of those who survived still believe his "wonderful" message.

I go into it all in great detail here
A controversial new book encourages young Germans to quiz their grandparents about how much they knew about the horrors of Nazism in World War Two.

In his new work ‘My Grandfather in the War’ historian Moritz Pfeiffer claims that a staggering 20 to 25 million German citizens and 10 million soldiers were aware of the Nazi extermination programme.

The historian interviewed his own maternal grandparents about their role in the war before cross-referencing their recollections against historical documents including army records and archived material.

The result, according to the magazine, ‘is a book that has shed new light on the generation that unquestioningly followed Hitler, failed to own up to its guilt in the immediate aftermath of the war and, more than six decades on, remains unable to express personal remorse for the civilian casualties of Hitler's war of aggression, let alone for the Holocaust.

Mr Pfeiffer says his own blood relatives were morally ‘contaminated,’ like millions of ordinary Germans of that period. He describes his grandmother Edith as a 'committed, almost fanatical Nazi,' adding: ‘No One Can Say What They Would Have Done. But the project wasn't an attempt to pass judgment on them but to understand them.

‘I believe that people will learn a lot if they understand how their respected and loved parents or grandparents behaved in the face of a totalitarian dictatorship and murderous racial ideology.

‘Dealing with one's family history in the Nazi period in an open, factual and self-critical way is an important contribution to accepting democracy and avoiding a repeat of what happened between 1933 and 1945.’

His grandfather, identified only as Hans Hermann K., was a career soldier who, Pfeiffer discovered, gave evasive answers to his enquiries about his wartime service when massacres of civilians were carried out in Poland and Russia.

When asked by his grandson if he thought Nazi racial laws banning Jews from public life and systematically expropriating their property were unfair, he said: ‘No, we didn't regard that as injustice, we had to go with the times and the times were like that. The media didn't have the importance then that they do today.’

Mr Pfeffer said his grandfather's claims of ignorance of massacres in Russia were ‘hardly believable.’

He added: ‘Grandfather wasn't lying outright in his interviews, but merely doing what millions of Germans had done after the war -- engaging in denial, playing down their role to lessen their responsibility.

‘It led to the convenient myth in the immediate aftermath of the war that the entire nation had been duped by a small clique of criminals who bore sole responsibility for the Holocaust -- and that ordinary Germans had themselves been victims.

‘Why did the humanity of my grandparents not rebel against the mass murders and why didn't my grandfather concede guilt or shame or express any sympathy for the victims?'


Britain's Christians are being vilified, warns Lord Carey

Christians are being “persecuted” by courts and “driven underground” in the same way that homosexuals once were, a former Archbishop of Canterbury has warned.

Lord Carey says worshippers are being “vilified” by the state, treated as “bigots” and sacked simply for expressing their beliefs.

The attack is part of a direct appeal to the European Court of Human Rights before a landmark case on religious freedom.

In a written submission seen by The Daily Telegraph, the former leader of more than 70 million Anglicans warns that the outward expression of traditional conservative Christian values has effectively been “banned” in Britain under a new “secular conformity of belief and conduct”.

His comments represent one of the strongest attacks on the impartiality of Britain’s judiciary from a religious leader.

He says Christians will face a “religious bar” to employment if rulings against wearing crosses and expressing their beliefs are not reversed.

Lord Carey argues that in “case after case” British courts have failed to protect Christian values. He urges European judges to correct the balance.

The hearing, due to start in Strasbourg on Sept 4, will deal with the case of two workers forced out of their jobs over the wearing of crosses as a visible manifestation of their faith. It will also take in the cases of Gary McFarlane, a counsellor sacked for saying that he may not be comfortable in giving sex therapy to homosexual couples, and a Christian registrar, who wishes not to conduct civil partnership ceremonies.

Lord Carey, who was archbishop from 1991 to 2002, warns of a “drive to remove Judaeo-Christian values from the public square”. Courts in Britain have “consistently applied equality law to discriminate against Christians”.

They show a “crude” misunderstanding of the faith by treating some believers as “bigots”. He writes: “In a country where Christians can be sacked for manifesting their faith, are vilified by State bodies, are in fear of reprisal or even arrest for expressing their views on sexual ethics, something is very wrong.

“It affects the moral and ethical compass of the United Kingdom. Christians are excluded from many sectors of employment simply because of their beliefs; beliefs which are not contrary to the public good.”

He outlines a string of cases in which he argues that British judges have used a strict reading of equality law to strip the legally established right to freedom of religion of “any substantive effect”.

“It is now Christians who are persecuted; often sought out and framed by homosexual activists,” he says. “Christians are driven underground. There appears to be a clear animus to the Christian faith and to Judaeo-Christian values. Clearly the courts of the United Kingdom require guidance.”

He says the human rights campaign has gone too far and become a political agenda.

Keith Porteous-Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, said: “The idea that there is any kind of suppression of religion in Britain is ridiculous.

“Even in the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to religious freedom is not absolute – it is not a licence to trample on the rights of others. That seems to be what Lord Carey wants to do.”


12 Christians in Iran await verdicts after Easter Sunday apostasy trial

Twelve Christians stood trial Easter Sunday in Iran, where they were called “apostates” in a courtroom and tried on multiple charges, according to sources close to Iran’s Christian community. 

The Christians had been acquitted on the same charges, including “crimes against the order,” a year ago in Bandar Anzali, a city on the Caspian Sea. The group was first arrested when authorities found them drinking wine while taking communion, according to sources.

“It ultimately illustrates that being a Christian is illegal in Iran. No matter how clear or how open a pastor and a church may be, Christians are being brought to trial just for being Christian,” said Jason DeMars, director of the Present Truth Ministries advocacy group who is in daily contact with the Evangelical Christian community in Iran.

No verdict has yet been issued in the case.

The attorney for the group, prominent human rights advocate Mohammad Ali Dadkhah -- who also represents Youcef Nadarkhani, the Iranian Christian pastor charged with apostasy and sentenced to death for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity -- was not able to attend Sunday’s court appearance, according to sources who said his flight from Tehran was fogged in. The 12 represented themselves to the judge.

"Their defense was that they were performing religious rituals that are protected by law," DeMars said.

Though the Iranian constitution grants protection to religious minorities born into religions, such as Christians, Zoroastrians and Jews, over the last year and a half individuals in these minority communities have reported increased pressure and clashes with government officials and Revolutionary Guards as their influence continues to mount throughout the country.

But converting, or more specifically, the act of turning from Islam, can be punishable by death. To leave the Islamic faith or to attempt to convert others away from the faith warrants capital punishment under Shariah Law.

Among the 12 are community leader the Rev. Matthias Haghnejad and his wife, Anahita Khadeimi. The others are Mahmoud Khosh-Hal and his wife, Hava Saadetmend, Amir Goldoust, Mina Goldoust, Zhaina Bahremand, Fatemah Modir-Nouri, Mehrdad Habibzade, Milad Radef, Behzad Taalipasand and Amin Pishkar.

They stood trial in a court in Rasht, the same province where Nadarkhani was charged and has been held for more than two years.

This latest crackdown comes as a surprise since Iran’s regime had scaled back after coming under international pressure regarding the case of Nadarkhani over the last few months.

Nadarkhani, now 34, converted to Christianity at 19 and came under the regime’s radar a few times as a result of his participation in his church and Christian community. He was arrested once and released and then arrested again in 2009 and found guilty of apostasy.

The court gave Nadarkhani a chance to recant and return to Islam, but he refused. In February, he was sentenced to death, and the news of this verdict brought about heavy international backlash against the regime.

As advocacy groups across the globe continue to petition for his release, Nadarkhani is being held in prison and the execution order still remains. 

This most recent probe on Iran’s Christian community and subsequent trial on the Easter holiday come as the Christian community, particularly those converted from Islam, reports a surge in government retaliation coinciding with a growing popularity in conversions to Christianity.

“There are a lot of people who are disgruntled with the government and many for comfort and peace in their lives are turning to Christianity. That’s a threat to the regime,” DeMars said.  “The more people who turn from Islam, the fewer people the regime has on its side.”

Presently, there are more than 100,000 Evangelical Christians in Iran, according to conservative estimates. Many believe that number is significantly higher, as there is no accurate way to account for underground churches.


Why liberals and progressives should refuse to get on the gay-marriage bandwagon

Who could possibly oppose gay marriage?  These days only cranky men of the cloth come out in hives at the mention of it. Everyone else, liberal to conservative, thinks it is a fabulous idea.

In Britain, Tory prime minister David Cameron has become an active agitator for gay marriage. In Australia, despite Julia Gillard’s opposition to it, the Labor Party embraced gay marriage in a “conscience vote”.

Across the Western world, backing gay marriage has become a way of advertising your moral decency and modernness. As one British columnist put it, only those in the grip of the “sickening plague of bigotry” could oppose it.

Well, at the risk of putting myself on the side of evil in this culture war, I must say I’m concerned about the drive for gay marriage.

Not for religious reasons (I’m an atheist) and certainly not from an anti-gay standpoint, but for classically liberal reasons - because I think the gay-marriage bandwagon is bad for heterosexual married couples, and for homosexual couples too.

It’s bad for those who are already married because it is part of an inexorable drive to throw open the institutions of marriage and the family to state snooping and bureaucratic remodelling.

There are many reasons why political actors, including conservative ones, have become cheerleaders for gay marriage. It’s partly about distancing themselves from what are now seen as stuffy traditions and demonstrating that they are modern. And it’s partly about cultivating a new constituency: being pro-gay marriage wins you a sympathetic ear from the influential opinion-forming classes.

But politicians are also drawn to gay marriage because they recognise, sub-consciously, that it gives them a route into that long-time no-go zone of the family.

It is difficult to overstate the enormity of the changes being brought about on the back of gay marriage. For centuries, going back to Roman times, the family, which was largely founded on the institution of marriage, was seen as its own sovereign entity, free from the meddling of the sovereign who ruled society itself.

From the ferocious patriarchy of the Roman family to the idealised idea of the nuclear family in the 20th century, the institution of marriage and the units it gave rise to were considered deeply private.

They shielded people from the scrutiny of the state; they were “havens in a heartless world”, as Christopher Lasch put it. Where we’re all subject to moral regulations in the public sphere, through marriage, a public expression of commitment that gives rise to a private unit, people could fashion an institution in which they themselves created morality and forged relationships, free from state exertions.

Such was the power of sovereignty within the family that the rulers of society often borrowed from it in order to justify their authority. Kings and prime ministers referred to themselves as “Father of the Nation” in a nod to the ideal of family sovereignty that enjoyed such authority down the centuries.

Of course, politicians often felt an urge to interfere in family and married life, being instinctively suspicious of institutions that provided some cover from state prying. But they were never successful.  The drive for gay marriage could change that.

The attraction of gay marriage for politicians is that it fits neatly with their turn from macro issues to micro ones, from finding solutions to big social problems to getting stuck into what the British Labour Party calls “the politics of behaviour”.

Today, politicians who aren’t very good at traditional politics have given up trying to transform society in favour of reshaping the relationships, lifestyles and attitudes of those who inhabit it. Their gay-marriage agitation is a central part of that.

The usefulness of gay marriage as a tool for attitude re-modification can be seen in the way it is being used to redefine relationships and families in bureaucratic terms. So David Cameron’s consultation on gay marriage proposes erasing words like “husband” and “wife” in official documentation and replacing them with “partner” or “spouse”.

This has already happened in Canada, where gay marriage became legal in 2005. There, the words husband and wife, even mother and father, have been airbrushed from official life, superseded by soulless terms like “Parent 1” and “Parent 2”.

Such top-down rewriting of terminology is always about more than linguistic trickery. Rather it speaks to officialdom’s desire to overhaul meaning and reality itself. That such centuries-old identities as husband, wife, mother and father, which have profound meaning for millions, can be swiftly swept aside demonstrates the extent to which gay marriage is facilitating official interference into our lived experiences.

This is social engineering, the renaming of relationships to suit the prejudices of our rulers. It also acts as an invitation to yet more state interference. The reduction of historic identities like husband or mother to bureaucratic categories like partner and parent presupposes that bureaucrats have the right to define our relationships, and by extension to govern them.

After all, if you are no longer a mother, with all the moral meaning and historic protection such a title affords, but rather are “Parent 1”, then what is to stop the bureaucrats who bestowed that new title upon you from deciding that you aren’t doing a great job and that maybe Parent 2 or 3 or 4 should take over?

Allowing the state to redefine ancient, organic relationships is a short step from allowing it to police them.

The political thirst for gay marriage is underpinned by officialdom’s instinct to get a foot in the door of the family. It devalues marriage as it is currently constituted - in real life, not just in law - and, in an historically unprecedented step, it makes the sovereign of society into the sovereign of marriage and the family too.

The gay-marriage bandwagon isn’t only bad for married couples. It’s bad for gay couples too. For while it’s presented as a positive drive for equality, it’s actually motored by a very defensive clamour for state recognition of gay relationships.

A gay relationship is fundamentally one of romantic love, far more so than traditional marriage is (although that can have romance in it too, of course). But ours is an era which feels uncomfortable with romantic love, viewing it as naive, even as the site of abuse and harm. This means many homosexuals feel increasingly uncertain about their unions based on romance, on pure partnership, and feel compelled to wrap them in the legitimating comfort blanket of that respectable institution, marriage.

This ties in with another gay-activist tactic today: the search for evidence of homosexuality in the animal kingdom. Gay-rights spokespeople constantly claim, on the basis of dodgy science, that every creature from penguins to donkeys engages in homosexual behaviour, and therefore it must be natural.

This, too, represents a frenetic search for external legitimation of gay love. Gay activists defensively seek to naturalise their relationships through the use of pseudo-science and to normalise them through state recognition, through the demand for marriage. Both of these activities reveal a profound lack of confidence in the modern gay movement, which once simply declared: “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it.”

There would be nothing positive about institutionalising gay marriage on the basis of a new defensiveness amongst gay people about their lives and loves. That would leave unaddressed the moral question of why romantic unions, of which gay ones are amongst the purest, seem lacking in confidence today.

Underlying the gay-marriage debate is a relativistic reluctance to distinguish between different kinds of relationships. Gay love is fundamentally a relationship between two people. Traditional marriage is not. It is a union between a man and a woman which very often, through its creation and nurturing of a new generation, binds that man and woman to a great many others, to a community. It is an institution, not a partnership.

Collapsing together every human relationship under a mushy and meaningless redefinition of “marriage” benefits no one. Except the political elites, who are so desperate to advertise their modernising zeal that they will ride roughshod over people’s identities if they think it will help them.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


16 April, 2012

Muslim taxi driver dumps British family out of his cab after spotting an unopened bottle of wine -- saying it was against his religion

A Muslim cab driver has been fired after he threw out a family carrying an unopened bottle of wine because he said 'it's against my religion.'

Adrian Cartwright, 46, had hired the taxi to take his family out for dinner at an Indian restaurant near Oldham, Greater Manchester.  But before they could make the five-minute journey the driver, in his 20s, spotted the bottle of white wine and promptly refused to take them.  The family was turfed out onto the pavement and he drove off.

On his Facebook page a furious Mr Cartwright wrote: 'We all got inside the car and the driver said: "Is that alcohol?’"When I said ‘yes’ he replied: ‘I am sorry but I can’t allow it in my cab – it’s against my religion’.  'I knew it wasn’t worth arguing so we had to get out.'

He added: 'The meal I had that evening was a Halal meal, whose methods I don’t agree with, but tolerate out of respect.  'I expect anyone offering a public service to do the same, and will be contacting the licensing department to suggest that the driver is politely asked to do so, or hand his badge back.'

He also complained to the driver's employer Borough Taxis, who have around 70 Muslim drivers, and within half an hour he was sacked.  The company's former chairman, Fazal Rahim, who has also driven for them for almost a quarter of a century, said the driver's attitude was unprofessional.

'I am a practising Muslim, like a lot of the drivers. This was not a decision based on race or religion, however, but about being a professional taxi driver,' Mr Rahim said.  'As taxi drivers, we cannot be moral policemen. If I picked a customer up from a pub, should I ask him if he has been drinking? Of course not.

'We need to provide a great service to our customers and as a company we have prided ourselves on that for many years. I don’t know the lad in question but I can only put this down to youthful ignorance.  'We take people wherever they need to go, whether to a pub, church, mosque or synagogue.'

The family had booked the cab so they could go out and celebrate Easter Sunday together.

The taxi company has apologised to Mr Cartwright and his family and explained why the cabbie must be sacked.

'We would like to apologise to Mr. Cartwright and his family for any upset or offence caused. Borough taxis would also like to inform customers past and present that we do not agree with the actions of the driver,' they said in a statement.

'As soon as the directors heard of the incident an emergency meeting was held and the driver was dismissed with immediate effect only 30 minutes after the incident occurred.'


Fightback against Britain's  daft 'elf and safety rules as myth busting panels brought in

Ministers have set up a new myth-busting panel to help the public fight council health and safety jobsworths.

From today, people will be able to contact the panel if they feel they have been stopped from doing something on spurious 'health and safety' grounds.

The 'Myth Busters Challenge Panel' will then provide advice on whether regulations have been misused - allowing the victim to challenge their council over 'daft' decisions.

To mark the announcement, the Health and Safety Executive published a list of decisions the new panel would challenge, including office workers banned from putting up decorations, trapeze artists ordered to wear hard hats and graduates warned not to throw their mortar board hats in the air.

Top of the 'ten worst myths' were children being banned from playing conkers unless they are wearing goggles.

The panel, chaired by HSE chairman Judith Hackitt, will offer advice to anyone affected by such 'ridiculous' decisions.  Ministers hope adverse publicity from the panel's findings will lead to bad decisions being reversed.

The idea is to separate legitimate decisions to protect people from real risks from those not required in health and safety law.   This will allow decisions by insurance companies, local authorities and employers among others to be contested.

Employment minister Chris Grayling said: 'All too often jobsworths are the real reason for daft health and safety decisions. We want people who are told they cannot put up bunting or they cannot play conkers to know that there is no basis in law for such rulings.

'Common sense is the key to successful health and safety. The Myth Busters Challenge Panel will advise people where they think local authorities, insurance companies or schools have got it wrong.'

The HSE 'top ten' list includes occasions where health and safety legislation has been invoked wrongly by overzealous council officials.

They include 'pin the tail on the donkey' games being deemed a health and safety risk; and candy floss on a stick being banned in case people trip and impale themselves.

According to the HSE, some councils have banned hanging baskets in case someone bangs their heads on them, and schoolchildren have been ordered to wear clip-on ties in case they are choked by traditional neckwear.

In other cases, flip flops have been banned from the workplace for being a trip hazard; and park benches have been replaced because they are three inches too low.

Ms Hackitt said: 'Over the years we've seen health and safety invoked - wrongly - in defence of some pretty absurd decisions.

'When people hear about children being ordered to wear goggles to play conkers or the dangers of candy floss on a stick it undermines public confidence in the true task of health and safety, which is to manage serious risks to life and limb in Britain's workplaces.

'I am determined that the panel will help to put the spotlight on the worst health and safety myths and ensure that people give an honest account for their decisions.'  Issues can be raised through the HSE website's complaints page.


Freedom of association, even for Augusta National

by Jeff Jacoby

NOW THAT the 2012 Masters Tournament is over, the hounds of political correctness have stopped baying at Augusta National Golf Club over its membership policies. The gender-grievance industry is moving on, looking for a new target to harangue.

Yet as the Augusta National brouhaha recedes, there are some things I wonder about.

To begin with, why would a Republican candidate for president weigh in on an issue as insignificant as whether a private Georgia golf club offers membership to women?

No one was surprised that President Obama wanted the world to know he disapproves of Augusta National's policy. This is a president, after all, who has made a point of rebuking everyone from Cambridge police to "millionaires and billionaires" to Supreme Court justices.

But why did Mitt Romney offer an opinion? "If I could run Augusta," he told reporters in Pennsylvania, "which isn't likely to happen, of course I'd have women into Augusta." What he should have said is that it isn't the job of the president -- or a would-be president -- to pass judgment on the lawful choices made by private individuals and organizations. When Romney is asked about the Mormon Church's policies, he firmly declines to comment. "You're going to have to go talk to the Church and ask what they think about that," he recently told an interviewer. He should have given a similar response when asked about Augusta National. It isn't necessary to turn everything in American life into a political issue. How refreshing it would have been to hear the GOP frontrunner say so.

Then there is the clanging double standard that treats Augusta National's no-women membership policy as an egregious offense against common decency, while serenely overlooking -- or even embracing -- institutions that exclude men.

At a pre-tournament press conference last week, reporters hectored Augusta National's chairman, Billy Payne, about the message his club's rules supposedly convey. "Don't you think it would send a wonderful message to young girls around the world," wondered Lawrence Donegan of The Guardian, "if they knew that one day they could join this very famous golf club?" Karen Crouse of The New York Times demanded to know what Payne would tell his own granddaughters. "How would you explain leading a club that does not include female membership?"

Unlike the reporters, Payne resisted the temptation to grandstand. Perhaps he figured it would be futile, amid so much PC sanctimony, to observe that the existence of a men's golf club -- like the existence of the Ladies Professional Golf Association -- is not something that has to be "explained." Still, the point cannot be made often enough: If we wish to live in a free and diverse society, freedom of association is indispensable.

Not all discrimination is invidious. Coed golf clubs -- like coed gyms, coed colleges, coed business networks, and coed summer camps -- are great for those who value them. And all-male or all-female venues are great for those who value them. Augusta National should no more be pressured to admit women as members than Wellesley College or the Daughters of the American Revolution or the Junior League should be pressured to admit men. In athletics, education, and recreation, such a multiplicity of options makes America richer, not poorer. Billy Payne's granddaughters are far better off growing up in a country that has room for them all.

In the commotion over Augusta National's membership policy, much was made of the fact that IBM, a sponsor of the Master's Tournament, is now headed by a woman, Virginia Rometty. Previous IBM CEOs had been offered club membership, the critics said; how could Augusta National do any less for Rometty?

In reality, the elevation of a woman to the helm of IBM is just more evidence of how inconsequential this whole ginned-up flap really is. It used to be said that without access to elite social clubs like Augusta National, women could never penetrate the "old boys' network" and its monopoly on power. Tell that to Ginni Rometty and the countless other women who wield influence in America. We live in an era when women are senators, governors, and Supreme Court justices; when they lead giant corporations and are awarded Nobel prizes; when they are space-shuttle commanders and Ivy League presidents. Unlike their mothers and grandmothers, American women today can succeed at virtually anything. Why would any serious person fret over what a golf club does?


South Australia: Churches and religious schools fight to maintain homosexual ban

CHURCHES are battling to keep their right to refuse to employ gay, lesbian and transgender people.

The Federal Government has thrown open for debate the laws which exempt religious organisations from court action if they refuse to employ or have as volunteers gay, lesbian and transgender people - if this conflicts with the organisation's religious beliefs, reported The Advertiser.

Many religious groups no longer discriminate when they employ people but some have bans, most commonly in the employment of teachers.

South Australian Equal Opportunity Commissioner Anne Burgess said if the exemption to discriminate was continued, it should be limited to jobs directly involving spiritual or religious activities.

"A number of people are saying the ability of religious groups to discriminate should be reduced to a minimum, so it should only be appropriate if it is a person teaching religion or carrying out some religious duty," she said. "When it comes to whether the cleaner or the librarian (is gay, lesbian or transgender) why should it matter?"

The Labor Party made a 2010 election promise to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in a consolidation of anti-discrimination laws.

The religious exemption is the most contentious of the 30 questions proposed by the Federal Government in public consultation.

Question 22 states: "How might religious exemptions apply in relation to discrimination and gender identity?"

Many church groups have defended the need to discriminate including the Australian Catholics Bishop Conference, which has told the Federal Government: "The right to freedom of conscience and religion should be upheld as there is scope for the attributes of sexual orientation and gender identity to undermine the freedom of Catholic bodies to have the right to employ or admit those who are committed to Catholic teachings and beliefs".

Uniting Care Wesley Adelaide spokesman Mark Henley said the organisation did not believe the right to discriminate was needed.

The South Australian Bar Association, in its submission by president Mark Livesey QC, says: "A religious organisation which is contracted by the government to provide a welfare service should not be permitted to discriminate by refusing to employ homosexual or lesbian staff."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


15 April, 2012

The British expert who played God... and the real-life Big Brother house where he tore families apart with bizarre tasks to test if parents were fit to keep their children

At first Hibbert specialised in patients suffering drink-and-drug addiction problems. Before long he was running the addiction unit, and, it is said, told colleagues he planned to join a march in 1998 organised by the Independent on Sunday newspaper calling for the decriminalisation of cannabis. It was the talk of the hospital — we were so shocked,' the psychiatrist continues, explaining that heavy cannabis use can lead to psychosis. 'Here was a consultant psychiatrist treating people with cannabis addiction, preparing to publicly support the legalisation of cannabis. 

'To say it raised eyebrows was  an understatement.  'It was inappropriate.'

He also viewed the drug as a way to make money. He became a sizeable shareholder in GW Pharmaceuticals, a company that secured a Home Office contract to grow and develop medicines from cannabis.

By 2000, Dr Hibbert decided to part company with the NHS to make 'real money' and fund the kind of lifestyle he had become accustomed to as the son of a diplomat. In March that year he set up the consultancy Assessment in Care, making himself its director and psychiatrist, and offering its services to local authorities. His business partner was Jill Canvin, a solicitor specialising in representing children in care proceedings.

For premises they paid £390,000 in 2001 for Tadpole Cottage, a detached four-bedroom house near Swindon in Wiltshire. It would house up to four families at any one time as they were assessed at the request of local authorities to see whether children should be taken into care. Methods Dr Hibbert used to assess parental skills were bizarre and unorthodox.
'He tried to tell my Dad that because my baby's father and I were not together, it proved I was a bad mother'

Staff monitored and made notes on everything parents did with their children during their stay, which could last as long as three months.

He set them stressful challenges. He made some mothers vacuum the stairs while holding their baby.

Or he told parents to take a car journey with their infant strapped in the back seat and then simulate a breakdown to add stress to the situation as a test to see if they were fit to keep their children.

Former residents have claimed their time spent at Tadpole Cottage was like a nightmare version of the Big Brother household on television.

But, for Hibbert and Canvin, it was a lucrative business that resulted in their company being valued at £2.7  million last year. Local authorities paid £6,000 a week to have a family in his care. He charged £210 an hour simply to read a report from their social services departments.

But Dr Hibbert's gilded life began to unravel when, in 2007, a mother complained that he had wrongly diagnosed her with bipolar depression. The GMC began to investigate.

Other parents began to tell their of their shocking experiences. Many of them claimed they were in a 'no-win' situation: if they were too attentive to their babies, they were deemed to be 'trying too hard', while if they worked at seeming to be less conscientious, they were accused of being distant.

A whistleblowing member of staff, who has agreed to give evidence at the GMC inquiry, claims Dr Hibbert was in the habit of putting his fingers in his ears and chanting 'Nah, nah, nah. I'm not listening' when he wanted to ignore an aggrieved mother.

At Tadpole Cottage, staff-recorded details about a number of parents reveal the true extent of the impossible situation they faced.  It included details of what time a mother or father got up, what they wore, what they ate and even the telephone conversations they had.

It would be noted that a three-month-old baby 'did not seem to respond' when told she was a good girl by her mother.

That apparent failing became the basis for an accusation that  the mother was not 'in tune' with her child. Another mother was said to be unable to 'prioritise her child' because she had bought herself hair conditioner during a trip to a pharmacy. Yet another mother, who liked to bake cakes, read books and was chatty and outgoing, was reported to have worn 'a bright orange sundress' and 'inappropriate socks and trainers'.

Yet another was criticised for 'a blank expression' while doing the cleaning chores. Some parents who stayed there felt Hibbert's demands for perfection were not only excessive, but also hypocritical. By then, the psychiatrist had split up with his wife and moved from their Oxford home into a cottage adjacent to the Wiltshire centre —Ms Canvin lived in a flat above the centre's garage.

A woman who Hibbert had chided as a bad mother because she had split from her husband recalls him becoming 'very aggressive' when he was asked about his own family life.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, tells of how her father once attended the cottage and challenged Dr Hibbert over his views on single mothers.  'He tried to tell my Dad that because my baby's father and I were not together, it proved I was a bad mother,' the woman says.  'He said it showed I had problems forming relationships.

'My dad was stunned and asked: “Have you never had a failed relationship?” Dr Hibbert became really angry and aggressive.

He snapped back: "We're not here to discuss me — we are here to discuss your daughter". Later on, we found out from a member of staff that he was going through a divorce at the time.  'We just thought: "What a complete hypocrite."'

While the psychiatrist's career has not ended as successfully as his esteemed father's, he did inherit a reputation for being combative and abrasive (a trait that was noted about Sir Reginald in one newspaper obituary).

We have obtained a letter Dr Hibbert sent in response to Kristina Hofberg, a consultant psychiatrist, who was critical of his methods when she reviewed his care of one mother.  In it, he rounds on his fellow medical professional, accusing her of having an 'apparent difficulty in interpreting English words in common usage'.  He concludes: 'Her reinterpretations consistently imply that it is our behaviour and judgement, rather than our patient's, that is at fault.'

The question the GMC will have to answer is whether Dr Hibbert's methods were ethical and professional and, if not, how many children were torn needlessly from their mothers. Inevitably, many women — some as young as 16 — spoke of a deep sense of despair and stress while in his care.

