PC WATCH Mirror by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.)

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH ARCHIVE
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. This site is updated several times a month but is no longer updated daily.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, 2015

Ministers' shame on killer salt: Government sabotage of drive to cut intake has cost 6,000 lives, say doctors

This is apparently politically correct but it is utter garbage -- coming from people who prefer theory to facts.   The latest academic study shows that LOW salt in your blood is most likely to lead to heart attacks.  See JAMA. 2011;305(17):1777-1785.  More here and here and here for similar findings.  Salt is harmless but a deficiency of it is not.  We need it.  See also here

Efforts to cut the amount of salt in food have been ‘derailed’ by ministers in a move which has cost 6,000 lives, doctors claim.

Experts accuse the Government of undermining a salt reduction programme which had saved thousands of lives. They say that replacing it with the controversial ‘responsibility deal’ – which focused on health initiatives led by the food industry – was a ‘major step backwards’.

As a result, efforts to reduce the amount of salt in food stalled and thousands of lives may have been lost. The experts’ damning article in the British Medical Journal says a change of policy is ‘urgently needed’ to save lives.

The Mail has previously revealed how the food industry has been given unprecedented access to the heart of government in recent years – with fast-food companies, supermarkets, restaurant chains and chocolate and fizzy drinks firms having dozens of meetings with ministers. McDonald’s, Mars, Pepsi, Nando’s and Tesco are among firms invited to ministerial meetings since the 2010 election.

The Food and Drink Federation, the lobbyist for the industry, has had 16 meetings with ministers and 99 meetings with officials since the Coalition took over, official figures reveal.

Yet health campaigners say they have been shunned.

The latest revelations prompted claims that the Government was keener on listening to the food industry than to those with the interest of people’s health at heart.

Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine from Queen Mary, University of London, said the responsibility deal had been ‘responsible for a major step backwards in public health nutrition’.

He said the first voluntary salt reduction targets – set in 2006 – were a major success, resulting in the daily intake of average Britons falling 15 per cent from 9.5g per day in 2003 to 8.1g per day in 2011.

The amount of salt in everyday food products was reduced by up to 40 per cent over five years. This is thought to have prevented 9,000 deaths due to strokes and heart disease a year, resulting in healthcare savings of about £1.5 billion in the UK.

The ultimate aim of the salt targets – set by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) – was to reduce intake to 6g per day among the adult population.

But despite their initial success, the Coalition Government formed in 2010 refused to agree on new targets for 2014. And they transferred responsibility for nutrition from the FSA to the Department of Health, which disrupted the salt reduction programme.

In 2011, Andrew Lansley, then health minister, launched the responsibility deal – which made alcohol and food industries responsible for reducing alcohol and improving nutrition. Many companies stopped or slowed down their planned salt reductions from 2011 to 2014, and some failed to meet targets.

Prof MacGregor claims that in this period, up to 6,000 deaths from strokes and heart attacks could have been prevented if the targets had been kept.

He said that although the salt targets were reset after Mr Lansley left his role, four years of the programme had been lost. New salt targets were set in 2014 following the appointment of Anna Soubry as health minister. But these were not as low as originally suggested – due to lobbying by the food industry, the experts believe.

Prof MacGregor was lead author on the BMJ article, which is signed by other medical experts from the campaign CASH – Consensus Action on Salt and Health. He said: ‘The food industry is the biggest and most powerful industry in the world. Robust mechanisms should be set up immediately to control the food industry in a similar way to the tobacco industry.’

The responsibility deal has been likened to ‘putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank’ by charities.

A previous report in the BMJ found that key scientists advising ministers on obesity were receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds for research from companies such as Nestle and Mars.

Barbara Gallani, of the Food and Drink Federation, said voluntary action by companies over the past decade had helped to reduce adult intakes of salt by 15 per cent.

‘It’s common sense food producers should be involved in shaping a salt reduction strategy, as only a thorough understanding of ingredients and recipes can result in stretching but realistic targets,’ she said.

SOURCE







The Wisconsin Left Tried to Criminalize Free Speech

Anyone still wondering how low the American Left will sink in pursuit of its agenda should turn their gaze toward Wisconsin. In a blatant attempt at political intimidation masquerading itself as legitimate investigation, police conducted a series of early morning raids at the homes of several Wisconsin conservatives. Dozens of armed officers showed up for pre-dawn raids with battering rams, swarming into houses and threatening the people inside with arrest if they didn’t cooperate, even as they seized personal property. And on the way out, the invaders gave every person they encountered the same warning: Don’t call your lawyer, and don’t tell anyone about what happened, because a gag order is in place.

How is it that people can be forced to remain silent even as police conducted large, noisy raids more suitable to taking down a drug kingpin right in front of their neighbors? Because law enforcement officials in Wisconsin are allowed to conduct John Doe investigations, defined as "an independent, investigatory tool to ascertain whether a crime has been committed and if so, by whom.” And unlike other investigations that require probable cause to pursue, John Doe investigations are conducted to establish the existence of probable cause itself.

Under the rubric of looking for campaign-finance violations, the investigations were initiated by Milwaukee district attorney John Chisholm, a partisan Democrat — whose wife is a teachers’ union shop steward — and a man determined to find anything that could undermine the political career of rising Republican star Gov. Scott Walker. Walker has thwarted Wisconsin leftists at every turn, winning three elections, including a recall effort, in just four years.

Chisholm’s undertook his first John Doe investigation in 2010, when Walker was Milwaukee County Executive. After three years, it netted all of six individuals who pled guilty to crimes ranging from stealing money from a veterans’ fund, and sending political emails on government time, to violation of state campaign finance laws and contributing to the delinquency of a child. Walker himself? Never even charged.

Undaunted, Chisholm launched a second John Doe investigation shortly after Democrats failed to remove Walker in the recall election in 2012, an act of naked revenge precipitated by the passage of Walker's “budget repair bill” known as Act 10. Act 10 limited the collective bargaining power of unions — including the teachers union to which Chisholm’s wife belonged. The machination surrounding the passage of Act 10 included Democratic state legislators fleeing the state to prevent a vote on the issue, an effort to affect a liberal majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court for the purpose of overturning the law after it was passed, and the recall election.

The second probe, led by special prosecutor Francis Schmitz, targeted Walker and 29 conservative groups. Dozens of subpoenas were issued demanding documents related to the 2011 and 2012, campaign, all based on the theory that these groups had illegally coordinated their activities during recall campaigns of Walker and other Republican legislators targeted for supporting Act 10. National Review’s Rich Lowry aptly described what really occurred. "Walker’s opponents weaponized campaign-finance law, literally,” he explains.

One of those groups, Wisconsin Club for Growth (WCFG), and its founder Eric O’Keefe filed suit. In 2014, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa granted a preliminary injunction halting the investigation, and hammered prosecutors "for exercising issue advocacy speech rights that on their face are not subject to the regulations or statutes the defendants seek to enforce.” The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the case on appeal, but not because they disagreed with Randa’s interpretation, but because the Anti-Injunction Act prohibited federal courts from intervening in a state criminal investigation based on the cited principles of “equity, comity, and federalism.” Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook characterized the ruling as victory for states’ rights.

Nonetheless it remain clear O’Keefe’s rights were violated and Section 1983 of the U.S. Code allows citizens to be granted relief under federal law if their rights have been violated by state officials. Last Friday, the Supreme Court began deliberations to determine if O’Keefe v. Chisholm will be heard by the highest court in the land. The Wall Street Journal insists such a hearing is critically necessary because the theory of coordination, allowing "vast investigations to be instigated on the thinnest evidence" it is part of yet another leftist effort to undermine the Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling that lifted unconstitutional restrictions on spending by corporations and labor unions. That would be the very same Citizen’s United decision that former IRS hack Lois Lerner was bemoaning at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy on Oct. 19, 2010 when she stated that the “Federal Election Commission can’t do anything about it; they want the IRS to fix the problem.”

The IRS decided to “fix” the problem by denying or delaying conservative groups' tax-exempt status, and attempting to coordinate with the Eric Holder-led Justice Department to tamp down revelations regarding that scandal. Wisconsin Democrats chose to fix it by conducting two separate witch-hunts replete with dawn raids and gag orders. In a better world, lots of people would be getting disbarred and/or going to jail. In this one, the American Left will continue its attempt to criminalize speech with which they disagree — by any means necessary — until they are stopped.

Stopped from doing what? Try this, courtesy of National Review's David French:

"As I finished an interview with one victim still living in fear, still shattered by the experience of nearly losing everything simply because she supported the wrong candidate at the wrong time, I asked whether she had any final thoughts. 'Just one,' she replied. 'I’m hoping for accountability, that someone will be held responsible so that they’ll never do this again.' She paused for a moment and then, with voice trembling, said: 'No one should ever endure what my family endured.’”

Here’s hoping the Supreme Court agrees — in no uncertain terms.

SOURCE






After Receiving Over $100K in Donations, Bakers’ Crowdfunding Page Shut Down

Less than a day after a donation fund was set up for the Oregon bakers who the state recommended be fined $135,000 for refusing to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, the crowdfunding website, GoFundMe, has shut it down.

“The campaign entitled ‘Sweet Cakes by Melissa’ involves formal charges. As such, our team has determined that it was in violation of GoFundMe’s Terms and Conditions,” a spokesman for GoFundMe told The Daily Signal in a statement.

The fundraising page was launched Friday after an Oregon administrative law judge announced the fine. Supporters of Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Sandy, Ore., raised more than $109,000 before the page was removed.

In response to being shut down, the Klein’s wrote on their Facebook page, “We have told GoFundMe that the money is simply going to be used to help our family, and there is no legitimate breach of their terms and conditions. We are working to get the account reinstated.”

On GoFundMe’s terms and conditions, which are available to the public, the company prohibits “campaigns in defense of formal charges of heinous crimes, including violent, hateful, or sexual acts.”

Anna Harmon, attorney for the Kleins, told The Daily Signal that what happened to the Kleins “is not a crime.”  “It was heard in an administrative court and there has been no opportunity or a jury or even a final order to be issued in the case yet,” she said.

Harmon added that Melissa and her five children, who all stand to benefit from the public’s donations, have been exonerated. Melissa and her children were not present at the bakery at the time of the refusal.

GoFundMe said the money raised thus far “will still be made available for withdrawal,” which means the Kleins will be able to keep the donations. In the meantime, the family has set up a temporary donation page on Samaritan’s Purse.

“For all of you who gave to the GoFundMe account before it was shut down, we so appreciate your love and generosity,” the Kleins wrote on their Facebook page.

A similar donation page for Barronelle Stutzman, a Christian florist from Washington state who refused to make flower arrangements for a same-sex couple’s wedding, has been operating on GoFundMe for more than two months.

Stutzman, like Aaron Klein, is being held liable for violating the state’s anti-discrimination law.  So far, Stutzman’s page has raised more than $170,000 in donations.

SOURCE






Kentucky Court Says Printing Business Has Right to Deny Service for Religious Reasons

A Kentucky court ruled on Monday that a Lexington printing business does not have to print messages that are in conflict with its religious beliefs.

The decision runs contrary to recent high profile rulings, including ones against Oregon bakers and a Washington florist who were punished for refusing to serve same-sex weddings.

The Kentucky ruling signals that states and local governments are still divided on the question about whether public places have the right to refuse service based on religious objections.

“What this court found in this case is that no one should be forced to promote ideas—or in this case, print ideas—that conflict with their beliefs,” said Jim Campbell, an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom representing the printing business. “That protection is for everyone. It’s a protection that’s for the atheist just as much as it’s for the person of faith.”

The printing company, Hands On Originals, is a small business located in Fayette County, Ky.  The company prints custom messages on items such as shirts, hats, bags, cups, and mugs.

The issue began on March 18, 2012, when Aaron Baker, representing the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization, alleged that Hands On Originals denied that group “full and equal enjoyment of a service” by refusing to print official t-shirts for the organization’s 2012 Pride Festival.

The Gay and Lesbian Services Organization advocates for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community.

The Lexington-Fayette County government has a non-discrimination ordinance, which generally prohibits a public place from discriminating against individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  The state of Kentucky has not adopted the policy.

The county’s Human Rights Commission originally ruled that Blaine Adamson of Hands On Originals discriminated against the LGBT group.

But after appealing to the state, Adamson, co-owner of Hands On Originals won the case, when a Fayette County Circuit judge ruled he has a “constitutional right of freedom of expression from government coercion.”

“With all due respect to the Hearing Commissioner and the Human Rights Commission [the plaintiffs arguments] are not factually accurate and are in direct contrast to well established precedent from the United States Supreme Court interpreting the Federal Constitution,” wrote Judge James Ishmael.

The Hearing Commissioner agrees that these cases support a finding that when [Hands On Originals] prints a promotional item, it acts as a speaker, and that this act of speaking is constitutionally protected.

Campbell, the lawyer representing the printing business, says the case signifies that the issue of religious expression in the workplace will continue to be debated in the courts.

And in this case, he said, the judge’s ruling “affirms the right of Americans to live out their faith in the workplace.”

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

More hatred of Australia's day of remembrance from the Left

ANZAC day is the day Australia remembers its war dead.  It is a very solemn day for most Australians and there is massive participation in its ceremonies.  It is Australia's only real national day

ANZAC hatred goes back a long way on the Left.  The anti-Anzac play "The One Day of the Year" by Alan Seymour was written in 1958. It was at times set as reading in Australian High Schools.  It sought to dishonour the day by portraying the old soldiers as insensitive drunks. 

Despite the Left, however, the day goes from strength to strength with many young people involved


MORE left-wing journalists joined the anti-Anzac cause on social media yesterday, with a senior Fairfax staffer goading his employer to fire him after he posted belligerent tweets in support of sacked SBS reporter Scott McIntyre.

Following a second round of controversial statements levelled at Anzacs by journalists on social media in as many days, the RSL said the views did not represent most Australians.

The Australian Financial Review’s state political reporter Geoff Winestock tweeted on Sunday he thought, “Anzacs were racist yobs and Anzac Day is a death cult”.

He finished the post with “sack me Fairfax” in reference to SBS firing their soccer reporter for a series of outrageous tweets on Anzac Day accusing our troops of “summary execution, widespread rape and theft”.

In reply to Winestock, former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell said: “Regrettably those objectionable views would probably get you a promotion there (at Fairfax).”

A day earlier, on the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing Winestock posted: “Anzac Day wish: in next 30 years there will be no wars and in 50 years no soldiers around to honour.”

Winestock was not alone in his support for McIntyre, with The Sydney Morning Herald’s deputy news director Marcus Strom taking to social media.

“Seems some people don’t like being reminded of the brutal, genocidal, bloody legacy of racist imperialism today,” Strom tweeted.

NSW RSL president Rod White said comments critical of Anzacs did not reflect the majority Australian view: “I believe the Australian community would disagree with those comments.  “It’s out of step to see the military heritage and the service of the original Anzacs in the view they’ve taken.”

Asked if Fairfax would fire Winestock or if his views breached their Code of Conduct, a spokesman said: “No comment.”

SOURCE





Equivalence







A strong woman








UK: Government medicine at work again

Nobody cares

A nurse who faced surgery to treat breast cancer at the hospital where she worked discovered just days later that she'd never had the disease.

A mix-up at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton meant staff confused the notes of three patients. As a result, Elizabeth Dawes was wrongly told in July 2013 that she had invasive grade three breast cancer following a biopsy.

Doctors advised the 39-year-old that she needed immediate surgery, suggesting a double mastectomy.  Ms Dawes refused, but did undergo major surgery to remove a 'cancerous' tumour from her right breast as well as lymph nodes from her armpit.

The mother-of-one was also told she would need a further procedure to correct 'deformities' to her breasts caused by the first operation.

But four days later, Ms Dawes was asked to attend an appointment with her consultant.  There, he revealed there had been a mix-up with her hospital notes and those of two other patients, - and she had, in fact, never had the disease.

She said: 'I am absolutely appalled at what I have been through and am still struggling to comprehend how this could even happen.

'To be told you are facing aggressive cancer in your 30s is devastating and of course, I feared the worst and began making plans for my child, and getting my finances in order.' 'I was willing to undergo whatever treatment it took to fight the cancer so when I was told I needed surgery, I didn't think twice.'

Ms Dawes was so traumatised she needed anti-depressants and was forced to give up her job in the oncology department at New Cross Hospital.

'I was very sore after the operation and shocked by the extensive scarring, so to be recalled four days later to be told none of it was necessary was truly horrendous.

'I am still in pain now, have lost a lot of sensation in my breasts and the scarring has not improved, which hugely affects my self-confidence.

'Nothing can make up for what has happened but I am determined to see justice done and feel I at least deserve an official apology from the Trust given the huge impact this has had on my life.'

Ms Dawes, who has an 18-year-old son, is taking legal action.

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, which operates the hospital, has admitted liability for the misdiagnosis and the unnecessary surgery performed.

Lawyer Louise Hawkley, of Irwin Mitchell, said: 'This is a truly shocking case that has left Elizabeth appalled at the unnecessary heartache, and extensive scarring she has suffered as a result of being wrongly told that she had breast cancer.

'There are also very serious patient safety concerns about the "mix-up" and how the other patients have potentially been affected too.'

She said aside from the 'obvious physical implications', the ordeal has had 'a devastating impact' on her client's life.

Ms Dawes had worked as a breast care nurse in the Oncology Department at New Cross Hospital but has since found herself unable to continue in her role 'as a consequence of what she has been through'.

Ms Hawkley added: 'It is also vital that the Trust identifies what improvements can be made to ensure that this never happens again to improve patient safety at the hospital.'

A trust spokesman told MailOnline it has apologised to Ms Dawes and carried out a full investigation. He said: 'The medical director and nurse director met with Ms Dawes to offer her an unreserved apology for this terrible error and inform her of the trust’s investigation into the incident.  'The findings of the investigation were shared with Ms Dawes and a further apology offered at that time.

'The incident is now part of an ongoing legal claim with which the trust is co-operating fully.  'The trust can confirm that no other patient received inappropriate treatment as a result of this incident.'

SOURCE






Australia: Brisbane councillors tell Muslims who don’t like the Australian way of life to go back to where they came from

A LOGAN City councillor has urged her colleagues to ensure their personal security after they condemned Islamic extremism en masse and called for Australians to stand up for their rights during a full meeting of council yesterday.

One after the other, councillors joined an anti-extremism chorus demanding the Federal Government do something now before the atrocities committed by ISIS overseas were seen being carried out in Australia.

