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. The mirror sites are updated several times a month but are no longer updated daily. (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, 2014

Another murder by a rejected multiculturalist

A man 'motivated by jealousy' and 'out for revenge' stabbed his ex-girlfriend to death just days after she made a statement in which she said she was petrified of him, a court heard.

Linah Keza, 29, was stabbed to death after David Gikawa, 39, used a key she gave him to sneak into her flat at 4.20am before launching into a 'brutal stabbing'. the Old Bailey was told.

The cause of death was given as stab wounds to the chest, the jury heard.

Gikawa, 39, denies murdering Ms Keza while she was with her young child at her flat in Leyton, east London on July 31 last year.

He used to live with Ms Keza in the flat, but that she had kicked him out the night before and was planning to change the locks, prosecutors said.

Jurors later heard from a witness how Ms Keza screamed and begged a neighbour to kick the door down as she was stabbed to death, while her young daughter shouted ‘leave my mummy alone’.

The 'systems in place failed to prevent' the death of Ms Keza, who had been in contact with both the police and social services, Peter Finnigan QC, prosecuting, told the court.

Mr Finnigan said Gikawa drove from a bar where he had been drinking with friends to Ms Keza's flat where the 'brutal stabbing' took place.

The incident was described by neighbour Gideon Bello, who told the court he went to investigate after hearing the shouts from the flat.

He told how he knocked on the door after hearing a young girl saying: 'Leave my mummy alone'.

Mr Bello said he then heard Ms Keza shouting: 'Please kick down the door, please kick down the door.'

He said: ‘[Gikawa] was holding her with his arm around her neck. I saw his hand moving around as if he was hitting her.

He then told how a blood-stained Gikawa ran away after he challenged him.

Mr Finnigan earlier said the victim wanted to start afresh and be 'free from the fear, threats and control'.

But, he said, Gikawa was 'determined to prevent it' claimed he would rather kill Ms Keza and himself than see her go out with another person.

Characterising the relationship, Mr Finnigan said: ‘He had both used and threatened violence and even death. That was his way of maintaining or controlling the relationship and to some extend he succeed.

‘Linah found it difficult to break away from him. Latterly, as his behaviour degenerated and threats became worse she took increasing action against him to leave her alone.’

Their relationship, which began after they met in 2009, had been 'turbulent from an early stage' and Gikawa had a 'darker side', the court heard.

Mr Finnigan said: 'He had in the past attacked her and beaten her.'

The jury was told about one incident when a knife was allegedly put inside Ms Keza's mouth.

Police were called but she did not want to go to court and the case was dropped, the jury heard.

Mr Finnigan said that just a few days before her death Ms Keza sought a non-molestation order from the court. He then read from the witness statement she gave.

'Very controlling': Ms Keza wrote in her statement how Gikawa had attacked her before. He allegedly sneaked into her flat - to which he still had keys - at around 4am and stabbed her

It said Gikawa was 'very controlling' and she said she could not speak to her family because they would 'disown' her if they knew she was pregnant before being married.

Reading from the statement, Mr Finnigan said: 'I'm petrified of him. I don't want a life of violence any more. I just want to live a safe life.'

The statement also told how in April 2011 Gikawa allegedly attacked her at his home in Edmonton, north London, after she found out he had been cheating on him with another woman.

‘He pushed me on the bed, he pushed the pillow on to my head and punched the pillow several times,’ she wrote.

The jury heard that the police were called on July 29 - two days before Ms Keza's death - three times.

Mr Finnigan said that police said during a conversation with them Ms Keza alleged that Gikawa 'carries a kitchen knife that he had sharpened'.

Gikawa, of Leyton, East London, denies murder. [Africans very rarely admit guilt, even when it is obvious]. The trial continues.


Mere abuse won't stop voters backing Ukip

This paper holds no brief for Ukip [a British patriotic party], whose leaders we would shrink from trusting with the levers of power. The party also appears to attract more than its fair share of candidates with eccentric and, in some cases, obnoxious views.

But when polls show Nigel Farage’s supporters streaking ahead of Labour and the Conservatives, while trampling the Lib Dems into dust, isn’t it time for the mainstream parties to wake up to what’s happening in modern politics?

To date, their sole line of attack has been to seek out and heap abuse on mavericks in Ukip’s ranks.

Indeed, this was the approach adopted yesterday by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, a normally mildly-spoken Cameron ally, who condemned the offensive views of a local council candidate as ‘absolutely disgusting’, ‘divisive’ and ‘un-British’.

But if the idea is to tarnish Mr Farage’s whole party with guilt by association, it clearly isn’t working.

With 31 per cent now saying they’ll vote Ukip in the euro-elections – against 28 per cent for Labour, 19 per cent for the Tories and 9 per cent for the Lib Dems – it seems that the more the party is insulted, the stronger its support grows.

Are Mr Hunt and Co trying to suggest that almost a third of the population are disgusting, divisive and un-British?

On the contrary, the overwhelming majority of Ukip supporters are decent people, heartily fed up with having their views ignored by the political class.

If they want to regain lost ground, the mainstream parties should try heeding voters’ wishes on such issues as uncontrolled immigration, human rights madness and the relentless surrender of our sovereignty to Brussels.

Abuse alone, however merited in individual cases, just sounds like panic.


China on course to become 'world's most Christian nation' within 15 years

It is said to be China's biggest church and on Easter Sunday thousands of worshippers will flock to this Asian mega-temple to pledge their allegiance – not to the Communist Party, but to the Cross.

The 5,000-capacity Liushi church, which boasts more than twice as many seats as Westminster Abbey and a 206ft crucifix that can be seen for miles around, opened last year with one theologian declaring it a "miracle that such a small town was able to build such a grand church".

The £8 million building is also one of the most visible symbols of Communist China's breakneck conversion as it evolves into one of the largest Christian congregations on earth.

"It is a wonderful thing to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It gives us great confidence," beamed Jin Hongxin, a 40-year-old visitor who was admiring the golden cross above Liushi's altar in the lead up to Holy Week.

"If everyone in China believed in Jesus then we would have no more need for police stations. There would be no more bad people and therefore no more crime," she added.

Officially, the People's Republic of China is an atheist country but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied.

Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao's death in 1976 signalled the end of the Cultural Revolution.

Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world's number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.

"By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon," said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule.

"It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change."

China's Protestant community, which had just one million members in 1949, has already overtaken those of countries more commonly associated with an evangelical boom. In 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants in China compared to 40 million in Brazil and 36 million in South Africa, according to the Pew Research Centre's Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Prof Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, believes that number will swell to around 160 million by 2025. That would likely put China ahead even of the United States, which had around 159 million Protestants in 2010 but whose congregations are in decline.

By 2030, China's total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.

"Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this," Prof Yang said. "It's ironic – they didn't. They actually failed completely."

Like many Chinese churches, the church in the town of Liushi, 200 miles south of Shanghai in Zhejiang province, has had a turbulent history.

It was founded in 1886 after William Edward Soothill, a Yorkshire-born missionary and future Oxford University professor, began evangelising local communities.

But by the late 1950s, as the region was engulfed by Mao's violent anti-Christian campaigns, it was forced to close.

Liushi remained shut throughout the decade of the Cultural Revolution that began in 1966, as places of worship were destroyed across the country.

Since it reopened in 1978 its congregation has gone from strength to strength as part of China's officially sanctioned Christian church – along with thousands of others that have accepted Communist Party oversight in return for being allowed to worship.

Today it has 2,600 regular churchgoers and holds up to 70 baptisms each year, according to Shi Xiaoli, its 27-year-old preacher. The parish's revival reached a crescendo last year with the opening of its new 1,500ft mega-church, reputedly the biggest in mainland China.

"Our old church was small and hard to find," said Ms Shi. "There wasn't room in the old building for all the followers, especially at Christmas and at Easter. The new one is big and eye-catching."

The Liushi church is not alone. From Yunnan province in China's balmy southwest to Liaoning in its industrial northeast, congregations are booming and more Chinese are thought to attend Sunday services each week than do Christians across the whole of Europe.

A recent study found that online searches for the words "Christian Congregation" and "Jesus" far outnumbered those for "The Communist Party" and "Xi Jinping", China's president.

Among China's Protestants are also many millions who worship at illegal underground "house churches", which hold unsupervised services – often in people's homes – in an attempt to evade the prying eyes of the Communist Party.

Such churches are mostly behind China's embryonic missionary movement – a reversal of roles after the country was for centuries the target of foreign missionaries. Now it is starting to send its own missionaries abroad, notably into North Korea, in search of souls.

"We want to help and it is easier for us than for British, South Korean or American missionaries," said one underground church leader in north China who asked not to be named.

The new spread of Christianity has the Communist Party scratching its head.

"The child suddenly grew up and the parents don't know how to deal with the adult," the preacher, who is from China's illegal house-church movement, said.

Some officials argue that religious groups can provide social services the government cannot, while simultaneously helping reverse a growing moral crisis in a land where cash, not Communism, has now become king.

They appear to agree with David Cameron, the British prime minister, who said last week that Christianity could help boost Britain's "spiritual, physical and moral" state.

Ms Shi, Liushi's preacher, who is careful to describe her church as "patriotic", said: "We have two motivations: one is our gospel mission and the other is serving society. Christianity can also play a role in maintaining peace and stability in society. Without God, people can do as they please."

Yet others within China's leadership worry about how the religious landscape might shape its political future, and its possible impact on the Communist Party's grip on power, despite the clause in the country's 1982 constitution that guarantees citizens the right to engage in "normal religious activities".

As a result, a close watch is still kept on churchgoers, and preachers are routinely monitored to ensure their sermons do not diverge from what the Party considers acceptable.

In Liushi church a closed circuit television camera hangs from the ceiling, directly in front of the lectern.

"They want the pastor to preach in a Communist way. They want to train people to practice in a Communist way," said the house-church preacher, who said state churches often shunned potentially subversive sections of the Bible. The Old Testament book in which the exiled Daniel refuses to obey orders to worship the king rather than his own god is seen as "very dangerous", the preacher added.

Such fears may not be entirely unwarranted. Christians' growing power was on show earlier this month when thousands flocked to defend a church in Wenzhou, a city known as the "Jerusalem of the East", after government threats to demolish it. Faced with the congregation's very public show of resistance, officials appear to have backed away from their plans, negotiating a compromise with church leaders.

"They do not trust the church, but they have to tolerate or accept it because the growth is there," said the church leader. "The number of Christians is growing – they cannot fight it. They do not want the 70 million Christians to be their enemy."

The underground leader church leader said many government officials viewed religion as "a sickness" that needed curing, and Prof Yang agreed there was a potential threat.

The Communist Party was "still not sure if Christianity would become an opposition political force" and feared it could be used by "Western forces to overthrow the Communist political system", he said.

Churches were likely to face an increasingly "intense" struggle over coming decade as the Communist Party sought to stifle Christianity's rise, he predicted.

"There are people in the government who are trying to control the church. I think they are making the last attempt to do that."


A weak establishment is letting Islamists threaten British freedoms

Sunday is Easter Day, but the pupils of 25 or so state schools in Birmingham probably do not know what that means for Christians. Argument rages about Islamist infiltration of these schools, and the exclusion of non-Muslim beliefs that results. There is an apparent plot by Muslim extremists to get their people into school governorships and install like-minded heads. This week, Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, boldly appointed Peter Clarke, a former senior policeman, as his commissioner to look into the whole thing.

As always with stories about Islam in Britain, the details are incredibly opaque, although The Telegraph’s Andrew Gilligan is getting us closer to the truth. Some say that the secret “Trojan Horse” document, which last month revealed the supposed plot, is a forgery. Many of the charges levelled at Tahir Alam, the Islamist chairman of governors of Park View Academy, the school at the centre of the row, are anonymous. In the past six months, five of the non-Muslim heads in schools linked to the alleged plot have retired, but terms and conditions seem to prevent them from speaking. The (Muslim) Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Bar, Khalid Mahmood, has spoken up courageously about what he believes is happening, but he is almost unique. He tells me that most of the many worried (chiefly Muslim) parents who have complained do not want to be identified. They are frightened.

If you stand back and think about it, this fear and confusion are in themselves extraordinary. Here we are in a 21st-century Britain that constantly congratulates itself on its tolerance and openness, and likes to sanctify “whistleblowers”, yet it is seriously difficult to know what on earth is happening to the education of hundreds of children in our second-biggest city.

The schools in question are mainstream, secular, taxpayer-funded state schools, but even asking about them provokes outrage. It is alleged, for instance, that at Park View, speeches in favour of the now-dead al-Qaeda ideologue of terrorism, Anwar al-Awlaki, have been made. Yet there is tremendous institutional resistance to investigating. Imagine what would happen if an authority figure in a predominantly white state school were accused of praising, say, Goebbels in assembly. Surely the truth would out pretty quickly.

But if you look at the reaction to Mr Gove’s intervention from those in power in Birmingham, you see nothing but surly resistance. Mark Rogers, the new chief executive of the council, has said, before he can really know, that there is no plot. It is just a matter, he thinks, of “new communities” raising “legitimate questions” about what they want for their children. He manages to discuss the entire issue without using the word “Muslim” once, a truly heroic piece of evasion.

The Labour council leader, the archetypally named Sir Albert Bore, shakes his head about Mr Gove creating “a growing community divide” by sending in Mr Clarke. He thinks that the divide will appear if “this process is interpreted to be one which is about Islamification”. But suppose Islamification does turn out to be the nub of the problem, must Mr Clarke fall silent to ensure that Sir Albert can have a relatively quiet life?

Most egregious is Chris Sims, chief constable of the West Midlands Police. You would think that a policeman would welcome the judgment of an ex-colleague, but Mr Sims appears to be doing whatever he can to put Mr Clarke off. He says Mr Clarke’s appointment is “desperately unfortunate” because “people will inevitably draw unwarranted conclusions from his former role as national coordinator for counter-terrorism”. Of course they will, if a chief constable tells them to do so.

“I am a strong supporter of open and inclusive education for all children in Birmingham,” he adds. I don’t really see why we need a policeman’s opinion about schools policy, but since Mr Sims offers his, why does he not support attempts to make sure that the open and inclusive education he loves is a reality in Birmingham, rather than just a phrase?

The answer lies in the word “community”. It is pleasingly vague, and constantly deployed wherever issues of race or religion are raised. The “community” will resent this, we are told; the “community” will feel threatened by that. “Community” is always cited as a reason for not enforcing the laws of the land. Two key questions are not asked. The first is: “Is it right that public policy in matters like schools or policing should be built round particular religious or ethnic groups, rather than the rights of all citizens?” The second is: “When you speak of the community here, do you know what you are talking about?”

In the Birmingham case, it seems we are dealing with a war within Islam, between the more articulate, extreme and mysteriously well-funded Salafists (or Wahhabis) and the quieter, more traditional and numerous Barelvis. One must doubt whether Mr Rogers, Sir Albert and Mr Sims know their way round these internal Muslim disputes, yet they appear confidently to identify with the Salafists as “community” representatives. In the jargon, they are looking for “credible partners”.

Like a lot of people who are frightened by things they do not understand, they seem instinctively to want to hug closest those who might be nastiest. The people who suffer most from such policies are those whom an open society ought to cherish – Muslims who, while holding to their faith, do not want to have their lives ruled by extreme clerical leaders with a political agenda. In this dispute, the few such people – parents at the schools affected – who do dare to speak, talk straightforwardly of wanting their children to have a normal British education. It is, to reapply Mr Sims’s phrase, “desperately unfortunate” that the local, mainly white establishment is so weak about making sure they get it.

So what can Mr Clarke do between now and July, when he must report? He has statutory powers, so the people he asks must give him answers. If Mr Clarke does not get the information he needs, Mr Gove can take control of the school directly. It is really information that matters the most. Everything to do with Islamism is a web of obscurity, designedly so. People who believe that the Western way of life is a lie which should be overthrown have no scruples about concealing their actions and motives. Although Mr Clarke is not looking for terrorism in this case (and none has been alleged), his former job teaches him at least two relevant things – how extreme Muslims think and how they operate.

There is, of course, a relation between what you think and what you do. It is this that the British authorities are still so bad at identifying when they deal with Islamists. On its website, MI5 says that the concept of “subversion” “focuses on hostility to democratic processes”. It goes on to say that the threat of subversion was a big issue during the Cold War but “is now considered to be negligible”. MI5 “do not currently investigate subversion”.

All Islamist schools of thought are hostile to democratic processes, many explicitly so. They strive to create a global society in thrall to their version of Islamic law. As we learnt when Islamists educated in British comprehensive schools blew themselves up and killed 52 – mainly their fellow citizens – in July 2005, some use violence to try to bring this about. Most don’t, but they do work to subvert – that is the right word – the institutions that we all need. They are organised in schools and universities. They infiltrate local government and public administration. They are expert at getting public money under false pretences. They are not “negligible”, but still we neglect the threat they pose.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


29 April, 2014

Long-term British jobless to have to scrub war memorials and historic monuments to keep welfare benefits

Long-term unemployed people will have to clean war memorials, restore historic monuments and look after animals at city farms to keep their benefits from today.

The Government is unveiling its Help to Work scheme aimed specifically at 200,000 people who have been unemployed, or unable to hold down a job, for three years.

Under the scheme, these long-term unemployed will have to report daily to local job centres to discuss how to get back to work.

If they are judged not to have enough work experience they will be allocated volunteering roles with charities and other providers.

Typical examples include scrubbing war memorials, helping to clean up historic monuments and working in local cafés run by volunteers.

Other work includes helping out at community and city farms, cleaning and restoring river and canal banks and even sorting through second hand clothes in charity warehouses.

Failure to cooperate could see them losing work-related benefits, such as the £72-a-week job seekers’ allowance.

Government sources said the placements – which will last for up to six months each – were focused on the voluntary sector to avoid taking jobs from other people.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said the measures were part of a Government push to get a job for everyone who can work.

There are an estimated 600,000 job vacancies at the moment. He said: “A key part of our long-term economic plan is to move to full employment, making sure that everyone who can work is in work.

“We are seeing record levels of employment in Britain, as more and more people find a job, but we need to look at those who are persistently stuck on benefits.

“This scheme will provide more help than ever before, getting people into work and on the road to a more secure future.”

Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, added: “Everyone with the ability to work should be given the support and opportunity to do so.

“The previous system wrote too many people off, which was a huge waste of potential for those individuals as well as for their families and the country.”

But David Green, a director of right of centre think tank Civitas, urged the Government go further and remove the three year qualifying period for the scheme.

He told The Daily Telegraph: “From the minute someone is out of a job they should be given something positive to do – not leave it for three years.”

The Government’s plans for its Help to Work scheme were originally announced at last Autumn’s Conservative party conference. Further details about the types of voluntary scheme were disclosed on Sunday.


Amid Holocaust remembrance, antisemitism adapts and thrives

by Jeff Jacoby

IT WASN'T a failure of Holocaust remembrance that explains why Frazier Glenn Miller opened fire outside two Jewish community facilities in Overland Park, Kan., murdering three people on the day before Passover.

Miller, a 73-year-old former Ku Klux Klan grand dragon, knows all about the Holocaust — enough, at any rate, to extol Adolf Hitler as "the greatest man who ever walked the earth" and to shout "Heil Hitler!" after his arrest. Like his hero, Miller is obsessed with Jews. Asked once in an interview whom he hated more, blacks or Jews, he didn't hesitate: "Jews!" he said. "A thousand times more!"

Such anti-Semitic malevolence led 70 years ago to the Shoah — the industrial-scale annihilation of two-thirds of Europe's Jews: six million men, women, and children, among them my father's parents and four of his brothers and sisters. They were murdered not as a means to an end — not for their money or their land or because they posed a military or political threat — but as an end in itself. Hitler's purpose in exterminating the Jews was for the Jews to be exterminated.

For decades after the Holocaust, it was tempting to believe that such genocidal prejudice against Jews was a thing of the past, at least in the enlightened West. The world had seen what anti-Semitism at its most uninhibited could do. What people had been sure could never happen had happened — but by harnessing the power of memory, we could ensure that it never happened again. So Holocaust memorials and museums were erected in cities large and small. Concentration-camp survivors published their memoirs and spoke about their experiences. Students were taught about the Nazis and the Final Solution. Yom HaShoah — an annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, which begins Sunday evening — was added to the calendar each spring.

But Jew-hatred hasn't been purged. On the contrary: It has erupted in recent years with shocking scope and strength. It has been revived "in the halls of parliament and in the streets," writes political scientist Daniel Jonah Goldhagen in a new book, The Devil that Never Dies. "Among elites and common people. In public media, places of worship, and in the privacy of homes. Where Jews live and where they do not."

An old-style white-supremacist neo-Nazi like the shooter in Kansas, evil as his crime was, is the least of this resurgent threat, especially in this country. Hitler-idolizing anti-Semites like Miller, widely regarded as abhorrent, are a negligible phenomenon in the United States. His deadly rampage was instantly condemned across the board; only among the kooks did anyone express support for Miller's vilification of Jews.

Where anti-Semitism is gaining market share today is not among those who yell "Heil Hitler" or demonize Jews as Christ-killers. The oldest and most protean of hatreds has assumed a new form for a new age: hostility to Zionism and Israel. The classic anti-Semitic motifs — Jews are aliens, Jews are murderous, Jews are rapacious, Jews are disloyal, Jews manipulate governments — have been repurposed for a post-Holocaust generation that speaks with a post-Holocaust vocabulary.

Sophisticated and educated Westerners today know better than to blame "the Jews" for society's ills, or to suggest that the best solution to the "Jewish Problem" is for Jews to disappear.

But it is widely acceptable in many circles to debate whether the world's only Jewish state has a right to exist. Or to insist that the Middle East's turmoil would be resolved if only that Jewish state would make peace with its enemies by conceding to their demands. Or to claim with a straight face, when Israel defends itself against Arab and Islamist violence, that it is behaving as the Nazis did.

This helps explain why anti-Semitism soared in recent years even as Palestinian terrorism against Israel soared. For if Zionists are tantamount to Nazis — if the Jewish state is the equivalent of Hitler's Germany — then decent people everywhere must oppose it. Through endless repetition of the most odious "Israelis = Nazis" canards, the memory of the most lethal horror ever inflicted on the Jewish people has been transmuted into a new bludgeon with which to batter them. Meanwhile, waves of incitement build against the largest Jewish community on the planet, whipped up by enemies who make no secret of their ultimate goal: to annihilate it.

Thus does the old plague bacillus of anti-Semitism mutate and flourish once again, in the very shadow of the Holocaust memorials put up as a warning of what unchecked Jew-hatred can lead to. Truly, it is diabolical.


Sexist philosophers?

In my experience philosophers are overwhelmingly far-Left -- so the critics in this case must be nickel-plated b*tches

According to a January report from the American Philosophical Assn.'s Committee on the Status of Women, the philosophy department at the University of Colorado Boulder is a hotbed of "unacceptable sexual harassment, inappropriate sexualized behavior and divisive uncivil behavior."

It's hard to figure out exactly what the male philosophers at Boulder were actually doing in the way of "inappropriate sexualized behavior" because the committee, which seemed to have spent a full year (plus $25,000 of Boulder's money) on this witch hunt, is keeping that under wraps. The report that it issued to the public is merely a "summary" containing no specific incidences of misconduct, much less naming any names. The report did say that there was "excessive drinking" when professors and graduate students socialized together, and that "some male faculty have been observed ogling undergraduate women students."

Ogling! Guess Plato's “Republic” isn't that interesting after all.
The women's committee also complained that the Boulder philosophy department was treating the problem far too -- philosophically. The report stated: "The department uses pseudo-philosophical analyses to avoid directly addressing the situation. Their faculty discussions revolve around the letter rather than the spirit of proposed regulations and standards."

So the women's committee decided to inject some spirit of its own into Boulder's lackadaisical philosophy department: the spirit of the Women's Christian Temperance Union combined with the spirit of Chairman Mao. The committee proposed that henceforth there be "no alcohol served at any events connected with the department … and no evening socializing." The committee also demanded that the department institute mandatory sexual harassment training for all, hire a “facilitator” whose job it would be to make female philosophy students feel better, and dissolve all departmental listservs so that faculty and students wouldn't be able to communicate with one another easily.

Oh, and no joking around, either! "Avoid cheap and easy jokes in class or other professional settings. Individuals must call out disrespectful comments as they occur, and those called out should receive the correction without being defensive."
The year 1966 in China just called. They want their Red Guards back.

Administrators at Boulder didn't go quite so far as the ladies of the American Philosophical Society's Committee on the Status of Women wanted. But they went pretty far. They fired the department chair, barred the department from admitting new graduate students and duly set up the mandatory sexism training classes that the committee had recommended.

Then, in February, Bradley Monton, an associate professor of philosophy at Boulder, complained at a meeting of the Boulder Faculty Assembly's Executive Committee that both the committee's findings and the administration's actions were exaggerated. Monton said the practices that the committee had spotlighted -- excessive after-hours drinking among faculty and students -- had ended years earlier. Monton later retracted his remarks -- under pressure from the administration, he now says -- and resigned from the faculty assembly, also under pressure.

College philosophy departments have been under attack from feminists for years. Philosophy is one of the few humanities fields left in which men actually outnumber women. At the University of Georgia, for example, only 33% of undergraduate philosophy majors are women, according to a National Public Radio report. Nationwide, only 20% of philosophy professors are women.
Feminist philosophy professors don't like that, even though a study at Georgia State University found that female students who took an introductory philosophy course simply deemed "the course less enjoyable and the material less interesting and relevant to their lives than male students."

Philosophy is the most abstract of all the humanities disciplines, and it's likely that it appeals more to men, with their generally greater facility for abstract, math-like reasoning, whereas women's brains seem more strongly adapted to social skills and memory.

Feminist philosophers are having none of that, however. They've insisted that their profession is institutionally biased against women. They've urged such supposedly corrective measures as shunning professional conferences whose panels don't include female speakers and discontinuing the philosophy "smoker," a traditional part of the faculty hiring process in which job candidates and professors have discussions over drinks -- an institution that feminists claim encourages suspicious male bonding (feminist philosophers don't seem to like booze).

Fortunately, there seems to be a backlash against Boulder's draconian measures with respect to its philosophy department. Six women with ties to the philosophy department have issued a public statement complaining that the university's actions tarnished the professional reputation of the entire department. And last week, even the American Assn. of University Professors sided with Monton, not Boulder. "One of the central tenets of academic freedom is the right of faculty to speak out on matters of institutional policy," said an AAUP report demanding that Monton's full faculty privileges be restored.


'Holding child's hand too tightly is abuse'

Foster parents had children taken away after British social workers claimed they were manhandling youngsters crossing road

Social workers took two children away from their foster parents after claiming they were holding the children's hands too tightly while crossing the road. The children were immediately removed from the couple's care and handed over to new foster parents.

There are currently 68,110 children in care according the most recent figures with 50,900 in stable foster homes.

However, according to The Sun, 233 children were removed from their foster parents - including one couple for holding the children's hands while crossing the road crossing the road.

The children were removed from the couple in Buckinghamshire while social workers investigated 'marks' on the children's wrists.

Sue Imbriano, Children's director of Bucks County Councils said: 'Social workers are having to make extremely difficult decisions on a daily basis, but they are always made in the context of wanting to ensure the best outcomes for young people.'

According to the Department of Education, one in every 166 children in the UK is in care.

Despite 233 children being removed from foster care last year, according to Foster Talk, a company which provides support for foster parents, the majority of allegations are false.

According to their website: 'The most common reason arises out of the child’s belief that if they tell someone that they are being mistreated, they will be able to return home to their parents.

'Another cause might be low self-esteem. If a young person has had a number of foster placements, an allegation might be made in order for them to discover whether those responsible for them truly care.

'Other children might crave attention and will view even negative focus as better than nothing.

'Sadly, sometimes an allegation is made because the young person in care has been abused in the past and has kept it a secret.

'Accusing a Foster Carer of abuse is a way of bringing this out into the open. And sometimes children who have previously been in emotionally harmful environments misinterpret things which in the past have been precursors to abuse i.e. the offer of a cuddle or a kiss goodnight.

'Of course, in some rare cases the allegations against Foster Carers are found to be true. It is in these instances that the sometimes stressful and emotional investigation process is shown to be worthwhile.'



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


28 April, 2014

National socialism strong in Scotland

It's most unlikely that Alex Salmond would be as vicious as Hitler but his propaganda draws on the same basic emotions -- powerful ones. Dominic Lawson reports below

On the day I arrive in Glasgow, the referendum debate goes nuclear. Literally. The front page of the Scotsman newspaper screams ‘UK draws battle lines on nuclear weapons’.

This is its take on the fact that Westminster has issued its sternest warning yet about the Scottish National Party’s pledge to close the Trident missile base on the Clyde.

To add to the threat level, First Sea Admiral Lord Sir George Zambellas chooses the same day to warn that, with independence, ‘Scotland would no longer have access of right to the security contribution of one of the finest navies in the world’.

As I wander in to Vroni’s Bar in the centre of Glasgow, it’s hardly surprising that one of the regulars there is more than happy to give this visiting Englishman his considered view of the matter.

‘So, the First Sea Lord says that we would be defenceless without the Royal Navy? But we won’t need a Navy when we’re independent. The only people who might attack us are the English. And they are too stupid to do it by sea. They will come over Hadrian’s Wall — and we’ll be ready.’

Actually, I could imagine the speaker relishing such a fight. He has the build of a rugby prop forward and a generally intimidating presence. But this is no hooligan.

After a drink together, I discover he had been a civil servant in the Scottish Office before taking a job in financial services.

On learning he is in the world of business, I ask my pugnacious drinking companion how he feels about the warnings from the Westminster political parties — not to mention leading banks and insurance companies — of the damage that independence might do to Scotland’s prosperity.

‘I am for independence, whatever the price. Whatever the cost.’

‘Even if it meant living in wigwams?’ I suggest provocatively.

For a moment I thought I had gone too far — it probably isn’t wise for a Londoner in a Glasgow bar to suggest even in jest that the Scots on their own would be no better off than Red Indians.

But after giving me a brief look of incredulity, he replies steadily: ‘I would be for independence even if it meant we all had to live in wigwams.’

In fact, my remark had been particularly tactless.

My new friend goes on to explain exactly why he is so vehemently for Scottish independence.

‘My family were thrown out of their homes, thrown off their land, by the Anglo-Scottish aristocracy in the Highland clearances [in the early 19th century].

‘The Union with England might have been good for big landowners and the like; not so for my folk. But I don’t hate the English, not at all.’

I believed him — and not just because he didn’t give me a Glasgow kiss when I put Scots and Red Indians in the same sentence, and in my very English accent.

The truth is that there is a vituperative and even vicious side to the Scottish nationalists’ tactics in the referendum debate; but this nastiness is not directed at the English. Instead, it is aimed entirely at fellow Scots who dare to suggest this nation — and it is a nation — needs for its own sake to remain in union with the rest of the United Kingdom.

At times they are treated by the nationalists as if they are Quislings, traitors — which is deeply unpleasant for those who consider themselves only as being loyal to the British state they were born in.

The leader of the Better Together Campaign, former Chancellor Alistair Darling, has complained of how the nationalists are ‘monstering’ Scots who speak up for the Union.

A fellow Scots Labour MP — who doesn’t want to be named — says: ‘The sort of things we have been receiving and experiencing are vile and really frightening.

‘We have people walking into the constituency office shouting appalling abuse. My office manager has not been able to sleep all week because of the threats and abuse he has been receiving. When I walk down to the shops I pull up my hood because I am so worried about being recognised and attacked on the street. It has been terrifying.’

In Tennent’s Bar, the most traditional of pubs in Glasgow’s West End (with no fewer than 12 hand pumps dispensing different real ales), I gain an impression of the same phenomenon. My drinking companion on this occasion reveals himself to be a BBC Scotland executive.

He tells me of the ‘harassment from CyberNats’ who bombard the BBC with emails complaining about alleged anti-nationalist bias in this, that or the other programme.

‘It’s clearly co-ordinated,’ he says. ‘Hundreds of complainants each saying exactly the same thing. And they know how to work the system, how to escalate the complaint.’

Of course, this is nothing like the in-the-face harassment the Scottish Labour MP described. But when I ask the BBC executive if his producers and reporters are feeling intimidated by the ‘CyberNats’, he says: ‘Yes.’ Yet it is hardly surprising that Nationalists’ feelings should be running so high. This is a once in a lifetime — indeed, a once in over 300 years — opportunity to realise a dream of an independent and self-governing Scotland.

And for long-time SNP supporters, this is something to which they are committed in a way that matters far more than party allegiance or even basic concepts of Left and Right.

One of my drinking partners in Tennent’s described attending this month’s SNP conference, at which the party’s deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon declared: ‘After 80 years of campaigning, the last mile of our journey to independence is upon us.

‘It may well be the hardest mile of all?…?If need be we will carry each other over the finishing line. But friends, we will not fail.’

As he described it to me: ‘The atmosphere was more rally than party conference, at one and the same time intensely emotional, but somehow aggressive.

‘I got lots of angry looks when it was noticed I was not applauding and some of them began what I can only call hostile clapping in my direction. But I was just there to take notes.’

In the past fortnight the war between Nationalists and the Unionists has been fought over the women’s vote. SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Alec Salmond suddenly appointed two women to his cabinet, to counter five ‘pledges for women’ by Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran.

So, I decided to approach two friendly-looking women enjoying a late-afternoon tipple.

Where did they stand on the vote that could see them becoming part of a new country? The first, Shirley, explained she had been very worried about the prospect of independence, but that her friend, Alison, had been talking her round. At this, Alison beamed approvingly.

But what was Shirley’s anxiety? ‘I see it like a business. It’s about money. Would we go bankrupt on our own?

‘Now, because of what Alison has been telling me, I think we’d manage.

‘If the vote was to stay in the Union, I wouldn’t feel any less Scottish — I couldn’t feel more Scottish. But I’d still feel a bit scared the day after, if the vote went “Yes”.’

Alison was having none of that: ‘Let me ask you: is there any country that became independent and regretted it afterwards?’

This was said with compelling force, but then, as I discovered, Alison was a compelling character, brought up on the Easterhouse council estate, notorious as the poorest in the whole of the UK.

This was where the former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith was so shocked by witnessing generations of families locked by welfare dependency into poverty, joblessness and drug addiction that he wept.

Alison, however, had been the only person in her school to go to university and is now a teacher — and whose job is to sort out the most difficult teenage boys, many of whom are gang members from the same blighted part of Glasgow where she had lived as a child.

Alison’s support for the SNP — and therefore independence — is conditioned by her experience.

‘The Labour government in Westminster introduced university fees. The SNP opposed them. I wouldn’t have gone to university if there had been fees. And the SNP opposes Trident. It is the nearest party we have to Socialism.’

So, how would Alison feel if the Scottish people voted in September’s referendum to stay part of the Union — a union that might well see a Conservative led-government after the 2015 General Election? ‘Suicidal!’ I then plucked up enough courage to reveal to Alison that my father had been a Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer under Margaret Thatcher.

Instead of exploding, she then told me her ‘secret’: that her parents had been the only Conservative voters she knew of on the Easterhouse estate, and it was they who had urged her to go to university after her teachers had ridiculed her ambition.

It is one of the myths about Scotland that there are no Tories left in it. In the 2010 General Election, the Conservatives garnered 412,855 votes — not so far behind the SNP’s 491,386 supporters.

However, the vagaries of the first-past-the-post constituency system means that the Tories have a solitary seat at Westminster despite getting the support of 16.7 per cent of the Scottish electorate.

What those Scots who vote Conservative fear is that in an independent Scotland, they would be doomed to live under Socialism in perpetuity — exactly the outcome Alison was praying for.

Earlier, two businessmen in Vroni’s Bar had supplied me with their reason for voting ‘No’ to independence — even though one was from an Irish working-class family and said that all his relations in the Emerald Isle couldn’t understand why he didn’t want to ‘get rid of English rule’.

The first of them, a lawyer called Douglas, exclaimed that if the vote went ‘Yes’: ‘We’d have a Socialist republic of Scotland. It would be back to the Seventies.’

He added that he had ‘no problem with the Tories’.

Another drinker, though protesting ‘I’m a Socialist,’ was caustic about the litany of pledges by the SNP. ‘They talk as if an independent Scotland will be a socially just Xanadu — with free child care, free university education, free everything.

‘They are promising everything under the sun because they don’t give a toss what will happen after the vote. ‘This is the only vote they need to win. After that, it’s game over.’

Indeed, it is the sheer size of the stakes that have impelled the Better Together campaign to make a series of dire warnings, including a somewhat ill-judged one by the former Labour defence minister and Nato secretary general Lord Robertson that the effect of a nuclear-free, independent Scotland will be ‘cataclysmic’ for the West as a whole.

It may be that the Unionist campaign has been too negative. But there is one of its warnings which, on my soundings in Glasgow, does seem to have struck home: the insistence by all three Westminster parties that an independent Scotland can’t be part of a currency union with the rest of the UK.

That the currency issue is the Achilles heel of the Nationalists is made clear by the fact their leader Alex Salmond refuses even to mention what should be the proof of his confidence in the economic viability of an independent Scotland — its own currency.

So, I engaged in discussion at a bus stop on the way back to my hotel — and after spending a day matching Glaswegians drink for drink, I was grateful for something to lean on.

So, FOR what it is worth, my randomly chosen interlocutor was most exercised by the possibility of not being in currency union with the rest of the UK. Or as he put it less technically: ‘The real worry is our money. Will it be worth the same?’

Nor did he mind what ‘Youse’ — that is, the English — thought about the independence referendum: ‘I don’t see why youse have to say anything. If someone wants a divorce, it’s up to them to say why it would be better to end the marriage.’

Actually, though we English don’t have a say in this vote, we should be prepared to say what we think about the prospects of ending this remarkable Union, whose peoples fought as one to defeat the greatest threat to all within it: the Nazis.

And, as it happens, one of my drinking companions in Glasgow did ask what I would feel if Scotland voted for independence on September 18.

I replied I would never feel that Scotland was a foreign country — even if I needed a passport to cross the border. I added that while Scotland’s population is barely 8 per cent of the total on the mainland, it was so much bigger than that in the hold it has on our imaginations, our sense of what Britain means in all its cultural and historical richness.

I concluded by telling her that I would feel in some intangible way diminished if its people chose to revoke the Act of Union of 1707 — whose Article 1 had declared: ‘The two kingdoms of Scotland and England shall on 1st May and for ever after be united into one Kingdom by the name of Great Britain.’

And I told her that my day in the bars of Glasgow had made me feel that all the more.


Le Pen hits front in France's EU elections: Far-right party predicted to humiliate Hollande's socialists at the polls

The National Front is leading opinion polls before France’s European elections next month.

The latest poll - a CSA survey for BFMTV and Nice Matin - puts their vote at 24 per cent.

This compares to 22 per cent for the UMP opposition and 20 per cent for President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party.

It follows a massive swing to the right in local elections which led to the entire Socialist government resigning earlier this month.

Mr Hollande spoke of a ‘moral crisis’ in France, and appointed a new administration. However, his left-wing policies are still failing.

Unemployment is spiralling above the 11 per cent mark, as other polls regularly show Mr Hollande’s personal approval rating at less than 20 per cent.

This makes him by far the most unpopular head of state in the history of modern France.

The National Front (FN) enjoyed unprecedented success in the April elections - taking control of 11 key constituencies, and up to 1200 municipal seats. Most of its gains were in areas of high unemployment and immigration, especially in the south of France and the depressed north.

‘No one can seriously deny this has been a huge victory for us,’ said FN leader Marine Le Pen, who believes they will do even better in May’s European elections.

Ms Le Pen is widely credited with having modernised the FN - moving it away from its racist and anti-Semitic roots. She won almost 18 percent of the national vote in the first round of presidential elections two years ago, and has worked hard to ‘detoxify’ other FN members.

Her infamous father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, founded the FN and has a number of convictions for stirring up racial hatred. Mr Le Pen is now 85, and takes a back seat from the day to day running of the party.

Polls have regularly suggested that the FN could win up to a quarter of the popular vote in the European Parliament elections in May, but this is the first time that their vote has appeared higher than the two main governing parties in France.

The FN currently has three seats in the European parliament, compared to 11 in 1994.

Despite the FN’s widespread popular appeal, they have been viewed as a chance to protest against mainstream parties.

The FN currently only has two seats in the French National Assembly, compared to 35 in 1986.


British bank drops overdraft fee on Islamic accounts

Lloyds Bank has been accused of religious discrimination after offering free overdraft accounts to Muslims.

The bank sent customers a booklet this month explaining new charges. While many will have to pay up to £80 a month if they go into the red, Muslims were told they would escape the charges. The document said: “We are removing the monthly overdraft management fee of £6 from our Islamic Account, Islamic Student Account and Islamic Graduate Account. So, if you use an unplanned overdraft on these accounts, there won’t be any charges.”

One customer, Anita Milton, a nurse of New Eltham, south London, said: “I can’t believe that they’re thinking of offering one account for Muslims and making everyone else pay for the same service. Do I have to change my religion to get the best deal?"

Barclays, Co-op Bank and RBS said they do not offer alternative bank accounts to Muslim customers.

James Daley, of Fairer Finance, a consumer group, said: “The best thing would be for everyone to switch to the Islamic account to avoid these charges. But if everyone does that I doubt it will be financially viable for Lloyds.”

The Islamic account was set up by the High Street bank to attract Muslim customers by allowing them to keep faithful to their religion.

A Lloyds spokesman said Islamic accounts were intended for customers who cannot receive or pay interest under sharia, but were available to anyone, regardless of their faith.

“Our focus has always been on meeting the needs of UK businesses and personal customers. We offer a range of retail, business and investment products to meet the needs of our customers, available through all of our branches across the UK. The Islamic current account is for customers who cannot receive credit or debit interest due to their religious beliefs. All of our Islamic accounts comply with Islamic law and are available to anyone regardless of background or faith.

"These accounts are structured differently to our traditional accounts and do not offer credit interest or other features that are available on our other products. A comparison with the overdraft charging structure on other accounts is meaningless.”


Teenager who sexually assaulted 12 women aged between 17-48 walks free from court with referral order designed to help HIM

A teenager who sexually assaulted 12 women, including a 48-year-old, has walked free from court with a referral order aimed at rehabilitating him and addressing his behaviour.

The 14-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted 12 separate incidents when he appeared at Manchester Youth Court.

The assaults took place between August 20 and October 9, last year around the University of Manchester.

On August 28, an 18-year-old girl was sexually assaulted near to the university's Science Park.

Less than a month later, on September 21, three women, aged 21, 22 and 27, were sexually assaulted by the boy.

Then on October 5, he sexually assaulted five women, aged 17, 21, 32, 32, and 35.

The final assault took place on October 9, when the teenager attacked a 48-year-old.

Detective Chief Inspector Colin Larkin said: 'Thanks to the information provided by the victims and the witnesses who came forward, we were able to make a swift arrest.

'Following our press appeal, a further six women contacted us to say that they had also been assaulted.

'Although the victims were upset by what happened, each one of them have expressed a genuine wish the boy receives help and does not offend again.'

The teenager was sentenced by magistrates to a 12-month referral order.

According to Department of Justice guidelines, referral orders are suitable for first-time offenders under the age of 16, who plead guilty to their crimes.

The sentence involves the youth appearing before a volunteer youth offender panel, who will hold the teen account for his actions.

Youths are required to attend with their parents or guardians and may be required to make reparation or restitution to their victim based on the restorative justice approach.

Under the order the 14-year-old will be required to agree a contract with the panel, which can include repairing any damage caused or making financial recompense, as well as taking part in a programme of interventions and activities to address behaviour.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


26 April, 2014

Torquemada Invades America

Torquemada has landed in America. This nation of free and open inquiry has been seized by totalitarians who refuse to entertain other points of view. The debate about global warming is over say adherents of this position. When, if ever, has the debate about any scientific issue been over?

That is the least of it. So complete is the feminist assault on the culture that one can no longer say men and woman aren't interchangeable. Should a military officer challenge the faith, he can be sure promotion is not in his future. Common sense is in retreat before the gods of cultural reformation.

It is now part of the orthodoxy to contend that all nations and cultures are equally good, with the possible exception of Israel. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the author of Infidel, had the temerity to challenge this "truism" and was denied an honorary degree Brandeis authorities had promised her. Skeptics are not welcome at American universities. In fact, should one leave the herd of independent thinkers, he will feel the full wrath of faculty and student chastisement. The orthodoxy will not accept a challenge.

Here is American fundamentalism with a vengeance. A business executive gave money to an organization that supports traditional marriage and he is hounded by homosexual activists. A photographer refuses to take pictures at a homosexual wedding and he is treated as a sinner who must be punished. A business executive argues against homosexual marriage and his entire food chain is imperiled until he repents.

This is secular religious fervor as passionate as any formal religion. Kids are indoctrinated at the earliest age to imbibe the "truth." In fact, "critical thinking," the goal of education, involves neither a critique nor thought. The imposition of belief is right out of an Orwellian playbook. A search for truth has been subordinated to the acceptance of belief. To be an outlier in the nation is to be a recluse, cut off from social exchange, a leper in the modern age.

We do not yet have reeducation camps since the educational institutions are "doing their jobs," albeit there are always sensitivity training sessions. Stigmata are effective tools in holding back dissent. Who doesn't fear being described as foolish or the equivalent of a Holocaust denier? The instrument of social ostracism is almost foolproof.

Now a generation of scientists is saying the human mind is programmable like a software program. Life is no longer unpredictable, a human centered world view. Instead it is within the reach of programmers who can manipulate thought. The sacred is being desacralized, a humanistic vision made blind.

In the midst of this totalitarian attack the public has been mute. One wonders why there isn't blind rage. How can people be indifferent to the casual take-over of their thinking? So immersed in self-gratification and popular culture are John and Mary Q. Public that they do not recognize what is happening around them. Schools and colleges promote the orthodoxy and not a peep form the academics whose bread and butter is being usurped. If there is thinking in Academe, it is only whose thoughts that fit a priori conclusion. Dogmatism prevails.

Where did we come from? Where are we to end up? Questions involving the unknown are no longer unknown. The dogmatists have an answer. It is in a scientific equation or the mind of the grand inquisitor. The answers are known or about to be known. No need to ask questions. In fact, there isn't any need for debate.

Yet I hope there is a day when there will be a cri de coeur heard throughout the land. The words "I disagree" should be loud and forceful. At the moment, however, I regard this hope as wishful thinking.


God Movies Make Money

The accountants in Hollywood don't have to believe in heaven to notice the box office numbers on recent movies with religious themes.

"Heaven Is for Real" opened in the days before Easter and grossed more than $22 million, coming in second for the weekend, just $3 million behind the latest "Captain America" blockbuster (in its third week). The movie's per-screen average — $8,895 — was far above the rest of the top five.

"Heaven Is for Real," like many movies, is based on a best-selling book. It's a real-life story about 4-year-old Colton Burpo and his visions of heaven after an emergency surgery in 2003. Within three weeks of its November 2010 release, the book debuted at No. 3 on the New York Times best-seller list. Eventually, it made its way to No. 1.

Box Office Mojo reported, "Sony targeted their marketing towards Christian audiences, and placed an emphasis on calling ahead for group ticket sales." Stop the presses. Breaking news. There is a Christian audience, and it has wallets that open.

This has happened repeatedly this year.

It happened in mid-March, when "God's Not Dead" opened at No. 4 with a $9 million gross, and then surprised the ticket-watchers by persistently drawing an audience, as it now approaches $50 million at the box office. This comes despite film critics trashing it, and one insisting, "Even by the rather lax standards of the Christian film industry, 'God's Not Dead' is a disaster."

This was not a studio movie, but a production of the Arizona-based Christian company Pure Flix. At the center of the plot is a debate between a college philosophy professor and a freshman student over the existence of God. No, it's not your usual popcorn fare, but there is an audience that surely enjoys the rare occasion of a script strongly striking back at Richard Dawkins and Charles Darwin, offering rebuttal to the usual atheist arrogance of most pop culture products.

Interestingly, there is also this: In the corners of the plot are several Christian product placements — appearances testifying to Jesus by "Duck Dynasty" stars Willie and Korie Robertson, and the Christian-rock band, the Newsboys. Jesus sells.

One can easily see how the word of mouth spreads on a movie like this, when all the people attending the Newsboys' concert at the movie's end are asked to text message "God's not dead" to their friends and acquaintances.

"Son of God" was produced by adding some new footage and re-editing the Jesus sections of Mark Burnett's History Channel miniseries "The Bible." It was released in mid-February and also showed surprising strength, grossing $25 million in its first weekend and a total of $60 million so far. And why not? "The Bible" has become the top-selling miniseries on DVD of all time.

Some have compared these numbers to "Noah," which hasn't lived up to expectations — especially after the endless hype. But there's a reason it disappointed. Despite the movie's putative inspiration in the Bible, "Noah" isn't a religious movie. The leftist critics were kind, but critics at the conservative Intercollegiate Review panned it as "The Rocky Horror Bible Show," comparing its Noah to a man-hating, eco-maniacal unabomber, and its story as Genesis "rewritten by Cher." It should tell us something that another big-money Russell Crowe movie, "Gladiator," had a nobler view of God and man.

Just as there's always an audience for a horror movie, and there's always an audience for a romantic comedy, there is always an audience for faith-friendly films. Theater owners have been learning that lesson all year. Will the Hollywood studios ever catch on?