During her period of assessment, one told a member of staff that she 'hadn't spoken to anybody in days except for my baby, but she doesn't talk back'. It was observed how one mother 'was tearful and began to swear, saying: “I am fed up here — fed up of being watched.”'

On another occasion, the same mother tried to withdraw to a  quiet room but was followed there by staff.  When staff looked in and asked if she was all right, she snapped back: 'Can I just have five minutes on my own please?” and was crying.

A woman who was at the centre with her eight-week-old son told us that she became alarmed when she arrived because she believed that no one left the establishment with their babies. 'It was like something from Victorian times. I started to panic,' she recalls. 'It seemed like no one got out without having their baby taken away. You would see them screaming and crying, begging not to have their babies taken away.'

Her premonition came all too tragically true. She was ordered to leave without her son after Hibbert ruled that she was suffering from a bipolar disorder.  Two other psychiatrists later criticised his findings, insisting she had no such condition. By then, however, her child had been adopted and she could not get him back.

The centre is now closed. And the company website, which featured a picture of Dr Hibbert smiling reassuringly, has been taken down.

Although we made regular calls and left messages for Hibbert, he has refused to comment.  Instead, he relies on the Medical Protection Society. A spokesman says: 'Dr Hibbert is limited in the amount of information he can provide about his actions or advice.  'He is unable to comment on allegations raised in relation to care of a patient due to his professional duty of confidentiality. 

'We can confirm that Dr Hibbert is co-operating with an ongoing GMC investigation and that no findings have been made against him.

'The questions raised with regards to Dr Hibbert's personal life constitute a wholly unacceptable intrusion into his private and family life and as such he does not intend to respond further.'

In the meantime, families torn apart as a result of Dr Hibbert's findings into their personal relationships are trying desperately to rebuild their shattered lives.


Another false rape claim from Britain

A spurned housewife who claimed her husband raped her has been jailed after he showed police a video of them having consensual sex.

Kelly-Ann Ferguson, 23, had met her husband Paul to try and patch up their broken marriage but when he refused went to police claiming he'd raped her.

A court heard Mr Ferguson was arrested on suspicion of rape but showed police officers a footage filmed on his mobile phone that proved she was 'enjoying every minute'.

When police quizzed Ferguson over the video clip she admitted she had made up the rape claim because her husband had 'treated her badly and dismissed her'.

Ferguson, of Tinkers Bridge, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, was jailed for nine months at Aylesbury Crown Court for perverting the course of justice.

Judge the Lord Parmoor said: 'When you left the home you felt it was appropriate to go to the police station and allege he had raped you.

'You provided a total first-hand account and not surprisingly police believed you and the force sprang into action.

'At some stage he said it had all been recorded on his telephone.   'On the phone, far from being raped you were enjoying every minute, if I can put it so crudely.  'It was perfectly clear your story was a pack of lies.'

The court heard the couple had been married just five months when their relationship deterioted and Ferguson left the marital home.

Prosecuter Meryl Hughes told the court: 'The couple had married in December 2010 but the marriage broke down and she left the marital home on April 14, 2011.

'On the 27th the pair met to discuss the marriage and they went back to his home, her former home.'

But Ms Hughes told how Ferguson claimed to police her husband had forced her to perform oral sex before raping her when they went back to their marital home.

She told the court: 'She said he forced her to have oral sex, grabbing her head and forcing his penis into her mouth. She said he pushed her on the bed and forced vaginal sex.

'She said after the rape he went into a crazy rage and told her to get out and never come back.  'She eventually ended up at the police station and reported that she had been raped.'

Ms Hughes told how her husband was arrested over the rape allegations and during police interview told officers he had recorded the whole thing on his phone.

She said: 'The footage showed clips of Ferguson naked, performing oral sex. The male is not holding her head or forcing her to perform the sex act. In fact she was giggling and laughing.  'Then vaginal sex takes place and she is seen to be a willing participant.'

When confronted with the video evidence, the court heard Ferguson admitted she had made the allegations up.

Ms Hughes said: 'Officers went to speak to Ferguson to challenge her about the video and she confirmed no offence had taken place.   'She told police she had felt, at the end of the evening, he treated her badly and dismissed her.'

Mr Ferguson had spent 15 hours in custody and Thames Valley Police had spent nearly £1,500 pounds investigating the claim.

Defending counsel Katherine Duncan told the court: 'She is full of remorse for her actions. Her marriage had broken down and she was an emotional state.  'She said he had behaved in an unchivalrous way towards her and she had been hurt by this.'


Do girls only want a career because they can't attract a man? Provocative study casts high fliers in a new light

Forget ambition, financial security and that first-class degree

A controversial study has concluded that the real reason women pursue careers is because they fear they are too unattractive to get married.

The research team, made up of three women and two men, said that when men are thin on the ground, 'women are more likely to choose briefcase over baby'.  And the plainer a woman is, they claim, the more she is driven to succeed in the workplace.

Central to their argument was the idea that women have evolved to become homemakers and men, providers.  They said this means that when men are scarce in a particular area, women, and particularly less attractive ladies, may decide they need to provide for themselves with a well-paid career.

The researchers carried out several experiments to come up with their startling argument.

The first looked at the number of eligible men in an area, which they called the 'operational sex ratio'.

After collecting data from across the U.S., they found that as the number of eligible men in a state decreased, the proportion of women in highly paid careers rose.

In addition, the women who became mothers in those states did so at an older age and had fewer children.

To prove that a lack of men was behind the trend, the researchers then carried out practical experiments.

These involved showing women newspaper articles or photos that gave different impressions of the sex ratio in an area and then quizzing them about which was more important – work or family. When they were led to believe that men were scarce, they were more likely to prioritise career over family.

However, when questioned, the women didn't believe the shortage of men would lead to more job openings for women. Instead they thought there would be more competition to find a husband.

The final experiment tested the researchers' suspicion that less attractive women would be more interested in careers because they might find it difficult to secure a partner.

The 87 young women were given mocked-up newspaper articles describing the sex ratio in nearby university campuses and were asked about their views on family and career.

They were also asked how attractive they believed themselves to be to men.  Those women who saw themselves as being less desirable than average were highly likely to be career-orientated.

Researcher Kristina Durante, from the University of Texas at San Antonio, said: 'Does the ratio of men to women in a local population influence women's career aspirations? Real-world archival data and a series of laboratory experiments suggest that the answer is yes.'

In Britain, there are slightly more younger men than women. However, females aged 36 or older are in the majority. And at universities, female undergraduates now outnumber males.

Economist Ruth Lea said that on a basic level it made sense that women would have to support themselves if the odds of being supported were low.  However, she said many factors, from aptitude to ambition, played a much larger part in a woman's career path.

And agony aunt Pam Spurr said: 'I often find that women who were getting on well in the workplace will in private conversations with me, express wanting to settle down.'

The study, which was carried out by U.S. and Dutch researchers, is published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.


Remake of old comedy mocks Catholics

That would once have been condemned as sectarianism

Kate Upton's racy nun-inspired swimsuit in The Three Stooges has seen the model take centre stage in a religious furore.

The 19-year-old Sports Illustrated model - who plays the the voluptuous Sister Bernice in the slapstick comedy - appears in a very revealing 'nun-kini' in the film, complete with a headdress and crucifix resting on her ample cleavage.

But her 'sinful' display in the movie has left one American religious group far from amused.  The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, which was established in 1973, has accused 20th Century Fox of being gratuitous and not in the same spirit as the original series.

Spokesman Bill Donohue said in a statement: 'In the 1950s, Hollywood generally avoided crude fare and was respectful of religion.  'Today it specialises in crudity and trashes Christianity, especially Catholicism.'

Donohue went on to say that the reboot portrayal of the classic comedy trio is a reflection of the way society has changed.
Bill Donohue

'The movie is not just another remake: It is a cultural marker of sociological significance, and what it says about the way we’ve changed is not encouraging,' he went on.  'The TV show never mocked nuns or showed infants urinating in the face of the Stooges. The film does.'

But 20th Century Fox has fought back, defending the movie against Donohue's remarks.  'The movie, in keeping with the spirit of the original TV show and its stars, is a broad, slapstick comedy,' a Fox spokesman told The Hollywood Reporter.

'As the Stooges have proved over time, laughter is a universal medicine. The nuns that Mr. Donohue alludes to, are in fact, caring, heroic characters in the movie, albeit within the framework of a very broad comedy.

'And as far as the nun attire, I think we did the audience a favour by letting Kate Upton wear the nun-kini rather than Larry David — it could have gone either way.  'We invite you to see the movie and decide for yourselves.'



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


14 April, 2012

"Daddy's girl": Samantha Brick is indeed a lucky woman

I have  often said  that the most beautiful human relationship that there is is that between a "daddy's girl" and her father.  Sadly, only a minority of women experience it but when a little girl has a father who  treats her like a princess every time they meet, it has a huge effect on the confidence and feelings of self-worth for the girl concerned  -- a confidence and strength that tends to last a lifetime.   I have seen  many examples of it and when you see a little girl running towards her father and winding herself around him while he has a big smile on his face that is what you are seeing.  From what she writes below, Samantha Brick is one of those lucky  girls. 

Feminists who think that only the mother matters could not be more wrong or more depriving towards their daughters.  Similarly for women who divorce and push the father out of their children's lives

I once met a very nice lady who had her little 3-year-old daughter with  her.  She said with perfect calm that when the father came home at night, there was no-one else in the room for the little girl.  I replied cautiously that being a daddy's girl can be a great strength for a woman in later life.  The mother smiled and said:  "Yes.  I know.  I was one too"

So the upshot would appear to be that it is as much her confidence as  her looks that causes Samantha Brick to be seen as attractive.  Following the article below I put up another one on the role of self-confidence in sex appeal

Just in case any of you were inhabiting another universe last week, I am currently recovering after becoming the subject of a very modern, global witch-hunt.

It’s certainly not an experience I am ever likely to forget. One minute I had written a piece about how being beautiful had always caused me difficulties with other women. The next I found myself pilloried and insulted online, on the radio and on TV shows around the world.

How dare I call myself beautiful? Who did I think I was? Had I not looked in the mirror recently? Was I the most deluded woman in the world?

The comments, most of them deeply insulting, came in thick and fast. I knew the article would cause controversy but no one was more shocked than me when I learned nearly three million people read it on the Mail website alone. Twitter was also ablaze with comments about my ‘arrogance’.

Since then I have appeared on TV to defend my position, and my darling husband Pascal, a carpenter, launched a spirited defence of me in this newspaper.

But now I’ve had time to reflect, one question, asked by many (mostly female) critics, has occupied my mind: why, unlike so many members of my sex, does my cup runneth over with self-confidence?

The answer is simple: my beloved father, Patrick Brick. Ever since the day I came into this world, my dad, a retired nurse, has showered me with love and affection.  His love has been the key to my being able to love myself.

In the middle of last week’s media storm, he was the man I instinctively turned to. Yes, Pascal, my loving husband of four years, was behind me all the way, telling me that to him I was the most beautiful woman in the world. But Dad immediately knew — as he always has — what to say to make me feel better.

I called him from my home in France to ask what he thought. As ever, his support was instant and unwavering. First, he reassured me that those lambasting me were ‘very sad people with very shallow lives’.

Then, unable to understand why I’d become the focus of so much bitterness, he asked: ‘Why aren’t people directing such anger towards the real problems going on in this country? You’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve struck a nerve and you’ve proved that your point is valid. Treat them with the contempt they deserve.’

In that instant I felt better. And it occurred to me that without my adoring dad I would never have felt able to write the piece — let alone deal with the vicious onslaught that followed.

Unashamedly, I am a daddy’s girl, utterly confident in my father’s love. For as long as I can remember, I got birthday cards from him addressed to ‘my No 1 girl’. While he was probably referring to the fact I was his eldest daughter (he has five) I interpreted it as meaning I was No 1 in his life.

And it’s an outlook I have taken with me into my adulthood. It’s the reason why when I look in the mirror, I don’t see a 40-something woman with crow’s feet, squidgy cheeks sliding southwards and the beginnings of a crepey chest. I see a twinkly eyed temptress who grins confidently back at me — one who stands tall, proud and with masses of va-va-voom.

And it would seem I am not alone. Dr Linda Nielsen, author of a recent book on father-daughter relationships, agrees how a girl relates to her dad has the power to transform the way she feels about herself.

A psychologist based in the US, Dr Nielsen has studied for 24 years what she considers a very special bond. She believes that while society views the dynamic between mothers and daughters as the most important in a girl’s life, the connection between her and her father is in many ways more important.

‘It’s fathers who have the greater influence in shaping their daughters’ future,’ she says. ‘Research shows that fathers teach women how to successfully communicate with men, how to speak up for themselves and how to love themselves.

‘If a little girl gets Dad’s approval, even if she isn’t perfect or beautiful, she’ll go through life believing she’s fine as she is.’ That’s certainly my experience.   

Yes, Dad taught me to swim and bought me my first dog, but from as far back as I can remember, he’d also sit me on his knee at our home in the Midlands and tell me of the special life I was going to have. He always made me feel loved and cherished.  He would tell stories of how he had grown up in poverty in Ireland and how he wanted the complete opposite for me.

I had a lazy eye when I was younger and it was Dad who determinedly ensured I had it fixed so I wouldn’t be picked on. I remember waking up from the operation at the age of eight and seeing him looking down at me telling me I was beautiful.

Throughout my life, every one of my boyfriends has had ‘the talk’ from my dad. He’d warn them I was his special girl, and if they mistreated me in any way they’d be answerable to him.

This week I told him of my theory that he was behind my belief I was beautiful. I asked him why he felt it was important I grew up feeling I was good-looking and mattered in the world. He said: ‘Women can be far nastier to each other than men. Raising five daughters I’ve seen enough over the years, from the way your friends often behaved towards you, to know there’s constant rivalry among women.

'I realised instilling self-confidence in my daughters would protect them from the inevitable difficulties they’d face as adults.’

Dad’s daughters, from two marriages, now range in age from 18 to 41. When any of us need advice or a confidence boost, it’s still him we turn to. As sisters there have, of course, been occasional bouts of rivalry and jealousy — we each want to be the prettiest, the most intelligent, the funniest. But Dad’s made us all feel confident, and bestowed us with the belief we look good — whatever size or shape we are.

Even though Mum and Dad divorced when I was 16, I have never felt anything but No 1 in Dad’s life. He saw me through all the major milestones, and guided me through the angst-ridden teens. There was little I couldn’t talk to him about.

Yet the crucial father-daughter bond is often down-played. As Dr Nielsen says: ‘We live in a sexist society that tells us the mother is most important. Yet if you look at the research, that’s nonsense.  ‘Girls who grow up without their fathers have sex younger, are more likely to fall pregnant as teenagers and are at higher risk of anorexia.’

When I appeared on ITV1’s This Morning last week, my interviewer Eamonn Holmes confided off-air that, just like my dad, he regularly tells his young daughter she’s beautiful because he wants her to enter adulthood with confidence.

Therapist Marisa Peer, author of  the book Ultimate Confidence: The Secrets to Feeling Great About Yourself Every Day, also believes this approach is crucial. ‘The first man women encounter is their father,’ she says. ‘If he consistently praises you and compliments you on your looks, this becomes familiar.  ‘If your dad loves you, treats you with respect and boosts your self-belief, you can do anything and go anywhere in the professional world.’

This viewpoint is mirrored in the stories of many successful women. Dawn French’s father Denis played a pivotal role in instilling confidence in her as a teenager. She says: ‘He sat me down and told me that I was beautiful, that I was the most precious thing in his life, that he prized me above all else, and that he was proud to be my father.’

Gwyneth Paltrow refers gushingly to her father, the late U.S. director and producer Bruce Paltrow, in just about every interview she gives.

It’s not just famous women, either. After my article, I received emails from hundreds of females who, like me, had suffered jealousy from other women as a result of their looks. Many confessed to having strong relationships with their fathers.

Take Angela, 33, from Cardiff, who runs her own IT company. She said: ‘By boosting my confidence from an early age, my dad gave me fearlessness, and I have succeeded in a man’s world.’ While Helen, 27, from Edinburgh, wrote: ‘He was the first man to tell me I’m beautiful.’

This comment struck a chord, for I’ll never forget my school prom at 16. My father’s eyes watered when I walked into our living room in a long, strapless, black dress. Mum was always lovely to me but when Dad said I was stunning, it meant more.

Dr Nielsen believes for women to succeed, mothers need to back off and allow fathers to develop their own relationship. ‘Mothers do get jealous but it’s crucial for father and daughter to spend time alone, communicating with each other,’ she says. ‘This way, daughters grow up able to talk to men easily and confidently, and avoid picking the wrong life partner.’

I’m so glad I found Pascal, a strong, masculine partner who would walk over hot coals to ensure no harm comes to me — just like Dad.

And, no matter what strangers say about me, I will continue to look in the mirror and see a strong, attractive woman: one who, thanks to my father, won’t ever cower down or walk away — even when it feels like the whole world is against her.


The importance of self-confidence in women

Assuming that Samantha Brick is, in fact, sane and not any more deluded than the average person, she is probably relating her experience of life as a relatively attractive woman as accurately as she can.

So why do so many people find her story so implausible? Is it really that hard to believe that a pleasant looking, but, by her own admission, not exceptionally gorgeous, woman can universally captivate male attention?

Well, no, not if one distinguishes between beauty and sex appeal. If the world's men truly are crazy for  Brick it's probably not because of how she looks - at least solely. In all likelihood, she is, unbeknownst to herself, possessed of a quality far more compelling: sexual magnetism.

There was something very familiar to me in Brick's story that made it wholly believable. And as I read various reactions to her article, my sympathy for her grew ever stronger. Finally, that nagging feeling of deja-vu took a concrete shape. As a long-forgotten face slowly disinterred itself from the memory cemetery, I realised that I once knew a woman whose life was as distressingly male-centric as Brick's. Actually, it was probably far worse.

Anais* was French-Canadian, petite and nicely proportioned. Otherwise, her looks were unremarkable. She didn't wear makeup, her hair was strictly wash-and-wear, and, day or night, she wore the same outfit: jeans, t-shirt, running shoes. In other words, this was a woman who made zero effort to attract men. And little wonder. Had she attracted any more of them, she wouldn't have been able to move.

There's no other way to describe it - the male of the species was in thrall to Anais. It didn't matter who else was in the room; it could have been jam-packed with supermodels, not a single man would have noticed. Anais totally dominated all male attention the minute she walked in the door. They couldn't keep their eyes off her. And to be honest, neither could I. Anais was as fascinating as she was unnerving.

So what was the secret to her super-charged sexiness? Nothing obvious. She was friendly, she had a cute accent and could out-dance Beyonce but she was also a little remote. No one would have described her as flirtatious or even particularly warm. What she did have over the rest of the world's women was total confidence. I've never met another woman so comfortable in her own skin.

Her massive sex appeal undoubtedly rested on more than a healthy self-regard but it was an essential ingredient. Anais was completely at ease with herself, her looks, and all consequent sexual attention. This welcoming spirit was richly rewarded with male lust and, sadly for Anais, profound female mistrust.

Anais was always surrounded by men but women gave her a wide berth. They didn't dislike her, they just didn't want to be around her. Her mere presence was enough to undo all but the most self-assured of women. No amount of pleasantness on Anais's part would ever change that.

I only knew Anais briefly, many years ago. I fell into her circle for a short while before a relationship led me elsewhere. I haven't seen her since so I don't know how her story unfolded. But I'm certain of one thing, no matter how fabulous her life may have turned out, I wouldn't trade places with her for a moment.

While men lusted after Anais, they didn't necessarily love her. More often, it seemed they resented her. Her sexual power put them at too great a disadvantage and those whose lust went unrequited sneered behind her back. Her erstwhile natural allies, women, felt little affinity for her and just hoped that she'd go away - soon. As much as she excited men, Anais put women on edge. I'm certain it wasn't purposeful, it was just a fact of her life.

An extraordinary life is often a lonely one. For all the advantages her extreme confidence brought her, I expect Anais would have needed every ounce of it to withstand the emotional isolation entailed in her unique brand of charisma.

Samantha Brick may well be deluded. But it's also possible that women don't tend to like her all that much simply because men like her much too much.


Children stolen by the state needlessly, causing utter misery in one of Britain's most disturbing scandals

Yesterday the Daily Mail reported that applications to take children into care in England have soared to an all-time record, for the first time topping 10,000 in just 12 months.

Since 2008 alone, the figure has much more than doubled, to some 225 cases a week — bringing the total number of children in care in the UK as a whole to at least 90,000.

The official reason given for this explosion in the number of children being removed from their families by social workers in only four years is that 2008 was the year when the nation was shocked by the events leading to the death of Baby P — later named as Peter Connelly.

He was just 17 months old when he died in North London at the hands of his mother Tracey and her violent partner, suffering more than 50 injuries.

The story goes that social workers have become much more eager to take children into care because they do not wish to see any repetition of the scandal surrounding their failure to save Baby Peter, even though they and other officials had visited his home 60 times.

But one hugely important ingredient is missing from the way this version of events is being put across by the authorities responsible for ‘child protection’.

Evidence is accumulating on all sides to show that far too many children are now being removed from their parents wholly unnecessarily, often for laughably inadequate, even absurd, reasons.

No one could object if the rise in the number of families being torn apart was simply due to the increased determination of our social workers to intervene in situations likely to lead to another Baby P tragedy.

But the fact is, happy children are today being snatched from loving parents for reasons they cannot begin to fathom, leaving all concerned in a state of utter misery. And this can constitute a tragedy in its own way scarcely less heart-rending than those where a child has been genuinely abused.

Having investigated scores of such cases over the past three years, I do not hesitate to describe this as one of the most disturbing scandals in Britain today.

The manner in which, every week, dozens of families are wantonly ripped apart has become truly horrifying. And the only reason this does not itself make headline news is that our so-called ‘child protection’ system has become so ruthlessly hidden from view by the wall of secrecy built round it by our family courts.

What is most shocking about our child-care system is the extent to which, behind that wall of secrecy, every part of it has gone off the rails,

The social workers have become far too prone to target not genuine problem families like those of Baby P or Victoria Climbie — the eight-year-old girl from the Ivory Coast who in 2000 was tortured and murdered by her guardians in London — but normal, respectable homes where children are being happily brought up by responsible parents.

The reasons given by the care industry for seizing these children these tell their own story.

Since 2008 the proportion of children removed because they are being physically or sexually abused has actually gone down.

Instead, the social workers cite vague reasons based on opinion rather than testable evidence — they use terms such as ‘emotional abuse’ the use of which has soared by 70 per cent.  In many cases the social workers don’t even need to produce evidence, only their personal view that a child might be ‘at risk of emotional harm’.

Once the social workers have made their decision, children and parents find themselves caught up in a shadowy system which seems rigged against them.

The social workers hire ‘experts’, such as psychologists, who earn thousands of pounds writing reports which appear to confirm the case planned for the courts. The reports can contain woolly allegations, such as that a mother might suffer from a ‘borderline personality disorder’. (Which of us could not have that charge levelled against them?)

Far too often the parents aren’t allowed to challenge the reports in court — even though the ‘experts’, rather than practising in clinics and seeing patients, may earn all their living from writing such reports, and endorsing what the social workers want them to say.

Judges are then presented with allegations made against the parents based on no more than the wildest hearsay. Such allegations elsewhere in our legal system would instantly be ruled inadmissible. But because of the secrecy of the family courts system, the parents are not permitted to even question these claims and the media is denied the opportunity to present them for scrutiny.

Meanwhile, countless children find themselves living with strangers in foster homes, where all the evidence shows — despite many shining exceptions — they may risk physical abuse or emotional harm far worse than anything their parents were accused of inflicting on them.

The only contact the accused parents and their unhappy children are allowed with each other is in brief, rigorously supervised ‘contact sessions’, staged in grim council ‘contact centres’. Even these are likely to be brusquely terminated if any sign of affection is shown, or if a bewildered child dares to ask its parents for an explanation of why all this is happening.

I would not believe all this and much more could happen in England if I had not heard remarkably similar stories again and again from dozens of parents and children — even though the parents are routinely threatened with prison if they discuss their case with anyone from outside the system.

Just how ruthless and Kafkaesque this system has become behind this impenetrable wall of secrecy is almost impossible to convey to anyone unfamiliar with it.

It makes a complete mockery of a system that has been set up in the name of ‘protecting children’, to ensure their lives are somehow better and happier than they were before.

Nothing in yesterday’s Mail report was more shocking than the statistics showing what happens to children who have emerged from Britain’s care system.  Fifty per cent of all this country’s prostitutes are girls who have been in care, and 80 per cent of all Big Issue sellers.  Half of all those in young offenders’ institutions have been in care, and 26 per cent of adults in prison have the same background.  Meanwhile, half of all girls who leave care become single mothers within two years, not least because they want someone to love.

These devastating statistics go on and on — hard evidence of just how horribly our ‘care system’ is failing those who fall into its clutches. Many of the children, of course, have already had an appalling start in life, being born to drug-addicted, alcoholic, genuinely abusive or otherwise incapable parents.

It is hard to argue that social workers and the courts were wrong to remove these tragic youngsters.

But this makes it all the more incomprehensible that among such children in care today are ever more thousands who should never have been taken from homes where they were properly cared for.

This is the real price we are paying for that impersonal statistic we saw blazoned across the front page of yesterday’s Mail: that the number of children being seized from their parents has now soared for the first time to 10,000 a year,

Having heard too many of their accounts in chillingly repetitive detail, I must say that this scandal is the most shocking story I have reported in all my many decades as a journalist.

It is high time it was pulled from behind that wall of secrecy and reported across the world.


British health and safety rules at their most brainless

Which is saying something

A great-grandmother looked like she had 'been beaten up' after falling out of bed at her care home - because of 'stupid' new health and safety rules banning bed bars, her family claims.

Elderly Jane Jones, 94, was rushed to hospital after cutting her head, arm, hand and nose when she fell three-and-a-half feet out of her care home bed.

The sides of her bed had not been put up after a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) warning against using side bars because they restrict 'free movement' - allowing Mrs Jones to freely tumble out of bed.

The HSE guidelines state that bed bars should only be used if there is 'no alternative' and the safety benefits 'clearly outweigh the loss of free movement' and can even be construed as an unlawful deprivation of liberty under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

Mrs Jones’ granddaughters Donna Adlington, 41, and Lynette Matthews, 39, have criticised the rule as 'ridiculous' and reported the incident to the Care Quality Commission.

Lynette claims the family warned that their grandmother was at risk of falling out of her bed just over a week before the accident.

She said: 'Our grandmother looks like she has been beaten up - her injuries are horrific.  'The whole family has been left mortified by what happened.

'A month ago a new rule was brought in that the residents were no longer allowed to have the bed sides up. The family were not made aware of this.  'About a week-and-a-half before her fall we spotted her sides were down and we complained. But they dismissed our concerns - then this happens.  'We think this is stupid and may cause elderly people to be put at risk. Our grandmother had a hell of a fall.'

Great-grandmother-of-15 Mrs Jones has been in care at Millbrook Lodge in Gloucester - a home run by the Orders of the St John Care Trust - since suffering a stroke three years ago.

The widowed former Co-operative worker was found face-down on the floor of her room and bleeding on April 1 when son Terry went to visit her.  She was rushed to hospital and is now recovering back at the care home.

Lynette, from Torquay, Devon, said they had now reported the care home to the Care Quality Commission after it still refused to put the sides up on her bed - despite the fall.  She said: 'I am still concerned. Nan now has a low bed, no sides up, and a mattress in case she falls out again.  'But, as she cannot move herself, if she falls face down, we’re concerned she could suffocate.

'We want to warn others out there about this. We believe this practice puts others, like my grandmother, at risk.'

The care home confirmed that an investigation had started to find out how Mrs Jones had fallen from her bed.

Janis Tunaley, spokesman for the Orders of the St John Care Trust, said it had adopted the 'modern' bed bar procedure on advice from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The HSE, a non-departmental public body responsible for the regulation of welfare in the workplace, warned bars could be a deprivation of liberty under the Mental Capacity Act.

Mrs Tunaley said: 'Obviously we are very concerned for our resident, and we are sorry for the distress this has caused her.

'Fortunately, the injuries received did not require her to remain in hospital and she returned to the home on the same day, where she continues to recover.

'The unfortunate incident centres on the challenging issue of the use of bed rails in a care environment.  'Whilst they have been around for years, the modern approach to the use of such devices is that they should be withdrawn unless there is no alternative and the safety benefits clearly outweigh the loss of free movement.

'Should any matter arise from the investigations into this incident, then this will of course be incorporated into our policy.'



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


13 April, 2012

Popular Anglican vicar converts to Catholicism... and takes HALF his flock with him to church 500 yards away

The C of E had become too wishy-washy and without moorings for him

A vicar led half his congregation in converting to Catholicism after complaining that the Church of England is telling believers in traditional values to ‘sod off'.  Father Donald Minchew was followed by 70 of his flock when he left the Anglican church where he has led services for nearly two decades to join a Catholic church less than 500 yards up the road.

He said the extraordinary leap of faith made him feel like the ‘Prodigal Son’ returning to a church with established beliefs after years of enduring the ‘pick and choose’ attitude of the CofE where congregations are fed on a diet of ‘pap and banality’.

The 63-year-old quit St Michael’s and All Angels parish church in Croydon, south London, to move to neighbouring St Mary’s Church because he opposed many decisions by the General Synod, including the ordination of women priests and bishops.