Councillor Jennie Breene (Div 12) said she would be considering her own safety and urged her colleagues to follow suit.

"When we talk about these things, extremists don’t like it,” she said.

Councillor Cherie Dalley (Div 8) said the Federal Government had "pussy-footed” around and was too frightened to do anything.  She said the community was also too scared to speak of their concerns out of fear of being labelled racist.

"We need to have a civilised conversation about the problems perceived by the community and starting at a local level is the best way; to get real people’s feelings out. We are the grassroots, we’re about the people.”

Councillor Phil Pidgeon (Div 9) said Muslims who didn’t love the Australian way of life should go back to where they came from. "Federal members need to be more vocal and say it’s not right to kill people,” he said.

Councillor Luke Smith (Div 6) said Logan residents were making it clear they were concerned and called on Islamic leaders to publicly condemn Islamic extremism and reassure the local community.

Councillor Trevina Schwarz (Div 11) said the "lucky country was starting to go” and said Australia and Islamic leaders needed to take a stance and say extremism wasn’t wanted in Australia.

She said a public forum was needed with leaders in a controlled environment. "We need to protect our society and our city,” she said.

Councillor Don Petersen (Div 4) said if someone wanted to go and fight with ISIS overseas, then they should be left alone to stay over there.

Councillor Steve Swenson (Div 3) said residents were rightfully concerned and said he did not want his children growing up under Sharia Law.

He moved a motion to have the issue of Islamic extremism placed on the next agenda of the Sport and Community Services Committee for discussion.

Mayor Pam Parker said she supported the move for further discussion to provide a better understanding between Islamic extremists and Muslims who embraced the Australian way of life.

Councillor Russell Lutton (Div 2) said while disengaged Australian youth "got on the grog” or "stole a car” young Muslims who did not feel part of a community had the potential to turn to extremism.

He said it was up to Islamic leaders to reach out and engage with their young people.

Logan City Safe Communities spokesman Chris Newman said the organisation had received a ground swell of support since their community meeting opposing a new mosque at Slacks Creek on April 8.  He said the councillors’ comments yesterday were a sign that Logan City Council was starting to respond to the concerns of the community about Islam which he described as a "terror culture”.

"It’s very encouraging that this council has a heart and soul. People have been afraid to speak their minds in their own country.  "People are now becoming more educated and seeing what is going on in the community.”

Mr Newman said the organisation had more public meetings planned but could not confirm the date of the next one yet.

Muslim community spokesman Ali Kadri said he was happy to discuss the issues with councillors and the community it was done objectively and genuinely.  He said it was sad to be asked to condemn Islamic extremism when Muslims were the biggest victim of extremism. "There are more Muslims fighting against ISIS than there are fighting with them.” [A half truth.  It is a war between Muslims of different sects]

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

UK: Hopkins Hate and the inhumanity of political correctness

The latest Twitterfury with Katie Hopkins exposes the ugliness of PC

What kind of twisted society would be made more irate by 400 words in a newspaper column than by the deaths of 400 human beings at sea? Our society. Britain in 2015.

When it was reported earlier this week that 400 migrants fleeing poverty and war died in the Mediterranean after their boat from Libya capsized, there was some shaking of heads, sure, and a few handwringing newspaper articles that were shared by a smattering of briefly mournful tweeters. But that was nothing compared with the response to Sun columnist Katie Hopkins’ article about the migrants, in which she said we should send gunships rather than rescue boats to deal with them: that caused the media and Twitter and sections of celebville to go into meltdown. It’s official: we’re now more offended by words than by death. Behold the otherworldliness, even inhumanity, of political correctness, which bristles more at the terms used to describe a horrific event than it does at the event itself.

Hopkins’ article was nasty, yes. Not only did she say she felt nothing for the sort of migrants who find themselves at the mercy of the seas between Africa and Europe — she also described them as ‘cockroaches’ and said they pose a threat to European cities, which are already ‘swamped’ by migrants. Horrible stuff. Nonetheless, a burning question must be asked of the Twitterstorm her piece provoked, in which everyone from Russell Brand to pretty much all Guardian hacks raged against her, accusing her of being a ‘Nazi’, setting up a petition demanding she be dumped by the Sun, and, in some cases, even shopping her to the police. And the question is this: Where was this searing anger, this keyboard-busting fury, when the 400 were reported dead? When, as a direct consequence of the policies of the EU, with its unhinged fear of African and Middle Eastern migrants, these people were actually perishing at sea? If you were made more furious by Hopkins’ article than you were by the deaths themselves, if you tweeted and wailed and petitioned against her but said maybe just an ‘Oh dear’ about the deaths, then it isn’t only Katie who’s fucked up.

What we can see here, clear as day, is the moral turpitude of PC, the warped nature of modern society’s obsession with speech at the expense of everything else, its myopic focus on the appearance of things rather than on things themselves. Ours is an era in which supposed progressives care far more about policing and correcting people’s speech than they do about transforming and improving the real, physical, social world. Left-leaning campaigners devote infinitely more time to keeping an eye on the words politicians and newspapers use to talk about immigrants — insisting that they must ‘change the language’ — than they do to agitating for the dismantling of strict immigration controls. Radical student activists are now wholly concerned with the terms used to describe oppressed people and have nada, zilch, zero to say about how still-existing oppression might be ended.

Ours is a world in which radicals in Australia recently went berserk over PM Tony Abbott’s use of the word ‘lifestyle choice’ to describe the situation of extremely rural Aboriginal communities, yet cannot propose any solution to the depravity of Aboriginal life, the fact that Aborigines are the only people in a Western country who live in Third World conditions. And a world in which, now, numerous people have become obsessed with fixing the problem of Katie Hopkins — via a sacking or censorship or maybe police involvement — yet cannot utter a word about fixing the institutions and policies that caused the deaths of those 400 people she said stupid things about.

What this reveals is that PC is not only censorious, clamouring endlessly for the punishment of those who used wicked or simply wrong terminology — it is also profoundly conservative. It seeks to maintain linguistic order, and in the process pacify public passions, rather than transform the political conditions that cause division, oppression or poverty in the first place. Many on the right foolishly think of PC as some kind of left-wing conspiracy, a case of ‘Cultural Marxists’ overturning institutions and imposing a new, revolutionary rhetoric and outlook. (Where the left is conspiratorially convinced that a ‘neoliberal cabal’ runs the world, the right prefers to fantasise about sects of ‘Cultural Marxists’ conquering our lives.)

But this is nonsense. PC is better understood as a kind of social scaffolding, the new form of unforgiving authority that replaced the collapse of traditional values and which now seeks to hold our fraying societies together. It does not seek to overturn the world; rather, it largely accommodates to the world as it exists, inventing new terms and phrases that excuse or, worse, celebrate the already existing divisions of life in the 21st century.

So rather than overturn racism, it rehabilitates it, through progressive-posing talk of the need for increased racial awareness and consciousness. Far from ending the divide between the sexes, it updates it, replacing the Victorian idea of female weakness with new-fangled notions of women’s fair, feminine qualities in contrast with men’s blinkered competitiveness and machismo. And far from challenging the many great problems that still face humanity — from economic sluggishness, to the profound development gap between North and South, to the mass movements of people that are provoked by such harsh realities — it concerns itself far more with how we talk about these things than it does with how we might tackle and end them. Economic slothfulness becomes ‘eco-friendliness’. Slow growth, or rather no growth, in the Third World is re-imagined as ‘sustainable development’. And the PC watch as the mass and great movements of humanity across the globe are stopped or crushed by government forces and they say: ‘Hey, hey! Whatever you do, don’t call those migrants a “flood” or a “swarm”.’ In short, use nice words as you enforce the global order against them. PC is both an apology for division and poverty, and a distraction from meaningful debate about real, proper change.

And now, the immorality of PC, the baseness of it, has led to the surreal situation where a columnist who said horrible things about migrants is grassed up to the police — the same police who play a key role in throwing out of Britain anyone deemed to be an illegal immigrant and in the process contribute to the criminalisation of migration. Worse, the right-on tweeters who fulminated most loudly against Hopkins come from those sections of public life that are most pro-EU, most enamoured with the very political structure whose policies of keeping out any immigrant with dark skin led to those deaths. They probably even mix in circles that include generous smatterings of EU officials and Brussels-based activists.

There you have it, PC summed up: observers rage against a columnist who called migrants from Africa ‘cockroaches’, and then probably logged off from Twitter to have dinner and drinks with the very people whose power, whose clout, whose laws reduce those migrants to the level of cockroaches in the actual world, the real world, the physical world of borders and seas.

SOURCE






Lauren Southern: Why I am not a feminist








Obsession with Poldark's chest is 'sexist and undermines the whole show', female co-star claims

Why did they hire such a jealous shrew?



As Captain Ross Poldark, his brooding good looks and rippling muscles have sent women around the country into a frenzy.

But Aidan Turner's Poldark co-star Heida Reed has claimed the obsession with his body is sexist, and is unintentionally undermining the BBC1 series.

Miss Reed, 27, who stars in the period drama as Poldark's former lover Elizabeth, said Turner, 31, was being 'objectified' in a way that would not be tolerated if he were female.

Claiming it is evidence of reverse sexism, Miss Reed said: 'I think there should be the same standard for both sexes when it comes to things like this.

'Of course it's nice for everyone involved that he's viewed as a sex symbol or very attractive man. But it's getting a little bit ridiculous. I think it just undermines the rest of the show.

'I don't think it should be any more allowed than if a woman was in the same situation. And if she was, the media would have a field day that she's being objectified.'

Reed said she knew 'for a fact that [Turner is] completely baffled by the amount of interest' in the popularity of images that show him scything in a field.

'The producers had no idea that was going to happen either,' she explained. 'They never said 'let's have his shirt taken off and everyone will go nuts'. It wasn't a strategy.'

The Icelandic actress's comments follow overwhelming interest in Turner's physique from Poldark's avid fans.

Hundreds of viewers have taken to Twitter to marvel at his strapping form, as scenes showed him swimming naked in the sea and scything a field topless.

One joked on Twitter: 'If Poldark gets any hotter we'll have to call the fire brigade.' Another told MailOnline: 'There isn't a single woman I know, who doesn't think he's absolutely gorgeous.'

And they even complained after last week's episode failed to feature Turner's bare chest. One posted: 'All bad news on the Poldark front tonight. @Aidan didn't get his shirt off once.'

However while fans' interest might be taken for flattery, Miss Reed said Turner, who is reportedly engaged to his girlfriend of four years, actress Sarah Greene, is 'completely baffled' by the level of attention, which has included online marriage proposals.

Miss Reed, who is currently starring in a play about revenge porn called Scarlet, in which she appears on stage in just her underwear was speaking to the Daily Telegraph.

Poldark, which is based on the books by Winston Graham, has followed Ross Poldark since he returned from the American War of Independence only to find that his father has died and his former fiancée, Elizabeth, has married another man.

He rescues Demelza, played by Eleanor Tomlinson, 22, from life as a street urchin and takes her in as his maid.

And their relationship develops from a working one to one of passion, climaxing with a steamy bedroom scene.

SOURCE






Female sex offenders

Report from an international conference held in Australia

WHEN Theresa Goddard touched down at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, she thought she was meeting the man of her dreams to start her “incest family”.

The 45-year-old whose online avatar is “pervstepmom”, had been chatting with a 51-year-old father-of-two online for months, sharing photographs, messages and plans to have a baby of their own.

Only after she quit her job at a lumber mill and flew south, she was arrested in an undercover sting led by US Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Kevin Laws, who had been working undercover to capture the woman in the unusual case. “I was the dad pimping out my children,” Mr Laws told news.com.au.

“She posted an ad looking for an incest family. I responded. She wanted to do a number of things. [For me] to get her pregnant. To adopt a child to keep in the basement.”

Ms Goddard is now serving 10 years in jail and Mr Laws used the example as part of his keynote address at a Gold Coast conference focussing on the underreported and often misunderstood realm of female sexual offending.

The Youth, Technology and Virtual Communities Conference is attended by more than 300 delegates from around the world and is focusing on female sexual offenders as its main theme.

“They’ve always been out there but this conference is centred around them. It’s good to get people to think outside the box,” Mr Laws said. “A lot of the females are worse than the males, as far as deviants go.”

The conference takes place over the next three days and aims to provide those in law enforcement and protective services with international expertise to tackle a difficult and evolving issue.

Detective Inspector Jon Rouse, from Taskforce Argos, the Queenland Police unit responsible for hunting down sexual predators said feedback from previous years meant delegates wanted more information on what motivates female sexual offenders.

“We are certainly seeing an increase in our arrests for female sexual offenders,” he said.

“In 12 months we arrested 172 sex offenders - three have been female. The proportion is very different, we are interested in what drives this to happen.”

“Also the variance in sentencing we see …. What is the society view? What is the media view? What is the judiciary view? We’re black and white, but the sentencing regime tends to be very interesting.”

The Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault estimates female offenders are responsible for just 5 per cent of all offences, but it’s a hugely undocumented area made difficult by the lack of research and victims’ reluctance to report crimes.

Studies show that female sex offenders are likely to be known to the victim and male coercion can be an important part of their offending. Detective Rouse said as in all cases, there is no typical profile of a sex offender.

“They come from all walks of life. There’s no way you can put them in a box and say that is the threat. There are always common denominators …[but] there is no single common denonimator.”

The role of technology is also a major component with speeches by representatives from Facebook and Google. Detective Rouse said the rise of online dating has provided would-be offenders with plenty of opportunity, however it’s also given greater scope to police to catch criminals.

“We’re quite patient. We spend several years on a lot of our operations. It comes with that element of risk.”

He said parents and children need to remember not to post photographs of themselves or accept friend requests from strangers.

“We really need mums and dads to educate themselves about the technology they’re providing their kids. You’ve got to remember it does more than ring — it’s a mobile computer now. Threatening that you’re going to take device away and block them from the internet, that’s not going to work, you’re much better off supporting them.”

SOURCE

*************************

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

***************************




27 April, 2015

Multiculturalists SNATCH cellphones from women walking on the pavement



These are the dramatic scenes as a pair of criminals, part of a south London gang, snatch a woman's mobile phone while she walked along a busy street.

The footage is captured by a cyclist who is riding along the road outside Lambeth College in south London.

The woman is talking on her smartphone when the men spot her. They perform a highly-illegal u-turn before mounting the pavement. The pillion passenger twists his body as the moped pulls up beside the stunned woman and wrenches the handset from her grasp.

The cyclist turns his head to continue filming the brazen theft, which was one of a growing number of similar crimes where gangs use speed to snatch high value items such as mobile phones, handbags and items of jewellery.

The Metropolitan Police has issued an urgent warning to members of the public to make them aware of this type of crime.

The Met and the City of London police have deployed vehicles with automatic number plate recognition systems to identify stolen mopeds which are used in such attacks.

They have just released dramatic new footage of the theft outside Lambeth College on July 31, 2013.

Courtney Morgan and Walid Hnida saw their victim and ruthlessly targeted her for her mobile.

Detectives discovered that Morgan and Hnida formed part of an organised criminal network.

The gang targeted mostly women during their crime spree, including one who was heavily pregnant.  They operated across Wandsworth, Lambeth, Richmond upon Thames and Hammersmith and Fulham in south and west London.

One woman was punched in the face and another was dragged along the pavement as she tried to keep hold of her phone which was eventually stolen.

Another woman was pulled onto the hot exhaust of the bike and her leg was so badly burnt she needed hospital treatment.

Officers believe that during the spate of thefts, the gang managed to steal phones and other electronics worth an estimated £120,000.

A spokesperson for the Met said: 'The team, who drove a high-powered scooter to steal phones from their victim’s hands, were responsible for a total of 46 offences - and stealing the moped - all committed over an 11 day period.

'They targeted members of the public for their smartphones - predominantly iPhones, Samsungs and iPads. Whilst the majority of the offences resulted in no injuries being sustained by the predominantly female victims, on at least eight occasions violence was used to force victims into giving up their property.'

Hnida, 18, was jailed for three years and four months while Morgan received two years after a hearing at Kingston Crown Court.

SOURCE







Gavin McInnes on politically correct terrorism








Blue-eyed Australian medic who appears in doctor's scrubs in latest ISIS video is a Muslim

His actions show the power of Islam to fry the brain.  Religion can be very influential and when the religion preaches hate, the result can be very deplorable.  The way he travelled from one job to another in Australia does suggest a restless soul.  From his name he seems most likely to be of Egyptian origin

It has been revealed the blue-eyed, Australian doctor who's been hailed the 'new face' of the latest Islamic State propaganda videos was reportedly a 'womaniser' who was thought to be a 'pretty normal guy'.

In ISIS's most recent video, a young doctor, identified as Tareq Kamleh, called on foreign medics to travel to the ISIS stronghold in Raqqa to help launch the ISHS (the Islamic State Health Service).

The video of Kamleh, who refers to himself as Abu Yusuf, showed him handling babies in a maternity ward while wearing western-style blue surgical scrubs and a stethoscope.

Once the propaganda video went viral, people from Kamleh's past started to recognise the previously unidentified doctor.

It was revealed Kamleh, who is believed to be in his late 20's, completed his medical degree at Adelaide University.

Upon completing his degree he reportedly worked as a paediatric registrar at the Adelaide Women's and Children's Hospital until 2013.

Kamleh then moved to north Queensland where he worked at Mackay Base Hospital, the Age reported.

He completed his final stint in the Australian medical system working in Perth until late 2014.

A university student who knew Kamleh, but did not want to be named, said he showed no signs that he would defect to the radical militant group.  'He was a pretty normal guy, he didn't have any IS related interests,' she told news.com.au. She said the 'clean cut' doctor was well known in her social circle as a 'womaniser' who didn't shy away from drinking alcohol.

Kamleh was also recognised by Dr Stephen Napoli, co-owner of the Mannum Medical Centre in South Australia. He told the Age the 'intelligent' doctor had interned with him for 10 weeks back in 2010.  'As a doctor he worked quite well; he was quite intelligent, he presented to our practice as quite a sound doctor with good medical knowledge,' Dr Napoli said.

Dr Napoli agreed that Kamleh had shown no signs of holding extreme Islamic views.   'There was no indication I'd be worried about his other associations when he was with us.

'There was nothing that I saw of his work as a medical practical that would suggest he would have any of these sorts of views.'

A former college from Adelaide Hospital also came forward reporting that he recognised Kamleh in the footage immediately.

'I was taken aback as much because I certain certainly wouldn't have associated him with an association like IS. His principles seemed to be sound and focused on the care of his patients,' he told the Age.