Feminists Fighting McDonald’s Are Learning The Wrong Lessons

A recent article in Slate by Antonia Ayres-Brown, a junior in high school, details the valiant feminist struggle she ultimately brought to the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities against McDonald’s for … discriminating on the basis of sex in the distribution of Happy Meal toys. “Despite our evidence showing that, in our test, McDonald’s employees described the toys in gendered terms more than 79 percent of the time, the commission dismissed our allegations as ‘absurd’ and solely for the purposes of ‘titilation [sic] and sociological experimentation,’” she wrote.

Let’s leave aside the fact that Connecticut has a Commission on Human Rights and note that this girl sincerely believes McDonald’s offering toys described, at times, as being for a girl or for a boy is a human rights violation.

While I admire the girl’s plucky disposition and effort, I do hope one day she learns to channel her energy into productive uses that will advance her cause in positive ways. This could have all been solved by her parents simply encouraging her to ask for the toy she wants. If girls are continually taught that they as individuals have no power to negotiate a situation as simple as “I’d like that toy” without the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights getting involved, I submit that these women are proving the case that they should not be put in positions of leadership or power.

By the author’s own admission,“McDonald’s is estimated to sell more than 1 billion Happy Meals each year.” Yet it does not occur to her that the fast food worker giving a “girl’s” toy to a girl is simply trying to give the customer what she wants in the most expeditious manner possible. This is a company that sells a billion of these things a year and gets them in the hands of their customers as fast as possible.

People do not eat at McDonald’s to get into a gender studies discussion with the teenage kid at the register; they go there to get food fast, hence the term “fast food.” If the author had worked in fast food for any nominal period of time, she might realize that the employee’s main motivation is not to spend any time persecuting women but to make it through his or her shift as painlessly as possible.

The author predicates her case based on a “concern with the harmful effects of gender-classified toys” but spends no time noting or referencing any data that proves that gender-based Happy Meal toys are harming anyone. If we want women in STEM careers we might want to inform them of the basic premise of the scientific method. She spends no time seeking data to prove her hypothesis and therefore isn’t providing McDonald’s or the reader any scientific reason to change practices. She has gathered data proving that McDonald’s most often allocates gender-based toys to the appropriate gender. This likely was already evident to majority of humans on this planet and in rational circles makes sense.

No data is offered to demonstrate that there is actual harm being done to children when given a toy that often coincides with their personal preference. Her entire assumption is that it offended her so therefore it must have some long term effect on all people. The only long-term effect evident is this child has spent way too much time writing letters to McDonald’s instead of learning to simply ask for the toy she’d prefer.

If there is such a great demand out there of girls who desire the boy-labeled toy, wouldn’t McDonald’s know that? The corporation is known for studying its customer base intensely to move product. That’s the handy thing about capitalism: If parents feel like their children are having a negative experience at McDonald’s; parents will not take their children there. McDonald’s is in the business of giving its customers what they want and logically for their supply chain it makes sense to allocate toys to the appropriate gender. In fact, it would be cheaper for McDonalds to have just one toy available but the company differentiated its product to meet demand for girl-specific toys in Happy Meals.

When I went to McDonald’s as a kid there wasn’t a choice. You did what you were supposed to and fought with your siblings over who got the best toy. There was no campaign to write letters to the CEO of McDonald’s or asking for a different toy. That wasn’t even an option. So basically we have a kid complaining that this company has the audacity to better serve girls instead of sticking girls with the toy their older brother will take because she doesn’t want it.

McDonald’s, like many companies, has realized the buying power of women and has smartly begun to target them. To misinterpret this as a setback is a strange feature of feminism. But much of modern feminism’s main arc seems to be spending time taking gains that women had pocketed already and demonizing them. Followed by the same women wondering why people don’t promote them or take them seriously. You can’t advance women’s voices in the world by spending the majority of your time being embarrassed by basic female preferences. Companies recognizing female preferences and catering to them is now bad in the eyes of modern feminism? That makes no sense.

Girls would be better served learning about the beneficial reciprocity of capitalism and the innate power of just asking for what they want in the first place. McDonald’s will be happy to accommodate them.


Calif. moves to ban judges affiliated with Boy Scouts

California is proposing to ban members of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) from serving as judges because the Boy Scouts do not allow gay troop leaders, The Daily Caller has learned.

In a move with major legal implications, The California Supreme Court Advisory Committee on The Code of Judicial Ethics has proposed to classify the Boy Scouts as practicing “invidious discrimination” against gays, which would end the group’s exemption to anti-discriminatory ethics rules and would prohibit judges from being affiliated with the group.

“The Committee’s invitation ignores the fact that the change also encompasses other youth organizations whose membership is limited on the basis of gender, e.g., the Girl Scouts, as well as the military, which continues to practice ‘discrimination’ on the basis of gender,” wrote Catherine Short, legal director of the pro-life group Life Legal Defense Foundation, in a letter to the Committee obtained by TheDC that predicts possible implications for pro-life judges in the future.

“Perhaps this is not an unintended consequence,” wrote Short.

“This proposed amendment has as its overtly-stated purpose the branding of the BSA as an organization whose members must be assumed to be biased and thus unfit for the bench. The Committee states that ‘eliminating the exemption… would enhance public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary,’” Short said.

“On the contrary, by promoting a hierarchy of politically-favored ‘victim’ status through pointlessly impugning the integrity of members of a venerable American institution, the proposed Amendment will communicate to the public that judges are being told by the California Supreme Court what to think, whom they may associate with, and what are permissible opinions to hold, and that only those who toe the line will be allowed to sit on the bench. The public can hardly expect impartiality from the judiciary in such a climate of intolerance,” Short wrote.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


25 April, 2014

Multicultural fraudster in Britain stole millions

A con artist who concocted an elaborate £3.5million mortgage scam to fund his luxurious lifestyle has been jailed.

Alick Kapikanya, 45, stole the identities of elderly homeowners, secretly seized ownership of their houses and then repeatedly remortgaged them.

As homeowners fought to reclaim their properties, Kapikanya travelled in chauffeur-driven limousines, stayed in luxury hotels, and gambled his fortune. Once, he splurged £170,000 in a single night.

Kapikanya, who was today jailed for seven years, visited victims in Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Lincolnshire, pretending he wanted to buy their homes.

He employed a team of fraudsters to pose as the elderly and widowed homeowners, asking solicitors to sign over their properties. With the help of bankrupt property developer Marshall Joseph, the gang secured million-pound loans against the homes from independent financiers.

The plot successfully netted £3.5million in loans, and attempted to secure another £3.3million.

Kapikanya paid £1million of the money into accounts at Mayfair casinos.

The scam started in March 2007, and went undetected for months.

Finally, one of the loans companies raised concerns, sparking a seven-year investigation by Greater Manchester Police to prosecute Kapikanya and his co-conspirators.

Joseph has been jailed for four-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud and a bankruptcy offence.

Three of the gang who posed as homeowners were convicted. Irene Perciful, 50, of Cambridge, has been jailed for 12 months after being found guilty of conspiracy to defraud. Peter Tanner, 54, of Cambridge, was given a 15-month sentence suspended for two years, with 140 hours unpaid work. Myra Trigg, 57, of Moss Side, was handed a 32-week sentence suspended for two weeks, with 80 hours unpaid work. Another conspirator who banked £50,000 of the proceeds, Bruce Robertson, was jailed for 30 months.

Speaking after the conviction, widowed victim Gwyneth Cooke, 59, described her ordeal. Mrs Cooke, whose husband John died in 2000, was diagnosed with breast cancer just weeks before the trial.

She discovered the scam when a solicitor told her she owed money on the home she had lived in for 27 years in Worsley, Greater Manchester. She said: 'I was absolutely horrified.

'All they had were a few utility bills and documents and someone was able to get a loan on my house pretending to be me. 'I would never ever forgive them for as long as I live.

'I have the satisfaction of seeing some of them go to prison. But I think they should all have got 100 years’ hard labour with no remission.'

Sentencing, Judge Robert Atherton said: 'The homeowners in Walkden Road were either widows or widowers for whom their homes are very precious, particularly as they grow old and spend time with memories of life when they were not on their own.

'The sheer anxiety of thinking they may lose their homes must have been a serious concern.'

Ben Southam, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: 'When the defendants were arrested they had succeeded in defrauding various financial institutions of £3.5million, and had attempted to raise a further £3.3 Million.

'Each of them had their own specific role to play in this fraud, and all were fully aware of their actions. The mortgages and loans were obtained against houses they did not own, and without the knowledge of the real home owners.

'The true owners knew nothing about the loans being secured against their homes and were caused considerable distress and inconvenience to prove to the lenders that they knew nothing about the loans.

'We will also continue to make full use of the POCA legislation to ensure that criminals do not benefit financially from their illegal activity and we are currently pursuing the ill-gotten gains of Bruce Robertson, Alick Kapikanya and Irene Perciful.'


British pub is decorated with Union Jacks because the flag of St George 'might offend people'

Customers claim a JD Wetherspoon pub hung Union Jacks on England's national day in case non-English people found the St George's flag offensive.

Drinkers at The Saxon Shore in Herne Bay, Kent, blasted the move as 'political correctness gone mad' after staff decided not use England's red and white flag in favour of the United Kingdom's.

When angry customers asked why the pub was decorated in Union Jacks, they claim staff told them that the St George's flag 'might offend'.

Dental nurse Sam Gurney, 29, said she was 'gobsmacked' after she saw the St George's Day promotion while drinking with friends at the JD Wetherspoon pub.

She said: 'Being quite a patriotic person, I thought "Oh my God, why have they got the Union Jack instead of the St George?"

'I asked the manager and she said, "don’t go there". Apparently it was the Union Jack or nothing - I was completely gobsmacked.

'She said the policy was there because of fears the St George’s flag might offend people, which is just political correctness gone mad.

'It annoys me because when it was St Patrick’s Day, they made a big deal out of it flying Irish flags, hats and shamrocks but yet we can’t celebrate our national day.

'The Union Jack doesn’t make sense as Scotland are voting to break away. I’m pretty sure they won’t be flying it on St Andrew’s Day or St David’s Day.'

After posting her disgust on Facebook, Miss Gurney received support from other drinkers. Shirley Turner posted: 'Wetherspoons ought to be ashamed of themselves. 'St George is the patron saint of England, so for St George's Day fly the cross of St George which is the English flag. Simple!'

Katherine KJ Baxter added: 'Yet they’ll still fly the cross to show support to the English football team. How does that work then?'

Pub manager Hayley Bates said she understands why drinkers have questioned the decision to use the Union Jack, but said the pub had always used those flags.

She said: 'I can see her point, but we have always used the Union Jack to celebrate St George’s Day and it has never been an issue before. 'She started questioning it and she also said we should make a bigger deal out of St George’s Day than St Patrick’s, which I agree with. 'But I’ve been at Wetherspoons for eight years and nothing has changed in that time.'

A JD Wetherspoon spokeswoman denied the Union Jack flags were put up through fear of offending customers with the English national flag. She said: 'They have got St George's flags up now, they were put up today.

'It was something which was done every year, it was the decorations they always had. 'Nobody had ever pointed it out before, so now they have changed the decorations. We like to please our customers.'


Atheists should show 'liberal tolerance' to Britain's status as a Christian country

Atheists should accept that Britain is a “Christian country” – and show “liberal tolerance” towards it, a group of prominent philosophers has argued.

In a letter to The Telegraph, eight leading thinkers including Prof Roger Scruton, the philosopher and writer, insist that the moderate brand of Christianity “enshrined” in the British constitution actively protects those of other faiths and none.

The letter was published as Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, who is himself an atheist, said it was “flamingly obvious” that Britain is founded on Christian values.

Their intervention came amid a debate over the role of faith in modern Britain triggered by claims from David Cameron that the UK is still a Christian country, despite living in a more secular age.

In an article last week in the Church Times, the Prime Minister urged people in Britain to be unashamedly “evangelical” about Christianity.

But in response, dozens of writers, scientists and celebrities, wrote to The Telegraph accusing Mr Cameron of sowing “alienation” and “sectarian” division.

The group, led by Prof Jim Al-Khalili, the biologist and president of the British Humanist Association, and including Philip Pullman and Sir Terry Pratchett, the writers, accused Mr Cameron of causing harm by emphasising Christianity.

But in a response letter, eight thinkers including Prof John Haldane of St Andrew’s and Prof Nigel Biggar, of Oxford, argue that the special status of the Church of England, as established church, had itself actively fostered “liberal” values in Britain for centuries.

“Prof Al-Khalili and his cosignatories are quite correct to describe British society as plural and to say that it has benefited from the contributions of many non-Christians,” they write.

“Nevertheless, in important ways Britain remains a Christian country, as the Prime Minister has rightly claimed.”

The form of Christianity embodied by Anglicanism has, they argue, become the “public orthodoxy” and itself represents a “Christian humanism”.

“This Anglican establishment is liberal, imposing no civil penalties on non-Anglicans, which is why so many non-Anglican Christians and non-Christian believers support it,” they said.

Pointing to evidence suggesting large swathes of the population who do not attend church still identify with Christianity, they add: “It is understandable that convinced atheists will find this situation irritating.

“But a public orthodoxy of some kind is inevitable, and some citizens are bound to find themselves on the wrong side of it and required to exercise liberal tolerance toward it.”

Mr Clegg said: “I'm not a man of faith, but it think it's stating the flamingly obvious that we as a country are underpinned, informed, infused by Christian values.

“Christian heritage, Christian history, Christian culture, Christian values and I think that is something that is obvious about our identity as a nation.

“We are also a very tolerant nation, in fact one of the great Christian values is tolerance, respect for other people, other nations, other faiths, other views so I think our Christian heritage sits very comfortably alongside our plurality, our tolerance as a people .”

Nadhim Zahawi, a Tory MP of Muslim heritage, said: "People need to recognise and celebrate this country's Christian culture. "That doesn't mean it squashes other people of no faith at all.”

Alok Sharma, a Conservative MP, who is Hindu, said it was “nonsense” to say Britain is not a Christian country: “Christian values and organisations the backbone of civic society,” he said. "The good they do is for everyone across the community, they help all denominations.”

Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said: “We'll leave it to other people to argue whether, in light of its pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon and Roman influences and post-Christian enlightenment influences, our law can be described as Christian.

“We'll also leave it to other people to point out that the shift away from Christianity and to non-religious identities is one of the biggest cultural shifts of today.

“Neither of these points is directly relevant to the purpose of Monday's letter.

“That letter made it clear that we respect the right of people to their religious beliefs but that in a very diverse society like today's we need to build an inclusive national identity not a narrow one. “To try and make this instead a war of words about religion as such is a distraction.”


The BBC’s groupthink is an enemy to free speech

When Jeremy Paxman joins the growing chorus of those who criticise the way the BBC has become a “smug”, dysfunctional, over-blown bureaucracy, run by overpaid unaccountable apparatchiks, one might think that they are describing the European Union, which is doubtless why the BBC loves it. We are familiar with the main reasons why the BBC, for all that it continues here and there to make much-appreciated contributions to our lives, has come to inspire such hostility (“loathsome” was Paxman’s word for it)

Its higher reaches have indeed become a parody of that mindless bureaucracy so brilliantly satirised in its own recent series W1A. It is outrageous that 360 of its senior executives are able to pay themselves more than £100,000 a year, 130 of them more than the Prime Minister. It is perhaps not surprising that the overwhelming impression that the BBC and its presenters give to the world is that they seem to be so babyishly pleased with themselves; and one of the symptoms of this “inflation”, as the psychologists call it, is that the BBC, with its endless puffs and trailers to tell us what a wonderful service it is giving us, too often seems, au fond, to be about nothing more than itself.

But, as ever more people seem to recognise, the most damaging price we pay for the BBC’s near-monopoly of the airwaves is the way it imposes on our national culture its own, only too recognisable view of the world: its own narrow, one-sided, left-of-centre form of groupthink. On pretty well every issue of the day, the BBC has its “party line”, dictating what can and cannot be said, who it invites on and who it excludes: from the EU and global warming to gay marriage; from wind farms to government “cuts”; from Israel to fracking. This is to the point where too many of its programmes are little more than propaganda, put over by self-regarding presenters who frequently cannot hide their impatience with anyone who doesn’t agree with the groupthink.

There is one salutary way to see just how one-sided the BBC has become, and that is to listen to American radio talk shows. Some, described as “liberal”, parrot the same politically correct line as the BBC. But others, called “conservative” are everything the BBC isn’t. Appearing on some of the more intelligent of such shows, with spirited, well-informed presenters, I have more than once observed: “I can’t tell you what a relief it is to be on this show, because back home in Britain none of what we have been saying to each other would ever be allowed on the BBC.”

With ever more people suggesting how the BBC could be reformed, or its monopoly broken up, there could be no more effective way to show British listeners what we are missing than to allow a rival network, free to put over the kind of views and values which, at the moment, the BBC manages to exclude from the national debate – except to pour scorn on them, even though they might reflect views held by much of their audience. This would certainly give the British a shock, because it is called “free speech”, something which no body is more active in suppressing than that unutterably “smug” state broadcasting organisation we all have to pay for.

Ukraine crisis is EU’s fault

One phrase in a piece by one of our most prominent commentators on the great Ukraine imbroglio exemplifies just how the West’s preferred narrative for this shambles is getting the story upside down. Can the West, it asks, make “a last-ditch attempt to deter Russia from its imperialist ambition”? As some of us have long been trying to point out, the trigger to this crisis was not President Putin’s attempt to further Russia’s imperial ambitions, but that of the EU to extend its own empire, right into the heart of a region which Russians see, ethnically and politically, as very much their national concern.

It was the ambition to absorb Ukraine into the EU that finally provoked 96 per cent of Crimean voters to choose to rejoin the country where they belonged through most of the last 230 years. Faced with that hubris exemplified in David Cameron’s boast last year that he wanted to see the EU stretching “from the Atlantic to the Urals”, it is unsurprising that so many of the Russian-speakers in Ukraine’s industrial heartland would prefer to be ruled by Moscow than by some alien government in Brussels.

For 60 years the “European project” has been driven by its ideological belief that the evil of “nationalism” must give way to an undemocratic, unaccountable “supra-nationalism”. But by pushing its “soft power” right up to Russia’s borders, the EU has finally gone a bridge too far. The lesson it shows no sign of learning is that there is still a real world outside its own little bubble of make-believe, where the sense of national identity and national interest cannot just be steamrollered into oblivion.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


24 April, 2014

No, Israel Isn’t About to Turn Into a Theocracy

A misleading New York Times op-ed distorts the entire Israeli political scene

Today, the New York Times published an op-ed that attempts to demonstrate that Israel is drifting towards an Orthodox Jewish theocracy. Unfortunately for the paper, the piece instead demonstrates its authors’ profound ignorance of both Israeli domestic politics and Orthodox Judaism. The entire argument of the op-ed, written by the otherwise excellent Iranian scholar Abbas Milani and University of Haifa’s Israel Waismel-Manor, hinges on one key point:

While the Orthodox Jewish parties are currently not part of the government, together with Mr. Bennett’s Jewish Home, a right-wing religious party, they hold about 25 percent of seats in the Knesset. The Orthodox parties aspire to transform Israel into a theocracy.

As will be apparent to anyone with a passing familiarity with Israeli politics or Orthodox Judaism, this claim is demonstrably false. Not all Orthodox Jews are the same, not all Orthodox parties are the same, and not all Orthodox Jews seeks to turn Israel into a theocracy. In fact, many of them vigorously oppose such a move. The authors conveniently combine the ultra-Orthodox parties (currently in opposition) and the Modern Orthodox—or religious Zionist—Jewish Home party (currently in the coalition). Suggesting that these deeply disparate communities are ideologically identical is a dubious step, but it is necessary for the authors’ thesis, because Jewish Home holds 12 Knesset seats, a little less than half of the writers’ purported theocratic bloc. Without Jewish Home working with the ultra-Orthodox to impose Orthodox Jewish law on the masses, the op-ed’s entire scheme falls apart.

How inconvenient, then, that Jewish Home and its leader Naftali Bennett have been working assiduously to weaken the country’s chief rabbinate, and to break the political stranglehold of the ultra-Orthodox over Israel’s religious life. Back in May 2013, Bennett became the first religious affairs minister in Israeli history to order the government to fund non-Orthodox rabbis, not just Orthodox ones. (Until then, Israel had been subsidizing all religious communities except non-Orthodox Jews.) Jewish Home has also backed legislation stripping the powers of conversion and marriage from the ultra-Orthodox chief rabbinate, and giving them instead to local (and typically more liberal) rabbis.

These developments should not be surprising: Bennett is a Modern Orthodox Jew who served in the IDF’s elite Sayeret Matkal unit, made millions in the tech industry, and is married to a non-Orthodox woman. His longtime deputy, and the Jewish Home’s number five seat, is Ayelet Shaked, herself a proud secular Jew. Not exactly the stereotypical bearded fanatics of a theocratic revolution.

But the Times‘s distortion of Israel goes deeper than a simple misunderstanding of a single party. The op-ed fundamentally misapprehends the entire Israeli political scene, which in recent years has turned against religious entanglement in politics. After the 2013 elections, the arguably theocratic ultra-Orthodox parties were kept out of the government coalition, for only the second time in 35 years. Why? Because Jewish Home joined with the secular Yesh Atid party and demanded Netanyahu leave them in opposition.

This has enabled the current coalition to pass not only the anti-rabbinate reforms described above, but a law that for the first time drafts the ultra-Orthodox into national service, in an attempt to integrate them into the fabric of the modern state. All of these reforms have been boosted by Modern Orthodox Jewish lawmakers in other parties–like Yesh Atid’s Rabbi Shai Piron (also Israel’s education minister) and Rabbi Dov Lipman, and Hatnua’s Elazar Stern–none of whom support theocracy.

In other words, the idea that the ultra-Orthodox parties would suddenly join forces with their religious Zionist counterparts to impose Jewish law isn’t just risible–it’s exactly the opposite of what has actually been happening.

Now, none of this is news. In fact, the alliance between Israel’s secular population and its modern Orthodox contingent against the ultra-Orthodox–rather than some fantastical pan-Orthodox push towards theocracy–has been well-documented by none other than the New York Times. Just last month, Isabel Kershner wrote about the “culture war between the secular and modern Orthodox Jews and the ultra-Orthodox,” and how it was reflected in the popular push to conscript ultra-Orthodox Jews into the military.

If only the authors of the op-ed–and their fact-checkers–had been reading their own paper.


Belgistan? Sharia Showdown Looms in Brussels

Brussels is the capital of Europe. But some are now calling it the Muslim capital of Europe. The graffiti on a building in Belgium says it all: "Welcome to 'Belgistan." Muslims are still a minority in Belgium, but in the capital of Brussels, they're already the largest religious group, comprising one-quarter of the city's population. In less than 20 years they're expected to be the majority.

The most confrontational Muslim group here is Sharia4Belgium. Many don't take the small group seriously. But Sharia4Belgium head Fouad Belkacem, alias Abu Imran, sounded very serious when he told CBN News he expects Muslims to dominate Belgium and the world.

"The Sharia will dominate," Imran said. "We believe Sharia will be implemented worldwide."

Imran was completely open with CBN News, saying Islam and Sharia law are inseparable, and that democracy is evil. "Sharia is Islam, to be clear," he said. "There is no difference between Islam and Sharia, it's just a name."

"Democracy is the opposite of Sharia and Islam," he said. "We believe Allah is the legislator. Allah makes the laws. He decides what is allowed and what is forbidden."

CBN News asked Imran about self-described "democratic Muslims" who are against the extreme parts of Sharia law. "That's really funny when I hear someone say I was speaking to a 'democratic Muslim,'" he replied. "It's the same thing as saying I was speaking to Christian Jew, or a Jewish Muslim or something like that. It's impossible."

"How could you meet a Jewish Muslim or a Christian Jew?" he continued. "And the Muslim who says he's against Sharia, he's not a Muslim. It's impossible."

Like in many countries across Europe, a culture war over Islam is well under way in Belgium.

Last month, the mosque of Charleroi was desecrated when a pig mask was affixed to its gate. Then the daughter of the head of Belgium's right wing party, An-Sofie Dewinter, posed in a bikini and burqa with the words in Dutch, "Freedom or Islam."

Someone later painted over the poster, giving her a full burqa. Dewinter received death threats.

On YouTube, Imran called her father, politician Filip Dewinter "a pimp" for letting her pose in a bikini.

"This community is a dirty, perverted community. We see that this community is breaking down, so we need to save this community like we saved it in Spain," Imran said, referencing the Muslim invasion of Spain 1,300 years ago. "We need to save this community and enlighten this community with Islam," he told CBN News.

And Islam is flexing its muscle. Girls in bikinis have been attacked, and in some Muslim neighborhoods, Sharia law is enforced.

A 'Fascist Ideology'

"The big cities in Europe are first places we can see what will happen when the majority is Muslim," warned Sam van Rooy, co-editor of an important new Dutch language book called Islam: Critical Essays on a Political Religion. "We see it in the big cities: Brussels, Amsterdam also, Rotterdam and Antwerp," he said.

"Islam is a fascist ideology, and it's not a religion like Christianity and Judaism," he told CBN News. "The danger in it is that it has a religious side, not like Communism and Nazism, which are only ideologies, but Islam has a bit of both."

Van Rooy told CBN News he's very pessimistic about the future of Europe, warning the region will most likely go the way of Sharia.

Imran is looking forward to someday replacing Belgian law with the Sharia law, including amputation for theft, stoning for adultery, and death to homosexuals. "A lot of people, when they hear about Sharia, immediately start thinking about amputations, stoning, killings. That's just, I don't know, one-thousandth of the Sharia," he said.

"Did you know that in 1,302 years of the Islamic state, with the Sharia implemented, we had something like 60 hands cut off, amputated? So in 1,300 years, 60 hands," he noted.

"Is that really a number that you can say is frightening to everyone? And if you're not a criminal, why should you be afraid of Sharia?" he challenged.

Sharia Showdown Looms

A showdown over Sharia is coming because the high Muslim birthrate is changing the political landscape. The most common baby name in Brussels for four years running has been Mohammed.

CBN News asked Imran if he thinks it's just a matter of time before Muslims are the majority in Belgium.

"Of course," he replied. "Even the disbelievers themselves -- they say in 2030 something like that -- there will be a majority of Muslims here in Belgium. Here in Antwerp in the schools, 40 percent of the children are Muslim, so no problem."

And Imran offered this advice to the white native Belgians who want to stop the coming Muslim majority: "If they want to push us back or something, I don't know, maybe they can start by marrying four wives and have a lot of children," he said. "Start with that and they will have a chance, but I don't think so."

Van Rooy also said he sees a Muslim future for Belgium. "I don't think it's going to stop," he told CBN News. "I am very pessimistic. And I think more and more Belgian people will leave Brussels, so it will become a real Islamic capital in decades."

"I don't think we're very far away," Imran agreed. "The victory of Allah is very near. So, I think the West and Europe needs to prepare itself for a wave of Sharia and Islam."


I've never voted Conservative, but Scotland's anti-Tory hatefest fills me with shame

By Tom Gallagher

There is no end in sight to the Scottish hate fest against the Tories. Although 15 per cent of voting Scots regularly back the party, this grudge now easily compares with the fear and detestation of papists in John Knox’s Scotland which delayed the arrival of the 1829 Catholic Emancipation Act by a good number of years.

In 39 years of voting, my X has never alighted beside a Tory candidate. Held captive by romantic Irish nationalism during some of my student years, I was naturally allergic to Margaret Thatcher. But I failed to share the outrage of student mates over her bold decision to recover the Falkland Islands. I also admired her flinty stance towards the Soviet Union.

Later on, when travelling in Eastern Europe, it was not difficult to find people who declared that it was Thatcher’s resolve over the Falklands which convinced them that their own deliverance would eventually be at hand.

John Major struck me as a middle manager who had little idea of what he was doing, especially when hiving off chunks of the state to be run profitably but often with a glaring lack of efficiency.

Rule first by a glib and messianic freeloader and then a clueless ideologue with an ugly temper was not enough to give the Tories an overall majority in 2010. Since then, David Cameron has increasingly seemed like a reincarnated Ramsay Macdonald. He has ingratiated himself with a shallow metropolitan elite (now extravagantly liberal in outlook) to the fury of supporters, many of whom brand him a traitor.

This preamble is a bid to make it clear that I am carrying no Tory baggage. Which hopefully enables me to express my dismay at the monstering of a party that long ago ceased to enjoy hegemony over the great institutions of state.

The SNP and the Labour Party are in a race to see who can paint the Tories in the most lurid colours. The SNP of course is ahead because it is the most uninhibited force and Labour is linked up with the Tories in the pro-Union Better Together campaign.

Both seek to depict the Tories as a foreign organism eating off the Scottish body politic. David Cameron even partly conceded the point at Prime Minister’s questions on 8 January. He seemed to agree with comments made by Labour Scottish affairs select committee chairman Ian Davidson that the last person Scots supporting a No vote want is "a Tory toff from the home counties".

The Prime Minister said: "I accept that my appeal does not stretch to all parts of Scotland."

On 7 February, when Cameron gave a pro-Union speech in London, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister slammed him for lacking "the guts to come here to Scotland and make his argument". She described him as the "embodiment of the democratic case" for separation as a Tory Prime Minister.

But when Cameron brought his cabinet to Aberdeen in the same month, Alex Salmond took it as a provocation and convened his own cabinet just a few miles away. He mocked Cameron for "fooling around on the playing fields of Eton", when he himself was allegedly performing stirring deeds in the Royal Bank of Scotland

In polls, a large number of Scots say that the prospect of a Tory continuation in office beyond 2015 will push them towards the Union exit. The Scottish media plays up to this anti-Tory mindset. Few commentators spring to mind who point out that Scotland has been sheltered from the Osborne-led cuts thanks to the block grant it receives from London remaining largely intact.

Derek Bateman was a long-standing BBC Scotland presenter who now, set up with his own blog, feels free to offer his view of England and Tory policies which presumably made him to toast of the BBC canteen in Glasgow. Here's a taste of his sarcasm:

Sorry for allowing your (English) policies to kill men in our biggest city in their mid-fifties – still it keeps pension costs down.

Sorry you (England) have so many shaven-headed louts with pit bulls on crime-ridden estates and have created one of the least equal societies on earth.

Sorry for thinking of you as stuck-up, effete, self-centred, unreliable t**ts when there is absolutely nothing in history to support such bigotry.

When Thatcher was pursuing economic policies that pushed fragile heavy industrial firms on Clydeside towards insolvency, Scots had the option of voting for independence. But very few did (I being one of those few in 1983). The irony is that if they opt for independence now, in far less favourable conditions than back then, they might find it hard to escape from a homegrown Thatcherism. Without drastically pruning a sprawling Scottish state, it is hard to see how economic viability can be acquired.

In March a paper written by John Swinney, the Scottish Finance Minister, conceded that a separate Scotland’s finances would be at the mercy of volatile oil prices and the mounting cost of dealing with an ageing population, leading inevitably to public sector cuts.

Ruthless operator that he is, it is likely that Alex Salmond would have no compunction in using the recently centralised Scottish police force to come down very hard on any trade union activists and political radical who tried to block his economic house-cleaning.

But the time for hard-headed realism is not yet at hand. The SNP proclaims that it has no enemies to its Left. Impractical policies like re-nationalising Royal Mail are the stuff of SNP rhetoric. Plans are already afoot to compel large landowners to sell up (as likely as not to the SNP’s own house capitalists rather than to would-be small farmers).

The Tories are the diabolical "other". Their baleful presence evokes rituals of denunciation, conveniently stifling any honest debate on how power will be exercised in the Scotland of the future. The emphasis on their foreignness, their education, their presumed arrogance etc is designed to make it impossible to imagine Scotland remaining in a state where they wield any real influence.

This demonisation of a foreign "usurper" and its local agents fills me with shame and a fear for the future. As long as this rhetoric is endorsed by Scotland’s two main parties and left unchallenged by the media, it will create a dumbed-down xenophobia that will make it very easy for populists to ruin the country.

The anti-Tory hatefest (and indeed Salmond’s relaxed attitude to the roughing-up of Nigel Farage in Edinburgh last May) show the lack of interest that the SNP has in establishing normal friendly relations with Scotland’s nearest neighbour and chief economic customer.

It suggests that any alternative centre-Right party based on genuine national sovereignty and economic self-reliance is going to have a very tough time in a Caledonian Free State.

Russian depiction of neighbours as inveterate enemies has created an ugly atmosphere that could drive the world towards armed confrontation. The stakes are not as high in Scotland. But Salmond is fishing in the same choppy ethnic waters and using hatred of the English Tories as bait.

It is high time both he and Labour were asked to desist. If the First Minister put an end to the tribal anti-Tory rhetoric and conceded that a debate with David Cameron is pointless because the referendum is an all-Scottish affair, it would be an overdue improvement in political standards. But it remains to be seen if Alex the statesman can eclipse Alex the class warrior and patriotic tub-thumper.


Christian nursery worker 'sacked after refusing to read gay stories to children'

A Christian nursery worker is taking her former employers to court claiming she was sacked for her beliefs after refusing to read stories about gay couples to children.

Sarah Mbuyi says she was dismissed due to religious discrimination, having also been accused of “harassing” a lesbian colleague to whom she gave a Bible when she was recovering from an accident.

The case, lodged at an employment tribunal, comes amid growing concerns among some Christians that religious beliefs are being “outlawed” in the workplace. A Christian group backing the case says it is an example of believers being “robbed” of the freedom to express views.

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, has warned that “militant atheists” are attempting to impose “politically correct intolerance” on others. “We’re a Christian nation,” he insisted.

Last week David Cameron said Christians should be “more evangelical” about their faith and “get out there and make a difference to people’s lives”. But the Christian Legal Centre, which is funding Miss Mbuyi’s case, said his words were “failing to play out”.

Miss Mbuyi, 30, who lives in north London, carries a Bible. She started work for Newpark Childcare, a London-based group of four nurseries, last April, before being taken on full-time in one of the schools in September.

The same month a lesbian worker also joined the nursery, in Shepherd’s Bush, west London. After discovering that Miss Mbuyi was Christian she repeatedly asked her about her beliefs, the tribunal will be told.

Miss Mbuyi, now working at another nursery, will claim her colleague sought to provoke her. In December the co-worker spent time in hospital having had an accident at work and Miss Mbuyi gave her a Bible on her return.

The present, Miss Mbuyi says, was as a result of the interest she had shown in her faith. It was received well, she insists.

The following month, however, Miss Mbuyi, a Belgian national who came to Britain six years ago, says her colleague told her she had received abuse about her sexuality from religious people in the past.

During the discussion, Miss Mbuyi says she told the woman that “if I tell you that God is OK with that I am lying to you”.

At a disciplinary meeting, her employers accused Miss Mbuyi of “harassing” her co-worker, saying such behaviour amounted to “gross misconduct”. The co-worker could not be reached for comment.

Her employers inquired how she would feel if she was asked to read children’s storybooks featuring same-sex parents. She replied that she would not be able to read such books.

The Christian Legal Centre has instructed Paul Diamond, a prominent religious rights barrister, to fight the case.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the group, said: “Sharing Biblical truths out of genuine love and concern for colleagues is being outlawed in the workplace by a dominating cultural correctness. There is a culture of fear which closes down freedom of speech and the manifestation of faith. This culture brands the liberating good news of the Gospel as oppressive and regressive.

“The Christian Legal Centre is representing Sarah Mbuyi as the latest in a line of Christians who are being threatened by a movement to repress Christians from living out a genuine expression of their faith in a country which once led the world in freedom and justice.”



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


23 April, 2014

Boys turning to action-packed video games because books are 'too girly' for them, says award-winning children's author

Boys are being put off reading because of the influence women have on children’s literature, says an award-winning children’s author.

Jonathan Emmett warned that children’s books were too girly because of the influence of mostly female panels of editors, publishers, reviewers and judges.

One publishing company’s research suggested women bought 95 per cent of picture books for children, he added.

The writer believes boys are being starved of what they enjoy in books, such as swashbuckling pirates, battles, or technical details about space ships and so are driven to more action-packed video games instead.

'It is a really difficult argument to make because 99 times out of 100 it is women that are under-represented,’ said Mr Emmett.

‘But there is a literacy gap - boys are underachieving, boys do not like books as much as girls.

‘I am arguing that this is because the industry is dominated by female gatekeepers.’ The author and illustrator, a former winner of the Red House Children’s Award for ‘Pigs Might Fly’, looked at 450 reviews in five national newspapers.

He found 41 per cent of children’s fiction books were by men but more than two-thirds of reviews were by women.

Men were responsible for 47 per cent of picture books but more than 80 per cent of reviews were by women.

And he found for the past two years, every one of the 13 judges of the prestigious children’s book awards, the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals, has been women.

He also drew on personal experience, explaining how only two of the 50 editors he had dealt with were men.

One publishing company told him it carried out research which suggested women bought 95 per cent of picture books for children.

‘Mums and grans buy books - that’s what’s driving the market,’ he told The Times. ‘They read the book also and then there’s a tendency for the book to reflect their tastes as well. So there may be a pirate but that pirate will not be engaged in a battle.

‘The number of times I have tried to get technical information into a book and it is deemed inappropriate.

‘It is one of the things that leads boys and girls with boy-typical tastes, to say “I am not really interested in that kind of content, I am more interested in the content of video games”.’

A gap in reading ability is already apparent between boys and girls by the time they are five, according to a parliamentary commission report.

This translates into a year’s difference in reading skills as they go through school.


This new breed of militant atheists are as intolerant as any religious fundamentalists

When David Cameron agreed to write a mild piece in favour of Christianity for last week’s Church Times, he can hardly have expected that he would stir up a major controversy.

A collection of 55 writers, broadcasters, scientists and academics have penned a furious letter to the Daily Telegraph accusing the Prime Minister of fostering ‘alienation and division in our society’ by asserting in his article that we live in a ‘Christian country’.

They claim that ‘repeated surveys, polls and studies show that most of us as individuals are not Christian in our beliefs or our religious identities’, and suggest that Mr Cameron is in danger of fuelling ‘enervating sectarian debates’.

Wow! You would have thought he had called for compulsory church attendance, whereas he wrote a harmless piece that will surely have offended no one except for a few metropolitan liberal atheists who reveal themselves as being astonishingly intolerant and — to borrow their word — divisive.

Mr Cameron’s declaration that we live in a ‘Christian country’ is irrefutable. Our constitutional arrangements are bound up with the Anglican Church — a fact dismissed by the angry letter-writers as being of little importance.

The Queen is Supreme Governor of the Church of England, 26 of whose bishops sit in the House of Lords.

But the connections go far deeper than that. This country — and here I mean Britain, not just England — has a Christian heritage. In common with other Christian countries, our laws are largely based on Christian values.

Much of the painting, literature and music of our nation and continent has been profoundly influenced by the Christian story.

I am not referring here to antiquated works of art that may seem to have no relevance, but to those which still offer joy and enlightenment, and can only be fully understood in a Christian context.

You don’t have to be a Christian to appreciate an oratorio by Handel or John Milton’s Paradise Lost or a painting of the Crucifixion, but you do have to grasp that they were inspired by Christian faith. They are part of a Christian culture.

Of course, it is perfectly true that in recent years church attendance has fallen sharply in Britain — more so than almost anywhere else in the Christian world. But it doesn’t follow that we have suddenly become a non-Christian country.

The 55 signatories are wrong to say that polls and studies have all shown that those with Christian beliefs are now in a minority. According to the comprehensive 2011 census, very nearly 60 per cent of the population in England and Wales describe themselves as Christian.

Admittedly, this marks a decline of some 10 per cent from the 2001 census, but it still represents not very far from two-thirds of the country.

I could offer a few tentative explanations for the drop in church attendance and decline of Christian belief: poor or non-existent religious education, the virtual disappearance of religious broadcasting, and the failings of the Church of England, which can sometimes appear introspective to the point of self-obsession.

Yet notwithstanding these powerful developments, the fact remains that around 60??per cent of people in Britain still regard themselves as Christian, even if most of them seldom or never go to church.

Scientists are meant to respect facts. The letter’s lead signatory is the Iraqi-born scientist and President of the British Humanist Association, Professor Jim Al-Khalili, while the distinguished Nobel prize winner Sir Harold Kroto also put his name to it.

Much of the painting, literature and music of our nation and continent has been profoundly influenced by the Christian story

How can men of science solemnly declare that Christians are now in a minority in this country when by far the most authoritative recent survey indicates that they remain, by a significant margin, in the majority?

The only explanation I can think of is that some at least of the signatories are zealots who, despite their scientific training, can be far more emotional and extreme in their thinking than the religious believers whom they hold in contempt.

Their explosive response to Mr Cameron’s gentle musings is proof enough. In several ways they exaggerate or distort what he wrote. For example, he was at pains to show respect to other religions, and stressed that ‘many atheists and agnostics live by a moral code — and there are Christians who don’t’.

Yet despite his article’s even-handedness and the absence of any notion of exclusiveness, the letter finds it necessary to emphasize that we are ‘a plural society with citizens with a range of perspectives’. That is exactly the point the Prime Minister was making.

The truth is that there is a new breed of militant atheists who are capable of being as unreasoning as the most bone-headed creationist. Their intolerance is a strange mirror reflection of the bigotry of religious extremists.

I do not say this applies to most of the 55 signatories, many of whom are unknown to me.

But I do recognise some habitual anti-religion diehards such as the philosopher Anthony Grayling, the writer Philip Pullman, the journalist Polly Toynbee, and the ex-Lib Dem MP Dr Evan Harris.

The wonder is that the biologist Richard Dawkins — the most devoted anti-religious crusader of all — was not signed up.

Such people are almost unhinged in their relentless excoriation and unceasing hatred of religion — which is why Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and others of religious persuasion should feel no less threatened than Christians by this dishonest little letter.

The atheistical zealot makes no distinction between Christian, Muslim and Jew in his denunciations of all religion as irrational and destructive. Christians simply make up a larger target because there are more of them in this country, but all people of faith should feel under attack.

Atheists are as entitled to their beliefs as the religious are to theirs. But they are not entitled to misrepresent the views of the Prime Minister, or to be tricky in their use of statistics, or to deny that our culture and law are steeped in Christian values.

According to the comprehensive 2011 census, very nearly 60 per cent of the population in England and Wales describe themselves as Christian

The 55 signatories have the gall to accuse David Cameron of divisiveness, yet it is they who are being divisive. Read his original article, and examine the letter, and decide which of them shows more signs of reasonableness and tolerance.

I’m sure he didn’t realise he would provoke such a storm, or find himself opposed by the kind of people whose support he might normally covet. The irony is that he is by his own admission an irregular churchgoer, whose faith is hardly rock solid. In that sense, he almost certainly shares much in common with many of his fellow countrymen.

Fashionable though they may be, and feted in certain quarters, the militant atheists, by contrast, constitute a small minority. However, they make a great deal of noise, and are extremely sure of themselves.

It’s evidently painful for them to live in a Christian country, but they do. However loud their cries, they can’t re-brand the one they inhabit, which has been shaped by the Christian faith in countless ways, and continues to be influenced by it.


Another British social worker b*tch

The nasty "social worker"

A father was arrested and banned from seeing his daughter after a social worker falsely accused him of abusing the little girl.

Jonathan Coupland, 53, was handcuffed in front of his neighbours, thrown in a cell and interrogated for ten hours after Suzi Smith claimed she saw him sexually assaulting his daughter Jessica, then six.

The social worker is said to have made the allegation in a fit of pique after the single father criticised the way she was handling a custody battle with his former partner.

Mrs Smith, 53, later retracted her claims and Mr Coupland has been paid £86,000 damages by her employer, the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass).

The public body - accountable to Justice Secretary Chris Grayling and funded by his department - has sacked Mrs Smith and apologised to Mr Coupland.

But furious about his ordeal, the father-of-one has taken the matter to court, pushing for Mrs Smith to be prosecuted for misconduct in a public office.

He is also taking action against the police for false arrest and false imprisonment.

Last night, he told the Daily Mail: ‘I was manhandled by three policemen and dragged out of my house in handcuffs.

‘It was humiliating. My neighbours saw and parents at Jessica’s school turned on me.

‘It was a completely false story of lies but my daughter could have been fostered and I could now be in a paedophile wing of a major prison because of this social worker. I won’t rest until she faces justice for what she has done.’

Former painter and decorator Mr Coupland has raised his eight-year-old daughter alone. Jessica’s Thai mother, Kajchi Jiraekkaphob is an illegal immigrant.

He was granted custody shortly after Jessica was born in December 2005 but Miss Jiraekkaphob fought him through the courts for seven and a half years.

Cafcass worker Mrs Smith became involved in January 2012, when she visited the family at home in Spalding, Lincolnshire.

Mr Coupland claims her initial report, read out during a custody hearing the following week, was glowing. But four months later, she reported Mr Coupland to the police, saying she saw him touch his daughter inappropriately.

Mr Coupland believes she did this because he had accused her of acting unprofessionally by contacting one of his character witnesses during the custody proceedings – and he had asked for her to be removed from the case.

The father was arrested at his home a week later, on suspicion of sexual assault. He was handcuffed and dragged into a police car in front of neighbours, put into cells and interrogated for around ten hours.

His daughter was visited at her school by social services and interviewed by police.

Officers told Mr Coupland that Jessica would be put into temporary care but he begged them to allow her to stay with her grandmother. He was bailed but told he could not contact his daughter at his mother’s home.

A day later, police said they were taking no further action against him as Mrs Smith had retracted her allegation. He reported the social worker to police and she was interviewed, but the CPS decided not to take action against her.

Mr Coupland, who has finally seen off custody challenges from his former partner, plans to contest the decision not to prosecute Mrs Smith at the High Court.

She was sacked by Cafcass, the largest employer of social workers in England, for gross misconduct, but only left work six months after making the false allegation.

Mr Coupland said: ‘In the meantime she was still working in the courts, affecting children’s lives...?It is disturbing that this person is paid to look after the welfare of children. She has done the opposite and got away with it.’

He said he is still viewed with suspicion by other parents at his daughter’s school and that many will not allow Jessica to visit their children at home. ‘Friends have turned on me...?I’m still being treated like I’m a paedophile,’ he added.

‘I thought the law in this country was “innocent until proven guilty” but I feel like I have been branded guilty until I prove myself innocent. It will be that way until Suzi Smith is taken to court and proven to be a liar.’

Mrs Smith confirmed yesterday that she was dismissed by Cafcass six months after making her allegation against Mr Coupland. She added: ‘Jon Coupland is a very complicated individual who I believe feels a great injustice has been done to him.’

A Cafcass spokesman said of the incident: ‘We regret that on this occasion our practice procedures were not followed.’

An internal investigation by Lincolnshire Police found its officers were justified in arresting Mr Coupland.

Detective Chief Inspector Nigel Storey said police were ‘duty bound to investigate’ Mrs Smith’s allegation, adding: ‘It later transpired that the allegation was not as originally reported to us. The male was released without charge.’


Muslims must accept Britain's Christian values, says former Labor Party Home Secretary

Muslims must accept that Britain is built on Christian values, a former Home Secretary has said, in the wake of mounting evidence that a group of schools have been taken over in a ‘Trojan Horse’ plot by radical Islamists.

It is “inevitable” that many Muslim communities will not integrate with the rest of British society but it must be made clear that attempts to isolate Muslim pupils from the rest of society are unacceptable, Jack Straw said.

The alleged plot by Islamic radicals to take control of a series of schools in Birmingham is the product of a little-understood power struggle between Muslim denominations, Mr Straw, the MP for Blackburn said.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the head of Ofsted, is to take personal charge of the schools watchdog’s probe into allegations that radical Islamists had sought to infiltrate the governing bodies of secular schools.

It is claimed head teachers were pressurised into segregating pupils, abandoning “un-Islamic” sections of the GCSE biology syllabus and neglecting non-Muslim pupils.

An anti-Semitic preacher who sympathises with Al-Qaeda was invited to address students at Park View school, Department for Education inspectors found.

At least six of the 18 schools said to be involved in the plot will be failed by Ofsted, a measure which normally leads to them being placed in special measures and their leadership team replaced.

Peter Clarke, the former head of Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command, has also been asked to investigate the claims by Michael Gove, the education secretary.

Mr Straw said Muslim parents must accept that their own beliefs cannot supplant the Christian values that underpin British society.

“The parents have to accept… that we also live in the United Kingdom and that alongside values that are religiously based, there has to be a clear understanding that this is the UK, and there are a set of values, that are indeed Christian based, which permeate our sense of citizenship,” Mr Straw told the BBC.

Society must “spell it out to them” that it is not acceptable to teach that non-Muslims and women are inferior.

He added: “We have a large Muslim population in this country, and it’s almost inevitable that people will tend to live in areas next door to people like themselves.

“We already have a number of areas where most of the children, and in some cases 100 per cent of the children, in the school are of the Muslim faith. That’s something we have to cope with.”

He added: “We have to understand that within the Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Muslim-heritage community, there are a lot of tensions going on. They are very different from those that affect Christianity, particularly in the last century and the century before that. There are power struggles which are badged and labelled in reference to different denominations.”

Khalid Mahmood, the Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, said the allegations of a plot were credible.

“There is most definitely a plot by a small group of individuals and the plot actually affects the majority of the Muslim community in Birmingham,” he said.

Park View Educational Trust said it had received “hate mail” after details of the DfE inspectors’ report were leaked to the Sunday Telegraph. It welcomed Sir Michael’s intervention, adding: “We do not recognise the accounts we have seen in the media as accurate or reasonable descriptions of our schools.”