When he first told his congregation at St Michael’s of his plan during a service there was ‘surprise and astonishment’, he said.  ‘They faced a stark choice - to follow me or stay where they were with what was left.  ‘I never bullied or pressured anyone to join me. I let them make their own choices.  ‘In the end about 70 of the congregation of 120 came with me.

‘They are very brave because they have answered the call of God and done it at great cost, often causing rifts and divisions with family and old friends.

‘The Anglican bishop and Archdeacon of Croydon were extremely understanding and supportive.

‘But from within St Michael’s there were a few false rumours put around to try to keep members of the congregation, including the ludicrous claim that the Catholic church would be ordaining women within a decade.  ‘It was a little uncomfortable but I have no regrets.

‘When I was ordained in the Church of England in 1976 there were some things that would never be challenged.  ‘But now it just seems that everything has come up for grabs.

‘Those of us who believed in traditional values and opposed the ordination of women and other innovations, who were once an honoured and valued part of the Cof E, are now just being told to ‘sod off’. That’s the bottom line.  ‘They all talk of being inclusive and being a broad church when what they really mean is bugger off if you don’t believe in what we believe.

‘Making the move has been like coming home. I feel like the Prodigal Son returning.  ‘It is a return to a faith that has fixed values that are not going to change at the next meeting of the General Synod.  ‘The Church of England has become like a buffet where you pick and choose which commandments and doctrines you want to follow.

‘We are being fed this pap diet of common worship and banality upon banality rather than the Book of Common Prayer.’

Father Minchew and his followers were received into the full communion at St Mary’s Church last week. Former Anglican bishop Monsignor John Broadhurst received and confirmed the group, who will now form the Croydon Ordinariate.

Father Minchew said 2,000 people attended the mass at St Mary’s on Easter Sunday - more than ten times the congregation he got at his previous church on an Easter Sunday.

He said: ‘In the Catholic Church they take their faith seriously compared to the take it or leave it attitude of the Church of England, where there’s a sense of ‘I don’t fancy it this Sunday.’

The father of four, who is a widower, spent a year deciding on whether to make the move which had serious financial implications for him and his family.   He sacrificed his £11,500-a-year pension - which he was due to start drawing in 18 months - and will have to leave his vicarage home because of his decision.

Parishioner Barry Barnes was one of those who left after 30 years in the congregation at St Michael and All Angels.  He said: ‘We saw where the church was going and decided we could no longer stay in the Church of England.  ‘My wife and I decided the Church of England was no longer where we wanted to be and we joined the Ordinariate for a number of reasons.

'Their attitude towards homosexuality and in light of the possible ordination of women as bishops, neither of us can accept that.’

A spokesman for the Diocese of Southwark, said while they regretted losing Father Minchew and some members of his congregation, ‘we wish them well for their future Christian journey'.


Another very British farce

The men who built the empire would be disgusted by these pansies

It must have looked like a major catastrophe unfolding as 25 firefighters descended on the scene.  But this was no terrorist atrocity or terrible car crash – the five teams of emergency crews had been scrambled to rescue a stranded seagull from a three foot deep pond.

And matters became even more farcical, when the emergency crews were rendered utterly powerless to act because of health and safety rules prevented them from 'risking their lives' by venturing into the waist deep waters.

Instead they watched helplessly as staff from a nearby wildlife centre pulled on his waders, paddled out to the stricken Herring Gull, and freed its foot from a plastic bag.

Ten minutes later, Adam Briddock, 20, part of the two man team, returned safely to shore at Carshalton Ponds, in South London, with the gull in good health on Saturday.

London Fire Brigade said they were ‘not willing to put the lives of our firefighters at risk for the sake of a seagull’.

Ted Burden, who runs Riverside Animal Centre in Beddington, said: ‘It was a bit ridiculous really. Five fire crews turned up, but because of protocols they couldn’t go into the water.  ‘It is health and safety gone mad really when you look at it, because the water was not really anymore than waist deep.’

A member of the public became so concerned for the welfare of a bird they went home to get an inflatable boat in a bid to go out on the water themselves, but the craft was found not to be water-worthy.

An RSPCA spokeswoman described the situation at the ponds as ‘quite a scene.’

A fire source said firefighters were sometimes frustrated by strict protocols, like not rescuing trapped birds, which sometimes did not fit actual scenarios firefighters were presented with.

The fire source added: ‘Although we have the facilities to effect a rescue, we are not allowed to do it for a bird. There is no leeway.’

The adult gull was taken back to the centre, dried out and fed, before it was released back into the wild the next day.

A LFB spokesman defended the numbers of firefighters sent out, saying it was a standard response to an animal being in trouble, and the firefighters were on hand in case a member of public had tried to rescue the birds or the water rescue team had got into trouble.

She added: ‘We are not willing to put the lives of our firefighters at risk for the sake of a seagull. Our firefighters get called out to lots of different incidents and never know what they’re going to find when they get there.

'At any incident we need to make sure we have enough staff on hand in case something goes wrong and to ensure that our firefighters, and the public, are safe at all times.’


His Grace  strikes back  -- but he's still dim

I reproduced the derisive comments by Peter Costello  on words by the Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne yesterday.  His Grace  was obviously upset to be ridiculed so I find online today a reply from him.  There is no comments facility attached  to his reply (I wonder why?) so I will make a few comments here.

Most of what he says is fluff but two of his statements were interesting:

"The common good must motivate our nation at every possible level"

"A full and good life for all includes a fair sharing of wealth"

I can't remember who first said the first of those comments but it was either Marx or Hitler:  I think Hitler.  His Grace would appear to be  unaware of where ideas such as his lead.

The second comment betrays a complete failure to grapple  with what is "fair".  I think it is fair that those who earn the money  should keep it.  His Grace has obviously not thought of that!  Or maybe he is just too limited a thinker to grapple with it.

He is just a red under the bed hiding behind a pectoral cross....  which is rather an amusing image if you think about it.

Must not link to naughty American sites which say things that are forbidden in Australia?

Sad that we have to rely on America's culture of free speech (encouraged by their First Amendment) to be given access to a full range of views on a given subject

RACIST comments published on US book retailer website Amazon about an Aboriginal author have reignited debate surrounding News Ltd columnist Andrew Bolt's writings on indigenous people and drawn fire from Aboriginal groups.

Bolt, who was found guilty last year of offences under the Racial Discrimination Act, wrote a blog this week titled "Are we censored enough for you?" in response to Anita Heiss' book, Am I Black Enough for You?

Heiss was one of nine Aboriginal people who took Bolt and his publisher to court over articles that implied light-skinned indigenous people chose to be black for personal gain.

In a post on the Herald Sun website on Tuesday, Bolt included a link to US-based Amazon.com on which almost 80 "reviews" of Heiss' book had been published by last night, some openly racist. Some attacked Heiss personally and referred to a perceived lack of freedom of speech in Australia that prevented the writers from expressing their views here.

Bolt's blog linked to the webpage, stating: "Only in America, it seems, is an open debate on this Australian issue able to be had. That should embarrass us."

He said Random House and the ABC had deleted and "censored" comments on their websites about Heiss' book.

Bolt's writings this week and the ensuing publicity in social media and the wider news media prompted the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples to issue a strong statement - which did not name individuals or publications.

"Much of this 'debate' has become a thinly veiled platform for racists to peddle their tired, ill-informed, racist rhetoric," Congress co-chairwoman Jody Broun, said.

[Rubbish!  It was nothing to do with racism.  What Bolt was condemning was the appropriation of  welfare facilities designed for severely disadvantaged people by people who were not  obviously disadvantaged]

"Racism lies just beneath the surface and it bubbles out when Aboriginal identity is discussed.  "Let's be clear, Aboriginal identity is defined by us, no one else. We are a diverse peoples reflecting the contemporary Australia we all inhabit."

Heiss, whose memoir is partly a response to Bolt, did not want to comment last night and Amazon.com in the US had not responded last night.

Australia's Race Discrimination Commissioner, Helen Szoke, said racist views published outside Australia but accessible here posed a growing - and challenging - problem.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


12 April, 2012

Minimum alcohol pricing: Better England free than England sober

Sean Gabb might also have mentioned below the inevitable result of all price control:  Blackmarkets.   And blackmarket goods can be inferior or even dangerous.  So again the poor will take a hit

The Libertarian Alliance, the radical free market and civil liberties institute, today condemns proposals to make it harder for poor people to buy alcohol. The proposals include higher taxes, compulsory minimum prices for drink, further controls on advertising, and power to close down retailers. The only disagreement between the three main parities is how far they wish to go. Speaking today in London, Dr Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, comments:

"These measures, if adopted, amount to an attack on the poor. The ruling class politicians who continually whine about alcohol will not be affected by minimum pricing or the abolition of special offers. I might add that none of them can be affected by such laws. Income aside, anyone who lies his way into Parliament can look forward to round the clock drinking in the Palace of Westminster of untaxed alcohol.

"But the measures will hurt poor people, for whom alcohol will become cripplingly expensive and hard to find. They have the same right to drink as the rest of us. Bearing in mind the problems willed on them by our exploitative ruling class, they often have a greater need to drink.

"The claim that drinking 'causes' public disorder is nonsense. Alcohol does not run about the streets. People do. If people are making nuisances of themselves, the police should be instructed to stop behaving like some equivalent of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and to start protecting life and property again.

"The claim that drinking makes people unhealthy is irrelevant, where not a lie. People must be regarded as responsible for their own mistakes. Anyone who bleats about increased cost to the National Health Service should consider that drinkers already pay more in taxes than the alleged cost of treating their specific illnesses.

"We oppose all controls on the availability of alcohol to adults. Better England free than England sober."

The Libertarian Alliance believes:

* That all the licensing laws should be repealed;

* That all controls on the marketing of alcohol should be repealed;

* That alcohol taxes should be reduced to the same level as the lowest in the European Union, and that there should be no increase in other taxes;

* That not a penny of the taxpayers' money should be given to any organisation arguing against the above.


Stupid women think they can "have it all"

They can't.  Feminism has deceived them

Many women do not fully appreciate the consequences of delaying motherhood, and expect that assisted reproductive technologies can reverse their aged ovarian function, Yale researchers reported in a study published in a recent issue of Fertility and Sterility.

"There is an alarming misconception about fertility among women," said Dr. Pasquale Patrizio, professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Yale School of Medicine and director of the Yale Fertility Center. "We also found a lack of knowledge about steps women can take early in their reproductive years to preserve the possibility of conception later in life."

The report stemmed from the observations Patrizio and colleagues made that more women are coming to the fertility clinic at age 43 or older expecting that pregnancy can be instantly achieved, and they're disappointed to learn that it can't be done easily. "We are really seeing more and more patients 'upset' after failing in having their own biological child after age 43 so we had to report on this," said Patrizio. "Their typical reaction is, 'what do you mean you cannot help me? I am healthy, I exercise, and I cannot have my own baby?'"

These women delay pregnancies in their most fertile years for a variety of reasons, such as focusing on careers, lack of financial stability, or not having a partner. They are vaguely aware that fertility decreases with age, but it is only when they experience age-related infertility firsthand that they begin to understand the reality of their situation, note the researchers.

The growing popularity of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) has given women the impression that female fertility may be manipulated at any stage in life, notes Patrizio, who says the problem is exacerbated due to images of celebrities who seem to effortlessly give birth at advanced ages.

According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies, the number of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles performed for women under age 35 increased by about 9% between 2003 and 2009. During this same time period, the number of IVF cycles performed for women aged 41 and older increased by 41%. But this procedure doesn't always result in success.

"Even though the number of women turning to ART has increased, the number of IVF cycles resulting in pregnancy in women above age 42 mostly remained static at 9% in 2009," said Patrizio. "If pregnancy is achieved at an older age, women then face higher risk of pregnancy loss, birth defects, and other complications."

Patrizio hopes to prevent age-related infertility by combating these misconceptions with education.  "As clinicians, we should begin educating women more aggressively," Patrizio said. "Women should be given the appropriate information about postponing fertility, obstetric risks, and the limited success of ART in advanced age to allow them to make informed decisions about when, if at all, they hope to become pregnant."

Patrizio said that one of the techniques women should take advantage of is oocyte (egg) freezing, which appears to be the best strategy for women who want to postpone motherhood but really care about having a child with their own genetic material. Alternative options such as egg donation, which leads to the highest pregnancy rates reported for any ART method, are also available.

"There is an urgent need to educate women that reproductive aging is irreversible and, more importantly that there are options to safeguard against he risk of future infertility," said Patrizio. "These techniques are valid options for women and should not be viewed as experimental," he added. "Doctors and health professionals must begin the discussion about fertility preservation in their patients and make certain that young women truly understand all their options


The Left's Orwellian Censorship Campaign

The liberal theologian William Ellery Channing once observed, "The cry has been that when war is declared, all opposition should be hushed. A sentiment more unworthy of a free country could hardly be propagated."

War has indeed been declared. Channing's contemporary liberal counterparts have declared a war for our culture. But while Channing presumably held to the oft-bandied supposition that "dissent is the highest form of patriotism," today's secular-progressive has no choice but to endeavor that "all opposition should be hushed."

Liberals recognize that when arguing on the merits, they cannot prevail. Not only are their morally relative, redistributionist philosophies untenable and utopian, but they read the same polls demonstrating that reasonable people reject their ideas outright. In fact, Americans identify as conservative over liberal by a two-to-one margin. Even those who call themselves "moderate" lean conservative.

It makes sense. The "progressive" movement wars against natural law, pushes perpetually failed secular-socialist policies and places - above constitutionally safeguarded individual liberty - thickheaded tenets of postmodern political correctness. Liberal elites demand tolerance for all things perverse and find intolerable all things righteous.

And so, the final, desperate act of the left-wing, lemon-hocking charlatan is to marginalize, smear and ultimately shut down the competition. As a result, liberals obfuscate, propagandize and strive to silence all dissent. They no longer even try to hide it.

The evidence of this calculated assault on free speech is overwhelming, but the most recent and high-profile examples include carefully orchestrated campaigns by three well-funded, interconnected, George Soros-linked organizations: Media Matters for America (MMFA); the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC); and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

After years of trying to censor the conservative voice of Rush Limbaugh, for instance, the George Soros-funded Media Matters recently pulled out all the stops to get him booted from the airwaves.

The pretext was Limbaugh's unfortunate word choice in describing Georgetown "reproductive justice" radical Sandra Fluke's attempt to compel the Jesuit university to violate its own Catholic doctrine. Democrats held a mock hearing in the Capitol building wherein Fluke demanded that Georgetown underwrite her admitted fornication practices and fork out free birth control. Limbaugh said this made her sound like a "sl*t" and a "prostitute."

The hard-left Media Matters pounced, rolling out a pre-packaged campaign against Limbaugh. It has targeted radio stations with ads and continues a floundering crusade to get Limbaugh's radio sponsors to drop him. Ironically, this has resulted in a revenue increase for Limbaugh, and his already millions-strong listening audience has grown significantly.

Another example of this Orwellian censorship crusade involves the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, an outfit that, until recent years, was viewed as a relatively credible civil rights organization. Unfortunately, the SPLC has now cashed in most of its remaining political capital, taking the same cynical path as its fellow travelers over at Media Matters. The SPLC too has become little more than a mouthpiece for left-wing extremism.

In a "too cute by half" attempt to marginalize those who observe the traditional Judeo-Christian sexual ethic, or who embrace a constitutionalist view of government, the SPLC has moved from monitoring actual hate groups like the KKK and Neo-Nazis, to slandering mainstream Christian and tea party organizations with that very same "SPLC-certified hate group" label. Indeed, in its promotional materials and on its website, the SPLC indiscriminately lumps well-respected, highly influential Christian organizations like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association together with domestic terrorist and white supremacist groups.

But the SPLC's transparent guilt-by-false-association ploy has largely backfired. Whereas the strategy was intended to discourage media outlets from engaging these Christian groups, the scheme has, instead, had the unintended effect of significantly marginalizing the SPLC. You can only cry wolf so many times before people ignore you.

Finally, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has picked up where the SPLC left off. This radical homosexual pressure group recently ramped up its tried-and-true practice of employing the very outrage it purports to oppose: defamation.

One of the left's favorite pejoratives is "McCarthyism," yet liberals employ it - as they mean it - masterfully. In an effort to strong-arm mainstream media outlets - already sympathetic to their cause - into blacklisting, once and for all, conservative and Christian professionals who oppose liberal sexual identity politics, GLAAD has issued an enemies list of 36 top pro-family leaders and luminaries (a list upon which yours truly is most honored and humbled to be included).

Engaging a scheme eerily reminiscent of the former Soviet Union, GLAAD's euphemistically and paradoxically tagged "Commentator Accountability Project" enlists fellow progressives to dutifully report on a designated website anytime a pundit identified on the blacklist appears in media.

Because "hate is not an expert opinion," GLAAD then takes the reports and browbeats the offending media outlet into disengaging the "inappropriate" conservative pundit.
As feeble justification for its censorship efforts, GLAAD provides a list of out-of-context, cherry-picked quotes - some accurate, some not - the organization finds offensive. This is paint-by-numbers, Saul Alinsky style: Rule 12, "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it."

In their manuscript, "After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the '90s" (1989, Doubleday/Bantam), Harvard-educated marketing experts Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen meticulously laid out GLAAD's approach - something they called "jamming."

"Jamming" refers to the public smearing of Christians, traditionalists or anyone else who opposes left-wing sexual identity politics. "Jam homo-hatred [i.e., the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic] by linking it to Nazi horror," wrote Kirk and Madsen (sound familiar, SPLC?). They go on to suggest that activists should try to associate all who oppose homosexuality with images of "Klansmen demanding that gays be slaughtered," "hysterical backwoods preachers," "menacing punks" and "Nazi concentration camps where homosexuals were tortured and gassed.'"

"In any campaign to win over the public, gays must be portrayed as victims in need of protection so that straights will be inclined by reflex to adopt the role of protector," they wrote. "The purpose of victim imagery is to make straights feel very uncomfortable."

George Orwell famously said: "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." Today, conservative truth tellers are revolutionaries, fighting a guerilla war against an elitist establishment that blankets free speech with bunker-buster bombs.

Their motives are disgraceful, their tactics are cowardly and their actions are un-American. But these things rank high among the progressive "book of virtues."

Paraphrasing Voltaire, British author Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

It's little wonder that today's progressives reject this noble sentiment. The success of the left-wing socio-political agenda relies upon deliberate suppression of the reality-based conservative alternative.

Such is life for the pamphleteer of bad ideas.


Australia: Empty-headed Anglican archbishop

Ill-informed attack on miners and banks

There is a pattern to the media cycle that is as predictable as the seasons. Before Anzac Day the press will be looking for stories of sacrifice by those who have served in the defence forces. During Melbourne Cup week, the jockey - largely ignored for most of the year - finds he is king of the airwaves. And during the quiet news periods of Christmas and Easter, church leaders have the opportunity to make headlines with their sermons and pronouncements.

Of course, there are many churches and many leaders, so there is a bit of competition. This year that competition was easily won by the Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Philip Freier, who published an opinion piece that inspired headlines such as: "An Easter roasting for banks and miners."

The archbishop began his Easter article with a mention of Christ and the obligatory mention of migrants and asylum seekers, but his real purpose was to call for a new social contract "about a sense of mutual obligation". Mutual obligation has been a buzzword in politics for some time and usually means that just as the state looks after those down on their luck, those receiving assistance should put back into society.

The archbishop was not making that point. He wanted to make the point that the government and opposition are failing us. Apparently they focus too much on the news cycle. And other institutions and corporations "need a reality check" - that is where the attack on the miners and banks came in.

The archbishop's gripe with miners is they are "reluctant to share a fair proportion of the wealth" which belongs to all Australians. Really? Did the miners say that?

What the miners did say is that after they have paid state royalties, payroll taxes and 30 per cent company tax, that is a fair share and - what is more - a fairer share than miners are paying in other comparable parts of the world.

I have heard the government say it isn't enough and they should pay an effective tax rate of 55 per cent. But it got its sums all wrong and had to back down on that proposal. It has now negotiated a more modest tax increase, which will affect junior miners but the big ones hardly at all.

Now, the archbishop might have strong views on the applicable mix of royalty rates and company taxes and, if so, he should argue them. But to characterise the debate as simply being about whether one industry should pay a "fair" share or not is to avoid the question, not to answer it. What is that share?

The archbishop also complained the banks have not made a case for increasing interest rates. He is referring to the February rises in home mortgage rates of between 0.06 and 0.1 per cent.

The banks argue they increased lending rates because their funding costs have risen. I am not usually in the business of defending banks but on this occasion they were right. As the Reserve Bank's February Statement of Monetary policy noted: "Bank funding costs have increased relative to the cash rate over the past six months."

So the archbishop was wrong to attack them on this issue. Banks did have a case for increasing rates. He may have been trying to say they did not explain their case adequately. But, if so, what is he complaining about? Some kind of PR failure?

The archbishop's Good Friday article seemed to echo the argument of another person who has been railing against the banks and the miners: the Federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan. He attacks miners and banks as a way of shoring up Labor's support base - a little bit of class warfare to get the faithful back into the fold. When your primary vote is about 30 per cent, there is some method in that madness.

But I don't think it is going to work for the archbishop. Are people going to flock to church to hear sermons against miners and banks? Bank-bashers are a dime a dozen. You don't have to wait until Sunday to get an earful of that.

When the church speaks of its unique message - the life, death and resurrection of Christ - it draws on centuries of Christian thought and theology. I doubt Christendom has done nearly as much work on the taxation of mining profits and modern banking policies. If the clergy want to get into that area, they had better do some deeper thinking. Archbishop Freier's Good Friday publication is not going to spark a new social contract any time soon. It might pay to work out the details before we decide to ditch the present one.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


11 April, 2012

Samantha Brick again

A comment below from Australia.  He says that the "nuclear"  global response to her has proved her point.

Like most people, however, he seems to have missed the point that she intended to write in a light-hearted way, hence the apparent narcissism.  But the topic was such a fraught one to many that it all came across as deadly serious

As the body count has grown on the streets of Syria, and the people of Burma have enjoyed their first taste of democracy, the number-one issue which has dominated the opinion pages in the western world this past week has involved a column by an English woman called Samantha Brick who is worried about being too pretty.

Brick, a regular columnist with London’s Daily Mail, set some sort of world record for self-absorption with a 1000-word rumination on the curse of being attractive, specifically taking aim at her female friends (and ex-friends) for being intimidated by her apparently stunning looks.

The column was a shining demonstration of first world problems. Brick talked about how she dreaded going to dinner parties and would even dress as a frump so as to not show up the other poor women in attendance, who even then would pale in comparison to her untameable beauty.

“I’m tall, slim, blonde and, so I’m often told, a good-looking woman,” Brick wrote.  “I know how lucky I am. But there are downsides to being pretty — the main one being that other women hate me for no other reason than my lovely looks. “

Much of the discussion around Brick’s column has centred on the point that she appears to be labouring under a serious delusion about how hot she is. The one passage of her column which really resonated with me was her brief and uncharacteristically modest disclaimer that she’s “no Elle Macpherson”. On this point she is dead right. Still it is probably best not to dwell on the matter of her looks as her husband, a fiery Frenchman by the name of Pascal Rubenat, has now threatened to kill anyone who ridicules her appearance.

It will be quite a massacre as in the week since she put pen to paper Brick has been the subject of tens of thousands of tweets and dozens of newspaper columns pointing out that she is no oil painting.

In a perverse way the nuclear global response to Brick’s column has proved her central point – that if you are attractive, or if you are simple happy with your looks, you will invite pure hatred from those who are unhappy with their looks or possessed of inferior looks, and that the hatred will come with most venom and intensity from fellow women. However vain and inane Brick’s column was in its execution, it has worked (possibly accidentally) as a demonstration of the body image issues and questions of appearance which bend so many women out of shape.

It is all a bit hard to fathom as a bloke because one of the defining features of being a man is that you don’t fret about your appearance, and you don’t care or even notice what your mates are wearing, or whether they’ve gained or lost a few kilos. When it comes to our appearance the best we generally hope for is the ability to “scrub up alright”, a self-deprecating phrase which suggests that looking good is still not that big an issue anyway.

It’s one of the reasons that men in the public eye who obsess about their appearance, such as the metrosexual Michael Clarke or the man-scapers at the St Kilda Football Club, will be regarded by other blokes as prissy and weird.

Brick’s point about the way women treat each other was beautifully demonstrated on Q and A a few weeks ago, bizarrely enough by the mother of modern feminism, Germaine Greer. By way of a bizarre non sequitur, Greer concluded a negative critique of Prime Minister Julia Gillard by attacking her dress sense and body shape, saying: “You’ve got a big arse Julia, just get over it.”  As an amusing aside on the night the program was aired someone inside the ABC’s studio covertly pegged off a close-up photograph of Greer’s backside on their iPhone when the panellists were backstage having drinks.

The image suggests that when it comes to bum size Germaine Greer is standing in a glass house armed with a bucket of rocks. Setting that schoolyard point aside, Greer’s comments that night strongly endorsed Brick’s point about the way women treat other women.

Beyond that though is the bigger issue of the mindless self-absorption and superficiality which defines our culture. Brick might have had a valid point in her column but it still seems remarkable that she would choose to write about it in such an incredibly up-herself fashion, and then feign amazement at the ferocity of the reaction.

The reaction is still amazing though – hundreds of thousands of words across social media, independent blogs and mainstream newspaper pages. The fact that people care about this issue at all suggests that we have all got far too much time on our hands, and are in desperate need of something serious to worry about.


Britain's  Tory party has lost sight of its true values
'Decontaminating’ the brand has alienated voters – but there is a way back

The latest polls will not make for happy reading in No 10. After a torrid post-Budget fortnight, Labour has a strong lead. If there was an election tomorrow, they would be returned with a big majority.

In 43 years as a volunteer for the Tory party, I have always believed that the values of our activists have been at the heart of our electoral success. Yet, in recent times, there has been an almost evangelical focus on the “modernisation” or “detoxification” of the Conservative brand. The result has been a growing disconnect between the party leadership and the grassroots, and a loss of clarity, principle and policy direction.

The Conservative Party has, at its best, always been radical and reforming. Under Disraeli and Shaftesbury, it introduced social reforms before Labour even existed. But “detoxification” saw us ignore issues where we were clearly in tune with the voters, such as immigration and Europe. Even just talking about them was seen as reinforcing the supposed “nasty party” image and alienating voters.

In fact, this approach weakened our appeal among large sections of the electorate. Even against a discredited Gordon Brown, in the midst of an economic crisis, modernisation failed to produce the election victory it was meant to secure. The Tories not only failed to win over new voters but failed to win back more than three million who supported us in 1992. This was due to a lack of clarity about our values, and a lack of understanding of the electorate’s aspirations.

What can we do about it? First, the party needs to have the courage to stand up for its traditional values. If we stop, voters – at best – forget what we stand for. At worst, they think we stand for nothing but getting into power. We should be unashamed about promoting our ideals and principles. Most voters want controlled immigration. Most oppose further European integration. Most share our support for freedom under the law and free markets, and recognise the importance of opportunity and social mobility. These are all inherently Conservative values. So, in the Budget, we should have had the courage to say that cutting tax for the low-paid and cutting the top rate were not alternatives, but two sides of the same coin. We should have stated plainly that axing the 50p rate will increase revenue, create jobs and drive growth.

Second, we need to re-establish the Conservatives as the party of aspiration: the kind that in the Eighties led to more home and share ownership, more new businesses, and the re-emergence of pride in our country. Tragically, for most of the Blair years we allowed Labour to portray itself as the party of aspiration. Unless we take practical steps to show voters that we understand and share their hopes, many of those who voted Tory two years ago will come to regard the party as out of touch.

To reconnect with its values and its voters, the party leadership must also re-engage with its members and activists. In the short period since the election, membership has fallen significantly. Why?

One reason is that we give people so little incentive to join. Once, members could table motions for party conference and shape party policy. Now, conference is no longer a forum for debate but an exercise in media management. Until recently, members could always choose their local candidates. But under the open primary system, an ordinary voter has the same say as a paid-up member. What is the point of paying to join when you can get the main benefits for free?

Then there is the significant decline in contact between the leadership and the grassroots. Every year at conference, Margaret Thatcher spent two hours receiving cheques from local treasurers. No amount was too small for a personal thank-you: a £50 cheque from a small branch in the Welsh Valleys was received with the same gratitude as £25,000 from a wealthy association in Surrey. This commitment paid huge dividends in terms of volunteer motivation and engagement.

Of course, Thatcher had a majority, and perhaps some compromise is essential in coalition. Yet being in coalition means it is more, not less, important that the party does not lose sight of its values.

So how should the leadership reconnect with the grassroots? For a start, ordinary members should be given more of a say in how the party is run. Candidates should be chosen by members, not just anyone who turns up. The party chairman should be elected by members, not hand-picked by the leader. Activists should have more contact with senior parliamentarians, and more chances to debate and shape policy.

Members and activists are the lifeblood of any party, and the custodians of its values. “Detoxification” has seen the party lose touch with its grassroots and with the values that brought it so much success. It has seen it lose loyal voters without winning enough new ones.

As with a successful business, it is vital to get it right inside the organisation first. Only by reconnecting with its members will the leadership rediscover the clarity of vision, principles and purpose that it needs to win the next election.