The collegue, who also chose not to be identified, said Kamleh's behaviours were not consistent with the Islamic State's conservative views on drinking or dating.  'I know he dated a few nurses and other doctors over the years… he was heterosexual and certainly interested in the ladies, with some success.'

He claims to be sad he delayed travelling to Syria for so long.

'It is disappointing to think how many fellow Muslims brothers and sisters in the medical field, who are doctors and nurses, physios, who are still living in the West and unfortunately the Muslims living here are suffering, not necessary from a lack of equipment or medicine but a mainly a lack of qualified medical care.'

Yusuf urges foreign Muslims with medical training to come forward and join the latest caliphate initiative.  'We really need your help. It is not the equipment that we are lacking, it is truly just the staff. Inshallah see you soon.'
   
SOURCE






In Defense of Private Civic Engagement: Why the Assault on ‘Dark Money’ Threatens Free Speech – and How to Stop the Assault

Being able to speak freely and donate money anonymously has a long and distinguished history in the U.S. The Declaration of Independence, the campaigns for approval of the U.S. Constitution and the end of slavery, and the modern civil rights movement all relied for their success on the right to keep private the identities of persons expressing their opinions or financing unpopular causes.

Today, that right is under attack by groups on the Left using Alinskyite tactics and campaign finance laws to silence and intimidate anyone who disagrees with them. The right to participate anonymously in debates over matters of public policy is more important than ever.

In a new Heartland Policy Study, “In Defense of Private Civic Engagement: Why the Assault on ‘Dark Money’ Threatens Free Speech – and How to Stop the Assault,” constitutional scholar Nick Dranias notes, “private civic engagement serves a critically important purpose in keeping the marketplace of ideas focused on the message, not the messenger. It also protects the messenger from retaliation when speaking truth to power.”

To protect individual liberty, we must find ways to reinvigorate our nation’s heritage of protecting the right to engage anonymously in civic causes. Dranias provides a roadmap for doing just that.

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

Multiculturalism is a racist ideology

Below is a rather intellectual essay from Britain.  I will try to give the gist of it in plain words:

Extensive immigration of incompatible minorities makes middle class people uncomfortable but they are heavily into righteousness so regard racism as immoral and cannot express the discomfort and alarm that they really feel. They need to deny that there is anything problematic about the incomers.  But they have to have some outlet for the real discomfort and anger that they feel so displace that anger on to those who do not share their unrealistic beliefs.  They blame those who DO express discomfort with the immigrant influx and and who thereby upset the middle class denial that anything is wrong.  They vent their anger on more natural and straightforward people.

And those who express discomfort with mass immigration and a longing for the pre-immigration state of affairs are mostly the working class, who are less uptight about righteousness.  So the former Leftist glorification of the workers is all gone now.  The workers are now the despised enemy.  They have lost their bourgeois Leftist defenders and champions.

But there is a lot to deny -- such as the high rate of black and Gypsy criminality and the high rate of Muslim hostility, so the preoccupation with denying racial differences becomes a daily  obsession. It is very race conscious and is therefore racist in that sense alone.  Their avowed belief that all races are equal is itself a racist belief -- or at least a rigidly held and race-obsessed belief. Stereotypes are normally very flexible and responsive to new information, but when they are driven by emotional needs, they can become very rigid indeed.

And, like all racism, it has its victims -- it is just that the victims are not minorities but rather the straightforward people who are not so uptight about racial righteousness. It is as hostile and intolerant as any other form of racism.  The slightest deviation from the middle-class norm is punished.  The desperate middle class need to think well of themselves leads them to despise others.  And in England the working class has always been looked down on anyway.

While I mostly agree with that account, I think it does not go deep enough.  I think we need to ask WHY some people have such a powerful need for an appearance of righteousness.  And since the hard core of the people concerned are Leftists, I think the answer is obvious.  They need an appearance of righteousness and compassion as camouflage for the real evil and hostility of their actual intentions and wishes  -- evil very plainly seen when they gain unrestricted power -- as in Soviet Russia, Mao's China, Pol Pot's Cambodia, the French revolution etc.

Note that "indigenous" is used below to refer to the English


by Stephen Moriarty

We live in a world in which ethnic conflict is a problem of immeasurable seriousness. Swift had it right when he hinted that humans would fight over which end of their boiled eggs they broke first. How do we explain this? Most arguments make out that ethnic conflict is either inexplicable or immoral or both. Yet there must be an explanation, and since such conflict is conducted by human beings, there is clearly a point at which people overcome their scruples about it.

I think one of our difficulties is that it is usually assumed that a persuasive moral case is a persuasive political case, but it is not, as Machiavelli pointed out long ago. People do not act in line with even their sincere moral beliefs. We fully accept this with regard to things. We know the world would be a better place if possessions were shared and cared for by everyone, but we also know that our sinful nature makes us incapable of this. Capitalism is founded on this concession to “sin”. Marriage and “just war” are similar concessions by Christianity.

The conviction that human nature is essentially good, or can be made so, is a “bourgeois ideology” in the Marxist sense. Sensitive people who live in comfortable circumstances can benefit from the exploitation of those less fortunate with an easier conscience when they believe that life in poorer parts of society is only poorer, rather than also more vicious. This is important because it is difficult otherwise to understand the actions of the Left in destroying the only practical basis for socialism – national identity – by its actions after 1997. The answer is that it was never genuinely socialist in the first place. Its socialism was a bourgeois pose, a display of status by those who never wanted to face its consequences.

Indeed Marxism is a bourgeois ideology in the Marxist sense: the insight was hardly new that people tend to believe what suits them, and Marx excluded sexual motivation and thus relieved prudish people from having to think about the intractability and universality of human evil. This unwillingness to face the reality of universal evil leaves Marxists (and we are all Marxists now) prone to believe in evil in a religious sense (as supernatural) and therefore also prone to witch-hunting and wishful thinking.

The blogger Steve Moxon says that the PC project is a reaction to the failure of the Marxist prophesy of a proletarian revolution. The proletariat, stereotyped as white working-class males, has been rounded-on by its erstwhile champions (a Marxist/Dickensian sentimentality about the working-class was widespread until very recently), who now fetishise anything that is notwhite, working-class, or male, he says. Nevertheless low-status males remain, he says, the least privileged group in all societies; he says there is now a “runaway” bias against them such that their manifestly rough deal, in particular with regard to access to sex and reproduction, is not addressed. I think it is interesting that the two groups involved in the “grooming gangs” were low-status males and white girls from the British underclass.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the “grooming” cases was its show-casing of anti-white prejudice, although one should also mention the long paralysis of the authorities in the face of the problem. Such prejudice is common, as I once heard a brave black caller to BBC Radio 5 attest. The existence of this prejudice is like the existence of Saturn’s moons: it blows a whole world-view to pieces. As Albert Memmi describes in his book Portrait du colonise, portrait du colonisateur, the indigenous population becomes stereotyped as lazy. This is partly because indigenous people have usually established a civilisation in which there is some room for leisure and sharing and because they make up a full spectrum that includes the old, the sick and the feeble, whereas immigrants are obliged to work very hard (and all due credit to them for this) and are almost by definition dynamic. They also often have an ambassadorial pride in their birth-identity.

Furthermore, civilisations have strong hospitality codes that dictate self-effacing generosity to newcomers. Thus it tends to be the host civilisation that breaks down when confronted by mass immigration, because this self-effacement interrupts the normal process of inter-generational acculturation (see the “diversity agenda” in schools and on the BBC, for instance). Yet, in the unconscious of the colonisers, a people who have allowed themselves to be colonised are contemptible, all the more so perhaps when they have previously dressed up their cowardice as charity and thus insulted everyone by condescension.

The black lady who responded calmly to Emma West said that she was here to do the work people like Emma West didn’t want to do. This opinion is understandable because it must be difficult for immigrants to find an explanation for their being invited here in such numbers and under so little compulsion to assimilate if it was not because there was something wrong with the indigenous population. Many immigrants must have the impression that the British ruling class has decided to replace its people despite all the obvious risks, and that therefore the English working-class must have been truly useless.

The English working-class are thus in grave danger of becoming the “Other” to the “British”. They are, to many, the main moral, ideological and practical obstacle to the New Britain (Peter Mandelson’s phrase). They are subject to negative stereotyping on the grounds of culture, class, race, and “loser” status in the current colonial process (and as the descendants of the foot-soldiers of imperialism). The less the New British have in common (and multiculturalism is an ideology that celebrates division), the more they need a scapegoat; and the more the English attempt to resist, the more they will prove their savage incompatibility with modernity.

It is this that partly explains the oft-noted anomaly of greater hostility to immigration in low-immigration areas. In a society based on the notion of relatedness, inherent but taboo negative qualities are projected onto outsiders (“the Other”). When there is sufficient immigration, this ideology becomes untenable, not so much because it has been debunked (which it is to a degree), but because it becomes taboo: people suppress their fear in order to be able to go on with life. It becomes necessary to believe that the new situation is alright, that a society without kinship bonds is not less secure than one with them, and that the enemy is now those atavistic individuals whose persistence in regretting the change is a painful reminder that all may not be well. These become the scapegoat for all the fear and repressed “longing for the tribe”. They become the Other onto which the new taboo of racism can be projected. Racism becomes almost the only sin (and it is indeed a kind of original sin because it is inherent in all of us – we have an instinct to preserve local adaptation by mating with people like ourselves) because, in the effort to believe everything is alright, newcomers are sanctified, and since they are really normal, sinful, people, this means that much normal human sinfulness is placed beyond criticism. Only racism remains as “wrong”. This is “liberalism” and “multiculturalism”.

Thus the natural tendencies of human beings are inverted, rather as gravity holds up the arch. Perhaps societies always function in this masochistic way. As Roger Hicks has pointed out, we can see parallels with the Communist taboo on possessiveness, the Catholic taboo on sex and the general religious taboo on reason: they all use “prestige suggestion”, the bold denial of obvious truth, combined with Girardian group-psychology, to instil guilt and fear. While societies based on kinship can scapegoat outsiders (harmlessly?), those based on “anti-racism” (see below for why this is in quotation marks) will always need an internal scapegoat because they are based on the idea that there is no such thing as an outsider.

I am trying not to romanticise tribal society here. It is probably true that scapegoating was a normal part of tribal life, and an individual or group within the tribe might have found themselves accused of treachery, of being an Other, but in general the natural function of Othering was probably to keep the tribe alert to the very real danger that other tribes posed whilst maintaining “civilised” behaviour within the tribe. I suppose I am trying to trace out what happens when this natural function of Othering is frustrated by the guilt-mechanism of “anti-racism”.

While multicultural societies intend to treat all groups equally, in fact it is the indigenous population, as a consequence of its nostalgia, which provides the scapegoats. In practice it is only the indigenous population, initially in the majority, that has to adopt the new paradigm: in-coming groups, whilst ostensibly treating “racists” as the Other just like everyone else, remain able to “to other” foreigners, since they are one and the same people: indigenous individuals.

Thus the culture of indigenous population comes under an intense assault. Any attempt to maintain that culture is rejected by many of the indigenous because such loyalty is implicit evidence that the ideology of multiculturalism is flawed and that the new structure is dangerously unstable. Unable to face their situation, they instead redouble their efforts to believe that everything is alright: there occurs a frenzied fetishisation of the foreign and a further stigmatisation of the domestic culture, bringing about its collapse.

Thus what appears to be the apogee of progressive politics – multiculturalism – is in fact its nemesis. Every progressive cause is sacrificed upon its altar: manners, feminism, gay-liberation, child-welfare, animal-rights, rationalism, free-speech, economic equality and, most ironically of all, anti-racism. The mechanism by which (admittedly limited) progress is possible – rational debate leading to consensus – is wrecked by the apparatus of multiculturalism (which is, of course, merely relativism writ large): speech laws (they “creep” because any controversial opinion is a metaphor for the taboo); patronising, indeed racist, sensitivity to “cultural practices” (which become totemic – provocatively assertive); the fragmentation of the demos.

At the bottom of this catastrophe is hypocrisy. Richard Millet has quoted Moliere: “L’hypocrisie, c’est un vice a la mode, et tous vices a la mode passent pour virtus.”

Multiculturalism is a racist ideology.

SOURCE




The amazing Gavin McInnes on Spring Break rape -- and why it sucks not being a liberal








Another perverted Muslim

Harley Street plastic surgeon 'molested patient in his surgery after plying her with vodka

The eminent plastic surgeon who treated acid attack victim Katie Piper molested another patient after getting drunk in his surgery, a tribunal was told yesterday.

Mohammad Ali Jawad, 56, allegedly dimmed the lights, shut the blinds and asked her to dance to the music of Julio Iglesias before massaging her neck and touching her breasts.

To the strains of the Spanish singer crooning on his iPhone, he is claimed to have asked her: ‘Do you see me as a man or a surgeon?’

The woman, known as Patient A, told a hearing considering Dr Jawad’s fitness to practise that when she went to him for a consultation about treatment for facial scarring, she took a bottle of vodka from her native Poland as a gift.

He opened it in front of her, brought out two shot glasses and when the next patient cancelled his appointment, he gulped down some vodka, Patient A said.

‘We had a shot first and I think he had a few, then he put the vodka in the bigger crystal glasses,’ she added. ‘The more he drank, the more he kept staring at my cleavage and telling me I looked pretty. He asked about my employment. He offered me a job at the clinic.

‘I was a little bit uncomfortable. I wouldn’t say I was distressed, but it was becoming a little weird. He was becoming increasingly drunk.’

Patient A, a former personal assistant in her 30s, said: ‘He re-entered the room and dimmed the lights, pulled the blinds down and played Julio Iglesias on his iPhone.

'He then opened a bottle of red wine, then he asked me to dance with him. He didn’t really say anything – he grabbed me.

‘I didn’t stop him, I was paralysed. I pushed him away and managed to remove myself from his grip. I told him I would show him something on the internet, so he let me go.

‘I showed him pictures of my friends on Facebook and that’s when he stood behind me and started massaging my neck. He then moved his hand from my neck to my collarbone and the front of my chest. I was paralysed.’

She added: ‘He then sat down on the chair next to me, facing me. He pulled his legs round one of mine and squeezed my leg with his. He put his hands on my knee and asked if I thought he was pretty. He then asked me if I saw him as a man or a surgeon.

‘When I said I saw him as a surgeon, he said: “Well if that is the case, there is nothing for us to discuss.” I got up, took my bag and coat and left in a hurry.’

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester was told the incident happened in October 2012 during a three-hour consultation at his Nip n Tuck surgery in Marylebone, London.

The tribunal heard Dr Jawad and Patient A first met for a consultation in January 2010 and had at least two other meetings before the incident, but they communicated by text message and email.

The surgeon denies all of the allegations of misconduct and will give evidence via videolink from Karachi, Pakistan, where he is currently living and working.

SOURCE






UKIP leader admits he has a 'preference' for Australian immigrants over Somalis and Eastern Europeans

Nigel Farage has admitted that he has a 'preference' for Australian immigrants over Eastern Europeans and Somalians.

The Ukip leader said he had to 'confess' that he was happier accepting migrants from Commonwealth countries such as Australian and India because they could speak English and understood Britain's legal system.

The controversial remarks come after Mr Farage demanded that refugees fleeing to Europe across the Mediterranean are sent back.

Mr Farage, who has also admitted today that he went 'a bit wonky' and made mistakes at the start of Ukip's election campaign, was asked on BBC Newsnight whether he was anti all immigration or preferred some foreigners to others.

The BBC presenter Evan Davis asked: 'Let's suppose one from Mogadishu with the same skills, the same ability to speak English, but not as a first language from one from Melbourne do you have a preference?'

Mr Farage said: 'I have to confess I do have a slight preference. I do think, naturally that people from India and Australia are in some ways more likely to speak English, understand common law and have a connection with this country that some people that come perhaps from countries that haven't fully recovered from being behind the Iron Curtain.'

The remarks are the latest in a series of pointed interventions Mr Farage has made on the issue of immigration.

During the live leaders' TV debates Mr Farage said the NHS should not be treating foreigners with HIV.

Speaking to the BBC tonight, Mr Farage admitted that he purposely ramped up the rhetoric to 'wake people up'. He said: 'Sometimes have to say things in a way to get noticed, of that there's no question.

'In order to get the public aware of some of these issues perhaps at time that tone had to be used. But you are not you are not hearing, and you're interviewing me now as we approach a general election, you are not hearing that tone from me.'

Earlier Mr Farage admitted that he had 'made some mistakes' in the campaign insisted he was looking forward to the rest of the campaign and had 'a bit of the old vim and vigour back'.

Speaking to Channel 4 News tonight he said: 'I started the campaign and think I make some mistakes.  'My desperation for Ukip to do well meant that I really packed the diary and the day in a way that frankly wasn't very bright. I have now trimmed it back a bit. I'm being a bit more selective.'

Asked if he was 'exhausted' he said: 'No, I'm now actually rejuvenated and enjoying it again.'

But told he had looked 'a bit wonky' earlier in the campaign, Mr Farage said: 'I was. No, no. Hands up I was. I had completely overdone it.  'I wasn't getting it right. I feel a bit of the old vim and vigour back and I'm looking forward to the next fortnight.'

The admission came as the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg accused Mr Farage of being an 'odious Victor Meldrew' character.

It came after Mr Farage called for any migrants rescued from the Mediterranean to be sent back to Africa.

The Ukip leader said 'millions' of refugees could arrive on boats in Europe over the next few years unless they are intercepted and turned back now.

Mr Farage urged Prime Minister David Cameron to resist pressure at an emergency summit of EU leaders in Brussels tomorrow for Britain to take in large numbers of refugees brought across the Mediterranean by people-smugglers.

He insisted the UK could not take more than 'a few thousand' genuine refugees.

However, a major survey published today suggested Mr Farage's hard-line immigration stance was popular with the public.

Barely one in ten electors say they are satisfied with Conservative border policies over the past five years.

The poll by Ipsos MORI suggests this unhappiness may be the key factor behind large numbers of Conservative voters switching to Ukip.  For all voters, six in ten electors say they are unhappy about the Tories handling of the nation's borders.

A significant number of voters also insist immigration is still not being discussed enough by the politicians.

During the current campaign, the Tories, Labour and Liberal Democrats have all avoided talking about the subject.

The poll will now put pressure on the Prime Minister to change course and begin promoting his policies – which are far tougher than any advocated by Labour.

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

Are women who don't want children blue lobsters?