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


22 April, 2014

Liberals Must Choose Between Freedom And Fascism

Honest liberals are having their Andrew Breitbart moment. Andrew started out as a liberal, except he was the kind of liberal that’s exceedingly rare today. He was a liberal who actually believed in the things liberals say they believe in, like free expression and personal autonomy.

But they don’t.

Andrew’s change began when he watched the Clarence Thomas hearings. He saw a “high-tech lynching,” as racist Democrats intent on stamping out dissent among black Americans channeled their former Majority Leader/KKK Exalted Cyclops Robert Byrd in attacking the black jurist for refusing to toe the liberal line.

Andrews’s views didn't change. What changed was his understanding of who actually stands for freedom. And it isn’t liberals.

Which brings us to the recent kerfuffle involving popular comic Patton Oswalt. He is known as a sarcastic, snarky, underdog with genuine stand-up chops. He’s also an occasional movie and television star who recently had a memorable role on “Justified,” a conservative favorite due to its general awesomeness and the presence of right wing acting legend Nick Searcy.

By all accounts a funny, decent guy, Oswalt thinks of himself as a liberal, and he frequently bickers with conservatives on Twitter. That's fine. Many conservatives died to give him that right. Conservatives don't resent him for doing so even as they disagree with what he says. But that's not true of his allies on the left. They want to shut him up. You see, Oswalt pulled a Clarence Thomas and left the reservation without the chiefs’ permission.

What was Oswalt’s crime? He tweeted approvingly about a Mark Steyn column in which the conservative raconteur took on the global progressive assault on free expression. He made the mistake of characterizing Steyn’s forceful advocacy of free speech as “hitting it out of the park.”

That, the Left cannot forgive.

You see, Mark Steyn is evil. He has ideas liberals don’t approve of. So to cite him as he took on the left’s Ball Gag Caucus was simply unacceptable to the progressive conformity enforcers. Soon Oswalt found himself swamped by a tsunami of Twitter outrage.

Oswalt, stunned but so-far uncowed, tweeted back that his erstwhile allies were proving Steyn’s point. And he was right.

The challenge for honest liberals is to get their collective heads around the fact that the liberalism they think they subscribe to is being advocated and defended only by the very conservatives their prejudices and ignorance have led them to believe are undermining it. The real enemy of free expression isn't the conservative John Lithgow in “Footloose” banning dancing because of some idiosyncratic take on Jesus’s teachings. The real threat is the pseudo-enlightened schoolteacher on “Glee” enforcing his rigid progressive vision of diversity. And his vision of diversity is a diverse collection of those ideas he approves of and no others.

So is Oswalt going to stand up for freedom and take his lumps, or is he going to take the easy path of submission and obedience to the politically correct commands of the gatekeepers of liberalism?

It's a lot easier to submit, to not fight, to not make a fuss. What happens when you make a fuss? Remember John Lovitz? He’s another liberal who stood up to political correctness on social media. Do you see John Lovitz in a lot of movies these days?

Did Lovitz suddenly become unmarketable about the same time he became uncontrollable, or are people just afraid to be seen with him lest his new reputation for heresy rub off?

The temptation for someone like Oswalt, when faced with the braying mob of radical feminists, crypto-fascist academics, and assorted other progressive weirdoes, losers and mutations, must be overwhelming. It's so easy to surrender, to redouble your attacks on conservatives to prove you’re still one of the gang. All you have to do is hand over your autonomy and they'll give you a pass. Sure, it's humiliating, but who needs self-respect when you can guest star on “Two and a Half Men?”

Oswalt can submit, or he can face the fact, as must other honest liberals, that the side they think they are on doesn’t remotely believe in free expression. It doesn’t believe in free thought. It doesn’t believe in diversity. It believes in a crushing conformity enforced by a creepy Red Guard of politically correct goose-steppers with gender studies degrees, Twitter accounts and the burning need to bend others to their will.

We don't have to agree with what Patton Oswalt says, but the difference is that we conservatives aren’t the ones trying to silence him. We will argue with him. We will fight with him. But we won’t try to stick a rag in his pie hole. That's what his “friends” are trying to do.

Oswalt and other honest liberals need to decide who their friends really are.


Do Something about abortion

Mike Adams is advocating here what I have long proposed. It is also what the Vatican's Cardinal Pell and GW Bush have also supported -- JR

American culture is in trouble. It is impossible to watch television for long without concluding that we are all living in one big reality TV show that is defining deviancy one embarrassing episode at a time. Unfortunately, the church isn't doing much to fight against the cultural current. By trying to be "relevant" the church is simply getting pulled into the undertow. Consequently, most churches are slowly drowning in the shallow water of our declining culture.

So how do we turn the tide and begin to have a meaningful church experience that also influences the culture in a meaningful way? The answer is that we must learn to deal with relativistic thinking in a proactive fashion. Take, for example, the issue of abortion.

No one wants to confront a woman who has had an abortion and tell her that she has just committed a profoundly evil act by taking an innocent life. So the natural impulse is to simply pretend that no evil act has transpired. Indeed, this is what most pastors do. They don't condemn abortion. Nor do they praise it. They just ignore it. In this way, the taking of innocent life becomes just another morally neutral choice in a society that is becoming increasingly incapable of making moral distinctions between alternative courses of action.

This trend must be reversed. As long as the church refuses to push away from relativism, the culture will push the church towards it. More innocent children will die as a result.

So what specifically is to be done on an issue like abortion? I believe the answer is to get churches actively involved in preventing abortions from happening in the first place. The best way to do that is to provide direct financial support to women who are considering abortion - and to make the availability of that support known to them well in advance of their decision.

If your church is doing nothing on the issue of abortion, please take the time to meet with your pastor. Ask him to prayerfully consider starting a specific ministry aimed at reducing abortions within the church and in the broader community.

By actively collecting tithes that will be directed towards paying the expenses (medical and otherwise) of women in crisis pregnancy situations, two important things will be accomplished:

1. The church will implicitly communicate that abortion is wrong by acknowledging that it is a thing to be avoided. But it will do so without slapping a scarlet "A" on the garments of church members who have had negative experiences with abortion. This will satisfy the more conservative members of the congregation who want the church to do something instead of remaining neutral on the abortion issue.

2. The church will also appease those who argue that we need compassionate approaches to the abortion issue, rather than focusing on legislative and judicial restrictions. This approach will satisfy the more liberal members of the congregation who want conservatives to do something charitable that doesn't involve "legislating morality" (as if it were somehow possible to legislate in a morally neutral way).

Of course, there will come a time when people ask questions about why the church takes a stand against abortion, even if it is merely an implicit stance. This is where education, rather than condemnation, should become the focus of the church. Note that 1Peter 3:15 calls us to defend the Gospel. I believe we should also use apologetics to defend the unborn. In fact, when we do so, we create new opportunities to share the Gospel.

My good friend Scott Klusendorf provides the best example I've seen of how we can defend the unborn in a way that draws people to the Gospel without harming them by shielding them from uncomfortable truths. He knows how to defend the unborn by relying on science and philosophy, rather than simply quoting scripture. That approach helps him share the good news every time he speaks on an otherwise difficult topic. Once they decide to do something to prevent abortion, churches would do well to invite Scott to educate their congregations on why they are weighing in on the matter.

Compassion is good, but pulling drowning kids out of the water isn't enough. At some point pastors must take a hike upstream and confront the ones who keep throwing our children in the water. Indeed, the true measure of our compassion is our willingness to confront injustice. And injustice toward the unborn can't be confronted by ignoring the central question on the issue, which is a simple one: Are the unborn fully human and made in the image of God?

If God is the creator of life then He alone has the authority to define it. Cultural definitions are irrelevant. So are the churches that refuse to challenge them.


As the tide of faith retreats here, it surges forward elsewhere

Charles Moore reviews The Essay: The Retreating Roar (Radio 3)

Probably in 1851, Matthew Arnold wrote a short, great and, later, famous poem called “Dover Beach”. It describes the view of the shingle by moonlight, as seen from a window. It is addressed to an unnamed companion, the poet’s love, whom he invites to listen to the sound of the pebbles “which the waves draw back, and fling”.

The waves remind the poet of how the “Sea of Faith/ Was once, too, at the full”, and has now retreated: “But now I only hear/ Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, /Retreating… down the vast edges drear/ And naked shingles of the world.” He is dismayed.

The journalist Madeleine Bunting took this poem as her starting point for a series of short talks for Holy Week in which she analysed the flotsam and jetsam the retreating sea has left behind. She is an example of the phenomenon – a North Yorkshire convent-educated girl from a strongly Catholic family, now “no longer a practising Christian” (she was not absolutely explicit about whether she has lost all faith).

Ms Bunting is a well-known, somewhat solemn Left-wing commentator, and I had feared a bit of a drone about patriarchy, imperialism and all that. The final talk did end uninterestingly with the unsubstantiated claim that we are now destroying our planet, but on the whole my expectations were pleasingly confounded.

The striking and original Bunting method was to select a series of Christian-inspired ideas, some of which, she admitted, she missed in the post-Christian world, and to ask what has become of them. These were: glory, sin, salvation, patience and sacrifice. She noticed that modern secular society employs inferior echoes of some – celebrity culture instead of glory, unredemptive self-loathing about body image, weight etc instead of sin and forgiveness – and jettisons others at a high cost.

She was particularly good on patience. She had given it no thought, she said, until she had children, when she came to realise that it is “a vital organising principle of life” and one which is being beaten out of women (who traditionally embody it better than men) by modern time-poverty (“speed and greed”) and the emphasis on worldly success. She pointed out that, from his hour in the garden of Gethsemane onwards, Jesus became entirely patient (hence the word the Passion) until his death, and through this achieved his glory.

Also sacrifice. Ms Bunting spoke of how a pregnant woman might lose hair and teeth and weaken her blood for the child she is bearing. She praised “an altruism beyond calculation”. With the weakening of such concepts, the springs of action fail. The loss of the idea of salvation helps explain the feebleness of modern secular politics, particularly the decline of socialism. She quoted Clement Attlee’s promise in 1945 that Labour “will build Jerusalem”, and complained that a post-Christian society could muster no “salvific vision”. She saw what she called “techno-optimism” as a poor substitute.

Although the continuity announcer said that Madeleine Bunting was speaking about “the losses and the gains” which have resulted from the decline of faith, she mentioned far fewer of the latter. Apart from her passionate assertion that Christianity’s attitude to sex had engendered “a state of chronic anxiety in followers” and involved a “deeply manipulative” abuse of authority, she said little about why post-Christian life is better, and much about how it is worse. What she persistently, eloquently identified in our times was a greater triviality and a lack of connection in people’s minds without which it becomes much harder to make sense of the world and live with dignity.

In the end, this series made no attack on Christian belief as such. Ms Bunting’s objections were to the behaviour of the Church, which is not the same thing. Indeed, when she made her objections, Ms Bunting was at pains to contrast the imperial Roman pretensions of the Church with the attitudes of the “itinerant carpenter” who got the show on the road. His idea of sin, she noted, was not of something that demanded punishment, but a more “generous” concept of “missing the target” or of trespassing upon others. Pope Francis could not have expressed it better. So by the end, I felt like putting to Ms Bunting a proposition so startling that she probably could not accept it and keep her job on The Guardian. Has she considered that there might be a reason why the concepts she analysed run so deep, cohere, and refresh the parts that secular ideas cannot reach? Could the reason be that the faith itself is true?

Attlee is supposed to have said of Christianity, with characteristic brevity: “Like the ethics: don’t like the mumbo-jumbo.” He was speaking in an era when the belief system was still so strong that this seemed quite a safe thought. Seventy or 80 years on, it has become clearer – as Ms Bunting showed – that the ethics may not be able to survive without the “mumbo-jumbo”. And that suggests – though obviously it does not prove – that it may not be mumbo-jumbo after all.

In her otherwise broad sweep, Madeleine Bunting did omit one interesting fact. She did not mention that the loss of faith is almost wholly a phenomenon of white, western European/American culture. Despite her dislike of imperialism, her approach very much sees our culture as the centre of the world. Yet there are more Christians (and Muslims) alive today than at any time in human history. Not coincidentally, their countries are growing while ours stagnate. The tide may have retreated on Dover Beach, but it is flowing up the rivers of China and over what the hymn calls “Afric’s golden sand”.


Stop preaching politics, Tories tell the bishops: Fury as church leaders use Easter speeches to attack government's 'sinful cuts'

Tories accused church leaders of playing politics last night for using their Easter messages to attack the Government over poverty and ‘sinful’ cuts.

In his sermon, the Archbishop of Canterbury highlighted the plight of struggling families ‘left broken and weeping’ by hunger and debt.

He told the congregation at Canterbury Cathedral: ‘In this country, even as the economy improves there is weeping in broken families, in people ashamed to seek help from food banks, or frightened by debt.’

And the Bishop of Truro the Right Reverend Tim Thornton spoke of the ‘sinful consequences’ of the squeeze on local authority budgets.

The bishop, who sits on a committee looking at food banks, told Radio 5 Live: ‘Politicians have to decide how to allocate resources.

And in allocating some resources, you are then inevitably taking away from other people.

‘I am not saying it’s a sin. I am saying that some of these policies lead to effects and consequences which have sinful elements in them.’

The bishops’ comments come amid growing unease over the use of political messages by figures in the Church of England.

Last week saw a letter signed by 600 church leaders, including 36 Anglican bishops, calling on the Government to tackle what it called a ‘national crisis’ of hunger and poverty.

The letter cited the rise of food banks as evidence that ‘unfair and harsh benefits sanctions’ were causing people to go hungry.

But the claims contradict findings by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development showing food poverty in Britain has reduced.

Many argue there will always be an almost unlimited demand for food that is given away for free and that it does not necessarily mean people are going hungry.

Last night Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes, chairman of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, said: ‘I don’t remember church leaders in years gone by talking about the huge debt mountain this Government inherited, or talking positively about the number of people now back in work.

‘Of course church leaders can comment on politics, but they should get an appropriate balance.

Fellow Tory Douglas Carswell, the MP for Clacton, said: ‘You can’t criticise debt from the pulpit and then have a go at a Government that is trying to do something about it.’

Archbishop Welby left himself open to accusations of hypocrisy after it emerged yesterday that the Church of England still has financial interests in Wonga.

The Archbishop lambasted the payday loan company last year, only for it to be revealed that the church’s pension fund had invested money in one of the high-interest lender’s financial backers.

Church Commissioners continue to hold shares in the firm worth around £90,000.

But in a newspaper interview on Saturday Archbishop Welby dismissed the issue, saying he had not acted because he had ‘a million other things to do’ and was not an ‘investment manager’.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


21 April, 2014

Franklin Graham: ‘At Every Turn, the Gay and Lesbian Agenda is Being Pushed by This Administration’

President Barack Obama, his administration, and many people in Congress are pushing “a gay and lesbian agenda” and, like Russian President Vladimir Putin, our Congress “needs to do more in protecting our nation’s children” from exploitation, said Rev. Franklin Graham, son of the world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham.

Graham added that gays and lesbians biologically cannot have children but they can “recruit,” and he believes in “protecting children, okay, from exploitation, all exploitations.”

Reverend Graham, who heads the international Christian aid group Samaritan’s Purse, made his remarks during a recent interview with reporter Tim Funk at the Charlotte Observer.

“Gays and lesbians cannot have children. Biologically, it’s impossible,” said Graham. The reporter then said, “Right, they can adopt,” and Graham answered, “Yes, they can recruit.”

When asked the difference between recruit and adopt, Rev. Graham said, “Well, you can adopt a child into a marriage but you can also recruit children into your cause. I believe in protecting children, okay, from exploitation, all exploitations. So that’s all this is about.”

Graham then referred to actions taken by the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin last year to outlaw the “propaganda” or promotion of homosexuality to children.

“I think I agreed with Putin, I think protecting his nation’s children I think was probably a pretty smart thing to do,” said Graham. “I was very clear, I supported Putin in his decision to protect his nation’s children, and I think our Congress needs to do more in protecting our nation’s children.”

Graham continued, “Our Congress, our president, and others are going forward with an agenda – a gay and lesbian agenda and many in the Congress are following them.”

When asked what that agenda entails, Graham said, “Well, just look at where we are today. At every turn, the gay and lesbian agenda is being pushed by this administration.”

Asked whether he meant “on marriage, for example,” and Graham said: “Sure, of course it is.”

During the 2008 presidential campaign and his first three years in the White House, President Obama said he opposed gay “marriage,” but he changed his position in May 2012. His administration pushed to end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the U.S. military, opposed the Defense of Marriage Act, and made it an official element of U.S. foreign policy to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues.

There is a White House website dedicated to promoting the gay and lesbian agenda. It is called “President Obama and the LGBT Community” and can be viewed here. As it states, “This site is a tool for you to learn about how President Obama and his team are working to win the future for LGBT Americans.”

In his interview with the Charlotte Observer, Rev. Graham also said, “As far as persecution, I’m attacked all the time because of my religious beliefs, what I believe, what I say. There are people who are very quick to demonize you if you disagree with them: the left, the gay-lesbian movement.”

“If I disagree with a gay person, then I’m a ‘homophobic,’ I’m ‘intolerant,’” said Graham. “It’s not that I’m a homophobe, I’m not afraid of them. I’m not intolerant. I just have a different opinion, a different view. And it’s the same thing with anybody that disagrees with them. They demonize you.”


British civil servants sent on course telling them how to 'do God': Many don't know basics of Christianity

Civil servants are being given lessons on religion amid fears that many have no understanding of Christianity and other faiths.

In a sign of the increasing secularisation of our public services, employees across Whitehall have been urged to attend ‘How should governments “do” God’ seminars.

The events are designed to help officials ensure policies meet the needs of religious people.

Faith groups said it was astonishing that the civil service is so packed with metropolitan atheists that they have to be reminded to take into account the views of millions who are members of a major religion.

The seminars, which have been advertised across government departments, are being arranged by the faith team at the Department of Communities and Local Government.

They are designed to combat the sort of ‘biblical illiteracy’ which saw an Oxford Council official refuse permission for a traditional Good Friday Passion play.

As reported in yesterday’s Daily Mail, the official did not know what a Passion play was and thought it might be a sex show, rather than a traditional Easter performance depicting the trial, crucifixion and death of Jesus.

A flyer for the ‘How should governments “do” God?’ seminars, seen by the Mail, urges civil servants to sign up for them in order to ‘tailor your policy making to ensure it is responsive to the needs and perspectives of people of faith’.

It says: ‘The seminar is designed to boost what we are calling “religious literacy” among civil servants. Ministers have stressed the importance of government establishing productive working relationships with faith communities in policy development and implementation, in the UK and overseas.

‘Baroness Warsi, minister for faith and communities, has been clear that she sees it as part of the role of Government to set the conditions to be able to enable people of faith to manifest their religious beliefs openly and contribute to society.

‘This seminar... will focus on the drivers, obstacles to and benefits of departments “doing God” well.’ It adds that the idea is to improve ‘religious literacy’ across Whitehall and in the public sector in general.

David Cameron spoke this week of his own faith, saying that Britain should be unashamedly evangelical about its Christianity and let religion play a greater role in society.

Writing in the Church Times, the Anglican newspaper, he said he had experienced the ‘healing power’ of religion and Christianity could transform the ‘spiritual, physical, and moral’ state of the country.

However, his government has been accused by Christian groups of ignoring their concerns on issues such as gay marriage.
Gormless Labour council bans Good Friday Passion play fearing it's a sex show

Last night a source close to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: ‘The Labour government adopted an attitude of secular intolerance towards religion.

'By contrast, this Government strongly supports faith in public life. A little more education and training will help Whitehall recognise the important role than all faiths, including Christianity, play in our nation.’

Dr Peter Saunders, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said: ‘I am daily dumbfounded by the depths of biblical illiteracy displayed by Britain’s chattering classes and especially by many in Parliament and our major institutions.

'Many members of this new liberal elite are simply intelligent barbarians; university graduates who know less about the basic tenets of Christianity than the three-year-olds in my wife’s Sunday school class.’


Half of foreign doctors are below British standards

More than 88,000 foreign-trained doctors are registered to work in Britain, including 22,758 from Europe

Half of all foreign doctors in Britain do not have the necessary skills to work here but can practise because the competency exam is too easy, a major study finds.

The majority of the 88,000 foreign doctors in the health service would fail exams if they were held to the same standard as their British colleagues, according to the research.

The disclosure will add to concerns over the reliance of the NHS on foreign doctors. The language ability of some has been questioned in recent years. The research potentially shows more wide-ranging inadequacies. Around 1,300 foreign physicians are licensed each year by the General Medical Council after passing an exam which assesses clinical and language skills.

But the study, by University College London, found that around half would fail to reach the standards expected of British doctors. Its authors have called for the pass rate of the competency exam to be raised from 63 to 76 per cent to “ensure patient safety”.

Chris McManus, professor of psychology and medical education at UCL, said: “There is no real mechanism for checking that doctors coming from outside Britain have been trained to the same level as British doctors. We wanted to find out what level overseas doctors would have to reach if they were to be as competent as British graduates. I think it’s inevitable that the bar will need to be set higher.

“The fact that you already have overseas doctors being over-represented at GMC hearings is indicative of the problem. Many are simply not trained to the same standards.”

More than 88,000 foreign-trained doctors are registered to work in Britain, including 22,758 from Europe. They make up almost a third of all NHS doctors but account for approximately two thirds of those struck off each year. The Professional and Linguistics Assessments Board, the exam they must pass to practise in Britain, is designed to ensure the same skill level as a British graduate a year after completing medical school.

But UCL discovered there was “no formal mechanism” to ensure the exam was as tough as assessments taken by British doctors. When researchers compared results they found that foreign doctors were consistently performing less well.

Around half of doctors trained abroad would not pass the most comparable British test, the report authors said.

“It may be that some overseas doctors have had poor training and when they come to Britain they will catch up quickly and thrive in a better environment,” said Prof McManus. “But alternatively some may feel completely overwhelmed, particularly with new technology that they have not yet come across. And that is of concern.”

Figures from 2012 showed that of 669 doctors who were struck off or suspended in the previous five years, 420 had trained abroad.

The country with the largest number of doctors removed or suspended from the medical register is India, followed by Nigeria and Egypt.

In 2011 the GMC set up a working party to review whether the competency exam needed to be updated and asked UCL to compile research. The working party is due to report later this year but UCL’s findings have been made public after they were used to defend an allegation that the GMC was racist in marking the exams of foreign doctors.

The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin launched a judicial review claiming the GMC failed too many doctors from overseas in GP tests. But a High Court judge ruled against them this month after seeing UCL’s report.

Prof McManus said: “We’ve been through the figures with a fine-toothed comb and there is simply nothing to show that examiners are being racist.”

The Indian physicians’ association (BAPIO) said it was dismayed by the findings. It has called for a common test for all doctors. Dr Ramesh Mehta, its president, said: “We must drive standards up, but we need objective evidence and fair processes. We are foremost NHS doctors and want the NHS to be the best; this blame game is not helpful.”

The GMC said the research raised important questions and agreed that changes were “vital” for patient safety.

“We are determined to do what we can to maintain high standards of medical practice in the UK, regardless of where doctors receive their training,” said Niall Dickson, the chief executive of the GMC.

“That is why we are reviewing the way in which we assess the knowledge and skills of those seeking to practise here … This review, along with our decision to increase the score we require in our assessment of English language skills, will help us ensure that high standards of practice are maintained.”

The study, which is published in the British Medical Journal, also showed that doctors from within the EU fall short.

In 2008, David Gray, a pensioner, died after a doctor trained in Germany, Daniel Ubani, gave him ten times the recommended dose of pain relief while working his first shift as a locum GP.

Tougher language checks for European doctors come into force this summer.

Dr Maureen Baker, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners said: “In the interests of patient safety and fairness to international medical graduates, we recommend that the current Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board standard setting process is reviewed as a matter of urgency.”


The Distinct, Positive Impact of a Good Dad

Are dads dispensable? A lot of scholars and writers weighing in on fatherhood these days have come to the conclusion that they are. As Jennifer Aniston, for example, once put the point in the high-profile context of a press conference: "Women are realizing it more and more knowing that they don't have to settle with a man just to have that child."

Her perspective has a lot of intuitive appeal in an era where millions of women have children outside of marriage, serve as breadwinner moms to their families, or are raising children on their own. Dads certainly seem dispensable in today's world.

What this view overlooks, however, is a growing body of research suggesting that men bring much more to the parenting enterprise than money, especially today, when many fathers are highly involved in the warp and woof of childrearing. As Yale psychiatrist Kyle Pruett put it in Salon: "fathers don't mother."

Why Do So Many Father-Daughter Movies = Feisty Kid + Bumbling Dad?
Pruett's argument is that fathers often engage their children in ways that differ from the ways in which mothers engage their children. Yes, there are exceptions, and, yes, parents also engage their children in ways that are not specifically gendered. But there are at least four ways, spelled out in my new book, Gender and Parenthood: Biological and Social Scientific Perspectives (co-edited with Kathleen Kovner Kline), that today's dads tend to make distinctive contributions to their children's lives:

The Power of Play: "In infants and toddlers, fathers' hallmark style of interaction is physical play that is characterized by arousal, excitement, and unpredictability," writes psychologist Ross Parke, who has conducted dozens of studies on fatherhood, including a study of 390 families that asked mothers and fathers to describe in detail how they played with their children. By contrast, mothers are "more modulated and less arousing" in their approach to play. From a Saturday morning spent roughhousing with a four-year-old son to a weekday afternoon spent coaching middle-school football, fathers typically spend more of their time engaged in vigorous play than do mothers, and play a uniquely physical role in teaching their sons and daughters how to handle their bodies and their emotions on and off the field. Psychologist John Snarey put it this way in his book, How Fathers Care for the Next Generation: "children who roughhouse with their fathers... quickly learn that biting, kicking, and other forms of physical violence are not acceptable."

Encouraging risk: In their approach to childrearing, fathers are more likely to encourage their children to take risks, embrace challenges, and be independent, whereas mothers are more likely to focus on their children's safety and emotional well-being. "[F]athers play a particularly important role in the development of children's openness to the world," writes psychologist Daniel Paquette. "[T]hey also tend to encourage children to take risks, while at the same time ensuring the latter's safety and security, thus permitting children to learn to be braver in unfamiliar situations, as well as to stand up for themselves." In his review of scholarly research on fatherhood, he notes that scholars generally find that dads are more likely to have their children talk to strangers, to overcome obstacles, and even to have their toddlers put out into the deep during swim lessons. The swim-lesson study, for instance, which focused on a small sample of parents teaching their kids to swim, found that "fathers tend to stand behind their children so the children face their social environment, whereas mothers tend to position themselves in front of their children, seeking to establish visual contact with the children."

Protecting his own: Fathers play an important role in protecting their children from threats in the larger environment. For instance, fathers who are engaged in their children's lives can better monitor their children's comings and goings, as well as the peers and adults in their children's lives, compared to disengaged or absent fathers. Of course, mothers can do this, to an extent. But fathers, by dint of their size, strength, or aggressive public presence, appear to be more successful in keeping predators and bad peer influences away from their sons and daughters. As psychologist Rob Palkovitz notes in our book, "paternal absence has been cited by multiple scholars as the single greatest risk factor in teen pregnancy for girls."

Dad's discipline: Although mothers typically discipline their children more often than do fathers, dads' disciplinary style is distinctive. In surveying the research on gender and parenthood for our book, Palkovitz observes that fathers tend to be firmer with their children, compared to mothers. Based on their extensive clinical experience, and a longitudinal study of 17 stay-at-home fathers, Kyle Pruett and psychologist Marsha Kline Pruett agree. In Partnership Parenting they write, "Fathers tend to be more willing than mothers to confront their children and enforce discipline, leaving their children with the impression that they in fact have more authority." By contrast, mothers are more likely to reason with their children, to be flexible in disciplinary situations, and to rely on their emotional ties to a child to encourage her to behave. In their view, mothers and fathers working together as co-parents offer a diverse yet balanced approach to discipline.

The Difference Good Dads Make

The contributions that fathers make to their children's lives can be seen in three areas: teenage delinquency, pregnancy, and depression. Here, to illustrate the connection between fatherhood and child well-being, I compare adolescent boys and girls who fall into one of four categories: those living in an intact, married family with a high-quality relationship with their father (top third), or an average-quality relationship with their father (middle third), or a low-quality relationship with him (bottom third), or living in a single-mother family. Relationship quality was measured by a scale of three items tapping a child's assessment of his father's warmth, communication skill, and overall relationship quality.

Delinquency: Boys who enjoy average and especially high-quality relationships with their fathers in an intact family are less likely to engage in delinquent behavior. For instance, boys who enjoy high-quality relationships with their fathers are about half as likely to be delinquent, compared to boys being raised by single mothers or by fathers in intact families who only have low-quality relationships with them.

Teenage Pregnancy: Dads also seem to matter for daughters. Here, teenage girls living with their father in an intact family and enjoying at least an average-quality relationship with him are about half as likely to become pregnant as teenagers, compared to girls living with a single mother, or who only have a low-quality relationship with their father in an intact family.

Depression: And for both boys and girls, a high-quality relationship with dad is associated with less depression. Such teenagers are less than half as likely to end up depressed, compared to their peers in single-mother households, or intact homes where dad only has a low-quality relationship with them. (Note also that most of these associations remain statistically significant after controlling for maternal education, household income, race/ethnicity, and respondent's age.)

The story told by this data, then, suggests that there is a case to make against the fathers who fail to have good-enough relationships with their children. At least on these outcomes, single mothers do about as well for their children, compared to dads who have poor-quality relationships with their children. By contrast, great, and even good-enough dads, appear to make a real difference in their children's lives.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


20 April, 2014

Multicultural love in Britain

A man who beheaded his teenage girlfriend with a kitchen knife before stabbing himself has been jailed for life.

Aras Hussein, 21, attacked Reema Ramzan, 18, with the blade while she was still alive before plunging it into his own chest in his flat in Sheffield.

Sentencing him to life, with a minimum of 20 years in jail, Justice Laura Cox said his motive for the attack was 'unclear and may never be known'.

After the attack, he was seen on the street by a neighbour, naked, holding a wad of money and a passport, and covered in blood.

The body of Miss Ramzan, left, was found in the kitchen of Iraqi-born Hussein's, right, flat on June 4 last year

The killer admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denied murder. However, he was found guilty of murder at Sheffield Crown Court.

Mrs Justice Cox said Hussein had used 'severe and sustained' force to decapitate Reema in a 'chilling and brutal' attack.

She said: 'The pathological evidence indicated that she was likely to be alive while decapitation was taking place although at some stage, mercifully, she would have lost consciousness.

'The pain, terror, anguish and desperation she would therefore have suffered, as you inflicted these appalling injuries upon her and ended her life, is truly horrifying to contemplate.

'Why you did this to a young woman who was your girlfriend is unclear and may never be known.'

The court previously heard that Miss Ramzan had arrived at Hussein’s flat in Sheffield at approximately 2.30pm and had brought with her around £5,000 in cash, as well as her passport and a substantial amount of Iraqi currency.

The jury was told Miss Ramzan did not tell her family she was going to meet Hussein and it was not clear what her intentions had been prior to her death.

Mrs Justice Cox: 'While you were both in the flat you stabbed [Reema] in the chest and decapitated her, in what was clearly a chilling and brutal attack.'

After the attack, Hussein took off his clothes, stabbed himself and wandered into the street. The court how he approached a member of the public - who was waiting for a friend near Hussein’s block of flats - and asked him to take him to hospital.

The man refused, but alerted emergency services who arrived minutes later. The court heard that when the defendant got back to the flat he also called the police and was still naked when they arrived.

Prosecutor Graham Reeds QC said a neighbour of Hussein's heard a woman 'screaming for dear life' that afternoon, and that the defendant told emergency workers who came to his aid: 'I don't know why I did it.'

He said Hussein told the paramedics: 'She liked me but I raped her. What I did was wrong. I need punishing for it.' And he told them: 'Why are you helping me? I've murdered someone.'

Miss Ramzan was studying health and social care at Sheffield City College and lived in Darnall, Sheffield with her family who, the court was told, disapproved of the couple's relationship.

During the trial, the jury heard how on one occasion Hussein had threatened to show the victim's family sexual pictures he had taken of her if she broke up with him.

Mr Reeds outlined another incident when Miss Ramzan's brother Sohail argued with the defendant after spotting red marks around his sister's neck.

Hussein's lawyers said he was suffering from diminished responsibility at the time of the attack due to schizophrenia, but the jury rejected this.

Miss Ramzan's family said after the verdict: 'Words cannot describe the pain we feel not having her here.

'Reema was not just a beautiful girl to look at, she was a beautiful girl inside; so kind and helpful, she was always smiling and we loved her so much. We couldn't have wished for a more loving and caring daughter and sister.'

Detective superintendent Phil Etheridge of South Yorkshire Police, who investigated the case, said: 'This is an incredibly sad and heartbreaking case and my deepest sympathies are with Reema's family and friends.

'Reema was a kind and considerate young woman who had a bright and promising future to look forward to. Regrettably, her life was taken far too soon and in such tragic circumstances.

'This has been a difficult investigation however I am satisfied with the verdict today and I hope it provides some form of closure for Reema's family.'


Regulating Hateful Speech Won't Stop Hateful Crimes

Glenn Miller's long trail of bigotry and violence is not an argument for censoring speech—or for spying on people who have done nothing more than say ugly things

First the terrible crime, then the terrible idea. In the wake of the Overland Park shooting spree of April 13, in which a neo-Nazi killed three people at a Jewish Community Center and a Jewish retirement home near Kansas City, the notion is being floated, yet again, that we might be able to stop such crimes if only we were less rigid about the Bill of Rights.

The shooter, who has gone by various names over the years but has usually been known as Glenn Miller, has a long history as a vocal white supremacist and anti-Semite. This background prompted Emily Bazelon to write an essay in Slate headlined "A History of Hate" and subtitled "Could anything have been done to stop Frazier Glenn Miller?" Miller, she notes, posted frequently on Vanguard News Network, a website so drenched in malice toward nonwhites and Jews that it makes Stormfront look like Shalom Sesame. Comparing America's legal tolerance for hateful speech with the more restrictive rules found in many other nations, Bazelon writes: "If you think we have the balance wrong, you have company."

The Slate story stops short of endorsing controls on bigoted speech, but it also stops short of rejecting them. And Bazelon offers no caveats when she invokes the Department of Homeland Security's infamous 2009 report on right-wing extremism, bemoaning the backlash that led the department to renounce the paper and to reduce its staff devoted to the domestic right. Law enforcement, Bazelon writes, "should quit training all their resources on Islamists and start watching people like Miller."

Similar sentiments have surfaced in other venues. "We have recently seen in Kansas the deadly destruction and loss of life that hate speech can fuel in the United States," Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said this week. "Not all hate speech leads to physical acts of violence, but all hate speech is a form of violence," the Bergen Record editorialized. And in an April 15 op-ed for The New York Times, historian Kathleen Belew echoed Bazelon's complaints about the DHS paper's fate: "The department shelved the report, removing it from its website. The threat, however, proved real."

Now, it's certainly true that Miller has a long history as a notorious bigot. When I was growing up in North Carolina, he and his organizations—first the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, then the White Patriot Party—were fixtures in the news. He was in one of the cars in the caravan that opened fire on anti-Klan activists, killing five, in the Greensboro Massacre of 1979. As head of the Carolina Knights he sent his troops to intimidate blacks in the area, and after going underground in the mid-'80s he issued a hit list to "Aryan warriors" that awarded different numbers of points for murdering different targets: "Niggers (1), White race traitors (10), Jews (10), Judges (50), Morris Seligman Dees (888)." (Dees is the founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center.) Miller finally got caught with a cache of weapons that violated so many laws that he could have been imprisoned for decades for them alone, quite apart from the crimes he was plotting to commit with them.

But he wasn't imprisoned for decades. He turned snitch, agreeing to testify that two former comrades had killed customers at a gay-oriented porn shop and taking the stand in a sedition trial of 13 white supremacists. He ended up doing far more to hurt than to help the prosecutors: He probably perjured himself, and when the defense poked holes in his claims the government lost credibility with the jurors. (In each case where he testified, the prosecution lost.) Still, his cooperation got him out of a lot of jail time. He was sentenced to just five years, and he served only three.

Of all the policies that someone might want to second-guess here, the First Amendment shouldn't even enter the top 50. Miller isn't a man with a history of nasty but peaceful speech who suddenly snapped; he's a man with a history of violence who committed yet another violent crime. To return to the question in Bazelon's subtitle—"Could anything have been done to stop Frazier Glenn Miller?"—the answer is: Yes, but it doesn't have anything to do with restricting Americans' speech rights. Miller could have been put away for eons way back in 1987, but instead the government offered him a deal.

And that DHS report that Bazelon and Belew want to rehabilitate? Its biggest problem is that it blurs the boundaries between "extremist" opinions and actual violence—the same error on display when people react to Miller's murders by saying the state should keep an eye on all that hate speech out there. The paper's author, Daryl Johnson, hasn't been consistent about whether he meant to call nonviolent extremism a threat, but usually he says that he did. "Extremism has a much broader definition [than criminal or violent behavior], because it is the phase that precedes terrorism," he wrote in 2012. "Extremism involves ideologies that facilitate individuals and groups toward violence and terrorism." This is the attitude that disturbed civil libertarians when the report was leaked. It is also unhelpful in understanding Miller's crime, since Miller's long history of hateful speech didn't precede his career as a terrorist so much as it accompanied it.

Belew's chief interest in the DHS report is to defend its discussion of veterans. Johnson's paper, she writes,

singled out one factor that has fueled every surge in Ku Klux Klan membership in American history, from the 1860s to the present: war. The return of veterans from combat appears to correlate more closely with Klan membership than any other historical factor. "Military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists carrying out violent attacks," the report warned. The agency was "concerned that right-wing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities."

Whatever you think of this argument, it's a stretch for Belew to get from there to her conclusion that this "threat...proved real." The DHS was worried that far-right groups would recruit from the troops who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. Miller was neither a new recruit to the right nor a veteran of America's post-9/11 battles—the war he fought in was Vietnam.

Finally, let's try to put an end to this absurd claim that the security state's police are devoting "all their resources," as Bazelon put it, to Muslims. Fusion centers—intelligence-sharing shops that are run on the state and local levels but get a lot of money from DHS—continue to churn out reports on all manner of alleged threats to the homeland, not just the Islamic ones. Daryl Johnson doesn't work for the Department of Homeland Security anymore, but he still makes a living in the homeland security business, running a consulting company called DT Analytics that contracts with fusion centers and police departments. Meanwhile, undercover cops have run terror stings aimed not just at Muslims but at other Americans, from the far right to the far left.

If those infiltrators didn't catch wind of Glenn Miller's plans while they were playing agent provocateur, it isn't the first time a police apparatus missed a threat. You can give an agency power and resources, but that doesn't mean it's going to use them wisely. Keep that in mind as people propose plans they think could stop such crimes from happening again.


Rev. Graham: Muslims Who ‘Want to Practice Sharia Law’ Should ‘Go Back Where You Came From’

“We should be afraid of sharia law” in America, and Muslims here who want to practice sharia should go back to where they came from, “to those nations that recognize sharia law,” said Rev. Franklin Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

In a recent interview with the Charlotte Observer, Graham was asked, “Some say you demonize Islam, and Christians in this country have opposed building a mosque or are worried about Sharia law. Isn’t it –”

Graham, who oversees the international Christian aid group Samaritan’s Purse, said, “We should be afraid of Sharia law. We should be absolutely afraid of it. No question about it, because there’s no tolerance in Sharia law. It persecutes those that do not believe in Islam.”

“And I would say to Muslims in this country, if they want to practice Sharia law, go back to where you came from, to those nations that recognize sharia law,” said Graham. “But we have our own laws here.”

Sharia law is the law of Islam, governing public life as well as private life. “Also meaning ‘path’ in Arabic, sharia guides all aspects of Muslim life, including daily routines, familial and religious obligations, and financial dealings,” states a backgrounder on sharia published by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). “Marriage and divorce are the most significant aspects of sharia, but criminal law is the most controversial.”

Some of the crimes addressed by sharia include fornication and adultery, wine drinking, theft and highway robbery. Some of the punishments for such crimes, according to the CFR, include flogging, stoning, amputation and execution. Honor killings are also widespread.

The CFR also noted, “Other practices that are woven into the sharia debate, such as female genital mutilation, adolescent marriages, polygamy, and gender-biased inheritance rules, elicit as much controversy.”

Following his comments against sharia law, Reverend Graham was asked about his own Biblically based opposition to homosexual “marriage.”

The reporter asked, “Opposing same-sex marriage because it’s the Bible – I’m trying to say, that is a religious law too, isn’t it, that we should not let gays and lesbians get married because the Bible says they shouldn’t be?”

Graham said, "I believe the Bible from cover to cover. I believe the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament.”

Reverend Graham is the son of the world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham, who is 95 and reportedly now largely confined to his bed.


Muslim drivers at Cleveland airport refuse to drive cabs with Gay Games advertising

But that's OK. You are only "homophobic" if you are Christian

Roughly 25 Muslim drivers dispatched to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport are refusing to drive cabs adorned with advertising for the region’s upcoming Gay Games, citing religious reasons.

Two of the three companies operating at Ohio's largest airport were informed by the drivers — one-third of the airport’s total fleet — last week that they will no longer participate in the airport’s dedicated taxicab program. The companies, Ace and Yellow Taxi Cab, were told by the drivers that their decision was based on religious reasons, airport spokeswoman Jacqueline Mayo told FoxNews.com.

Ann Gynn, a spokeswoman for the Gay Games, said she believes the protest is an “isolated” case and not indicative of the beliefs held by most residents in Cleveland and Akron, where the Gay Games will be held on Aug. 9-16.

“What we’ve been seeing for the last couple of years is a lot of positive support and a welcome atmosphere within the community,” Gynn told FoxNews.com. “This was a decision by those individual cab drivers. It was a personal decision.”

This is the first year that the nonprofit Gay Games, which are open to all adults regardless of sexual orientation, has utilized advertising atop taxicabs, Gynn said. They were unveiled early last week, she said.

“What’s surprising is that the Gay Games are about inclusion,” she continued. “The Gay Games are open to everybody. This is about inclusiveness on sporting fields and welcoming people as they are.”

The affected taxicab companies will now backfill the airport’s fleet with metered vehicles until each company can hire replacement drivers. That process is expected to take up to three weeks, Mayo said.

“The airport is committed to providing this necessary customer service to our arriving passengers seeking transportation from the airport to their final destination,” airport director Ricky Smith said in a statement obtained by FoxNews.com.

Patrick Keenan, general manager for the third taxi company at the airport, Americab, said two of his drivers initially opted not to work due to the ads. One of them has since returned, he told FoxNews.com on Friday.

“He cited religious reasons,” Keenan said of the unidentified driver. “I didn’t foresee it being a problem … We have no problem with the signage and [the protest] doesn’t reflect the views of our company.”

Launched in San Francisco in 1982, the Gay Games are open to anyone aged 18 or older. Tom Waddell, a gay athlete who could not be open about his sexual orientation when he competed in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, sought to create an event where people could compete and be open regarding their sexuality.

The Gay Games, according to organizers, are based on three principles: participation, inclusion and personal best. Typically, roughly 10 percent of approximately 9,000 participants in its 35-plus sports identify as non-LGBT individuals.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


18 April, 2014

British Labour leader's trip to Israel was an important personal journey – he has rediscovered his Jewish identity

OK, so we know Ed Miliband isn’t much of a history buff. During last week’s visit to Israel, he told journalists: “I hope that I’ll be the first Jewish prime minister if we win the election.”

Unfortunately, even if he does win the election – a rather remote prospect, in my view – he won’t be the first Jewish PM. As Tim Stanley eloquently pointed out on Saturday:

"Benjamin Disraeli – one of the greatest PMs there ever was – was Jewish. Yes, he converted to Christianity. But Ed Miliband doesn’t even believe in God and describes himself as a “Jewish atheist” – so we’re talking about ethnic identity here, not religion. And Disraeli was keenly aware of his ethnicity, calling himself “the blank page between the Old Testament and the New”.

Labour’s leader remains something of a blank page himself. And his statement was quickly seized on as a gaffe. Not least because Disraeli has provided the inspiration for Miliband’s increasingly tedious "One Nation" agenda/mantra.

But as leadership gaffes go, this was a rather minor one. “That bloke Miliband doesn’t even know Disraeli was the first Jewish PM. He can forget about my vote,” is not a sentiment sweeping the land today.

Ed Miliband’s trip to Israel wasn’t just another political trip. Instead it was the latest leg of an important personal journey.
During the Labour leadership election, a senior member of his campaign team was asked by a journalist about the significance of his possible election as Labour’s first Jewish leader. It wasn’t something he attached much weight to, they were told. The aide then added: “And anyway, David’s much more Jewish than Ed is.”

That statement was partly a reflection of the internal politics of the Labour movement. Hostility towards Israel’s “occupation” of the Palestinian territories is intense, occasionally crossing the line into all-out anti-Semitism. That was especially true among some of the hard Left elements the younger Miliband was trying to bolt onto his electoral constituency at that time.

But it was also a reflection of the fact neither Miliband brother placed their Jewishness at the heart of their of personal or political identities. Senior members of the Jewish community I spoke to soon after Miliband was elected confirmed neither man had engaged with them in a way that indicated they placed significant store on their Jewish heritage.

In fact, Ed Miliband confirmed that himself. In an article for the New Statesman back in 2012 he wrote:

"My parents defined themselves not by their Jewishness but by their politics. They assimilated into British life outside the Jewish community. There was no bar mitzvah, no Jewish youth group; sometimes I feel I missed out."

At the time, Miliband’s sudden awareness of his Jewishness was regarded by some as rather too politically convenient. It certainly came at a time when he was struggling to build a clear picture of who he was, and what constituted his political hinterland.

But since then Ed Miliband has continued to explore this aspect of who Ed Miliband is. And it has taken him to some challenging places.

Last March, a storm blew up when it was reported he had told an event organised by the Board of Deputies that he self-identified as a Zionist. That report was qualified, with Miliband’s office insisting he was a “supporter of Israel” and believed people should be “intolerant of those who questions Israel’s right to exist”. That may not sound a big deal, but trust me, it is to the Labour Left. Not least because his words also came with a strong repudiation of calls for an Israeli boycott. “I think the boycotts of Israel are totally wrong", he said. "We should have no tolerance for boycotts. I would say that to any trade union leaders.”

Last week he was challenging the Left again. Israel was “the homeland for the Jewish people”, he told a group of Hebrew University of Jerusalem students. He then held a meeting with a Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which the two men smiled and joked like long-lost brothers. Well, maybe not brothers exactly.

Again, this would normally not be noteworthy stuff. But laughing along with “Bibi” is not a way to win brownie points with Labour’s more radical elements. And attempting to win brownie points from that quarter has been one of the signature failings of Miliband’s time as leader.

Predictably, Miliband’s aides didn’t exactly shout about these elements of the visit, preferring to emphasise his visit to Ramallah and the West Bank. But he did what he did, and he said what he said.

And again, while it’s clear politics was the primary motivation for his trip – or journey – it was not the exclusive motivation. The final part involved a visit to his aunt Sarah Ben Zvi, whom he’d last met when he was seven years old.

Sarah Ben Zvi is the first cousin of Miliband’s mother Marion. The two women grew up together in the Polish town of Czestochowa. When the Nazis invaded in September 1939, they commandeered the steel factory, which employed both sisters, and torched Jewish schools and synagogues. Then, in 1942, they began to deport the Jewish population to concentration camps.

Miliband’s mother, his mother’s sister and grandmother fled the village and were sheltered by nuns in a convent. Ben Zvi, was among the thousands who were deported to the camps. She survived and moved to Palestine after the war, where she was briefly reunited with Miliband’s mother.

When he was addressing Jewish students in Jerusalem, he recounted a story of his first visit to Israel:

"The image in my mind from 37 years ago is of going to visit my grandmother’s house and seeing a photograph of somebody, and asking who it was, and my grandmother was very upset. I was taken out of the room and it was explained that it was my grandfather who was killed in the camps. And so I come here very conscious of my family’s history, and also with a deep sense of gratitude to Israel, which was a sanctuary for her from the most indescribable grief."

Ed Miliband may still be something of a blank page to most of the British people. He may never fulfill his ambition to Britain’s second Jewish prime minister.

But he knows his history after all. And his history knows him.


Cameron says Britain should be 'more confident about our status as a Christian country - and more evangelical about faith'

David Cameron has claimed that Britain should be 'more confident about our status as a Christian country'. The Prime Minister insisted that being a Christian country did not mean 'doing down' other religions or 'passing judgment' on those with no faith at all.

It comes after the Government came under attack from senior clergy over its welfare reforms, but Mr Cameron has responded by saying 'we all believe in many of the same principles' and that churches were 'vital partners'.

In an article for the Church Times Mr Cameron described himself as a 'classic' member of the Church of England, 'not that regular in attendance, and a bit vague on some of the more difficult parts of the faith'.

And he rejected the idea that in an 'ever more secular age' people should not talk about their religion.

'I believe we should be more confident about our status as a Christian country, more ambitious about expanding the role of faith-based organisations, and, frankly, more evangelical about a faith that compels us to get out there and make a difference to people's lives,' he said.