How the Enemy Uses Political Correctness to Divide and Conquer America

Ask an active duty intelligence officer to explain the reason for the existence of the intelligence community, and they might tell you (if they’re willing to say anything at all) that the main purpose of the intelligence community is to inform, if not warn, policy and decision-makers about threats to national security. The duty to warn the public (as opposed to just warning officials) is more nuanced; but suffice it to say that somewhere within the government’s hierarchy these decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Following the attacks of 9/11, there was a public outcry for information, and a demand that intelligence agencies warn the public on virtually all threats to the homeland. They did—and, if memory serves, the public subsequently decided they didn’t want to know. The information provided was considered to be too much and too scary. In fact, rather than face the reality of living in a country under constant threat, many pundits resorted to calling intelligence officers, military service members, and government officials “scare-mongers.” Detractors placed members of the intelligence community (as well as the entire administration) in the uncomfortable position of being slapped with negative connotations on a continuum from “negligence” to “zealotry.” In some quarters, they were simply referred to as “war criminals.”

Thankfully, intelligence analysts continued to do their jobs to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, however, in the wake of post-9/11 attempts to secure the nation, name-calling (essentially “friendly fire”) has become increasingly incorporated within the information operations carried out by those who wish our country harm. The verbiage that exudes from these adversarial info-warriors is then picked up by “friendly facilitators” (a.k.a. “useful idiots”) and further weaponized with overestimations of “good will” on the part of the enemy, assumptions of “bad will” on the part of our own forces, and underestimations of enemy intent.

 Our own warriors (information and otherwise) are handcuffed with stilted language and difficult to implement requirements supposedly invented to stifle misunderstandings and bias, but which only serve to further the disinformation of an enemy that we are no longer allowed to “know” (see Sun Tzu). Citing the power attributed to positive thinking (or political correctness), the enemies’ sympathizers ironically resort to personal attacks and character assassination in efforts to close down conversation and divide the populace. In fact, the manipulations that “friendly facilitators” not only agree to, but participate in, ensure that in looking for the enemy, we turn on ourselves.

The result? Employees who refuse to walk the politically-correct line are replaced by others who know and heed the new rules. Those who remain are no-doubt confused as to what enemy they should be confronting, and probably become worried when descriptions of adversaries start to resemble people they have grown up with, or even worked beside for decades. In short—when political correctness outweighs national security interests the entire government becomes vulnerable to infiltration. No department, no agency is immune.

Why is this important? It’s important because we live in a world with many threatening actors who know exactly how to influence us, and we are being manipulated daily. We fool ourselves if we believe that we can successfully keep those threatening actors at bay simply because we try to make them happy while using (or not using) wording and references that their representatives recommend. We fool ourselves if we think that by giving in to demands, we can show everyone how nice we really are, and avoid confrontation. We fool ourselves by assuming that terrorists (oops, I mean “violent extremists”) will remain singularly, as opposed to cooperatively, threatening.

We pull a gigantic piece of wool over our own eyes if we think that our adversaries don’t already know how to divide us and conquer us. They are already doing it—we just haven’t figured it out yet.


‘Race Wars’ Part 1: The Shocking Data on Black-on-Black Crime

Black-on-black crime is a sensitive subject in this increasingly polarized nation.  While covered in academia and occasionally addressed by talking heads on television, some believe it rarely, if ever, receives the type and depth of attention it deserves. Instead, critics argue that this national tragedy is usually swept under the rug by powerful interest groups and individuals more concerned with elevating their own racially-driven agendas than addressing the real issues at hand. The Trayvon Martin case is only the most recent example of this grim hypocrisy.

Indeed, statistics support a very different narrative than the one usually offered by “race hustlers,” as Pastor C.L. Bryant calls them, who routinely portray an America where members of the black community are selectively targeted and brutalized by white racists.

A 2007 special report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, reveals that approximately 8,000 — and, in certain years, as many as 9,000 African Americans are murdered annually in the United States. This chilling figure is accompanied by another equally sobering fact, that 93% of these murders are in fact perpetrated by other blacks. The analysis, supported by FBI records, finds that in 2005 alone, for example, African Americans accounted for 49% of all homicide victims in the US — again, almost exclusively at the hands of other African Americans.

To put these number in perspective, recall that over 6,400 U.S. service men and women have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined over the course of a decade-long war fought in those nations. During the Vietnam War, which lasted nearly 13 years, some 58,000 Americans were killed — nearly 13 percent of whom were African American.

Extrapolating black-on-black crime data reveals that, by comparison, approximately 100,000 African Americans have been killed on our own streets at the hands of other African Americans in roughly the same stretches of time. It is difficult to find anyone who would white-wash these mind-numbing statistics.

Equally as startling, the same study reveals African Americans were victims of an estimated 805,000 nonfatal violent crimes in just one year alone.  What’s more, blacks comprise roughly 12.5 percent of the U.S. population.

While fatalities persist in every major metropolitan area across the nation, there are of course certain cities most impacted by violent crime. Take Cincinnati, for example, where, after the fatal shooting of a young black man by a white police officer in 2001, a wave of riots ensued. Since that time, Cincinnati has set the record for the number of murders carried out each year, with a persistent violent crime rate at a staggering 88 percent.

The now all-too-familiar statistics reveal that black males are killed far more often than any other demographic: “The vast majority of people being murdered are African American in the City of Cincinnati,” said Hamilton County Prosecutor, Joe Deters in an interview.

“The vast majority. Well outside the 40 percent of the population it should be. In 2009, the City of Cincinnati did not have a single white victim of a homicide. (That) tells me that we have a subset in the underclass of Cincinnati which is committing a lot of violent crime and they tend to be black. And the reality is, you almost always commit murder within your racial classifications. So when we’ve got a young black man up in the coroners office, it’s almost always a result of another young black man shooting him.”

That same year, 2009, no white men were killed in Cincinnati, but 44 black males and 11 females were the victims of homicide in the city.


One city that has perennially come under fire for racially charged violence is Chicago. In just the span of three days alone — March 16th-19th of this year — 41 people, mostly African-American, were shot and killed in Chicago. Ten were killed in President Obama’s former neighborhood. Incredibly, these atrocities on our very own streets barely received a turn of the head by activists, nor did they receive any media coverage.

In response to President Obama’s decision to raise the profile of the Trayvon Martin case, T. Willard Fair, president of the Urban League of Greater Miami, recently told The Daily Caller that the “the outrage should be about us killing each other, about black-on-black crime.”

He asked rhetorically, “Wouldn’t you think to have 41 people shot [in Chicago] between Friday morning and Monday morning would be much more newsworthy and deserve much more outrage?”

More than 500 people under the age of 21 were killed in Chicago in 2008. This figure fell only slightly in 2009 and 2010 and, of course, does not represent the many others who have been shot or injured as a result of these attacks. Records reveal that nearly 80 percent of youth homicides occurred in 22 black or Latino communities on Chicago’s South and West sides.

In just the first three months of 2012, 109 people have already been murdered in the city of Chicago. So rampant are the killings in fact, that crime in the President’s adopted hometown was even the focus of an April 5th report featured on The O’Reilly Factor:

In the poignant words of one man interviewed for the segment, “We’ve got to stop referring to people as African-American, Hispanic-American.”  “These are American kids and they are being slaughtered by other American kids.”

An epidemic

According to recent studies, Illinois isn’t the only state in the Midwest to see a marked rise in the number of African-American homicide victims over the course of just the past few years. A study conducted by the Washington D.C. based Violence Policy Center revealed that for the third time in the past five years, Missouri is vying for Cincinnati’s role, leading the nation in black on black violent crime.

Perhaps surprisingly, Wisconsin, too, is ranked as one of the top ten states with the highest percentage of black murder victims. Spanning the rest of the country, the other nine states found to have the highest murder rates among African-Americans include Michigan, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Indiana, Tennessee, Missouri, California and Nevada.

Where is the outrage?

Recently, The Blaze featured a report on Rep. Corrine Brown, who, after professing in an interview to care about “all the children” who fall victim to murder, could not remember the name of a little girl from her district who was murdered and then dumped into a Georgia landfill. While Brown fumbled to find the words, she ultimately could not recall Somer Thompson’s name. She did, however, have much to say about racial profiling and how Trayvon Martin was selectively targeted for his race. For some reason, Brown and others who have followed suit in this case have failed to address or acknowledge the epidemic of murders occurring within their very own communities.

But Brown is not alone. Not by any stretch. Which begs the questions: where is the outrage from prominent members of the African-American community? Where are the words of condemnation and sorrow from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, or Rev. Al Sharpton, over the fact that members of their own communities are summarily executing each other? Critics believe that acknowledging the unfortunate, irrefutable statistical truth negates the left’s narrative about a black community selectively exploited and targeted by white racists. Some might also argue that fanning the flames of racial discontent, especially in an election year, serves a useful and powerful campaign purpose.

Thus far, hundreds of thousands of African Americans have been slaughtered at the hands of each other since the dawn of the Civil Rights movement. Is this the realization of Dr. King’s Community of Man?



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


10 April, 2012

The Passion of the New Atheists

This Easter, some atheists would have us believe that, like the early Christians, they are hated and persecuted by the mob. Don’t buy it

I know Easter is traditionally a time when Christians give praise for the rising again of Jesus after his flagellation and crucifixion by the Romans. But this year, in the midst of your Easter egg-eating and possible Mass-attending, try to spare a thought for the modern-day equivalent of whipped, weeping Jesuses – that is, the New Atheists, the non-believers, who would have us believe that it is they who face persecution in the twenty-first century. Playing what we might call the Crucifixion Card, the atheist lobby now argues that its members suffer the slings and arrows and jibes of the heartless hordes in a similar way that Christians did 2,000 years ago.

Perhaps keen to shake off the tag of ‘Darwin’s pitbulls’, atheist campaigners now play the role of put-upon pups. They’re all about the victimology. Over the past two weeks, there have been public gatherings of atheists in which they have, self-consciously and shamelessly, plundered from the language of old oppressed groups to try to describe their alleged plight. So at the Rally for Reason in Washington DC on 24 March, a gathering of 10,000 atheists modelled on the famous black civil-rights march of 1963, campaigners used the gay-liberation term ‘coming out’ to describe what allegedly cowed atheists must now do. Like homosexuals who kicked against repression and moralism, atheists must ‘come out of the closet’, said Mark D Hatcher, founder of America’s Secular Student Alliance, even though they risk being ‘labelled pariahs’.

Others took this ostentatious oppression-mongering even further, comparing themselves to one-time repressed blacks and downtrodden women. The journalist Jamila Bey said of modern atheists’ fight for respect that ‘these are battles that homosexuals have won, people of colour have won, women have won’. ‘We can’t stay silent anymore’, she cried. Yes, atheists might not be denied the right to vote or attacked with water cannons whenever they gather in public, they might not be forced to sit at the back of the bus or to eat in Atheists Only restaurants, but they feel oppressed, okay? ‘We’re here, we’re godless, get used to it!’ cried the crowd, echoing the old rallying cry of gay liberationists.

Something about this atheist victimology doesn’t add up. Actually, a lot about it doesn’t add up, not least the fact that, although there is certainly cultural hostility towards atheists in parts of America, elsewhere, particularly in academia, publishing and throughout the political and media worlds of Western Europe, they enjoy untouchable ‘darling’ status these days, being fawned over like never before. There are no legislative restrictions on atheists’ rights or apartheid systems that separate them from the God-fearing, which means their claims to be following in the footsteps of protesting blacks are not only unfounded, but also pretty depraved. But one thing in particular about these atheist shindigs is weird: if these gatherings really are about challenging persecution, then why do they promote persecution – of Christians?

At the Rally for Reason, British atheist Richard Dawkins, the Mel Gibson of the New Atheist movement, got the crowd going not with demands for freedom or ‘I Have A Dream’ speeches, but by appealing to them to ridicule religious people. ‘Mock them, ridicule them in public’, he said. Their beliefs are insane and therefore they should be ‘ridiculed with contempt’, said Dawkins. Meanwhile, messy-haired pianist Tim Minchin thrilled the audience by singing a song with the line ‘fuck the motherfucking pope’. Attendees carried placards saying ‘Only sheep need a shepherd’ and ‘So many Christians, so few lions’. In short, the religious are brainwashed, and wasn’t it a hoot back in the day when we used them as feed for wild beasts?

Now, of course, atheists, like everyone else, must be free to say whatever they please, wherever they want to say it – whether it’s in million-selling books (for an oppressed ideology, atheism is mighty popular) or on The Mall in Washington. The right to defile God and mock his followers was fought for long and hard by secularists over the centuries. But their jeering and laughing at stupid religious folk rather takes the gloss off all their libertarian claims, off the idea that modern atheists are struggling against repression and for liberty and decency. Instead, what is happening here, in a meta development that would give even the most postmodern academic a headache, is that New Atheists are dressing up their own urge to heap contempt on the religious as a rally against the alleged contempt heaped on atheists by the mob. The reason they have raided the linguistic larders of old struggles for equality is because they desperately need some progressive-sounding garb with which to doll up their regressive and intolerant outlook.

The central problem with the New Atheist movement is that it is based entirely on a lack of belief rather than on a belief. It is built on an absence, on a negative, on the fact that these people share a non-belief in God, rather than on any shared vision of the future. Some atheists now even wear t-shirts branded with what they call, in another nod to history, the ‘scarlet letter’ – that is, a big red ‘A’ for Atheist.

This is a very new development. Of course, there have been non-believers for centuries, particularly following the Enlightenment. But they did not club together on the basis of their non-belief; they clubbed together on the basis of what they did believe in, whether it was liberalism, communism, fascism or whatever. Today’s cultivation of a movement that is merely atheistic, whose members are tied together only by what they lack, is pretty unprecedented. And it speaks profoundly to the emptying out of the big ideas and shared ideologies that once galvanised the intellectual classes – particularly liberalism and socialism – so that now all that these people can rally around is what they don’t have (faith in God) rather than what they do have (faith in man or the future).

It is their creation of a movement based on negatives rather than positives which explains why the New Atheists are so screechy. Because bereft of anything substantial or ideological to cohere themselves around, they instead spend the whole time attacking their opposite number – those who do believe in what New Atheists do not: religious people, the thick, the unenlightened. Like electrons in an atom, the ‘negatives’ of the New Atheist clique are forever whizzing around the ‘positives’ of the God lobby. The hole at the heart of modern atheism was best summed up in what Time magazine last month described as ‘The Rise of the Nones’ – that is, the speedily growing group of Americans who now list their religious affiliation as ‘none’. That is fine, of course, but then to cultivate an entire identity, a whole life’s outlook, on the basis of that ‘none’? That is sad. Who wants to be a ‘none’? I’d rather be a nun. At least they still believe in something.


 U.S. Army sponsors atheist event

 March was a big month for atheists in America. Last weekend, the Reason Rally — the largest gathering of secularists in world history — unfolded on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Then, this past Saturday, also in a historical first, the U.S. military hosted an event expressly for soldiers and others who don’t believe in God, with a county fair-like gathering on the main parade ground at one of the world’s largest Army posts.

The Rock Beyond Belief event at Fort Bragg, organized by soldiers here two years after an evangelical Christian event at the eastern North Carolina post, is the most visible sign so far of a growing desire by military personnel with atheist or other secular beliefs to get the same recognition as their religious counterparts.

The purpose was not to make the Army look bad, organizers said, but to show that atheists and other secular believers have a place in institutions like the military. As The Blaze reported last year, the Army agreed to give $50,000 toward the event following atheists’ protests over military sponsorship of a Christian concert put on by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

“I love the military,” said Sgt. Justin Griffith, main organizer of the event and the military director of American Atheists. He added, “This is not meant to be a black eye.”

Griffith said he and other non-religious soldiers are not permitted to hold atheist meetings at the post and have so far been rebuffed in their efforts to change that. They feel their beliefs marginalize them.

Organizers were hoping for a crowd of about 5,000. At least several hundred people gathered on the parade ground by midday Saturday. Rainy weather for most of the morning may have affected the turnout. Fort Bragg officials said they would provide a crowd estimate later.

The atmosphere was festive, with carnival treats like ribbon fries and ice cream, games for children and a demonstration jump by the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team. Speakers and bands performed on the main stage. In many ways it was indistinguishable from a county fair except for the information booths ringing the parade ground and the content of the performances.

Back in January, we also reported about the intense controversy surrounding one of the bands — Aiden — whose members have used images of a burning church and a bloody cross, among other elements, in a past music video. With the event pledging to be family-friendly, these inclusions did seem a bit odd. This was compounded by the fact that Justin Griffith, an organizer for Rock Beyond Belief, defended the video on the festival’s web site.

This same issues surrounding questionable content unfolded at the Reason Rally last week, where songwriter Tim Minchin unleashed more than 75 expletives as children and families stood watching his performance

“We got any Darwin fans in the house?” asked a performer named Baba Brinkman at yesterday’s Rock Beyond Belief, before launching into a rap song about evolutionary biology that culminated in a call-and-response chant of “Creationism is dead wrong!”

Organizers said the goal was not to disparage soldiers with religious beliefs. In the weeks leading up to the event, some bloggers and others expressed concerns. A chaplain currently deployed in Afghanistan posted an open letter on Fort Bragg’s Facebook page, saying he feared the event would be devoted to mocking religious soldiers.

“We’re never antagonistic toward religious believers, we’re antagonistic toward religious belief,” said Richard Dawkins, the British biologist and best-selling atheist author who was the event’s headline speaker.

Dawkins, who frequently makes pointed criticism of religious adherents, delivered some relatively restrained remarks, asserting that none of the common arguments for religious belief stand up to scrutiny.  “There is no good, honest reason to believe in a god or gods of any kind, or indeed in anything supernatural,” he said. “The only reason to believe something is that you have evidence for it.”

The event marked a coming-out of sorts for atheist and secularist soldiers at Fort Bragg, who have been trying for more than a year to be recognized as a “distinctive faith group,” a designation that would allow them to hold their meetings at Bragg facilities. Curious soldiers in uniform mixed with people in civilian clothes as bands played and children began to race around the huge field when the rain let up.

“I’ve been an atheist pretty much my whole life, and where I was growing up in Texas, I didn’t know another atheist,” said Pfc. Lance Reed. “It’s important to meet people who have some of the same beliefs and interests as you do, and that’s what this is about.”

Reed also said he hoped Christians at Bragg and other believers would attend, to dispel some misconceptions about atheists.  “A lot of people think it’s all about God-bashing or something like that,” he said. “You can see we’re not evil people who want to burn down churches. We’re just here to have fun.”

Sgt. Lance Hollander, who said he’s been looking forward to the event ever since he first heard about it last year, agreed that in some ways the concert could serve as a calling card for soldiers who aren’t religious.  “Atheists are the least trusted group in America, and we want to change that,” he said.

A concert that was planned last year fell apart after a dispute between organizers and the base leadership over questions such as location. Saturday’s gathering was made possible in part by $70,000 in donations from the Raleigh-based Stiefel Freethought Foundation, whose founder, Todd Stiefel, said he hopes the Army ultimately decides that its role doesn’t include events like Rock Beyond Belief and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association-sponsored concert that prompted it.

“I would like this to be the last one of these events,” Stiefel said, arguing that the government shouldn’t have any role in hosting events geared towards religious belief or lack of it.

Fort Bragg is willing to work with organizers of any event that fits its guidelines, said Garrison Commander Col. Stephen Sicinski, who estimated that the BGEA evangelical concert generated twice as much controversy as the atheist event. As far as the Army is concerned, Siciniski said, the event isn’t a bellwether of changing beliefs – it’s simply another one of the community events that Bragg often hosts.

“We don’t treat soldiers who are atheists as atheists, we treat them as soldiers,” he said. “They’re soldiers first.”


Britain's Multicultural Nightmare

More than 400 children were subjected to forced marriage in Britain during the past year, including a five-year-old girl who is believed to be the country's youngest victim of the practice.

The statistics were provided by the British government's Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) as part of an ongoing effort to create a law that would criminalize forced marriage in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The custom is already illegal in Scotland.

Overall, the FMU said it gave advice or support related to nearly 1,500 cases of forced marriage during 2011, although experts say the vast majority of forced marriages in Britain go unreported.

Most of the instances of forced marriage in Britain involve Muslim families from South Asia, particularly Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Many of the cases involve Muslim children who are taken abroad by their parents and forced to marry against their will. Forced marriages often involve kidnapping, beatings and rape.

Prime Minister David Cameron has compared the practice of forced marriage to modern day slavery and has said people should not "shy away" from addressing the issue because of "cultural concerns." A new law outlawing the practice is currently being drafted and could be in place by the end of 2012.

Separately, more than 65,000 women and girls in England and Wales have been the victims of female genital mutilation, and another 24,000 girls under the age of 15 are believed to be at a high risk, according to a London-based non-profit group called Foundation for Women's Health Research and Development.

Speaking in the House of Commons on February 6, British Home Secretary Theresa May said "Sadly, what we see are too many examples of this terrible crime continuing to take place. I think most people would be shocked to know how many young girls within the United Kingdom are subjected to female genital mutilation."

Female genital mutilation is most common among Muslim immigrants from Africa and the Middle East. Although the practice is illegal under the 2003 Female Genital Mutilation Act, and carries a jail term of up to 14 years, no one has yet been successfully prosecuted.

In many cases, Muslim families often pool resources to fly professional "cutters" to Britain from Africa to perform mutilations on pre-pubescent girls for as little as £40 ($65), often without anesthetics, using blunt knives, razor blades or scalpels. In other cases, girls are flown abroad to their family's native country to help minimize the risk of detection.

On March 31, an anti-female genital mutilation activist group named Daughters of Eve began hosting workshops in London to encourage men to stop this practice. The workshops, which will run for five weeks, include topics such as an introduction to female genital mutilation, its consequences and the laws surrounding it.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that more than 2,800 so-called honor attacks -- punishments for bringing shame on the family -- were recorded by British police during 2011. That data was compiled by the London-based Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organization (IKWRO), a registered charity that provides advice to Muslim women and girls living in the United Kingdom, who are often facing forced marriage, honor-based violence, female genital mutilation and domestic abuse.

Although the statistics provide the best national estimate so far, IKWRO believes the real figure could be five times as high. The highest number of honor crimes -- which include murder, mutilation, beatings, abductions and acid attacks -- was recorded in London, where the problem has doubled to more than five times the national average.

Elsewhere in Britain, the government says that effective in 2013, it will end the practice of paying multiple social welfare benefits to Muslim immigrants practicing bigamy or polygamy.

In September 2011, a British newspaper exposé revealed that tens of thousands of Muslim immigrants in Britain are practicing bigamy or polygamy to collect bigger social welfare payments from the British state.

Although bigamy is a crime in Britain punishable by up to seven years in prison, the rapid growth in multiple marriages has been fueled by multicultural policies that grant special rights to Muslim immigrants who demand that Islamic Sharia law be reflected in British law and the social welfare benefits system.

The United Kingdom also recognizes polygamous marriages where both parties were resident in a country in which the practice is legal before they moved to Britain.

The report shows how Muslim men can take a second, third or fourth wife (or in some cases five or more) from anywhere in the world, father any number of children with her, and have British taxpayers assume responsibility for this family's upkeep and care.

By having a string of wives living in separate homes, Muslim immigrants are squeezing tens of millions of British pounds from the state by claiming benefits intended for single mothers and their children.

Those women are currently eligible for full housing benefits -- reaching £106,000 ($250,000) a year in some parts of London -- and child benefits paid at £1,000 ($1,500) a year for a first child, and nearly £700 ($1,000) for each subsequent one.

The British government is also working on a new law that would ensure that meat slaughtered in accordance with Islamic Sharia law cannot be sold to unwitting members of the public. The new measure would prevent schools, hospitals, pubs and sporting venues from serving so-called halal [permitted in Islam] meat secretly to customers.

The move will be welcomed by animal rights activists and many others, who argue that the traditional Islamic way of preparing meat -- which involves killing animals by drawing a knife across their throats without stunning them first -- is cruel and causes unnecessary pain.

In September 2010, an investigation by London's Daily Mail found that major supermarket chains, fast-food restaurants, even some hospitals and schools in Britain are serving halal food without telling those who are eating it.

Meanwhile, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) -- a key promoter of multiculturalism in Britain -- has refused to broadcast a screenplay about the threat that Islam poses to freedom of speech.

The BBC's director general, Mark Thompson, says he will not air a play the National Theatre's controversial play called "Can We Talk About This?," which examines multiculturalism and how it has resulted in Britain being more divided than ever.

According to Thompson, there is "a growing nervousness about discussion about Islam." He also claims that because Muslims are a religious minority in Britain, their faith should be given different coverage than that of more established groups.

In 2005, Thompson famously ordered BBC Two to air an anti-Christian musical called "Jerry Springer: The Opera," which mocked God and presented Jesus Christ as a homosexual. At least 45,000 people contacted the BBC to complain about the show, which contained an estimated 8,000 obscenities. According to one observer: "If this show portrayed Mohammed or Vishnu as homosexual, ridiculous and ineffectual, it would never have seen the light of day."


Australia:  Jailbird survey shock as inmates quizzed on quality of life

JAIL chiefs have surveyed many of Victoria's vilest criminals to see whether they are happy with life on the inside.

Almost 1700 prisoners were asked to rate food, activities and other services behind bars, and quizzed on whether they felt safe, listened to, and respected.

Asked to describe "What I like about this prison is ... ", a fifth replied "nothing", "nothing at all", "not much, it's jail", "stupid question", or gave a similar response.

A team of five staff from the Office of Correctional Services review took 26 days to visit 15 jails, surveying about 40 per cent of inmates.

The Herald Sun obtained the results of the survey - completed last financial year - under Freedom of Information laws after months of wrangling.

Jailbirds used the survey to moan about boredom, bad food, thin mattresses, low pay, and delays in waiting for medical treatment.

Other gripes included the cost of computer games, broken gym equipment, expensive phone calls, drug dealing and poor ventilation.

But many praised life on the inside, complimenting their cells, the meals, the gardens, the relaxed environment, access to phones and the recreation on offer.

The statement "I am safe" got the third-highest score overall.

Comments from satisfied inmates included "the cells are spacious and easy to keep clean", "it is peaceful", "it is a very relaxed prison," and "I find this (jail) like paradise".

Others praised the gym equipment, the education opportunities and the proximity to family.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


9 April, 2012

An example of secret "justice" in action

The debate over instituting  secret trials for "security" reasons in Britain has thrown up under parliamentary privilege an example of the abuses such trials make possible

Despite the years of cruel reality, Margaret Bentham still seemed incredulous as she told her story, a story she once thought she could never share.  But with quiet dignity she summed up the ordeal she and her businessman husband Stuart, a former British Army officer, have endured at the hands of the CIA.

‘We were robbed of a business worth millions,’ she said. ‘We were plunged into financial ruin. But the worst thing was, not only were we deprived of justice, we couldn’t tell a soul.’  In an exclusive interview, Mrs Bentham told The Mail on Sunday how the CIA decided a civil court case about the Afghan mobile phone company he had helped to establish was too ‘sensitive’ to air in public.

It used draconian legal powers to shut down the case – so destroying not only the Benthams’ livelihood, but any prospect of redress after Mr Bentham alleged the company had been stolen from him.

The background to the alleged fraud against Mr Bentham, 63, and his business partner Lord Michael Cecil, 52, a brother of the Marquess of Salisbury, goes back to 1998, when they went into business with Ehsanollah Bayat.

Mr Davis described him in the Commons as ‘a Kabul-born American citizen on friendly terms with the highest echelons of the Taliban government and particularly its leader, Mullah Omar’.

Mr Bayat had the connections to acquire the licence to build Afghanistan’s first mobile phone, internet and international call system – Mr Bentham and Lord Michael the business expertise.

But, as Mr Davis said, Mr Bayat had a secret: he was an informant for the FBI, the main US domestic counter- terrorism force. The link made an opening for Operation Foxden, a scheme the FBI planned to run jointly with the National Security Agency (NSA), the US electronic eavesdropping organisation.

The NSA offered $30 million and technical assistance, said Mr Davis. The plan was to build extra circuits into all the equipment installed, enabling the US to ‘record or listen live to every single landline and mobile phone call in Afghanistan’ and ‘monitor the telephone gateways channelling international calls in and out of the country – gateways already being used by Bin Laden, Mullah Omar and their associates, thanks to the satellite phones given by Mr Bayat to Taliban ministers as gifts’.

By the beginning of 2000, after all the main partners had made several visits to Afghanistan, the project was at an advanced stage, and could have been fully functional within months – 18 months or more before 9/11.

Recently, Mr Bayat has claimed he never had connections with US security agencies or the pre-9/11 Taliban government. But Mrs Bentham said that in the Nineties he seemed to make no secret of such links.

‘I remember one time when we flew in to Newark, New Jersey, and Bayat met us off the plane,’ she said. ‘He was with two FBI agents. We went to their office. Then they took me to the station so I could go shopping in New York while they had their meeting.’

But just as the project seemed to be on the brink of coming to fruition, it was wrecked by what Mr Davis termed a ‘turf war’ between the FBI and NSA on one side, and the CIA, which wanted to control it.

The consequence, as the agencies bickered in Washington, was that nothing happened for 20 months. By the time these bureaucratic obstacles had been cleared, it was too late.

A meeting to get the scheme going again, attended by Mr Bentham and Lord Michael, took place in New York in a hotel overlooking the World Trade Centre on September 8, 2001 – three days before the attacks.

Mr Davis commented: ‘Of course, we cannot say for certain that if US intelligence agencies had managed to tap the Afghan phone network sooner, we would have intercepted evidence in time to stop the 9/11 attacks, but it seems quite likely.’