I probably don't need to say so but lobsters are normally red

A long but amusingly uninsightful essay below.  It appeared in "The Atlantic" under the heading "Why Women Aren't Having Children".  The author, Sophie Gilbert,  praises the attitudes and feelings of women who do not want to have children -- without apparently realizing that she is praising destruction of the attitudes concerned.  Attitudes and personality are highly hereditary so what is happening is that non-maternal women are breeding themselves out of existence.  With no children their particular genes will perish. 

There have always been some non-maternal women, some of whom became the well-known category of "maiden aunts".  But, in the absence of contraception and amid social pressures to marry, many did reproduce and passed on their anti-survival instincts.

So it is surely a very good thing that non-maternal women now feel free to breed themselves out of existence.   Future generations will look back on them with wonder and pity.

So an apt reply to the disturbed Shulamith Firestone, who believed that “childbearing was barbaric and pregnancy should be abolished”, is surely that she is more than welcome to abolish herself -- which she duly did in 2012, leaving no-one behind like her

Women who don't want children are evolutionary duds  -- and we are now seeing the last of them.  They are a "sport" (a genetic accident).  They are not as unusual as blue lobsters but result from a similar process.

A methodological note:  With regard to the fact that highly educated women are less likely to have children, one must offer the classic caution that correlation is not causation.  Not having children is not the same as not wanting them and for the subset who actually do not want them, it must be allowed that such women may be more likely to fill their lives with extra education.  The direction of the causal arrow between more education and childlessness is not in general known and subjective reports may be unreliable

A personal note:  What I have said above is undoubtedly politically incorrect and, if I were in employment, attempts would probably be made to get me fired.  What I have said is, however, I believe, entirely objective and, as such, is not intended to hurt,  offend, disparage or condemn.  And it is undoubtedly scientifically accurate. I cheerfully admit however that I have a great love of children and had a great time helping to bring up four of them.  I am not a blue lobster



Pope Francis is widely believed to be a cool Pope—a huggable, Upworthyish, meme-ready, self-deprecating leader for a new generation of worshippers. “He has described himself as a sinner,” writes Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Pope Francis’ entry on Time’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world,  “and his nonjudgmental views on … issues such as sexual orientation and divorce have brought hope to millions of Roman Catholics around the world.”

But there’s one issue that can make even Cool Pope Francis himself sound a little, well, judgy. “A society with a greedy generation, that doesn’t want to surround itself with children, that considers them above all worrisome, a weight, a risk, is a depressed society,” the pontiff told an audience in St. Peter’s Square earlier this year. “The choice not to have children is selfish. Life rejuvenates and acquires energy when it multiplies: It is enriched, not impoverished.”

Not Wanting Kids Is Entirely Normal

Ignore the irony of a man who’s celibate by choice delivering a lecture on the sacred duty of procreating, and focus instead on his use of the word “selfish.” This particular descriptor is both the word most commonly associated with people who decide not to have children, and part of the title of a new collection of essays, Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed, by 16 different writers (both female and male) who fall into exactly that category. While the association appears to be so deeply embedded in the collective psyche that it’d take dynamite to shift it, if the book reveals anything, it’s that there’s an awful lot more to not wanting children than the impulse to put oneself first. “People who want children are all alike,” writes editor Meghan Daum in the book’s introduction, with apologies to Tolstoy. “People who don’t want children don’t want them in their own way.”

The 16 essays—variously funny, devastating, infuriating, insightful, and, yes, occasionally smug—not only dismantle the assumption of selfishness, they shed light on a stigma that’s remained stubbornly pervasive well into the 21st century, even as other formerly taboo lifestyles have become thoroughly mainstream. In 2015, thanks in no small part to the success of various works of fiction, it’s more acceptable to talk about wanting to be beaten by a sexual partner than it is to express honestly and openly a deliberate intent to not procreate.

“Shame,” writes the psychotherapist Jeanne Safer in one essay, “—for being selfish, unfeminine, or unable to nurture—is one of the hardest emotions to work through for women who are conflicted about having children.” In 1989, Safer wrote a magazine article about her “conscious decision not to have a child,” but was so aware of the thorny territory she was wading into that she published it under a pseudonym. The article became a book, Beyond Motherhood: Choosing a Life Without Children, and Safer became a figurehead for all the likeminded women who felt, she writes, “that someone was speaking for them at last.”

Twenty-six years later, the women Safer interviewed tell her they’re more than happy with their choices, but still the shadow of shame lingers. “Any person who marries but rejects procreation is seen as unnatural,” writes the author Sigrid Nunez in another essay. “But a woman who confesses never to have felt the desire for a baby is considered a freak. Women have always been raised to believe they would not be complete and could not be thought to have succeeded in life without the experience of motherhood.”

The concept of the innate biological desire to have a baby is a familiar one, repeated throughout books and television shows and emotional anecdotes about how friends and family members were suddenly gripped with a burning desire to get pregnant. But for women who’ve never felt such an urge, and who keep waiting for it to happen without ever experiencing any such stirrings, the notion can be alienating. “I finally said to myself, I don’t really want to have a baby, I want to want to have a baby,” writes Safer. “I longed to feel like everyone else, but I had to face the fact that I did not.” If you're of child-bearing age, it can indeed feel like Facebook feeds are flooded with bump selfies and sonograms and baby pictures. In the 1970s, one in ten women reached menopause without giving birth to a child. But by 2010, it was one in five, according to data gathered by the Pew Research Center, and one in four for women with a bachelor’s degree. A quarter of educated American women are getting through life without ever having children.

The inextricable links between increased education and intelligence, and opting out of procreation, are underscored by Laura Kipnis, a cultural critic who writes one of the more explicitly feminist essays in the book. Referring to the activist Shulamith Firestone, who believed that “childbearing was barbaric and pregnancy should be abolished,” Kipnis ponders the value of equating motherhood with “such supposedly ‘natural’ facts as maternal instinct and mother-child bonds,” which, she writes, “exist as social conventions of womanhood at this moment in history, not as eternal conditions.” The concept of profound maternal affection, she argues, was invented in the 19th century after both birth and child mortality rates started to decline. Before that, women couldn’t afford to get attached to infants that had a 15 to 30 percent chance of not reaching their first birthday. Ditto the concept of mother-child bonding, which coincided with the rise of industrialization, “when wage labor first became an option for women” and it became important to impress upon them the significance of staying home. The reason why fewer women are giving birth in Western countries, Kipnis says, is education.

Though no one exactly says it, women are voting with their ovaries, and the reason is simple. There are too few social supports, especially given the fact that the majority of women are no longer just mothers now, they’re mother-workers. Yet virtually no social policy accounts for this. Interestingly, women with the most education are the ones having the fewest children, though even basic literacy has a negative effect on birthrates in the developing world—the higher the literacy rate, the lower the birthrate. In other words, when women acquire critical skills and start weighing their options, they soon wise up to the fact that they’re not getting enough recompense for their labors.
That critical thinking plays a role in falling birthrates is backed up by a study conducted at Kansas State University, in which researchers found that “people’s desire to have children is most influenced by the positive and negative interactions, and the trade-offs.” These are detailed elegantly in an essay by Lionel Shriver, the author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, a book in which a mother’s life is ruined by her psychopathic son. “I could have afforded children, financially,” Shriver writes. “I just didn’t want them. They are untidy, they would have messed up my apartment. In the main, they are ungrateful. They would have siphoned away too much time from my precious books.”

Shriver acknowledges that this attitude could be interpreted as selfish. But, it seems, her feelings are indicative of “a larger transformation in Western culture no less profound than our collective consensus on what life is for.” In other words, she's saying, an existential shift in the way educated humans approach living—a switch from living for the (possibly celestial) future to enjoying the present—has led humans to think much more carefully about having children, since the drawbacks tend to outweigh the benefits. “As we age,” she writes, “we are apt to look back on our pasts and question, not, did I serve family, God, and country, but did I ever get to Cuba, or run a marathon? Did I take up landscape painting? Was I fat? We will assess the success of our lives in accordance not with whether they were righteous, but whether they were interesting and fun.”

That attitude might indeed be selfish, but is it any more selfish than bringing ever more humans into an overpopulated world? Is it more selfish than having a baby simply because you want to, which is often the case? Has anyone in recent memory declared that they were procreating out of a selfless desire to perpetuate the human race, when the human race has never, ever, been less in need of perpetuation? The sense that having children is the most worthy of human activities is questioned by the writer Tim Kreider, who argues that it’s “a pretty low-rent ultimate purpose that’s shared with viruses and bacteria.” Ditto Geoff Dyer, who writes in his very funny essay that “not having children is seen as supremely selfish, as though the people having children were selflessly sacrificing themselves in a valiant attempt to ensure the survival of our endangered species, and fill up this vast and underpopulated planet.”

Has anyone in recent memory declared that they were procreating out of selfless altruism?
Not having children isn’t selfish. Not having children is a perfectly rational and reasonable response given that humans are essentially parasites on the face of a perfectly lovely and well-balanced planet, ploughing through its natural resources, eradicating its endangered species, and ruining its most wonderful landscapes. This might sound misanthropic, and it is, but it is also true.

Maybe the world would be a better place if fewer women weren’t compelled to have children while their resources are stretched unreasonably thin. Maybe fewer sweet, chubby-cheeked toddlers would grow up to be surly, resentful adults because they always had the lingering sense their presence wasn’t wanted. Many of the writers in Shallow, Selfish, and Self-Absorbed discuss their own traumatic childhoods, and how they were made to feel responsible for their parents’ failed careers, or failed relationships, or unhappy lives. But there should be no shame attached to the decision not to participate any further in the great human experiment, whether or not it comes from the fact that that experiment has failed a person in the past. “To me, the lack of desire to have a child is innate,” the Fusion culture editor Danielle Henderson writes. “It exists outside of my control. It is simply who I am, and I can take neither credit nor blame for all that it may or may not signify.”

As a compilation of writing, Shallow, Selfish, and Self-Absorbed is generally very strong, bringing together a diverse range of voices and styles to riff entertainingly on a subject that has seemed, up until now, unriffable. But as a collection of manifestos, it’s hugely significant. It won’t influence anyone hell-bent on children away from having them, nor will it dissuade people who feel eternally conflicted about the subject. But what it does, more crucially, is refuse to accept the perpetuation of the myths that have surrounded childbirth for the last 200 years—that women have a biological need to procreate, and that having children is the single most significant thing a person can do with his or her life, and that not having children leaves people sad and empty. Try telling that to Oprah Winfrey, or Ellen DeGeneres, or Jane Austen, or Queen Elizabeth I. Or George Washington, or Nikola Tesla. The argument that lingers after having read the book is that the sooner having children is approached from a rational standpoint rather than an emotional one, the better for humanity, even if the result is that there are slightly fewer people left to enjoy it.

SOURCE






New York Times Accidentally Tells the Truth About the Palestinians

To read the New York Times, one would think that the situation in the Judea-Samaria (West Bank) region in 2015 is the same as it was in 1985 or 1975. Israel is “occupying the West Bank,” Palestinians are denied the right to vote, and Palestinian violence is inevitable because Israeli control makes them feel hopeless. That was more or less the theme of the Times‘ March 31 feature story on the situation in the territories today.

But every once in a while, a Times reporter accidentally lets the cat out of the bag, and a discerning reader discovers that the truth is almost the exact opposite of what the Times is trying to convey.

Correspondent Diaa Hadid began her lengthy March 31 article on what was (for her) a hopeful note, pointing out that “the United States and Europe seem ever more ready to pressure Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank.”

Then, in the 12th paragraph, Hadid mentioned a fact that must have been confusing to Times readers. The Palestinian Authority held “a presidential election in 2005,” she noted in passing.

Wait a minute. We thought that the Palestinians have all been disenfranchised by the Israeli “occupation.” We were told –by the Times and most of the international news media– that Israel is preventing the Palestinians from exercising their democratic right to vote. Now it turns out that the Palestinian Authority did have an election in 2005 –and the only reason they haven’t held another once since then is because, as Hadid wrote, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas “has systematically snuffed out any challenges to his rule.”

In other words, it is the Palestinian Authority, not Israel, that is preventing Palestinian democracy. Interesting!

Then, another fascinating fact, this one in the 13th paragraph. A Palestinian critic of Abbas told the reporter, Ms. Hadid, that he “would only give the nickname Abu Mohammed, because he feared harassment by security forces.” She was referring, of course, to the Palestinian security forces. Remarkable! So it’s not the Israelis who are suppressing Palestinian dissidents and protesters–it’s the Palestinian Authority’s own security forces.

And if a reader managed to make it all the way down to paragraph 23, he would find Ms. Hadid mentioning that “Mr. Abbas was once praised for establishing security, cracking down on gunmen who terrorize Palestinian communities…” So it is Palestinian, not Israeli, “gunmen” who have been “terrorizing” the Palestinians. Who knew?

But the real kicker was in the 14th paragraph. “The Palestinian Authority,” Ms. Hadid reported –again, in passing– “governs Palestinian communities in the West Bank.”

How can that be? She had referred at the beginning of the article to “Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.” Now she is reporting the exact opposite–namely, that it is the Palestinian Authority, not Israel, which governs “Palestinian communities” there.

And she was right. Because although the Times and other supporters of the Palestinian cause are loathe to acknowledge it, Israel (under Yitzhak Rabin) in 1995 withdrew from the areas in Judea-Samaria where more than 95 percent of the Palestinians reside. The “occupation” ended twenty years ago. You can’t blame Israel for the way the PA mismanages the areas that it occupies.

By the 31st paragraph, however, Ms. Hadid managed to come full circle and find a way to blame Israel. Even though it is the Palestinian Authority that governs the Palestinians; even though the Palestinians do indeed vote, when the PA consents to hold elections; and even though it is the PA’s security forces that “terrorize” the Palestinians–nevertheless, it’s all Israel’s fault: “While many Palestinians acknowledge their system is broken” –a generous way of describing the situation– “they worry that it is being used as an excuse by Israel and other countries to allow their statehood hopes to wither.”

The truth is that the Palestinian Authority’s self-rule regime is already a state in every major respect but two: it does not have full control of its borders, and it does not have a full-fledged army. Not surprisingly, Israel is not anxious to have terrorists pouring across a PA-controlled border, or PA tanks and jet bombers a few miles from Tel Aviv.

So if Diaa Hadid and the New York Times want to make the case for supplying tanks to the PA, let them be open about it and say so–but please, stop pretending that the problem is some mythical Israeli “occupation.” It’s not 1985 any more.

SOURCE






Congress Looks to nobble DC's Intolerance

The U.S. Constitution is a six-block walk from the D.C. City Council — but it’s light years away from the District’s policy making. For years, members of the D.C. government have pretended that the First Amendment in their neighborhood doesn’t apply to their lawmaking, especially when it comes to social issues.

The latest example is the city’s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA), which it raced through in January against the warnings of its own legal team. Under the bill, it would be a crime for groups to not only refuse to pay for abortion coverage — but to refuse to hire a pro-abortion activist. Of course, everyone is familiar with the first part of the measure, thanks to the ObamaCare mandate. But ordering groups like FRC to set aside its beliefs and hire members of the opposition? That’s as unconstitutional as it gets!

Imagine if Congress passed a law demanding that Muslim organizations hire Jews? Or that an atheist group put Christians on the payroll? It’s the same concept here — but the D.C. Council has somehow bypassed the controversy in the name of “tolerance.” Or so it thought. Thanks to the Republican House, Congress is planning to remind D.C. that it has legislative power over the Council. As part of its oversight powers, the House and Senate have 30 legislative days to review the District’s laws and strike them down, if necessary. Both Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) have resolutions designed to do exactly that. For Congress, it would be a rare muscle-flexing over the District. According to records, it’s been 23 years since a disapproval measure has actually been taken up by both chambers.

Right now, conservatives' biggest enemy is time. With the review period set to end on May 2, the clock is ticking on a potential counter-punch. Then, of course, there’s the matter of the White House’s approval. Even if the House and Senate overrule D.C., it still needs the President’s signature. Not to worry, says the Republican Study Committee. There are plenty of ways to make RHNDA toothless without the White House’s help. “Should the President fail to sign a resolution of disapproval … the committee should ensure that any Fiscal Year 2016 appropriations measure contains language that would prohibit funds to implement or carry out any rule or regulation associated with the [bills].”

One strategy would be to load up the resolutions with policy riders that handcuff how the District’s “reproductive health” monies can be spent. Republicans in the House will consider all of their options when they mark up the resolution tonight.

In her press conference [Monday], D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said that the debate “needlessly pits reproductive freedom against freedom from discrimination.” We agree. Religious groups should be free from the same “discrimination” this bill unleashes on men and women of faith. Her measure is a slap in the face of the First Amendment, religious freedom, and employers' rights.

Disagreement isn’t discrimination, as David Wuerl and John Garvey point out. H.J. Res. 43 agrees with D.C.’s own Attorney General — and hundreds of years of constitutional law — that forcing people to surrender their deeply-held beliefs is “legally insufficient.” We applaud the conservatives in the House and Senate for going to bat for Americans' freedom to live and work according to their faith.

SOURCE






Childish attempt at censorship by leader of Canada's liberals

Warren Kinsella

Forget about Justin Trudeau and Ezra Levant. Difficult, we know, but try.  Reflect, instead, on David Akin.

David Akin is a journalist, a real one. Unlike Ezra (or Yours Truly), David is not a purveyor of infotainment. He is a real reporter, one who chases facts, and I would not be surprised if he has actual ink running through his veins.

David has worked as a journalist at the Hamilton Spectator, the National Post, the Globe and Mail, Canwest and CTV News. At CTV, he won a Gemini Award for his work. At the Globe, he was a National Newspaper Award finalist.

David presently works at the Sun News Network, where he covers elections on his Battleground show. I can tell you, without qualification, that he is one of the most respected journalists on Parliament Hill.

And Justin Trudeau won’t talk to him.  Not because Ezra Levant called Trudeau’s parents names on his TV show last week. After Ezra did that, Trudeau announced that he would not be talking to anyone associated with the Sun News Network.

No, Justin Trudeau hadn’t been talking to David Akin for long, long before that. Simply because he was associated with Sun.

I know this because, last Christmas, Sun execs asked me to interview Trudeau on-air. I’d been a Special Assistant to Jean Chretien, I’d run as a Liberal, and I wasn’t Ezra Levant. So I called up Trudeau’s most senior advisor, who I’ve known for years.

The senior advisor laughed. Not a chance, he said. Why, I asked. “Because,” he said, “Ezra Levant put my name on a list of the most dangerous people in Canada.”