'First, being more confident about our status as a Christian country does not somehow involve doing down other faiths or passing judgment on those with no faith at all.'

Mr Cameron said he had 'felt at first hand the healing power of the Church's pastoral care' and Christians 'know how powerful faith can be in the toughest of times'.

Earlier this year the Government came under attack from 27 Anglican bishops who warned that thousands of people were being forced to rely on hand-outs from food banks as a result of the coalition's benefit changes.

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales Cardinal Vincent Nichols has also said it was a 'disgrace' that in such a wealthy country there were people who could not afford to feed themselves.

'Many people tell me it is easier to be Jewish or Muslim in Britain than in a secular country precisely because the tolerance that Christianity demands of our society provides greater space for other religious faiths, too.

'Crucially, the Christian values of responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility, and love are shared by people of every faith and none - and we should be confident in standing up to defend them.

'People who, instead, advocate some sort of secular neutrality fail to grasp the consequences of that neutrality, or the role that faith can play in helping people to have a moral code. Of course, faith is neither necessary nor sufficient for morality.

'Many atheists and agnostics live by a moral code - and there are Christians who don't. But for people who do have a faith, that faith can be a guide or a helpful prod in the right direction - and, whether inspired by faith or not, that direction or moral code matters.'

Mr Cameron acknowledged that welfare was 'controversial' but said 'not enough is made of our efforts to tackle poverty'

The Prime Minister, who has faced criticism from within his own party over the Government's commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income on overseas aid, said the policy should be a 'source of national pride'.

The article is the latest demonstration of Mr Cameron's religious faith.

At an Easter reception in Downing Street earlier this month he told an audience of Christian leaders and politicians in Downing Street that his 'moments of greatest peace' occurred every other Thursday morning attending the Eucharist at St Mary Abbots, the west London church linked to the school his children attend.

'I find a little bit of peace and hopefully a bit of guidance,' he added.


Sorry, Rev, but Christianity isn't just about being nice to people

By Tim Stanley

Here’s a thought for the day: Most people are “nice”, but Christians should be nice with a purpose.

I am not a fan of the sitcom Rev, which depicts a vicar trying to be kind to his parishioners – with hilarious consequences. His congregation is small, full of delinquents, and the eponymous clergymen is often driven to drink by their unholy antics. Justin Welby disagrees with the show’s depiction of Anglican life because he notes that many churches are growing. The Rev’s, by contrast, conforms to a self-lacerating vision of Christianity as nice but niche.

But self-laceration is the stock-in-trade of the 1960s liberal Christian tradition, and Rev is its fifth gospel. The priest character is full of doubt, constantly questioning his vocation, reluctant to preach about sin and contemptuous of those who do (evangelicals are portrayed, inevitably, as gurning bigots). It’s never entirely clear why he wants to be a priest at all. Except, perhaps, to be nice to those who undoubtedly need it. Rev imagines Christians to be social workers in dog collars: faith is far less important than acts of kindness. Which is all very nice, but hardly conducive to filling the pews. If the church only ever gives, then people will only ever take from it. What’s the point of committing oneself to a faith that asks nothing in return – including firm belief?

Giles Fraser makes a similar point in an article that is worth meditating upon. It’s a critique of David Cameron’s recent “coming out” as a Christian, in which the PM spoke of Jesus as a bloody nice bloke and Christianity as being primarily about helping people in need. Fraser calls this the “religion of good deeds” and notes that while it is all jolly decent, it misses a couple of crucial points about Christianity. First, Jesus was not just all about being kind:

No-one was ever crucified for kindness. Jesus was not strung up on a hideous Roman instrument of torture because of his good deeds. If Jesus is just a remarkably good person whose example we ought to follow, why the need for the dark and difficult story of betrayal, death and resurrection that Christians will commemorate this week?

Why indeed? Because it’s a reminder of the fact that Jesus was the son of God who lived, died and rose again. And the second thing that Rev and Cameron miss is that Christians do nice things not just because they are nice people but because they are commanded to by scripture. Helping the poor or the sick is not simply an act of humanity, it’s an act of faith. It’s also an act of witness – a way of showing the world the reality of Christ’s love in the hope that more people will accept him as their saviour. "Witness" is what martyr literally translates as from the ancient Greek. The saints were willingly crucified, shot, tortured, burned and guillotined in part as an act of testimony to the Christian faith.

Recall the incredible story of José Sánchez del Río, a 14-year old boy who was stabbed and shot by Mexican secularists. He used his final moments of life to draw a cross in the sand. Now that is faith in action.

For Christians, love is a multifaceted thing. It’s about giving, it’s about sacrificing. And it’s an act of love to tell people when they’re going wrong. Nice atheists don’t have to do that because there’s no commandment to rescue others from themselves. But we have to – and we need to do more of it. Christians should speak out against the greed of payday loan companies that manipulate people’s desperation. Against theft from the taxpayer or the political decisions that leave the disabled or children without adequate support. Against regimes that torture and against mobs that pick on minorities. Against the tide of pornography that degrades the personhood of women. Against abortion-on-demand and against an unfair society that compels so many women to seek it. Against the decline of religious tolerance as so many countries seem determined to squeeze all faith out of the public sphere.

We think we are so civilised here in the West, but by Christ’s standards we are savages. Christians who fail to point out these sins are surely as culpable as the people who commit them. It is not enough to be “nice”. Sometimes nice tips over into blind tolerance; a virtue becomes a vice.

Challenging thoughts, maybe, but this is a challenging time of year. This Holy Week, we have to contemplate directly a moment when a religious leader challenged the ethics of his society and was nailed to a cross for his courage. The good news is that he came back from the dead to build a new church. We mere mortals, on the other hand, only have one life to make a difference in. Let’s not just spend it being “nice” to people. Let’s shake things up a bit.


Corrupted Quakers

The significance of the AFSC [a quaker NGO] today also stems from its leading role in the global BDS [Anti-Israel] movement. In addition to its relief efforts, the AFSC also had a separate strand toward radical pacifism. Though this pacifism derived from the Quaker religious tradition, in the aftermath of World War II the organization’s leaders saw the danger of nuclear war as so profound that it consciously abandoned its previous political neutrality and took a strident tone regarding disarmament.

The United States rather than the Soviet Union or the People’s Republic of China was cast increasingly as the party responsible for the Cold War. The organization argued that the US was the global bully, but little was said or done for victims of Communism.

By the 1960s and the Vietnam War the AFSC’s anti-Americanism was obvious; arguably it was the organization’s central policy. It routinely condemned the US in sham international proceedings and even provided direct aid to the North Vietnamese government, in contravention of US law.

From the 1950s to the 1970s the Quaker concepts that had guided the organization, not least of all modesty and political neutrality, had completely disappeared and it became a routine left-wing pressure group, supporting whatever causes the US opposed.

At the same time, after 1967 the AFSC took up the Arab-Israeli conflict as one of its primary missions. It uses the network of Quaker schools in the West Bank established in the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as more recently NGO activities to support Palestinians and attack Israel, in Israeli courts, international fora, and at the grassroots levels.

Since 1967 it has become more extreme in its disdain for Israel, gradually adopting elements of Protestant supersessionism and ‘liberation theology’ that see modern Jewish Israel as having lost its covenant with God, replaced by a near sacred Palestinian people.

All the while it professes respect for Jews, but demands that Jews give up support for Israel. The AFSC leverages its history and past good work against Israel.

The AFSC’s support for the BDS movement is one element. Another is the way in which anti-Israel radicalism are introduced into Friends schools through the intellectual leadership provided by the AFSC.

The many local Quaker fellowships around the country, although greatly reduced in number from their 20th century heyday, are important tools for the AFSC to shape local BDS efforts, usually in association with other Christian, pro-Palestinian, and ‘anti-war’ groups. All this is predicated on a distinguished history that the AFSC both leverages and disregards.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


17 April, 2014

For sale, medals of the Spitfire superman who had Messerschmitts for breakfast

This article is typical of the way Brits exaggerate their WWII military achievements. In fact ALL of the top flying aces of WWII were German. Erich Hartmann shot down more than 10 times as many planes as Ronald Berry. This list should be thought-provoking. The Luftwaffe knocked down 2 or 3 planes for every one of their own that they lost.

The Supermarine Spitfire was a fine fighter airfcraft but the Messerschmitt 109 was an advanced design from the very beginning and, with upgrades, was still knocking down Spitfires towards the end of the war.

For some reason. Adolf Galland is best known as a German fighter ace during the war. He was a fine man and had over a 100 "kills". But there were dozens of Luftwaffe pilots who were even more successful

The air war of WWII is most accurately seen as a relatively small number of talented German "hunters" flying a brilliant machine who fought to the end against overwhelming numbers. Is that politically incorrect enough?

In a single day at the height of the Battle of Britain he shot down three German fighters – one before breakfast, one after breakfast and one in the evening.

Air Commodore Ronald Berry became one of the RAF’s greatest aces of the Second World War, helping to destroy some 30 enemy aircraft.

Indeed, he was held in such esteem that he was one of the few airmen chosen to lead Winston Churchill’s coffin at his funeral in 1965.

Now the medals of this remarkable pilot are expected to fetch a six-figure sum at auction, not least because Air Commodore ‘Ras’ Berry as he was nicknamed was one of The Few who helped save Britain in the battle for the skies in the summer of 1940.

The Spitfire pilot, who died in 2000 aged 83, later admitted that seeing German bombers destroy British cities had motivated him to wreak revenge on the enemy.

He was involved in one of the first dogfights of the war in December 1939 and also fought the Luftwaffe over France and North Africa.

In all, he notched up an impressive tally of up to 30 ‘claims’ on enemy aircraft, including 14 confirmed ‘kills’. On August 31, 1940, aged just 23, he destroyed three Messerschmitt 109 planes after being scrambled three times in one day.

Two months after the outbreak of war he was sent to Montrose in Scotland to help protect the airfield there and served in 603 Squadron. Days later he was involved in one of the earliest interceptions of the war when he damaged a Heinkel 111 bomber.

Due to increasing RAF casualties, 603 Squadron was sent to Southern England in August 1940 during the height of the Battle of Britain.

By the following month, the pilot was involved in up to four dogfights a day, earning him his first Distinguished Flying Cross.

After the Battle of Britain he was one of only eight out of the 24 original pilots from the Squadron left. He was promoted to Squadron Leader and took part in convoy patrols. His fighting record later continued in Tunisia.

After the war he was in charge of the Air Fighting Development Unit in Norfolk, and was appointed OBE in 1946 and CBE in 1965. He later retired with wife Nancy, with whom he had a daughter, to East Yorkshire.

A spokesman for London auctioneers Spink said: ‘Ronald Berry was very much one of The Few who stopped Operation Sea Lion, Hitler’s plan to invade Britain, from happening.’ The medals are being sold in London on April 24.


White babies just 15 months old show racial bias when picking playmates, study found

Toddlers show racial bias when picking playmates, a study reveals. They also take account of how fairly others behave.

Researchers tested the reaction of white 15-month-olds as toys were distributed.

Two white adults divided the toys, one equally and the other unequally. Seventy per cent of the toddlers chose to play with the researcher who distributed the toys fairly.

But in a second test, when one researcher favoured a white recipient over an Asian one, they picked the ‘fair’ researcher less often, the journal Frontiers in Psychology reports.

And the babies are more likely to help those who share the same ethnicity, which is known as in-group bias when people favour those with the same characteristics as oneself.

The University of Washington team first noticed the phenomenon when the infants began playing favourites with the researchers during a previous experiment.

Professor Jessica Sommerville said: 'At the time, about half of the research assistants in my lab were Asian-American and the other half were Caucasian, and most of the babies in our experiments are Caucasian.

'We know that by preschool, children show in-group bias concerning race, but results in infants have been mixed.

'It's surprising to see these pro-social traits of valuing fairness so early on, but at the same time, we're also seeing that babies have self-motivated concerns too.'

The study revealed when it came to picking a playmate, the babies seemed more tolerant of unfairness when the white recipient benefited from it.

They picked the fair experimenter less often when the unfair experimenter gave more toys to the white recipient rather than the Asian one.

The researchers say this implies that babies can take into account both race and social history when deciding which person would make a better playmate.

Professor Jessica Sommerville of the University of Washington said: ‘If all babies care about is fairness, then they would always pick the fair distributor, but we’re also seeing that they’re interested in consequences for their own group members.’


A woman with sh*t for brains

She mustn't have visited any Muslim countries nor observed how blacks in her native South Africa treat women. Is "corrective rape" a common treatment for Lesbians in Britain? It is in South Africa

Sexism in Britain is more widespread than in any other country due to a 'boys' club culture', a United Nations official has concluded.

Rashida Manjoo, a South African human rights expert, was charged by the UN Humans Rights Council to monitor violence against women in the UK and report back to them.

She warned that sexual bullying and harassment were now "routine" in UK schools, according to NGOs she had interviewed, and recommended that schools have mandatory modules on sexism.

Ms Manjoo shared her preliminary findings on Tuesday and said: “Have I seen this level of sexist culture in other countries? It hasn’t been so in your face in other countries. I haven’t seen that so pervasively in other countries. I’m sure it exists but it wasn’t so much and so pervasive.

“I’m not sure what gives rise to a more visible presence of sexist portrayals of women and girls in this country in particular.

“What is clear from these indications of portrayals of women and girls is that there is a boys’ club sexist culture. That exists and it does lead to perceptions about women and girls in this country.”

Her comments were dismissed by former Conservative health minister Edwina Currie who said: "Most of the women I know like living [in the UK] and enjoy being in a diverse and interesting society."

Ms Manjoo, who has reported on violence against women in more than 10 countries since 2009, including Somalia, Zambia, Algeria, Jordan and America, said her findings came from meetings with UK government officials, civil society organisation and individual survivors of violence as she travelled throughout the UK.

She is also a Public Law professor at the University of Cape Town, in South Africa, which has some of the highest levels of sexual assault in the world and is one of the world's top ten most violent countries.

Ms Manjoo, summarising her UK meetings, said: “The sexualised nature and portrayal of women and girls came through very clearly from all interviews that were conducted, but including from the state sector, where preventative programmes are being developed."

In particular, she highlighted “the easy availability of porn, the use of social media including influencing young children around images” and “harassment on the [London] Tubes", referencing the current 'Women Who Eat On Tubes' trend of people taking pictures of women eating on the London Undergound, and posting them onto Facebook.

“When you’re sitting on public transport and it’s OK to harass someone, to inappropriately touch them, it’s sexist culture,” she said.

“If I was walking down the street and there were whistles - which won’t happen at this stage in my life - but that’s sexist culture. It means it’s OK, it’s normal, what’s the problem?”

Ms Manjoo said it was the Government’s responsibility to battle sexist culture, saying that schools should consider having mandatory modules on sexism.

“The state has a responsibility to protect, to prevent, to punish, to provide effective remedies,” she said. “These are part of the state’s responsibility.

“So in terms of prevention, is it necessary to mandate that certain modules are mandatory for children in schools considering the quite pervasive levels of bullying, sexual harassment and harassment on the tubes which is part and parcel of violence?

“The general view is that it should be mandatory.”

However, Ms Currie dismissed Ms Manjoo’s comments, saying she doesn’t think the UK has a problem with sexist culture.

“There are people around who are quite convinced that there are things wrong with British society and I’m not one of them,” she told Telegraph Wonder Women.

“Why can’t she go to a country where women can’t drive cars, or have maternity leave? There are plenty of countries where women face serious problems. You can’t say they have a big problem in the UK.

“Most of the women I know like living here and enjoy being in a diverse and interesting society. Many of the men I know think that we live in a female dominated society and it’s women who call the shots.”

Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism project, said: “I would say that it’s really important that we take this seriously.

“What she says about the importance of teaching this in schools is absolutely paramount. We know [young people] are exposed to [sexism]. The question is, are we going to give them tools to deal with it?”

But Ms Bates said she does not think it is entirely the Government’s responsibility to tackle sexist culture in the UK, adding: “I think it has to be both: support from the Government and organisation, but also individuals playing their part in changing what we consider to be normal and acceptable.”


France is the new cauldron of Eurosceptic revolution

Britain is marginal to the great debate on Europe. France is the linchpin, fast becoming a cauldron of Eurosceptic/Poujadist views on the Right, anti-EMU reflationary Keynesian views on the Left, mixed with soul-searching over the wisdom of monetary union across the French establishment.

Marine Le Pen’s Front National leads the latest IFOP poll for the European elections next month at 24pc. Her platform calls for immediate steps to ditch the euro and restore the franc (“franc des Anglais” in origin, rid of the English oppressors), and to hold a referendum on withdrawal from the EU.

The Gaullistes are at 22.5pc. The great centre-Right party of post-War French politics is failing dismally to capitalise on the collapse in support for President François Hollande.

The Parti Socialiste is trailing at 20.5pc. The Leftist Front de Gauche is at 8.5pc and they are not exactly friends of Brussels.

Click to enlarge

The heirs to Charles de Gaulle are watching their Right flank peel way to the Front National, just as the Tory flank has been peeling away to Ukip. Needless to say, they don’t like it. A party gathering over the weekend was a hubbub of Eurosceptic dissent.

Xavier Bertrand, the former employment minister, said it is time to abandon the Franco-German axis that has been the guiding principle of French foreign and economic policy for half a century. “It’s important but it shouldn’t be the alpha and omega of France’s vision,” he said.

“How can we pursue an energy policy if the interests of France and Germany are so different. It is better to work with the English on this subject, and the same goes for European defence. Let us recognise that the alignment with Germany is stopping us pushing for another ECB policy, one that favours growth and jobs,” he said.

This refrain was picked up in an astonishing column in Le Figaro by former editor Philippe Villin last Friday in which he called for a Latin front led by France and Italy to blow up the euro.

In an open letter to Italian leader Matteo Renzi – just 17 years old at the time of Maastricht, and therefore uncompromised and free of EMU’s Original Sin – he warns the young leader that there is no hope of lifting Italy out of its low-growth debt-trap without a “return to the lira.”

Even if the euro fell to 1:1 against the dollar it still would not be enough to save Italy – says Mr Villin – since the intra-EMU gulf with Germany would remain.

He tells Mr Renzi to undertake a tour of southern capitals to forge a Latin alliance, then march on Berlin to inform Chancellor Angela Merkel that monetary union has become untenable. He should warn her that the end has come unless Germany does more than the bare minimum to keep EMU afloat.

She will of course refuse to budge – says Mr Villin – but that is not the point. The young Italian’s actions would set off market alarm, causing a precipitous drop in the euro and a bond crisis. This would be deliberate, if dangerous. It would force Germany to face up the choice it has so far evaded: accept a genuine fiscal/transfer union, or leave EMU. Mr Villin obviously prefers the latter. (So does the Bundesbank in my view.) “By precipitating this drama, you would save Europe and the Europeans”, he said.

I pass this on so readers can make their own judgment, reserving my own. What is striking is how such thoughts are gaining currency (excuse the pun) in the French political debate.

Three books have recently appeared arguing that the euro must be broken up in order to clear the way for genuine economic recovery, or even to save the European Project.

1. François Heisbourg, “La Fin du Rêve Européen”

2. Coralie Delaume, “Europe Les Etats désunis”

3. Steve Ohana, “Désobéir pour sauver l'Europe”

A further book by statesman Jean-Pierre Chevènement — “1914-2014: L’Europe sortie de l’Histoire?” – makes a fascinating case the EU has lost its way because it wrongly blamed “nationalism” for causing the two world wars. It has tried to build a superstate edifice by denying the nation-state soul of the European peoples (plural). Fine stuff.

France is a country “animated by a spirit of rational liberty”, to borrow from Edmund Burke, and it has always seemed obvious to me that it would not fore ever tolerate mass unemployment, fiscal infeudation to Berlin-Brussels, and a state of affairs that has become so noxious in so many ways. It is hardly surprising that it is at last in the grip of a fresh revolution.

The Gaullistes are divided. The old guard will of course yield no ground on EMU. They cannot do so because they have worshipped at this altar all their lives. Some relative reformists are now clutching at the flimsiest of straws.

Laurent Wauquiez – a former Europe minister, no less – has just written a book “Europe, il faut tout changer” (Europe, we must change everything) in which he calls for a return to a euro hard-core of Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and Holland.

This strikes me as unworkable. Are they going to relegate the Slovenes, Slovaks, Finns, Latvians or Portuguese to non-voting status, or freeze them out of EMU altogether? You cannot run Europe on that kind of capricious basis. Such thinking does however show the intellectual policy swamp that has engulfed the grand venture of monetary union.

In the meantime, of course, we are assured that the EMU crisis is entirely behind us. Sunlit uplands lie ahead. This moment of malaise will pass. Yes, and pink elephants will fly over Mare Nostrum.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


16 April, 2014

Britain's "overseas-trained" doctors at work again

They generate 4 times as many complaints as British-origin doctors. From the surnames one can deduce that the deceased was in the care of a Nigerian, an Arab, a Bangladeshi and a Chinese. Another triumph of multiculturalism

Dr Yahya Al-Abed, a fifth-year trainee, had only been at the hospital for three weeks

A pregnant woman with appendicitis died after a bungling trainee surgeon mistakenly removed one of her healthy ovaries, a tribunal heard today.

Maria De Jesus, 32, underwent the botched operation at Queen's Hospital, Romford, Essex, after she was admitted with abdominal pains in October 2011.

She died 19 days later after suffering a miscarriage. Inexperienced medic Dr Yahya Al-Abed admitted he made a number of errors during the procedure, including removing her right ovary instead of her appendix.

Senior surgical consultant, Dr Babatunde Coker [a Nigerian], is accused of failing in his role by not attending theatre to carry out the surgery himself or supervising the registrar. Mrs De Jesus, who was 21-weeks pregnant, was discharged ten days after the October 23 operation, but returned to the Romford hospital on November 7, still in serious pain.

The mother-of-three gave birth to a still-born boy and died on the operating table on November 10 following a second operation to remove her appendix, the tribunal heard.

Both doctors are facing fitness to practise proceedings at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester, where they could face being struck off.

The General Medical Council, represented by Peter Horgan, say the doctors' treatment of Mrs De Jesus, who is referred to as Patient A at the hearing, amounted to misconduct.

Opening the case today Mr Horgan told the panel Mrs De Jesus was admitted to hospital with severe abdominal pain on October 21, 2011, and was diagnosed with appendicitis two days later.

Trainee surgeon Christopher Liao, who had been working at the hospital for less than three weeks, decided she needed her appendix removed and Mr Coker agreed.

The consultant was told Mr Al-Abed, a fifth-year trainee, who had also only been at the hospital for three weeks, was performing emergency operations and she was added to his list.

There were a number of other staff present in the theatre on Sunday October 23, including a young doctor 'keen to get some experience', Osman Chaudhary.

Mr Chaudhary was allowed to make the first incision, but when complications arose Mr Al-Abed took over. 'Patient A had begun to bleed quite heavily. Something was not right,' Mr Horgan said.

'In the midst of this, Mr Al-Abed removed what he clearly believed to be the appendix. He thought he found it, removed it and gave to a nurse what later turned out to be Patient A's ovary.'

A colleague later reported that the medic 'appeared reluctant to call for help' and Mr Coker was never called. He had been in the coffee room while the operation took place and received no information it was underway.

'He had lunch, then went home and didn't become aware until Monday,' said Mr Horgan. 'Thereafter Patient A remained in hospital until she was discharged on October 31. She returned to hospital and was readmitted on November 7 suffering abdominal pains.

'On November 9 it was discovered by another doctor that in fact the histology report showed an ovary had been removed and not the appendix.

'Tragically on November 11 Patient A gave birth to a still-born male baby.' Mrs De Jesus was again consented to go under the knife and this time her appendix was removed by Mr Liao.

'But sadly later that afternoon Patient A died whilst on the operating table,' Mr Horgan said.' The post-mortem concluded she had died of multiple organ failure brought on by septicemia, the panel heard.

'The GMC's case against Mr Coker centres on his responsibilities and actions on October 23,' Mr Horgan added.

'This was a potentially complicated operation as it was to be performed on a pregnant woman.'

Dr Coker, represented by Neil Sheldon, admits to failing to appropriately undertake his role in not attending or supervising the operation, but denies several other similar charges on the basis that that his admission 'renders them redundant'.

'The GMC's case against Mr Al-Abed centres on his responsibility and actions before, during and immediately after the operation on October 23,' said Mr Horgan. 'In short it is alleged that Mr Al-Abed performed the surgery as he did and acted outside the limits of his competence.'

Dr Al-Abed, represented by David Morris has admitted to the majority of the charges, leaving two outstanding factual matters. If the panel, chaired by Carrie Ryan-Palmer, find any of the facts admitted or found proved amount to misconduct the medics could face sanctions ranging from conditions to erasure from the medical register.

At an inquest in Walthamstow, east London, coroner Chinyere Inyama said a lost window of opportunity could have saved Mrs De Jesus. Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals Trust admitted liability for her death apologised to her family. The hearing continues.


The incredible hypocrisy of 21st Century feminism

by Alicia Colon

My first published column was in a local paper opposing the Equal Rights Amendment for the same reasons that Phyllis Schlafly, a conservative lawyer, campaigned on. As ambiguously written, the ERA, would eliminate the men-only draft requirement, repeal protective laws like sexual assault and eliminate the tendency for mothers to obtain custody over their children in divorce cases.

Ironically, one of the arguments that helped sink the amendment from ratification was the fear that single-sex bathrooms would no longer be permitted. In addition, opponents of the amendment also warned that it would lead to abortion on demand and same-sex marriages. Since these changes are now part of our lives, it is obvious that a constitutional amendment was unnecessary to radically change our lives.

I was a very young woman when the 'sexual revolution' began and at first sniff, I recognized it for the fraud that it was. The women burning their bras and bristling at being called names, like broads or honey, were light-years away from the suffragettes of the early 20th century who deserve the greatest respect for their bravery and principled struggle. I wasn't about to burn my bra in public for anybody and even from my youthful perspective, I knew that aside from the demand for equal pay and open opportunities, the sexual freedom demands seemed to benefit men more than women; no more shotgun weddings because women would now have the right to 'terminate' an inconvenient pregnancy.

As the movement progressed, so did the deceitful public relations campaign turn a legitimate issue of an unfair economic standard into one dominated by malcontented women. Any alleged attack on women in the workplace became a matter for government intervention and legislation by lawmakers who were dependent on feminist lobbyists. Men vs. women became the standard in nearly every aspect of our culture. Remember that famed tennis match between Billy Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs? Pure theater and nonsensical but women (not I) cheered when King won. I had never heard of Bobby Riggs before his hustler challenge to King; he was 55 years old in 1973, the year of the match, called the 'Battle of the Century'-what a joke. Yet the crowing turned into fame for King who eventually came out of the closet when her secretary, Marilyn Barnett, sued her for palimony. Just another male bashing feminist reaping the reward for years of duplicity.

I admire strong women but I did not see these leaders of the '60s revolution as strong at all. Strong women handle adversity on their own without manufacturing slights and offensives as sexist.

Women have been objectifying men as often as they objectified us. The powerful feminist lobby targeted reproduction as an issue that needed to be under their control and that was when I realized that it wasn't really interested in women's rights at all. The denigration of motherhood became the rallying cry of the weak minded puppets of their male compadres. Let's face it- it became so much easier to terminate a pregnancy and end the life of an innocent child then to accept responsibility for a promiscuous lifestyle. Women who chose to be wives and mothers ranked so much lower than the so-called female power brokers in all industries.

Having it all became a possibility because men had been doing it forever, right? It's a myth because men and women are different. What a concept. Apparently, those enlightened feminists of the 21st century still don't get it. They attack the most miniscule elements of our sexuality while ignoring the real war on women around the world because that would be dangerous to their dogmatic liberal ideology. Consider this as an example: According to an article in the liberal blog, Pandragon, the author wants feminism taught in primary school. She writes, "Our children's education is reinforcing the idea that it is natural for women and girls to be decorative, whereas men and boys are the active ones. Do we want them to be learning blind faith in gender stereotypes?"

What ticked her off was her son learning a song called, "Jesus is my superhero," and apparently the only female superhero in the song was Barbie. Well, that would tick me off too since I've always loathed Barbie but the idea of introducing very young children to feminism while ignoring and not condemning what is happening to women in other cultures is the height of hypocrisy. NBC reports on the horrific rise in female mutilation in the U.S. without mentioning that it is a traditional practice in some Islamic countries. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (C.A.I.R.) managed to silence a film, "The Honor Diaries" which exposes the abuses of women around the world despite the fact that the abuse occurs in other religions besides Islam. I doubt noted feminist attorney, Gloria Alred, will ever represent such victims of sharia law.

I met a genuine, legitimate leader of women's rights, Phyllis Chesler, while writing for the New York Sun in 2006. I confess that I was reluctant to take the assignment because I'd always been completely uninterested in anything feminists had to say but the title of her book, "Death of Feminism" intrigued me. I found her to be that rarity- a rational, charming feminist with a sense of humor - and we bonded instantly. I wrote:

"Ms. Chesler is an emerita professor of psychology and women's studies, a psychotherapist who has lectured and organized various human rights campaigns here and abroad. Although women's groups have long heralded her as a founding feminist for her classic book, "Women and Madness," the bloom has apparently been off the rose since she admitted she voted for President Bush.
"Yes, Ms. Chesler has done the unimaginable. Her book calls for a new feminism, one that requires independent - not group - thought, and a single standard of human rights for men and women everywhere on earth.

"In her book, Ms. Chesler exposes the realities of Islamic gender apartheid and tells what happens to real women in the Islamic world who struggle for freedom every day. These women are ignored by the old school of politically correct, leftist feminists. Ms. Chesler herself was, years ago, a young bride who escaped captivity in Kabul, Afghanistan."

She has now written in detail about her experience in her latest book, 'An American Bride in Kabul: A Memoir,' which hopefully will receive the positive attention it deserves from the media. I do not, however, expect the lemmings and lapdogs of the liberal left at N.O.W. to forgive her apostasy or abandon their political correctness to admit that she is courageous in exposing the global war on women.

It has been quoted somewhere that, "the worst enemy of woman is an evil woman." Nevertheless, I have found that the worst enemy of woman may be a self-centered, gullible one.


You sexist/racist/liberal/elitist bastard! How dare you?

While he was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease, Tony Judt found the breath to educate those who believe they could ameliorate pain with soft words and bans on ‘inappropriate’ language.

“You describe everyone as having the same chances when actually some people have more chances than others. And with this cheating language of equality deep inequality is allowed to happen much more easily.”

Worry about whether you, or more pertinently anyone you wish to boss about, should say ‘person with special needs’ instead of ‘disabled’ or ‘challenged’ instead of ‘mentally handicapped’ and you will enjoy a righteous glow. You will not do anything, however, to provide health care and support to the mentally and physically handicapped, the old or the sick. Indeed, your insistence that you can change the world by changing language, and deal with racism or homophobia merely by not offending the feelings of interest groups, is likely to allow real racism and homophobia to flourish unchallenged, and the sick and disadvantaged to continue to suffer from polite neglect.

An obsession with politeness for its own sake drives the modern woman, who deplores the working class habit of using ‘luv’ or ‘duck’, but ignores the oppression of women from ethnic minorities. A Victorian concern for form rather than substance motivates the modern man, who blushes if he says ‘coloured’ instead of ‘African-American’ but never gives a second’s thought to the hundreds of thousands of blacks needlessly incarcerated in the US prison system.

As the late and much-missed Robert Hughes said, ‘We want to create a sort of linguistic Lourdes, where evil and misfortune are dispelled by a dip in the waters of euphemism’.

You do not have to listen to it for long to believe that the defining features of contemporary debate are:

* a willingness to take offence at the smallest slight that would make a Prussian aristocrat blink;

* a determination to ban and punish speech that breaks taboos;

* a resolve to lump disparate individuals into blocs – “the gays,” “the Muslims,” “the Jews” etc – and to treat real and perceived insults to one as group defamations that insult all;

* a self-pitying eagerness to cast yourself as a victim;

* and an accompanying narcissism, which allows you to tell others just how much you have suffered.

To which you could reply, what’s new? Not so long ago the cult of the House of Windsor was so fervent the BBC banned John Grigg (Lord Altrincham) for saying , truthfully, of the Queen, ‘The personality conveyed by the utterances which are put into her mouth is that of a priggish schoolgirl, captain of the hockey team, a prefect, and a recent candidate for Confirmation’.

In the last years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, no one dared name new railways stations. If the line mangers gave a station a German name, they would insult the Hungarians and Slavs; if they gave it a Hungarian name they would insult the Germans and Slavs, and so on. All societies have their prigs, tribalists and book burners. The fight against them is eternal.

One of the many pleasures of reading Richard King’s On Offence is it allows you to sift the old from the new. It appears to be an attack on political correctness. But King, an Australian author, who deserves to be better read here, is from the Left and understands that the great issues of any time are as likely to be fought out within the Left and the Right as between the Left and the Right.

This account he quotes of the failure of identity politics from George Kateb of Princeton University illustrates how hopeless traditional labels are.

"If a person thinks of himself or herself as first a member of a group, that person has defined identity as affiliation, and not as first being oneself. To…welcome docility, is to to endorse the thought that one’s possibilities are exhausted, perhaps from birth, and that one cannot change or be changed."

All true. As I have often observed, the supposed leftists who lump people together as ‘the blacks’ and ‘the Muslims’ go along with a denial of personal choice and individual autonomy they would never accept if others treated them as mere atoms in the homogenous lump of ‘the whites’. The BBC proved my point when it asked in apparent seriousness ‘Who speaks for Muslims?’ It would never ask, ‘Who speaks for whites?’ because it assumes that whites can speak for themselves.

Although they pretend otherwise, today’s right-wingers are just as crude and lachrymose. They subsume their individuality in a nostalgic patriotism, and respond to criticism by claiming that they are the victims of discrimination and prejudice as well. They are also as likely as the post-1968 left to claim that they are fighting ‘the elite’ – although this time the enemy is the ‘liberal’/ ‘cultural Marxist’ elite.

In the Observer recently I noted how British conservatives aped liberals by claiming to be the innocent victims – in their case of a ‘war on the motorist’, a campaign of state persecution against innocent drivers.

‘They did not stop to consider the mewling vacuity of their self-pitying slogan. Conservatives complain about others playing the victim card but, without a blush of shame, talk about ‘the motorist’ as if he were a victim of Bashar al-Assad and imagine a ‘war’ in which the enemy is a child who runs into a street. They follow that dismal reasoning by transferring the generalisations of identity politics to road safety. It never occurs to them that there is no such thing as ‘the motorist’: the man or woman who only drives. Everyone walks. And, unless they’re on the fells, everyone crosses roads.’

Indeed, in the 20th century, the right was more likely than the left to verge towards hysteria. You might think that the, always false, stories about public authorities abolishing Christmas are new. Not so. In the 1920s Henry Ford declared Christmas under attack from diabolically powerful Jews, who stopped images of the infant Christ appearing on Christmas cards. In the 1950s the far-right John Birch Society warned of an ‘assault on Christmas’ carried out by ‘UN fanatics…What they now want to put over on the American people is simply this: Department stores throughout the country are to utilize UN symbols and emblems as Christmas decorations.’

What distinguishes our times is the fanaticism about the power language. Starting on the post-1968 left and moving rightwards ever since, is a belief that slips in language reveal your opponent’s hidden meanings and unquestioned assumptions. The wised-up need only decode, and everyone will see the oppressiveness of the elite. A few weeks ago the middle-class left in Britain hugged itself with delight when the Conservative Party issued an advert which announced that it was ‘Cutting the Bingo Tax & Beer Duty to help hardworking people do more of the things they enjoy.’

Once political tacticians would have said it was mad for an opposition to repeat incessantly that a government was cutting tax. But the British left republished the ad thousands of times. It thought the right had damned itself by saying it wanted to help to help ‘hardworking people do more of the things they enjoy’. You see the Conservatives had said ‘they’ rather than ‘we’, and to the left’s mind that slip of a pronoun revealed a whole worldview. Conservatives were patronising the working class. And by saying ‘they enjoy’ Tories revealed that they were not working class themselves – as if anyone had ever thought Conservative leaders were.

In our world, a word or phrase defines everything about an individual. We have just seen the CEO of a Web company resign because he had once given money to a campaign against gay marriage. Even though his views on gay marriage had nothing to do with his professional duties, he had to go because his enemies insisted that his one belief polluted everything else about him.

The second distinguishing feature of our times is governments’ willingness to use the law against ‘hate speech’. I have rehearsed arguments against the sinister trend to take criminal sanctions beyond prohibitions against incitement to violence many times, and was therefore to delighted to find King supply a new one.

Words can of course hurt more than blows, he says. But that does not mean that psychic wounds are the same as real wounds. If I deliver a blow, the broken bones can be seen; the damage measured. If I incite violence, the court can again measure the consequences. The same applies if I steal money. But if I deliver insults, one target may be delighted to have provoked me, another may not care what I say, a third may be offended. In other words, governments are asking the law to assess the psychological states of insulted parties, and introducing a vast element of subjectivity into a legal process where it has no place.

The best case against our snarling willingness to ban was put by Tom Paine 200-years ago, when he emphasised how censorship demeans the censor as much as the censored. In the introduction to his Age of Reason, whose freethinking scandalised Christian America, he said in words worth learning by heart.


I PUT the following work under your protection. It contains my opinions upon Religion. You will do me the justice to remember, that I have always strenuously supported the Right of every Man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.’


No Oprah, I’ve Never Owned A Slave…

I’m a fifty-year-old white male who has served my country. Am I supposed to feel guilty? I’ve never considered myself a racist. I have many Black, Asian, and Hispanic friends. I’ve served alongside these people in the military and consider them colleagues and patriots. However, I can’t help but think Am I one of the people Oprah wants to die before racism no longer exists in America? How much money does Oprah have again? The generation that built the Jim Crow South has mostly passed away. The generation laced with white guilt is thriving.

The constant stream of race baiting, and the use of race as a weapon in the leftist media, is getting old. I’m not stupid; I realize there are always going to be a small contingent of white supremacists in America, just as there are with any racial group in this country. However, it is the extreme left as a group that is racist and is fomenting racial division every day in the media, and in our schools and universities. The white racists are safely ensconced in their trailer parks; they are not in positions of power. White people today as a group are not trying to hold blacks and other minorities back. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: they would like nothing more than to see other races working and living beside them united in success and building a better America. Speaking as a white male, it seems that blacks and minorities want to bring down whites, not build the country up together. Racism can work both ways.

Here is the simple truth of America. You don’t get ahead and build up the country by blaming others for your problems and trying to bring them down. You build yourself up, and your neighbor, by keeping your head down and working hard. I heard Al Sharpton the other day complain that Rand Paul was talking about civil rights. One race does not have a monopoly on that term or the concept. All you have to do is turn on MSNBC to hear how everything is the white man’s fault. When are we going to see the left and minority communities face up to the fact that most of their current predicament is of their own creation? Their refusal to embrace self reliance and responsibility is the root cause of the success gap between blacks and whites in America. There it is; I said it. And it needs to be repeated over and over again.

I hear the left talk about reparations for slavery. Guess what? There have been trillions of dollars transferred to minorities in America over the last several decades of the war on poverty and the Great Society. Reparations have already been paid. This liberal cause and experiment has been a devastating failure and caused the breakdown of minority families and destroyed communities. There are more people in so-called “poverty” than when the programs were started, food stamps and Obama phones notwithstanding. And what about the almost seven-hundred thousand mostly white men who died during the Civil War to end slavery? We have a black president for God’s sake! The problem is he has never missed a chance to foment racial division in America (nor has his attorney general.) Obama has not been the uniter that he campaigned on and promised he would become. On the contrary, he has been a divider; and his administration’s policies continue to be.

How on earth can you explain the fact that the first person arrested for the “knockout game” was white? How else can you explain the refusal to prosecute the New Black Panther case of voter intimidation? What about the refusal to enforce immigration law? The cry of racism has been turned into a club to beat the opposition when it points out the obscene failures and destructive agenda of liberal policy.

And here’s another newsflash. Today, a white country boy from the South faces more discrimination in New York City than a black woman feels in Atlanta, GA. We are all born with obstacles we have to overcome. I for one have felt guilty long enough. The left needs to look elsewhere for racists. Maybe they should look in the mirror. Hopefully, our next president will be a leader who can truly unite the disparate races in this country under a common cause of maintaining and improving our way of life.

Because at the end of the day, the simple truth is there is no white person alive today who has ever owned a slave.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


15 April, 2014

Why doesn't the media cover Jihad attacks against Mid East Christians

The United Nations, Western governments, media, universities, and talking heads everywhere insist that Palestinians are suffering tremendous abuses from the state of Israel. Conversely, the greatest human rights tragedy of our time—radical Muslim persecution of Christians, including in Palestinian controlled areas—is devotedly ignored.

The facts speak for themselves. Reliable estimates indicate that anywhere from 100-200 million Christians are persecuted every year; one Christian is martyred every five minutes. Approximately 85% of this persecution occurs in Muslim majority nations. In 1900, 20% of the Middle East was Christian. Today, less than 2% is.

In one week in Egypt alone, where my Christian family emigrated, the Muslim Brotherhood launched a kristallnacht—attacking, destroying, and/or torching some82 Christian churches (some of which were built in the 5thcentury, when Egypt was still a Christian-majority nation before the Islamic conquests). Al-Qaeda’s black flag has been raised atop churches. Christians—including priests, women and children—have been attacked, beheaded, and killed.

Nor is such persecution of Christians limited to Egypt. From Morocco in the west to Indonesia in the east and from Central Asia to the north to sub-Saharan Africa to the south; across thousands of miles of lands inhabited by peoples who do not share the same races, languages, cultures, and/or socio-economic conditions, millions of Christians are being persecuted and in the same exact patterns.

Muslim converts to Christianity and Christian evangelists are attacked, imprisoned, and sometimes beheaded; countless churches across the Islamic world are being banned or bombed; Christian women and children are being abducted, enslaved, raped, and/or forced to renounce their faith.

Far from helping these Christian victims, U.S. policies are actually exacerbating their sufferings. Whether in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, or Syria, and under the guise of the U.S.-supported “Arab Spring,” things have gotten dramatically worse for Christians. Indeed, during a recent U.S. congressional hearing, it was revealed that thousands of traumatized Syrian Christians—who, like Iraqi Christians before them are undergoing a mass exodus from their homeland—were asking “Why is America at war with us?”

The answer is that very few Americans have any clue concerning what is happening to their coreligionists.

Few mainstream media speak about the horrific persecution millions of people are experiencing simply because they wish to worship Christ in peace.

There, is of course, a very important reason why the mainstream media ignores radical Muslim persecution of Christians: if the full magnitude of this phenomenon was ever know, many cornerstones of the mainstream media—most prominent among them, that Israel is oppressive to Palestinians—would immediately crumble.

Why? Because radical Muslim persecution of Christians throws a wrench in the media’s otherwise well-oiled narrative that “radical-Muslim-violence-is-a-product-of-Muslim-grievance”—chief among them Israel.

Consider it this way: because the Jewish state is stronger than its Muslim neighbors, the media can easily portray Islamic terrorists as frustrated “underdogs” doing whatever they can to achieve “justice.” No matter how many rockets are shot into Tel Aviv by Hamas and Hezbollah, and no matter how anti-Israeli bloodlust is articulated in radical Islamic terms, the media will present such hostility as ironclad proof that Palestinians under Israel are so oppressed that they have no choice but to resort to terrorism.

However, if radical Muslims get a free pass when their violence is directed against those stronger than them, how does one rationalize away their violence when it is directed against those weaker than them—in this case, millions of indigenous Christians?

The media simply cannot portray radical Muslim persecution of Christians—which in essence and form amount to unprovoked pogroms—as a “land dispute” or a product of “grievance” (if anything, it is the ostracized and persecuted Christian minorities who should have grievances). And because the media cannot articulate radical Islamic attacks on Christians through the “grievance” paradigm that works so well in explaining the Arab-Israeli conflict, their main recourse is not to report on them at all.

In short, Christian persecution is the clearest reflection of radical Islamic supremacism. Vastly outnumbered and politically marginalized Christians simply wish to worship in peace, and yet still are they hounded and attacked, their churches burned and destroyed, their women and children enslaved and raped. These Christians are often identical to their Muslim co-citizens, in race, ethnicity, national identity, culture, and language; there is no political dispute, no land dispute.

The only problem is that they are Christian and so, Islamists believe according to their scriptural exegesis, must be subjugated.

If mainstream media were to report honestly on Christian persecution at the hands of radical Islamists so many bedrocks of the leftist narrative currently dominating political discourse would crumble, first and foremost, the idea that radical Islamic intolerance is a product of “grievances,” and that Israel is responsible for all Jihadist terrorism against it.


Israel’s Identity as Jewish State at Heart of Mideast Conflict

Ah, the devious Benjamin Netanyahu! Just when we are on the cusp of a breakthrough in Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations, Israel’s slippery prime minister introduces a potential deal-breaker, in the form of insisting that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

That, in essence, is the narrative that has emerged over the past fortnight, as shaped by the tiresome pundits who spend their days forensically examining Netanyahu’s statements and actions. Writing in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Hussein Ibish, a faux moderate working for the American Task Force on Palestine, described the “Jewish state” negotiating theme as a “new demand” deliberately engineered to undermine what he termed “the greatest of Palestinian concessions, their 1993 recognition of the State of Israel.” Also in Haaretz, Peter Beinart, a professional Jewish critic of Israel, opined— without offering a scintilla of evidence—that what Netanyahu really wants is a Jewish state that rides roughshod over its non-Jewish minorities, so as to ensure that “Jewish political power trumps pretty much everything else.”

Ibish, Beinart, and their co-thinkers have made much of their dubious claim that Israel has never defined what a Jewish state means. For Ibish, the problem is that the Jewish state demand “suggests a trans-historical claim to this land on behalf of an entire but undefined ethno-religious group the world over”—this typically dense and obfuscatory language is Ibish’s way of arguing that he rejects Zionism. As for Beinart, the type of Jewish state he believes Netanyahu wants—one that will use any means to entrench its Jewish majority, and which regards democratic norms as an irritant—isn’t worth endorsing in the first place. In this, Ibish faithfully echoes Beinart, asserting that the PLO will never endorse a formula that cements “the restrictions Palestinian citizens of Israel now face.” (This, by the way, is the same logic that underpins Vladimir Putin’s declaration that he invaded Crimea to secure the rights of vulnerable Russian citizens facing vengeful Ukrainian nationalists.)

Once you cast aside these caricatures, though, two facts become clear.

Firstly, the demand for recognition of Israel’s status as a Jewish state is hardly new. The Israeli archivist Yaacov Lozowick has revealed that, within the context of negotiations with the Palestinians, the demand emerged as early as 2001, a few months into the second Palestinian intifada, articulated by a group of Israeli leftists, no less. Wrote Lozowick: “The Palestinians were willing to join in stating that there should be two independent states alongside one another, but the Israelis, alerted by the fiascos of Camp David and Taba to a nuance they had previously overlooked, demanded that the statement clearly say that Israel would be a Jewish state and Palestine an Arab one. The Palestinians refused. Jews, they said, are a religion, not a nationality, and neither need nor deserve their own state. They were welcome to live in Israel, but the Palestinian refugees would come back, and perhaps she would cease to be a Jewish state.”

This brings us to the second fact: rather than being an afterthought designed to derail negotiations, the Jewish state demand gets to the heart of this conflict. The Palestinians and the Arab states have never conceded that there is a legitimate connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel that is expressed through the reality of self-determination. Hence, a world of difference separates the moral recognition of Jewish national legitimacy from the tactical recognition, in 1993, of Israel as a state.

As Lozowick documented, and as Ibish implicitly acknowledged in his article, the Palestinians reject the idea of the Jews as a nation wholesale, whether that’s through the theological baggage of Islam, which recognizes the Jews only as a subordinate religious group, or the ostensibly secular reasoning of Ibish, which faithfully reflects the reactionary nineteenth century conception of the Jews as an unnatural, “non-organic” people whose claim to self-determination is necessarily based upon historical falsehoods.

And what is it, precisely, that is being rejected here? If you comb through the archive of Zionist writings, you will find that there are many definitions of what a Jewish state means. In my view, the most succinct and modest definition was coined by Leo Pinsker, a Russian Zionist who founded the group “Hovevei Zion,” or “Lovers of Zion.” In 1882, almost two decades before the first Zionist Congress, Pinker wrote a tract entitled “Autoemancipation” in which he pleaded, “Grant us but our independence, allow us to take care of ourselves, give us but a little strip of land like that of the Serbians and Romanians, give us a chance to lead a national existence.”

It is this Jewish desire to lead a normal national existence, like the “Serbians and Romanians,” that underpins both Zionism as an ideology and Israel as a Jewish state. In rejecting the Jewish ambition to be a nation like other nations, Israel’s opponents distort the debate by insinuating that the Jews—who aren’t really a proper nation anyway—want special treatment, even if that means trampling on the rights of the true indigents, the Palestinian Arabs.

For more than a century, Zionists have been countering these slanders. It looks like we will continue doing so for some time yet. And still they ask why there is no peace!


Islam, 'honor' violence, and the silence of the progressives

by Jeff Jacoby

"HONOR DIARIES" might not be coming to a theater near you, at least not if CAIR gets its way. The award-winning documentary about "honor" violence against girls and women in much of the Muslim world was released last month in honor of International Women's Day, and it didn't take long for the Council on American Islamic Relations to slap its all-purpose "Islamophobic!" label on it. The film has been shown in dozens of venues, but CAIR has raised enough of a stink to get screenings cancelled on several college campuses, including the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois.