After 9/11, the Taliban were toppled by US-led forces. Very soon after that, Lord Michael, Mr Bentham and their colleagues, working with Mr Bayat’s company Telephone Systems International (TSI), installed the very network that had been planned two years earlier. The Britons ordered and paid for most of the equipment and ran the project out of London.

Once operational in April 2002,  the firm became a licence to print money and is now said to be worth about £700 million.

The Mail on Sunday has copies of official US documents, signed by Mr Bayat in May 2002, stating that Mr Bentham and Lord Michael each were entitled to 15 per cent of the shares: their holdings, in other words, should now each be worth more than £100 million.

Instead, said Mrs Bentham, she and her husband are in straitened circumstances, and live in a rented house, dependent for holidays on hospitable friends.

‘We were living  a very comfortable life. And then it changed completely. We had no idea what we were dealing with, and the terrifying thing is what happened to us could happen to anyone.’

In the autumn of 2002, having offered to buy out Mr Bentham and Lord Michael for a ‘derisory’ sum that did not even cover the cost of the equipment they bought, Mr Bayat sued them for ‘deceit and  conspiracy’, and, simultaneously, simply denied they had any legal entitlement to shares in TSI.

They had copious documentation, and, their lawyers believed, a cast-iron case. But as Mr Davis told MPs, this was no ordinary commercial squabble: ‘The US intelligence agencies feared the consequences if the truth about their infighting emerged and they were determined to stop that truth from emerging.’

First, they offered Bayat $1 million for his legal fight – part of a more general plan to exclude British citizens and British agencies from the ongoing phone intelligence operation. Then, when the Britons’ lawyers refused to back down, ‘CIA officers threatened them, warning the whole case would be shut down if they continued’.

Finally, in November 2004, came the use of the State Secrets Privilege. The effect was not only to close down the case immediately, but  to expunge all trace from court records.

Lord Michael and Mr Bentham were subject to a gagging order so severe that when they tried to reopen the case in London, they were forbidden on pain of contempt of court from discussing any aspect of the intelligence background with their own lawyers.

Although there were hearings in London, which the Britons lost for technical legal reasons, the British courts had little idea of what had actually happened. ‘The State Secrets Privilege meant that the US agencies were restricting what could be said in court in England,’ Mrs Bentham said.

‘I couldn’t speak to friends, and I felt pretty sure our phone calls  and emails were being monitored. Meanwhile, legal fees meant we were facing a colossal drain on our cash. Imagine: you have to sell your home, but you can’t tell anyone why.

‘So we just stopped going out socially, because people would ask, “How are things?” and we couldn’t even begin to answer. It’s only now, after the parliamentary debate, that at last people know.’

The worst moment, she recalled, was when the State Secrets Privilege was deployed. ‘They showed the judge some kind of statement that we couldn’t see, and he shut down the case next day for reasons we weren’t allowed to read. And that’s the kind of thing that’s going to happen here if the Green Paper becomes law.’

Later, she said, the Benthams’ American lawyers asked a US judge whether their British lawyers could see the secret judgment and gagging order in strict confidentiality, so that at least they could advise them whether they should try to pursue the case in London. The judge refused.

They also tried to get the State Secrets Privilege reversed in a  federal US appeals court. They lost again – and the appeal court’s 17-page decision is also strictly secret.

Mrs Bentham said: ‘The lesson is that the US legal system is perfectly willing to condone the theft of our assets. What gets me is that one of the main reasons the British Government has justified the Green Paper is to protect American secrets.’

At the end of the Commons debate, Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne gave the Benthams a glimmer of hope. He said the Prime Minister had been aware of their plight for months and would in due course respond to their representations.

Meanwhile, Mr Davis said the case highlighted a fundamental inequality between Britain and the US: that American agencies could apparently dictate what British citizens could talk about in British courts  – even the very use of the State Secrets Privilege which had enabled such secrecy in the first place.

‘It’s just not good enough to say that restricting the Green Paper proposals to national security cases will make them less obnoxious,’ Mr Davis said yesterday. ‘Once you let security trump the rule of law, injustice such as this is inevitable.’


More nastiness from small-time British bureaucrats

When Donna Air made an innocent mistake, she was labelled a Mini-Madoff and carted off to trial. Here she reveals the indignity of standing in the dock - only to be cleared on grounds of being a little bit ditzy.

Sitting in the dock at Isleworth Crown Court last week, the gravity of the situation became all too apparent for television presenter and model Donna Air.

Fortunately for Donna, however,  she was not about to feel the full wrath of the law – the jury found her resoundingly innocent, and with astonishing speed, reaching their decision in just three minutes.

Their haste exposed Kensington and Chelsea Council’s pursuit of the Hotel Babylon star over an invalid parking permit to be as ridiculous as it was alarming. The 32-year-old mother of one and her family were put through seven months of worry after they failed to convince authorities that rather than fraud she was, in fact, guilty only of an honest mistake.

Quite simply, the jury found that Donna did not apply for parking permits for two different London boroughs in an attempt to save thousands of pounds in street parking fees. Rather, she had one property in each borough and did not realise that the rules forbid having two permits.

Trifling as it all sounds, the case has attracted attention from television and newspapers around the country.  Their interest was stirred not solely by the clumsy way that councils can handle a simple error, but also by a quip made by Donna’s barrister, Benn Maguire. Addressing the bemused court, he said of the presenter: ‘There was not a lot going on in her head.’  Intent on whipping up a dramatic reaction, the affable barrister warned no one that he was planning to make the remark – not even his client.

The quip quickly led to a few predictable headlines about ‘Donna Airhead’, but if she was upset she has done well to hide it. Perhaps that is unsurprising, given it was one of the tactics employed by shrewd Mr Maguire to help secure the not guilty verdict.

‘I was like, thanks for that,’ says Donna with the characteristic jolliness that has helped her forge her successful career. ‘But I’m not offended. I fully understand the point he was making, that there was not a lot going on in  my head at that time and certainly not the far-fetched, ludicrous crime I was being accused of.’

Scratch beneath her words, however, and it becomes clear that the months of strain created by a looming court appearance and the threat of a suspended prison sentence have taken their toll on the presenter.

Her experience is all the more shocking as it is a nightmare any one of us could find ourselves in over something as simple as failing to read the small print on an application form. 

In her first and only interview about the trial, Donna, who is reluctant to talk about the case and has vowed never to do so again, has spoken exclusively to The Mail on Sunday.

She says: ‘I never lied. I never tried to cover up anything. We couldn’t believe that the council’s own legal team would let it go to trial.  ‘I feel there should be steps in place to avoid cases like mine coming to trial at such huge expense to the taxpayer.’

This is a subject particularly close to her heart given that she has, she says, paid tax since she was ten years old and started her career as an actress on children’s television series Byker Grove.

Although it is not known exactly  how much the three-day trial cost, as the prosecution was ordered to pay Donna’s defence fees, she is convinced the bill reached six figures. It seems an extraordinary amount for a case that began in January last year when Donna bought a £110 resident’s parking permit.

She had recently moved to an apartment she owns in Holland Park, Kensington and Chelsea.

Previously, she had been living in Pimlico, in the borough of Westminster, but when her tenants in the Holland Park property left in a hurry without paying their rent, she decided to change her main residence. After the move she applied for a second parking permit, which she says she had no idea was against regulations.

‘I displayed both parking permits  on my windscreen at the same time, and after I moved to Kensington and Chelsea I didn’t use the Westminster parking permit again,’ says Donna, who still seems stunned at how seriously the council responded to the case.


Power-mad petty bureaucrats in Australia too

The owner and the chef of Cafe Garema just asked for advice. Now they have a large red closure sign on the window of their popular cafe in the heart of the city centre.

The ACT Health Protection Service rang owner Johnny Yang on March 30 at 3pm and told him to close the business after conducting an inspection at lunchtime.

At 4pm, health inspectors, accompanied by two police officers, turned up to the cafe and issued Mr Yang with 12 orders to be carried out before the business could reopen.

Mr Yang and chef Glenn Tranda, who has worked in the restaurant and cafe trade for about two decades, did not expect to be closed, as they had been given no warning at previous inspections.

They believe an inconsistent message from ACT Health Protection Service is partly to blame.  "They should have given us a warning, especially given that we asked for their advice," Mr Yang, who took over the cafe in June last year, said.

A health inspector had visited Cafe Garema in December. Mr Tranda said he told the inspector about a rotting floor in the upstairs food preparation and storage area - a result of rival kitchens being located underneath - and advised that it would be fixed by mid-March.  "They gave us three months to replace the floor," he said.

Then in mid-March, two weeks before the cafe closed, an inspection was conducted and Mr Yang was issued with a notice about a continued cockroach problem and a stainless steel splashback.

"They didn't find cockroaches," Mr Tranda said.  "He asked, 'How's the cockroach situation?' I said, 'Well, all the traps are still in place. I'm changing them every three days. We're spraying every day and I'm still bombing.'  "He didn't say anything further.

"Bar maybe a dirty knife on the bench, some breadcrumbs on the floor and something had spilt in the cool room just before lunch … we assumed they were the only problems we were going to have."

Mr Tranda believes the service should have provided more timely advice and given the cafe two weeks to fix many of the "five minute jobs" contained in the orders.

"Why last Friday did they make all of these decisions, when the gentleman had been here two weeks before and it says on [the notice] cockroaches and a stainless steel splashback," he said.

He said the installation of two handbasins - not raised as a problem until the day of the closure - would take a few more days as they were being ordered from Melbourne. A replacement for a broken upstairs ceiling fan would also take several days because local stores did not have the correct size.

Mr Yang and Mr Tranda hope to reopen as early as Wednesday.


Australia's war on drugs has failed too

By Nicholas Cowdery (a former public prosecutor)

Australia 21's report on drug law reform restarts a public conversation that has been dormant for many long years while the problem has persisted. It is not a blueprint (although such blueprints exist), nor a list of recommendations. When we have that conversation, the public will be able to take proposals to the politicians for their responses.

For decades we have pursued a policy of drug prohibition, with the exception of alcohol and tobacco (and caffeine). It really began in 1903. Then the US president Richard Nixon declared a "war on drugs" on June 17, 1971 - as an election campaign ploy. In 1985 Australia adopted the National Drug Strategy, built around supply reduction, demand reduction and harm reduction - all worthy pursuits - and we have had real success in reducing some harms from drugs.

But the policy of prohibition has failed. It failed in the US when they tried it for alcohol from 1920 to 1933; all that did was eliminate the beer market in favour of bootleg spirits. It failed when alcohol was prohibited to Aborigines between the 1850s and 1960s. As long as there is a demand for something - as there always has been and will be for mood-altering drugs, including alcohol and nicotine - there will always be a supply.
Advertisement: Story continues below

Suppliers of prohibited drugs take risks and they charge for that. If they are successful, they make enormous profits. So prices are inflated and consumers often steal to obtain the money with which to pay them. Criminals engage in turf wars and the corruption of law enforcement to protect their markets.

In a black market there are no product standards. Buyers do not know the quality or quantity of the drug they are buying. Because the drugs are illegal, they are consumed clandestinely - underground. The equipment used and conditions of use are often unsanitary. Users do not openly discuss it - children cannot discuss it with their parents. Support is bypassed.

The prohibition of drugs itself breeds disease, death, crime and corruption. No matter how much we have thrown at it over the decades, drugs now are more plentiful, more available, more potent and cheaper than ever before. Every large seizure just opens up a business opportunity for another criminal.

Make no mistake - drugs can be had by anyone with the price. So much for "prohibition".

When a policy is failing to produce its intended effect, what should we do? Change it, of course! But to what? That is the question.

Different drugs have different effects, are consumed in different circumstances and should be treated in different ways. That's the first problem - it is not a case of "one size fits all". We deal with alcohol and nicotine, both very harmful drugs, openly and officially. Only by legalising, regulating, controlling and taxing them can we secure any benefits.

We are having success with nicotine - the death rate has been halved in 25 years and we have yet to go to plain packaging. We have small successes with alcohol by restricting opening hours and consumption - but there are still serious harms. Bringing other drugs out into the open might not eliminate all the harm the drugs can do but it will help to address them and it will eliminate the additional harm caused by prohibition itself.

Heroin could be prescribed in Australia until 1953 - it still can be in Britain and parts of Europe, where it is used for the relief of otherwise intractable pain and for weaning addicts away from it. Better that an addict gets clean, regulated, affordable doses (a dose can be made for about $2 and we grow it in Tasmania) in an environment of support and assistance.

Cannabis also has pain-relieving properties and naturally grown marijuana is less harmful than nicotine. Regulated supplies could avoid the hydroponically enhanced and more dangerous weed - linked with mental disturbance because of its altered chemical balance.

Then it gets tricky. What to do with ecstasy? Cocaine? Amphetamines? That is why we need to have this conversation. Until we do, those drugs will also continue to be used without controls.

No responsible commentator is suggesting that all drugs should be available to everybody at the supermarket (although that would be a safer outlet than the lottery played by buyers at present). But the only way to reduce the harm presently caused by prohibition (on top of the harm of drugs) is to take the profit out of the market. The only effective way to do that is to have the state take it over.

Licences for production and distribution would be difficult to obtain and easy to lose. Control would be stringent. Age limits would apply (yes, minors do get their hands on alcohol and nicotine - no system is foolproof). Quality would be assured. Price would be cost plus marketing plus modest profit and tax (and the tax could be directed at treatment).

There would still be bootleggers, of course - chancers out for a profit. So the criminal law would still have a job to do but it would be much reduced. About 10 per cent of tobacco in Australia is bootlegged and there are laws to deal with that.

So let's get talking about it! Maybe a good starting point is to consider the Portuguese decriminalisation model. It works.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


8 April, 2012

Wear your cross every day with pride: Head of Scottish Catholics wades into crucifix row

The head of the Catholic church in Scotland has added his voice to growing calls for Christians to be allowed to express their beliefs at work.

In his Easter Sunday homily, Cardinal Keith O'Brien will urge Christians to  'wear proudly a symbol of the cross of Christ on their garments each and every day of their lives'.

Speaking at Edinburgh's St Mary's Cathedral tomorrow, he will quote Pope Benedict XVI, who said Christians 'need to be free to act in accordance with their own principles'.

He will add: 'I know that many of you do wear such a cross of Christ, not in any ostentatious way, not in a way that might harm you at your work or recreation, but a simple indication that you value the role of Jesus Christ in the history of the world, that you are trying to live by Christ's standards in your own daily life.'

His message will give further weight to a campaign led by former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey which calls on Prime Minister David Cameron to back the legal rights of Christians at work.

He will say: 'I hope that increasing numbers of Christians adopt the practice of wearing a cross in a simple and discreet way as a symbol of their beliefs.

'Easter provides the ideal time to remind ourselves of the centrality of the cross in our Christian faith.

'A simple lapel cross pin costs around £1. Since this is less than a chocolate Easter egg, I hope many people will consider giving some as gifts and wearing them with pride.'

Lord Carey wants the Prime Minister to press for greater legal protection for Christians who have been sacked for following their consciences when a group of test cases are heard by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg next month.

Four Christians are taking legal action at a landmark hearing because they believe British laws have failed to protect their human rights to wear religious symbols or opt out of gay rights legislation.

The cases include those of Shirley Chaplin, a Devon nurse banned from working on the wards after she failed to hide a cross she had worn since she was 16, and Gary MacFarlane, who was sacked as a Relate counsellor after suggesting he would refuse to provide sexual therapy to gay couples.

The judges will also examine the cases of Nadia Eweida, a check-in clerk for British Airways who was told to remove her small crucifix at work, and registrar Lilian Ladele, who lost her job at Islington town hall, North London, after refusing to officiate at civil partnerships.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: 'Wearing a religious symbol is entirely a matter for individual members of staff. We have no policy as an employer.'

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Parliament said: 'The Scottish Parliament does not have a specific policy for staff displaying religious symbols in their work attire.'

NHS Scotland advises health boards to 'conduct a full risk assessment' to ensure that their local dress code policy 'is appropriate for different categories of staff and should look to support staff in complying with both the needs of the service and any religious or cultural requirements'.


Products of Britain's welfare state don't want to work

As the country plunges into the depths of a record youth unemployment crisis - with one in four youngsters now out of work - you might expect any jobs would be snapped up within hours.

But a landlady has condemned Britain’s ‘stay-in-bed’ generation of youngsters after spending six months fruitlessly searching for trainee chef.

Despite one in six 16 to 24-year-olds currently being part of the unenviable NEET tribe - short for not in education, employment or training - Janette Harrop, 53, has been unable to fill the pub's vacancies.

She has set up five interviews every week on average, but said only half of applicants have turned up.  And those offered a job, which pays the minimum wage, have failed to show up for work.

Now Janette and husband Tom, 55, who run the Old Original pub in Scouthead, near Oldham, Greater Manchester, have criticised the culture of ‘spoiling’ youngsters with pocket money instead of instilling a basic work ethic in them.

It comes 24 hours after deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg launched the £1billion ‘youth contract’ scheme in a bid to create jobs for youngsters after figures revealed more than a million 16 to 24-year-olds are without a job, more than at any time since records began in 1992.

Mrs Harrop said: ‘Our pub is a fantastic place to work - it’s a young hard working team and another youngster would fit in and enjoy working here.  ‘But we are struggling to find that person to become an apprentice because of lack of reliability. I have to say it’s not an easy job and it’s not a doddle but it’s one you can get a lot out of and hopefully have a whole career in.

‘We’ve had about 30 people apply but barely half of those turn up for interviews. It just wastes my time as well waiting for them.  ‘After a bit you’re a bit cynical and just think they won’t turn up, so I wait 20 minutes and then I won’t wait any longer because I’m too busy.

‘Most of them just don’t turn up, they’re full of enthusiasm over the phone and then they don’t bother. Some of them you ask for a trial and they might start off okay but then they just let you down.  ‘People come to work here then realise the shifts are unsociable hours. That’s when they realise their friends are out doing other things whilst they are working. It doesn’t help and they let us down.  ‘All we want to do is give someone a chance but it’s just finding that person.’

The post as a trainee chef would involve the chance to train on a local college course so the person would be a fully qualified chef at the end.

The position includes food preparation, cooking, cleaning, learning to keep the books and at the beginning is a 30 hour week, with most mornings starting at rather leisurely 10am.

Mr and Mrs Harrop expected hordes of eager youngsters wanting to snap up the trainee chef job and advertised in local shops, the job centre, the pub itself and local colleges, last October.

But despite youth unemployment being at an all-time high the couple had just 30 people apply for the position - with only half bothering to turn up for the interview.  One hopeful blamed his lack of bus fare for not being able to come while others just never even called. When the applicants were invited for trial weeks they would often just stop coming without warning.

Janette thinks a lack of commitment to hard work and more of a focus on their social life has led to the record numbers of young people who are out of work across the country.

Mrs Harrop added: ‘Since we first advertised the job in schools, colleges and the job centre, we’ve had an average of about five interviews set up every week. I’m lucky if two of the applicants turn up.  ‘The people who have taken the job have been unreliable, claiming they’ve got no bus fare and making excuses week after week.

‘Some youngsters are only too keen to stay in bed on a work day because they have been enjoying themselves the night before and we’ve allowed them to get away with it.

‘I think we spoil our children now. In our day we had to do paper rounds or milk rounds, you got yourself prepared for work.

‘But whilst the world’s changed due to safety worries, it does make work suddenly come as a bit of a shock.

‘I think a lot of youngsters go out at night and can’t be bothered in the morning. But it’s not that early, it’s a 10am start for us - a lot of jobs are a 7am or 8 am start.

‘It is unsociable hours and we are out of the way and it is a big commitment but it’s a job.

‘I know they want to do both, going out and working, but they just can’t when it comes to the next day and getting up, they’re not fit for work.

‘We want them by the end to be a fully qualified chef. It’s like any job the money isn’t fantastic at the start but you work your way up, it’s a career.

‘We’re looking to employ someone who we can send to college. They’d be doing NVQ certificates to do the job professionally and long term. We’re offering someone the chance of further education.’

Minimum wages for apprentices start at £2.60 an hour between the aged of 16 and 19 or £3.68 hourly pay for employees aged between 16 and 17 and £4.98 for 18 to 20 year olds. Over 21s can get a minimum of £6.08.

On Tuesday Mr Clegg said youth unemployment was akin to a ‘ticking time bomb.’ His youth contract is designed to get young people ‘earning or learning.’


'It does matter how women look on TV': Former BBC correspondent Michael Cole says ageing female broadcasters should stop complaining about sexism

A former BBC correspondent has claimed that female broadcasters should stop complaining about ageism and sexism, claiming 'it does matter how you look on TV.'  Michael Cole, 69, also said producers had a right to choose presenters 'regardless of age, gender, colour or race'.

Writing exclusively in the latest edition of Press Gazette magazine, Cole said men were just as likely to suffer from discrimination at the BBC and claimed to have endured five years of rejection because he looked too young.

'I have to smile every time a middle-aged female television presenter comes out of the shrubbery complaining that her honour has been tarnished by those wicked people at the BBC who have failed to promote her, to renew her contract or, in extreme cases, sacked her,' said Cole.

'What do these women expect? It matters how you look on television. The studio lights aren't kind to ageing skin. Without exception, they all got their first jobs on the box when they were young. And they got those jobs, at least in part, because of their looks.'

Cole said producers should be free to choose presenters 'regardless of age, gender, colour or race' and argued that casting was one of the most potent factors in the success of any programme.

'The creative process should not be skewed, and the producer's freedom constrained, because any woman believes she has the right to a permanent place in a visual medium,' he said.

'There aren't any gorgons on television and with the possible exception of Patrick Moore, there aren't any strange-looking presenters either. Gargoyles are for cathedrals.'

Cole, who was a correspondent at the BBC between 1968 and 1988 and twice won Royal Television Awards for best home news story, argued that 'all of us, men and women and children, prefer to see young, good-looking people, unless we are very unusual indeed'.

He went on to claim that women were not the only victims of 'lookism', `ageism' or any other pejorative term they use when trying to hold back time and extend their television careers'.

Men were just as likely to suffer from discrimination because of the way they look, said Cole, who claimed to be the victim of prejudice 'every bit as disheartening as anything a TV sofa queen has ever had to suffer'.

Cole, who joined the Harrods and House of Fraser group as director of public affairs in 1988, said that for five years he had to endure rejection at the BBC 'not because I looked too old, but because I looked too young'.  He went to recount his struggle to land a position on the BBC desk in London, but claimed that 'unlike the women who complain of unfairness, I said nothing'.

'I know Angela Rippon, Gloria Hunniford, Anna Ford, Selina Scott and Julia Somerville,' he added. 'I have worked with them. Without exception, I like them. They are all talented broadcasters.

'Instead of complaining, women on TV should feel fortunate that they have natural gifts that men can never hope to match.'

He added: 'Look at the male news presenters: Mark Austin, Alastair Stewart, James Mates, Chris Eykin, Ben Brown, Nicholas Owen. All of them have been successful on-the-road reporters with a body of great stories to their credit.

'Consider the women news presenters: Natasha Kaplinsky, Julie Etchingham, Fiona Bruce and all the stars of breakfast television. They may do a serviceable studio interview and sometimes have to present a bulletin from abroad.

'But they are really there, on our screens, because they are attractive women who can read the teleprompter convincingly and they wear some beautiful jackets.'

The BBC declined to comment.

At the beginning of the year a tribunal ruled the BBC was guilty of ageism after axing Countryfile presenter Miriam O'Reilly.

The tribunal found that O'Reilly, 53, had been dropped because of her age and victimised by management over newspaper stories that criticised the corporation for letting older presenters go.

The BBC apologised to O'Reilly and promised to overhaul its recruitment and appointment process.


TX: Atheist Students Encourage Christians to Exchange Their Bibles for... Pornography

Atheists have ramped up their efforts to gain greater respect and prominence in American society. While there are some non-believing organizations and groups that seek to have respectful debates with religious peoples, there are others that simply seek to poke fun at and incite the faith community.

Take for instance the Atheist Agenda, a student group at the University of Texas at San Antonio. The group setup a table on campus and promised to offer an exchange to anyone interested: Hand in a Bible or religious text and receive a pornographic magazine. They dubbed the event "Smut for Smut," in an apparent effort to frame the Bible as a book with comparable connotations to pornography.

The annual event, which can be traced back to 2008, is typically carried out to bring attention to the group. However, Kyle Bush, the president of Atheist Agenda, claims that the effort is also setup to spark conversation, while spreading freethinking sentiment.

"The point is not to hand out porn, but rather the primary purpose is to get people to come talk to us so we can get our message out," Bush explained. "We want to spread atheism and bring it more to the spotlight. We offer another alternative to people who might not fit in anywhere else."

While the event has been well-covered in the past, it barely attracted attention this year. While one can certainly argue that exchanging Bibles for pornographic material is an attention-getter, there are certainly less controversial ways of sparking debate and discussion.

WORLD on Campus has more about the somewhat cool response the campus group received this year:
    The event caused an uproar on campus in 2008 and made headlines around the world. But this year, few students took notice. During the four hours Atheist Agenda members spent next to their signs each day, only about 30 people stopped by to get information about the club or start a debate. [...]

    In addition to Bibles, the group offered to collect other religious texts, including the Quran, and any books written by prominent pastors, including Joel Osteen and Rick Warren. During the event, Atheist Agenda collected five Bibles, one Encyclopedia of Islam, and one Quran. The group plans to donate the books to a local library.

    Despite the event's ability in previous years to attract attention for atheism, Bush said the group didn't have any financial backers outside its student members. The group raised all of the money needed to put on the event themselves, he said. One of the group's fundraisers included selling popsicles.

Considering that organizers needed to purchase signs, pornography and other essentials, the students had to pitch in to make the event happen. The group apparently purchased 140 pounds of smut magazines for only $30 on CraigsList.

There was mixed reaction to the Atheist Agenda's anti-Bible effort. While some disagreed fervently, many still felt as though it was the students' right to hold an event based on their beliefs (or lack thereof). Nearby, members of the school's Victory and Praise Choir sang worship songs and prayed in an effort to make their presence - and stance against the event - known.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


7 April, 2012

Intolerant homosexuals

Tolerance is a one-way street for them
The owner of "Hands On Originals," a well-known t-shirt company in the region, declined to print the shirts for the city's Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) because it would conflict with their Christian convictions.

The privately owned company is now accused of violating Lexington's Fairness Act - which protects people and organizations from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

An attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund who is representing the T-shirt company says:
"No business owner should be forced to violate his conscience simply because someone demands it," he said. "The Constitution absolutely supports the rights of business owners to decline a request to support a message that conflicts with their deeply held convictions."

But the city says:
"Hands On Originals" will be "required by law to participate in the investigation."

"We have subpoena power and have the backing of the law," he said. "We are a law enforcement agency and people have to comply."

Should the company be found guilty of discriminating against the homosexuals Sexton said they could be subjected to fines.

Yes, friends, a city has a "human rights commission" which is considered a "law enforcement agency" that can force compliance with a law that would do precisely what the ADF lawyer claims it shouldn't have the power to do.

You'd think there'd be a solution that could be reached well before this is escalated to the use of government coercion, doesn't it?  That is if all the GLSO wanted to do was buy T-shirts.  And, a solution was offered:
GLSO wanted "Hands On Original" to print shirts for the city's fifth annual Lexington Pride Festival. The store offered to find another company that would honor its price - but that wasn't good enough for the GLSO.

"Our feeling on that is, separate but equal wasn't okay during the civil rights movement and it's not okay now," Aaron Baker told the television station. Baker is board president of GLSO.

That's right, it is agenda time.  This isn't about T-shirts at all.  It's about forcing their one-way version of tolerance on someone.  The irony is that GLSO appears to have absolutely no tolerance for the principles of the owners of the T-shirt company.

Which set me to wondering.  Here's a hypothetical for you.  What if the owner of the T-shirt company was gay?  And what if Westboro Baptist Church placed an order for 10 dozen T-shirts which said "God hates faggots" on them? What if the T-shirt shop owner refused the order because of his principles?

Same reaction?  I'd guess no.  In fact, I'd guess precisely the opposite reaction.

The T-shirt company owner wrote an op-ed for the paper explaining his point of view:
"I decided to pass on the opportunity because, as a Christian owner, I cannot in good conscience endorse groups or events that run counter to my convictions," Adamson wrote in the op-ed.

Adamson, who has been in business for more than 20 years, wrote that he "does not expect, or even ask, people to agree with my view."

"All I ask for people is to respect my right as an owner to not produce a product that is contrary to my principles," he wrote.

Adamson called on people to stand up for the rights of small business owners not "to be forced into producing a product with a message that conflicts with their beliefs and consciences."

The reaction was anything but tolerant or understanding of a differing view:
"Hands On Originals" has faced a barrage of attacks since the accusations were made public. More than 2,000 people have joined a boycott movement on Facebook. Another group is trying to buy the company's mortgage so they can be evicted.

The Fayette County public school system placed a temporary hold on buying t-shirts from the company until the issue is resolved. The University of Kentucky is also reviewing its future business with the t-shirt maker.

Even Lexington's openly gay mayor has condemned the privately-owned t-shirt company, telling the Lexington Herald-Leader "People don't have patience for this sort of attitude today."

"I'm against discrimination, period," Gray said in a statement released to television station WKYT. "It's bad for business and bad for the city. I support the Human Rights Commission in a full and thorough investigation." 

Real tolerance is apparently unacceptable.  The hypocrisy of GLSO is palpable.  And trying to use the coercive power of government is disgusting.