I tried to point out that being called “dangerous” by Ezra Levant is the highest compliment a Liberal could receive. I argued that I’d run all the questions by them in advance. To no avail.

No interview, I was told. No access to a (possible) future Prime Minister by the (actual) largest newspaper chain in Canada.

I told David Akin about all this. He shrugged. “Don’t feel bad,” he said. “Trudeau won’t ever talk to me, either.”

Real journalists are never afraid to correct the record. So, let’s do so: Justin Trudeau refusing to talk to anyone associated with Sun News – a diktat that will soon be embraced by every Liberal seeking to curry favour with him, just watch – isn’t news. He’s been refusing to do so for a long time.

Which brings us to this week, when Justin Trudeau formalized his Sun ban.

“We have raised this issue with the appropriate people at Quebecor Inc., the owners and operators of Sun News Network, and have asked that they consider an appropriate response. Until the company resolves the matter, the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau, will continue to not engage with Sun Media,’’ said a Liberal Party spokesperson.

Lots of journalists thereafter jumped into the fray. Their commentary can be summarized thusly: one, Ezra Levant is a “clown” (as one Globe writer put it). Two, even if Ezra is a clown, Justin Trudeau is wrong to stop talking to real journalists like David Akin.

Me? Well, I do infotainment, like Ezra does. But I think that Trudeau had no reason, none, to ignore Sun folks before now. It made him look petulant and thin-skinned.

Now, however, he has all the excuse he needs to ignore us. (Oh, and if someone called my Mom that name? I’d beat them until they had to eat dinner through a straw.)

This one looks bad on everyone: Trudeau, for never speaking to a great reporter like David Akin; and Levant, for making it harder for a guy like David Akin to do his job.

Because – and this isn’t infotainment, folks, it’s fact – if reporters like David Akin can’t do their job, democracy itself suffers

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

Multiculturalist violently raped victims



A double rapist ex-soldier who went undetected for 12 years after attacking a 16-year-old in a West End nightclub and raping a second woman at knifepoint has finally been jailed.

Violent Solomon Khoorban, now 33, forced himself on the teenager in the VIP area at Equinox nightclub in Leicester Square - which has now been replaced by a casino - after punching her so hard in the face that she was knocked unconscious.

He then ordered his terrified victim to wait in the VIP area for at least 30 minutes, threatening to kill her if she did not oblige.

Just two months later, in August 2003, the knife-wielding attacker raped a 32-year-old woman as she walked through Greenwich, south east London.

The former gunner, who was 21 at the time, put her in a headlock, dragged her into the bushes and raped her twice.  He also told her: 'B****** shouldn't be out at this time'.

Both rapes were reported to police at the time but it took detectives more than a decade to track Khoorban down and link him to the sex attacks.

The arrest came after the Met’s Specialist Crime and Operations Command carried out a review of both investigations in September 2014.

Detectives combed through a series of ID photos from the British Army before identifying Khoorban as a suspect. When he was arrested in November 2014, police linked his DNA to the attacks. He had not previously been on the DNA database because he had not been in trouble with police.

Jailing him at Snaresbrooke Crown Court for 16 years, Judge Sheelagh Canavan said Khoorban was a 'violent sexual predator' who had ruined his victims' lives.

She said: 'The damage you have caused these women and no doubt will continue to cause will last the rest of their lives. They are serving a life sentence.

'The younger girl was 16 with her whole life to look forward to and she is moving forward with this over her.

'The second victim has been traumatised by what you did to her. Nothing I can say or do will change that.

'You are a violent sexual predator, I have no doubt you were excited by your use of violence which was far beyond anything that was needed to achieve your purpose.'

During the hearing, the court heard how Khoorban had raped his first victim during a night out when she was marking the end of her GCSEs.

The soldier had asked his victim to go upstairs to talk and she agreed because her feet were hurting after dancing in high heels.

The court heard how the subsequent attack was so violent that the teenager had to be rushed to hospital to be treated for her injuries.

Judge Sheelagh Canavan said: 'I doubt anyone who was there will forget the sight of that young girl as she ran from the scene of the attack.'

The court heard how police had launched a manhunt for Khoorban after the first rape, releasing an e-fit in a public appeal.

But Khoorban, who was based with the Royal Artillery's 16th Regiment at Woolwich barracks at the time, was not caught.

Instead, two months later, he targeted another woman after prowling the Greenwich area armed with a knife.

In a desperate attempt to protect herself, the victim told Khoorban she was pregnant and had AIDS.

But Khoorban shoved his hand over her mouth, thrust the knife into her face and punched her repeatedly, knocking out her teeth and leaving her with permanent scarring.

After raping her, Khoorban told the woman to wait in the bushes for ten minutes to allow him time to escape. He threatened to 'finish her' off if she moved.

The court heard how the victim told police it was 'like an eagle had landed on me'.

The court heard how, during his time in the army, Khoorban once bit off part of a comrade's earlobe and broke his nose.  He hit another soldier in the face and punched a third so many times he lost consciousness.  But the soldier, who served in Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Germany, never faced a civil or military charges for these offences. He was only discharged from the army in 2007 for using cocaine.

Several years after the attacks, he was also  diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and depression. In court, the defendant acknowledged he was not suffering mental health problems at the time of the attacks in 2003. 

Christopher Amis, defending, said his client wanted forgiveness from his victims, but was not expecting it.

He told the court: 'There's nothing I can say to undo what this defendant visited on these two victims, nothing can put matters right and absolutely nothing that can turn back the clock.'

He added: 'He entered pleas of guilty, he has not prevaricated and whatever else he's done he has at least spared these two victims of these appalling crimes the ordeal of having to give evidence in front of a jury.

'He served in the army for a number of years and while it's true he was discharged in circumstances relating to the taking of cocaine, it's also right that there's no evidence that whilst he was serving in the army he did anything other than discharge his duty satisfactorily.'

Mr Amis said Khoorban also recognised that he had been 'a bad person' for carrying out the attacks.

'I asked him why he did it and he said "I was a bad person in those days, I recognise it and I say it, I don't recognise myself now as the person I was then"', he told the court.

'I asked him if there was anything he wished me to say that he felt he would want said, he said: "I just want forgiveness, I'm not expecting it, I don't deserve it but I want it and I need it".

'He acknowledges that he will never be forgiven for these appalling offences and that's a burden he will carry the burden for the rest of his days.'

Khoorban, who appeared in the dock in a dark green prison tracksuit and a full beard, sat with his head in his hands and sighed throughout the hearing.

The former soldier, from East Ham, London, will also have to sign the sex offender's register indefinitely.

After the hearing, investigating officer Detective Sergeant Matt Flynn praised the bravery of the two victims.

He said: 'Both young women were subjected to horrific and gratuitous ordeals at the hands of a dangerous and predatory individual.

'The devastating affect of these attacks on both women is indescribable. For the past 12 years they have had to get on with their lives knowing their attacker was still out there.

'It is only due to their courage and fortitude that Khoorban was charged with these abhorrent and cowardly attacks. Without their support he would not have been brought to justice.'

SOURCE






The very incorrect British multi-millionaire Michelle Mone



It’s not often that a prominent business woman would openly attribute part of her success to improved looks. But Mone is adamant that slimming down helped her to grow her businesses, (which include lingerie group Ultimo and self-tanning products UTan), earn more money, and get into the inner influential circles from politics to Hollywood.

“How I look reflects on my brand,” Mone told Business Insider in an interview at her London penthouse apartment, which overlooks the Thames, Tower Bridge, and the Tower of London.

“I can’t go out there with greasy hair, spots, no makeup, and [as a] size 22. A brand can’t sing from the rooftops if the owner is walking around looking horrendous,” Mone said. “Society is full of gossip and celebrity magazines and that’s the world we live in.

Will that change? I don’t think so. When I mentor people, I say, you don’t have to go around looking like a supermodel but you have got to feel your best, look your best and feel good about yourself.”

Since 2010, Mone has lost eight stone in weight (112 pounds), and has gone from a UK size 22 to a UK size 10/12. She runs between 3-8 kilometres a day. Her Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts are usually peppered with pictures of her daily runs and gym sessions.

“When I was eight stone overweight, I got tired more easily, I would get exhausted and I wasn’t always positive,” she said. “When I started to lose weight and look more glamourous, doors started to open, it sounds horrible but it’s true.”

“Yes, some people will say you get successful obese business people. But are they happy? Probably not,” she added.

The entrepreneur told Business Insider that her physical and inner health transformation has helped her garner £1 billion ($US1.5 billion) worth of press coverage during Ultimo’s 17-year history.

The number seems large, and it’s not clear how the PR value of that exposure is calculated, but if you live in Britain you can see that it’s entirely possible: She is in the media all the time.

She features in glossy magazines like Hello regularly, and she fronted a national campaign from British Airways. She was also featured on reality shows “The Apprentice,” “Masterchef,” and “71 Degrees North,” as well as being on political panel shows like “The Agenda,” alongside UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

SOURCE






Rev. Graham: 'Halt All Immigration of Muslims From Countries That Have Active Terrorist Cells'

In reference to the shooting and beheading of 30 Ethiopian Christians by the Islamic State as shown in a video over the weekend, as well as the ongoing threat posed by radical Islam in general, Reverend Franklin Graham said the U.S. government should "halt all immigration of Muslims" from any countries "that have active terrorist cells."

He added that the government should also take "immediate military action" to defeat the Islamic State.

"Each day’s news seems to reveal new horrors from militant Islam," said Rev. Graham in an Apr. 20 post on Facebook.  "Can it be that the world is no longer as shocked by Christians having their heads cut off and then ISIS proudly promoting this on video? We should continue to be horrified and nauseated."

"We should make sure our government and the current administration recognizes Islam for the danger it is, and that they are doing all they can to work against it," he said.

Rev. Graham continued, "Our government needs to: (1) Immediately look at immigration reform to halt all immigration of Muslims from countries that have active terrorist cells—the threat this poses to our nation is huge and could end up costing thousands of lives in the future if we don’t act now. And (2) Take immediate military action to defeat ISIS."

"The influence of radical Islam is spreading, not diminishing," said Rev. Graham who is president of the international Christian relief group Samaritan's Purse.

The evangelical pastor also urged Americans to contact Congress and express their "concern and outrage" over the killing of Christians by Islamists.

The 30 Ethiopian Christians killed by the Islamic State apparently were migrant workers traveling north to the Mediterranean Sea to catch a boat to Europe when they were captured. The Christian workers reportedly were killed on a beach in Libya, as shown in the video and cited in some radical Islamic social media.

Back in February, 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians were beheaded on a beach in Libya by Islamic State members and a video of those murders was also posted online.

SOURCE





Madonna posts Instagram tribute to Margaret Thatcher - then deletes it moments later after receiving barrage of abuse from her gay fanbase

Madonna received a barrage of criticism from her gay fanbase today after posting a photograph of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and 'thanking' her for her service.

The 56-year-old pop star posted the image of the Iron Lady on Instagram - before quickly deleting it just moments later after receiving dozens of abusive messages from her gay fans.

Some of her fans took umbrage to the photo, which Madonna captioned with: 'Thank you Margaret Thatcher' followed by '#unapologetic #rebelheart' and a love heart.

The singer, who has a large gay fanbase, offended fans who reminded her that Thatcher enacted legislation that banned 'promoting' homosexuality in 1988.

Conservative Thatcher, who led the country from 1979 until 1990, established Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 – a legislation that was considered anti-gay and later overturned in 2003.

Section 28 was introduced against a backdrop of councils promoting gay relationships in schools and the rise of AIDS.

The section of the act banned councils from using taxpayers' money to fund books, plays, leaflets, films or any other material showing gay relationships as normal and 'promoting the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship'.

Madonna, who has previously immersed herself in the gay community and was named one of the greatest gay icons of all time in 2012, thanked Thatcher for her rule in the Instagram post today.

Thatcher's government claimed to have taken up the 'dangerous gauntlet' to protect children but it became a rallying cry for campaigners.

Current Prime Minister David Cameron has since apologised for banning the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

Speaking in 2009, Mr Cameron said the Conservative party had 'got it wrong' when it introduced Section 28 in the late 1980s.

He insisted he was making his apology because the legislation had been ' offensive to gay people' and said: 'I'm sorry for Section 28. We got it wrong. It was an emotional issue. We have got to move on and we have moved on.'

Alongside the portrait of Thatcher, she pulled out a famous quote from the Iron Lady, which read: 'If you just set out to be liked, you will be prepared to compromise on anything at anytime, and would achieve nothing.'

The post was signed off with #rebelheart – in an apparent plug for her new album which goes by the same name.

However, she took down the post just minutes after uploading it, after fans responded with criticism.

One fan, called Sean, wrote: ‘Madonna’s Thatcher post was too far’.

Another, writing under the name Madonsha, said: ‘Lost a bit of respect for Madonna for posting a picture of Margaret Thatcher, that woman ruined this country recked (sic) so many lives urgh.’

And Richard Rippon added: ‘Madonna should know that Thatcher was divisive in the UK. Some thought she was a heartless witch, others, an evil threat to society.’

However, other fans praised her Instagram post, including Louise Mensch [a Conservative politician] who wrote: ‘Madonna back in my good books. #Thatcher’

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

Multicultural pervert



A dry cleaner in his fifties has been banned from using the Tube during rush hours after targeting a young woman and rubbing his crotch and pot belly on her bottom.

Mohammed Tahir, 53, of Leytonstone, east London, got off his train at Mile End and picked a target on the platform - a 'confident and articulate' professional in her 20s, a court heard.  He then followed her onto a Central line service and stood as close to her as he could.

Tahir sidled up to the victim and pretended to accidentally slide his hand across her thigh as she stood with other passengers in the busy carriage on a hot summer’s day.

Unable to leave the packed train, she tried to change position and lean as far away as possible to escape his advances.  But Tahir moved even closer and began rubbing his crotch and pot belly against her thigh and bottom.

His behaviour was so obvious that it had attracted the attention of undercover police officers who were watching his every move.

Eventually, the horrified young woman managed to attract the attention of one of them and Tahir was arrested, finally putting an end to the nightmare ordeal.

Detectives later discovered that Tahir was charged with two similar offences in 2003 only to be cleared after the prosecution file failed to arrive in court in time.

At the Old Bailey, Judge Rebecca Poulet QC said that the experience was clearly very 'frightening and shocking' for the victim, who cried while giving evidence, despite seeming very confident and self-assured.

He was convicted of sexual assault after a two-day trial at the Old Bailey, but the judge decided not to jail Tahir in the hope that he can tackle his problems under the supervision of Probation officers - despite saying 'there must be a custodial sentence'.

Tahir was given a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years, a 12-month supervision order, told to complete to do 150 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge.

The judge also prohibited him from travelling on the Tube or entering any London Underground station between 7am and 10am and 4pm and 8pm for five years.

The judge told Tahir: ‘Your purpose in getting off was not because you were hot as you claimed but in order to look for a suitable young woman and to follow her on to the train for your activities.

‘That is exactly what you did. So blatant was your conduct that no less than three undercover police officers saw you doing it and saw you looking at young women.

‘You spotted [the victim] and followed her on to the Central Line train. It was fairly crowded and she stood centrally in the area near the double doors holding the rail with her right hand.

‘When the train moved off she felt something brush her left side. She looked down and saw your hand by her side in a somewhat unnatural position and it made her uncomfortable.

‘She moved to get away from you, still thinking the touching might be accidental. When the train moved again you came closer, pushing your stomach up against her and then your crotch.

‘She leaned as far as she could in order to move herself away from you but you moved with her, pressing up against her. You pressed your crotch on her thigh and buttock. She could feel you pressed firmly against her buttock.

‘Despite being a confident and articulate and fair witness she cried giving evidence and the experience was clearly frightening and shocking for her.

‘In my view there must be a custodial sentence. You were in grave peril of going immediately to prison. I want to impose a sentence that will prevent you from behaving like this ever again and the public is best served by suspending this sentence.’

SOURCE






Is Sexual Orientation a Choice?

libertyPresidential candidate Marco Rubio says, “I believe that sexual preference is something that people are born with,” but goes on to say, “I don’t believe same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.” Let’s consider both of these ideas from a political perspective.

First, whether people choose their sexual orientation or are born with it is irrelevant from a political perspective. As long as people’s actions are not violating the rights of others, their choices about sexual partners and any other personal matters should be of no concern to the government. So, I’ll criticize Rubio for making this statement, not because he’s right or wrong, but rather because as a political candidate he should have said that whether people are born with their sexual preferences should have no bearing on politics or government.

Second, and following from the first point, government should treat people as individuals rather than as members of a group (even group sizes as small as two), so government should not be involved in determining whether people are married at all. Rubio says the determination of who can be married should be left to the states, but really, it should be left to those people and whatever other groups they choose to belong to (such as a church) to decide.

But, the federal government does recognize marriage, in its tax laws among other things. Married people are treated differently from single people for tax purposes. The same-sex marriage question then becomes whether people should be able to choose their family units for tax purposes, or whether the government should exclude certain arrangements. Based on the principle of protecting individual rights, I would argue that individuals should be able to choose their significant others for tax purposes, regardless of gender. So once again, I’m siding against Rubio on this.

This would be a non-issue if people were treated as individuals by government. That’s the point I’d like to see Rubio make.

SOURCE

Civil unions offer the same tax treatment as marriage






Rev. Graham: Holocaust Could Reoccur -- Antisemitism on Rise From Muslim Immigrants

"Have we learned anything from history?" asked Rev. Graham in an Apr. 16 post on Facebook.

"Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, set aside for the world to never forget the 6 million Jews who were slaughtered by the Nazis," said Rev. Graham. Could the holocaust be repeated? I'm afraid so."

"Anti-Semitism is at the highest levels since the late 1930s," he said. "This is coming from the influx of Muslim immigrants to Europe, the United States, and other Western countries over the past few decades, and they are bringing their hatred of Jews -- and Christians -- with them."

"This is a poison," said Rev. Graham. "Muslims have been on TV in Europe spouting 'Hitler should have finished the job!' Have we learned anything from history?"

In a later Facebook post, also on April 16, the reverend wrote, "It seems as though America’s current policies toward Iran might be enabling the rebirth of the Persian Empire. This could threaten the entire Middle East, from Europe to the borders of India, and is a direct threat to the national security of Israel.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu says the Iran nuclear deal shows that the world hasn’t learned from the Holocaust."

In January of this year, USA Today reported that Jews have been fleeing France in droves for the last few years, many of them moving to Israel. The reason? Ever-increasing anti-Semitism in France and Europe overall, largely coming from Muslim immigrants.