CAIR — a front group for Islamist extremism that masquerades as a civil rights organization (its first executive director, Nihad Awad, was an open supporter of Hamas) — is good at raising stinks. Last week Brandeis University caved in to demands that it rescind its offer of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a heroic defender of women's rights in the Islamic world. With a life story that reads like a screenplay, Ali has personally experienced many of the evils she fights, including genital mutilation, forced marriage, and savage "honor" crimes. Her remarkable accomplishments should easily merit the honor of any university that upholds reason and intellectual diversity. But Brandeis apparently has different priorities now, like giving CAIR and the Islamophobia-phobes a veto over honorary degrees.

Ali was involved in making "Honor Diaries," which goes out of its way to convey respect for moderate Islam. It spotlights nine eloquent women with roots in the Islamic world, several of whom are devout Muslims — "Islam is my spiritual journey," says one — and all of whom are passionate about exposing the terrible abuses women and girls in many Muslim cultures suffer in the name of family honor. None thinks such horrors should be excused or neglected out of a misplaced cultural sensitivity or political correctness.

But it happens routinely. People prepared to label opposition to employer-paid contraceptives a "war on women" are generally much less willing to channel their outrage at the savagery of honor killings or child marriages in non-Western societies. "They fear treading on cultural toes," says Jasvinder Sanghera, one of the film's featured advocates. "We're constantly having to remind them that cultural acceptance does not mean accepting the unacceptable."

For Sanghera, who fled a forced marriage as a young teen, this is no abstract theory. She is haunted by the memory of her sister, Ravina, who committed suicide rather than "dishonor" her family by leaving the husband she was forced to marry. Also highlighted in the film is Raquel Saraswati, who embraces Islam as a source of strength and peace in her life, yet feels "afraid all the time" of the backlash against those who challenge "honor-based" violence against women.

Efforts by CAIR and its ilk to squelch honest discussion of such grave human-rights issues — and to demonize as "haters" and "Islamophobes" those who do — encapsulate the very perversity "Honor Diaries" seeks to expose: valuing the honor of a community more than a woman's life or voice. But does CAIR's shrill protest reflect what average citizens in Muslim countries think of such a documentary? Or does the "Honor Diaries" Arabic Facebook page, with 95,000 "likes" — and climbing?

Why aren't more progressives passionate about these issues?

I put that question to Nazie Eftekhari, an immigrant from Iran and another of the women "Honor Diaries" focuses on. A successful Minnesota health-care entrepreneur, Eftekhari unhesitatingly describes herself as a "bleeding-heart liberal" and a longtime Democratic Party voter, loyalist, and fund-raiser. She is as mystified as I am.

"The biggest human-rights crisis of our generation is the treatment of women in Muslim-majority countries, and we've applied a gag order to ourselves," she replies with unmistakable distress. "We won't talk about it. Where are my fellow liberals? Where are the feminists?"

In theocratic Iran today, Eftekhari says, the legal age of marriage for girls has been lowered to 9. Men can now marry their adopted daughters. "How can President Obama, who has two young daughters, not be making a huge issue of this?" she wants to know. "It's not marriage, it's statutory rape."

Eftekhari can't understand why so many progressive voices fall silent on an issue she thinks they should be raising the loudest. And she has only contempt for anyone who thinks it progressive to snub those — like Ayaan Hirsi Ali — who so bravely speak out: "Ali needs no degree or honor from Brandeis; she is a guiding light for the women who respect and honor her. But where will Brandeis go to get its respect and honor back?"


The Politics of Personal Distraction

Even Leftist intellectuals can't argue

If you’ve ever engaged in a debate with a progressive, you know first-hand the definition of futility. After a few minutes, they run out of whatever talking points they just read in Mother Jones or Salon, and out come the names. It used to take longer – there were even reported cases of debates reaching double-digits in minutes before the expletives and personal attacks began.

Cries of racism/sexism/homophobia used to be where Democrats ended up in a debate. Now, it’s where they start. What once was simply the last arrow in their quiver has turned into their favorite.

Now, the name-calling is the only arrow they use. It’s not by accident. After five and a half years of a Democratic president and liberal policies, the country is much worse off than before. Recessions come and go – it’s a fact of economics. They stick around only when government acts as if it can “fix” them. As we approach our fifth “Recovery Summer,” the economy is deeper into that ditch the president spoke of back in 2010. Democrats point to the stock market as proof of economic success but decry income inequality and systematically block Americans from investing a tiny portion of their Social Security in it to get their families a taste.

They care too much to set you free.

The failed progressive economic policies are but the tip of an iceberg of disaster, scandals and lies from which Democrats need people distracted if they are to have any hope of holding on to the Senate this fall. The media wants to play along and aid its fellow travelers, but reporters do have a job to do and time and column inches to fill, so a bone must be thrown.

Enter the “isms.”

In an act that should be classified as satire, Attorney General Eric Holder spoke this week to the National Action Network and claimed Republicans are subjecting him and the president to unprecedented mistreatment because they’re black. NAN is the shakedown wing of Al Sharpton’s empire. Sharpton is the preeminent race-baiter in the world today, with ruined lives, riots and a body count left in his wake. Once rightly a pariah for his hatred and corruption, the former FBI informant and MSNBC host’s annual conference is now such an important part of the progressive’s marketing strategy that it not only warranted a visit from the AG, but from the president himself.

Holder nailed himself to the victimhood cross in front of an audience assembled by a man who works in false charges of racism the way Michelangelo worked in marble. This wasn’t by accident.

The media ran with Holder’s lie without reporting on what precipitated it – his “abuse” at the hands of Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, the day before during a congressional hearing. Gohmert wants documents from the Justice Department so Congress can perform the oversight duty it used to do, and Holder is refusing. Considering Holder is currently in contempt of Congress for withholding other documents, there’s no reason to believe he’ll ever comply.

But the stories about Holder’s remarks to NAN didn’t bother delving into why he had his confrontation with Gohmert. They simply ignored that aspect of the exchange. Salon, in a particularly mindless piece of milk-bone journalism (which is saying something) claimed Holder went “off-script” with his victimhood claim. (I won’t link to it because why should I give them clicks they earn money from?) But Holder didn’t go off-script. Crying racism is the script – it is all they have left. That they make it and other cries of victimhood to people who truly have been victims of various “isms” in their lives illustrates just how despicable and desperate they are.

No philosophy has victimized, harmed, killed, imprisoned and ruined more lives than progressivism. It was born out of a sense of superiority – the thought that a few educated elites know better how other people should live their lives than those people themselves – and has used bullying, terror, murder, oppression and lies to advance it. Progressives bathed in Jim Crow and birth eugenics to breed “undesirable people” out of existence. Given there were more abortions of black babies in New York City than births in 2012, eugenics is alive and well, just simply rebranded.

But people aren’t taught the history or the present reality of the progressive philosophy. They know only what they hear in the media. Enter Hank Aaron.

Hank Aaron is a hero. He was one of the greatest baseball players ever, and still the home run king if you discount “juiced” round trippers. He went through an unimaginable Hell when he broke Babe Ruth’s record. Racists sent him death threats more disgusting than you can imagine, and he persevered. But he apparently didn’t learn from it.

This week Aaron compared Republican opposition to Obama’s agenda to the KKK.

What's amazing to me is how Aaron doesn't recognize that those Klansmen who were threatening his life were Democrats; the party of eugenics is the progressives. The message and methods have changed, but the objective hasn't. Slavery still exists, it's just now based on income rather than race. Government "largesse" is the new plantation and nearly half the people in the country live there, unaware they're stuck in Plato’s Cave.

Racism is alive and well today, and it lives where it was born – on the left. What's more racist than demanding a president, an attorney general, or anyone be treated differently, be deferred to, simply because of skin color? That's what they're arguing for, and that's the essence of racism. I'd believe Barack Obama and Eric Holder are the victims of racism if "A-hole" was a race. But it's not.

If progressives want to see racism, they need to find a reflective surface. While the media reports endlessly about an idiot Republican kissing a staffer, a Democrat representative in Illinois refers to a black conservative as "a half" black. She apologized "if she offended anyone," not for what she said or for being a disgusting human being. A Democrat in Alabama said Republicans would support abortion if their daughters got pregnant by a black man, then attacked interracial adoptive families. He hasn't apologized because he hasn't had to. He "votes right," so he can say disgusting things.

If you made this stuff up, you would me mocked as an absurdist. But if you truly believe it, if you believe in the superiority of the politician over the person, of the progressive agenda über alles, you get elected as a Democrat and/or a show on MSNBC.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


14 April, 2014

Multicultural computer fraud in Britain

The mastermind of a £2.5 million fraud has gone on the run, fleeing with his passport just days before he was due to be sentenced.

Maxwell Parsons, 48, was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud at a trial at Manchester Crown Court, and was convicted in his absence.

He was due to appear at the court for his sentencing, but is now being hunted by the police after he failed to show up.

Parsons was found to be the brains of a sophisticated fraud operation based in Greater Manchester, which cost the banking industry more than £2 million.

Despite being convicted of the conspiracy, he was considered low-risk enough to sit outside the dock throughout the four-week trial, as well as not having to surrender his passport.

Parsons is a self-taught computer fraudster, who found a way to manipulate banking systems so payments were automatically reversed - meaning money could be spent again and again.

Most of the transactions were carried out at bureau de changes in Greater Manchester, so purchased cash could be converted back into sterling.

Previously, Parsons was jailed for bugging cash machines using MP3 players to clone people's debit and credit card details.

An HM Courts and Tribunals Service spokeswoman confirmed Parsons had not been asked to hand over his passport as a part of his bail conditions.

Parsons goes by a number of aliases, and has already proved his skills in defrauding, so may prove hard for authorities to track down.

He faces up to 10 years in jail if he is brought back before a judge.

Parsons carried out the scam between December 2008 and June 2009, and at its peak, the scheme raked in £50,000-a-day before being stopped by Greater Manchester Police in 2010.

Three of Parsons' collaborators in the fraud, who are all from the Stockport and south Manchester areas, have previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud.

Takhliq Khaliq, 47, of Boddens Hill Road, Heaton Mersey, his brother Zaki Khaliq, 44, of Carwood Road, Bramhall, and Muhammed Khan, 43, of Alexandra Road South, Whalley Range, are set to be sentenced along with Parsons.

Sentencing has now been adjourned until May 9.


How to tame the BBC behemoth

Transferring non-news radio and TV production to the independent sector would save the BBC millions and possibly even the BBC itself

My favourite character in the spoof BBC documentary W1A, which ended last week, was Welsh manager Tracey Pritchard, whose catchphrase was, “I’m not being funny or anything…”. Before her boss went on Woman’s Hour to discuss sexism: “I’m not being funny or anything, Ian. But you’re a man. And I’m a woman. And this is very tricky territory.”

Useless executives, the obsession with new media, the weasel words of two-faced commissioning editors – all were skilfully cuffed. Surprisingly, though, I agreed with Tracey. The programme wasn’t being funny or anything. In fact, I was mildly angry. I’m not sure the BBC is a laughing matter. Not a cosy, in-house, pat-ourselves-on-the-back one, anyway. When our greatest cultural institution has become a vast, costly mess, is it not the stuff of drama? Tragedy, even?

The latest reminder came on Thursday. The Public Accounts Committee called the BBC’s Digital Media Initiative (DMI), which aimed for a YouTube-style “tapeless” environment, “a total failure”. It cost nearly £100 million of public money. This, after the £1 billion it cost to build New Broadcasting House, which is arguably not fit for purpose. Then there’s the manager issue.

Despite recent tinkering, there are still too many with unjustifiable salaries. James Purnell, the £295,000-a-year “Director of Strategy and Digital”, couldn’t have dreamt of earning that in his last job at a centre-Left think tank. This is an organisation whose leader, Lord Hall, did the right thing by getting rid of DMI, but who is so out of touch with the mainstream that he recently announced a flagship policy of greater links with high art, even though opera-loving Hampstead types are already super-served by the BBC. I could go on, but you get my drift: the BBC needs fundamental change. It is an ungovernable, dysfunctional behemoth.

David Dimbleby, Nick Ross and David Elstein have all talked recently of the need for reform, as have ex-BBC executives, aided no doubt by the added perspective that comes from sitting atop a mountain of BBC pension cash. The key item on the agenda is funding. There is, for the first time, a consensus coalescing around replacing the licence fee. The early front-runner to take its place is voluntary subscription. The appeal is obvious. It would make the BBC’s life easier as it would no longer have to please all of the people all of the time. But the logistics are tough. How do you stop non-subscribers listening to BBC radio? It is the broadcasting equivalent of reversing a vasectomy.

There is a cuter option, which would preserve the great things about the BBC and do away with most of the bad. Transfer all in-house radio and TV production – bar news and current affairs – to the independent sector. Keep only a skeleton staff of essential personnel. No “Heads of Television” or “Creative Directors”, just channel controllers, plus commissioners of drama and comedy and so on. Like ITV and C4, in fact. The independent sector would then make – and commercially exploit – the shows the BBC currently produces, such as EastEnders and Strictly. That would leave the BBC with its news operation – too important to be hived off to private interests, as it needs to retain its impartiality. News currently costs around £1 billion a year – although you could do the same job for less – which accounts for roughly one third of the licence fee.

The savings would be huge. Thousands of people would be off the wage bill. The good ones would be snapped up by the private sector. The BBC would still have to pay independents for its programmes but many would cost less at present as the private sector is more efficient and, if allowed to be, more imaginative at finding new sources of funding. It is not fanciful that the licence fee could then be trimmed by a quarter, to 99 quid. Failing that, a token cut of, say, £20. The licence fee would then be secure for a generation and the BBC’s editorial independence, the most important thing it has, would be preserved.

It’s a bit of a fudge: but fudge can be tasty. And this one would be both wealth-creating and crowd-pleasing. We need to decide quickly, though. Licence-fee negotiations take place in 2016. Just as well. Because – and I’m not being funny or anything – the BBC can’t carry on in its present form for much longer.


Church of England faces 'crisis’ as gay priest weds

It might have been simpler to stick to the Bible

A priest has become the first in Britain to defy the Church of England’s ban on gay clergy marrying. Canon Jeremy Pemberton, 58, a divorced hospital chaplain, wed his long-term partner Laurence Cunnington, 51, on Saturday afternoon.

Campaigners expressed delight that the couple had taken advantage of Britain’s newly-introduced gay marriage laws and urged bishops to “bless” their partnership. They predict he will be the first of many gay clergy to marry.

But a leading member of the Church’s conservative evangelical wing called for “discipline” of any clergy seen to be breaking the rules. He warned of a “crisis” if the leadership failed to take action.

Canon Pemberton, who has five children, is a chaplain at Lincoln hospital and also works in the Church’s Southwell and Nottingham diocese. In 2012 he was a signatory to a letter to The Telegraph from dozens of clergy warning that if the Church refused to permit gay weddings in its own churches they would advise members of their congregations to marry elsewhere.

Earlier this year an acrimonious row broke out within the Church after the House of Bishops decided to ban gay clergy from marrying when same-sex marriage became legal last month. The decision, which means that anyone defying the ban could face lengthy disciplinary measures, was welcomed by traditionalists but infuriated liberals and campaigners for gay rights.

Although the Church of England formally objected to the introduction of gay marriage and has opted out of performing the ceremonies, there have been growing signs of a more relaxed stance on homosexuality. Bishops agreed that gay couples who get married will be able to ask for special prayers after the ceremony.

However, on Saturday night the Rev Preb Rod Thomas, chairman of the Reform evangelical group, said: “There’s no doubt that there is pressure within some parts of the church for the Church to change its mind on sexuality.

“If there is not clear discipline then it is the equivalent to saying 'we really didn’t mean what we said.’ It will precipitate a crisis.”

He warned that traditionalists “who stick by the biblical understanding” of marriage would be unable to accept a “messy compromise”, potentially leading to a situation similar to in the US where a traditionalist splinter Church has emerged from the liberal Episcopal Church.

However, the Rev Colin Coward, a friend of Canon Pemberton’s and director of the Changing Attitude campaign group, of which he is a former trustee, said: “I’m really, really happy for Jeremy and his partner that they are finally able to get married after a long time of being together as a couple.

“I hope the bishops find a way to affirm and bless their relationship rather than taking action against them.”

Dr Giles Fraser, the former canon chancellor of St Paul’s, also congratulated the couple.

The Bishop of Lincoln, the Rt Rev Christopher Lowson, said: “I am aware that a member of the clergy who works in the Diocese of Lincoln has married a partner of the same sex. The priest concerned wrote to me in advance to explain his intention and we had a subsequent meeting in which I explained the guidelines of the House of Bishops.”


Jewish mayor the secret weapon of French far-Right

Fréjus, a touristic Riviera town, has become the latest bastion of the Front National

Fréjus is a quiet Riviera town with Roman ruins in its centre, a port full of yachts, and a tourist-friendly sea front with restaurants and ice cream shops. With low crime and immigration rates, and joblessness only slightly higher than the national average, there seems little obvious need for radical change.

Yet in his office former papal palace, David Rachline, the smooth-talking 26-year old new mayor, is promising just that under the banner of Marine Le Pen's "detoxified" and "non-racist" far-Right Front National.

Two weeks ago, Fréjus, population 54,000, voted massively in favour of Mr Rachline, handing him 46 per cent of the vote in a three-way run-off with two rival Right-wingers.

It places the young "Frontiste" in charge of the biggest town of 11 towns won by the FN in its best-ever performance in municipal elections, in which the ruling Socialists of President François Hollande suffered major losses.

Symbolically, it is a huge responsibility. After a disastrous attempt at running a handful of towns in the 1990s - including nearby Toulon - ended in corruption convictions and financial ruin, the FN knows it cannot put a foot wrong in its new bastions if it wants to be seen as anything more than a protest party.

With Fréjus the spearhead of that credibility campaign, all eyes are on Mr Rachline. Dubbed "baby Le Pen par excellence" by the party leader, Mr Rachline is a poster child for the newlook FN, whose bid to become a "serious", "respectable" party has seen more than a third of French people say they have no problem with its ideas of national preference, a return to the franc and zero immigration.

"These municipal victories are a chance to show that an alternative is possible, that there is something else other than sterile swapping between Left and Right, who peddle the same ideas, apply the same policies and fail in the same way," he told The Telegraph. "The French are aware of this and want something different."

Like all the towns where the FN topped the polls in municipal elections, Mr Rachline has been helped by the fact that Fréjus is a political basket case.

The municipality has amassed around €150m (£124m) of debt, making it the fifth most indebted town of this size in France. Its outgoing centre-right mayor, Elie Brun, was last year found guilty of favoritism for awarding the rights to a private beach to a member of his family.

The town's previous political godfather - the former defence minister, François Léotard - was also convicted of corruption.

Nonetheless, the Front is leaving nothing to chance, drafting in Philippe Lottiau, a graduate of ENA, France's top school for civil servants, and who ran for mayor in Avignon, as Mr Rachline's chief aide.

His first decision as mayor was to order two audits on the state of the town's finances and to announce he would not be replacing all retiring municipal staff.

With his focus on service delivery and planning issues, he epitomises the FN's efforts to forge a new, technocratic image, glossing over the more menacing sides of FN ideology while failing to reject them outright. He is, however, no newcomer to the party himself.

A spiritual son of Jean-Marie Le Pen, he joined the party at 15 years old, going on to become national head of the FN youth movement. Arguably the most odd aspect of his political CV, though, is that he himself is half-Jewish.

Given that Jean-Marie Le Pen famously dismissed the Nazi gas chambers as a "detail" of history, was it not an unusual choice of party?

"Le Pen is a big boy and can say what he likes, it's a controversy that doesn't interest me," he said. "It was before my time, and is not what I retain from Mr Le Pen's career. This intellectual terrorism must stop. I'm here to talk about urban planning for Fréjus, the problem of unemployment, insecurity, not sterile rows dating back 30 years."

True to those words, his campaign mainly revolved around promises to end cronyism and debt, redynamise the city centre and create extra parking spaces, a nightclub, and a business centre. He did, however, question plans to build a mosque, which he claimed would be big enough to house 2,000 people and might have a minaret.

So how has he gone down with voters?

In the streets of the old town, the talk is of relief at getting rid of the previous mayor, who Mr Rachline accused of bringing the city to its knees financially by awarding public works contracts to the same companies. Since his election, Mr Rachline said he had already discovered "ghost" town hall jobs and opaque book keeping.

One shopkeer, who declined to be named, said: "People decided to vote for Rachline above all because they didn't want the old mayor and his cronies – it's a vote of rejection, not adherence."

"I don't agree, said his colleague. "I think that the mosque issue was a big thorn in the side of the former mayor. Nobody is racist supposedly but nobody wants such a building near their villa."

"I get many customers –particularly old ones from surrounding residential areas - saying they don't want to come in anymore because there are too many Arabs. These people have done nothing wrong, but that's what I hear."

Surprisingly, in La Gabelle, the town's only housing estate populated almost exclusively by locals of North African origin and the site of the planned mosque, there was no alarm.

"It's not a racist vote, it's an alternative. People want change. I'm not worried at all," said Cherif Hamlaoui, a textile trader. "As for talk of the mosque, he took this line to secure the 12 per cent of pure FN supporters who are philistines. That's politics."

"As for the rest, he wants to dynamise the town, pay Fréjus's debt. He may be 26, but he's competent. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt."

"Not only that, Fréjus is under the national microscope, his every action will be scrutinised – whether it be corruption, racism."

Brahim Afkir, 38, who runs a pizzera at the entrance to La Gabelle, added: "If Rachline can adapt to create a calm, serene climate of exchange, why not? I'm prepared to judge the man rather than his political label."

Talk of "national preference" and other planks of FN ideology are nowhere to be seen in Mr Rachline's moderate discourse, and for good reason, according to Sylvain Crépon, an FN specialist.

"FN mayors will not try and apply national policies at local level so as not to court ideological scandal," he said. "They just want to raise their legimitacy as managers, to reduce the deficit in towns where it is high. They will if anything try and keep a low profile and leave the task of relaying FN ideas to far-Right municipal councillors."

After municipal success, the FN now has its sights firmly fixed on May's European elections. One poll out this week suggested that the far-Right will come first on 24 per cent, ahead of the UMP, on 23 per cent, and the Socialists and their allies, on 21 per cent.

"The EU elections are going to be absolutely fundamental for France and for Europe, because the bankruptcy of EU countries is mainly due to the catastrophic politics of Brussels – globalisation, unfair competition, the total absence of protectionism of borders, immigration," said Mr Rachline.

"In all areas, the EU is imposing its choices on France without any real democratic legitimacy – I see this is an issue for UKIP and others. Looking at the polls, we're on course to do very well.

"Now if you'll excuse me, I have a town to run."



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


13 April, 2014

Good God, does Britain still have a Minister for Women? What is this, the 1950s?

Surely we don’t still have a “Minister for Women” in 2014? Maria Miller has resigned and part of her role (“Minister for Women and Equalities”) has just been handed to Nicky Morgan MP. How disappointing. Cameron should have been brave enough to do away with it altogether.

Morgan is, as many are pointing out, opposed to gay marriage (only a fan of straight women, then?) and anti-abortion (unlike the vast majority of women in this country). But let’s be honest here, it doesn’t really matter what her views are, because “Minister for Women” isn’t a real role, is it?

Maria Miller certainly didn’t do much with it. But, and I know I’m going against the grain here, I don’t think it’s really her fault. “Minister for Women” is a token role – a Minister for Low Government Priorities to be palmed off on female (we’re very pro-female here!) ministers, with the actual effect of making them look fluffier and less powerful.

The Government is not serious about women. What it is serious about is making a fuss over being seen to be pro-women.

There’s a great anecdote in a recent sketch by Michael Deacon which sums it up.

"The first time I attended one of Mr Cameron’s Q&As, a woman complained to me that he only seemed interested in taking questions from men. I mentioned this in my sketch. Ever since, Mr Cameron has not only made an effort to take questions from women, but made sure everyone notices he’s making an effort to take questions from women.

He scanned the room keenly. “We need some – ah!” he said. “Here we are!” A woman had raised her hand.

Another small but crucial victory in the war on condescension."

Of course this is the opposite of helpful. When it is constantly implied that your USP is simply “being a woman”, nasty things happen. You might, for example, view your female juniors as threats and set about squashing them.

Anxious for your position, you might stand on boards of feminist organisations and preach the importance of “reaching out” to women, while penalising your female employees for wanting to work part time.

And then there is the clumsy promotion of young women into visible roles they are clearly not ready for. Remember the director of the government coding initiative who couldn’t code?

Minister for Women may have been a small step forward in the Fifties, but it’s a giant leap back in 2014. Come on, Cameron: ditch it.



The Meltdown of the Obama Genderhawks

I have created a new species designation for the female Democrats who play hypocritical gender politics on behalf of Barack Obama. They're genderhawks.

You remember the term "chickenhawk," don't you? During the Bush years, anti-war activists and journalists hurled the ad hominem epithet at anyone who supported military action against our enemies but hadn't personally served.

I say let's give 'em a dose of their own tactical medicine.

Genderhawks are feminist chickenhawks. They demand "equal pay" for women, practice militant identity politics based on chromosomes and purport to wage an all-out government war on gender inequity. Yet, they personally refuse to hold themselves and their lousy male bosses accountable for their own gender-based failures and delinquencies.

Meet genderhawk Jennifer Palmieri. The Clinton administration veteran faithfully defended a lecherous philanderer-in-chief against what his sexist operatives called "bimbo eruptions." Then she served as spokeswoman for adulterous crapweasel John Edwards. Now, she is Obama's communications flack and chief social media gender warrior. On Tuesday, which Team Obama and its feminist pals dubbed "Equal Pay Day," Palmieri took to Twitter to call out the sexist White House press corps:

"Love all these guys, but note that 6 of 7 news orgs in front row sent men to ask @presssec abt the problem of gender pay inequity," Palmieri tweeted.

Oooh. Get it? Palmieri was womansplaining, gender-shaming and upside-the-head-smacking the mainstream media for sending tone-deaf men to ask about women's issues. She really zapped and zinged 'em, didn't she?!

Well, only in her Beltway bubble-wrapped head.

Palmieri humiliated just one person: herself. In her faux-minist fog, she forgot that her own boss, the president, is a man . His vice president is a man . Their labor secretary is a man . In fact, 12 of 15 Obama cabinent members are dastardly men. And White House press secretary Jay Carney, sent by her male managers to answer questions about gender equity from the men Palmieri deemed insufficiently sensitive to women's issues, is a man.

Thankfully, sane journalists of both genders pushed back against Palmieri's identity politics run amok. Fox News reporter Ed Henry fired back: "WH sent man to podium, right?" Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Salena Zito retorted: "In your line of (thought) Jennifer, a woman should have taken the question for the White House not a man." National Review's Charles W. Cooke quizzed: "Would the answers have been different if the questions had been asked by women?"

Forced to respond, Palmieri grudgingly acknowledged that the press secretary carries XY chromosomes, but she rationalized that he's a man "who advocates for policies to reduce gender pay inequality and appreciates seriousness of problem." See, gals? Jay Carney feels your pain — unlike those chauvinist pigs in the press corps asking pesky questions about bogus White House wage inequity stats! See, guys? If you pay lip service to caring, you can be honorary genderhawks, too.

Obama and his femme-a-gogue flock aren't fooling anyone. It's not just evil men and right-wingers raising questions about the Democrats' Equal Pay Day theater. Reporters bombarded Carney about a new American Enterprise Institute study that found that the salary for the median female White House staffer is 12 percent lower than for a male staffer. Carney meekly replied that at least the White House pay gap is not as bad as the national average.

Both the left-wing Daily Beast and the free-market Wall Street Journal opinion pages debunked the "77 cents on a dollar" myth, which inflates the gender gap by failing to account for education, occupation and marital status. When challenged on the White House promotion of junk science, Carney sneered at a Reuters reporter that he "would expect something a little more precise."

While Palmieri runs interference for Carney and Obama, the cloud of sexism charges hanging over the White House hasn't gone away. It's liberal media outlets including The New York Times and Time magazine that have noted the "boys' club" climate at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, epitomized by the glaring absence of women in featured Oval Office photos of Obama's meetings with senior advisers. (Well, except for that one photo that showed a sliver of Valerie Jarrett's leg.)

And it was a top female aide, Anita Dunn, who very precisely told author Ron Suskind on tape that the Obama White House "actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women."

Meanwhile, Obama genderhawk Jennifer Palmieri thinks squawking about male reporters is the way to achieve feminist social justice. Whatever we're paying this unhinged, selective, man-hating lady is way too much.


Nigel Evans case: The police and British prosecutors have to stop dragging innocent people through the dirt

The police have done it again. They’ve tried, and failed, to nail a senior politician.

Yesterday, Nigel Evans was acquitted of a shopping list of sexual offences brought to court by Lancashire Police and the CPS. The former deputy speaker was charged with 10 separate offences, including rape, sexual assault and indecent assault.

It took a jury at Preston Crown Court precisely four and a half hours to throw out every one of those charges. On average they were forced to deliberate for just 27 minutes over each “offence”.

I’m amazed it even took them that long. It’s difficult to imagine a more blatant and disgraceful abuse of the British legal system than the one Nigel Evans has just been subjected to.

I have no formal legal training. But it seems to me that any criminal prosecution requires two things: a perpetrator and a victim.

When the case comes to court, it then follows a simple process. The perpetrator protests their innocence, and the victim attests to their guilt. Or, if the victim is unable to do so, other witnesses attest to the defendant’s guilt on their behalf.

All the while this process is underpinned by a set of basic rules. They are known as the law. It’s therefore quite important that all those involved in the case – the prosecution, the defence, the judge, the police, the Crown Prosecution Service – actually know what the law is.

For some reason, when it came to the Nigel Evans case, the police and Crown Prosecution Service decided to take these basic principles of justice, rip them up, and scatter them to the winds.

Lets take that first important concept, the victim. As the case unfolded, it became clear that there were problems with the prosecution's case. Quite a fundamental problem, actually. Three of the alleged “victims” said that they weren’t victims at all.

The first described the supposed crime against him as “a big joke”. When asked by Nigel Evans’s barrister if he’d believed the incident might end up in court, he replied, “Never in a million years”. When the second “victim” was interviewed by the police, he said: “I do not wish Mr Evans to be charged as a result of what happened to me. I have absolutely no intention of making a complaint to the police and I am making this statement as a witness and not as a victim seeking justice.” The third “victim” told the police, “I do not wish to pursue any kind of complaint against Nigel because I do not believe he has committed any offences.”

Given the insistence by the “victims” that they weren’t actually victims, the police then proceeded do to what any sensible investigative body would do in these circumstances. They tried to find witnesses who could convince a jury that those “victims” were wrong.

One of them was Tory MP Conor Burns. He had been present at one of the alleged incidents, but could barely recollect what, if anything, had happened, and said he didn’t feel that he could provide a meaningful statement. At which point he was told he would be forced to attend court and treated as a “reluctant” witness.

The police presented their evidence to the crown prosecution service. Given the absence of victims – and the absence of independent witnesses – the CPS came to the only sensible conclusion that could be reached. They decided to prosecute.

At which point, not surprisingly, the case fell apart. Victim after victim stood up and said that they weren’t a victim. Witness after witness stood up and said they hadn’t witnessed anything. Almost all of them attested to Nigel Evans's good character. This farce reached its nadir when the judge was forced to step in and explain to the prosecution that one charge they had filed was not actually an offence in law, given the evidence they had presented.

By the end there was one complainant who alleged that he had been raped. But his allegations quickly crumbled under cross-examination. As the prosecution always suspected they would, hence their desperate attempts to “bundle together” a string of other “offences” to bolster their case.

As Lancashire Police stood amid the smouldering ruins of their investigation following Nigel Evans's acquittal, they issued a statement in mitigation. It said: “Lancashire Constabulary remains committed to investigating allegations of this nature, no matter how historic, and no matter what the role, position and status of the alleged offender.”

That statement was false. Lancashire Constabulary did not treat the allegations against Nigel Evans as if they would any other case. As Evans's solicitor, Daniel Berk, explained: “I have dealt with cases involving allegations of rape and sexual assault before. Normally there would be a couple of detective constables investigating it and perhaps a middle-ranking barrister prosecuting. In this case there was a large police team. It came out in evidence that the police had gone out of their way to find complaints – two of which dated back 10 years and both of whom said in evidence that they were somewhat surprised to find themselves in court. They also instructed senior Treasury counsel – a QC – which, again, would not be typical in a case like this.”

The unusual zeal with which the police pursued Nigel Evans was underlined by an additional – and staggering – statement made by Detective Superintendent Ian Critchley following the verdicts. “[The] personal impact on an individual and their families of sexual abuse, as we know, is significa,nt” he said. “It cannot have been easy for those that have done so to provide evidence to the investigation and court proceedings. We have recognised and considered the views and needs of the victims throughout this case, while ensuring we provide support to them and the witnesses through what has no doubt been a very difficult and challenging ordeal.”

But no one in this case had been subjected to sexual abuse. There were no victims. That had just been conclusively proved in a court of law. By the time Lancashire Constabulary’s formal statement appeared on the forces website, the word “victim” had been changed to “complainants”. Even though, as we’ve seen, almost all of the “complainants” weren’t complainants at all.

This morning the Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders appeared on the Today programme to defend the handling of the case. She said the CPS basically worked on a 50 per cent evidential threshold, which needed to indicate any prosecution would have a “realistic prospect of conviction”. On what basis can anyone expect a realistic prospect of conviction if almost all of the alleged victims themselves claim no crime has been committed?

How much longer and we going to tolerate the current situation where the police and Crown Prosecution Service are able to persecute innocent men? Time and time and time again, high-profile prosecutions are brought. And time and time and time again, they are thrown out.

There is misconception that a miscarriage of justice only occurs when an innocent person is jailed, then subsequently found to have been not guilty of the crime. But the truth is a miscarriage occurs every time an innocent man like Nigel Evans finds himself in the dock, publicly accused of the most heinous crimes.

It’s no good everyone patting themselves on the back and saying “Oh well, the system worked”. The system isn’t working. The police and the CPS are dragging the names of decent, honest, innocent people through the dirt on a weekly basis. And it has to stop.


Child rearing: Europe vs. Israel

A friend posted a commercial, supposedly rated number one in Europe. It shows a father and son shopping. The boy wants a bag of treats and while the father isn’t looking, he slips it into the shopping cart. Already at this moment, there is something wrong. You can see it in the eyes of the child – anger, testing, daring the father to react.

The father puts the treat back on the shelf; the boy puts it in the cart again. This has happened to most parents. But soon comes the difference between what should have been and what the morale of the commercial is for its creators.

Without saying a word to the son, the father once again returns the treat to the store shelves. At this point, the child becomes enraged and begins the “mother of all tantrums.” He screams, throws things off the shelves and finally lays on the floor screaming and kicking. The only “word” the father ever says in the commercial is “sh!!!!” as he tries to stop his son from screaming.

As the father looks in despair and confusion at his son, the words, “Use Condoms” comes across the screen. And in this one commercial, much of what is wrong with European society came into my mind.

Is the answer really to not have children, to wish they had never been born? Or is the answer to invest the time to properly raise them, to communicate, to explain?

I have been blessed…yes…blessed…with five amazing children and truly believe my country and the world are better for their having been born. The oldest is 28 years old and in the 28 plus years since I gave birth to her, I have never, ever, never, not once thought it would have been better had any of my children not been given to me.

In thinking (okay, over-thinking) about this commercial, I remembered an incident that happened to me in New Jersey exactly 24 years ago. My third child was a few weeks old (he just turned 24 a few weeks ago). I was going to pick up a replacement stroller and I had my infant in a sling-like carrier and was walking my two older ones by hand so that I could leave the store with one stroller. My second child started to cry – I don’t remember why (maybe his shoe lace was untied?). I remember bending over to talk to him to see what was wrong, and then the baby started to cry.

It was an overwhelming feeling – to have your arms stretched to either side holding a child in each arm; trying to console one child while your baby starts to cry. You didn’t want to let go of either child and yet you need a third hand to console the baby. I remember having a diaper bag slung over my shoulder and with the baby and all, I could barely move.

In Israel, people would have come to help…in America, as a woman was passing me, she said, “if you can’t handle them, you shouldn’t have had them.”

My very first thought, as I looked at her, wasn’t the most reasonable and yet it was…”that’s America.” I felt more pity for her than the contempt she had earned by her callous remark.

And, if that wasn’t enough, that incident had come only days after I met up with a high school friend who, after hearing that I had just given birth to my third child in five years, responded with, “jeez, don’t you guys ever sleep?”

At the time, I had thought how little he understood the blessing of a child and later how little that woman outside the store understood. Now, seeing this commercial, I remember those feelings of misgiving, of anger that instead of greeting the birth of a child with joy, that friend and that woman at the store, thought three children (or five, or two, or one) was anything other than the amazing gift it is.

Why didn’t the father communicate with the boy, explain and perhaps compromised, “that snack is very bad for you, but come, we’ll pick out something else.”

Or, “we bought you a snack last week and we still have some at home. When we finish that, we’ll buy more.”

Or, “I’ll make you a deal – you help me get the rest of the groceries and if you are a very good boy, we’ll come back and get you a treat before we leave.”

So many potential responses, so many opportunities to educate the child – all lost with the ridiculous thought that he should have used condoms and avoided bringing this child into the world. And yes, that was the purpose of the add – pushing the use of condoms…but the deeper message is one which, if it defines Europe in any way, only succeeds in leaving a negative impression.

Yes, I’m sure I am over-analyzing this but still, there are several issues that astound me. First, that people think this is funny and share it on Facebook. What is funny about watching a young boy lose control and trash a supermarket? What is funny about watching an obviously distressed parent even wonder if he should have used condoms rather than brought this child into the world?

Second, I would never think watching a child throw a vicious temper tantrum like this one is funny and yet it was rated a top commercial in Europe. Why? What does that say about European society and the value it places on a child’s life?

No, it isn’t funny. Not for the father who is clearly embarrassed and doesn’t know how to relate to his own child; and not to the child who is clearly angry, upset, and feels the need to test the relationship. It isn’t funny for the other people in the store who clearly exhibit several emotions – embarrassment, even fear.

I can tell you how this scene would have played out in Israel. First, few people would stand by and allow the child to run around throwing things from the shelf to the floor and screaming.

A father who doesn’t know how to handle a child, would quickly find other mothers and fathers who would bend towards the child and ask what the problem is and offer other solutions. A dozen “grandparents” would move in to defuse the situation and the store manager would likely appear as well.

If a child falls in a playground in Israel, the mother often has to muscle her way through a crowd of other mothers who have run to pick the child up and soothe away his scrapes.

The old lady on the bus will offer advice about keeping a hat on a baby because of the wind; people will help a mother on and off a bus and she will take that assistance because it will never occur to her that anyone would run off with her child.

Life is so different here than in the US or in Europe. Here, every child is precious and is raised to know they are cherished. Each is a blessing. Always. Forever.

Condoms aren’t the answer here and while as a parent I can relate to the temper tantrum…for the life of me, I don’t see how this commercial was funny. The kid is suffering (and likely spoiled); but is that enough to have the father wonder if it would be better if child hadn’t been born?

In what world could this suffering be funny? The answer, apparently, is Europe where it is, apparently, better to avoid having children than learn how to educate them properly. Better to avoid a problem than face it. Better to give in, than face the conflict and handle 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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


11 April, 2014

Whisper it... NO mother wants to work: It'll infuriate feminists

Helena Frith Powell

Two years ago I suddenly found myself, for the first time in my adult life, in a position where I didn’t need to work.

Over dinner one evening my husband, Rupert, announced that he was earning enough money for me to stop working. ‘You could stay at home and look after the children,’ he said, before adding rather nervously, ‘if you want.’

Rupert was right to be apprehensive. What he was suggesting was anathema to everything I’d been brought up to believe in and everything I’d assumed to be right about women’s roles in the 21st century.

As the daughter of a feminist single mother who ran a publishing company, it was drilled into me from a young age that women should be self-sufficient and have high ambitions.

I was led to believe that working was the way you defined who you were and how you justified your existence. Women who didn’t work were, well, not only lazy gold-diggers, but letting the side down.

When people asked me as a child what I wanted to be, my answer was never ‘a rich man’s wife’ or a ‘lady that lunches’. No, I wanted to be a vet, or a writer or, at times, a brain surgeon.

In fact, looking back, I’m not even sure I did really want to be any of those things but like most women of my generation I had been brought up to believe I should work, and what is more, I should want to work.

But now? I wonder if all women don’t secretly long to be in a position where they don’t have to work. Few would admit it, but as I learned myself the truth is that not working not only makes your life more pleasant, it enables you to be a better mother and wife.

As it was, my first response to Rupert was one of utter disbelief. I was the editor of a woman’s magazine. Why on earth would I want to give up a lucrative, apparently dream role? I dismissed his generous offer out of hand.

But the next day I analysed my day in the office and the effect working was having on my life. I no longer had time to exercise. Once I was back from the school-run, going to the gym for half-an-hour hardly seemed worth it.

Each morning I was greeted by my boss whose nickname was (and probably still is, unless she’s grown) the poisoned dwarf. She normally had some irritating comment to make on whatever I was working on.

In the afternoon I had the inevitable, fraught calls from the three children aged between eight and 12 who, once home, were at each other’s throats with only a terrified nanny to separate them.

In the evenings, by the time I had calmed everyone down and listened to their gripes, I was far too exhausted to even have a conversation with my husband. Perhaps I had been a little hasty.

‘You’re on,’ I told Rupert the very next day.

My first day at home a few months later was a revelation. I got up, gave everyone breakfast, took the kids to school, went to the gym, even chatted to a talkative friend I bumped into.

Normally I’d have been so busy and stressed I would have hidden behind my locker so as not to see her and feel obliged to chat. Shockingly, after just one morning, I had turned into one of them.

By them, I mean women who don’t work. Those that I had formerly viewed as the enemy — in part because of my feminist upbringing but also, I now realise, because I was insanely jealous of them.

This is the unspoken truth of why a lot of stay-at-home mums come under attack. It’s not that we working mothers really think they’re inferior — it’s actually that we want to be them.

I firmly believe a lot of working women would jump at the chance to have some time off, a view that’s backed up by figures. This week it was revealed that the hours worked by married women has been steadily dropping over the past 25 years, despite an increase in the range of jobs and levels of pay available to them.

The Government estimates more than a third of working mothers would like to quit their jobs if they could.

Some mums stick to their careers even when they don’t need to because, as Claire, one of my new stay-at-home-mum friends, put it: ‘They would rather be working than looking after their children.’

Claire told me she could always spot which children had mothers who worked and which had mums who didn’t. ‘The ones who have working mothers are so much more fraught,’ she told me. ‘It’s like they’re tight little springs waiting to unravel.’

While before I’d have dismissed her theory out of hand, based on my own experience there is truth in this. When I stopped working, the change in our children was as instantaneous as it was in me.

Suddenly there was laughter in the car on the way to school, a ‘see you this afternoon mummy’ as opposed to an anxious ‘will you be home tonight?’.

The bickering diminished, there was a tranquil atmosphere that hadn’t been there before. I was calmer, so they were calmer.

So wasn’t I worried that I was becoming a nobody? That people wouldn’t take me seriously any more? I remember the first time we went out after my ‘liberation’, as I now call it.

Somebody asked me what I did for a living. I was so shocked I couldn’t answer at first. To say I was a magazine editor was of course no longer true. 'I realised that I was frightened to say I was ‘just a mum’ — but why?'

‘I’m between jobs,’ I replied in the end, sounding like some failed Hollywood actress.

I realised that I was frightened to say I was ‘just a mum’ — but why? Being a mum, as we all know, is actually the hardest job in the world. Even if you have the boss from hell, you can sometimes ignore him (or her). Try ignoring a two-year-old having a tantrum at your peril.

When I was ‘liberated’ my children were eight, 11 and 12 and so I was able to throw myself into trawling round schools with them and prep them for the entrance exams. But, when I wasn’t doing those things, I was doing exactly what I felt like.

This included afternoon naps (almost every day), having my nails maintained by the best in the business and lunching with friends I had previously been too busy to see. Generally my life was much more in order. Instead of running around like a headless chicken yelling at everyone, I was in control of myself, my life and my moods.

We had a kind of equilibrium in our lives I think we had always missed. Looking back on the years when I was working in an office full-time, I would say that at least 70 per cent of arguments and stress were as a result of my having to devote time to work and not the family.

An added bonus was that not only were we happier, but my husband was happier too. He seemed to really enjoy his role as sole provider, perhaps in part because it meant he had more of my attention, just like the children.

Of course it was not always idyllic or perfect — but I’d be lying if I said that him being the provider and me the wife at home didn’t work better than us both working full-time. In fact, it might have worked rather too well.

My diligent tutoring of our children meant that we got them all into the expensive private schools of our choice. So now I have to work to help pay the fees. But, while I might need an income, there’s no way I’m going back into an office full-time.

I’ve set up my own PR company and work from home — when it suits me and my family. And yes, my nails are still perfect.


The way the British taxman is behaving would put Zimbabwe to shame!

Last month’s Budget was warmly greeted in many quarters. Indeed, there was much that was good in it. But George Osborne slipped in one announcement that is arguably the most pernicious measure introduced by a modern-day Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Starting next year, HM Revenue & Customs will be empowered to seize unlimited amounts from the private bank accounts of anyone it believes owes it more than £1,000 in tax.

We are used to banks helping themselves to overdraft charges, or inventing new fees, and swiping our money without even telling us. But hitherto the tax authorities, acting on behalf of government, have not been allowed to ransack our bank accounts.

HMRC has been obliged to respect the rule of law, and apply to magistrates’ courts or county courts, depending on how much money it thinks you owe. Now it will be able to remove cash from your current account — or even your savings — at the flick of a switch.

It’s hard to credit this is happening in our country. In Britain — not in Kazakhstan or Zimbabwe or Russia — the State will be allowed to help itself to what it deems we owe. It is doubly amazing that such a measure should have been rubber-stamped by a Tory Chancellor.

No wonder some observers have questioned the legality of Mr Osborne’s scheme. Frank Haskew, head of the tax faculty at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, has just told the Commons Treasury Committee that it would offend against a ‘fundamental tenet of English law’ that money cannot be ‘grabbed’ from somebody’s account. In other words, it’s illegal.

I can see, of course, that we live in hard times, and that the Treasury is anxious to get every pound of revenue it can lay its hands on in order to reduce our ever-growing national debt. And I accept that there are some dishonest people who don’t pay the taxes they are supposed to.

Pursue them robustly by all means — but not at the expense of sacrificing the precious principle that the State does not have the right to dip its hand into people’s bank accounts without judicial sanction.

Admittedly, there are one or two ‘safeguards’. HMRC is supposed to contact you at least three times about an unpaid tax bill before taking your money, and it can’t confiscate the full amount of what it believes it is owed unless you have at least £5,000 across all your bank accounts.

But the scope for injustice is enormous. Imagine someone who has a legitimate dispute with the tax authorities over a tax bill. Sometimes it is impossible even to get in touch with HMRC to argue the issue, as the National Audit Office has previously complained.

In such cases, HMRC might in future simply take the money before the dispute has been properly debated. Even if the issue has been discussed, the tax authorities might be mistaken in believing they are entitled to a payment. But as judge and jury they will be able to do what they want.

The only recourse for the victim will be to take HMRC to court, or to seek redress with the Tax Adjudicator — a kind of official Ombudsman. In either case, the process could take months, if not years, and almost certainly be traumatic. If lawyers are engaged, it will be expensive, too.

People who may be far from rich could find themselves unjustly fleeced. Money Mail recently reported the case of a £655 demand being sent to a woman who died 12 years ago. HMRC refused to give up the fight even when her daughter explained the situation.

In 2009, Icilda and Hugh Newell, owners of a tiny café in North London, received a preposterous demand for £500,000 in allegedly unpaid taxes and fines. Earlier this year, a judge finally found in their favour. If Mr Osborne’s new scheme had been in force, their bank accounts would doubtless have been arbitrarily plundered.

Money Mail has revealed dozens of examples of vulnerable and elderly taxpayers having complaints about unfair bills wrongly rejected. Last October, a report by the Tax Adjudicator, Judy Clements, laid bare how systematic failings by the taxman have led to thousands of legitimate claims being refused.

In other words, HMRC can often be incompetent as well as ruthless, which should make all of us nervous about the sweeping new powers which a Conservative Chancellor has decided to give it.

There is also little doubt that the tax authorities are happier when hunting down the little people than in taking on the big battalions, as the Commons Public Accounts Committee said last December. Its report pointed out that HMRC has not prosecuted any major internet company over under-payment of tax.

Google paid only £11.6?million in tax in 2012 in this country, despite sales of £3?billion, and profits of nearly £900?million. Amazon dribbled out a derisory £2.4?million in tax on sales of £4.3?billion.

Facebook paid no tax at all — despite making more than £200?million from its UK operations.

And then there are the coffee shops. This week, it emerged Caffe Nero has paid no corporation tax since 2007 on sales of £1?billion. There was an outcry in 2012 when it was revealed profitable Starbucks had paid no corporation tax in three of the previous 14 years. It has since said it will mend its ways.