Tolerance isn't a one-sided principle. If one wants people to tolerate their beliefs and lifestyle, it is incumbent upon them to do the same for others. If they actually believe in true tolerance, that is.

What is clear here is GLSO doesn't.

More disgusting, at least to me, is the inclusion of this ridiculous city level "human rights commission" as a law enforcement agency and it's obvious intent to force "compliance" against the conscience and principles of the owner. 

There was a problem (GLSO wanted T-shirts, T-shirt company refused due to conscience), an offered solution (T-shirt company offers to find another producer at same price) which was reasonable and a rejection of that solution because the group has an political agenda and wishes to force the company to violate its principles and conscience.  And which side does government take?

The side that wants to use its coercive power to force that violation.


Britain's featherbrained equalities minister

Lynne Featherstone is no Einstein. To say the Equalities Minister is of average parliamentary intelligence might be stretching the evidence. Even her colleagues in the Liberal Democrat party call her ‘Lynne Featherbrain’.

She is by some distance the Coalition Government’s weakest link. Television quiz show piranha Anne Robinson would make very, very short work of her.

It may, therefore, be regarded as a misfortune for the Government that this gum-brained specimen, this most palpable parliamentary dingbat, is the officer in charge of two hot political controversies (gay marriage and the right of Christians to wear a cross at work), which has put her at loggerheads with the Anglican and Catholic Churches.

In this confrontation, she resembles a nocturnal nudist caught in the headlights of a speeding lorry — part-comical, part agonising, likely to end in a squeal of brakes and nasty bruises.

Mrs Featherstone is in an intellectual muddle, though she does not seem to know it. Well, there’s a surprise! On gay marriage, the divorced mother of two presents herself as the champion of tolerance. Yet on the wearing of crosses, she is completely the opposite — so intolerant that she is using Government lawyers to fight her corner.

As the Mail discloses today, the latest legal document dispatched by her ministry dares to state crosses aren’t even part of Christian observance — and that if anyone wants to wear a cross at work where they are outlawed, well, tough, they can simply find another job. Not even Norman Tebbit in his heyday was that blunt.

The case is part of the Government’s fight in the European Court of Human Rights arguing against the right of Christians to wear a cross at work.

It involves two cases: a British Airways check-in assistant who was suspended after refusing to remove her small cross; and a nurse from Exeter who was not allowed to work on hospital wards unless she took off the cross she wore on a necklace.

In opposing these church-going women, Mrs Featherstone is going to the European Court of Human Rights (one of her favourite outfits) to argue against, of all bodies, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (another of her pet state organisations for which she has ministerial responsibility). The Commission, run by her old and very good friend Trevor Phillips, is supporting the rights of Christians.

What a tangle. Government minister fights state quango in a foreign court that we help to fund. British taxpayers are being stiffed at each and every expensive turn of the saga. And all concerning an invented controversy over tiny crosses that offend no one.

So who is this ‘Featherbrain’? Who created this embarrassment? Why is she still a minister? Though she was born in 1951, some feel she looks younger. Some might attribute her youthfulness to natural bounce or the redeeming qualities of whatever seaweed-yoghurty unguent the intensely fashion-conscious Lynne slaps on her pelt of an evening before retiring to her candle-scented lair.

Mrs Featherstone, who is of Jewish stock and whose family made its fortune from the Ryness electrical shops, is Lib Dem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, a London seat previously held by an able (but unglamorous) Labour minister, Barbara Roche.

Mrs Featherstone’s 7,000 majority is testament to her skill as a local campaigner. She is regarded as a ‘good constituency MP’. But ‘good constituency MPs’ do not always, or often, make good ministers.

She owes her ministerial job officially to Nick Clegg, who had responsibility for picking the Lib Dem ministers once the Coalition was formed in 2010.

She and Mr Clegg are not particularly close, though. One hears that the Deputy PM views her as a liability and regrets not giving the job to someone with a bit less cotton-wool between her ears. Mrs Featherstone supported Chris Huhne in the Lib Dem leadership election, running his campaign. With such an intellect in command of his push for votes, it is perhaps no wonder the poor chap lost.

Now that Mr Huhne is out of Government (while he fights motoring offence charges), Mrs Featherstone may be vulnerable.

There are many Lib Dem MPs who think they could do the job better than her. Her stance on Christianity, while classically metropolitan, is unlikely to endear her to David Cameron in the week he spoke of a ‘Christian fightback’.

Her handling of the gay weddings controversy has been clumsy. Asserting her determination to have gay marriage on the statute book by 2015, she has attacked Church leaders for fanning ‘the flames of homophobia’ in the way some of them have opposed gay marriage. She went out of her way to proclaim her ‘liberalism’ and to deplore the ‘inflammatory language’ of bishops.

Speaking as one who happens to be relaxed about gay marriage, I would respectfully suggest that the ‘flame-fanning’ may have been done by the Government in coming up with this policy in the first place.

Perhaps that was the whole point of it, strategically, for the Coalition. Perhaps the Government intended to provoke a reaction from the Churches. That would ratchet up the controversy — and show opinion-formers at the BBC and in the Left-wing Press how ‘go-ahead’ and liberal the Government is.

A charitable reading of Lynne Featherstone might be that simply by occupying that berth at the Home Office, she helps to remind the voters, albeit in a daffy way, that this Government is a Centrist enterprise and not some extreme Tory regime.

But with tame Christians being tormented by the Government machine, there surely comes a time when the Featherstone joke has gone far enough. David Cameron and Nick Clegg must surely realise that the presence of such a lame performer in their junior ranks brings discredit to Parliament and makes Her Majesty’s Government look foolish.


BBC bias again

How many listeners, I wonder, were as baffled as I was by one of the main items on yesterday morning’s Today programme on BBC Radio 4, which went on to lead the nine o’clock news?

Clearly, the show’s producers believed they had stumbled on a shocking case of ministerial wrongdoing. But whichever way I looked at it, the only surprising thing they appeared to have uncovered was that a minister had done the job he’s paid for — and done it quickly, cheaply and well, for a change.

Indeed, I believe this was an absolutely classic example of the BBC’s semi-conscious bias — a textbook illustration of the way in which it moulds its reporting to fit its own world view, while only half-realising that it is saying anything controversial. But I’ll let you be the judge of that.

For those who missed it, the item began with a woman reporter telling us that back in February, an unnamed Downing Street source had been quoted as saying that Health Secretary Andrew Lansley should be ‘taken out and shot’ for his handling of the NHS reforms.

‘It was quickly contradicted by No 10,’ she intoned (balance, you see), ‘but this was a very low point for the Secretary of State for Health.’  Then, in a voice laden with accusation and ironic intent, she added: ‘Two weeks later, the headlines were much better.’

What had brought about this transformation, tut-tutted Today’s Sanchia Berg, was Mr Lansley’s response to a newspaper investigation that found doctors in specialist clinics (I’ll tell you which type in a moment) were systematically breaking the law on an epic scale.

First, he wrote an article warning health professionals that they were ‘not above the law’ (how dare he, eh?). Then he asked the official regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), to conduct snap investigations of 300 of these clinics over three days.

Sure enough, the regulator found that 50 were in criminal breach of their statutory duty to their patients. The police are investigating and several doctors have been referred to the General Medical Council for possible disciplinary action.

Are you shocked, yet, by Mr Lansley’s behaviour? Nor me. But now we reach the nub of the BBC’s charge against him.

Through a Freedom of Information request, Ms Berg tells us — and I wonder who tipped off Today to ask — the Corporation has obtained a letter from the chairwoman of the CQC to the finance director of the Department of Health.

In it, Dame Jo Williams complains that the Secretary of State’s urgent request for the investigation of the clinics meant nearly 600 planned inspections of care homes and hospitals would have to be ‘forgone’ (by which she must surely have meant postponed).

The request had had a ‘considerable impact’ on the regulator’s capacity to deliver its targets, she says. Furthermore, it cost an estimated £1 million (which the Health Department says Mr Lansley would have given her, if only she’d asked).

In case listeners were too thick to see what the BBC was driving at, Today’s producers helpfully wheeled on the Shadow Health Secretary to make the point for them.

Andy Burnham duly accused Mr Lansley of wasting money and disrupting the CQC’s work of safeguarding the vulnerable. And all for the sake of ‘chasing headlines’ to redeem his reputation after the disaster of the NHS reforms.

So far, so strange. A newspaper uncovers widespread criminality in health clinics. The minister responsible requests an immediate investigation, which takes only three days and costs a mere £1 million — less than one ten-millionth of the Health Department’s £105 billion budget.

The scandal is stamped out, the guilty face punishment . . . and instead of patting the Health Secretary on the back, the BBC swoops down on him like an avenging angel, flaming with wrath.

Indeed, the tone is set from the very opening words of the report, with that spurious reminder that someone had said the poor fellow should be taken out and shot. In my trade, this kind of reporting is known as a ‘hatchet job’. The question is: why is Auntie so angry with Mr Lansley?

I reckon I know exactly why. For unless I’m much mistaken, the one and only reason why the BBC went for Mr Lansley’s throat and thought it worth leading its news bulletins with the story is that the criminal behaviour on which he clamped down with such swiftness and efficiency was taking place in abortion clinics. And as we all know, the free availability of abortions is a central tenet of progressive thought, and therefore of the BBC.

The law states clearly that before a termination can take place, a consent form must be signed by the pregnant woman’s supervising consultant and a second professional, who has either seen her or studied her case history. This is partly so that no woman should go through what can be a traumatic procedure without first having discussed it with somebody qualified, who knows about her.
It's almost as though the 'progressive' BBC can't imagine that anyone would oppose the free availability of abortions

It's almost as though the 'progressive' BBC can't imagine that anyone would oppose the free availability of abortions

The Press investigation found, and the CQC confirmed, that in many clinics, doctors who knew nothing about the patient were leaving stacks of pre-signed forms for others to fill in her details. In other words, they were offering abortion on demand, which is banned by law.


Homosexual politician attacks British  Government plans to allow same-sex couples to "marry"

One of Britain's first openly gay MPs has criticised Government plans to allow same-sex couples to get married as a petition opposing the move has attracted more than 400,000 signatures.

Former Labour minister Ben Bradshaw said the controversial move was 'pure politics' and insisted that Britain's gay community did not need the word 'marriage'.

His comments came as the petition on the No 10 website which supports keeping the institution of marriage between husbands and wives went over the 400,000 mark.

The petition, launched by the Coalition for Marriage (C4M), has now been signed by more people than voted in last year's local elections in either Birmingham or Manchester.

Mr Bradshaw, who is in a civil partnership, said that Mr Cameron was pushing through the plans in a bid to show how the Conservative party has modernised.

He told the Washington Post: 'This is more of David Cameron trying to drag the Conservatives kicking and screaming into the modern world.'

Mr Bradshaw insisted that Labour would support the plans, but he added: 'This is pure politics on their part. This isn't a priority for the gay community, which already won equal rights with civil partnerships.

'We've never needed the word "marriage", and all it's done now is get a bunch of bishops hot under the collar. We've been pragmatic, not making the mistake they have in the U.S., where the gay lobby has banged on about marriage.'

MPs are to be given a free vote on the plans in an attempt to stop a revolt by Tory traditionalists who are furious over the idea, which they say will redefine the institution of marriage.

The Government launched a consultation on the gay marriage plan, which could see the term 'husband and wife' officially axed from marriage laws, last month.

Scotland's Roman Catholic leader Cardinal Keith O'Brien recently caused controversy when the said gay marriage went against 'natural law'.

A recent poll by ComRes found that 70 per cent of the public believe the Government should keep the current definition of marriage.

Colin Hart, C4M's campaign director, said: 'The campaign is going from strength to strength and there is no sign of a slowdown in the number people adding their names to the petition.

'I welcome the comments by Mr Bradshaw, who has hit the nail on the head when he said that the Government is playing "pure politics" with this issue.

'Civil Partnerships already give the same legal rights to same sex couples that marriage gives to heterosexual couples. This squashes the Government's major argument for forcing through this change.'



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


6 April, 2012

More on the Samantha  Brick furore

The furore seems to be ramping up rather than dying down so I thought I might put up an email from a lady who read my comments yesterday
I have just read your response to the widespread ridicule and damnation of journalist Samantha Brick.

Bless you; I could not agree more wholeheartedly. My husband and I were dismayed at the vitriolic response.

Mrs Brick described herself as attractive; her confident assertion was clearly a taboo.

Many people would indeed be drawn strongly to those classic style indicators of attractiveness: tallness, slimness and blondeness. Add a high heel and a pretty skirt and hey! Presto. Plenty of colour and movement abounds, attracting ample male attention.

As a tallish, slimmish, blonde woman who often dons heels and red lipstick, I understand and agree with Mrs Brick’s points. I have had many similar experiences (to those she described).

I submit Mrs Brick’s crime was to break the unspoken pledge of sisterhood by referring to herself positively. We women bond by exposing our own flaws, together… we compare and contrast. And nothing creates a sense of solidarity as rapidly as joining forces to rip a pretty woman to shreds. Observe, if you will, a table of women being served by a gorgeous young waitress. The more wine that is consumed, the ruder and more hostile they become to her.

Should some men be present at the table, the waitress will likely be left a generous tip, motivated in part by a sense of apology. I have watched a number of times, though, as the men leave the table first in order to arrange taxis and so forth. And I have seen the last lady at the table look around furtively, scoop up the notes and shove them in her purse before skittering away.

There are a trillion examples. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for defending Mrs Brick.

British PM  calls for a 'Christian fightback' over attempts to ban wearing crosses and town hall prayers

David Cameron has issued a rallying call for a 'Christian fightback' against attempts to ban the wearing of crosses and town hall prayers.

The Prime Minister – who joked that he had felt like he 'needed someone to pray for me' during  the recent rocky period for the Government – used a pre-Easter meeting with church leaders to say Britain needed the values of the Bible more than ever.

He issued a public plea for them not to 'fall out' with the Government over plans to allow gay marriage.

Mr Cameron quoted from the Gospel of St Luke to suggest Christian values could create a happier and better society for everyone. He also signalled that he wants a big expansion of faith-based education, saying he would 'celebrate links between churches and schools, indeed mosques and schools and synagogues and schools'.

His celebration of the religious and moral code of the Bible is notable, as leading politicians have shied away from using religious rhetoric and arguments in recent decades.

Tony Blair, for example, was talked out of doing so by spin doctor Alastair Campbell, who told him: 'We don't do God.'

Mr Cameron's decision to 'do God' so overtly will be seen in part as an attempt to reach out to the Christian Right in his party after the most difficult period of his leadership, including a badly received Budget and the petrol crisis.

His intervention is also an attempt to defuse a row with church leaders over plans to allow gay marriage in civil ceremonies. He told church representatives gathered at Number Ten: 'I hope we won't fall out too much over gay marriage. There'll be some strong arguments and some strong words.'

Mr Cameron sought to reassure his audience that the proposals would 'change what happens in a register office, not what happens in a church'.

Addressing recent attempts to ban crucifixes and public prayer, Mr Cameron said, pumping his fist in the air: 'I think there's something of a fightback going on, and we should welcome that.

'The values of the Bible – the values of Christianity – are the values that we need.'

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has warned that Christians face gradual marginalisation, after Bideford council in Devon was banned by a court from opening its meetings with prayers.  Mr Cameron cited the case yesterday, pointing out that the Government had responded by amending the law.

He is also insisting the law will be changed if necessary to allow Christians to wear crosses at work.

In a case due to be heard by the European Court of Human Rights, BA check-in clerk Nadia Eweida and nurse Shirley Chaplin claim they were discriminated against when their employers barred them from wearing crosses.

The claims of both women that they have a right to wear a cross – under European human rights rules – have been rejected by British courts.  But a source said: 'The Prime Minister has made it clear that his view is that people should be able to wear crosses.

'The Government is obliged to pass on the judgment of the UK courts, but that does not mean we agree with it and if the ECHR does uphold the ban we will consider what further action we must take.  'We could potentially change the law, though our view is that the existing Equality Act gives people the right already.'

Mr Cameron and his family are regular churchgoers, although they do not worship every Sunday. They send their older children to a Church of England school in London that requires parents to be active in the church community.


Retired British man  is thrown off his beloved gardening plot by council in case he hurts his hip and sues

Health and safety has become a pretext for a huge torrent of bureaucratic oppression of people in Britain

Carefully tending his runner beans was one of the greatest pleasures of his twilight years.  But now the local council has banned pensioner Arthur Martin from his beloved allotment – in case he breaks his hip and sues.

Councillors say allowing the 73-year-old to look after his vegetable plot would pose too great a health and safety risk.  They have given the grandfather of nine just three weeks to give up his allotment.

Last night Mr Martin, who has been tending the plot for six years, said: ‘The allotment is one of my great pleasures in life. I can manage the gardening just fine.’

The former miner received a ‘bullying’ letter from Eastwood Town Council, in Nottinghamshire, earlier this month ordering him off the plot. The extraordinary note stated the council were ‘aware’ he had hip problems and demanded a medical assessment to prove he was fit enough to garden.

‘It’s ludicrous,’ said Mr Martin. ‘I’ve not been given any information on the health and safety rules that I have supposedly broken.’  Mr Martin uses his plot to grow potatoes, runner beans, peas, onions, cucumbers and strawberries with his wife Jean, 72.

‘The allotment gives me a great deal of pleasure,’ he said.  ‘After I retired, it gave me something to do with my hands and my mind.’

Mr Martin, chairman of the local allotment society, had a hip replacement in 2007, which was replaced again 18 months ago.  He added: ‘I struggle a little at the end of the season when you have to turn all the soil over, so I asked a friend to help me.  ‘But apparently that is a problem – it’s just pure petty-mindedness.’

On Monday night, the leader of Eastwood town council David Bagshaw said he had told Mr Martin to get off his plot.  He added. ‘I don’t want this guy’s hip to pop out again due to neglect from this council.’   Mr Bagshaw was unavailable for further comment last night.


Truth Be Told

Amil Imani

Are you fed up with numerous daily horrific acts that are clearly committed under the banner of Islam throughout the world? Are you tired of hearing it? Well, so am I. However, I have to inform you that it is only going to get worse before it finally disappears into the dustbin of history. The savagery and variety of actions of Islamic extremists are seen daily around the globe committed under the banner of Islam, have become so commonplace that the world has come to view them as the normal part and parcel of a troubled humanity. And, from time-to-time, the world is shocked into a passing and momentary realization of the evil deeds these Islamist robots commit and quickly gets over it and does nothing to seriously address this affliction of humanity.

Numerous criminal acts are also committed on a daily basis, by non-Muslims. The critical difference is that non-Muslim criminals do not hoist a religious banner to justify their misdeeds, while Muslims proudly claim that they commit their heinous acts in obedience to the dictates of their religious faith.

Humanity is facing a deeply troubling dilemma. On the one hand is the desire of enlightened people whose aim it is to forge a world of diverse people into one universal society ruled by peace and justice for everyone while, on the other, Islamists are hell-bent on imposing their Stone-Age system on everyone. Tellingly, the Muslims themselves are at one another’s throat regarding which of dozens of Islamic sects’ dogma should rule.

Right from the start, violence served as the engine of Islam under the command and supervision of Muhammad himself. For one, the Prophet’s son-in-law cousin, Ali, was titled the Commander of the Faithful for his unsurpassed feats of butchery. Ali with the assistance of one or two of his thugs, beheaded some seven hundred captives, most of them Jews, in only one day. This man, highly esteemed by the prophet of Allah, had a sword that had its own name—Zolfaquar. Ali’s portrait, holding the menacing sword, adorns the homes and shops throughout Shi’a’-lands. And the Shiites, at the same level as Muhammad, revere Muhammad’s executioner, Imam Ali.

On the Sunni side, Muhammad’s co-revered is Umar, another unabashed killer of untold numbers. And of course the choice weapon of these champions of the religion of peace was the sword. And to this day, a sword adorns the flag of the birthplace of the religion of peace, Saudi Arabia.

And Islam, by the nature of its very doctrine, appeals to man’s base nature. It promotes intolerance, hatred, discrimination, and much more:

Qur’an:61:2 “O Muslims, why say one thing and do another? Grievously odious and hateful is it in the sight of Allah that you say that which you do not. Truly Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in a battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure.

Truth be told as bitter as it may be. Islam is a violent ideology. Islam is anything but a religion of peace. Violence is at the very core of Islam. Violence is institutionalized in the Muslim’s holy book, the Quran, in many suras:

Qur’an:9:5 “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.”
Qur’an:9:112 “The Believers fight in Allah’s cause; they slay and are slain, kill and are killed.”

Qur’an:8:39 “So fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief [non-Muslims]) and all submit to the religion of Allah alone (in the whole world).”

Qur’an:8:65 “O Prophet, urge the faithful to fight. If there are twenty among you with determination they will vanquish two hundred; if there are a hundred then they will slaughter a thousand unbelievers, for the infidels are a people devoid of understanding.”

Truth is not always welcome and can often be greatly disturbing. But truth is the best weapon against evil and falsehood. When I point out the horrific teachings of the Quran, I don't make them up. I cite surahs from their holy book, surahs that exhort Muslims to carry out all kinds of evil deeds against non-Muslims. This book of Allah is a license to kill. When I point out that Muhammad set terrible examples for his followers by his own deeds, I cite from their own sources to document my assertion.

Is there anyone in this messed-up world who doesn't read, see, or hear about the daily Islamic atrocities performed by these savages, with every act justified on the basis of Allah's holy book?

Qur'an 8:12 "I shall terrorize the infidels. So wound their bodies and incapacitate them because they oppose Allah and His Apostle."

Self-described doctors of Islamic ideology universally practice sugarcoating the cult of Islam. They keep ranting about the importance of accepting things on faith, denigrate reason, dangle carrots and sticks, and demand unconditional surrender in return for guaranteed bliss and salvation. The masses toe the line, support the clergy’s lavish parasitic lifestyle and the charade continues. It works like a charm. Use the Jihad of the sword when it can and use the “Soft Jihad” until the sword can be unsheathed to finish the job. And don’t forget, the end justifies any and all means, Islam apologists keep on preaching to the hordes.

Islam apologists never present the naked face of Islam. They never speak of the Islam that thrives on hate, throws acid in the face of women who fail to don the hijab or girls going to school; flogging people for sporting non-Islamic haircuts,  stoning to death, violators of sexual norms and other forms of Islamic brutalities such as Honor Killing. They never talk about institutionalized pedophilia in Islam.

Moderate Muslims' dilemma

In my opinion, cultural Muslims (Muslims in name only), or better known in the west as “Moderate Muslims” are a wavering segment who are caught between their imprinted belief in Islam, their disillusionment and problem with many aspects of the secular society, and their personal fantasies.

These people will continue wavering and reach for any straw to balance themselves. Not an easy task. Being a Muslim, no matter how little a Muslim, gives these vast number of people, many bewildered and overwhelmed by modern life's complexities and contradictions, a kind of refuge. They yearn for safety, for immortality of the soul if not the body; they want all the pleasures of physical life, yet they want to make sure that they are also providing for the life after death by pleasing Allah. So, as you can surmise, this whole thing is extremely complicated. It is a most difficult task to give up the concocted and imaginary life vest that Islam seems to provide for these people. They have nothing else to grab onto.

Another religion? Would it be any better? Would it serve them both in this world and the next? Would it relieve their personal existentialistic crises? These are all tough issues. Most humans need to believe in something. Something bigger than themselves, something that would give them, or at least hold the promise of granting them, their wishes at little cost.

Religion of one form or another seems to be the most attractive source for the masses to turn to. Of course there are other sources. Many to be sure. Yet, all exact a price. Becoming a nihilist, for instance, and not believing in anything and leading life on a moment-to-moment basis is one way to go. A life that is akin to a rudder-less ship that drifts in circles until it sinks. This kind of life is extremely disturbing to the person and may lead him to resort to auxiliary activities such as excessive drinking, use of mind-numbing drugs, sexual promiscuity, and much more.

Yet, for one and all, there is a price to pay. Humans seem to be unable to exist in a psychological and spiritual vacuum. They need to believe in something to maintain a degree of sanity and stability. Islam provides a degree of this highly sought stability and security. For this reason, leaving it altogether, even for the highly educated and for a person who knows better, and is extremely difficult.

It is indeed baffling to me that a particular tyrannical group of fanatics claim to represent the Creator of all and pass judgment who is to live in peace and who is to suffer horrific treatments. This mentality is the ultimate form of arrogance and the world must confront and erase it by a united effort. Enough is enough. This is the 21st century and people all over the world must be afforded the freedom to lead their lives, pray as they like, and be protected under fair laws.

It is truly sad that these people are driven by a horrific lower nature trait of hate. Love is alien to them, justice only limited to their own, and tolerance is something that they have nothing to do with. Sad, very sad indeed. They are like bats — beasts of darkness. They hate the light of love. How sad, indeed. We should do what Christ said: Pray for them, for they do not know better.

In short, Islam is busy with what it did from the time of its birth, fighting non-Muslims and infighting. Truth be told: Violence is the animating force of Islam. Islam is a religion born through violence, raised by violence; it thrives on violence and dies without violence.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


5 April, 2012

In defence of Samantha Brick

This subject is not my line of country at all but  a claim by Mrs Brick has sparked a huge internet furore so I thought I might add a little more to it.  You can read about it all here or here

Basically, Mrs Brick says that it can sometimes be a handicap to be good looking.  Now she doesn't look remarkably attractive to me but these are matters of taste and it appears that in her experience her looks have caused jealousy among other women and  unwanted attention from men.  I am sure there are many attractive women who would report similarly and I have myself known one very attractive woman who had exactly that problem.  And it was as disturbing to her equilibrium as it apparently is to Mrs Brick.

So what Mrs Brick said seemed  perfectly reasonable and even commonplace to me.

So why the furore?  I guess that you are not supposed to say such things.  It crosses a politically correct boundary. Not only are all men equal but all women are equal in looks too, apparently.  Feminists certainly bridle at displays of feminine pulchritude at times.

I certainly think that people were entitled to say that Mrs Brick is not in fact pretty.  From what I can see, I think her looks are middling myself.  But to condemn and abuse her for raising the subject is egregious and -- I can find no other word for it  -- bitchy.

Mrs Brick comes out of the affair looking (in the sense of character) far better than any of her detractors.

British police investigate local newspaper over claims billboard poster about gypsy site 'incited racial hatred'

Gypsies are very prone to petty crime so disquiet about their  proximity is entirely reasonable

A local newspaper is being investigated by police for allegedly 'inciting racial hatred' over a billboard headline about a proposed gypsy camp.

Officers have handed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) about the Western Mercury's billboard poster - reading 'Gypsies could be on your doorstep' - which had been placed outside newsagents across its circulation area.  The Somerset newspaper has since apologised and removed the 'inappropriate' billboards.

However, the CPS is now deciding whether to press charges after being handed a file compiled by police after they interviewed 'witnesses' following the complaint.

The offending poster was reported to police by local Green Party councillor Tom Leimdorfer after he spotted it outside his local shop in Congresbury, north Somerset.  He said: 'I was horrified when I saw it. It was clearly inflammatory.

'If the headline had been about black people or Muslims it would quite clearly not have been acceptable. So why should this be any different?  'In my ward we have a community of about 200 Romany gypsy residents - some of whom have been here for generations.

'There is a difference between saying gypsy camp planned - which would be factual - and gypsies could be on your doorstep which is connecting with people’s fears.'

However a spokesman for the Campaign Against Political Correctness said: 'I think most people would be horrified to think that something like this could result in criminal charges.

'They have apologised and people should be grown up enough to recognise that. It is concerning that they could be prosecuted for a headline in a newspaper.

'A lot of people might think that resources in the police could be better spent at this time too, rather than investigating this.'

The row erupted over billboards which were placed outside shops in the area on March 22.   The headline related to the front-page story on the Weston Mercury on March 22 relating to proposed gypsy sites on the outskirts of Weston-super-Mare.  A different headline - reading 'Gypsy camps right next door to new homes' - was used in the newspaper, which has not prompted any complaints.

The story concerned proposals by North Somerset Council to persuade developers to build travellers' camps alongside housing developments on the Weston Villages development.

Cllr Leimdorfer, 69, a district councillor for Congresbury, ripped down the poster outside his local shop before calling Avon and Somerset Police to complain under the Race Relations Act - and also reporting himself for theft.

The Weston Mercury, a weekly paper with a circulation of 16,000, apologised and removed they billboard as soon as editors were made aware of the complaint.  They also published a letter from Cllr Leimdorfer in the following week’s edition and printed an apology on page 3 titled ‘Promotional poster’.  It conceded that the wording on the poster was 'inappropriate' and may have 'caused offence'.

Cllr Leimdorfer, who was interviewed by the police, has since said he does not wish the newspaper to be prosecuted.  But despite this, officers have now handed a file over to the Crown Prosecution Service, which will now decide whether to press formal charges.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: 'On March 22 police recieved a number of complaints about a poster being used to advertise the Weston Mercury.  'Police officers made contact with the newspaper, which had also been contacted by a complainant.  'The newspaper had taken the decision to withdraw its posters with immediate effect.

'They subsequently issued an apology in next week’s edition as well as a letter from the original complainant.  'The matter has been referred to the Crown Prosecution Service.'

The Weston Mercury, which is owned by the Archant newspaper group, declined to comment on the matter.


Australia: Politically correct court puts toddler  in danger

A MOTHER with a troubled past has won access to her daughter, 2, after a court ruled concerns for the girl's safety had to be balanced against her right to know her indigenous culture.