An estimated 22,000 Jews are calculated to have left France for Israel between 2012 and 2015.

"French Jews are leaving for two main reasons: because they don't feel welcome, and because they don't feel safe," said USA Today.  "They don't feel welcome because a rising tide of anti-Semitism has poisoned the atmosphere in France over the past couple of decades. It's not so much the old anti-Semitism of the pre-War variety as a new anti-Semitism brought on by a wave of Muslim immigration, though the two have reinforced one another."

"And they don't feel safe because of attacks on Jews," said the newspaper. "As the Chief Rabbi of France,Haim Korsia, notes, it's not just last week's attacks on a Kosher deli and on the Charlie Hebdo news weekly: 'Jews have been killed and there were the shootings in Toulouse and in Brussels. In general, Jews feel vulnerable in our society. The Jews who were murdered were targeted specifically because they were Jewish.'"

In addition to fleeing to Israel, many Jews are "leaving for Britain, America and Canada," said USA Today.

SOURCE






Rape and the men whose lives are wrecked by lies: Suspects must be kept anonymous until conviction

Now if there’s one area of modern manhood that demands a serious rethink by those who run our country —– above even health, fatherhood and male suicide, which remain fiercely frontline issues — it’s the human right to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Currently, under British legislation, any man can be accused of rape and named, even before the police bring charges.

This might be acceptable if every allegation were legitimate, but, sadly, they are not. Hence my fervent belief that pre-conviction anonymity is crucial for preserving the credibility of our justice system.

The stories of men who’ve been falsely accused make harrowing reading.

In June 2014 trainee barrister Rhiannon Brooker — yes, a legal professional — was jailed for three years after falsely accusing her former boyfriend Paul Fensome of rape and assault. He was held in custody for 36 days, including time on a secure wing after rumours that he was a paedophile. He has since received £38,000 in compensation.

In April 2012 Kirsty Sowden, a former John Lewis shop assistant, was jailed for crying rape over a fully consensual encounter with a man she’d met online. He was arrested at his workplace and detained in a cell, wasting 376 hours of police time.

The reason? She felt guilty for cheating on her long-term boyfriend.

Shortly after this, 20-year-old York student Hannah Byron was spared jail after falsely accusing her ex-boyfriend of rape in revenge for breaking up with her.

Capping them all, 22-year-old Elizabeth Jones of Southampton was jailed in 2013 after a decade-long string of false allegations — but only after making her 11th completely untrue accusation of rape. Her final victim was targeted because she ‘didn’t like him’.

Despite these cases there’s a belief that men deserve the stain of rape stigma, guilty or not, simply because they are male.

Julie Bindel, feminist writer and co-founder of the group Justice For Women, once said that ‘a fair number of celebrities ... have been accused of rape in the past and do not seem to have suffered longer-term. To say that an accusation ruins lives is perhaps a sweeping generalisation’.

Likewise, writing in the New Statesman, the social commentator Willard Foxton sneered that ‘the fashionable thing to do on being cleared of rape these days is to walk free from the courtroom or police station and loudly issue a public statement calling for those accused of rape to be granted anonymity by the courts because of your “ordeal” ’.

Perhaps these two should speak to Reg Traviss, the former boyfriend of the late Amy Winehouse, who suffered a fictitious claim of rape in December 2012. He was acquitted, but only after his character had been publicly assassinated.

Southwark Crown Court in London heard that his accuser was ‘so drunk she couldn’t stand up or walk’. CCTV footage secured by Traviss’s brother (not the police) proved otherwise.

Then there’s Peter Bacon. In 2009, a jury cleared him of rape in just 45 minutes after he had been falsely accused by a woman with whom he had a one-night stand. The nightmare was so bad he changed his name and left the country. And yet, in spite of all this, nothing has been learned.

Oxford University students are some of the most privileged young people in Britain. But Ben Sullivan, president of the Oxford Union debating society, didn’t enjoy any exemption when he was arrested at 6am one day in May last year and detained in a police cell.

For months he endured public suspicion before police confirmed he wouldn’t face a single charge. Yet he still had to pay £15,000 in legal fees and have his life marred.

Sarah Pine, vice president for women at Oxford University’s student union, spearheaded a campaign against Sullivan, even before the accusations were fully considered by police. She called on scheduled guest speakers to boycott his debates and for him to resign.

Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble, the U.S. political analyst Norman Finkelstein and even David Mepham, UK Director of Human Rights Watch, agreed to her request. Only Jennifer Perry, an expert on the internet and cyber-crime, resisted — and later spoke of how she felt ‘threatened’ and ‘intimidated’ by Pine’s gender-driven agenda.

At the time Pine said: ‘This is not about denying the legal process of being innocent until proven guilty ... In any other profession if someone was arrested for rape and attempted rape, they would stand down while the investigation was ongoing.’

After his ordeal, Sullivan told reporters: ‘In cases like mine, everyone should have the right to anonymity. The police and Crown Prosecution Service should then be able to go to a judge and ask for the anonymity to be waived, if they need it.’

Originally, the law agreed. In 1976, the Labour government introduced rape trial anonymity for both the alleged victim and the accused. But in 1988, guidelines were relaxed to help police investigations.

At the time, the way information was disseminated was far less powerful than now. There were no gossip websites, no mobile phones with cameras, no social networking sites.

Today, the landscape is different. And — once again — the law should change to reflect this, because a not guilty verdict is no longer enough to repair the damage caused by weeks of daily speculation and viral gossip across the globe.

Labour peer Lord Corbett, who introduced the 1976 law, argued this until his death in 2012. ‘Rape is a uniquely serious offence,’ he said in 2002. ‘Acquittal is not enough to clear a man in the eyes of his family, community or workplace...’

Maura McGowan, deputy High Court judge and chairman of the Bar Council, agrees. ‘Until they [defendants] have been proven to have done something as awful as this [a sex crime], there is a strong argument in cases of this sort — because they carry such stigma — to maintain the defendant’s anonymity until he is convicted,’ she told the BBC’s Radio 5 Live.

Take, finally, the case of Linsey Attridge. To stop her boyfriend leaving her, the 31-year-old claimed two men broke into her home and committed rape while he was away playing football. She then spent three days trawling social networking sites to find users she could ‘identify’ as responsible. The men she chose were detained by police.

Two months later, Attridge confessed that it was a lie — but only received 200 hours of unpaid community service as punishment.

Not one rape charity has ever come forward to denounce the culture of false allegations — which surely betrays the real victims of rape more than pre-conviction anonymity ever could.

Sadly, it’s not just the women who falsely claim to be victims of rape who breach our trust, but women in positions of power, too.

In 2010, an official inquiry report led by Baroness Stern — a prison reform campaigner — ordered Harriet Harman to stop misleading the public about rape statistics. For years she’d been pumping out misinformation that only 6 per cent of rapists are brought to justice, but the 6 per cent figure relates to reported cases.

The conviction rate for those actually charged with rape is nearly two out of three.

A few weeks after Ben Sullivan’s charges were dropped, I bumped into him in Central London — minutes after stumbling across MP Nigel Evans (who was similarly accused — then acquitted — of rape. At the end of his trial in April last year, the former Commons Deputy Speaker spoke of his ‘11 months of hell’ after a jury took less than six hours to acquit him of sex offences against seven men.)

I wonder if women like Harman or Bindel have ever seen men so ashen, so exhausted and so utterly violated by a system that’s shaped by radical Marxist-based theories from the Seventies. I doubt it.

Mutual anonymity would serve everybody, helping victims as well as conserving fair trials. It would deter anyone from making false claims out of spite and, conversely, could make testifying easier for those who have come forward. Identifying the accused often inadvertently identifies the victim, which adds immense pressure for them.

This is also the view of the majority. In a poll on the Guardian website, 71 per cent of readers supported pre-conviction anonymity. A similar survey by MailOnline showed 67 per cent of readers feel the same.

The consensus is clear: in a world of grey areas, consent is always black and white — but the protection of anonymity must be too.

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

Why men refuse to marry



George Clooney, Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne may have all taken the plunge recently — but they are a diminishing band of brothers, for the number of men marrying in the West has plunged in recent decades.

The state of matrimony is not just ailing. It is dying out faster than a mobile phone battery.

According to the Office for National Statistics, marriage in Britain is at its lowest level since 1895. In 2011, there were just 286,634 ceremonies — a 41 per cent free fall from 1972, when 480,285 couples tied the knot.

For an army of women, Mr Right is simply not there, no matter how hard they look for him. And the reason? When it comes to marriage, men are on strike.

Why? Because the rewards are far less than they used to be, while the cost and dangers it presents are far greater.

‘Ultimately, men know there’s a good chance they’ll lose their friends, their respect, their space, their sex life, their money and — if it all goes wrong — their family,’ says Dr Helen Smith, a lecturer at the University of Tennessee and author of Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood And The American Dream.

‘They don’t want to enter into a legal contract with someone who could effectively take half their savings, pension and property when the honeymoon period is over.

‘Men aren’t wimping out by staying unmarried or being commitment phobes. They’re being smart.’

When British businessman Alan Miller married his first wife, Melissa, in 2003, he thought it was for ever. She immediately decided to give up work, including her £85,000 salary, to become what is known as a ‘Harvey Nichols wife’ — spending her time shopping and lunching.

When they separated just two years and nine months later, he was forced to pay her a £5million divorce settlement, which included his £2.3million home in Chelsea and a £2.7million lump sum — despite the fact they did not have children. That’s £5,000 a day of marriage. Ker-ching!

Or take former Arsenal footballer Ray Parlour. When he wed girlfriend Karen in 1998, it all started out rosy. But by the time the relationship fell apart in 2004, the former optician’s nurse didn’t just get two mortgage-free houses, £38,500 in annual support for their three children and a £250,000 tax-free lump sum...

Oh no. She also got personal maintenance of £406,500 a year from her ex’s future earnings. This, she said, was because she had ‘encouraged’ him to be a good midfielder.

This is precisely why the WAG culture rages through our country like an aggressive disease. Girls of 16 aspire to be glamorous girlfriends because it’s an easy life — not because they love the game or even the men playing it.

Young women who wear so much make-up they have to tip their heads back to get their eyes open are encouraged to hunt in packs until they snag a rich footballer.

Why? Because it beats getting up at 7am, doing the daily commute and actually thinking about something other than themselves.

And then, when the marriage is over, it’s time for the wife to make what Mayfair-based divorce lawyer Camilla Baldwin calls ‘some real money — more than the average person ever dreams of’. Especially as some judges, particularly those in London, are renowned for favouring the wife in the division of assets.

So, what’s a man to do? ‘If he’s determined to get married, then he must get a pre-nuptial agreement,’ says Baldwin. ‘Otherwise steer clear altogether.  ‘Be in a relationship, even live together. But don’t get married. Especially if you have any prospect of making money.’

American social commentator Suzanne Venker agrees. The problem with divorce settlements, she says, is women want to have their cake and eat it.

‘We messed with the old marriage structure and now it’s broken,’ she says. ‘Back in the old days, stay-at-home mothers got a financial reward because child-rearing doesn’t pay cash.  ‘Now we want total independence from men, but if we divorce — even without having children — we expect to get alimony for ever. We can’t have it both ways.’

Along with the prospect of endless domestic criticism, this is why men are saying ‘I don’t’ rather than ‘I do’. Men need marriage like a fish needs a bicycle.

‘Many women have been raised to think of men as the enemy,’ says Venker. ‘It’s precisely this dynamic — women good, men bad — that has destroyed the relationship between the sexes.

‘After decades of browbeating, men are tired. Tired of being told there’s something fundamentally wrong with them. Tired of being told that if women aren’t happy, it’s their fault. The rise of women has not threatened men. It has just irritated them.’

But by far the most negative aspect of marriage is the likelihood of being edited out of your children’s lives — if it all goes pear-shaped — by a state that has relegated the role of father to its lowest point ever.

It wasn’t always this way. In the 1800s, men typically got custody of the children in the event of a split — not as a result of privilege, but because they were solely financially responsible for them.

They got the children, but they also got the bill. Benefits Britain didn’t exist, encouraging single mums to go it alone.

Now, 200 years on, women get the children, but men still get the bill. Sometimes, men even pay for children who aren’t theirs.

The Child Support Agency has 500 cases of paternity fraud a year, where a mother names a man as the biological father of her child, even when she has a good idea he isn’t. And that’s just the cases we know about. According to a YouGov study, 1.2 million men doubt they are the fathers of their partners’ children.

The recent case of Steven Carter, from Devon, is not unusual. The CSA deducted £50,000 from his bank account between 2007 and 2014, even though a DNA test later proved the child in question wasn’t his.

They acknowledged this, but the Department of Work and Pensions still will not refund him because the ‘child’ is now 22, thus an adult, and so the case is officially closed.

Then there’s Mark Webb, who raised his ‘daughter’ for 17 years, only to discover she was not biologically related to him. When he sued his former wife for compensation, county and appeal court judges denied his damages claim, brushing it off as ‘a man’s obligation’. To this day, no British woman has been convicted of paternity fraud.

This set-up is no accident, though. Since Harriet Harman and her pals entered politics, the laws that govern family life have been re-jigged to put women on top and men on the back foot.

They decided that families aren’t society’s natural, balanced building block, but a cunning plot to oppress mothers while placing men in undeserving positions of power (when many men were breaking their backs in jobs they hated to keep everything ticking over).

To avenge this, they squeezed men from the home and hit them where it hurts: the heart.

Don’t believe me? The Children Act of 1989 specifically declares: ‘The rule of law that a father is the natural guardian of his legitimate child is abolished.’

A year later, a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research called The Family Way saw Harman declare: ‘It cannot be assumed men are bound to be an asset to family life or that the presence of fathers in families is necessarily a means to social cohesion.’

Even now, the Children and Families Act of 2014 doesn’t mention the word ‘father’ once. Not once.

Sir Bob Geldof was one of the first high-profile men to challenge the legislation after losing access to his daughters Peaches, Pixie and Fifi when Paula Yates left him in 1995.

‘It was beyond expensive,’ he told me. ‘I had to borrow money and was close to losing it all. In the end, my circumstances changed, but it could have been very different.

‘Men still spend thousands getting court orders that aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. The whole system is disgusting.

‘I remember a court clerk telling me: “Whatever you do, don’t say you love your children. Family courts consider men who articulate this as extreme.” It was madness.’

According to the Office for National Statistics, one in three youngsters have no access to their fathers, which equates to four million children in the UK.

But there is a ray of hope, says Dr Craig Pickering, from the charity Families Need Fathers. ‘The Children and Families Act says, for the first time in English law, that both parents should be involved in a child’s life after divorce,’ he says.

‘The trouble is that its effectiveness depends on what the judges make of it. It wouldn’t be the first time that they came up with their own bizarre interpretation of something straightforward.’

Pickering says sanctions should be imposed on mothers who fail to co-operate, such as passports and driving licences being confiscated.

‘The Government consulted on this, but stopped mid-way through,’ he says. ‘We don’t know why.’

I put this to Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families. Eventually, I was told by the Ministry of Justice: ‘The consultation concluded we should not introduce further punitive enforcement elements. There are already punishments available.’

Hmm. Perhaps someone needs to tell them they don’t work.

Considering that the annual cost of family breakdown is reportedly £44billion — that’s more than the defence budget — you’d think curing fatherlessness would be a priority for a country haemorrhaging money. But it isn’t.

Instead, everyone is petrified of inadvertently apportioning blame to single mothers, even though it’s not about them. Only recently, in a bid to woo the female vote, David Cameron said deadbeat dads ‘should be looked at like drink drivers’, yet said nothing about the mothers who deliberately steer them off the road.

Here we had the head of the Government telling men to raise children properly, yet offering a law that actively keeps children and fathers apart as the solution. So much for family values.

Meanwhile, single-parent organisations such as Gingerbread — supported by children’s author J. K. Rowling of all people — casually dismiss studies that suggest a lack of male role models at home increases the likelihood of crime and mental illness.

This is despite a study conducted by Oxford University, which followed 20,000 children from 1958 and found those with a father were far less likely to break the law or suffer from psychological issues. Young boys with involved fathers also performed better at school.

Dr Paul Ramchandani, of Imperial College London, conducted a study that found ‘disengaged and remote father-child interactions as early as the third month of life’ often lead to behaviour problems in children when they are older.

The logic is simple — not having a father leaves a hole in the soul.  A void that young people frequently fill with drugs, alcohol or intimacy. This might not sit well in the feminist family framework, but sometimes the truth hurts.

In 2012, the substance misuse charity Addaction published a report that proved father deficit to be real, causing anger, self-loathing, addiction and identity issues.  It saw young men compensate with a ‘counterfeit masculinity’ of strength, anger and violence, often combined with sexual prowess.

Meanwhile, young women ‘act out a skewed version of femininity that prioritises the use of sex and relationships with men above all else’.

Cruelly, this creates the cycle all over again, with teenagers jumping into bed with each other without a thought for the consequences.

The Trust for the Study of Adolescence recently proved scores of teenage girls in Britain are deliberately becoming young mothers as a career move because, with the state and the father contributing, it offers more guaranteed security than a job.

Even 13-year-old girls admitted this, which might explain why Britain has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe, at an annual government cost of nearly £63million.

Perhaps the law-makers need to think about radical action to break the cycle. Maybe men could be allowed to have a financial abortion from a child to which they didn’t pre-consent.

In a specified time — say, legal abortion guidelines — men could be allowed to formally relinquish all monetary obligations, rights and responsibilities if duped into fatherhood. The woman still wants to proceed? Fine, that’s her choice. But not on his salary.

Controversial? Yes. But overnight we would see fewer acts of conception by deception. And that can only be a good thing — for men and for society.

SOURCE






The Scottish Nasty Party and how its growing intimidation and intolerance of dissent reeks of fascism

The windows of the Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party offices in Aberdeen have been spray-painted with the word 'scum' and the unmistakable sign of the swastika.

The front door has been similarly defaced with a giant letter Q, for Quisling: that is, traitor. Labour Party offices half a mile away were also daubed with similar abuse.

A local Conservative councillor, Ross Thomson, described this as 'the ugly face of nationalism'. This showed restraint on his part.

In his place, I might have pointed out that the political party that actually used the swastika as its emblem was the Nazi party: short for National Socialist.

And I would have added that supporters of the Scottish National Party — which claims to be to the left of Labour and which is undeniably Nationalist — is increasingly engaged in the kind of street-by-street intimidation of opponents that we would more normally associate with fascists.