None of these companies has behaved illegally. They pay only minimal tax in Britain because they are based in Luxembourg or Ireland, where the rates of corporation tax are much lower. Nonetheless, they make whopping profits in this country, and they should be expected to pay their fair share of taxes.

I don’t doubt it is difficult to make these companies (usually American-owned) stump up. But if Mr Osborne were to sit down with his EU counterparts, and come up with a way of forcing these multinationals to pay proper taxes, he would be the most popular man in Britain.

The fact remains that the same HMRC, which hammers small businesses and pensioners, doesn’t have the appetite for confronting multinationals with their armies of accountants and lawyers. It has cut favourable deals with Telecoms giant Vodafone and the American bank Goldman Sachs, sparing them tens of millions of pounds in tax.

On the one hand it is strangely timid, and on the other — where people with no access to tax lawyers and accountants are involved — rapacious. I expect it will empty the bank accounts of some very dodgy characters with its new powers. But it will also terrorise those who have done nothing wrong, and take money to which it is not entitled.

Faced with the largest deficit since the war, George Osborne has been unable to lighten the burden for the great bulk of taxpayers. But surely he remains enough of a Tory to feel disquiet about the prospect of the taxman raiding the private bank accounts of ordinary people.


Immigration to Britain from eastern Europe was massively underestimated, says official report

The number of eastern European migrants who came to Britain in the last decade was hundreds of thousands higher than previously thought, the Office for National Statistics has admitted.

In a disclosure that will fuel intense national concern about immigration, the agency said it had failed to count an estimated 350,000 migrants who arrived in this country between 2001 and 2011.

The ONS said the mistake occurred because it used “inadequate sampling” in a crucial survey at airports which is used to estimate net migration - the difference between the number of people arriving in Britain and those emigrating.

It said most of the migrants who were omitted from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) were from Poland and other former Communist states which joined the European Union in 2004, known as the “EU8” countries.

The revised totals showed net migration over the decade increased from just under 2.2 million to more than 2.5 million.

The ONS’s highest additional number of migrants was for 2006, when net migration is now thought to have been 67,000 higher than previously thought, reaching 265,000.

Original estimates were too low because the ONS concentrated its survey on main airports such as Heathrow but ignored migrants who were arriving on a growing number of budget airline routes into smaller, regional airports, a report said.

“There is evidence that shows the IPS missed a substantial amount of immigration of EU8 citizens that occurred between 2004 and 2008, prior to IPS improvements from 2009,” said the document.

“This is evident from comparisons of IPS data with a number of other data sources related to immigration.

“The EU8 migrants were missed due to IPS interviewing being concentrated at the time at principal airports, such as London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Manchester.

“During this time, many migrants from the EU8 countries were travelling on the increasing number of routes connecting their countries with the UK regional airports. Many of these routes were not covered, or not fully covered, by the IPS for migration purposes prior to 2009.”

The number of children migrating to Britain was also underestimated, it added.

More regional airports were included in the IPS from 2008 but the improvements were “too late to capture the main wave of increased migration” folloring EU expansion in 2004.

Labour, which was in power at the time, has admitted it was wrong not to impose restrictions on eastern Europeans’ ability to come to Britain from 2004.

At the time, official estimates predicted just 15,000 people would come from Poland and the other accession countries but the true figures ran into hundreds of thousands.

The ONS said there was “no evidence” that the passenger survey needed further revisions.


Mock Christians, get laughs, mock Muslims, get bullets

Comment from Australia

A young man mocks Christians on stage on national television he gets laughs. Another young man mocks Muslims on YouTube, he gets bullets through his home's window. Is this the future of religious debate in Australia?

While I won't attempt to edify the erratic rantings of Nathan Abela, a "leader" in the anti-Islamic Australian Defence League who had up to eight bullets fired into his Sydney home last week, it made me ponder the reaction if the same thing had happened to comedian Joel Creasey.

Abela's raison d'etre seems to be to spur a reaction from Muslims, yet his taunts sit in the same ballpark as that of Creasey, who asked the audience during an episode of SBS's Stand Up @ Bella Union last month if anyone was from the Hillsong Christian congregation.

"No-one hoping to have their Guy Sebastian album signed after the gig?" said Creasey, "no, why would you? You guys are great, you guys are awesome, you're out of the house, you're seeing comedy, it's night time. If you were super-religious you'd probably be at home right now, maniacally fisting yourself to Antiques Roadshow."

Funny? I guess it depends on your sense of humour but, the fact Creasey is able to mock Christianity so openly, on a government-funded television station, delights and reassures me I'm living in free, rational society.

Granted, Creasey is telling a gag and Abela's joined the Australian version of the English Defence League - a far-right organisation of violence-prone, Islamophobe hooligans. Yet, he's broken no laws.

Every time I write a column critical of Christianity, a perverse religious solidarity infects some of the more hostile commentors who "dare" me to "say the same things about Islam" - like it's their hot-tempered little brother up the back of the bus.

Islam's sensitivity to criticism is well documented.

American author, philosopher and neuroscientist, Sam Harris, puts it well in his 2010 book The Moral Landscape when he writes: "The peculiar concerns of Islam have created communities in almost every society on earth that grow so unhinged in the face of criticism that they will reliably riot, burn embassies, and seek to kill peaceful people, over cartoons."

"This is something they will not do, incidentally, in protest over the continuous atrocities committed against them by their fellow Muslims. The reasons why such a terrifying inversion of priorities does not tend to maximise human happiness are susceptible to many levels of analysis - ranging from biochemistry to economics.

"But do we need further information in this case? It seems to me that we already know enough about the human condition to know that killing cartoonists for blasphemy does not lead anywhere worth going on the moral landscape," writes Harris.

Neither, would I suggest, does shooting at people if they happen to mock your faith on YouTube.

There is plenty to dislike about all religion - and I've not been shy about my thoughts on the hypocrisies of Christianity. However, to jeer conservative Islam and, as Harris describes, its "demonising homosexuals, stoning adulterers, veiling women, soliciting the murder of artists and intellectuals, and celebrating the exploits of suicide bombers"?



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


10 April, 2014

A thought for abortionists

British police fiddle crime figures 'to hit targets': Even rapes are not recorded, say MPs

Police are failing to properly record crimes as serious as rape to hit performance targets, a damning report has revealed.

A target culture within policing has created ‘perverse incentives’ and driven officers up to the most senior level to ‘misrecord’ crime, MPs said.

The Public Administration select committee called for local Police and Crime Commissioners to abolish all targets to help restore public trust in crime figures.

They also called for an investigation into treatment of a police officer who blew the whistle on corrupt recording practices.

Former Metropolitan Police officer James Patrick described how massaging numbers to hit targets had become ‘an ingrained part of policing culture’.

He exposed how crimes were routinely downgraded, with robberies logged as theft and burglary reclassified as criminal damage – or even ‘no-crimed’ – to make them ‘disappear in a puff of smoke’.

He resigned last month after an investigation into misconduct was launched.

The report was published as a new YouGov poll for Channel 5 found 40 per cent of Britons think crime has gone up in the last decade. This is despite police figures and the national crime survey showing sharp falls in crime levels.

Bernard Jenkin, the committee chairman, said it was ‘depressing’ how the officer was treated by the Met and claimed most forces were ‘still in denial about the damage targets cause, both to data integrity and to standards of behaviour’.

The report found crime figures recorded by the police vastly exaggerated the extent of genuine decreases in recent years.

National targets for crime figures have been abolished by the Home Office. But the report found targets, and a target culture, remained at a local level, set by Police and Crime Commissioners or senior officers. These, it said, ‘drive perverse incentives to misrecord crime, tend to affect attitudes and erode data quality’.

It went on to warn: ‘The attitudes and behaviour which lead to the misrecording of crime have become ingrained.’

In particular, the report pointed to ‘strong evidence’ that sex crimes such as rape were under-recorded in many areas, with MPs concluding that officers were failing to comply with national crime recording rules.

The report also found ministers and statisticians have been ‘too passive’ in failing to confront concerns over the quality of police statistics.

Peter Cuthbertson, director of the Centre for Crime Prevention, said: ‘It’s encouraging that this issue is being investigated by Parliament but the findings are damning. ‘There should really be only one way the police make crime figures look better: by catching more criminals and bringing them to justice. Anything else is fiddling the figures.’

Shadow police minister Jack Dromey said the credibility of the Government’s crime statistics now ‘lies in tatters’.

Earlier this year, police crime figures were stripped of their national kitemark by the statistics watchdog – official recognition of the fact they could no longer be trusted.

However Chief Constable Alex Marshall, chief executive of the College of Policing, pointed to the new Code of Ethics for officers.

He said: ‘In terms of crime recording, the Code specifically highlights the importance of accurate and honest record-keeping.’


Brainless "archaeologists" destroying WWII sites for fun and profit

UK Production Company ClearStory and National Geographic Channel have been accused of unethical practice and ignoring advice in a new battlefield metal detecting series.

The bitter fighting in Latvia, Poland and the Kurland Peninsula which took place in the Winter of 1944/45 became known as Nazi Germany’s Dunkirk. Last weekend, The National Geographic Channel and British television production company ClearStory; producers of the Channel 4 series “Sex Box”, as well as documentaries featuring Historian David Reynolds and Scientist Richard Dawkins; are facing their own ignominious retreat and bitter rearguard action over their new television series “Nazi War Diggers” [http://natgeotv.com/za/nazi-war-diggers], which was partly shot in Kurland and Poland and which is set to premier on the National Geographic Channel in April 2014.

The series of four programmes set out to “ to hunt for relics and bodies, uncovering a forgotten story of World War Two’s bloody front.” promising that the programme’s team of amateur talent would “come face to face with the dangers and cost of war.” However, hundreds of archaeologists from the USA, the UK and Europe as well as from across the blogsphere and social media, including many experts in human osteology and battlefield archaeology, are united in condemnation of the series.

The allegation is that a video and images originally posted on the National Geographic Channel website publicising the series apparently show behavior which, while it may be legal under Polish and Latvian Law, is in archaeological terms unethical. In particular human remains are shown being pulled from the ground and displayed for the camera in a way which would be completely unacceptable on any conventional archaeological site; would be forbidden by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and UK Ministry of Defence if they related to the remains of a British Serviceman and, worst of all, would destroy forensic evidence and the context of the burial making a positive identification of the individual soldier difficult, if not impossible and potentially denying him a named grave.

The video, the promotional website originally launched to publicise the programme, and statements from the programme producers ClearStory, all suggest that the programme format follows a tried and tested television template whereby a group of metal detector users investigate a historic site accompanied by a dealer in antiques and other historic material.

This kind of cheap reality television demands a strong back story which the audience can engage with and iconic objects around which stories can be woven. Such formats are frequently criticised by archaeologists as promoting commercial value over historic value and glorifying treasure hunting over the more questioning gathering of knowledge for the common good. However, these formats are very popular with television audiences. A programme with the same basic premise, an exercise in discovery and valuation, the BBC’s “Antiques Roadshow” has been running for thirty five years and thirty six series with the format being sold all over the world.

The initial fear in this case, expressed by many archeologists when the video first surfaced, was that the excavations shown might have been illegal. A televised version of the kind of antiquities theft by metal detector users working illegally which is sometimes given a spurious glamour by the name “nighthawking”. However in a statement released on Friday 28 March by the National Geogrpahic Channel stresses that the work was done in conjunction with two community based battlefield research and recovery groups, “Legenda” in Latvia and the “Pomost Archaeological Association” in Poland, both of which claim to obtain proper permissions and licences from landowners and their respective Governments and liaise with appropriate war graves organisations in Germany and Russia. However, there is a far more fundamental question which raises very difficult questions for both ClearStory and the National Geographic Channel.

That is; even if the work was undertaken in full compliance with the legal regimes pertaining in Latvia and Poland and even if the programmes were recorded under the wing of the two community based organisations which set out to search battlefields and recover missing servicemen, “Pomost” and “Legenda”; that reflects Polish and Latvian practice, undertaken by Latvians and Poles.

What ClearStory facilitated and what National Geographic Channel appear to be about to broadcast, are the efforts, not of Poles or Latvians working to a common purpose, but of an imported team of three amateur metal detector users, UK based Stephen Taylor, Kris Rodgers and Adrian Kostromski and militaria enthusiasts and an American dealer in Nazi militaria and memorabelia, Craig Gottleib.

None of the “Nazi War Diggers” employed by ClearStory appear to have any training in the kind of archaeology, forensic anthropology or explosive ordnance safety which would be of use to “Legenda” or “Pomost” in their principle work recovering battlefield casualties along with the war material which accompanys them. Mr Taylor, a Pharmacist who lives in Leicestershire, is heavily involved in the World War Two Relic Retrieval and Preservation Group [http://www.ww2rrpg.com/#!about-us] and is a regular contributer to metal detecting and militaria websites. While Mr Rodgers describes himself on his Twitter account as a “blogger, teacher, writer, musician, treasure hunter and now TV presenter.”

However, in the promotional clip, now withdrawn, Mr Rodgers is shown apparently giving direction on the delicate matter of exhuming human remains to the third member of the team of on screen talent, Mr Gottlieb. Mr Gottlieb, a former United States Marine, is able to employ his particular expertise in the collection and sale of Nazi era militaria and memorabilia. As he was quoted as saying in the programme publicity “I feel that by selling things that are Nazi related and for lots of money, I’m preserving a part of history that museums don’t want to bother with” “Nazi Shmazi” as American satirist Tom Lehrer once said. Mr Gottleib’s quotation has now been removed from his biography on the series website.

Meanwhile, although the UK has great expertise in the archaeology of twentieth century conflicts, there is no recognised professional conflict, battlefield or forensic archaeologist named in any of the pre-publicity for the programme. Perhaps not surprisingly, because what the employment of MrTaylor, Mr Rodgers and Mr Gottleib suggests and what the programmes appear to show, is not battlefield archaeology, carried out in a controlled research focused way for publication, but the more or less random recovery of objects and human remains from battlefields. Something entirely different. However it is known that the production company were briefed in detail about the ethical and safety issues surrounding battlefield archaeology on twentieth century battlefields including in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. They were also given the contact details of recognised UK based archaeologists with specific expertise in unexploded ordnance and ammunition safety and the ethical forensic recovery of human remains on the battlefield.

In a statement issued to Heritage Daily on Friday 28 March, , National Geographic Channel responded to the initial criticism of the video and web site content saying,

“Despite misinformation being circulated, our show will in fact demonstrate the need for the activities portrayed to be done in an authorized and legal manner. This will be a point of emphasis in the opening of each show, and the series will be complemented by a robust website further exercising this point.

In addition, during filming, our production crew remained in close contact with local museums, including the Latvian War Museum. All relics uncovered by the team were cataloged and photographed and are now in safe storage. Items have been offered to museums. No items were trafficked or sold. The human remains found in the series will be reburied with due ceremony in military cemeteries under the supervision of the relevant war graves commissions.”

Of course the devil is in the PR detail and the precise meaning of the language: “a point of emphasis in the opening of each show,” leaves the rest of the show open to breathless descriptions of weapons and ordnance and descriptions of their effects on the human body, while ”authorised and legal” is not the same in archaeological terms as ethical, archaeologically competent and safe.

The wider question of course is how this particular programme pitch came to be accepted. There is a truism in the media, pointed out by the author Robert Harris in his best selling account of the Hitler Diaries fiasco, that having the word “Hitler” or “Nazi” in a book or programme title immediately adds to the sales and audience ratings. You might have noticed HeritageDaily cynically using the same trick in the title of this article demonstrating that this fact is as true of media analysis and historical documentary making as it is of SS fetishising, sexploitation films like “Ilsa She Wolf of the SS”.

The period of Nazi Germany is also one of the eras in history which attracts a general television audience in addition to what might be perceived as the “military anorak” market, meaning it is a relatively easy sell to commissioning editors and channel controllers. Although I have been told by one TV professional that according to at least one Commissioning Editor [Factual] “the Romans are the new Nazi’s”.

Be that as it may, speaking before the controversy erupted in online archaeological forums, Russell Barnes, the Co Executive Producer for ClearStory along with Molly Milton, made a familiar pitch to the public in justification of the series saying:

“The Eastern Front of World War II saw probably the bloodiest fighting in human history and time is running out for us to capture the historical truths of the conflict that lie literally hidden in the ground…Nazi War Diggers not only tells the lost human stories behind the battles, but it also explores ethical ways to preserve our history and the dignity of the people who made it.”

Bloody gore and Nazis might indeed sell and we are genuinely on the edge of human memory as far as World War Two goes. Therefore television has an important role in collecting testimony and in conveying the realities, complexities and tragedies of War to the public. That is why Jeremy Isaac’s landmark series for ITV “The World At War” is still being broadcast forty years after it was made.

Equally, the war on the Eastern Front and the sacrifice of the tens of millions of soldiers and civilians on all sides who died there, is not as well known in the West as it should be. However, it is in invoking the words “ethical” and “dignity” that most archaeologists and historians will finally part company with Mr Barnes’ view, because on the strength of the video trailer these are two qualities which it appears are conspicuous by their absence in his company’s product. As a result “Nazi War Diggers” lays down a number of challenges to both the archaeological community and to the media.

In spite of Friday’s rapid backtracking and the re-launching of the series website minus the controversial video and photographs, there is a clear risk that the National Geographic Channel, will suffer further damage to a reputation already severely compromised in the academic community by the channels insistence in commissioning or broadcasting a number of earlier series which have been criticised for condoning treasure hunting masquerading as archaeological or historical research, including another series featuring metal detecting, “Diggers,” which attracted thousands of signatures to an on-line petition calling for it to be scrapped. Something the National Geographic Channel declined to do.

For the archaeological sector there is the challenge that the media in general knows so little and thinks so little of archaeological opinion and practice that a programme including this type of content could even be commissioned in the first place. Indeed, this is not the first time unethical, illegal and potentially dangerous practice in the archaeology of conflict has been put on screen by a UK based production company. Archaeology must find a way of confronting these profound ethical and safety issues in a way which gains traction with the production companies such as ClearStory who make this sort of work, principally because it is far cheaper to employ a couple of metal detectorists to find visually interesting stuff and fantasise about it, than it is to do a proper archaeological job.


The program has now been withdrawn from screening but the irregularities involved in making it remain under scrutiny

“The Curmudgeon’s Guide”: A Q&A with Charles Murray

Dr. Charles Murray’s book “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead” was released today. The book, available here, details the “dos and don’ts of right behavior, tough thinking, clear writing, and living a good life.” On April 17th, AEI will be hosting an event on “The Curmudgeon’s Guide”- see more details here. Below, the author answers a few questions about his book, his favorite piece of advice, and Bill Murray.

“The Curmudgeon’s Guide” is very different from any of your other books. Where does it fit in your own view of your work?

It’s the most fun I’ve had with a book since my wife and I wrote “Apollo” in the late 1980s. In fact, “The Curmudgeon’s Guide” started out purely for fun. I volunteered to write a series of tips for AEI’s interns and research assistants about how to avoid offending grumpy old people like me. I began with things like “Excise the word ‘like’ from your spoken English,” but as time went on, I got into more substantive topics. Then my boss, Karlyn Bowman, suggested I turn the series into a book, and here we are.

Why do you think Millennials need this advice so much?

Not all of them do need it. I wrote for twenty-somethings who have grown up in loving homes, have gone to good schools, haven’t ever really held jobs except maybe an internship or two, and suddenly find themselves out of college and facing the real world. Not to put too fine a point on it: a lot of them are clueless about how a workplace operates, and a lot of them are far too ready to stay in the academic cocoon, going directly to graduate school without the least idea of what they truly want for a career. Those Millennials are my target audience.

What’s your favorite tip from the book?

I’m fond of just about all of them—in fact, I’m probably too fond of this book for my own good. But if I had to name just one, it is “Watch ‘Groundhog Day’ repeatedly.” It comes from so far out of left field, after I’ve been discussing super-serious topics about the life well lived, that I imagine my readers coming across the title and saying to themselves, “What the hell is this about?”

How can a young person stand out in the workplace?

The easiest way is to work as hard as you can, for as many hours as are needed, and not make a big deal out of it. The highly successful people in your organization almost all behaved exactly the same way when they were in their twenties (and probably throughout their careers), and they are going to see something of themselves in you. That’s a really good way to attract their interest. The little secret that is seldom revealed in this era of praising everyone for everything is that very few people work as hard as they can, and the ones who do have it made. But of course, there’s one other thing: you have to be competent while you’re working all those hours.

You write in tip #25 that “Being judgmental is good, and you don’t have a choice anyway.” This is a rather unusual message in a culture that often says the opposite. Could you elaborate on that?

You’re encouraging me to vent on one of my most passionately held complaints about contemporary culture. What makes humans special is their ability to process information, evaluate it, and make judgments. Nonjudgmentalism is, at bottom, an ethic that tells us to avoid acknowledging to ourselves that we like some things better than others, think some ways of behaving are more virtuous than others, and that we downright disapprove of some ways of behaving. I’m all in favor of tolerance. But tolerance means accepting things with which you do not necessarily agree, but think that people should be free to do in a free society. That’s very different from refusing to think about things and reach considered judgments about good and bad, right and wrong, true and false.

Before you went to graduate school, you joined the Peace Corps and went to Thailand for five years. How was that experience valuable, and would you recommend something similar for others?

It was transformative. The first two months in Thailand, my culture shock was so severe that I envied a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer who was in a car accident and suffered severe injuries, because he had an honorable excuse to quit and go home. I had to stay—and by a few months later, I was in love with Thailand. But it wasn’t just fun. I learned things that profoundly affected the way I saw the world forever after (I talk about those Thai experiences in the introduction to one of my books, “In Pursuit”).

But most of all, I became at home in what had been a totally alien culture. It was like adding a whole new world to the one I had known in the States. Do I recommend that others do something similar? When my daughter Anna was graduating from college and told her friends that she was buying a one-way ticket to Bologna, Italy, where she would get a job (any job) and live for a few years, her friends thought that sounded cool, but asked her “What do your parents think?” assuming that we must be appalled at this hare-brained scheme. “In my family,” Anna would reply, “it’s practically obligatory.”

In an increasingly secular society, why is it important to take religion seriously?

I went to Harvard at a time when college socialized its students to be secular as assiduously as college in the previous century had socialized them to be devout. The same thing holds true today. It took me a long time to realize that the Christian religion—the one I grew up with as a child—doesn’t consist of Sunday school stories that are easy to dismiss. It needs to be grappled with in its full complexity and depth. The same is true of the other great religious traditions. Think of it this way: if there are truths underlying the great religious traditions, being oblivious of them is a hugely important moral shortcoming. Maybe after taking religion seriously you’ll decide that you’re an atheist after all. But at least you won’t be one of the unreflective atheists that infest most college campuses.

Other than buying your book, what’s the most important thing for college graduates to do as they prepare for the real world?

Ponder the extent to which they may be self-absorbed naïfs who are about as resilient as Baccarat champagne flutes. If that’s what they are, it’s probably not their fault. They have been the victims of excessively happy childhoods and excessively patient and understanding parents. But sooner or later, life is going to get tough. You don’t want the first tests of your toughness and resilience to come when you’re 35 with a spouse and children and you shatter into a thousand glittering shards. Use the years right after college to jump out of the nest and force yourself to learn to fly before you hit the ground. Put yourself in harm’s way. Trust me: it won’t only help you grow up; it will turn out to be more fun than you could have imagined.

A question about “Watch ‘Groundhog Day’ repeatedly.” Do you know Bill Murray?

I’ve been touting “Groundhog Day” since I said in “Human Accomplishment” 10 years ago that it was one of the few films that would still be watched a century from now. I keep hoping that Bill will see these wonderful things I say about “Groundhog Day” and tell me to give him a ring the next time I get to L.A. Hasn’t happened. It’s too bad. I think cousin Bill and I would get along great.


Australia: Old tribal customs no excuse for crimes

WITH increasing regularity, Australian courts are accepting “cultural differences” as ­exculpatory or mitigating factors for more lenient sentencing or even to excuse the most abhorrent crimes.

Surely this is not the multi-culturalism that even the most avowed flag-waving, sandal-shod, inner-urban, Green-Labor voting wearers of tie-dyed rainbow garments believe in?

Though the Left has worked strenuously to denigrate the very notion that Australia has any culture whatsoever, ­attacking Anzac Day, sneering at the national enthusiasm for sport, attempting to airbrush all references from the education curriculum to our Anglo heritage which is the bedrock of our law and language and disparaging our debt to ­Judaeo-Christian values, it is patently obvious our culture and the economic opportunity it provides, is a beacon in an ­increasingly chaotic world. In the politically correct non-judgemental world of the kumbaya crowd, all cultures are equal and must be respected.

In 2013, Victorian Court of Appeal Justice Robert Redlich granted Esmatullah Sharifi, 31, who had pleaded guilty to the rape of an 18-year-old girl and a 25-year-old woman in the same week in December, 2008, the right to appeal against the cumulative 14-year-jail term he is serving.

When he was sentenced, Judge Mark Dean said Sharifi had gone hunting for vulnerable, drunken women to rape.

Judge Dean pointedly noted that his flight from the Taliban was no excuse. “The offence committed by you was an extremely serious act of violence, and in my opinion you well knew the victim was not consenting,” he said.

Sharifi found the teen near a Frankston nightclub and ­offered to drive her to meet friends at a Mornington hotel. But instead he drove her to a dark street and raped her. “Your brutal conduct must be denounced by this court,” Judge Dean said.

In granting leave, Judge Redlich found Sharifi’s lack of insight into his offence and the fact that he had no appreciation that his conduct was wrong adequate reasons to support his appeal.

Sharifi succeeded in his ­appeal with the Full Court knocking one year and six months off his total sentence.

Even more strange was the decision of Magistrate Ron Saines to drop an attempted child-stealing charge against Ali Jaffari, 35, in the Geelong Magistrates’ Court saying he would have reasonable doubt about his guilt, citing “cultural differences” as one mitigating factor.

The case related to the ­alleged attempt by Jaffari in January, 2013, to lead a four-year-old girl away from a sports oval while her father and brother played cricket.

Police Prosecutor, Sergeant Brooke Shears said that while the child’s father was throwing the ball to his son in the nets, the little girl was playing with her own bat at the net opening.

She said Jaffari was walking around the oval, when he ­approached the child, removed the bat from her hand and ­rested it against a bollard.

“He then grabbed the child’s hand and began to lead her away before she looked up, saw it wasn’t her father, started crying and pulled her hand away,” she said.

“The victim’s father turned, saw what was happening and yelled at Jaffari, ‘What do you think you’re doing?’ The victim ran crying to her father and he comforted her while Jaffari walked off around the oval.”

After being awarded a permanent protection visa in early 2012 by the Gillard government upon arriving by boat, Jaffari was convicted of ­indecent assault on two boys aged 12 and 13.

The prosecutor said that, when interviewed, Jaffari told police: “For us is not an issue.”

Magistrate Saines said the prosecution case fell short of criminality and cited cultural differences as a possible mitigating factor.

But Sgt Shears insisted that the offending had nothing to do with cultural differences. After being awarded a permanent protection visa in early 2012 by the Gillard government upon arriving by boat, Jaffari was convicted of ­indecent assault on two boys aged 12 and 13.

Witnesses said he started grabbing and rubbing himself against them, cuddling and kissing them on the neck and telling one of the boys he was “sexy”. One of the victims said he followed them to the showers, cornered them and asked if he “wanted company”.

He received a two-year community corrections order with 300 hours unpaid community work and was listed on a sex offenders’ register.

Curiously, sex crimes, usually against women and not boys, attract far harsher penalties under Afghan law than they do here, yet it is one cultural difference our judges and lawyers don’t seem to embrace.

Playing to the minorities is a losing game as nations across Europe find to their cost.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


9 April, 2014

Multicultural gang war in Britain takes a bystander life

A talented football coach has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering a man during a 'horrific scene of complete bedlam' at Westfield Stratford shopping centre just weeks before the 2012 Olympic Games.

A thrown yoghurt pot sparked the mass brawl between two gangs in June 2012, during which Liam Woodards, who had been out celebrating his 24th birthday, was stabbed, the Old Bailey heard.

Nii-Azu Kojo-Smith, 19, has been jailed for life with a minimum of 18 years after he stabbed Liam Woodards to death at Westfield Stratford Shopping Cenntre in London, just weeks before the 2012 Olympic games

As the victim lay dying, the fight moved on to Stratford Tube Station where one of Mr Woodards’s friends stabbed one the opposing gang members.

Following a three-month retrial, Kojo-Smith, 19, of Hackney, east London, was found guilty of Mr Woodards’s murder and was told he would spend at least 18 years in prison.

The Old Bailey heard that Kojo-Smith had a previous conviction for battery and threatening behaviour in 2010 after he was involved in a group attack on a passenger at Finsbury Park Tube station.

His lawyer Philippa McAtasney QC said: 'He was a talented footballer. He had obtained an FA1 coaching certificate and his future was set - all of that thrown away in a second of his behaviour.'

She said he knew what he did was 'very wrong' and saying sorry to the victim’s family was not enough.

Detaining Kojo-Smith for a minimum of 18 years, the judge Richard Marks QC said: 'The shopping centre at that time was full of men, women and children going about their business.

'It was a horrific scene of complete bedlam as many members of the public ran for safety into shops which swiftly closed their doors.

'It was readily apparent that those caught up in those appalling events must have been and were absolutely terrified.'

The court heard much of the fight was captured on CCTV which was shown during the trial.

The judge praised the victim’s parents for their dignified conduct throughout the trial.

He said: 'The parents of Liam Woodards have attended every day of the trial. They have earned the respect of the court by the fact they have conducted themselves with dignity throughout in what must have been a shocking ordeal.

'I express hope the conclusion of the trial will bring them some closure.'


A More Sinister Equality

by Theodore Dalrymple

Patriotic effusions, whosever they may be, seldom please citizens of other nations, because they are generally so self-congratulatory; and self-congratulation, which is no doubt an inescapable part of the human condition, is best kept to oneself even when justified. Occasional outbursts may be acceptable, as after a triumph in a just war—but just wars are themselves infrequent events in human history. Ignorance of and disdain for others are often the corollaries of noisy patriotism; it was with good reason that Doctor Johnson said that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Quite often it is the first refuge as well.

On the other hand, some kind of collective self-belief is necessary, for otherwise effort would be in vain and achievement impossible. A country completely without patriotism, even if this state remained implicit rather than explicit, would be an unhappy place. As in most things human, a balance must be struck.

I mention this because I recently came across a description of Americanism by Theodore Roosevelt. Among American virtues, he said, were respect for the rights of others; freedom of opinion; religious tolerance; equality under the law; and “at least a measurable quality of opportunity.” This last was important: Roosevelt wisely did not employ a shibboleth of our time, equality of opportunity.

“Those who believe in equality of opportunity must want, if they take the idea seriously, to make the world not only just but fair.”
Roosevelt was not a political philosopher, and no doubt his statement can be criticized for its inconsistencies (but so can the statements of most political philosophers). He says that “all privileges based on wealth are un-American,” by which he must have meant legally inscribed privileges, for in the imperfect, sublunary world wealth will always have, or buy, its privileges. For example, an accused wealthy man will generally have a better legal team to defend him than an impoverished accused man. And Roosevelt added that “all enmity to honest men merely because they are wealthy” is equally un-American; in which case one can only surmise that either America is fast becoming un-American, or no wealthy man in America is honest.

But to return to the question of opportunity versus equality of opportunity: Roosevelt can hardly have failed to notice that, as the scion of a rich family, his opportunities were greater than those of the majority of his fellow citizens. On the other hand, he made the most of them by fierce efforts in many different fields of endeavor; indeed, he was famously in favor of the strenuous rather than the easeful life. He did not content himself with frittering away his inherited fortune as many a young sprig has done (and as I think I might well have done, had I had a fortune to fritter). Nor was Roosevelt the kind of man to deny anyone his chance merely because he was not well-born. Opportunity, yes, then; equality of opportunity, no.

But to oppose the notion of equality of opportunity these days is to be thought some kind of monstrous ultramontane reactionary, a Metternich or Nicholas I, who wants by means of repression to preserve the status quo in amber. Members of young audiences to which I have spoken have almost fainted with shock when I have said that I not only did not believe in equality of opportunity, but to the contrary found the very idea sinister in the extreme, and much worse than mere egalitarianism of outcome. To say to a young audience today that equality of opportunity is a thoroughly vicious idea is like shouting “God does not exist and Mohammed was not his prophet” at the top of one’s voice in Mecca.

Those who believe in equality of opportunity must want, if they take the idea seriously, to make the world not only just but fair. Genetic and family influences on the fate of people have to be eliminated, because they undoubtedly affect opportunities and make them unequal. Ugly people cannot be models; the deformed cannot be professional footballers; the retarded cannot be astrophysicists; the small of stature cannot be heavyweight boxers; I don’t think I have to prolong this list, as everyone can think of a thousand examples for himself.

Of course, it might be possible to level the field a little by legislating for equality of outcome: by, for example, insisting that ugly people are employed as models in proportion to their prevalence in the population. English novelist L.P. Hartley, author of The Go-Between, satirized such envious suppression of beauty (and, by implication, all egalitarianism other than that of equality under the law) in a novel called Facial Justice. It’s not a very good novel, as it happens, but the idea is very good; Hartley envisages a state in which everyone aspires to an “average” face, brought about by plastic surgery both for the abnormally ugly and the abnormally good-looking. Only in this way can the supposed injustice (actually it’s unfairness) of the genetic lottery be righted.

Hartley’s novel is a reductio ad absurdum of a pernicious idea. By contrast, Roosevelt’s “measurable quality of opportunity” is roughly achievable by human design: only roughly, of course, because some (though few) will still be excluded biologically, and there are (again few) upbringings so terrible that they preclude opportunity for the person to become anything much. But the aspiration to deny no one a “measurable quality of opportunity” is not intrinsically nasty, as is the insistence on equality of opportunity. On the contrary; our problem is, however, that the political arrangements needed to bring this about already exist in most Western countries, and still we are unhappy or discontented. Thus we—many of us, that is—attribute our unhappiness to inequality of opportunity for fear of looking elsewhere, including inward.

Politicians love equality of opportunity as an ideal precisely because it is impossible—barring arrangements that would make North Korea seem like a libertarian paradise—to bring about. And because it is impossible, it is a permanent promise of employment for them, as they try to square the circle or construct a perpetual motion machine. It guarantees their importance, and the attainment of importance is probably the most powerful motive of all politicians.

There is only one country in the developed world, as far as I know, in which politicians are accorded no importance whatever: Switzerland. All the same, I am not sure I would like to live there. Perfection is not of this world, and if it existed it would be horrible.


Black gangs in Australia too

ONE COUPLE’S dreams of a perfect wedding were crushed when a gang of youths attacked wedding guests in Perth’s southern suburbs last night.

A WA Police spokeswoman said guests at a reception party in Bicton were assaulted by 50 youths who turned violent when refused a cigarette.

Police allege a small number of youths had requested a cigarette from guests outside the Point Walter Cafe early last night, but were rejected.

The spokeswoman said about 50 dark-skinned youths aged between 16-22 returned to the venue about 9pm and started to brawl with guests.

The group then tried to force their way into the cafe and hurled bricks, injuring seven guests.

Police say the youths left before officers arrived.

Four men and three women were taken to Fremantle Hospital for treatment.

The spokeswoman said police will review CCTV footage which captured the incident.


Australia: Equal under the law - and no exceptions

Claims that cultural identity mitigates legal responsibility for criminal acts pose a threat to Australia's legal norms.

'Identity [emphasises] the idea of certain reservations which one is entitled to insist on and which others have to recognise as constraints,' warns NYU's Jeremy Waldron.

Far from increasing social cohesion, identity politics makes living with difference harder.

Recent efforts by Australian courts to reconcile the cultural practices of minority groups with the rule of law have produced contrasting results.

In February, a Victorian magistrate accepted 'cultural differences' as a mitigating factor in a case of the attempted kidnap of a child in Geelong by a 35 year old Afghan man.

The magistrate's decision was roundly criticised by Daily Telegraph columnist, Miranda Devine. 'How can "cultural differences" be an excuse for child sexual offences?' Devine asked.

But in NSW, Parramatta local court took no account of differences in culture, practice or belief in sentencing a Muslim cleric charged with solemnising an underage marriage.

The cleric pleaded guilty, was fined, and now faces deportation after performing a 'marriage' between a 12 year old girl and a 26 year old man. The 'husband' faces criminal charges too.

The Marriage Act 1961 stipulates that you have to be 18 years of age to get married. In exceptional circumstances, the age can be lowered to 16. The Act makes no provision for lowering it to 12.

Nor has any Australian parliament made allowance for cultural differences in dealing with another practice that evokes great concern - female genital mutilation (FGM), which is banned outright in Australia.

'Whatever the cultural practice, whatever the religious practice, there is no law above Australian law,' declared NSW Minister for Community Services, Pru Goward.

Advocates of identity politics argue that such laws are racist because they have an unequal impact. But this is to mistake the cart for the horse.

Law is one of the ways a society orders itself and maintains a commitment to justice and dignity for all its citizens. The role of law is to protect without distinction or favour.

By arguing that they identify with their cultural or religious practices, members of minority groups attempt to claim more protection for their interests and practices than they are entitled to.

The demands of minority groups to exemption from laws that apply to everyone else do nothing to strengthen the liberal state.

An authentically liberal approach to living with diversity must resist the claims of group-specific identity and insist on the equal standing of all citizens under the rule of law.

Yet the pressure on Australian local courts to recognise cultural differences when dealing with minority groups is unlikely to ease.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


8 April, 2014

12-year-old speaks out on the issue of abortion

In her own words

Quitting the EU would be good for Britain... and could spark a great national revival

The idea of Britain becoming independent again is anathema on the British Left. They like the all-pervasive and undemocratic powers of the EU

It is not yet clear what effect the Nick Clegg versus Nigel Farage televised debates will have on their respective standings, but they have put Europe squarely in the centre of public debate. Is our country better off in or out? Can we even manage our own problems (such as immigration) within the EU? And can we negotiate a deal that eradicates these problems?

These are not just issues for the European Election in May, which everybody seems to be assuming UKIP will win anyway. They are critical to the Government’s strategy to renegotiate our relationship with the EU and the eventual referendum, if and when it happens.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has already made it clear that she is not going to help David Cameron secure a deal that will remotely satisfy anyone. Of course she wants Britain in Europe. We add economic, political and cultural clout, without being a threat to Germany’s leadership role within the EU, and are a major export market.

But Mrs Merkel will not fundamentally alter the architecture she believes has given Germany peace, stability, power and prosperity, unless we give her strong and clear reasons to do so. And if Germany will not, neither will France, Italy, Spain, Poland, or any of the other big players. So we must press home our demands with coherence and clarity.

We have to start by recognising that leaving is a real possibility, and make our partners recognise that. This starts with realising exit from Europe is not something to be afraid of. It could be a huge opportunity, and is less risky than scaremongers would have you believe.

They say that, outside the EU, Britain would be isolated, European allies would refuse to trade with us, and it would be a one-way street to declining employment, waning influence and decreasing prosperity. They say it would endanger our security. Nonsense. A new relationship with Europe could trigger a bright new future for the UK.

We have always exerted clout far beyond Europe’s borders, with the world’s sixth largest economy and fourth largest military budget.
We are members of the G7 and G20. We are on the UN Security Council, belong to Nato, the OECD, the Commonwealth and the World Trade Organisation.

We have a global tradition and speak the most important global language. Our influence and reputation are greater than any nation of 60?million has a right to expect, and little, if any, depends on the EU.

Far from spelling the end of Britain’s international influence, EU exit could be the catalyst for an intellectual, economic and political liberation. It would give Britain the chance to forge new relationships, pursue a new strategy reflecting our historical connections and global standing, and exploit our language, law, scientific, cultural and commercial creativity, and even our time zone.

This would be a revolution of expectations and ambition. But if we are going to seize that chance, we have to decide what sort of Britain we want to create.

We need courage and confidence to deliver a low tax, low regulation, high growth economy. We must banish the idea of accepting terminal decline, slipping down league tables and becoming a quiet backwater. The qualities and characteristics that made us a global power are still present, and only need to be harnessed once again.

So before we consider how we would negotiate to stay in, just consider how we would negotiate our exit.

First, we should retain access to the EU single market. Many countries trade successfully with the EU without being members. In 2012, almost three-quarters of Norwegian exports went to EU member states. Per capita, Switzerland sold more than four-and-a-half times as much to the EU from outside it as British businesses did from inside.

The remaining EU members have a massive vested interest in ongoing free trade with the UK. If a British exit happened tomorrow, we would be the EU’s single biggest market, accounting for 21 per cent of its exports, so our negotiating clout would be enormous.

In the unlikely event the UK was denied access to the single market, being outside the EU would not present the economic difficulties it would have done when we joined. In 1973, the average tariff on world-traded goods was around ten per cent. Since then, trade barriers across the world have fallen.

In some industries, EU external tariffs would have a significant impact on British exports. For example, Cheddar cheese would face a tariff of €167 per 100kg. But in 2012 France exported 115,000 tons of cheese to the UK, so what goes for Cheddar would also apply to Camembert, and it would be easy to achieve a tariff-free trade in dairy, as Switzerland has.

Likewise, Britain has the second-biggest car market in Europe, with Volkswagen, BMW, Audi and Mercedes taking a quarter. No car producer in Europe could afford a tariff war with one of Europe’s biggest and fastest-growing markets.

There have been several failed attempts by the EU to curb the pre-eminence of the City of London. It is a unique critical mass of talent that owes little to the EU for its success, and is easily defended from outside, if necessary. There will be lots of sabre-rattling by the EU along the way. It used to be hostile to the Swiss, but Europe’s economic interest prevailed and forced a deal, as it would with us.

The free movement of people is one of the EU’s fundamental freedoms but was not designed to cope with the massive disparities of income engendered by the accession of poor Eastern European states. This is UKIP’s most powerful argument.

We should follow the Swiss, allowing EU citizens to take up residence in the UK (and vice versa) with the same employment rights, subject to having a job, health insurance and British immigration limits. Nor would an exit spell the end of cross-border action against drugs smuggling, human trafficking and terrorism. Interpol’s 190 members co-operate perfectly well without harmonising laws.

In short, we can get a good deal from the EU, and the EU knows it.
Exit is neither high risk nor frightening. Just as the ability to walk away means you can strike a better price for that house or car, so having an attractive alternative allows us to get a better deal in Europe. Any deal to stay in should be much more ambitious than anything the Government has so far suggested.

We should not sign up to the justice-undermining European Arrest Warrant or give the European Court a say in our justice system. We should revamp the EU regulatory machine to cut the thousands of rules that pour out of Brussels every year. And we should exempt every small and medium-sized business that does not sell to the EU from all single market regulations, freeing them to compete in China, Brazil and India.

Most important, we must win back control of our destiny and democracy – with a permanent right to opt out of EU proposals against our national interest.

The choice in the referendum should be between exit, which offers opportunities for growth greater than we currently enjoy, or a radically reformed Europe in which Britain can shed the job-destroying red tape while recovering control of matters vital to the very nature of our country. They are two attractive futures – both better than where we are now.


Flashman author's tirade from beyond the grave at 'fascist' political correctness

Sir Harry Paget Flashman couldn’t have put it better. George MacDonald Fraser, author of the Flashman novels, branded political correctness an ‘insidious’ and ‘dishonest’ evil as big a threat to free speech as communism and fascism.

The author of 12 books chronicling the further adventures of the sadistic bully from Tom Brown’s Schooldays, launched his tirade in an unpublished memoir just discovered by his family.

MacDonald Fraser, who died in 2008 aged 82, wrote: ‘My chief concern is the kind of prejudice rooted in the fear of being thought illiberal. Such attitudes are dangerous and intellectually dishonest.

'But then, political correctness is by definition dishonest and is, I believe, the most insidious doctrine to plague the Western world since those abominable soul mates communism and fascism with which it has more in common than its dupes seem to realise.

‘It cannot face truth; it rejects what is, simply because what is does not suit what the politically correct thinking ought to be.’

The comments are likely to delight fans of his books who love the character’s bad behaviour.

Flashman’s womanising, heavy drinking, casual racism, bullying and outrageous cowardice make him one of the most un-PC characters in the whole of English literature.

MacDonald Fraser, who wrote several Hollywood film scripts, also recalls how he was forced to remove a scene based on real events where unscrupulous white whisky traders peddled alcohol to Plains Indians for fears scenes of drunken ‘Native Americans’ would upset their descendants.

He writes: ‘They wouldn’t like to think that it happened, so it musn’t be shown happening, even though it did. God help history.’

His family discovered the manuscript, called The Bug Of Senachie, six weeks ago while sorting out his collection of papers. A Senachie is a teller of tales from the Scottish Highlands.

The manuscript is not dated but the author’s reference in it to having written 11 Flashman books means it was written between 1999 and 2005.

His daughter Caro Fraser, who found the manuscript, said: ‘It hasn’t been published anywhere and I think he wrote it with an eye on posterity.’

The author’s family are selling his extensive working library of 2,500 books through the Mayfair bookseller Heywood Hill, which will publish the manuscript at the end of May to coincide with the sale of the books from June 2.


Soviet Sweden? Model Nation Sliding to Third World

When President Barack Obama visited Sweden last year, he expressed his deep admiration for the Swedish model. But that should make Americans a little nervous.

One U.N. report says Sweden will be a third-world nation in about 15 years, below Libya and Bulgaria. Sweden is a society that believes it is racing into the future, but critics warn that it is racing to the bottom.

It has been a laboratory for all kinds of social experiments: Swedish leaders are trying to build the perfect society.

The country has been compared to two nations that also tried to build perfect societies: North Korea and the Soviet Union.

In Sweden, if you don’t like how utopia is being built, you won’t be shot like in North Korea, but your life could become very unpleasant, very quickly.

A Perfect Society?

A YouTube video shows a journalist from one of Sweden’s leading tabloids, Expressen, confronting a Swede at his home.

The man, a professor, made what he thought were anonymous negative comments on a website about immigrant problems in Sweden.

But left-wing hackers helped the newspaper track him and others like him down so they could be exposed before the whole nation as racists. Another man, a manager, was fired because of it.

Sweden’s leftist establishment and media believe a cornerstone of their perfect society is multiculturalism: large scale immigration from some of the poorest, most backward nations on earth. Swedes who disagree with that plan risk being labeled racist, fascist, even Nazi.

“Immigration is the starting point and the finishing point. It’s the most important point to prove you’re friendly toward foreigners, you’re friendly toward immigration,” Danish journalist Mikael Jalving, author of the book Absolut Sweden, said.

“It’s all about whether you can be said to be hostile to immigration. Once that is ‘proven,’ you’re out of the game. Once you’re ‘proven’ to be a racist or fascist or nationalist, which is almost as bad, you cannot have any legitimate positions or points of view,” he explained.

It doesn’t matter if Sweden’s immigration model is failing miserably, if test scores in Swedish schools are plummeting, or if crime in some areas has skyrocketed. Immigrants burned the Stockholm suburb of Husby for over a week last year.

Many Jews now live in fear of attacks by Muslim immigrants and are leaving.

Amun Abdullahi, a journalist for Swedish radio, left last year and returned to her native Somalia after she was attacked in the Swedish media over her news report about radical Muslim immigrants in Sweden.

She told Swedish television that Mogadishu was safer than then immigrant areas in Stockholm.

Stalinist-Style Sweden

And forget about an American-style “melting pot” in which immigrants will someday learn to become Swedish. In Sweden, that’s a racist idea, too.

Jalving said Swedes are supposed to learn from immigrants, not the other way around. There is a demonstrated hatred of Swedish culture among the nation’s elite.

“Assimilation is completely out of the question,” Jalving told CBN News. “All mainstream political parties would laugh [at the word 'assimilation']. [To them] the word ‘assimilation’ is a Nazi word.”

CBN News talked to several journalists who described a Stalinist-style atmosphere in which Sweden’s citizens are now afraid of saying anything that might get them labeled in the media as “racist.”

“If they point at you and say you are a racist, then you will have no job, no career, you might lose your family. You will have no future,” Swedish journalist Ingrid Carlqvist said.

Carlqvist and Danish journalist Lars Hedegaard run the online newspaper Dispatch International, which covers issues like immigration that the mainstream media in Sweden ignore.

But Carlqvist admits their plan for a traditional newspaper failed because Swedes were too scared to have the paper delivered to their homes.

“Because what if the mailman saw if you had this newspaper, or your neighbor saw it? Then they might think that you are racist or that you hate Muslims,” Carlqvist said.

“We thought we could make an impact. We still think we can make an impact, but it’s tough going,” Hedegaard said.

Dispatch International had to drop online subscriptions, too, after repeated hacker attacks because Swedes were again afraid of being exposed. The website now hangs on through donations.

A Third World Country?

Sweden has become a nation where some viewpoints are simply too risky to even read.

“What some Swedish parents advise their children nowadays is to not to interfere in the public discussion, not to express so-called ‘radical’ ideas about this or that that is critical of the consensus in Sweden,” Jalving said. “It’ll harm them in one way or another. The Swedes want to protect their children.”

“That is a very bad situation because you then live in a country where you cannot solve any problems. You do not even know what the problems are,” Hedegaard said.

Hedegaard, a Dane, was nearly killed last year in Copenhagen by an immigrant who came to his door and fired a gun at him.

Carlqvist, a Swede, has decided to leave Sweden because of the persecution of those who dissent.

Sweden is not going to become a third world nation tomorrow. But according to one report, one day it will.