The girl has been cared for by her non-Aboriginal father since she was five months old, after her Aboriginal mother was admitted to hospital with drug-induced psychosis.

Three other children of the woman, who has a history of drug abuse, violence and mental illness, live with a previous partner and his family.

"(The father) continues to hold many concerns about the mother's mental health and her propensity to abuse a wide variety of substances ... to help her deal with stresses and problems in her life," the Federal Magistrates Court said.  "He believes the mother has a flawed level of insight into the responsibilities of being a parent.

"More importantly, he is fearful there will always remain the possibility the mother will have a relapse of her mental illness and this (could) pose a significant threat to (the girl's) wellbeing, both in a psychological and physical sense."

The mother argued the father was once also a heavy user of cannabis, and was "controlling" and had used a family violence order to shut her out of her girl's life.

The court ordered the mother have access to her daughter for four days a month, rising to six days when she turns three.

Magistrate Stewart Brown said he had reservations about the stability of the mother's home and the durability of her recovery from substance abuse.

"The essential nub of the case is how best to balance (the girl's) need for security and safety ... with her right to maintain and enjoy strong cultural connections to the indigenous peoples to whom she is matrilineally related," Mr Brown said.

"The mother ... argues that (the girl), as an Aboriginal child, needs to be with other relatives who similarly identify, so she can be exposed to strong role models who will assist (her) to understand who she is culturally.  "Given the contemporary history of this country, these are significant and compelling concerns."

Mr Brown said changes to family law in 2006 recognised racism was prevalent, particularly towards Aborigines.


Modern Anti-Semitism Has Found a "Good" Cause

The serial killer in France that shot 3 little children coming out of school, one of them an 8-year-old girl that was grabbed by her hair and shot in the head to make sure she was really dead, just wanted justice. As far as he's concerned, he was "avenging the deaths of Palestinian children," and he did it by murdering some Jews.

Is this some kind of novelty? Not really. For one reason or another, anti-Semitism has been around for more than 2,000 years. But let's not go back that far into history -- in the past century, Jews have suffered discrimination, pogroms, demonic rumors that everyone believed, and of course -- the Holocaust. What's happening today is just another wave in a sea of hatred that has been around for very long.

I'd like to clarify in advance, that I do not mean to underplay Palestinian rights or to say they don't deserve a state, because they most certainly do. But it's very comfortable for some people to overlook the facts and just plain hate Israel for Palestinian suffering. It doesn't seem to matter if the reasons are
solid or not. If you'd like to know what I'm talking about, here are a few examples:

1. It's awful when Palestinian children get killed, but many choose not to understand what's behind the other side of the fence. Hamas uses children as human shields -- it shoots at Israeli cities from schools, hospitals and kindergartens. Hamas teaches toddlers to wear suicide bombs and makes them believe blowing themselves up in public places is noble and holy. These children are used to armed fighting from a very young age, but no one seems to be bothered about children being used as an army. Why?

2. Israeli peace offers have been rejected by the Palestinian leaders time and time again. Generous peace offers for 96 percent of all the territories in question and equal land-swaps for the rest, have been offered to the Palestinian leaders at least two times. Is it really a state they want? Because they could have had one long ago.

3. In 1948, after Israel had been invaded by all its neighboring Arab countries that wanted its annihilation before it was even born, as a result of the war, about 600,000 refugees fled into neighboring Arab countries. At the very same time, about 600,000 Jews were expelled penniless from neighboring Arab countries and settled in Jewish Israel. They never went back or asked for any of their property. The Palestinian refugees, on the other hand, never became citizens in countries such as Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and are being discriminated there by law until today. No one seems to care about their situation.

4. The worst breaches of human rights towards Palestinians are made by their own regime: Gaza is ruled by Sharia law, meaning women can be murdered for the honor of the family, thieves get their arms chopped off, and executions are no big deal. During the years of terrible rivalry between Hamas and PLO, Palestinians were lynched, tortured and executed without trials by their own regime. Their rights are breached in terrible ways in the neighboring countries, as well. But all we ever hear about is how Israel breaches Palestinian human rights, all the while forgetting to mention that their leaders have made Israel their declared enemy.

I would go on, but I think you get the picture. The point is that for many, the Palestinian problem has become a great excuse to hate Jews. It all seems "legitimate," since people tend to blame only Israel for the terrible situation that has become a status quo. The real picture is a lot more complicated, but not many are interested in the details. For some, it's just a lot more comfortable to have a politically
correct reason to hate, than to search for the truth.

It's all just fine, except for two small problems:

1. It doesn't help solve the conflict. If there was more pressure on the Palestinian leaders to accept previous peace offers, for instance, it may have been a lot more efficient.

2. When hatred starts to rise and flood, you never know how far it will go. Three children were murdered in Toulouse this week. Is that the worst that it's going to get?



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


4 April, 2012

If You Can’t Beat The Truth, Silence It

A gut-wrenching example of the lengths to which men will go to silence the voices of conscience recently played out in an Ontario Court of Justice. There, Judge S. Ford Clements sentenced pro-life advocate Mary Wagner to 92 more days in jail, on top of the 88 days she’d already spent behind bars, all because she has been walking into the waiting rooms in Canadian abortion clinics and sharing hope with the women who are waiting to have their babies killed.

And the story gets worse. Clements was so outraged by Wagner’s passion for life that he lashed out at her in front of the court:
    You don’t get it, do you? What’s the rule of law? You’re required to abide by it … You’ve lost the right as a citizen to be anywhere near an abortion clinic or to speak to an employee.

    You’re wrong and your God’s wrong. You have complete contempt … There is a right to (abortion) in this country … You don’t have a right to cause (abortion-seeking women) extra pain and grief the way you do.

There are many ironies in Clements’ angry words, not the least of which was the fact that he equated Wagner’s message of Christian hope with “extra pain and grief” for women preparing to have an abortion. Yet Wagner has not been going into the waiting rooms to cause extra pain and grief but to impart good news which may, God willing, lead some women to walk out of the waiting room instead of having an abortion: thereby sparing a child’s life.

Note, too, Clements’ bombastic proclamation of “Your God’s wrong.” Most obvious is the fact that it’s not a judge’s business to make such a pronouncement. But ever since Adam and Eve stood in the Garden of Eden, man has been trying to prove God a liar or a heavenly miscreant. This judge in Canada is no different.

The good news is that Wagner was not intimated by Clements’ verbal outbreak, nor was she swayed by his low opinion of God’s judgment on matters of life and death. Rather, when asked whether she would stop going to abortion clinic waiting rooms and ministering to women for a period of three years—three years being the length of probation for having gone to the waiting rooms in the first place—Wagner said she would not stop going.

So Clements has tucked Wagner back into a cell for 92 more days.

I guess the message is: If you can’t beat the truth, silence it.


But tweets will never hurt me

The imprisonment of a UK student for posting ‘aggravating’ tweets about an ill footballer is no LOL matter

‘See the young man who was abusive about Muamba got a custodial sentence. Let it be a warning to all you immature souls. #thinkbeforeyoutweet.’ So tweeted ex-footballer Gary Lineker, popularising the #thinkbeforeyoutweet hashtag used in reaction to the news that 21-year-old student Liam Stacey was to be imprisoned for 56 days. Stacey had posted abusive comments about Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba who fell ill during an FA Cup match.

Lineker was far from alone in seeing the imprisonment of Stacey as an important warning for internet ‘trolls’ everywhere. The Apprentice star Lord Alan Sugar responded to the news with the tweet ‘BLOODY GOOD JOB. Be warned idiots!’, and veteran broadcaster James Whale claimed ‘people who abuse Twitter take note’. Others went still further, tweeting that they hope people will ‘rape the fuck out of him’ in prison, with the #DONTDROPTHESOAP hashtag being frequently used. One Twitterer even claimed, ‘I wouldn’t really care if Liam Stacey died. He’s a sick man, from the scum of the earth.’

Sure, even if Stacey had drunk the eight pints he claimed to have done before tweeting ‘LOL. Fuck Muamba he’s dead!!! #Haha’, you would still have to be pretty sick in the head to do so. And his racist responses to some people who criticised him afterwards were obnoxious. Stacey rightly deserved to be challenged and put in his place.

But the censorious Twittersphere wouldn’t stop at that. One person proudly boasted about being ‘one of 100s who reported his racist tweets to the police’, which eventually led to him being incarcerated. Upon being sentenced at Swansea Magistrates Court, district judge John Charles announced, ‘At that moment, not just the footballer’s family, not just the footballing world, but the whole world were literally praying for his life. Your comments aggravated this situation.’ The judge told Stacey he had done ‘untold harm’ to his future.

So you can now be locked up for 56 days simply for saying something that aggravates people? That Liam Stacey had less than 300 followers on Twitter out of a potential 140million means that a very small number of people would have been aggravated by him, and these could simply have chosen to block his comments. Had the comments been ignored, rather than highlighted by offence-seeking campaigners, they would have remained a miniscule drop into the ocean of 340million tweets made each day. Certainly a number of Stacey’s comments were racist, but to claim – as Judge Charles did – that this instigated other nasty tweets against Muamba is highly questionable. People are not automatons, and don’t just read comments and decide to mimic them. If others tweeted nasty comments about Muamba, they are responsible for them, not Stacey. A couple of racist tweets does not a racist pogrom make.

Judge Charles concluded that, ‘I have no choice but to impose an immediate custodial sentence to reflect the public outrage at what you have done’. But he did have a choice. He could have ignored the ‘public outrage’, much of it emanating from snitches on Twitter, and upheld Stacey’s freedom of speech, the foundational freedom upon which all of our democratic freedoms rest upon. He could have recognised that if you lock someone up for saying what are deemed to be the ‘wrong’ things, no matter how vile, then free speech no longer exists in the UK. The state, in the form of court judges, is now seemingly permitted to become the arbiter of the boundaries of what can or cannot be said.

Even mounting a defence of the bedrock liberty of modern society is likely to see you attacked by the Twitterati, however. Broadcaster Piers Morgan, for example, tweeted to over 2million followers: ‘Trying to work out who’s more idiotic - that dumb, racist cry-baby #LiamStacey or those trying to defend him on grounds of “free speech”.’ Morgan continued: ‘Still getting Twitter trolls demanding their “free speech” right to racially abuse black footballers as they lie in comas. Just p*** off… Actually, I’ve got a better idea - keep spewing your racist filth, vile trolls, and let’s get you all arrested and jailed like #LiamStacey.’ (Hilariously, he then responded to his detractors claiming, ‘Come on you vile little trolls - let me have your worst. I can handle it. #SticksAndStones.’)

In a bitter irony, only last week, Tony Wang, the UK general manager of Twitter, declared that Twitter is ‘the free speech wing of the free speech party’. While Twitter itself may be neutral regarding the content of what is said on its site, it’s evident that many of its users are using it to erode free speech in the UK in the most chilling fashion. Twitter is as likely to be used to snitch on people to the police for making comments they disapprove of, or to campaign for offending people to be fired from their jobs or get kicked out of universities (there is currently a campaign to get Stacey kicked off his course at Swansea University), than it is to be used for members of the ‘free speech party’ to champion their cause. Indeed, it seems that for some, defending free speech on Twitter is tantamount to spewing ‘racist filth’.

Following Stacey’s arrest, censorious Twitter users are bending over backwards to try to out-censor one another. One such user wrote ‘LOL at Liam Stacey getting jailed by the Twitter police for racial comments. Hope all the coloured men rape the fuck out of him.’ He was then promptly reported to the police by another user, Ivor Sawbottom, who told him, ‘@ScoobyDrew93 your tweet is an incitement to violence. I am reporting you to @metpoliceuk.’ Twitter is fast becoming a highly intolerant sphere, with what can and cannot be said without censure shrinking all the time.

It is little surprise that Stacey was imprisoned for making comments about a footballer. At the present moment, there is an unprecedented crackdown on the behaviour and comments of football fans – people seen by the media and politicians to be little more than bigoted lowlifes. But make no mistake, Stacey’s imprisonment for expressing views on Twitter, no matter how vile, could have wide-ranging implications for the ability of all of us to speak freely.

Certainly, we should all think before we tweet (and speak) – to ensure we convey what is on our mind as accurately as possible. But we should not have to factor into this consideration whether or not we will be incarcerated by the state as a result. Stacey’s imprisonment demonstrates that such considerations do now have to be made. This marks a dark day for the most fundamental of our democratic freedoms.


France shows the way:   expels five Islamist radicals

FRANCE has expelled two Islamic radicals and plans to deport three more as part of its crackdown following last month's attacks by an Islamist who shot dead seven people.

An Algerian radical and a Malian imam were sent back to their home countries overnight, the interior ministry said.

A Saudi imam would not be let back into the country, a Turkish imam and a Tunisian radical would also shortly be expelled, and others would follow.

At an election rally in the eastern city of Nancy overnight, President Nicolas Sarkozy said he was sending a very clear message.

"All those who make remarks contrary to the values of the Republic will be instantly put outside the territory of the French Republic, there will no exception, there will be no leniency," he said.

French police arrested 19 people in a crackdown on suspected Islamist networks in dawn raids on Saturday as Mr Sarkozy made the battle against extremism a keynote of his re-election campaign.

Of those, 16 were still in custody today, sources close to the investigation said.  Among them is Willie Brigitte, a Muslim convert arrested in Australia and extradited to France in 2003.

Some of the arrests were made in the southwest city of Toulouse, where gunman Mohamed Merah was shot dead by police last month after a 32-hour siege at a flat there.

Of the two deported overnight, Algerian activist Ali Belhadad had served 18 months in France for his part in a 1994 attack on a Marrakech hotel in which gunmen killed two people and wounded two others, said the ministry.

Belhadad, who had in recent weeks re-established links with the radical Islamist movement, had been deported to Algeria, the ministry said.

Also deported overnight was Malian imam Almany Baradji, who had been preaching anti-Semitism and advocating the wearing of the full-face veil, said the ministry. Wearing the full-face veil in public is illegal under French law.

The ministry said that Saudi imam Saad Nasser Alshatry, who had promoted the isolation of women, was currently out of France but would be refused entry should he try to return.

Moves were also underway to expel Tunisian Islamist activist Malek Drine and Turkish imam Yusuf Yuksel from the country, said the ministry.

France last week banned four Muslim preachers from entering the country for a conference of the Union of Islamic Organisations in France (UOIF), citing their "calls for hatred and violence".

In Algeria meanwhile, one of the lawyers for Merah's father said a 10-strong legal team would represent him in his lawsuit against France's elite RAID police unit that killed his son.

"Seven Algerian lawyers and three French lawyers are going to represent the father of Mohamed Merah in France," lawyer Zahia Mokhtari said.

Mohamed Merah was shot dead by a police sniper on March 22 at the end of a 32-hour siege at his flat in Toulouse.  The 23-year-old had shot dead three soldiers, and three children and a teacher at a Jewish school, in three attacks last month.


Australian government should legalise and tax drugs, report says

Prominent minister Bob Carr agrees but PM Gillard has already rejected the advice.  Criminalizing something that most Australians do at some stage seems crazy to me and  I have never smoked ANYTHING -- not even a cigarette.  Sure pot is harmful but so is alcohol

THE war on drugs has failed according to a new report calling for a national debate on the controversial topic of decriminalising drugs.

The report, released today, urges politicians to face the taboo subject. It says a massive re-think is needed to tackle the illegal drug trade that allows organised crime to flourish and is "killing our children".

The report draws on the views of high profile Australians and health experts.  Its verdict is that the tough law and order approach is doing more harm than good.

Put together by not-for-profit think-tank Australia21, the report includes the views of former federal law enforcement officers, health ministers, and premiers, including Foreign Minister Bob Carr, former NSW health minister Michael Wooldridge and former West Australian premier Geoff Gallop.

Former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery is quoted as being "strongly in favour of legalising, regulating, controlling and taxing all drugs".

"A first step towards such a regime could be decriminalisation, similar to the approach adopted 10 years ago in Portugal or an adaptation of that approach," he writes.  But he does not advocate making all drugs available to "anybody wanting them".

Australia21 stops short of directly backing decriminalisation but one former top prosecutor says in the report drugs should be legalised, regulated and taxed to control use.

Ahead of the report's release today, Senator Carr said he supported decriminalising low-level drug use but stressed he did not want illicit substances as readily available as cigarettes and alcohol.

"A bit of modest decriminalisation, de facto decriminalisation at the edges, simply freeing up police to be doing the things they ought to be doing would be a sensible way of going about it," he told Channel 7.

Senator Carr said decriminalisation would enable police to direct their resources elsewhere.  "I was very frustrated, from time to time, when I heard about police with sniffer dogs at railway stations hoping to catch people with small quantities of marijuana or raiding nightclubs hoping to get people with ecstasy," he said.

Senator Carr, whose brother Greg died of a heroin overdose in 1981, said he was proud to have opened a medically supervised injecting room at Kings Cross when he ran NSW.

"As premier I sponsored a medically supervised injecting room so that people who are hooked on this wretched, addictive white powder ... would have a chance," he said.  "While they were there, you could persuade them to give the stuff up and to enter treatment to get off it."

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said there is not yet a lot of evidence that decriminalising drugs would improve the situation.

While a parallel was often drawn with legal drugs like alcohol, there was a valid argument that alcohol regulation was not working when there were high rates of teenage binge drinking.

"The fact that we have challenges in being able to stop illicit drugs doesn't necessarily mean that deregulating it entirely and making them legal is going to prove the right solution," she told ABC radio.

Policymakers had to tread very cautiously in the area.  "As a government we're always interested and happy to engage in debate," Ms Roxon said.  "But there's a pretty high threshold that they're going to have to get over to convince not just the government but the community that this would be a positive step."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


3 April, 2012

How the mainstream churches were lost to a secular gospel

Initially, whole denominations acquiesced and allowed women to be ordained, but most churches still did not call women to be pastors. But with an influx of women into the system, something had to be done. So while the men worked by pastoring to parishes and parishioners, many women aimed at taking over denominational committees. Time and persistence had a way of succeeding.

By the early 90s, women made up only 20 percent of the clergy in some denominations, but they controlled every single committee.

With control of the ministerial candidate selection committees, for example, they focused on expanding the number of women clergy, not expanding the Kingdom of God. Time after time, I saw good young men turned down for ordination while spiritually unqualified women were given the green light.

I once asked why so many good men were being rejected. I was told that it was necessary to “make up for past injustices.”

But once the dam had been cracked, the people who flooded in were no longer those who argued for justice and equality. They were people whose hidden agenda was nothing short of apostasy and control.

From that point, committee leaders began to push for extreme feminism, abortion rights, homosexual advocacy, and other issues that were repugnant to biblical obedience.

All of that inevitably sapped the energy of the faithful. They no longer had the time or strength to preach the Word of God and witness to others. Although they still called themselves “the church,” they had strayed from the fold.

Today, the flood waters continue to rise and are even encroaching into some evangelical churches. But thank God for those who still stand strong, for they represent the last great hope for biblical submission. We need the evangelical church to refuse to put on the garment of compromise, to not bow to the gods of social acceptability and popular culture. We need it to never surrender to the secular armies and their weapons of manipulation and false accusation.

Back in 1980, I met with the retired Episcopal Bishop of Atlanta, who had been Bishop during those tumultuous times. It was soon before his death, and he told me, “If I had known all this would happen, I would not have been quick to give in.” He went to his grave in regret.

The apostates are like the ancient Greeks who destroyed the city of Troy by offering them an apparently innocent gift—the Trojan horse. The people of Troy willingly took the deceptive symbol of peace and moved it within their walls. Later, under cover of night, Greek soldiers crept out of the giant horse, opened the city gates, and ushered in the enemy army.

As with Troy, apostates today take over the church through means that seem innocent at first. For that reason, bible-believing Christians must stand at the watchtower and be prepared to defend biblical truth, even when the threat seems harmless. If not, many more Christian leaders will go to their graves with deep, deep regret.


Military academy has drunk the Kool Aid

Has its First Gay Pride Week Celebrating ‘Condom Olympics’ & ‘Queer Prom’

At the beginning of the school year, gay pride events at a military academy with titles like “condom Olympics” and “queer prom” would have been unthinkable. This week, they’re a reality.

Cadets in uniform at Norwich University, the nation’s oldest private military academy, participated Monday in sessions about handling bullying and harassment as part of the school’s first gay pride week. The events are believed to be the first of their kind on a military campus.

These developments follow the official end last year of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule that prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces. Less than a year later, it’s a different — and less secretive — world.

Until last year, only a select few at Norwich knew of the sexual orientation of Joshua Fontanez, 22, of Browns Mills, N.J., a past president of the student government who quietly laid the groundwork for the school’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Allies Club, which held its first meeting the day the law ended.

He had always wanted to be a soldier but figured he’d have to keep his sexuality a secret.  “The aspects of my sexual orientation, how that played in the military, that was something I was willing to sacrifice, being open versus serving my nation,” Fontanez said. “It’s something I feel I was truly called toward and truly loved, so it‘s great that I don’t have necessarily to make that sacrifice.”

In December, a group of students at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., formed a group called Spectrum, which has many of the same goals as the Norwich club. A similar organization with the same name is being formed in New York at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

For many of the newly open student leaders, the changes brought by the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” haven’t overwhelmed, despite the years-long political wrangling that culminated in the policy change.

“It was definitely a big change, but it happened over such a long period of time for me that it didn’t seem like that big of a deal,” said Coast Guard Academy Senior Chip Hall, 21, of Monterrey, Calif.

“Everyone has been very professional here at the academy,” said West Point Cadet Andrew Fitzsimmons, 19, a sophomore from Algonac, Mich. “It’s been a very positive environment.”

A group of alumni called Knights Out will hold a campus dinner this weekend and is expecting at least a dozen cadets to attend, said the group’s director, Sue Fulton, a 1980 West Point graduate who was among the first women admitted to the academy.

“The official status has changed dramatically, in that public events that would have been prohibited are happening; but in terms of attitudes, I think cadets and midshipmen have long been supportive of their gay and lesbian classmates,” Fulton said.

Norwich, established in 1819, has about 1,300 cadets and 1,100 civilian students. About 115 of the 200 graduating cadets plan to be commissioned in the armed forces through ROTC.

The gay student club is believed to be the first of its kind in the country on a military campus, Norwich officials said. Thirty to 35 people attend meetings.

The events this week — held at a different time of year from many other gay pride events, which usually are observed in June or October — include discussions of HIV testing; the “condom Olympics,” in which prophylactics are given as prizes; and a dance at which same-sex partners are welcome.

As an institution, Norwich never banned open homosexuality in the corps of cadets, but because many of its students were destined for the military, which prior to the end of “don‘t ask don’t tell” the law served to keep people quiet, said Norwich spokeswoman Daphne Larkin.

Some members of Norwich’s Christian Fellowship have been uncomfortable with gay student club, but the two organizations have worked together, with members of each attending some of the other’s meetings, said biology emeritus professor Carlos Pinkham, the Christian group’s faculty adviser.

“We make it clear to them that we use the Bible as our guide and that as a result we can’t condone the stuff they do,” Pinkham said. “But the Bible is also equally clear, in fact, even more clear. … Being judgmental about the sin without extending love to the sinner is another form of sin.”

The groups are a consequence of changing times, said Norwich Vice President Michael Kelley, a 1974 graduate who spent 27 years in the military before returning to academia. He noted the school was among the first to allow female cadets.

“It’s saying that we as a military community are looking to more to the future, that we’re not quibbling about the past, what was or what wasn’t,” he said, “that we can take a leadership role to help move our students to a more enlightened future.”


How to get tough with a terrorist: As UK agonises over Qatada, Italy simply ignores Euro judges and kicks out fanatic

For years, successive governments have insisted that extremist preacher Abu Qatada cannot be kicked out of Britain, claiming it would breach his human rights.

Perhaps we should have looked to Italy as an example.  Yesterday the European Court of Human Rights admitted it is effectively powerless to intervene in the case of a convicted terrorist deported from Italy.

Although the Strasbourg court ordered that compensation be paid to Mohamed Mannai, who was sent home to Tunisia in 2010 in breach of a court order, officials said they are unable to force Italy to take him back.

A spokesman said: ‘Once the applicant has been deported there is nothing much we can do because he is in Tunisia, a country that is not part of the European Court of Human Rights.’

Last night, the ruling prompted calls for ministers to follow Italy’s example and deport Qatada.

The Government has argued the radical Islamist – described by a judge as Osama Bin Laden’s right hand man in Europe – cannot be removed to his home country of Jordan because of an ECHR  judgment.

The court’s judges said Qatada could not hope to receive a fair trial there because it would  likely be based on evidence obtained by torture.

But Dominic Raab, Tory MP for Esher and Walton, said: ‘The Italian and French governments have a track record of ignoring Strasbourg in deportation cases where there is a risk of torture with precious little consequence.

‘In the Qatada case, Strasbourg went well beyond existing human rights law. Having bent over backwards to accommodate this flawed ruling, we now need to put him on a flight to Jordan without delay.’

Mannai was jailed for five years and four months in October 2006 after he and two other men, thought to be linked to radical group Ansar al-Islam, were convicted of terror charges.

Police said the cell planned attacks in Italy and brainwashed recruits to act as suicide bombers. After Mannai’s conviction, the Milan court said he should be deported at the end of his sentence.

However, the ECHR ordered Italy to block the deportation while it  considered if sending him home would breach his human rights.   Despite this order, within months of finishing his sentence in February 2010, Mannai had been put on a plane back to Tunisia.

Yesterday the ECHR criticised the Italian government for ignoring its earlier ruling and ordered it to pay Mannai 15,000 euros (£12,500) plus expenses.

The Council of Europe has also written to the Italian government,  saying it is ‘deeply concerned’ by  its actions.

Italy took similar steps in June 2008 when it ignored a court ruling and sent convicted terrorist Ben Khemais back to Tunisia.

The Home Secretary is currently negotiating with the Jordanian government to get assurances that Qatada would be given a fair trial.

Last week Theresa May refused five times in an interview to say whether she would defy Strasbourg judges and return the hate preacher.  However, she insisted she wanted to find a way to deport Qatada so the Government was ‘not required by any court’ to take him back.

A Whitehall official last night pointed out that while Mannai had been deported as his case was still pending, a final judgment had been made with regards to Qatada.

Government lawyers fear that any attempt at removing him would therefore be in contempt of court.


Lying Lefties gradually being exposed

Crusading Left-wing journalists thought the internet was going to be their friend, enabling them to broadcast the evils of capitalism to a new audience. But things haven’t gone quite to plan. Instead, the web has thrown a spotlight on liberal hacks indulging in a habit that they just can’t kick, however hard they try.

I refer, of course, to making stuff up. With the best of intentions, naturally.

Let’s start with a journalistic hero of the London/New York literati who is being accused of breaches of professional ethics but denies any wrongdoing.

Step forward Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent of the Independent – former employers of Johann Hari – who is in an extremely tight spot this weekend. Private Eye has printed a round-up of allegations made about him by fellow foreign correspondents on a private Facebook forum. They accuse this ferocious anti-Zionist of (and I’m choosing my words carefully) embroidering news reports that invariably cast the leaders of the “US-Israeli axis” as Bond villains.

“I do not make stories up. Full stop,” Fisk told me when I rang him in Beirut this week. He also told me he didn’t spend much time reading the internet. Probably just as well, Bob, because if you did you’d find ex-colleagues telling extraordinarily detailed anecdotes about your lucky scoops.

Now let’s consider a Lefty polemicist who has been caught red-handed. He’s an American broadcaster called Mike Daisey who this month confessed to being a serial liar about the Foxconn factory in China that makes Apple products. Those 12-year-old labourers he met there? They didn’t exist. Nor did the workers poisoned by factory gas.

Talking of interviewees who possibly didn’t exist, what about the rich cast of characters in the reports by another serial liar, Johann Hari? The squeaky-voiced fraudster has confessed to plagiarism and vandalising Wikipedia entries in the dead of night (in the process frightening a woman friend of mine to whom he’s still too vain to apologise). But what he’s never done is explain the anomalies in his articles about Dubai and central Africa.

These pieces, full of conveniently quotable eyewitnesses who pop up just when Hari needs them, won him awards and money. The Orwell Prize took away his bauble, but he’s been allowed to cling on to other “progressive” awards.

We can go back further in time – to the films and books by Michael Moore, whose casual approach to evidence-gathering was eventually exposed online. But it took ages before people cottoned on, because readers lapped up his conspiracy theories and the metropolitan media considered him “one of ours”.

There’s a term for this modus operandi – telling “The Greater Truth”. Lefty hacks polish their stories in order to expose a greater truth obscured by an inconvenient lack of evidence. (Right-wingers do it too, of course, but they don’t have liberal allies high up in the BBC, the Guardian and, of course, the poor old Indy.)

The internet information exchange makes it easy to spot the holes in tales of corporate villainy. Until now, however, the right-on digital “community” has been reluctant to eviscerate its heroes. But has the humiliation of Johann Hari tipped the balance? His Lefty hangers-on are livid that they were hoodwinked and will be less trusting in future. Also, trainee reporters may now be more careful about splashing their stories in local colour. If so, Hari will have made a contribution to journalism after all – though not in the way he intended.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


2 April, 2012

British mother conned ex into thinking he was her child's father for 13 YEARS (and swindled him out of £50,000 for presents and private education)

This was a gross and heartless fraud and some justice has been done on this occasion  -- but there have been previous instances of mothers getting away with this with no signficant penalty

A mother who conned a former lover into thinking he was the father of her daughter for more than 13 years has been jailed.