I gained some impression of this phenomenon when I spent time in Glasgow during the referendum campaign: but it has got much worse.

SNP activists openly describe how they have been 'hunting' Labour's shadow Scottish secretary, Margaret Curran, by stalking her and then yelling abuse as she tries to talk to electors on the doorstep.

When this was put to the rival SNP candidate in the constituency, Natalie McGarry, she claimed Mrs Curran was a 'fair target for community justice'.

This sinister phrase is nothing less than a defence of the mob.

Vicious

The BBC in Scotland is wearily familiar with similar intimidation — co-ordinated action by so-called cybernats has made the job of its journalists increasingly unenviable.

Its correspondent James Cook complained of the 'vicious abuse' he received, merely for reporting the civil service leak of a memo which had suggested that SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon would prefer David Cameron to Ed Miliband as prime minister.

And many other BBC reporters have been targeted, but not complained.

The head of the BBC in Scotland, Donalda MacKinnon, described the cybernat campaign of abuse as 'completely unacceptable'.

'Our journalists are entitled to carry on their work without the threat of unwarranted personal attacks online. The safety of our staff is of paramount concern to us and we are doing everything in our power to ensure they can carry out their work helping to inform our audiences without intimidation and abuse.'

The SNP is not a normal political party. It is more like a cult - and intolerance is one of the chief characteristics of all cults
Yet if the SNP had its way, there would be no political independence for the BBC — or any other broadcaster north of what it wants to make a real border.

During the referendum campaign, the then SNP leader Alex Salmond declared: 'I don't think the broadcasting issue in terms of how it treats Scotland will be properly resolved till we have broadcasting under the democratic parliament of Scotland.'

The political control of broadcasters is one of the hallmarks of a dictatorship, whether fascist or communist. Salmond is neither of those: just a consummate opportunist — the hallmark of ultra-nationalist politicians throughout the past century.

Down south, we have not seen Mr Salmond much lately on our TV screens. But he is at least standing for Parliament in the General Election. Not so his successor as First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon.

It is almost incredible how much broadcast airtime she is receiving — there can be no complaint by cybernats about the BBC on that score — given that she is not even standing in the election.

No one can vote for her on May 7 and yet she has been the dominant figure, by some accounts, in the various television leaders' debates in the past fortnight.

That, at least, was the praise accorded her performance by Conservative spin doctors and ministers, after her debating encounters with Ed Miliband.

I can see why Conservatives should want to describe Ms Sturgeon as the tail wagging the Labour Party dog — it fits in with their posters showing a large Ms Sturgeon dangling wires controlling the movements of a tiny Mr Miliband.

But the Tories are playing with fire — indeed, playing games with the Union itself — by making a giant out of someone who, even on the present opinion polls, speaks for barely 4 per cent of the total British electorate.

They could, instead, point out the many ways in which public services — such as education and health — under devolved SNP control in the Scottish parliament have been less successful than under the Conservative-led Government in Westminster.

But Cameron refused to make any such criticism in his one multi-party debating encounter with Ms Sturgeon, because he really wants as many SNP MPs as possible to replace Labour ones in Scotland.

What sort of MPs would they be?

On the current polls, which indicate an almost clean sweep by the SNP, the Labour election campaign co-ordinator and shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander will lose his Renfrewshire seat to a 20-year-old SNP candidate, Mhairi Black.

Ms Black seems an appropriate representative for the cybernats, at least. Among recent tweets she revealed how she fantasised about 'putting the nut' on Labour councillors and posted how she 'woke up beside half a can of Tennent's and a full pizza and more money than I came out with. I call that a success!'

Draconian

Perhaps with such candidates it is not so surprising that the SNP last month passed what has been described as a 'Stalinist' amendment to the party's standing orders.

It states: 'No Member shall, within or without Parliament, publicly criticise a Group decision, policy, or another member of the Group.'

Can you imagine what would be said if the Conservative or Labour Party imposed such a draconian code on its parliamentary candidates?

They would rightly be accused of the most outrageous constraints on the individual conscience of Members of Parliament and an assault on what it means to be a politician in a democracy.

Yet the SNP is not a normal political party. It is more like a cult — and intolerance is one of the chief characteristics of all cults. Naturally, it is as entitled as any other party to be respected for its support among the population: and it clearly has the backing of about 45 per cent of all voting Scots — mirroring the scale of the separatist vote in the referendum campaign.

The people I feel sympathy for are not the English, who might resent the influence of a triumphalist SNP contingent at Westminster. No, the real victims are the majority of Scots who don't agree with them, but are increasingly intimidated into silence by the Scottish Nasty Party.

SOURCE






Son of medical marijuana activist taken by child protective services after the 11-year-old spoke out to disagree with an anti-drug presentation at his school

A Kansas mother who uses marijuana to treat a debilitating disease is now fighting for custody of her child after the 11-year-old boy disagreed with an anti-drug presentation at his school.

Shona Banda, 37, who published a book about how she uses a liquid form of cannabis as therapy for Crohn's disease, has a custody hearing Monday in Garden City, Kansas.

Her boy was taken by authorities on March 24 after officials at his school reported comments he made about marijuana to child protection services.

The Department of Children and Families in the small Midwestern town then contacted police who went to Banda's home, according to the Garden City Telegram.

She did not give authorities consent to search her home, but they returned several hours later with a warrant and discovered marijuana in plant, oil, joint, gel and capsule form along with paraphernalia for the drug.

Two ounces of cannabis in plant form and one ounce of oil were reportedly seized.

Video supposedly of the incident posted on Youtube shows officers arriving at Banda's house without a warrant, standing in her backyard and refusing to let the woman enter her house for fear that she could disturb evidence.

'It is not public property, you don’t have a warrant,' Banda is heard telling the police of her backyard, but a sergeant responds that it 'doesn’t matter'.

The boy was given temporarily to his father, who is separated from Banda, but returned to state custody on Thursday ahead of the hearing.  No charges have yet been filed against the mother.

'For him to have spoken up in class I can’t be upset about because he hears me daily on the phone talking with people, encouraging people to speak up and speak out,' she told Ben Swann of her son.

'My son says different things like, ‘My mom calls it cannabis and not marijuana,’ Banda said.

The mother, who was diagnosed with the inflammatory bowel disease Crohn's in the early 2000s, said that she had been losing weight and was 'on her death bed' before she began using cannabis oil in 2009.

Crohn's, where the body's immune system attacks the gastrointestinal system, causes pain, diarrhea, menstrual problems, lack of appetite and fatigue.

Banda said that the marijuana worked much better than any medicines that had been prescribed for her and she was soon able to walk without a cane, she said in a YouTube video.

She says that her son was pulled out of school and interrogated by police without her.

A Go Fund Me page has raised more than $20,000 for Banda's legal defense.

Supporters plan on rallying outside the courthouse when the author goes in for her custody hearing on Monday.

SOURCE






Air Force veteran is arrested for taking on protesters who were trampling on US flag

An Air Force veteran and former Playboy model was arrested for taking an American flag from campus protesters who were trampling on it.

Michelle Manhart, 38, was handcuffed by police at Valdosta State University, Georgia, and driven off in a patrol car after grabbing the Stars and Stripes and refusing to return it to the student demonstrators.

Video footage of the event, on Friday, shows Manhart struggling with officers, who force her to the ground after she refuses to let the flag go.

It shows her surrounded by protesters on the campus, who demand their property be returned. In response, Manhart says the flag belongs to 'the entire United States'.

Campus police try to convince her to drop the flag, but Manhart, a former training sergeant who served in Kuwait, refuses.

Speaking to the Valdosta Daily Times about her intervention, she said: 'I did not want anything like this, but I got a call from a student who told me that the flag was on the ground, and they were walking on it.

'I was just going over there to pick up the flag off the ground. I don’t know what their cause is, but I went to pick it up because it doesn’t deserve to be on the ground.'

She continued: 'If your cause is racism then find some white people and walk on them.

'But to walk on the flag is walking on our symbol of freedom. You have the freedom to do what you are doing because of it. I’m not fighting against them. I’m fighting against the way they are going about it.'

It is not clear what the demonstrators were rallying against. They did not answer reporters' questions about what their cause was.

According to the Daily Times, the group didn't want to press charges against Manhart. However, police gave her a trespass warning, which bans her from the campus.

The Daily Times reported that Manhart now intends to hold a pro-military counter-demonstration in the town on Wednesday.

In response to the incident, the university's president says he disapproves of the flag-trampling protest, but recognizes their right to express themselves that way if they choose.

Dr William McKinney said: 'The American flag represents everything that is best about our country. As the Supreme Court has held, one of those things is the right to free speech, which includes the right to disrespect even the symbol of our country.

'While I firmly disagree with the actions of the protesters, I understand their right to protest.'

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

Boy aged THIRTEEN becomes one of UK's youngest murderers as he is jailed for killing woman, 47, after stamping on her face so hard it left a footprint on her cheek

Interesting that no picture of the chief offender is allowed.  His name suggests that he is a multiculturalist, an Albanian Muslim, most likely.  Albanians in Britain are frequent criminal offenders

A boy of 13 has become one of the UK's youngest murderers after he was jailed for killing a woman he had just mugged by stamping on her face so hard it left a footprint on her cheek.

Shocking CCTV footage shows the horrendous moment Petri Kurti murdered 47-year-old Glynis Bensley before he fled to a nearby park in Smethwick, West Midlands and boasted about the savage attack.

The schoolboy, who can be named after a judge lifted a reporting restriction order, was jailed for a minimum of 12 years today and will be on licence for life.

His co-defendant, Zoheb Majid, was sentenced to 10 years behind bars for manslaughter and robbery.

Sentencing Judge John Warner said the boy had been 'running wild' in his home life.

'You come from a home where there has been a complete lack of boundaries or structure where neither parents understand the seriousness of your behaviour - they blame others. 'This reinforces your own clear reluctance to take responsibility for your own actions.'

Previously the court heard how the pair had teamed up with the sole intention of carrying out a violent robbery.

CCTV footage captured Kurti jumping Ms Bensley in the street as she made her way home from Seven Stars pub.

Majid joined in seconds later before the pair flipped her body over to ransack her pockets. Kurti was then filmed stamping on her face, leaving a shoe print on her skin.

The court previously heard that both Majid and the teenager thought Ms Bensley was a man because of her clothes and haircut.

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter but was found guilty of murder following a trial last month.

Kurti had been excluded from school and a pupil referral unit for his aggressive behaviour, and as young as he was, already had previous convictions for attempted theft, assault with intent to steal and battery.

He sentenced the 13-year-old to 12 years imprisonment for the murder with five years concurrent for robbery.

He was given another 12 months, to run concurrently, for another street robbery carried out with his 25-year-old sister whilst on bail for the murder on February 4.

The teenager was ordered to be detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure - the equivalent of a minimum term life sentence for a youth.

Judge Warner added while Kurti had boasted of the attack afterwards, he demonstrated 'criminal maturity'. 'I'm in no doubt that she was targeted by you both, selected to be robbed' he continued. 'She was chosen by you because she was clearly in a vulnerable condition.

'It started with you Petri Kurti punching her and she went to the ground.

'She suffered a minimum of two blows. There was a clear print of a shod foot visible on her cheek, she had been stamped in the face.

'You Petri Kurti were just 13 when you committed this murder, on the streets late at night effectively running wild.

'This was a murder committed for gain, a night time robbery. The victim was vulnerable and targeted as such.

'Zoheb Majid, you're about to turn 21.

'You knew what you were doing and knew what you were involved in. You knew the victim of this night time robbery was a vulnerable person.'

Earlier the court was told Kurti 'was not a mature' 13-year-old.

His solicitor, Michael Turner QC, said: 'He's operating at a level of a seven to 11-year-old in terms of his cognitive ability.

'He has real learning difficulties. He accepted the act that caused the death and limited the decision of the jury to one of intent.

'He is susceptible to control and influence by those older than him.'

After their sentencing Ms Bensley's family spoke of their horror that the 13-year-old had been out so late and behaving in such a violent way.

'It opens your eyes to a different world. We are talking two o'clock, four o'clock in the morning - that is not a normal 13-year-old,' said John Bensley, 60. 'They are cowards, the way they did it. She was an easy target.'

'Justice has been done. If it hadn't happened to Glynis it would have happened to someone else. It could have happened to anybody.

'They seemed a bit arrogant in court, there was no remorse. They are not sorry, they are sorry they have been caught."

Leading the investigation Detective Chief Inspector Sam Ridding said: 'It was clearly the joint intention of the pair to use violence on anyone they targeted: they were in it together as the CCTV showed - they arrived within seconds of each other.

'Ms Bensley was tragically in the wrong place at the wrong time and was randomly picked out by the pair believing that she was a man and that she was wearing a gold bracelet. 

'Our thoughts remain with Glynis’ family at this time and we hope that today’s sentencing will provide some help in their grieving process.'

SOURCE






My Father Was Gay. Why I Oppose Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

Dawn Stefanowicz   

It took me decades to come to my views on same-sex “marriage” in light of my personal experiences.

From infancy, I was unwittingly identified under the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual (GLBT) umbrella. During the first 30 years of my life, I garnered many personal, social and professional experiences with my father, whom I always loved, and his partners. My father, a successful executive recruiter, taught me a strong business ethic.

My Childhood

I was exposed to a lot of expressed sexuality in the home and subcultures. I experienced uncountable losses. Gender was supposed to be boundless; yet, I did not see my father and his partners valuing, loving and affirming women. My father’s preference for one gender (male) created an inner sense of inequality for me.

As a dependent child and teen, I was not allowed to say anything that would hurt the feelings of the adults around me. If I did, I could face ostracism or worse. During my twenties, I achieved both academic and career goals, but for a long while, I denied the impact my childhood had had and lied to protect my father and his partners.

In 1991, my father died of AIDS. None of my father’s partners/ex-partners are still alive.

I did not have all the words to express my thoughts and feelings until my late twenties and early thirties, so it took a while before I went public, but I knew that my father never would have supported same-sex “marriage.” Naturally, he knew that every child is created from both a father and a mother. He never required me to call any of his sexual partners “dad;” instead I called each of them by first name. My father told me that he always wanted children.

The Push to Quiet Me and Others

Due to media silencing, political correctness, GLBT lobbying efforts and loss of freedom of speech, it is very hard to tell my story.

But I am not alone. Over 50 adult children from alternative households, plus ex-spouses with children, and parents who have left the “gay” lifestyle have contacted me. Very few children will share their stories publicly.

For many of us adult children of gay parents, we have come to the conclusion that same-sex marriage is more about promoting adults’  “desires” than about safeguarding children’s rights to know and be raised by their biological parents.

I feel so strongly about this issue that I have testified before lawmakers in Canada, regarding hate crime legislation, same-sex marriage and age of consent laws, and I have testified in nine U.S. states, to the 5th Circuit and to the Supreme Court, and in other countries.

How Same-Sex Marriage Has Changed Canada

Statements like this are lies: “Permitting same-sex couples (now also throuples) access to the designation of marriage will not deprive anyone of any rights.”

When same-sex marriage passed in Canada in July 2005, parenting was immediately redefined, removing parentage from its biological origins. Canada’s gay marriage law, Bill C-38, included a provision to erase the term “natural parent” and replace it across the board with gender-neutral “legal parent” in federal law. Now, all children have “legal parents,” as defined by the state, which means parental rights have been usurped by the government.

In effect, same-sex marriage permits state powers to override the autonomy of biological parents. Necessary parental rights to teach children your beliefs, express your opinions, and practice your personal faith are infringed upon by the state when your beliefs, opinions and or faith practices are in opposition to what is taught and promoted at school. In fact, in Ontario, Canada, the Human Rights Commission regulations permeate and surround all public education.

For example, if you teach your children that same-sex sexual relationships are wrong and that every child has a father and a mother, and that only man-woman sex in marriage is allowed, you run the risk of thought police questioning your beliefs, especially if your children discuss these subjects in the classroom.

Consequently, parents experience state interference when it comes to moral values and teachings about family, parenting and sex education in schools. Also, children are deprived of knowing and being raised by both their biological father and mother since same-sex marriage allows for children to have same-sex parents where at least one parent is unrelated to the child.

Additionally, since the undefined term “sexual orientation” was added as a protected category under Canada’s hate crime law in 2004 and same-sex marriage became legalized in 2005, guaranteed fundamental freedoms of the Canadian Constitution have been reinterpreted, eroded and/or nullified by activist courts and quasi-courts with no real juries, also known as the Human Rights Commissions. The federal Human Rights Commission (HRC) has had a three-decade 100 percent conviction rate for hate speech.

Though Section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act was repealed in 2013, which came into effect in 2014, many people believe that a similar act will be proposed soon after the 2015 federal election. At the same time, many of the Canadian provinces have similar hate speech codes with high conviction rates which effectively restrict speech and blogging freedoms. Activists and special interest groups have long supported censorship of speech and internet communications in Canada.

In Canada, freedom to assemble and speak freely about man-woman marriage, family and sexuality are restricted.

Human Rights Tribunals/Commissions in Canada police speech, and penalize upstanding citizens for their speech and expressions in opposition to particular sexual behaviors. It takes only one complaint against a person to be brought before the tribunal, costing the defendant tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. The Commissions have the power to enter private residences and remove all items pertinent to their investigations, checking for hate speech.

Yet the plaintiff making the complaint has his legal fees completely paid for by the government. Even if the defendant is found innocent, he cannot recover his legal costs. If he is found guilty, he must pay fines to the person(s) who brought forth the complaint.

Religious Freedoms Under Attack in Canada

Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which forms the first part of the Constitution Act 1982, everyone was to have been guaranteed the following fundamental freedoms: (a) freedom of conscience and religion; (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and (d) freedom of association.

Most faith communities have become politically correct to avoid fines and loss of charitable status.

In reality, these freedoms have been restricted. Businesses must provide goods and services to all customers, without regard to business owners’ conscience rights. Employers’ hiring practices cannot discriminate, even if a potential employee’s sexual practices and relationships are frowned upon. (For example, a religious college couldn’t refuse to hire someone who didn’t share the college’s views on sexuality without risking a Human Rights Commission complaint.)

Freedom to assemble and speak freely about man-woman marriage, family and sexuality are restricted. Activists often sit in on religious assemblies, listening for anything discriminatory towards GLBT, so a complaint can be made to the Human Rights Commission. Most faith communities have become politically correct to avoid fines and loss of charitable status.

Canadian media is restricted by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the media censoring arm of government and similar to the Federal Communications Commission. If the media air anything considered discriminatory towards GLBT, broadcasting licenses can be revoked, and Human Rights Commissions can charge fines and restrict future airings.