“We had a perfectly good country,” Carlqvist said. “A rich country, a nice country, and in a few years’ time, that country will be gone.”



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


7 April, 2014

Aintree and the Melbourne cup

The Melbourne cup is Australia's richest and most widely-followed horse race. Just after the running of the cup in 2012 I noted a comment from a British journalist that scorned the patrons at the cup. We all know that racegoers generally get rather cheerful on that day of days but I thought the scorn was overdone and unjustified. So I put up a piece on this blog which pointed out that racedays in Britain can be pretty disgusting. I illustrated my point with a few pictures from Aintree, home of Britain's premier jump race, the Grand National.

But my blog has nowhere near a mass audience so I imagine that my comments went totally unheeded in Britain.

I have always found however that the world eventually tends to catch up with what I think so I was pleased that this year a Murdoch tentacle has gone to town on the doings at Aintree. You can see the pictures here in all their glory.

The problem with Aintree is that it is within easy access from Liverpool, a largely working class and underclass city with a high incidence of welfare dependency. And the fat ladies from the council houses of Liverpool seize the opportunity to visit a national occasion and disport themselves.

There is also a collection of photos in Britain's Daily Mail but it takes the Murdoch collection to give you the full horror of it all. If you read only the DM you might think the occasion was a fairly respectable one.

The DM article is in fact a bit of a coverup this year. They have had more graphic pix in previous years. And the reason probably is that a large chunk of the tickets for Ladies' Day went unsold this year. Apparently Brits generally have become disgusted by the occasion and have taken to staying away. So the fat ladies will have only one-another to show off to. There will be very few ladies at Ladies' Day from now on.

'Eat pork or go hungry': France's National Front leader tells school canteens to stop offering religious alternatives to Muslim children

Far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen said on Friday it would prevent schools from offering non-pork alternatives to Muslim pupils in the 11 towns it won in local elections, saying such arrangements were contrary to France's secular values.

France's republic has a strict secular tradition enforceable by law, but faith-related demands have risen in recent years, especially from the country's five-million-strong Muslim minority, the largest in Europe.

'We will not accept any religious demands in school menus,' Le Pen told RTL radio. 'There is no reason for religion to enter the public sphere, that's the law.'

The mayor of Arveyres, Benoit Gheysens told AFP the move was being taken because of the cost of providing alternative meals, many of which went to waste.

'Often children who did not take the substitute dinner complained as well and left the pork. It distressed the staff to see how much food was wasted,' Gheysens said.

In the eastern town of Hayanges FN mayor Fabien Engelmann has also proposed a 'Pork Fest' to liven up the town centre, a plan he insists is not designed to offend Muslims but which will do little to alleviate high local unemployment.

The anti-immigrant National Front has consistently bemoaned the rising influence of Islam in French pubic life.

France has seen periodic controversies over schools that substitute beef or chicken for pork from menus to cater to Muslim children.

Some of the FN's new mayors have complained there are too many halal shops in their towns.

The party won control of 11 town halls and a large district in the port city of Marseille in municipal elections on Sunday, more than double its record from the 1990s.

Le Pen hailed the victory as showing the party had finally established itself as France's third political force behind ruling Socialists and mainstream conservatives, and predicts a strong showing in May's European Parliament elections.


We can't take any more! Residents of deprived borough speak out as it's predicted Britain will need another Manchester to absorb immigration

Not so long ago, Pam Dumbleton would have been roasted alive. There’d have been booing and cries of ‘racist!’. There she was in the middle of a particularly combative episode of BBC1’s Question Time the other day, and she was not merely raising the issue of immigration. She was lamenting it.

What’s more, she was sitting in the front row of the Broadway Theatre in Barking, one of Britain’s most ethnically diverse communities.

‘Isn’t it time the Government listened to the people about the effect immigration is having in changing our communities?’ asked the 69-year-old

By ‘we’, she meant members of the British-born white working class who are, indeed, now a minority in this bit of London’s East End, according to the Government’s latest statistics.

And that demographic shift is accelerating. Two-thirds of schoolchildren in the Borough of Barking and Dagenham now are from an ethnic minority; at one primary school near Pam’s council estate, the figure is 94 per cent, while less than a quarter speak English as a first language.

This is one of the poorest parts of the South-East, with serious unemployment and the country’s highest birth rate to boot. Even Poundland is being squeezed here. Several 99p stores have opened up on the main drag, only to be undercut, in turn, by a cheeky new 97p shop. Apparently, an 89p store is imminent.

So, was Pam Dumbleton fanning the flames of racial tension with her remarks on Question Time? Hardly. There were a few liberal groans and applause for a man who complained that the BBC should not be giving airtime to such inappropriate opinions. But, interestingly, none of the politicians on the panel chose to quarrel with Pam.

Because, as I accompany her through Barking, it becomes clear that she represents the concerns of a much wider constituency than simply the old white working class. ‘This place has just changed beyond all recognition and in such a short time,’ says Pam, walking with her friend, Joyce Cracknell, an 80-year-old child of the Blitz.

Between them, they run the residents’ association for their 1,200-home estate. ‘We’ve always had immigration here and we’ve always got on together,’ says Joyce. ‘But then we had this sudden influx from the EU and it’s too much.’

Until recently, she was a Labour activist, but has now left the party. Both she and Pam are planning to stand in next month’s council elections as UKIP candidates. ‘Tony Blair opened our borders and they’ve never closed,’ says Pam. ‘Now, we’ve got people around us living in sheds, or cramming ten at a time into a tiny flat.’

One of her two sons, she says, has moved to Cornwall. ‘He doesn’t want to send his children to a school where most children don’t speak English.’

Things are unlikely to change any time soon. Although George Osborne announced a new £150 million rail link for Barking in last month’s Budget — to ‘unlock’ the building of 11,000 new homes — this week’s report by the think-tank MigrationWatch summed up the scale of the challenge ahead.

It warned that if Britain is to accommodate all the EU migrants expected here over the next four years, then we will need an extra city the size of Manchester.

You need only look at the current pattern of migration to realise that many of them will end up in this borough (the owners of the Lithuanian supermarket off the high street certainly think so; they’re opening a new Lithuanian cafe next door). Given Barking has some of the capital’s cheapest accommodation, it’s inevitable.

This week’s extraordinary photographs of desperate migrants risking death as they jump aboard UK-bound lorries merely underline the situation in terms of non-EU arrivals.

Thankfully, this is no longer a debate about race, as it was when the British National Party was stirring up the protest vote in these parts. In 2006, the BNP even won 12 seats on the council. Today, it has completely disappeared. The debate, now, is about the system.

Among white and black, Left and Right, old and young, one subject on which pretty much everyone in Barking agrees is that current levels of immigration (from Europe and elsewhere) are unsustainable. At one high street cafe, a group of pensioners are huddled round the ashtrays on a pavement table and making their cups of tea last for hours.

They all have their gripes with the council and the Government about the ‘invasion’ of foreigners who, they believe, are clogging the housing lists, surgery queues and buses. A blind couple with a pair of guide dogs complain bitterly that many local ‘foreign’ shopkeepers refuse them entry ‘because they’re scared of dogs’.

They all preface every remark by saying that are not racist, but merely feel forgotten. One of the gang is retired NHS switchboard operator James Beckles, 81. ‘I just don’t agree with this European thing,’ he says. ‘It’s putting too much pressure. There should be controls.’ James is an immigrant himself, having moved to Britain from Guyana in 1952.

And, like the rest of the group, he believes that open borders and easy access to the benefits system are making it hard for people like himself. ‘People find it too easy to live off the State. I was never out of a job.’

It’s market day and Marvin Brightly, 33, is dividing his time between his stall selling CDs and his Caribbean foodstore just down the road. He says that the pressure on housing from all the newcomers means that young men like him can never hope to qualify for social housing because they don’t tick the right boxes.

‘You’ve got to have a kid or be a substance-abuser before they have to house you,’ he tells me.

His friend, Ella Francis, a 27-year-old single mother, agrees. ‘You’ve got the Government making all these cutbacks, but if they stopped letting all these foreigners in, they wouldn’t have these problems.’

Ella refuses to claim benefits. She leaves her son with her family while she works as a civil servant during the week and tops up her wages by working weekends in a call centre.

‘I suppose I might be better off on benefits, but I’m trying to buy my own place,’ she says. ‘I’ve got a neighbour with six kids who says to me: “Why work when you can live off the State?” And I tell her: “I’m working all day so you can stay home and watch Jeremy Kyle”.’

Both are the aspirational children of parents who moved to Britain from the Caribbean in search of a better life. Both are lukewarm Labour voters. Both think the system is failing when it comes to immigration and benefits. ‘How can Bulgarians just come over and start claiming benefits?’ asks Ella. ‘It has to change.’

All the immigrants I meet are either in work, or married to someone who is. Usman, 47, a security guard, is manning a friend’s market stall and chatting to his friend Lamin, 33, who works at McDonald’s. Both are from the tiny West African dictatorship of Gambia and love it here.

‘It doesn’t matter how beautiful your country is if you’re not free,’ says Lamin. ‘Here, we’re free.’

This remains staunch Labour territory. At the last council elections, the party enjoyed a North Korean-style clean sweep, winning 51 out of 51 seats. But a protest vote now seems to be coalescing around UKIP, reinforcing the recent reports that the party is making inroads into traditional Labour heartlands.

Just last month, it was announced that another Labour councillor in Barking has jumped over to UKIP. Tariq Saeed brings the number of defections to four and gives UKIP a presence in the substantial local Muslim community — though his arrival was eclipsed by racier headlines about UKIP leader Nigel Farage and his eye for the ladies.

Down at the Broadway Theatre, where they filmed Question Time, I find a plaque on the wall. It commemorates the reopening of the venue by a former mayor of the borough, Ron Curtis. When I track him down, he tells me he has decided to come out of retirement and run for UKIP at the next council elections — at the age of 80.

The main parties need a fresh immigration narrative in places like this — and fast. Another MigrationWatch report has rubbished the received wisdom that immigration makes a ‘substantial’ contribution to the public purse.

Last year’s University College London report (much-lauded by the liberal Left) claimed that migrants had contributed £25?billion to the economy since 2000. Revisiting the same data, MigrationWatch now claims that the true figure is a net loss of £27?billion.

Government pledges to reduce net migration from six figures to five have been shown up as worthless. According to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), numbers rose by more than a third in 2013 to 212,000.

When the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, professes himself to be ‘intensely relaxed’ on the issue, as he did last month, and our EU partners correctly point out that there is absolutely nothing Britain can do about the free flow of EU citizens (or their rights to UK benefits), is it any wonder that the Pam Dumbletons of this world raise their hands on Question Time?

The bald statistics underline the pace of change. In the 2001 census, more than 130,000 Barking and Dagenham residents defined themselves as ‘white British’. A decade later, the total was 92,000, a fall of nearly 30 per cent. They now account for less than half the population. Over the same period, the number of people in the borough, born in Africa and Asia, rose threefold to 20,000 and 17,000 respectively.

Then there are the numbers from the latest EU member states across Eastern Europe. The latest census puts them at 9,100. Academic studies of Eastern European migration in areas such as Boston, Lincolnshire, suggest that the census could be understating the true numbers by at least 40 per cent.

That’s because young people, arriving from former totalitarian states and living in unlicensed accommodation, do not always feel inclined to fill in census forms.

On the other side of the borough, I meet one of the new breed of UKIP activists round here. Until a few months ago, Peter Harris, 43, had never been involved in politics. Born into a staunchly Labour Dagenham council house, he has long been a prominent member of the community, establishing a car repair business, which employs 30 people, becoming president of the local Chamber of Commerce, a governor of the local college and trustee of the local sports complex.

Immigration has been going on here all his life, he says, but now he feels compelled to take a stand. ‘This is a poor borough and we’ve got more nought to four year olds than anywhere. We’re having to build schools everywhere, we’ve got to make £164?million in cuts and we’ve got 12,500 people waiting for 1,200 council houses.

‘This place isn’t racist. But it’s saying: “Enough is enough”. People say UKIP are a bunch of amateurs. Well, given all that’s happened, that’s not a bad thing.’

He takes me into a Dagenham pie-and-mash shop. How’s business? ‘Dreadful,’ says manager Dean Tappin, offering me a plate of jellied eels. ‘This is East End food and it’s made properly, not like some factory chicken. But the new lot don’t even try it. We’ve got our old regulars, but a lot of them have moved out.’

A council spokesman points out that the borough has one of the largest social housing programmes in London. It is about to introduce a new landlord licensing scheme in a bid to clamp down on cowboy operators who cram ten Lithuanian builders into a space designed for a family of four. But there is only so much any local authority can do.

Barking’s Labour MP Margaret Hodge acknowledges that people are worried: ‘We’re in a period of huge transition, which is very hard for people to accept, but setting targets is not the answer. They don’t work and then people lose trust in the system.’

While pleased to see the back of the BNP, she is worried about the ‘outrageous’ way that other London boroughs are renting buy-to-let properties here and dumping difficult families without even informing the council.

For all the concrete public spaces (even the ‘arboretum’ is paved) and the high-rise blocks, this is a place with a long and ancient history.

William the Conqueror based himself at Barking Abbey. Captain Cook was married at St Margaret’s, Barking, a pretty old church, which somehow dodged the Blitz.

Today, it also has a delightful cafe — unveiled by local boy turned Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey — where you can dine royally for a couple of quid.

I sit down for a chat with the rector, the Rt Rev Dr Trevor Mwamba, assistant Bishop for the Diocese of Chelmsford. He points out that, for all the issues raised by Question Time, there is much ‘beautiful’ cohesion between the different communities in Barking.

He also points out that he himself is an immigrant, having been, until recently, the Bishop of Botswana.

He loves it here, he says, but he, too, concedes that the system has to change. ‘If you have an influx of people and a demand on services, you have to manage that so that everyone can benefit. Otherwise, it’s chaos.’

To which most people around here would probably say: Amen.


The granny branded a racist by a judge, the traveller living on green belt land, and justice turned on its head

Former Sunday School teacher Jose Hampson’s fall from grace happened virtually overnight. The 78-year-old widow was reduced from highly-respected ‘stalwart of the community’ to complete pariah in the blink of an eye.

One minute the church-going, grandmother-of-three was a popular toyshop owner of 50 years’ standing in the Lancashire town of Chorley; the next, some people she’d known for decades were crossing the road to avoid her.

Where once the local newspaper proudly carried smiling photos of Jose receiving an award from the mayor for ‘Making Chorley Smile’, now it carried the banner headline ‘Racism Shame of Local Shopkeeper’.

Even the local police force, with whom Jose had worked closely and amicably during her 20 years as honourable secretary of the Chamber of Trade, suddenly seemed willing to believe the worst of her.

Why? Because a family of travellers who’d illegally established themselves on a patch of Green Belt land they’d bought near Jose’s converted barn complained that this mild-mannered OAP — locally renowned for her ‘tact and sensitivity’ — had launched a torrent of foul-mouthed racist abuse calling them ‘dirty f****** gypos’.

When this accusation was made against her 11 months ago, officers wasted little time finger-printing and DNA-testing.

Questioned under oath at a police station, Jose placed a hand on a Bible and insisted time and again it was simply not true, but in May last year she was charged with racially aggravated harassment.

‘The allegations against me were so ridiculous, I really thought the case would be laughed out of court,’ says Josie, whose good name was finally restored this week when her conviction was quashed on appeal.

‘I was shaking with disbelief and almost fainted with shock when I was found guilty. There were no independent witnesses, it was their word against mine and yet they were believed without a shred of real evidence against me.

‘Everyone who knows me never doubted my innocence for a second. They knew it was impossible for me to utter such vile words — I’m not a racist and I have never sworn in my life — but it was shaming to have my name dragged through the mud.

‘I couldn’t believe that an innocent person could be found guilty in a British court of law and my good character destroyed. It seems to me that all you have to do is wave the racist flag these days and you get special treatment.’

In August last year, former school governor Jose was found guilty at Chorley magistrates court of racially abusing the family of travellers. She was fined £690, ordered to pay £620 costs and a £69 victim surcharge, and left court with her reputation in tatters.

Deputy district judge James Hatton convicted Jose after hearing the testimony of traveller Michael Linfoot, a builder, his wife Patty and her parents, who claimed Mrs Hampson angrily leapt out of her blue Jaguar when Mr Linfoot challenged her for reversing her car on to his land.

Mr Linfoot claimed Jose aggressively waved her arms and shouted ‘I’m f*****g sick of you lot, you’re illegal, you should f*** off you dirty f******g gypos’. He further claimed she later tried to run him over.

Mrs Hampson was recovering from a shoulder operation and suffered from spinal problems, rendering her incapable of leaping from a car, let alone waving her arms around. She stands 5ft tall and weighs just 8st.

In contrast, burly Mr Linfoot is involved with a local boxing club, yet it was he who allegedly felt so upset and intimidated by the tiny OAP that he lodged a complaint with the police. It was his version of events that the district judge believed.

Frail and elderly she may be, but Jose was not going to stand for this miscarriage of justice and she immediately vowed to clear her name, no matter how long it took.

And this week, after almost a year of sleepless nights and worry, Jose was vindicated after Preston Crown Court ruled she was innocent and wiped her record clean. A barrister friend — with whom Jose plays bridge — took on her case pro bono (free of charge) because he was so incensed at the way she’d been treated.

‘I was born in 1936, I grew up during World War II in a country which fought for freedom and justice,’ she explains with a quiet dignity. ‘That is the Britain I know and I wasn’t prepared for another person to go through what I have.’

Her conviction was quashed after the court was presented with written testimonials from local people attesting to Jose’s impeccable character; an opportunity she was denied at her original trial.

They included letters from her GP — stating it was physically impossible for Jose to leap from her car in the manner Mr Linfoot described — her local MP and Peter Wilding, chairman of Chorley and District Chamber of Trade, who described Jose as a woman of ‘honesty and integrity’.

Mr Wilding wrote ‘In all the time I have known her I have never heard her use bad language and she has a high moral standing’.

There was also a letter from Sikander Hyatt, a Pakistani-born friend and tenant of Jose’s — she owns a small property portfolio of shops and flats — who was horrified at the accusation of racism, which he insisted was completely unfounded.

Although all this help was freely given, Jose says she would have been willing to pay thousands to prove her innocence. For her reputation means everything to her.

Jose’s victory, however, has not come without cost.

En route to her converted barn in rural Heath Charnock, I pass by Hampson’s toyshop in Chorley town centre. Established in 1960 and now owned by Jose’s son Michael, 48, it has precious few customers. A ‘To Let’ Sign hangs outside the building. It will be closing soon, the shop’s economic woes exacerbated by the damage done to Jose’s good name.

On the narrow rural lane leading to Jose’s house are two smart- looking static mobile homes, where Mr Linfoot and his family now live. They are currently fighting the local council’s attempts to evict them.

A shiny, liveried van sits on the drive, the scene of last year’s altercation with Jose Hampson.

Opening the door to her home, it is indeed hard to reconcile Mr Linfoot’s portrayal of Jose Hampson as ‘an aggressive, foul-mouthed racist’ with the polite, pocket-sized granny who leads me into a living room dominated by a dresser decorated with willow-pattern crockery.

Unsteady on her feet, Mrs Hampson — who nursed her husband of almost 50 years through cancer until his death five years ago — had a hip replacement operation recently and is only just out of her wheelchair.

Jose tells me she and late husband Jack, a builder, fell in love with this spot, with its horse paddocks and uninterrupted views, as a young married couple more than 45 years ago. They bought the farmhouse and its outbuildings, where they raised their two children, Michael, and Tracey, now 53.

Jose downsized to the barn, which they’d converted, and sold off the main house after Jack fell critically ill with lung cancer caused from years of working with asbestos.

After he died, she couldn’t bear to leave the home which held so many cherished memories for her. But her hopes for a quiet, well-earned retirement were short-lived.

It was in 2008 that Mr Linfoot and his wife, who have three sons, bought a small plot of Green Belt land near Jose’s home, on which they hoped to ‘practise their Romany culture’. A number of caravans arrived around four years ago — since replaced with static mobile homes — and the Linfoots applied for planning permission for change of use.

The planning application and appeal were refused by the local council, which has unsuccessfully been trying to evict the family ever since on the grounds that it is an inappropriate use of Green Belt land.

Last year the Linfoots were granted a temporary two-year reprieve after their lawyer argued the council’s five-year plan did not include an adequate assessment of local gypsy and traveller families who would need somewhere to live in the future.

‘I’ve nothing against families wanting to make better lives for themselves and their children,’ says Jose who, despite her dismay at the Linfoots setting up home on Green Belt land without planning permission, insists she was always polite and neighbourly towards them.

She continues: ‘When my ginger cat went missing, I went and knocked on their door and asked them to look out for him which they kindly agreed to do.

‘Another night, when I was walking my dog, their large black dog came bounding over to me and when I heard them calling for him I said ‘He’s over here’ and took him back to their home.

They thanked me and one of them walked me home because it was dark.

‘There was no animosity between us at all, no arguments or bad feeling, so what happened last April came as a complete bolt out of the blue. I just couldn’t understand it.’

It was around 4pm one spring afternoon when Jose returned home in her car from collecting rent at her properties to find the narrow lane blocked by a van parked outside a cottage.

‘I tried to squeeze past the van and scraped my bumper on a low wall in front of the cottage. I didn’t want to cause a fuss by asking the van owner to move it, so I decided to reverse back down the lane and come back later,’ says Jose, who then backed between the gateposts leading to the Linfoot driveway to turn her car around.

‘I suddenly became aware of Mr Linfoot, who angrily ran over to my car shouting: “What the f*** are you doing on my land?” I felt very shocked and intimidated, but tried to stay calm as I explained I was just turning my car around because the road was blocked.

‘I pointed out that I had scraped my bumper, but he kept swearing at me through the car window. I felt like a rabbit trapped in the headlights. It was very frightening, so eventually I said to him: “I believe you are not supposed to be on this land because it is Green Belt.” I felt so shaken I decided to drive back into town and return home in half an hour, when hopefully the van was gone. I felt far too frightened and vulnerable to get out of my car, let alone wave my arms around shouting aggressively.’

Indeed, six months earlier Jose had undergone an operation to repair the rotator cuff muscles in her right shoulder and was still receiving pain-killing injections. Not only that, but she’d recently had an MRI scan on her spine, revealing disc degeneration, and had also been referred to orthopaedic knee surgeons after complaining of persistent pain.

‘When I came back Mr Linfoot was walking down the lane and I inched past him at a snail’s pace in my car because I didn’t want any more trouble and I was a bit nervous. He later claimed I’d tried to run him over, which was a pack of lies,’ says Jose. If it had just been a spat between neighbours, no more would have been heard of this sorry tale. But once Mr Linfoot and his family — who claimed to have witnessed the whole incident — complained to police of racially motivated harassment, officers were duty bound to investigate.

‘I was shocked when a police officer phoned me up and invited me to the local station, saying a complaint of racism had been made against me,’ says Jose, who was questioned under oath last May.

‘I’ve never been in trouble with the police in my life, but they fingerprinted and palm-printed me and took my DNA. Three times the young PC asked me if I wanted a solicitor and three times I refused saying: “I don’t need a solicitor because I’m innocent.”

‘I put my hand on the Bible and said: “It’s not true.” Then the officer suggested I should just plead guilty, pay a small fine and that would be the end of it, but I told him: “I can’t do that because I’m innocent.”?’

Jose says she trembled like a leaf as she sat in the dock last August, listening with disbelief as her accusers put forward their version of events, and almost collapsed when found guilty.

She says she doesn’t know how she would have coped without the unswerving and loyal support of her son and daughter, and grandchildren Miles, 22, Marcus, 19, and Katie, 16.

‘My family was absolutely wonderful during what was a very stressful time for me and couldn’t believe the way I’d been treated. They were as stunned and shocked as I was,’ she says. ‘My close friends too, all the people who really know me, never believed the accusations for one second.’

Although the judgment has now been overturned and her reputation restored, Jose still struggles to make any sense of her ordeal.

The Linfoot family’s temporary planning permission is up for review in July next year. While they have their supporters, there are plenty of local objectors, too.

After what happened to Jose, will residents now feel too intimidated to oppose this travellers’ site, fearing they might also end up in the dock accused of racism?

‘It is very sad if local residents are deprived a voice because they fear being falsely branded racists. This has nothing to do with race, it’s about whether we allow anyone to set up home wherever they like on Green Belt land without permission which would be setting a worrying precedent,’ says Jose.

‘I care about British justice more than anything, but it seems using the word racist allows certain people to open doors and put innocent people in the dock.’



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


5 April, 2014

Another false rape claim from Britain

A trainee lawyer hoping to qualify as a barrister cried rape 11 times to get out of taking her Bar exams, a court has heard.

Rhiannon Brooker, 30, falsely accused her boyfriend of repeatedly raping and assaulting her, causing him to be arrested, charged and held in custody for 30 days, it was said.

But detectives could not find any evidence that Paul Fensome, 46, had carried out the crimes and arrested Brooker.

It then emerged that she had used the allegations as 'extenuating circumstances' in a failed attempt to dodge her exams, Bristol Crown Court heard.

She is now standing trial for 11 false claims of rape and nine of assault, two of which include imprisonment allegations.

David Bartlett, prosecuting, said: 'The prosecution says that one of the reasons for her false allegations was that she was living an active social life in Bristol and not doing the work required to pass the assessments, so she falsified the allegations in order to give substance to her extenuating circumstances forms.'

The court heard how 'confident and outspoken' Brooker took a Bachelor of Law degree at Birmingham City University before moving to Bristol in September 2010.

She attended the University of the West of England (UWE) in the city in order to take her BVC qualifications to become a barrister.

Brooker, who lived in Frampton Cotterell, South Gloucestershire, at the time of the alleged offences, claimed Mr Fensome, whom she met in Birmingham, objected violently to the move.

Mr Bartlett told the court that, shortly before her move to Bristol, Brooker appeared at the convenience store where she worked with injuries and complained to managers that her boyfriend had assaulted her.

She also told fellow university students that she had been assaulted and raped, but had not reported the matter to police, the court heard.

Jurors were told she finally went to police in May 2011 following a visit to the Royal United Hospital in Bath, but all the allegations were denied by railway signalman Mr Fensome.

Brooker consented to police examining her medical records from hospitals or clinics she had attended, and took photos of her injuries.

The court was told that the allegations involving false imprisonment and assault at her home were countered with 'cast iron alibis' by Mr Fensome.

On other occasions texts from his phone, telephone cell site analysis and his work shift patterns all either undermined or disproved further allegations, the court heard.

Mr Bartlett said: 'Whilst in respect of some allegations there was no independent evidence either to confirm what she had said or undermine it, on other occasions independent evidence either undermined or disproved her account.

'Eventually the Crown dropped the numerous charges against Paul Fensome because, taken as a whole, the evidence showed that there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.

'Expert opinion was obtained which suggested that those injuries of Brooker that were photographed were self-inflicted.'

She claimed Mr Fensome forced her to have sex a number of times, and on one occasion she told a friend she had lost a baby because her boyfriend had punched her in the ribs, the court heard.

While at university, it is alleged she told friends that facial injuries and bruising she had were as a result of her attempts to end her relationship, which she claimed Mr Fensome would not allow.

In March 2011, she was assessed by an independent domestic violence advisor, who tried to encourage her to involve police and log events.

The court heard Brooker only sat the first four of her 12 assessments for her BVC course and persuaded the Extenuating Circumstance Committee to let her sit all at a later date.

Although she failed the exams because she went beyond time limits for the retakes.

Later withdrawing her allegations, Brooker confirmed they were false and admitted that injuries seen by witnesses were self-inflicted, the court heard. In a prepared statement, she told police she made the allegations due to 'unresolved feelings of anger'.

After making the statement to police, Brooker was later found slumped against a tree by a river with a bottle of vodka and a strip of anti-depressants.

'The police and ambulance were called but she was abusive to both,' Mr Bartlett told the court.


Our asylum system must be sacrosanct; the Home Office had to send Yashika Bageerathi home

Yesterday, 19-year-old Yashika Bageerathi was deported from the UK to Mauritius. The decision by Home Officer ministers to continue with her removal came in the face of a storm of protest. A petition to have the decision overturned secured 175,000 signatures. A campaign to allow the gifted A-level student to say gripped the media. As she was driven to the airport, journalists were tweeting live reports from the road.

The campaigners were wrong, and the Home Office was right. It was not only necessary to remove Yashika Bageerathi from the UK, it was vital.

Yashika Bageerathi did not arrive in the UK on a student visa. Or a work visa. Nor did she enter the country illegally. She arrived in 2011 with her mother, sister and brother, and claimed asylum. They were, they said, fleeing from an abusive relative. The case was examined in detail by the Home Office, and rejected. In their judgment Yashika and her family did not have a well-founded fear of persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of an oppressed social group. And on that basis, after three years in the UK, she has been removed.

Her case was an emotive one. She was doing well at school. Her and her family were popular within their community.
But here’s the problem; she had claimed asylum. And under the laws of the UK and conventions of the United Nations she had no basis for that claim.

Asylum is a sacred principle. More importantly, it is a sacred practice. Or it should be. If you reach this country, and you are under genuine threat of murder, torture or oppression, you will be granted sanctuary. Forget all the well-rehearsed arguments about the pressure on public services, and the threat to social cohesion, and how Nigel Farage feels when he’s commuting. If you arrive here, and you are fearful for you life, then you are safe, and you can stay. No ifs, not buts. This is Britain, and we will not turn our back.

But for that principle to be maintained, it must be sacrosanct. And over the last few years it has not been sacrosanct.

As the debate around immigration has raged, the phrase “asylum seeker” has become corrupted. It has almost become a form of abuse. Synonymous with the term “bogus”.

There is a simple reason for this, one which transcends the toxicity of our current moral panic over migration. Most people who claim asylum in the UK do not have a well-founded fear of persecution. Roughly three out of every four claims are examined, and then rejected.

Occasionally mistakes are made. The assessments are considered in a political environment in which there is pressure to limit the number of people entering the UK.

But that does not account for – nor come close to accounting for – the discrepancy between the number of asylum applications and the number of positive decisions. The fact is the asylum system is used by a small but significant number of people as a back-door route to economic migration.

And that is understandable. If I was experiencing the grotesque poverty half the world faces I’d be looking for a back door to a better life as well.

But we cannot build an effective migration system via a series of secretive back doors. I believe our interests are served by having a relatively liberal immigration system. But we do still need a system. And that system has to be built on rules, and those rules have to be enforced.

Because if they’re not, we know what happens. The public consensus necessary to support that system collapses.

When it comes to economic migration, that’s frustrating. It may even be shaming. But at the end of the day, the consequences are economic. We’ll be a poorer country. The debt will increase, GDP will fall and unemployment will actually rise. I won’t be able to employ my Polish cleaner.

But if we lose the consensus over asylum then people are going to die. They’re going to die in horrible, disgusting ways. And that is why the sacred principle of asylum must be protected at all costs.

“Yashika has proved herself a model student,” said the petition. Yes. But she did not have a legitimate basis or asylum. She was “a valuable member of the community”. Undoubtedly. But she did not have a legitimate basis for asylum.

“She is to be torn apart from her family and deported to Mauritius without even having the chance to compete her A-levels.” Which is tragic. But she did not have a legitimate basis for asylum.

We either have a system of granting people sanctuary that is inviolate, or we do not. And if we don’t – if we allow exceptions and loopholes – then gradually the foundations upon which the principle of asylum rests will be chipped away. And over the last few years the anti-immigration lobby haven’t been chipping away at it. They’ve been attacking it with a pneumatic drill.

Asylum has to be a sacred principle and a sacred practice. And that’s why Yashika Bageerathi had to be sent home.


Real Women Vote Democrat, or Do They?

Mona Charen

"The conservative minds of the Heritage Foundation have found a way for Republicans to shrink the gender gap: They need to persuade more women to get their MRS degrees [get married]." So wrote the Washington Post's Dana Milbank about a panel that featured Mollie Hemingway, Karin Agness and yours truly.

It was so nice of Milbank to attend -- a shame that his mind was so clenched shut that he could hear only what his prejudices led him to expect, rather than what we actually said. Hate to interrupt a good sneer, but the panel wasn't about the gender gap; it was about feminism.

Milbank focused narrowly on the political implications of our talk and couldn't resist descending to the most tired leftist cliche, namely that "the consensus was that we ought to go back in history." The left cannot shake is starry-eyed confidence that history has a vector -- that forward is always toward the sunny uplands of equality, prosperity and happiness -- and backward is always a descent. Tell that to Germans in 1933 or Cambodians in 1975. Ask a newly captured slave onboard a ship in the middle passage if he wanted to "go back in history."

Speaking for myself and not my fellow panelists, I do believe that feminism took a number of wrong turns since the 1970s -- rejecting marriage, embracing the sexual revolution, cheerleading for abortion without any restrictions, vehemently denying that young children pay a price when they are placed in institutional care, recycling bogus statistics like the 77-cents myth, spurning the accomplishments of conservative heroines like Margaret Thatcher and Condoleezza Rice, demonizing men as oppressors. It's a long list.

But most of my talk at the Heritage Foundation wasn't especially partisan or even political. I was quoting the social science that scholars across the political spectrum agree upon -- namely, that a focus on women's progress and glass ceilings and "leaning" this way and that misses the most important news: Men are falling behind. A larger percentage of women than men finish high school. Women now earn 57 percent of bachelor's degrees, 63 percent of master's degrees, and 53 percent of doctorates. Men are earning less and dropping out of the labor force at alarming rates. Women are earning more and taking a larger percentage of managerial and supervisory posts.

The decline of marriage hurts men as well as women and children, but its effects are not evenly distributed. Among the college-educated, divorce has declined and unwed childbearing is rare. By contrast, among high school dropouts, most women will have their first child before getting married and rare is the unmarried couple who remains together for life.

The collapse of marriage among the uneducated and partially educated has unquestionably been a social and economic disaster. The data are overwhelming that children raised by married parents are happier, healthier, do better in school, and are more likely to attend and finish college than their peers from single-parent homes. This is true without regard to race or ethnicity. In fact, being raised by a single mother is a better predictor of poverty than race or ancestry.

Those concerned about income inequality, poverty and social health, I argued (and I was joined in this by my fellow panelists), must be concerned about rebuilding the marriage norm. I cited the successful effort to reduce teen pregnancy (it's dropped 50 percent in recent years). A similar campaign to stress the importance of stable families could yield huge benefits for the most vulnerable populations in our society.

Only in the question-and-answer session did the issue that so absorbed Milbank arise: How this affects elections. Responding to a question, we noted the glaringly unsurprising fact that the gender gap between Democrats and Republicans is actually a marriage gap. Single women vote disproportionately for Democrats and married women vote by a comfortable margin for Republicans.

The decline of marriage inclines more women to vote Democrat. They are, quite understandably, looking for security (a la "The Life of Julia"). It's obviously not a good campaign strategy for Republican office-seekers to lecture women about marching to the altar before having children.

But, believe it or not, it's useful to think about and discuss important social trends without always appending a D or an R to them. Serious people can seek out the illuminating research by Isabel Sawhill, Charles Murray, Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, Elaine Kamarck, W. Bradford Wilcox and other scholars.

Fans of shallow snark will enjoy Milbank's work.


How a ban on hate speech helped the Nazis

WHAT could an eccentric Swedish pastor, a drunk British student and Brigitte Bardot possibly have in common?

All have been imprisoned or threatened with imprisonment for saying offensive things about minority groups.

The Swedish pastor, Ake Green, was sentenced to a month in jail in 2004 for criticising homosexuality from the pulpit of his Pentecostal church.

He described homosexuality as “abnormal, a horrible cancerous tumour in the body of ­society”.

A local judge decreed that these words constituted a hate crime under Swedish law, which forbids making statements that “threaten or express disrespect for an ethnic group or similar group”.

The British student, Liam Stacey, was sentenced to 56 days in prison at Swansea Magistrates’ Court in 2012 after he tweeted racist comments about black soccer player Fabrice Muamba.

Stacey, inebriated at the time of his unhinged tweeting, was found guilty under Britain’s extraordinarily broad Public Order Act, which makes it an ­offence to “display any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting”.

As for Bardot, the French movie starlet turned animal rights activist, she hasn’t been jailed for the things she has said, but she has been fined and warned that jail is a possibility in the future.

In her role as animal lover, Bardot has become a ­vociferous critic of the Islamic ritualised slaughter of animals, describing it as a barbaric practice that is “destroying our country”.

For saying stuff like that, she has been convicted and fined five times under France’s 1881 Law on Freedom of the Press, which makes it a crime to “incite racial discrimination, hatred or violence”, and has had to fork out €30,000.

Those are just three of the thousands of punishments for hate speech doled out in Europe in recent years.

In Canada, too, people have found themselves on the receiving end of censure for saying hateful or disrespectful things about certain groups.

So as Australians hotly debate section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, under which journalist Andrew Bolt was punished in 2011 for criticising “fair-skinned people” who claim to be Aboriginal, it’s worth pulling back and looking at the international context.

Globally speaking, there’s little novel about Bolt’s case. His political criticisms of Aboriginal heritage could just as easily have landed him in legal hot water in Europe and other parts of the world.

The Bolt case is no Aussie one-off — it’s better understood as part of a global war against so-called hate speech, where states are clamping down on what they consider to be offensive words, and in the process are criminalising certain moral, political and religious world views and trampling on freedom of speech.

Section 18C makes it unlawful for individuals to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” someone because of race or ethnicity.

Attorney-General George Brandis is trying to reform it, suggesting that, in the interests of freedom of speech, the words “offend”, “insult” and “humiliate” should be taken out, but “intimidate” should be left in and joined by the word “vilify”.

Similar laws against hateful or insulting expression exist across Europe and, as in Australia, they’ve been used not only to punish the blindly prejudiced but also those who possess outre views.

So in Denmark it is against the law to “mock or scorn … any lawfully existing religious community”.

Do that, and you can be jailed for four months.

In Finland, anyone who “distributes among the public” words that “threaten, slander or insult on account of race” can be jailed for up to two years.

In Germany it’s against the law to “insult, maliciously malign or defame” people on the basis of race or religion.

France criminalises “any ­offensive expression, contemptuous term or invective” against racial or religious groups.

In Belgium, anyone who “insults a religious object”, including by “words (or) gestures”, can be jailed for up to six months.

Never shake a fist at a statue of the Virgin Mary if you visit Belgium.

Across the pond, in Canada, the Human Rights Act forbids the public expression of “hateful or contemptuous” thoughts about ethnic minorities and faith groups.

All these laws have been used to punish not just the mad racist who screams the N-word on street corners but also political speech and expressions of religious conviction.

So, in Britain, three Muslims were recently convicted of a hate crime for distributing a leaflet in which the word gay was laid out as an acronym that said “God ­Abhors You”.

In 2010, a Danish historian was found guilty of “insulting” a religious group after he said in an inter­view that there was a peculiarly high incidence of crime in Muslim areas.

In 2011, an Austrian writer was found guilty of “agitating against a group” and fined €480 for giving a critical speech on Islam that included the line, “Mohammed had a thing for little girls”.

In 2010, a Finnish politician was found guilty of “incitement against an ethnic group” after he said increased immigration to Finland would increase crime.

We may well disagree with the views expressed in these cases. But they’re nonetheless just views; expressions of strong religious ideas about sexuality or political opposition to immigration. Increasingly in the West, what would once have been seen as legitimate speech in the rowdy fray of public debate is being rebranded “hatred” and punished with fines or jail time.

However much PC packaging is attached to these laws, there’s no dodging the fact they are used to deeply censorious ends, punishing moral outlooks that the mainstream finds offensive.

Where did these laws punishing mockery and offence come from? Tracing the history of hate speech legislation is fascinating, for it tells us a profound and depressing story about the modern West’s bit-by-bit abandonment of free speech.

Modern hate speech leg­islation was born from World War II. There was a feeling that hatred needed to be curbed to prevent another outburst of fascist hysteria. But it wasn’t Western governments calling for laws against hate speech — it was the authoritarian Soviet Union.

In 1948, world leaders gathered to construct a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Soviet representatives argued that the section on free speech should be qualified by strictures against hate speech. They proposed an amendment making it a crime to advocate “national, racial or religious hostility”. “(We cannot) allow advocacy of hatred or religious contempt,” they said.

Such efforts to water down freedom of speech in the name of combating hate were opposed by Western delegates. From the US, Eleanor Roosevelt said a hate speech qualification would be “extremely dangerous” since “any criticism of public or religious authorities might all too easily be described as incitement to hatred” (how prescient she was). In later discussions, British representative Lady Gaitskell said a hate speech amendment would “infringe the fundamental right of freedom of speech”.

The Soviets lost on the hate speech front in 1948. But they kept pushing. They were finally successful in 1965 with the creation of the UN’s International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Despite the continued opposition of Western delegates and their allies — one of whom said that “to penalise ideas, whatever their nature, is to pave the way for tyranny” — the new 1965 convention did contain a section calling for the criminalisation of “ideas based on racial superiority or ­hatred”.

It was the spread of this convention into domestic law, everywhere from Austria to Australia, that led to the creation of crimes of hate speech around the world in the late 1960s and early 70s.

So the story of hate speech laws is a story of the West’s slow but sure ditching of freedom of speech. Where once Western leaders opposed the criminalisa­tion of words — “whatever their nature” — more recently they’ve come to see certain speech as dangerous after all, and something that must be punished.

We’re witnessing the victory of the Soviet view of speech as bad and censorship as good, with various members of the modern West’s chattering classes unwittingly aping yesteryear’s communist tyrants as they call for the banning of “advocacy of hatred”, and a corresponding demise of the older enlightened belief that ideas and words should never be curtailed.

Some will say, “So what if we’re finishing off the Soviet Union’s dirty work? At least we’re preventing hatred.” But here’s the thing: history shows that, actually, hate speech laws don’t even help to combat hate.

The Weimar Republic of the 30s had laws against “insulting religious communities”. They were used to prosecute hundreds of Nazi agitators, including Joseph Goebbels. Did it stop them? No. It helped them.

The Nazis turned their prosecutions for hate speech to their advantage, presenting themselves as political victims and whipping up public support among aggrieved sections of German society, their future social base. Far from halting Nazism, hate speech legislation assisted it.

It is surely time every hate speech law was repealed. They are a menace to free thought and speech, and the worst tool imaginable for fighting real hatred.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


4 April, 2014

Multicultural lover in Britain

A young mother has told how she feared for her life during a brutal attack by her ex boyfriend in which he gouged her eyes, repeatedly punched her in the face and almost bit her ear off.

Emma Hunt, 22, had just dropped her three-year-old daughter off at a nursery in Nottingham when Martell Campbell, 24, launched a savage on her in front of horrified parents and children.

The 24-year-old leapt out of bushes and grabbed Miss Hunt in a bear hug in the middle of the road.

He then punched her repeatedly in the face and dragged her on all fours before throwing her down between two parked cars.

He then gouged at her eyes and strangled her before trying to bite through her ear.

Nottingham Crown Court sentenced Campbell to six and a half years in jail for the November 6 assault, after he admitted wounding.

Ms Hunt, who was treated at the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, said: 'My ear was hanging off, I had a broken nose, my knees were grazed and my face was bruised. 'I was in hospital all day and they had to sew the top part of my ear back on.

'I'm glad he's locked up and can leave me alone. I think he should have been jailed for longer though but didn't expect he would be.

'I was worried I was going to die, I can't really remember much of the attack but my only thoughts were that I wasn't going to see my daughter again.'

Ms Hunt revealed that Campbell had threatened to kill her the night before, but thought he was merely letting off steam. She said: 'He said he was going to come to the school and kill me. I was really shaken up but I didn't actually think he would attack me. I thought he was sounding off.

'I was walking back from the school and someone said to me that a big black guy was hiding in the bushes. 'Then I saw him and that is when he pounced on me. He's a lot bigger and stronger than me, I was just trying to defend myself.'

She first started dating Campbell six years ago but said he started getting 'weird' after the pair had a daughter together.

They broke up after four years but Miss Hunt allowed Campbell to continue seeing his child who is now three years old.

But she said Campbell suddenly changed in July last year and started stalking her and rummaging through her bins. She got a non-molestation order against him in October after Campbell hurled a brick through her window.

'But when it got to July of last year he turned a bit weird and started harassing me and stalking me. 'He smashed my windows and was going through my bins and he used to ask people where I was.

'We had an argument on the phone the night before he attacked me because I wouldn't get back with him.'

The court heard that Miss Hunt had warned staff at the school about him that morning, following his threats.

Campbell was serving a suspended prison sentence for assaulting another ex-partner and had been issued a non-molestation order to stay away from Ms Hunt three weeks before the attack.

Campbell, of Nottingham, was caught thanks to quick-thinking parents outside the school - including one who followed him and snapped his picture on her mobile phone.

Prosecutor Mark Achurch said that Ms Hunt suffered 'the worst pain she ever experienced' during the attack.

Errol Ballentyne, defending, said Campbell accepted he had lost his temper. He added: ‘He hadn't set out for matters to end where they did end. He had hoped to be able to talk to the complainant.’

The sentence was also welcomed by Val Lunn, chief executive officer of Women's Aid Integrated Services in Nottingham.

She said: ‘The severity of the sentence conveys a strong message that domestic violence will not be tolerated and perpetrators should expect to be held to account. ‘Women... have the right to live their lives free from the stress of violence.’


Teddy Roosevelt's Real Views on Immigration

Last Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden quoted Theodore Roosevelt out of context while delivering the keynote address at a meeting of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Biden was pushing the Obama Administration's desire to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants by citing the alleged views of a great and iconic American President who was also a Republican. Immigration "reform" is currently blocked in the GOP House.

Biden's quote of TR (unacknowledged from 1908) went as follows, "Americanism is not a question of birthplace or creed or a line of descent. It's the question of principles, idealism, and character."

Teddy Roosevelt did believe this, but he also championed an immigration policy much more in line with the current conservative position than with the Obama White House. Biden asserted that based on TR's "standard, 11 million undocumented persons are already Americans, in my view."

This was such a gross distortion of the record that it went well beyond the Vice President's well-known gift for gaffes. It was a blatant attempt to mislead the public by claiming a false endorsement.

For Teddy Roosevelt, not all immigrants were the same; they did not all have the attributes cited in the quote misused by Biden. As he said in his annual message to Congress as President in 1905, "We cannot have too much immigration of the right sort and we should have none whatsoever of the wrong sort....The prime need is to keep out all immigrants who will not make good citizens. The laws now existing for the exclusion of undesirable immigrants should be strengthened, Adequate means should be adopted, enforced by sufficient penalties, to compel steamship companies engaged in the passenger business to observe in good faith the law which forbids them to encourage or solicit immigration to the United States."

His views did not change over the course of his career. As early as 1888, he said in a speech in New York City, "I wish Congress would revise our laws about immigration. Paupers and assisted immigrants of all kinds should be kept out; so should every variety of Anarchists....We must soon try to prevent too many laborers coming here and underselling our own workmen in the labor market; a good round head tax on each immigrant, together with a rigid examination into his character would work well."

As President, he restated these principles in his 1901 annual message to Congress, "All persons should be excluded who are below a certain standard of economic fitness to enter our industrial field as competitors with American labor. There should be proper proof of personal capacity to earn an American living and enough money to ensure a decent start under American conditions. This would stop the influx of cheap labor."

He did not share the desire of liberals (and many business leaders) to import poverty and breed a new proletariat. In the same speech, he continued to urge that "we should aim to exclude absolutely not only all persons who are known to be believers in anarchist principles or members of anarchist societies; but also all persons who are of a low moral tendency or of unsavory reputation." TR thus opposed policies that would undermine living standards or support radicalism.

Granting amnesty to illegal immigrants would do both. An analysis of the 2010-2011 Current Population Survey (a joint product of the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) by the non-partisan Center for Immigration Studies found that 57% of illegals live in or near poverty levels and 47% made use of major welfare programs. Cheap labor is a misnomer. Business firms may pay low wages to illegals, but the rest of society makes up for that with subsidies via the welfare state. Even with public assistance, illegals do not "earn an American living." The result is the expansion of slums and high crime areas. The U.S. Sentencing Commission reports that 10% of murderers, 31% drug traffickers, 34% of money launderers, 64% of kidnappers, and 28% of food and drug offenders sentenced in 2012 were non-citizens.

The most recent (2011) National Gang Threat Assessment from the FBI reported that nine of the thirteen largest criminal street gangs in the country were based on foreign origins: Mexico, El Salvador, Somalia and the Dominican Republic. Of particular concern was that, "Mexican drug cartel activity has fueled crime in the porous US Southwest Border region, where easy access to weapons, a high demand for drugs, ample opportunity for law enforcement corruption, and a large Hispanic population ripe for recruitment and exploitation exists."

Teddy Roosevelt understood that America's greatest achievement has been to turn the working class into the middle class. The United States has vanquished the "proletariat" which was to provide the muscle for a socialist uprising. It is the Left that is trying desperately to recreate a poor and alienated political base that would support radicalism. For the Left, importing a revolution looks expedient; exactly one of the threats TR warned about.

The venue at which Biden spoke would have bothered TR. The group's name was an act of self-segregation based on race and foreign origins. Teddy Roosevelt despised what he called "hyphenated Americans." He wrote in 1894, "We welcome the German and the Irishman who becomes an American. We have no use for the German or Irishman who remains such. We do not wish German-Americans or Irish-Americans who figure as such in our social and political life; we want only Americans....We have no room in any healthy American community for a German-American vote or an Irish-American vote, and it is contemptible demagogy to put planks into any party platform with the purpose of catching such a vote." Today, it is the Hispanic vote that overshadows any discussion of what immigration policy is best for the country as a whole.