The 47-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, swindled him out of at least £48,700 which went on private education and expensive gifts.

She admitted 15 offences of deception when she appeared at Caernarfon Crown Court, in north Wales, yesterday.

And despite a plea for leniency from her daughter, the judge told her he had no choice but to jail her for 20 months.

Sentencing, Mr Recorder Duncan Bould, said: 'The tentacles of your deception have spread emotionally far and wide. The plea by your daughter to avoid sending you to prison is heart-rending and one can understand why she makes it.

'But the court must perform a public duty to punish those who behave in this seriously criminally wrong way as you have done to a large scale over a lengthy period.

'I don’t feel I can properly accede to those pleas put forward for leniency to avoid an immediate custodial sentence.'

The judge said the mother, who is from from Conwy county,  had observed 'all these tragedies evolving - she must bear a very heavy responsibility for that.'

Prosecuting counsel Wyn Lloyd Jones said the victim and defendant had met in the 1990s. Weeks after their relationship ended, the woman rang him and they met at her parents’ home. She told him she was pregnant and lied that he was the father of the unborn child.

The man spent three days with her in hospital, awaiting the birth. 'He thought he had a daughter and immediately began to treat her as such. His family treated her as such. The real father was kept out of the picture,' the prosecutor said.

Soon after the birth the man formed a relationship with another woman who became his wife and they had children. 'The fraud that took place over the years deprived him and his family of a huge amount of money which otherwise they would have been able to enjoy,' counsel remarked.

He paid nursery and school fees, medical expenses and the mum’s £3,000 credit card debt. 'There were times when he struggled to pay. He had to work long hours to make ends meet,' Mr Lloyd Jones explained.

It wasn’t until 2008 that two mutual friends, one knowing the truth since before the birth, told the victim. 'Perhaps not surprisingly he felt shocked and numb,' the barrister said.

One of the friends had witnessed the defendant and her sister arguing when she was pregnant - the sister wanting the victim to be told he wasn’t the real dad.

The defendant had told the pal that the man had money and could support the child. 'She had been to a private school, she wanted the child to have the same.' She also wanted expensive presents for the girl, now 13, to keep up with school friends.

After the bombshell, DNA testing was ordered by a court. Mr Lloyd Jones said : 'He’s clearly been through a great deal including dealing with a very serious false allegation made by this defendant to the police.'

Elen Owen, defending, said her client had large debts and was in no position to repay the money. The fraud wasn’t financially motivated, she said.

Asked by the judge for the reason it occurred, counsel replied: 'Because she was on a rollercoaster and there was no right time to tell somebody who thought he was the father of the child. She was in an almost impossible position so far as coming clean,' counsel added.

The girl can’t be identified.  The victim, a middle-aged man, sat in court. But afterwards he declined to comment as he left with his wife.


How 'man of the people' Red Ken enjoyed lifestyle of a jet-setting executive - all on the taxpayer

Livingstone's lavish expenses as London Mayor - from first-class travel to cases of Puilly Fume wine, £260 shoes and a £1.89 coffee -- typical Leftist hypocrite

Ken Livingstone spent tens of thousands of pounds of public money as London Mayor on first class air travel, luxury hotels, fine wines and even a £260 pair of shoes.

Documents show that among a string of expenses claims he used a special Mayor’s credit card to pay for a £282 dinner with Ed Balls, then a Labour Minister, at a top London restaurant. Afterwards he dipped into public funds to pay for his £30 taxi home.

Mr Livingstone spent £135.94 on a desk lamp, £41.25 on a shirt, £42 for an ‘emergency passport’, and £23.87 on water at a Paris hotel overlooking the Eiffel Tower.

He bought fine wines from upmarket supplier Laithwaites, including four cases of Rioja Luis Canas Reserva 2001 (£475); two cases of Corneau Cyllene Pouilly Fumé 2005 (£199); three cases of Rovalley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 (£299); and six half bottles of Foudre No 8 Cognac (£95). One of his Laithwaites wine sprees cost £2,884.

To ensure his drinks were chilled, he obtained a quotation for a £132 mini bar for his office.

When he attended the Davos World Economic Summit in Switzerland, he charged £256.98 for a pair of ‘heavy-duty shoes’ – presumably to cope with the snow. The summit for tycoons and world leaders features a series of free dinners and cocktail parties, yet he charged £1.89 for a cup of coffee.

The documents also suggest that  Mr Livingstone spent £130.73 on taxi trips to the dentist.

A Mail on Sunday investigation has uncovered details of his lavish expenses during his last term of office from documents published recently by the Greater London Authority, in addition to secret receipts.

The disclosures come only weeks before the London mayoral election. Mr Livingstone, who was Mayor from 2000 to 2008, is hoping to grab back the post from Tory Boris Johnson.

The claims for his second four-year term from 2004 are likely to dent his self-styled ‘man of the people’ image, revealing extravagance closer to the lifestyle of a jet-setting executive.

They also give a revealing insight into the role of his wife, Emma Beal, recruited as his £45,000-a-year ‘office manager’ when he became Mayor.

Confidential invoices show how she took charge of paying for expensive wines and luxury airline flights for Mr Livingstone and his entourage.

Ms Beal arranged for him to fly first class to Florida in 2007 at a cost of £6,404, while the orders to drink supplier Laithwaites bore specific instructions that they were to be delivered to Ms Beal at the Mayor’s office – and that she would settle the bill.
Alcohol graphic

The couple met ten years ago and married in 2009 after he had left office. Explaining why he took her to City Hall, Mr Livingstone said in his autobiography that in her previous job running a newspaper office she was good at handling ‘difficult’ people and their ‘extravagant expenses claims’.

According to a list of published personal expense claims for his last four years as Mayor, he ran up a £66,000 bill, about half of which were filed under ‘Livingstone K, corp card’ (corporate credit card).

Ms Beal booked Mr Livingstone a £4,234 club class seat on a flight to Miami – while his spin doctor travelled economy class on the same flight for a fraction of the price.

Two weeks ago, Mr Livingstone said that if he regains the mayoralty, he will embark on a ‘round the world’ tour to drum up investment for London.

GLA Tory leader James Cleverly last night wrote to the authority’s anti-sleaze monitoring officer, Ed Williams, demanding an inquiry into Mr Livingstone’s expenses by the GLA Standards Committee. He claims Mr Livingstone may have breached the GLA’s code of conduct on three counts: Serving the public interest; accountability; and prudent use of public funds.

Referring to Mr Livingstone’s election slogan, Mr Cleverly said: ‘The only person “better off with Ken” is Ken. At a time when he was increasing council tax by 152 per cent he was happily abusing the London taxpayer.’

Mr Livingstone’s image is of a man who gets about London on the Tube and buses. In 2007, he said: ‘Politicians should resist the temptation to glide around in chauffeur-driven cars, and stay in touch with issues that matter to Londoners.’

But documents show he clocked up £6,893 on taxis for him and his personal staff. On a trip to Los Angeles in 2006, he hired a car and driver for £180.

His choice of London restaurants reads like an Egon Ronay guide. In 2008, he and an aide took Ed Balls, then Education Secretary, to Shepherd’s, a top Westminster restaurant. The £282 bill was charged to Mr Livingstone’s corporate credit card.  The documents suggest that afterwards, he got the GLA to pay his £30 taxi fare home.

Mr Livingstone’s travels took him to the luxurious Taj hotels in India, including the Taj Lands End in Mumbai, a favourite of Pierce Brosnan, and the Taj Mahal Palace in the same city.

He stayed at New York’s Hotel Jumeirah Essex House, rated as the second best in America by Global Traveller Magazine.

Mr Livingstone enjoyed lunch in London with American actor Kevin Spacey, at a cost of £220.28, and dined royally with senior Labour figures including Tessa Jowell in 2007 at London’s Mon Plaisir, known for its foie gras. And he spent £466.35 on dinner for his Cuban translator during a trip to Cuba.

Mr Johnson was forced to trim his own spending after being accused of over-reliance on expenses-funded taxis in his early days as Mayor.

And he was hit by a credit card scandal in 2008 when one of his deputies, Ian Clement, received a suspended jail sentence for abusing his City Hall corporate credit card. Mr Clement admitted using it to buy lunches for himself and his lover. A judge said Mr Clement had ‘flagrantly and arrogantly’ misused public money. He was forced to quit his £127,000-a-year post.

As a result, Mr Johnson banned all GLA staff from using such cards. His aides say he has never used one himself. They state he has only ever bought economy-class tickets as Mayor, though he has occasionally been upgraded and received a ‘small number’ of free flights. They say he uses few taxis and prefers to use his bicycle. An official said Mr Johnson rarely dines at public expense and publishes all details of such events.

Mr Livingstone recently faced charges of hypocrisy after claims he avoided at least £50,000 in tax through a company set up with his wife. He denied any impropriety.

A spokesman for Mr Livingstone refused to comment on individual expense claims and defended his foreign trips, claiming they won valuable business for London.

‘They were part of a campaign to promote London, win the bid to host the Olympics, and open new markets to London business. The visit to Miami sealed the first official NFL [American football] game for Wembley.’

The spokesman claimed Mr Johnson had failed to publish details of his own flights and expenses.


Scathing anti-Semitism pervades 'Holey Land' exhibition in Sweden

Art exhibition at Stockholm church accuses Jews and Israel of being inherently destructive.  Sweden has long had strong Fascist tendencies

By Anna Ekström

A picture of a Bible converted into a tank hangs before my eyes. The book with its cannon is on a rampage. No enemy can be seen. In the background is a meandering wall: the West Bank barrier.

I am visiting an art exhibition called "The Holy Land – The Holey Land” in Immanuelskyrkan, a church in Stockholm, and I am astonished. Anti-Israel propaganda is common, but this is something else. The artist accuses Judaism of being inherently destructive.

The organizer of the exhibition is the Swedish Christian Study Center, a non-governmental organization with an office in Jerusalem. Before the event, the Simon Wiesenthal Center protested the Christian organization’s publicity poster, which portrays Israelis as rats and the West Bank as cheese. While that cartoon was withdrawn, the Wiesenthal Center's gesture did not make any difference.

Artists Stefan Sjoblom's and Larz Lindqvists’ imagery is a fusion of anti-Jewish myths from Christianity, Nazism, the Left and Islamism. Both artists are pastors in the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden, and Sjoblom also works as a prison pastor. Meanwhile, Yusuf Aydin, spokesman for the Byzantine and Oriental Orthodox churches in Sweden, has written a letter of protest in which he declares his intention to review the duo's relations with the SCSC. The NGO has several member churches, including the Catholic Church. Fredrik Emanuelsson, spokesman for the Roman Catholic diocese in Stockholm, tells me that the Church has committed itself to fighting anti-Semitism. He will inform himself about the context, he says.

The painting “Golden parachute” alludes to both greed and dishonest covenants. With his black hat as his parachute, the huge dark Jew is descending toward land. In other pictures, the effect of the influence of the mythical Jew is all too apparent: Jesus weeps tears of blood over the riches of Israel and the trees of Palestine are dead. A bank note cast in concrete – the wall again – carries the words “Bank of Sweden”, “false “and “wallet”.

Another black hat covers one of Jerusalem’s city gates. The stone face has soulless eyes and the gate is its mouth. “The Jew” has devoured the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the only colorful object in the picture. As a more materialist sort of gangster, the stereotypical Jew appears in a black hat, black sunglasses, a gun belt and a Magen David instead of a sheriff’s star - or the yellow star.
The imagery recalls an international conference on Saint John Chrysostom hosted by the SCSC in 2008. Chrysostom wrote eight homilies against the Jews. He accused the Jews of being evil ravagers, bandits, murderers and devil worshipers, and he declared eternal holy war on the Jewish people.

The pictures repeat Chrysostom's accusations, only the devil is missing; Satan has gone out of fashion and been replaced by the Nazi. In the darkest picture of them all, “Our god is a mighty fortress,” the victims and the perpetrators of the Holocaust are merged into an idol and its worshippers. At the center is a watchtower built of wall segments. One of the soldiers on guard wears a Nazi style officer’s cap. The tower is also a bomb and a crematorium. Its lighted fuse rises from a chimney. Soldiers with helmets and guns are praying to the idol. Barbed-wire letters compose the words ”God ” and ”Security.”

Jewish self-defense is as evil as the Holocaust and will kill the Zionists who, having turned away from God, are guilty of the holocaust to come, and perhaps of the Holocaust that was, the picture tells me. It reminds me of a chilling report by the Washington Post in 2005, which quoted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling the Holocaust a myth. "They (the Jews) have created a myth in the name of the Holocaust and consider it above God, religion and the prophets," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.

I turn back to the walls of this Stockholm church and what do I find? Israeli flags without Stars of David. The white field is clean; it is Judenrein and "Zionistenrein."

As though all this were not enough, an image of Joseph, Mary and Jesus as Palestinian refugees perpetuates the myths of deicide and child-killing. A sad, long line of refugees march alongside a wall with barbed wire and a watchtower. It reminds me of concentration camps. Graffiti on the wall behind the holy family says “refugees since [no date].” It is as though human beings, perhaps humanity, have been running away from the Jews since Jesus was born. The artist robs the Jews and the Christians of their Jewish history, and, alluding to the flight from King Herod, he accuses the Jews of both infanticide and the intention to kill God.

Naim Ateek, president of the SCSC’s Palestinian partner Sabeel and co-organizer of an upcoming conference in Bethlehem on the Kairos Palestine Document, has produced a similar fusion of the myths of deicide and genocide. ”Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him… The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily,” he wrote in Sabeel's Easter message 2001.

My lasting impression of the Holey Land exhibition is that it unveils the anti-Semitic nature of what many call "criticism of Israel." Unfortunately, I think most visitors fail to recognize that their perceptions of Jews as evil and mythical characters, actually is racial hatred. They have become too used to identifying Israel-bashing as goodness. No wonder the exhibition guestbook is full of messages by visitors who were grateful the SCSC was spreading a message of peace, love and understanding.


Blindsided: 9/11 Was the Rule, Not the Exception

    Michael Youssef

At 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001, the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center, and America woke up to the terror of jihad. I use the words “woke up” because jihad existed long before that terrible morning. And it continues to cause much of the world’s violence today.

On 9/11, we were blindsided. But we never should have been.

The word jihad literally means “struggle,” but it’s often used to communicate the concept of holy war. It is on the lips of violent terrorists, but it is also shouted by Egyptian mobs who assault Coptic Christians. And it’s the first word that Palestinian children learn from their reading primers.

It is critically important to understand the permeating motivations of Islamic extremism. For that reason, I wrote Blindsided: The Radical Islamic Conquest,which is being released on April 1.

I was born in the Middle East. I was raised within its culture and return there often. I have had many long conversations in Arabic with Muslims, including Islamist hardliners. I have witnessed Islamic practices and understand the thought processes. Because of that, I know that jihad is an unavoidable and pervasive reality.

In Blindsided, I write:

 "Many scoff when jihad is declared by a small group of extremists from a tiny Islamic nation about which little is known. The imperative to subjugate non-Muslims, however, runs deep among Muslims around the world—not just in the hills and caves of Afghanistan or the remote sands of Yemen.

    Jihad is an essential ingredient of Islamic philosophy, and all who truly love the Koranic faith are devoted to jihad. The concept of jihad is the nail on which hangs all rationales for the use of political power, military force, and terrorist violence to advance the Islamic cause."

Although the Koran decries murder and urges mercy in general, mercy is not to be extended to those who stand in the way of Islam’s domination.

The Koran states: "When the sacred months are past, kill those who join other gods wherever you find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them with every kind of ambush; but if they convert and observe prayer and pay the obligatory alms, let them go their way" (Koran 9:5).

September 11 turned over a rock to expose the horror of jihad against Americans—the “infidel crusaders.” But the recent uprisings across the Middle East have exposed the everyday occurrences of jihad.

Its overthrown dictators, although ruthless and violent themselves, had kept a check on Islam’s militant urges. But now, without that restraint, it is a very dangerous time to be a non-Muslim.

After 9/11, President Bush and others declared that Islam was a “religion of peace.” But every day, that statement is proven to be false.

On March 4, 1,500 Muslim villagers, brandishing swords and knives, converged on a school in Egypt. Chanting Islamic slogans, they trapped nuns, who were volunteer teachers, and threatened to burn them alive.

Last week, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, reportedly declared that it was "necessary to destroy all the churches" in the region. Al-Asheikh’s words supported the belief that no other religion except Islam should be tolerated.

Because of the constant stream of jihad-inspired attacks, Christians throughout the Middle East are fleeing for their lives. According to Raymond Ibrahim of the Stonegate Institute, half of Iraq’s indigenous Christians have fled. Approximately 100,000 Christian Copts have escaped Egypt. And up to 95 percent of Christians in Yobe, a state in Nigeria population have left that country. Now, as al-Qaeda and others fight the Assad regime in Syria, Christians living there are coming under attack.

Norman Geisler, co-author of Answering Islam, writes: “What Islam engages in is consistent with the teachings of the [Koran] and Muhammad, while what some Christians did in the Crusades is contrary to the teachings of the Bible and Jesus Christ." Geisler says that although violence is the “illogical” result of Christianity, "Violence is the logical outworking of Islam"

That is why, in Blindsided I write:

 "Some Americans believe that by rounding up hundreds or thousands of Al-Qaeda leaders and fighters, we can end Islamic terrorism. But this would be like washing blood with blood. No matter how many terrorists you kill, there are always more lining up to take their place. Though the War on Terror is critically important to restraining the jihadist onslaught, war alone is not the answer."

We must also fight for the hearts and minds of Muslims. Jihad is at the core of Islam. It is the method through which militant Islam tries to rule the world. It is the rule, not the exception.

Until we confront that reality, victories over terrorism will be short-lived. Peace will be elusive.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


1 April, 2012

Britain's Labour Party led the argument that the state should play a key role in regulation of the Press

Debate over reform of Britain's Press Complaints Commission

A Labour-dominated group of MPs and peers fiercely argued that the state should play a key role in regulation of the Press, the fine print of the report reveals.

This led to the committee being split and having to take the unusual step of voting on a series of proposed amendments to their findings.

One key proposal, which would reverse centuries of press freedom, was for the state to oversee a new media regulator replacing the Press Complaints Commission.

The move was backed by Labour peer and former newspaper publisher Lord Hollick, who failed to turn around the ailing Daily Express, once the most successful newspaper in Britain, and sold it and its sister titles to Richard Desmond.

The amendment said: ‘Regulation of the Press must be independent of government. But it is clear that the current system of self-regulation is broken and needs fixing.

‘We welcome the initiative taken by [PCC boss] Lord Hunt of Wirral in bringing forward industry-led proposals for substantial reform of the Press Complaints Commission.

Backing; Others who voted for the move included former Labour Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw, left and former Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury Lord Boateng, right

‘However, we think that statutory oversight of the reformed regulator is desirable. Otherwise major publishers could opt out of its regulation. Statutory oversight of the regulator would give it more authority over the industry and give the public greater confidence in it.’

Others who voted for the move included former BBC journalist and Labour Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw, who has helped lead the party’s pursuit of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers over phone hacking, and former Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury Lord Boateng. Lord Janvrin, who used to work as the Queen’s press officer, also supported the move.

Those who blocked the move included Conservative peers Lord Mawhinney, Lord Dobbs and Lord Black and MPs Penny Mordaunt, John Whittingdale and Philip Davies. Labour peer Lord Myners and Labour MP Paul Farrelly also voted against, as did Lib Dem MP Martin Horwood.


Brutal exercise, hard work and strict education - topped off with a bit of musical theatre: The days Borstals knocked yobs into shape

Borstals were introduced in Britain in 1902. The template was public boarding schools (with very secure locks) and the theory was that if delinquent youths (aged 16 to 21) were subjected to a similar regime of brutal exercise, house masters, dorms, endless lessons and the strict regime of the house system, they’d develop self-discipline and a sense of pride, and turn their backs on crime in a flash.

Unlike British boarding schools, corporal punishment (birching) was barred except in special  circumstances and with special permission.

But it wasn’t all outdoor swimming, flower arranging and jolly dorms. The day started at 6am sharp with a brisk two-mile run and no breakfast (cold porridge, bread and jam) for any stragglers.

Next came cleaning and chores — bricklaying, construction work, farming, hedge-trimming, or whatever was on the agenda, followed by six hours a week of evening education either in the Borstal or local technical colleges and singing and drama workshops. Food was basic but filling, the youths were generally fit and healthy, discipline was robust and visitors were discouraged.

Borstals were more about training, correction and developing employability, and less about punishment. For many boys, there was more on offer than at home — three square meals a day and physical, mental and religious discipline. Upon their release, they were given help with lodgings, jobs and funding, and reoffending rates were low.

It wasn’t just boys. Girls (housed in separate all-women Borstals) were taught to cook, sew, iron and clean, and learned basic farming skills, flower arranging and nursing. They let off steam with netball matches, group exercise classes, dancing and ping-pong.

Borstal training was not an unqualified success. Bullying among the boys was rife. Housemasters at Rochester Borstal were constantly combing the local Medway valley for absconders — in the early 1940s there were more than 100 escapees a year.

Which is little surprise, because although many of the youths had committed only lesser offences — petty theft, minor assault — and ‘training sentences’ were indeterminate, stretching anything up to five years, until they were deemed ‘corrected’. But most youths did emerge fit, able and, thanks to the skills training, ready and eager to work.

The abolition of borstals in 1983 by Margaret Thatcher’s government left a black hole in the youth justice system.

Many people (including London Mayor Boris Johnson) consider the unique combination of hard work, self-improvement and rigid discipline was far more effective than the young offender institutions that replaced them, and which seem to offer a daily diet of snooker and television shows on wide-screen plasma TVs.

Of the young rioters arrested last year, more than three-quarters were re-offenders whose incarceration apparently had little effect. It would be interesting to know how many of them are able to bake bread, milk a cow, build a wall or, indeed, whistle a tune from the Mikado.


Christian T-Shirt Company Faces Boycott & Investigation for Declining Service to Gay Pride Group

A t-shirt business in Lexington, Kentucky has drawn the ire of critics after refusing to print shirts for the city’s annual gay pride parade. The company, called Hands On Originals, told parade organizers that its Christian beliefs are the reason that it has declined the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington’s (GLSO) request.

In response, GLSO has filed a discrimination complaint with Lexington’s Human Rights Commission. The commission works on the local level to ensure that discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation and the like doesn’t take place in employment, housing and public accommodations.

The gay rights group wants to make the community aware of the situation and, based on statements from the president of the organization’s board of directors, is hoping that the stand-off will, to some degree, impact how the community interacts with the t-shirt company. Here’s a copy of the complaint:

“Hands On Originals does a lot of business in this town, and people should be aware of the situation, so they can make an informed decision about whether they want to buy from them,” said Aaron Baker, who is president of the group’s board of directors. ”It came as a shock because many of us are Christians, too, and what’s that have to do with anything?”

The problem, of course, is that most Christian denominations, based on biblical principles, stand firmly opposed to homosexuality, gay marriage and other related social phenomena. Interestingly, the company’s web site does have a logo that says “Hands on Faith” at the bottom left-hand side of its front page; it links out to a Christian apparel portion of the Hands On Originals business.

In addition to the complaint, a Facebook page has been created called “Boycott Hands On Originals.” Already, the effort has over 1,200 supporters. Additionally, the Fayette County Public School District has placed a temporary hold on all orders from the t-shirt company, with the city’s mayor, Jim Gray, saying, ”People don’t have patience for this sort of attitude today.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader has more about the situation:
Baker said the organization had gotten quotes from a number of Central Kentucky T-shirt companies, including Hands On Originals, and had selected it as the best local bid. The T-shirts for the fifth annual event were to include a stylized number 5 on the front along with “Lexington Pride Festival” and the event’s sponsors on the back.

Baker said Hands On Originals co-owner Blaine Adamson told the GLSO in a follow-up call that the company was declining the order “because we’re a Christian organization” but had found another company that would honor its price.

While Hands On Originals has declined to speak about the situation, the company did release a statement to the Herald-Leader. In it, while stating that the business does, indeed, employ and do business with people of all stripes, the business owners also made it clear that endorsing a cause they disagreed with was not something they were willing to do.

“Hands On Originals both employs and conducts business with people of all genders, races, religions, sexual preferences and national origins,” the company’s owner, Blaine Adamson, said. “However, due to the promotional nature of our products, it is the prerogative of the company to refuse any order that would endorse positions that conflict with the convictions of the ownership.”

The complaint that GLSO filed will likely lead Lexington’s Human Rights Commission to send a letter to the business asking for a written response. A formal investigation into consumer practices will then follow. If the parties don’t come to a settlement, the investigation could lead to compensatory damages being issued in GLSO’s favor, as there may be complications for the Hands On Originals in its fight, as it is a business and not a church or Christian group.

Recently, The Blaze asked you some questions surrounding this very important scenario. Should Christian business owners be able to turn gay customers away — and vice-versa? Here’s the original poll that allowed you to weigh in on the discussion.


Illinois acts to help job hunters maintain privacy on Facebook

Meticulously setting the privacy settings on your social media accounts could be for naught if a potential employer invites you to log in during the interview and reviews your Facebook page.

Researching job applicants through their social media use has become a well-known part of the screening process, but asking for total access is something one Illinois lawmaker thinks goes too far.

"It is just violating a person's right to privacy," said state Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago. After hearing from constituents who said they were asked to turn over Facebook access to prospective employers, Ford introduced a bill that would make the request illegal.

The legislation would provide a safeguard for those who would be too afraid to tell an employer no, he said. "They feel they would be fired or they wouldn't really get a fair shot at employment," he said.

The bill has received bipartisan support, and Ford said he expects it will be passed by the House and moved to the Senate this week.

Jay Shattuck, executive director of the Employment Law Council for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, said he is checking to see whether there may be a need for exceptions. He doesn't believe the practice of logging into personal accounts is widespread among employers.

"There's some law enforcement and other areas ... that might require a higher level of security in making sure the employees they are hiring are who they say they are," he said. "We may have to tweak this at a later time to cover those issues."

Shattuck said the Chamber had worked out a compromise with Ford to define social networking sites in the legislation and to clarify that employers could still use information obtained from the public domain.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


Examining political correctness around the world and its stifling of liberty and sense. Chronicling a slowly developing dictatorship

BIO for John Ray

Sarah Palin is undoubtedly the most politically incorrect person in American public life so she will be celebrated on this blog

I record on this blog many examples of negligent, inefficient and reprehensible behaviour on the part of British police. After 13 years of Labour party rule they have become highly politicized, with values that reflect the demands made on them by the political Left rather than than what the community expects of them. They have become lazy and cowardly and avoid dealing with real crime wherever possible -- preferring instead to harass normal decent people for minor infractions -- particularly offences against political correctness. They are an excellent example of the destruction that can be brought about by Leftist meddling.

I also record on this blog much social worker evil -- particularly British social worker evil. The evil is neither negligent nor random. It follows exactly the pattern you would expect from the Marxist-oriented indoctrination they get in social work school -- where the middle class is seen as the enemy and the underclass is seen as virtuous. So social workers are lightning fast to take chidren away from normal decent parents on the basis of of minor or imaginary infractions while turning a blind eye to gross child abuse by the underclass

Gender is a property of words, not of people. Using it otherwise is just another politically correct distortion -- though not as pernicious as calling racial discrimination "Affirmative action"

Postmodernism is fundamentally frivolous. Postmodernists routinely condemn racism and intolerance as wrong but then say that there is no such thing as right and wrong. They are clearly not being serious. Either they do not really believe in moral nihilism or they believe that racism cannot be condemned!

Postmodernism is in fact just a tantrum. Post-Soviet reality in particular suits Leftists so badly that their response is to deny that reality exists. That they can be so dishonest, however, simply shows how psychopathic they are.

Juergen Habermas, a veteran leftist German philosopher stunned his admirers not long ago by proclaiming, "Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [than Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amedment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

Consider two "jokes" below:

Q. "Why are Leftists always standing up for blacks and homosexuals?

A. Because for all three groups their only God is their penis"

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

The latter "joke" is not a joke at all, of course. It is a comparison routinely touted by Leftists. Both "jokes" are greatly offensive and unfair to the parties targeted but one gets a pass without question while the other would bring great wrath on the head of anyone uttering it. Why? Because political correctness is in fact just Leftist bigotry. Bigotry is unfairly favouring one or more groups of people over others -- usually justified as "truth".

One of my more amusing memories is from the time when the Soviet Union still existed and I was teaching sociology in a major Australian university. On one memorable occasion, we had a representative of the Soviet Womens' organization visit us -- a stout and heavily made-up lady of mature years. When she was ushered into our conference room, she was greeted with something like adulation by the local Marxists. In question time after her talk, however, someone asked her how homosexuals were treated in the USSR. She replied: "We don't have any. That was before the revolution". The consternation and confusion that produced among my Leftist colleagues was hilarious to behold and still lives vividly in my memory. The more things change, the more they remain the same, however. In Sept. 2007 President Ahmadinejad told Columbia university that there are no homosexuals in Iran.

It is widely agreed (with mainly Lesbians dissenting) that boys need their fathers. What needs much wider recognition is that girls need their fathers too. The relationship between a "Daddy's girl" and her father is perhaps the most beautiful human relationship there is. It can help give the girl concerned inner strength for the rest of her life.

The love of bureaucracy is very Leftist and hence "correct". Who said this? "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything". It was V.I. Lenin

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

Germaine Greer is a stupid old Harpy who is notable only for the depth and extent of her hatreds