Assimilation is vital. "America is a Nation, not a mosaic of nationalities. The various nationalities that come here are not to remain separate, but to blend into the one American nationality," Roosevelt wrote in a 1918 newspaper column. He continued, "Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or to leave the country....English should be the only language taught and used in the primary schools. We should provide by law so that after a reasonable interval every newspaper in this country should be published in English." The proliferation of foreign language media today would alarm TR.

Once vetted and assimilated, Roosevelt believed "every immigrant should be treated as a future fellow citizen and not merely a labor unit." The policy and process of immigration was, however, to always be a matter of law and national interest. There was no place in Theodore Roosevelt's approach for illegal immigration. As he said on the campaign trail in 1900, "No nation ever yet retained its freedom for any length of time after losing its respect for the law, after losing the law abiding spirit, the spirit that really makes for orderly liberty." The legendary Rough Rider would have put his full strength into defeating what Biden and Obama are proposing.


Tolerant Feminists Tell Conservative Young Woman: We Don't Want You Here

Campus Reform is a conservative outlet that keeps tabs on liberal university indoctrination and hypocrisy. Recently Campus Reform's Katherine Timpf, who considers herself a libertarian, attended the "inclusive" National Young Feminist Leadership Conference in Crystal City, Virginia to ask young women questions about what feminism means to them.

Not surprisingly, the liberal women at the conference weren't happy about Timpf being in attendance. She was discriminated against based on her place of employment, attacked for her assumed political views and was told "you guys aren't wanted here." Organizers of the event are seen repeatedly seen saying, "Campus Reform is a conservative outlet, just to warn you if you're going to talk to them."

“They’re a group that’s conservative, so what we are fighting for is not something…” one organizer told a student who was talking with Timpf, prompting the student to walk away.

“You’re just assuming that based on where I work,” Timpf told the organizer.

“Yeah, we are,” the organizer stated.

“You guys aren’t wanted here,” a participant told the reporter after the warning.

“I thought this was supposed to be an inclusive thing, why am I being excluded because of where I work?” Timpf asked another organizer after another interruption.

“Because the place that you work is not inclusive,” the organizer responded.

“You don’t know that,” Timpf said. “You don’t know anything about me or my personal beliefs, I’m just being labeled and excluded based on a label.”


Nigel Farage: Britain's politically incorrect man

Watching that “I Love Nigel Farage” documentary on Channel 4 last night, I was struck by the frequent, ironic juxtaposition of “No Smoking” signs and our Jurassic hero. While the entire world has embraced clinical hygiene of both the body (no fags, no booze) and mind (political correctness), Farage carries on as if the 1970s never ended. At one point, he took the interviewer for a lunch that snowballed from a pint of beer to a bottle of wine to two large glasses of port. By the time he’d lit up a Rothmans in his EU parliamentary office, this viewer was in seventh heaven. What actor around today could convince in the lead role of the movie of Farage’s life? Alas, Sid James is no longer with us.

Which brings us to Putingate, the latest Nigel-fluff that the Westminster elite is convinced will sink him. Right to the bottom of the ocean. Farage’s sin was to say that he admires Putin as a political leader, although not as a human being. Why this is controversial, I have literally no idea. Farage made it abundantly clear that he regards the Russian leader as a despot (“How many journalists in jail now?”); he simply thinks that he outwitted Obama on Syria. I think that; you think that; even Obama probably thinks that. Perhaps there is more to challenge in Farage’s view that the Ukrainian crisis was caused by the EU's attempt to expand eastwards – but even on this point he has a point. Ukraine found itself in the middle of a bidding war between the EU and Russia, and Russia – through means fair and foul – won. This prompted the revolution, the downfall of Yanukovych and the attempted secession of Crimea. So the EU is somewhat to blame. Ah, but you can’t say such things out loud because the consensus in Westminster right now is that Putin is Hitler, Ukraine is the Sudetenland and anything less that outright Russophobia is treachery. And probably a little bit homophobic.

And that’s Farage’s real sin: he dares to be different. Contemporary British politics works by an unusual degree of consensus. All three party leaders want to stay in the EU, all wish to preserve the principle of the welfare state, all back gay marriage, all accept the need to go green, none will challenge the concept of open borders on immigration. Some or all of these positions may well be right – that’s not the issue. The issue is that this homogeneity of opinion is fundamentally undemocratic. In democracies, voters are supposed to be offered real choices rather than one establishment philosophy spun three different ways. To make matters worse, the party leaders now not only sound alike but also look alike. Janet Daley wrote a powerful column for this paper over the weekend in which she noted,

I can’t recall any time in the last half century of British politics when not a single leader of a major party had what seemed like a true connection with ordinary people. Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan, Margaret Thatcher, Neil Kinnock, even Tony Blair in his Islington middle-class way: there has always been at least one official party voice that reached into real life.

The only man who does seem real at the moment is Nigel Farage. Of course, there’s an argument that we don’t really want "real" in our politicians – that the only reason why we find Nigel amusing or even exciting is that we don’t think he stands a chance of entering Number 10. If Ukip were to win seats in 2015, the public would start to hold the party to the same standards that it holds the other three. In which case, gay floods and Bongo Bongo Land gags might become serious vote losers. As they should be.

But until that point, Westminster is going to continue hitting its head against the brick wall of public antipathy towards politics-as-usual. The more that Farage acts up, the more different he seems, the more the establishment will hate him, the more the voters will like him. From a US history perspective, there was a very similar dynamic at work in the campaigns of Republican Pat Buchanan – a conservative who the mainstream regarded as socially unacceptable, even borderline fascist – yet who enjoyed a significant constituency of support that saw him as funny, honest and vote worthy. He, incidentally, admires Putin, too. "It's a small world among the small minded", the establishment might say…



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


3 April, 2014

America's most prolific mass murderer is black

Which is presumably why there is an attempted media blackout on his story. The difficulties of making a film about him are noted below

As a follower of the Media Research Center, you are likely familiar with the story of Kermit Gosnell, the convicted murderer who ran a slaughterhouse masquerading as an abortion clinic in Philadelphia.

It was a story the media tried very hard to cover up last year in an effort to keep Americans in the dark about the gruesome underbelly of the abortion industry. But with your help, the MRC shamed ABC, CBS, NBC and others to offer brief coverage of Gosnell’s murder trial.

Unfortunately, most ordinary Americans never heard this story. As horrific as it is, it’s a story that should be told.

Two brave filmmakers, Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, want the world to know the Kermit Gosnell story, so they arranged to raise money on the Kickstarter website to make a made-for-TV movie about the shocking Gosnell murder case.

At the last minute, Kickstarter decided to place restrictions on what the filmmakers could say about the story on their website – restrictions they never placed on other projects. It was a clear attempt to block the project.

Well, it didn’t work. McAleer and McElhinney launched their project on another site, indiegogo.com, and you can see the details at http:/www.GosnellMovie.com.

Hollywood normally loves serial killers. There have been four movies about Ted Bundy, five about the Zodiac killer, and three about John Wayne Gacy. The Lifetime Network has already made a film about Jodie Arias, who killed one person. Kermit Gosnell killed more than all of them put together.

Since no Hollywood studio will make this movie, McAleer and McElhinney are turning to ordinary citizens to raise the money to tell the story of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.

America needs to know what happened, so this kind of butchery never happens again.

Email from the MRC

Dear Mr. Colbert: Me so stupid. You so funny!

Michelle Malkin

Question: Who are the most prominent public purveyors of Asian stereotypes and ethnic language-mocking in America?

The right answer is liberal Hollywood and Democrats.

The wrong and slanderous answer is conservatives, which is what liberal performance artist/illegal-alien-amnesty lobbyist Stephen Colbert wants Americans to believe. Last week on his Comedy Central show, Colbert resurrected his "satirical" 2005 "Ching-Chong Ding-Dong" skit, in which he speaks in pidgin English with a grossly exaggerated accent. He used it in a boneheaded attempt to ridicule Republican football team owner Dan Snyder and others who defend the Washington Redskins' name.

"Oh, I ruv tea. It's so good for you. You so pretty, American girl," Colbert, in his conservative talk-show host persona, jibber-jabbers in the 2005 segment. "You come here. You kiss my tea make her sweet. I need no sugar when you around. Come on my rickshaw, I give you a ride to Bangkok." Forward to 2014: To mock Snyder's recent creation of a foundation to benefit Native Americans, Colbert replayed the skit and jeered in character that he was "willing to show the Asian community that I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever."

Last week, a group of diehard liberals, led by young Korean-American writer Suey Park, gave Colbert a hard time about his cringe-worthy act, which was accompanied by an awkward laugh track and left the distinct impression that the real Colbert enjoys crude ethnic-language mockery just a little too much.

Park and her liberal Twitter followers tenaciously questioned Colbert's use of "satire" that ends up stoking the racism it purports to mock and abhor. They obviously picked the incendiary #CancelColbert hashtag to force attention to their complaints. My view is and always has been that the answer to speech you disagree with is more and better speech. For me, #CancelColbert wasn't about censoring his show. It was about exposing his hypocrisy and don't-you-understand-satire double standards.

Park complained that Colbert and his defenders are race-baiting liberals who hide behind their self-professed progressivism. Absolutely. Progressives of pallor -- hipster racists -- have said and done some of the most bigoted things I've ever witnessed in my life and gotten away with it. And as one viewer noted, Colbert "obviously didn't use satire very effectively, because most people aren't talking about the Redskins issue or Dan Snyder." Indeed, many of his fans were too busy tweeting non-satirical anti-Asian bigotry, misogyny and ugly death threats.

I'm not surprised at many on the right who tripped over themselves to side with the entertainment industry Cool People -- or "coolists," as Greg Gutfeld brilliantly captures them in his new book, "Not Cool." In elite circles, it is uncool to say you think Stephen Colbert is unfunny. The suck-ups go along with Colbert's painfully inane Ching-Chong Ding-Dong schtick because they want to show they "get" Cool Colbert's "satire."

Wake up. These smug liberal elites are not your allies in the fight against political correctness run amok. Colbert and company marginalize conservatism while laughing all the way to the bank. Why would conservatives enable them? Gutfeld explains: "Pick a political, cultural or moral universe, and in each one it's the cool who seek to punish, mock or thwart the uncool. They do this freely and without much resistance, for exacting cool revenge is so common that the uncool let it happen without a fight -- a sort of cultural Stockholm syndrome."

Asians are also convenient, "uncool" punching bags. Unlike offended Muslim fanatics (see "The Mohammed Cartoons"), they're not going to issue fatwas, threaten beheadings or blow themselves up. Coward Colbert and his cable news persona would never dare offend the jihad-friendly brigade at CAIR; the only jabs he takes are at "Islamophobe" conservatives who worry about the poisonous spread of sharia law.

Colbert defenders "circled the wagons," as Rush Limbaugh pointed out on Monday, by griping instead about Limbaugh's 18-second imitation on radio of a Chinese government translator in 2011. "Notice how to get this guy out of the mess that he's in -- apparently they have to link him to me. Why? I don't know."

Colbert needs partisan sycophants to go along with his selective clown-nose act, every step of the way, to provide him total immunity as he scrapes the bottom of the "comedy" barrel to portray the right as racist. Blaming Rush (or lazily mocking my 2004 book on internment, profiling and national security, as Colbert did on his show Monday night) deflects from the genuine offense taken by Park and other liberals at Colbert's widespread dissemination of yellowface caricatures.

The Comedy Central political operatives need to make conservatives the demons so his audience forgets that liberal actress Rosie O'Donnell gratuitously mocked "ching-chong" accents on the mainstream ABC network show "The View" while her liberal co-hosts and audience laughed it up.

Or that Vice President Joe Biden mocked Indian accents in a 2012 jobs speech in New Hampshire and complained in 2008 on the campaign trail that "you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking."

Or that former Secretary of State and leading 2016 Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton repeatedly has employed a degrading Southern accent to pander to black voters. (Google "I ain't noways tired.")

Or that Democrat Bob Beckel made fun of Louisiana GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal's State of the Union response address by likening it to a "call center ad in Mumbai."

Or that mainstream Hollywood productions from "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (Mickey Rooney's I.Y. Yunioshi) to "Sixteen Candles" (Long Duk Dong) to the sitcoms "How I Met Your Mother" (an entire show in yellowface) and "2 Broke Girls" (Han Lee) have done more to disseminate and profit off of cheap, vulgar, bucktoothed Asian stereotypes than Rush Limbaugh ever did.

It's not the outrage that's manufactured, but Colbert's sanctimonious myth of left-wing purity and his phony indictment of conservatives as the predominant forces of intolerance in America.

But what do I know, Mr. Colbert? Me so stupid. You so funny.


Sex and Race Equality

Walter E. Williams gets satirical

There are several race and sex issues that need addressing. Let's look at a few of them with an ear to these questions: Should we insist upon equal treatment of people by race and sex or tolerate differences in treatment? And just how equal are people by race and sex in the first place?

According to the National Institutes of Health, male infants 1 to 3 months old should be fed 472 to 572 calories per day, whereas their female counterparts should receive 438 to 521 calories per day (http://tinyurl.com/nj35qvh). That's an official sex-based caloric 10 percent rip-off of baby females. In addition to this government-sanctioned war on women, one wonders whether the NIH has a race-based caloric rip-off where they recommend that black newborns receive fewer calories than white newborns.

Anyone who watches "Lockdown" on television will see gross racial segregation in California prisons -- such as Pelican Bay, Corcoran and San Quentin -- where prisoners are housed by race. Colored signs have hung above living quarters -- for example, blue for black inmates, white for white, red, green or pink for Hispanic, and yellow for others (http://tinyurl.com/m7n4df8). Sometimes inmate yard times are racially segregated.

Being 78 years old and having lived through an era in which I saw signs for white and colored water fountains, waiting rooms and toilets, I find California's racial segregation practices offensive. Prison Law Office, a public interest law firm that seeks justice for prisoners, criticizes such flagrant racial segregation policy, but I question its sincerity.

Criticizing racial segregation while not uttering one word about flagrant prison sex segregation is at the minimum, two-faced. In my book, if the all-male military bastion is being eliminated, it stands to reason that prison segregation by sex should be eliminated. No decent American would accept the idea of a prison for blacks and another one for whites. If we value equality, we shouldn't accept one prison for men and another for women. There should be integration.

Speaking of sex segregation, there have been recent calls to end the ban on women in combat units, but there's no mention of the Army's sexist physical fitness test. For a male 17-21 years of age to pass, he must do 35 pushups, do 47 situps and run 2 miles in 16 minutes, 36 seconds. His female counterpart, who receives the same pay, can pass the fitness test by doing a mere 13 pushups, doing 47 situps and running 2 miles in 19 minutes, 42 seconds (http://tinyurl.com/yaphmzl).

How can anyone who values equality and self-respect tolerate this gross discrimination? You say, "Williams, what's your solution?" I say we should either force women to come up to the physical fitness standards for men or pass men who meet the female standards of fitness. Maybe we should ask our adversaries which is better -- raising female fitness standards or lowering those of males.

There are a couple of other inequalities that cannot be justified, much less tolerated, in a society that values equality. Jews are only 3 percent of the U.S. population, but they take 39 percent of U.S. Nobel laureates. That's a gross disparity, for which there is no moral justification. Ask any academic, intellectual, or civil rights leader and he'll tell you that equality and diversity means that people are to be represented across socioeconomic lines according to their numerical representation in the population. The fact that Jews are 39 percent of U.S. Nobel laureates can mean only one thing -- they are taking the rightful Nobel laureates of other racial groups.

Jews are not the only people taking more than their fair share of things. Blacks are 13 percent of the population but have taken nearly 80 percent of the player jobs in the National Basketball Association. Compounding that injustice, they are highest-paid NBA players. Blacks are also guilty of taking 66 percent, an unfair share, of professional football jobs.

Any American sharing the value of race and sex equality and diversity should find these and other differences offensive and demand that the liberal and progressive elements in society eliminate them.


Mozilla CEO Learns that Liberals Hate Diversity

Over 65,000 people have signed a left-wing petition to get the CEO of Mozilla fired because he’s an intolerant bigot… Or something. The self-proclaimed police-of-tolerance have been attacking CEO Brendon Eich for his “unacceptable” views on gay marriage (he’s against it). And with a stunning amount of unaware irony, progressives have decided that they are incapable of tolerating a tech CEO who is an advocate of traditional marriage.

That’s right: A petition has been started to toss Mozilla’s CEO out on the street, because gay marriage advocates are too intolerant to allow such “bigotry” in the corporate tech world. On the CREDO action website (a website dedicated to proliferating liberal petitions), over 65,000 left wing activists, impressionable liberals, and misguided agents of inclusivity, have signed their names to the petition. According to the site:

As the representative of a global brand that represents openness and is committed to equality and inclusiveness, Eich should make an unequivocal statement of support for marriage equality. If he cannot, he should resign. And if he will not, the board should fire Eich immediately.

Right… Because the First Amendment clearly states that citizens have the right to free speech, unless that speech offends someone. Apparently, by being CEO, Eich has forfeited the right to hold his own personal views on the social and economic concerns of the 21st century. Evidently, earning money puts executives at the whim of a few liberal hacks who can’t tolerate dissenting opinion or open debate.

Of course, these “progressive” advocates of censorship have “every right in the world” to ask for Eich’s dismissal… But, the irony of asking him to be fired because they feel he isn’t “tolerant” enough seems woefully lost on the petition signees. (Seriously, people: Pick up a dictionary once in a while.)

Eich ending up in the cross hairs of Liberal activists is just the latest example of the Left’s love for political-correctness-inspired censorship efforts. A Harvard student already proposed eliminating Academic Freedom in exchange for “Academic Justice”. Even Liberal icons, such as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, have argued that wealthy conservative activists should be silenced, audited, or restricted in their political activities. (No word yet on Harry Reid’s feelings about George Soros, or millionaire Hollywood moguls who donate to the Democrat Party.)

Strangely, I don’t think these same outraged liberals would be quite as disgusted if he gave to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, or the Southern Poverty Law Center. Of course, this is part of the reason why the Left has a track-record of success on the issue of “political correctness.” They feel empowered and righteous in bullying, intimidating, and silencing their ideological opponents.

Brendon Eich, hopefully, will not back down from his beliefs… After all, it’s still a (relatively) free nation. If his personal philanthropic activities, or personal convictions, offend the California-inspired progressive movement, they can download a different browser. His job should not be contingent on his definition of marriage. Intellectual diversity, after all, is a consequence of a free and open society.

Of course grasping the concept of intellectual diversity might be a little too “grown-up” for a bunch of California liberals prone to temper tantrums.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


2 April, 2014

British preacher arrested for quoting from the Bible is awarded £13,000: Held for 19 hours after gay teens said he upset them

A Christian street preacher was wrongly arrested and held in a police cell for almost 19 hours after quoting verses from the Bible.

John Craven, 57, recited from Revelation after two gay teenagers asked about his views on homosexuality. But after he read from chapter 21, verse eight – which says sinners will burn in a lake of fire and sulphur – police arrested him on suspicion of committing a public order offence.

He was taken to a police cell where he claims he was denied food, water and access to medication for his rheumatoid arthritis. He was fingerprinted, had to give a sample of his DNA and told he was being investigated for allegedly using insulting words with the intention of causing harassment, alarm or distress – which could have led to a six-month jail sentence.

Two days later, however, police told him there would be no charges and no further action.

Yesterday he was awarded £13,000 in compensation after a three-year legal battle against Greater Manchester Police which is estimated to have cost the public purse £50,000.

Mr Craven said: ‘I never intended to cause anyone harassment, alarm or distress. I preach the gospel, which means good news and the love of God for all. ‘At the end of the day God loves everybody, but homosexuality is a sin and I am not going to contradict the word of God.’ He added: ‘The actions of the police have left me feeling nervous and anxious.

‘I was in a cell on my own. I was fingerprinted, swabbed and had my photo taken. They took my shoelaces from me. They said I would not be interviewed until the next day and then they left me.’

The incident happened in 2011 when Mr Craven, who has been street preaching for 14 years, was at his regular twice-weekly pitch in Manchester city centre.

Mr Craven, who is married, said: ‘Two young lads asked me what God thinks of homosexuals. I told them whilst God hates sin, he loves the sinner and that according to the word of God homosexuality is an abomination. That is not my opinion, it is the word of God.

‘I quoted them Revelation chapter 21, verse eight, “But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death”.

‘This made them upset and they started to do obscene gestures to me. They were trying to provoke me.’

The boys then told a policeman his comments had caused them distress. The constable was alleged to have grabbed Mr Craven roughly by the arm before arresting him.

From the time of his arrest at 7.15pm until 9.30am the next day he was given nothing to eat before eventually being given a bowl of cereal.

Mr Craven won damages under the Human Rights Act using his entitlement to enjoy the freedom to manifest his religion and freedom of expression, including the freedom to impart ideas without interference by a public authority.

Colin Hart, director of The Christian Institute which funded Mr Craven’s case, said: ‘In terms of the infringement of religious liberty, it was one of the worst cases we have ever dealt with.’

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: ‘We acknowledge that we did make mistakes and, in particular, kept the claimant in custody for too long.’


US Air Force Airbrushes Religious Liberty Again

Fox News reported a few weeks ago about how the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., removed a Bible verse from a cadet's personal whiteboard. I am personally so disappointed that the branch of service that I served in to protect our freedoms is now trying to suppress them.

When one walks the dorm halls of the Air Force Academy, one immediately notices the hundreds of whiteboards hanging on students' doors. This past week, Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., cited Air Force officials who explained that cadets "often use these boards to display items, quotes or other things that reflect their personality or from which they draw inspiration." I guess the Bible is the wrong type of inspiration, at least according to some Air Force leaders.

The host of "Fox News and Commentary," Todd Starnes, reported that Mikey Weinstein, director of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said that "29 cadets and four faculty and staff members contacted" his "organization to complain about the Christian passage." Within two hours of Weinstein's calling the academy and filing a complaint, the cadet's whiteboard had been whitewashed.

Why is it that 29 cadets and four faculty members can exercise their anti-religious sentiment by communicating their grievances against the display of a Bible passage but a single cadet cannot exercise his own pro-religious sentiment by communicating his faith on his own personal whiteboard?

According to The Blaze, as a result, many cadets revolted in protest and solidarity by posting their own passages from the Bible and the Quran on their whiteboards.

Outside the academy, a new billboard has been posted near the entrance to the Air Force training school by the Restore Military Religious Freedom coalition, according to WorldNetDaily. The billboard contains a picture of the presidential faces on Mount Rushmore -- George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt -- and addresses Air Force cadets: "Are you free to say So help me God)? They did." The bottom contains the coalition's Web address: militaryfreedom.org.

Despite everyone's efforts to encourage religious freedom among Air Force Academy cadets, chaplain Gordon J. Klingenschmitt, Ph.D., recently and sadly reported that "Air Force Academy government lawyers continue to threaten cadets with punishment for posting Bible verses on their personal white-boards, according to a Christian attorney who spoke to the lawyers and several cadets."

I agree with retired Army Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, now executive vice president of the Family Research Council, who explained to Starnes: "Once the academy allowed cadets to use these whiteboards for their personal use, censorship of religious commentary is unacceptable. Either the Air Force Academy is very confused about the Constitution of the United States or they don't really believe in the liberties that are provided by that document. In essence, what they are doing is preparing young men and women to defend the Constitution while at the same time depriving these cadets of their own constitutional liberties."

Unfortunately, the Air Force's whiteboard whitewashing isn't the first prohibition of religious expression in U.S. military circles. There have been many others since our current president took office. Here's a sample:

--The Air Force Academy apologized for merely announcing Operation Christmas Child, a Christian-based charity and relief program designed to send Christmas gifts to impoverished children around the world.

--Air Force officials stripped religious aspects from a 20-year-old course on "just war theory."

--Yet, as reported in the Los Angeles Times in November 2011, the Air Force is building an $80,000 Stonehenge-like worship site for those who practice "Earth-based" religions, including "pagans, Wiccans, druids, witches and followers of Native American faiths."

--Walter Reed National Military Medical Center drafted policy that prohibited individuals from using or distributing religious items during visits to the hospital.

--Boykin, though he is a war hero, couldn't speak at the United States Military Academy because of his Christian faith.

--The Marine Corps considered tearing down a Camp Pendleton cross meant to honor fallen heroes.

--The Navy relocated a live Nativity scene at a base in Bahrain to the chapel area.

--The Department of Veterans Affairs censored references to God and Jesus during prayers at Houston National Cemetery.

--The Pentagon released regulations forcing chaplains to perform same-sex weddings, despite many chaplains' religious objections and the fact that members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus had worked tirelessly to ensure that the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2013, which was signed into law in January, included key religious freedom protections for service members generally and chaplains specifically (Section 533).

--The Pentagon revoked approval to use the logo of each service branch on the covers of Bibles sold in military exchange stores.

What is going on in the U.S. military? Apparently, the military's urge for neutrality is officially and fundamentally transforming into hostility against faith and religious expression.

What is so difficult to understand about the free exercise clause in the First Amendment, which says the feds "shall make no law ... prohibiting the free exercise" of religion?

What is the White House's response to all the military omissions and prohibitions of religious freedom and expression? Absolute silence. Apparently, the Oval Office never received Edmund Burke's message: Evil flourishes when good men do nothing.

Long gone are the days when the commander in chief wrote the prologue to the Gideons Bibles given to service members, encouraging them to find strength and courage from the contents. That's what President Franklin D. Roosevelt did before the start of World War II: "As Commander-in-Chief I take pleasure in commending the reading of the Bible to all who serve in the armed forces of the United States. Throughout the centuries men of many faiths and diverse origins have found in the Sacred Book words of wisdom, counsel and inspiration. It is a fountain of strength and now, as always, an aid in attaining the highest aspirations of the human soul."

The only fight left is for we the people to defend our First Amendment's freedom of religion, not espouse or enable the freedom from religion. Start in your own town, and take the battle all the way to Washington.


Cinderella Law could become a charter for whiny kids, claims Tory

'And can you point to the man who refused to buy you a pony?'

A law to protect children from emotional abuse risks becoming a ‘charter for whining kids’, a Tory MP warned last night.

Government sources yesterday confirmed that a so-called Cinderella Law introducing jail terms for parents who starve their children of love and affection will be included in the Queen’s Speech in June.

Ministers said the move would ensure ‘emotional cruelty’ is treated with the same seriousness as physical abuse and children’s charities hailed it as a ‘monumental step forward’ for child protection.

But critics said the law would be difficult to enforce – and warned that loving parents could be dragged to court on the say-so of estranged partners, nosy neighbours and disaffected children.

The new offence would include doing anything that deliberately harms a child’s ‘physical intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development’.

Parents found guilty could face up to ten years in prison, the maximum term in child neglect cases.

Tory MP Philip Davies said: ‘No-one is going to condone the extreme levels of abuse that some children suffer. But there is a real danger that this becomes a charter for every kid whining and complaining about a bit of tough love from their parents.

‘I am sure it’s well-meaning, but we have seen in the past how easily these things get completely out of control with the result that perfectly decent parents, who love their kids and are trying to do their best, get dragged through the courts.’

He added: ‘Being a parent is a tough job and most people do their best – I don’t want to see them caught up by this. If the Government is going to go down this route then they are going to have to find pretty robust measures to protect ordinary, decent parents or they are going to create a monster.’

Jack Hart, of the Freedom Association, urged ministers to focus on helping parents rather than finding more ways to criminalise them.

‘This so-called Cinderella Law is yet another example of the state stepping in to criminalise parents where in fact education would be a far more powerful tool for combating harmful behaviour,’ he said.

‘Simply introducing swathes of new and hard-to-police legislation does not guarantee the right results. There should be a focus on helping parents who are having serious problems, not a rush to criminalise them.’

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg yesterday welcomed the proposals, saying current laws did not reflect the terrible impact on children of emotional abuse.

But he acknowledged the need for ministers to strike the right balance to prevent intrusion into normal family life. Mr Clegg said: ‘You can’t micro-manage what goes on in the living room, in the family home, in the kitchen, in law.

‘But what you can do is make sure that where the state has to step in to stop maltreatment of children?…?that they reflect emotional and mental abuse just as much as more visible physical abuse.’

Neglect is the most common reason for a child protection referral in the UK and emotional abuse is more common in these cases than physical abuse, according to the Department for Education.

Former Tory children’s minister Tim Loughton backed the change in law and insisted it would not affect normal parenting.

He said: ‘What we’re not talking about is somebody who shouts at their kid in the aisles at Tesco because they go off on one.

‘This has got to be sustained and deliberate emotional abuse and I think we need to be able to give the powers to social workers and others that we entrust with the protection of children in this country, so that when they see something they clearly think is systemic neglect of that child, ongoing neglect, they can intervene.’

A previous bid to change the law was blocked by ministers in February last year, with Justice Minister Damian Green arguing that it was not needed and that it was not clear ‘how a new offence would work in practice’.

But following a concerted campaign by children’s charities Mr Green launched a consultation on the issue in the autumn.

Sir Tony Hawkhead, chief executive of the charity Action for Children, said: ‘This is a monumental step forward for thousands of children who we know suffer from emotional abuse and countless others whose desperate situations have yet to come to light.

‘I’ve met children who have been scapegoated in their families, constantly humiliated and made to feel unloved. The impact is devastating and can lead to life-long mental health problems and, in some cases, suicide.’


It's time we stopped worshipping the working class

Why do so many middle-class people de-gentrify their backgrounds and pretend they grew up poorer than they did, asks Alex Proud

It’s amazing. After all these years - after Thatcher, Major and Blair, after endless claims that we’re a classless society and considerable evidence that most of us are middle class - we’re still obsessed with being working class. Every time I think we might have grown out it, I hear the mangled vowels of another public school mockney or a celebrity declaiming their working class roots with the kind of self-righteousness you normally reserve for trying to prevent a genocide.

I have nothing against the working class or any other class. Inasmuch as class is largely an accident of birth, I don’t care if you were born in Mayfair or Middlesbrough. What I do care about, though, is being endlessly told that being born in Middlesborough is better and that, if only I was less of a product of privilege myself, I’d realise that. Like all guilt-trap arguments, this is total rubbish and amounts to saying: “Being a snob is dreadful, but being an inverted snob is something we should all aspire to.”

Obviously, I have a hierarchy of annoyance here. So I’ll start at the bottom with those I dislike the least – working class people who long ago become middle class and who now won’t shut up about how authentically working class they are.

Yes, in general, I’m sure it was harder for you. I’m genuinely impressed that you had the drive to work your way up and that your determination got you a look-at-me job in the media or fashion or film or whatever. I take my hat off to you and I recognise that your journey was harder than mine. But I can’t be impressed every single time I meet you. Or every time I read something you’ve written. Or every single time I see you on TV.

The thing is, once you’ve made it, you’ve made it. Once you’ve got your newspaper column or TV show or made your first million, you’re not working class anymore. And, pretty soon, your endless prole-ier than thou platitudes start to ring a bit hollow. You’re like the rapper on his fourth album, still talking about slinging rock in the hood. I’m not saying there aren’t privileged people who, at 40, still haven’t got over the fact that they went to Eton, but I hate them just as much. I guess the point I’m making is that, once you’ve bought £1.5m house in the part of Hackney that’s really Islington, we need a statute on of limitations on your underprivileged childhood.

Also, is growing up a bit poor really that bad? What about people who were born a bit short? Or a bit ugly? Personally, I tend to be a bit fat and bald. Perhaps that’s what’s held me back. Should I remind you of it every time I open my mouth? While we’re at it, being working class in the UK is pretty good compared to being almost any class in plenty of other countries. So, next time you want to tell me about sharing a bedroom in a damp, northern terrace, please remember that there are a billion people in rural India whose story makes yours seem like Downton Abbey.

But I’m a reasonable guy. And if it was just Tony Parsons endlessly re-telling his working-class story in the books that have made him part of the 0.1%, I could probably live with it. It’s tedious, but it does have the notable quality of being true-ish. The trouble is, our love of all things working class comes with three important riders. The first is that, as someone who isn’t working-class, I should constantly apologise for my comparative privilege. The second is that, if I refuse to do so, I should be righteously pilloried as some a Little Lord Fauntleroy. And the third is that, really, it would be better for everyone if I pretended to be working-class myself.

It’s funny. My dad is a kind of mockney dream made flesh. He left school at 14 to train as an apprentice engineer in his father’s footsteps (his dad built power stations for, among others, Stalin). He grew up in London in World War II and played in bomb craters. Later, evacuation gave him a glimpse of another world and left him with a desire to better himself. He went into the Merchant Navy, ran a power station during the communist insurgency in Malaya and saved enough danger money to start a stamp dealing business. Eventually he became middle class and rich. At no point have I ever heard him romanticise his poor childhood, idolise an East End gangster or tell me how much more authentic he is than his middle-class friends.

By contrast, I recently had dinner with a magazine editor, a film director and a model, all of whom come from similar backgrounds to me, and all of whom were bigging up their (frankly non-existent) working class credentials. When I made a crack about mockneys, I was hauled over the coals for being unacceptably bourgeois. You know, in that good-natured, jokey way that tells you people are deadly serious. The lesson is clear: I was born in a flat in Brighton and for the first few years of my life my parents were quite poor – so, for the purposes of my personal narrative, I should focus on this and gloss over the happy ending where all their hard work paid off.

This peculiar tendency to de-gentrify our backgrounds is at its most acute in the creative industries. Film makers and photographers, ad-men and artists, tell me - why is it you wish you grew up poorer than you did? Why do you wish for a background that could well have resulted in you working in a call centre in Sheffield? Maybe it’s because you have to. The UK film and fashion industries pretty much have this lie as their founding truth. In these sectors, in order to become rich, you must first pretend to be have been poor.

I suppose your work rubs off on you too. If you spend your life essentially writing stories, the desire to embellish your own story becomes overwhelming. By changing your starting point, you can make your own narrative a struggle against the odds. Of course, if you really wanted that kind of gritty excitement, you’d have done something about it. You could have joined the army or become a foreign correspondent. You could still go and work for the UN. But these jobs are hard, dangerous and often badly paid – and so, instead, you sit around in your Paul Smith suit in Soho House at 1am banging on about how you spent a term at the worst comp in Farnham and once interviewed Mad Frankie Frazer.

Which brings us to the strangest sub-genre of working-class worship – the fetishisation of blue-collar criminals. Now, there’s no denying that crime is exciting and I enjoy a good thriller as much as the next man. But what I don’t do is lionise criminals who burn people to death and maim them. You won’t hear me prattling on about some south London gangster who had “a kind of authentic honesty” about him – or even (as people I know have done) attending his funeral. This is because, working in the nightclub industry, you actually meet quite a few proper gangsters. And really, they’re not very nice and they don’t operate according to some stupid code of honour. If I was the devil, I would set up a special circle of hell for gangster-lovin’ mockneys. One where they had to spend eternity running a small business on the Krays’ turf.

Is there a solution to all this? Well, one possibility is that we could all be a bit more American. You know, that crass and vulgar country that a lot of the real working-class people idolise. For all America’s faults, I like the fact that Americans are more interested in where you’re going than where you’ve come from. I suppose a more home grown solution is to do what the upper classes do and treat everyone just like you, although this leads to awkwardness when you have to explain Latin phrases to the dustman.

I doubt either of these will work though. Our parents had no desire to go back to the working classes because they knew what they were like. We don’t – and so many of us treat them as a kind of gentrified Hackney of the mind – a imaginary societal playground for people called Josh and Jasper. When all this really took off in the mid 90s, I’d rather hoped that it would pass quickly. That we’d assimilate the message in Pulp’s clever and perceptive Common People, not the one in Guy Ritchie’s moronic films. But 20 years later, it’s still going strong.

What’s more, fighting the good fight is becoming tiring. It’s tiring having to apologise for for being honest about your background to someone who is lying about theirs. It’s tiring knowing even if you manage to win the argument, you’ll still lose because you’re a snob and an elitist. It’s tiring when so many social interactions are like Kafka set in a private members’ club.

So maybe it’s time to give up. Time to de-gentrify myself. It shouldn’t be hard. I run nightclubs, I own a flat in a purpose-built block in Primrose Hill and my parents have a 50-acre garden. So I don’t even have to lie: I work in a club, I grew up on an estate and I live in an inner city flat in a 60s block. You can call me Big Al. Nice one, innit?



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


1 April, 2014

The life of a Daddy's girl

Melissa Doyle, Television presenter, 44, married

I was born in Artarmon in Sydney's north. My dad, Robert, was raised on a cattle farm in northern NSW. He got about in R. M. Williams boots and moleskin jeans. My mum, Virginia, was a city girl. She was beautiful and elegantly dressed and never left the house without heels.

My parents were different people, and divorced when I was two. From then on, weekdays were spent with Mum and weekends with Dad. Dad would come and pick me up in his red Valiant. Apparently I called it "Daddy Red Car". I have nothing but happy memories from those years, as I had two homes in Sydney and two loving parents. Then, when I was 12, I moved in with Dad. I'm a daddy's girl!

Dad is one of my dearest friends. We are extremely close. He has been this lovely, kind, warm figure in my life. Growing up, he thought it was important to pass on his love of the bush and animals. He took me to cattle shows and taught me how to recognise a quality Angus steer. He also taught me how to pitch a tent and change a tyre.

One of the nicest things he gave me was self-confidence – that I could do whatever I wanted as long as I worked hard. He also instilled in me the notion that nobody is better than anybody else, which I have passed onto my children, Nicholas, 12, and Talia, 10.

Dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2008. My world shattered. He was my big, strong, tough dad and for the first time I saw vulnerability. He moved in with us and I took charge of everything, which was my way of coping. He conquered it, but two years later he was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and so we went through it all again. It was a traumatic couple of years, but if anything, it made our relationship stronger.

When Dad recovered, he fulfilled a childhood promise to take me to Paris. So in 2010 we spent a week in the capital, then hired a car and drove around the French countryside. We drank red wine and toasted his remaining kidney. The memories from that trip I'll treasure forever.

I could never have married a man who didn't get on with Dad, but my husband, John [Dunlop], has always understood Dad's role in my life. Dad lives close by and is always popping in. He is extremely fond of John, and John has become the son he never had.

I first met John when I was 23 and a journalist for WIN TV in Canberra. He was working for Australian Swimming and asked if I'd participate in a celebrity swimming race. We hit it off over the phone and he asked me out. I said no. Then he rang again a few days later and I thought, "What the hell?" We went out for dinner and talked so much the restaurant had to usher us out.

John is just a really nice, decent human being. He is also fantastic looking. I am attracted to him in all sorts of ways. While we were dating, he used to leave love notes. I'd find them on my car windscreen or hidden in my apartment. Early on, he also gave me a lovebird for his "lovebird". After 18 months we got engaged and two years later, in 1995, we got married.

I credit John [who works in sports marketing] with my being able to combine a career and parenthood, as he's my biggest supporter. My work as a Seven News TV journalist has meant travelling to places like Beijing and Athens for the Olympic Games. When I tell John I have to go away, he says, "Fine, I'll manage things at home." My son, Nicholas, is a carbon copy of John, which is kinda cute, but personality-wise he's like me.

Kochie [David Koch] has also been a great support. He was my co-host on Sunrise for 14 years. We couldn't have sat next to each other for all that time if we didn't have a genuine, warm friendship. A woman's magazine wrote that we didn't get along, which really upset me as he is a loyal, kind man.

Both times when I was pregnant and we had to travel, Kochie would insist on carrying my bags. One time, after Talia was born, we were broadcasting from interstate. I needed to express milk and the floor manager was yelling for me to come to the set. I was getting emotional and Kochie yelled back at him, stating I'd be out when I was ready. He always looked out for me.

Blokes have a great perspective on life, which is different to us women. At times we can over-analyse things. I will stress about a situation and drive myself crazy, contemplating it from all these different angles. Then one day John said: "Control the controllable." It's one of the greatest lines I've heard. I like that men are more black and white.


British parents who deliberately starve children of love face jail under new Cinderella Law

Parents who starve their children of love and affection face prosecution under a “Cinderella Law”, The Telegraph can disclose.

Changes to the child neglect laws will make “emotional cruelty” a crime for the first time, alongside physical or sexual abuse.

The Government will introduce the change in the Queen’s Speech in early June to enforce the protection of children’s emotional, social and behavioural well-being.

Parents found guilty under the law change could face up to 10 years in prison, the maximum term in child neglect cases.

The change will update existing laws in England and Wales which only allow an adult responsible for a child to be prosecuted if they have deliberately assaulted, abandoned or exposed a child to suffering or injury to their health.

The new offence would make it a crime to do anything that deliberately harmed a child’s “physical intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development”.

This could include deliberately ignoring a child, or not showing them any love, over prolonged periods, damaging a child’s emotional development.

Other new offences could include forcing a child to witness domestic violence, making a child a scape goat or forcing degrading punishments upon them.

As many as 1.5?million British children are believed to suffer from neglect. The legal changes will allow police to intervene earlier and build a criminal case before children are physically or sexually abused.

Currently civil intervention by social workers is only possible when abuse is classed as emotional neglect.

Robert Buckland, a Conservative MP and part-time judge who has been campaigning on the issue, said “the time for change is long overdue”.

Writing in tomorrow's Daily Telegraph he says: “Not too many years after the Brothers Grimm popularised the story of Cinderella, the offence of child neglect was introduced.

“Our criminal law has never reflected the full range of emotional suffering experienced by children who are abused by their parents or carers. The sad truth is that, until now, the Wicked Stepmother would have got away scot-free.”

The Children and Young Persons Act is more than 80 years old, with sections dating back to 1868.

A campaign to amend it to allow for damage to children’s emotional needs was started in April 2012 by the charity Action for Children.

The Government repeatedly stated that there was no need to change the law, despite attempts to amend it by MPs and peers last year.

Baroness Butler Sloss failed in the House of Lords, while the respected Labour MP Paul Goggins, who died in January, started his campaign to amend the law in February 2013.

Mark Williams, a Liberal Democrat MP, then launched his own attempt in a private member’s bill.

Ministers were initially cool to the idea but gradually came round. The first evidence of this came last Autumn when Damian Green, a justice minister, launched a consultation to gather evidence to support the change.

Mr Buckland added: “We need a clear, concise and workable definition of child maltreatment — an alternative code that reflects the range of harm of done to children and which provides appropriate legal mechanisms to tackle some of the worst cases.

“Emotional neglect must be outlawed, the term 'wilful’ should be replaced and the criminal law should be brought into line with its civil counterpart.”

A spokesman for the charity Action for Children said the change was a “monumental step” towards protecting the young.

It said that between 200 and 300 children were abused through neglect but their abusers were not brought before the courts.

Sir Tony Hawkhead, the charity’s chief executive, said the law would be a major improvement for thousands of children who suffered from emotional abuse and countless others whose desperate situations had yet to come to light.

“I’ve met children who have been scapegoated in their families, constantly humiliated and made to feel unloved,” he said. “The impact is devastating and can lead to lifelong mental health problems and, in some cases, suicide.

We are one of the last countries in the West to recognise all forms of child abuse as a crime. Years of campaigning have been rewarded. The Government has listened.”

The decision to press ahead comes after Conservative ministers dropped their opposition to the changes.

In October, Damian Green ordered “targeted consultation” into the law change after insisting that there was no need for action.

The current law on “wilful neglect” is governed by the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.

Baroness Butler-Sloss, a former senior judge, tried to amend the legislation in the Lords by attaching a clause to the Crime and Courts Bill in 2013.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “The Government believes protecting children from harm is fundamental and that child cruelty is an abhorrent crime which should be punished.

“Every child should be able to grow up in a safe environment. We are considering ways the law can support this.”


The Communist States of America

A preferred ploy of left-wing change agents is to ridicule critics when they point out the undeniable parallels between the goals of today’s “progressive” movement, to include the Democratic Party in general, and the goals of the early, and very much still alive, communist movement.

If, for instance, one mentions the historical fact that nearly every adult who, at any time, was in any position of influence over a young, soon-to-be-radicalized Barry Soetoro was an avowed communist, to include his own parents, then one is immediately mocked and dismissed as a neo-McCarthyite hack pining for the bygone days of the Red Scare. This is an evasive, ad hominem strategy employed by those who are caught, for lack of a better word, red-handed.

To all this I say, if the jackboot fits, wear it. If it quacks like a commie and goose-steps like a commie, then a commie it is.

There are multiple layers within “progressivism’s” pseudo-utopian, truly dystopian Marxist philosophy. The left’s lust for redistributionist statism is well-known. Less understood, however, is the “progressive” rush toward cultural Marxism.

Cultural Marxism entails, among other things, that secularist aspect of left-wing statist ideology that seeks, within society, to supplant traditional values, norms and mores with postmodern moral relativism. Cultural Marxists endeavor to scrub America of her Judeo-Christian, constitutional-republican founding principles, and take, instead, a secular-statist Sharpie to our beloved U.S. Constitution.

Historian and U.S. military affairs expert William S. Lind describes cultural Marxism as “a branch of western Marxism, different from the Marxism-Leninism of the old Soviet Union. It is commonly known as ‘multiculturalism’ or, less formally, Political Correctness. From its beginning, the promoters of cultural Marxism have known they could be more effective if they concealed the Marxist nature of their work, hence the use of terms such as ‘multiculturalism.’”

Pastor, attorney and Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Scott Lively is globally admired by liberty-loving traditionalists. Conversely, he’s universally reviled by cultural Marxists. He drills down a bit deeper: “Cultural Marxism is a variation of the Marxist strategy to build a utopian socialist order on the ashes of Christian civilization, but through subversion of the moral culture, especially the elimination of the natural family, rather than solely through destruction of capitalism.”

True though this may be, the ideological seeds of contemporary cultural Marxism nonetheless sprout from deep within the dead soil of historical communism. It is not economic redistributionism alone through which “progressives” seek to both “fundamentally transform America” and otherwise conquer the world, but, rather, and perhaps primarily, it is also through victory over the pejoratively tagged “social issues” (i.e., the sanctity of marriage, natural human sexuality and morality, ending the abortion holocaust, religious liberty, the Second Amendment and the like).

This is neither speculative nor hyperbolic. Both the historical record and the U.S. Congressional Record bear out this sinister reality. Regrettably, today’s “low-information voters” as Rush Limbaugh calls them – to include the useful idiots within the GOP’s “moderate” and libertarian wings – are simply too lazy, shortsighted or both to learn the facts.

“Surrender on the ‘social issues’!” demands the GOP’s cultural Marxist-enabling kamikazes.

In 1963, U.S. Rep. A.S. Herlong Jr., D-Fla., read into the Congressional Record a list of “Current Communist Goals” as enumerated by Dr. Cleon Skousen in “The Naked Communist,” penned in 1958. I encourage you to read the whole list, but for now let’s focus on those goals that most closely align with the seditious agenda of America’s “progressive” movement. It’s actually most of them. Though Herlong was a Democrat, the list reads like today’s Democratic Party Platform.

How far has fallen the party of the jackass:

Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.

Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist [or, today, Islamic] affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.

Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist [or Islamic] domination.

Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.

Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces.

Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.

Do away with all loyalty oaths.

Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.

Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.

Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum.

Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.

Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policymaking positions.

Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.

Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. (An American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.”)

Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.

Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.

Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”

Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a “religious crutch.”

Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principal of “separation of church and state.”

Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.

Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the “common man.”

Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the “big picture.”

Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture – education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.

Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.

Infiltrate and gain control of big business.

Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat].

Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.

Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.

Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use ["]united force["] to solve economic, political or social problems.

Internationalize the Panama Canal.

Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction [over domestic problems. Give the World Court jurisdiction] over nations and individuals alike.

If achieving these specific communist goals was the final “progressive” step toward the larger goal of securing communist governance in America, then, tragically, “progressives” have realized that larger goal.

Look around. We are no longer the United States of America. We have become The Communist States of America.

Which means, for those who love liberty, revolution is once again at hand.


Charming: Pelosi Calls Pro-Lifers "Dumb" While Accepting Planned Parenthood Award

On Thursday, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was awarded Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger award at the organization’s annual gala. Sanger was a radical eugenicist, yet Pelosi gladly accepted the award that bears her name.

But, Pelosi didn’t just take her trophy and sit down. She also used the opportunity to mock pro-lifers, calling them “oblivious” and “dumb:”

"When you see how closed their minds are or oblivious or whatever it is — dumb — then you know what the fight is about," Pelosi said. "Whatever happens with the court...we must remember these battles will not be the end of the fight."

With these comments, Pelosi is following in the intolerant footsteps of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who charged that pro-lifers and "extreme" conservatives “have no place” in the state. Unfortunately for Cuomo and Pelosi, those “dumb” pro-lifers have just achieved another victory.

As Planned Parenthood was putting the final touches on its banquet, a federal appeals court upheld the abortion law in Texas which bans the procedure after 20 weeks – the point at which unborn babies can feel pain.

But, I’m guessing that wasn’t on Planned Parenthood’s agenda. They were too busy celebrating injustice.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


Examining political correctness around the world and its stifling of liberty and sense. Chronicling a slowly developing dictatorship

BIO for John Ray

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

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"Education Watch International"
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"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International" blog.


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Queensland Police -- A barrel with lots of bad apples
Australian Police News
Of Interest


"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
Western Heart
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
The Kogarah Madhouse (St George Bank)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
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Bank of Queensland blues

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