I am a witness and I don’t want America to lose her hard-won freedoms as my fellow Canadians have. Marriage must remain between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others.

SOURCE






It's Past Time to Acknowledge Black Privilege

Everybody acknowledges the existence of socioeconomic privilege in which wealthy people have more opportunities than poor ones, but white privilege makes the racist assumption that skin color is a principal factor. As defined in Wikipedia (and there are numerous references on the page), white privilege is "a term for societal privileges that benefit white people in western countries beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances." It is past time to confront the politically correct Left with the issue of Black privilege, as shown by the following public figures.

Al Sharpton

Al Sharpton demanded and obtained the dismissal of radio show personality Don Imus for Imus' reference to black women as "nappy headed hos". While Imus' remark was inexcusable under today's standards of behavior, no black women were killed or injured as a result of his words. Seven employees of Freddy's Fashion Mart in Harlem were not so lucky when Al Sharpton and his National Action Network came to town.

Fred Harari [the store's owner] is called a "cracker" by Mr. [Morris] Powell and a "white interloper" by Rev. Sharpton. It contains threats: Mr. Powell says of Fred Harari, "We gonna see that this cracker suffer."

Morris Powell was head of the "Buy Black Steering Committee of the Mass Action Network" and, if a white person in a similar capacity had said, "We gonna see that this N-word suffer," we would expect a background of sheets, hoods, and burning crosses. Sharpton's explicit words were meanwhile, "I want to make it clear to the radio and audience and to you here that we will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business on 125th St." Powell added, "We are not going to stand idly by and let a Jewish person come in black Harlem and methodically drive black people out of business up and down 125th St. If we stand for that, we will stand for anything." The following picture should put Sharpton's and Powell's words in the correct perspective.

This kind of statement is repulsive when it comes from the Ku Klux Klan and, were it not for Black privilege, it would be equally repulsive from Mr. Sharpton and his associates. In addition, no politician in his right mind (except for Ron Paul or the late Robert Byrd, KKK-WV) would associate openly with a Caucasian racist, while Barack Obama, John Edwards, and Hillary Clinton all made public appearances with Al Sharpton.

Now let's return to Don Imus' poor attempt at humor. Black rap artists refer routinely to Black women as "hos", Black people as the N word, women as a five-letter word for a female dog, and gay people as an offensive six-letter word. Snoop Dogg mixes lyrics that involve "hos" and the murder of police officers: "Then I'mma pop two cops or more/ I'm too hot, come through wit two proper whores."

The fact that these rap artists throw misogynist and racist trash into the African-American community's front yard does not give white people the right to do the same, but it is easy to see where Imus got the perception that this was acceptable. A yard full of trash can easily be taken for a junkyard or landfill, and the rap artists do far more to promote an image of a violent and criminal Black underclass than the Ku Klux Klan could possibly do.

It is also necessary to recall Mr. Sharpton's role in the Crown Heights riot, in which Sharpton's followers murdered a Jew, and his proven defamation of an innocent person in the Tawana Brawley scandal. Black privilege is the only conceivable explanation for Mr. Sharpton's continued presence on news shows, or indeed in any other mainstream media, along with tolerance of misogynist rap artists. The fact that Barack Obama continues to associate with this prominent racist and anti-Semite brings us to the next examples of black privilege:

Barack and Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama recently proclaimed, "Black girls rock!" So do white girls, if one is a fan of the now-disbanded duet Prussian Blue. (In fairness to the two blonde singers involved, they subsequently renounced their white supremacist views.) Even worse, however, are Barack Obama's own racism and his open association with hate groups.

Obama made clear his view on what white supremacists call "race mixing" in Dreams From My Father. Note how the stereotypical white person listens to country music the way stereotypical African-Americans listen to rap artists.

"Tim was not a conscious brother. Tim wore argyle sweaters and pressed jeans and talked like Beaver Cleaver. He planned to major in business. His white girlfriend was probably waiting for him up in his room, listening to country music".

Alternatively, as the Saxon warlord (doubtlessly modeled on today's white supremacists) put it in the movie King Arthur, "We don't mix with these people. What kind of offspring do you think that would yield? Weak people. Half people. I will not have our Saxon blood watered down by mixing with them." Had Obama's parents followed this kind of advice, of course, he would have never existed. The preface to Dreams From My Father adds,

"I ceased to advertise my mother's race at the age of twelve or thirteen, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites"

Obama also accepted an endorsement from "Father" Michael Pfleger, who threatened to "snuff" a licensed gun dealer. Pfleger then claimed that he didn't realize that "snuff" often indicates murder, which would of course constitute a terroristic threat. Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright, posted an opinion piece by a Hamas terrorist, and also published blood libels of the United States and Israel.

Wright’s church printed the "Letter to Oprah", which includes the following blood libel of Israel: "Both [Israel and South Africa] worked on an ethnic bomb that kills Blacks and Arabs." Wright himself blood-libeled the United States by accusing it of developing the AIDS virus -- i.e., of waging biological warfare, and added that "white America got a wake-up call after 9/11/01."

Barack and Michelle Obama attended this "church" for roughly 20 years, and exposed their children to Jeremiah Wright's hateful rhetoric. If a Caucasian had done this, the country would have realized quickly that he or she could not be president for all Americans regardless of their ethnicity.

During the 2008 election campaign, the moderators on Obama's website approved the posting of material that, for example, referred to Jews as "kike filth." This is but one of many selections of racist, anti-Semitic, ageist, and even misogynistic postings that met the moderators' standards for "civil discourse."

SOURCE






Faith Takes a Furlough

In the military, our troops are used to navigating landmines. They aren’t used to having their own leaders plant them. That must be how it feels for religious service members, who are nervously stepping their way through a dangerous and hostile environment for faith — created by the same administration they serve.

Unfortunately, identifying the country’s threats hasn’t exactly been this President’s strong suit. In the same breath that he swaps terrorists for deserters and lets Iran off the hook, he turns the military’s internal firepower on expressions of religion. The culture of the military, once one of the proudest professions in the world, is a depressed one — with morale in a freefall and recruitment at its lowest levels in years. Gradually worn down by the seven-year war on religious liberty and decency, more men and women are opting to get out — or worse, never sign up in the first place.

In a front-page story for the Washington Times, Jacqueline Klimas expands on what FRC has said for years: that the military cannot sustain this long-term assault on its values. Our good friend Mike Berry from the Liberty Institute has seen the fallout first-hand. “I can’t tell you how many moms and dads I’ve spoken to who say, ‘My son or daughter wants to join the military, (but) in light of what you’ve described, I’m not sure I want to let them join the military anymore,’ and I don’t blame them. I would have serious reservations about my own kids joining.”

In a military where even Chaplains are punished for their faith, more service members have to be wondering: why are we here? These brave men and women in uniform are dying for liberties that they can’t even enjoy. Douglas Lee of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, said, “I know people who get out, officers and chaplains, who’ve said, ‘I can’t serve the way I want to in this environment. People who’ve said, 'Because of the religious liberty challenges I see, I think I’ll serve somewhere else.” The sacrifices of — not just the service members, but their families — must feel somewhat hollow now in a culture where you can’t even say, “Have a blessed day,” without triggering an investigation.

Then, of course, there are the double standards. [Wednesday], we told you about the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) blaming the Bible, Constitution, and Declaration of Independence for “modern sexism.” It turns out, this training isn’t the only thing under review. In a surprising twist, FRC learned that the commander of DEOMI, the very touchstone of political correctness in the military, has been suspended in December for alleged “inappropriate touching.” You can’t even make this stuff up! It’s like the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention Officer, who was charged in 2013 with — you guessed it — sexual assault. And we wonder why the Pentagon has so many problems!

The DOD is having to address all of these issues of sexism, assault, relationship consent because Obama’s policies have sexualized the military to the point of complete and utter dysfunction. Unfortunately, this is a huge mess that the next President is not only going to inherit — but has to address. In the extremely dangerous and volatile world that President Obama has fostered by his own ineptness, we can’t risk having a military that is more concerned about the sexual advances of their members than advancing the military’s mission of fighting and winning America’s wars

SOURCE

*************************

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

***************************





19 April, 2015

Unemployed multiculturalist used his friend as a slave then chopped him up and dumped remains in canal



A man who killed his friend, stuffed the body into a suitcase and threw it into a canal has been jailed for 19 years.

Lorenzo Simon, 34, of Smethwick, West Midlands, and his girlfriend Michelle Bird used their friend Michael Spalding for slave labour before Simon killed him and dismembered his body.

The 39-year-old's remains were stuffed into two suitcases before Simon and Bird threw them into Birmingham Canal, a court heard. 

Police have now released CCTV video footage showing the pair dragging the cases along a pavement.

Simon was found guilty of murder at Birmingham Crown Court today and Bird, while being acquitted of the same charge, was convicted of assisting an offender and sentenced to two and a half years.

At a sentencing hearing, Mrs Justice Thirlwall told Simon: 'You had no thought for him at all. Your focus, as so often in your life, was on what was best for you.'

Simon initially denied knowledge of Mr Spalding's death, claiming he threw him out following a row over a car crash, but later admitted assaulting him during a fight after police found tiny blood droplets on the flat's lounge wall.

Neighbours reported seeing a bonfire in the rear garden following Mr Spalding's disappearance - a heat so intense it melted UPVC guttering fascias - and forensic examination of debris from an oil drum showed it to be part of the victim's humerus bone.

Police divers recovered the second case - containing the victim's head, limbs and tools - below Pope Bridge, Smethwick, on May 16 and further searches of the canal bed uncovered a hacksaw.

Using futuristic 3D scanning technology - developed through a pioneering project with Warwick University - experts were able to show a perfect fit between the charred bone and a severed limb found in the suitcase.

And the same scanning proved a link between the hacksaw and lacerations found on other bones.

Drag marks were also found on the towpath near where the pair dumped the suitcases into the canal.

Detective Inspector Harry Harrison from West Midlands Police said: 'Michael was exploited in life by Lorenzo Simon and Michelle Bird and they afforded him no dignity in death. On the contrary, they treated him in the most despicable manner in order to conceal their crime.

'Simon accepted Michael as a tenant on the agreement he used his considerable handyman skills to do up the flat. But he treated him like a slave, working him past midnight and then waking him early in the morning to continue working.

'They were only allowed out with his say-so and given just one meal a day - usually pizza and chips.

'Michael finally broke and complained at their treatment - we believe that, combined with a car accident where Simon accused him of being responsible for damaging his VW Passat, led to the fatal attack.

'Simon said he hit Michael in the back and that he fell to the floor dead within seconds and claimed to have disposed of the body in panic.

'Bird said she was on an errand to buy alcohol at the time of the killing but later admitted helping her boyfriend in the aftermath.

'However, we were able to provide compelling evidence to the jury that this was a vicious murder and that Simon went to considerable lengths to try and cover his tracks.'

Mr Spalding had been living at the Oxford Road address for almost three weeks and was under the impression a good renovation job would help him land his own tenancy with the landlord.

However, Simon blamed the father-of-three for a collision in mid-April that left his VW Passat with front end damage - and told him the crash ended his hopes of securing his own place and jeopardised their own tenancy arrangement.

Mr Spalding last spoke to his partner, who moved out to be with family in Tamworth, at 10pm on April 25 and police suspect he was murdered later that night or the following day.

The black suitcase containing the victim's torso was first spotted on May 5 floating in the water near Pope Bridge by a narrow boat owner.

It was seen on several subsequent occasions by canal users before a contractor, suspecting the case contained a dead animal, towed it to Icknield Port yard on May 12.

Unemployed Simon - who has convictions for robbery, burglary, theft and drug supply - moved to Derby in a bid to evade police when news of the body find broke - but was arrested with Bird on May 19 and charged two days later.

Detectives later heard accounts from neighbours in Oxford Road who told of 'aggressive, nasty' arguments coming from the flat.

One recalled Simon saying: 'I want this place finished - I've got to live here, you are taking the p**s' to which Mr Spalding replied 'I'm tired, I'm hungry, I want to go home. I've been at it all day'.

A pathologist deemed a number of weapons were used to dismember the body, including knives, a saw and possibly a heavy bladed weapon like an axe.

The post mortem examination was unable to confirm the precise cause of death but it is suspected Mr Spalding died from a stab wound to the neck, evidence of which was subsequently destroyed.

SOURCE





MD: Montgomery County CPS oversteps again in handling of the Meitivs' 'free-range' children

The last time we talked about the case of Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, the couple said that despite a finding of “unsubstantiated neglect” by Montgomery County’s Child Protective Services, they would still allow their 10- and 6-year-old children to walk the mile to a park close to where they live in Silver Spring.

The children, Rafi, 10, and Dvora, 6, had been picked up by police after they had been reported wandering alone. That “unsubstantiated neglect” charge was an extraordinary case of government overreach by an agency stretching their interpretation of a vague area of law in an attempt to paint these parents as negligent, we argued then. After the bad publicity and criticism thrown at CPS, we didn’t think Montgomery County government could be even more incursive and even more insensitive to parents’ wishes.

We were wrong.

On April 12, Alexander and Danielle once again allowed their children to visit the park. This time, they dropped them off there at 5 p.m. on a sunny Sunday after a drive home for a visit to Ithaca, New York, relatives, according to a story Tuesday in The Washington Post. The children were expected home at 6.

It was 5½ hours before they saw them again. Acting on an anonymous report of the children walking alone, a police officer collected Rafi and Dvora just a few blocks from their home in Woodside.
Here’s the Post‘s timeline from then on:

“The police officer notified CPS at 5:16 p.m. At 6:10, he called another CPS employee. At 6:41, the officer was told a CPS decision had yet to be made. So at 7:18, the officer decided to take the children to the CPS offices in Rockville.”

It’s unclear why the officer didn’t just walk the few blocks home with the children, who said they weren’t lost. It’s also not clear why he didn’t contact the Meitivs immediately, or why he decided to take the children — hungry and needing the restroom — 20 minutes away to child protective services.

CPS finally called the parents at 8 p.m.  Three hours. That’s an unconscionable delay.

We can only imagine the panic the Meitivs were experiencing. Except rather than some predator abducting their children, it was the police, and, compounding the situation, child protective services, who finally handed the children back to their parents at 10:30 p.m. CPS, of course, isn’t talking or explaining itself, content to use the excuse that their investigations are confidential — despite the fact that the Meitivs are talking publicly.

Were the children in danger? The Post cites the police report, which says the children were in a parking garage being eyed by a “homeless subject.” That’s a vague, scary bogeyman we wouldn’t be surprised to hear was completely concocted as a justificatory afterthought. We’re not the only ones who are dubious about how the office handled this situation.

“This is a ‘What were they thinking?’ moment,” Marc Elrich D -at large, chairman of the Montgomery County Council’s Public Safety Committee, told the Post of the police failure to notify the parents.

Indeed — what were they thinking? If an investigation is needed here, it’s into CPS procedures, not the Meitivs’ parenting.

Yes, some serious questions need to be raised here. This case has received national attention and ignited a debate about how much independence children should have. This is a valuable debate worth having — among parents, not a government agency that apparently wants to raise our children for us.

SOURCE






Free-Range' Parents Will Sue CPS for Grabbing Their Kids: The Meitivs get a lawyer

The Meitivs are lawyering up, and will file some kind of lawsuit against Montgomery County, Maryland, officials who took their children while the youngsters were walking outside by themselves.

Matthew Dowd, a partner at Wiley Rein LLP, will represent the Meitivs free of charge, according to this statement on Danielle Meitiv's Facebook wall:

Matthew Dowd, a partner with Wiley Rein, states: “The Meitivs are rightfully outraged by the irresponsible actions of Maryland CPS and Montgomery County Police. We must ask ourselves how we reached the point where a parent’s biggest fear is that government officials will literally seize our children off the streets as they walk in our neighborhoods.

The Meitivs intend to fully vindicate their rights as parents and their children’s rights, and to prevent this from happening to their children again. The CPS investigations and actions here are premised on a fundamental misapplication of the law and are contrary to the constitutional rights of these parents to raise their children as they see best.”

The actions of Maryland CPS and Montgomery County Police violate the fundamental rights parents have in raising their children. In Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 75 (2000), the Court explained that “the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.” This fundamental, constitutional right of parents cannot be infringed simply because certain governmental employees disagree with a parent’s reasoned decision on how to raise his or her children.

The Meitivs are troubled by the county’s discretionary use of power to subject this happy, healthy and independent family to invasive, frightening and unnecessary government oversight, when there are other pressing challenges for county families in need.

Quick question: Aren’t prisoners allowed one phone call, or is that just on TV? Because the Meitiv kids weren't able to contact their parents in the six hours they were held by the authorities.

SOURCE






Good boobs, bad boobs: how feminists police women’s bodies

If you want to be a good feminist today, it seems you must have an opinion on breasts.

You would expect the two main sides in the contemporary feminist bra debate – Free the Nipple and No More Page 3 – to be in permanent conflict. After all, one is about exposing nipples, the other about covering them up. But actually, they seem to be the breast of friends.

As a piece in the Huffington Post put it, ‘#FreetheNipple and No More Page 3 share the same feminist goal: greater equality for women’. This schizophrenic attitude to nudity, this marriage of a breast-exposing campaign with a breast-hiding campaign, seems baffling. The impossibility of wanting to bin your bra and strap it on with moral zeal at the same time doesn’t seem to register with young feminists.

The claim that the acts of baring and censoring boobs are equally effective in arguing for women’s equality seems to be making a statement about the purpose of the bosom. It suggests that sometimes it’s okay for boobs to be on display, and other times it isn’t. Another Huff Post article argued that ‘nobody can surely say they open Page 3 to see what nature has created to feed children?’. Err, no, of course not - for the same reason that I don’t eat chocolate because it is supposedly a source of calcium, but rather because I enjoy it. The implication here seems to be that when breasts are a source of food for babies, they’re good; but when they are displayed in a more sexual way, they are bad.

This sinister celebration of boobs as udders is actually regressive. It sets back women’s equality by prioritising the biology of the female over her autonomy as a free-thinking individual able to decide what she likes and what she doesn’t like.

Its The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of boobs. Good, clever, middle-class breasts are acceptable; bad, fake, Essex-girl breasts are not. And The Ugly would have to be that array of obsequious male nipples appearing under the #FreetheNipple hashtag on Instagram. Feminists who support both #FreetheNipple and No More Page 3 reveal themselves to be not only embarrassed by their fellow females who choose to get their knockers out for cash rather than retweets, but also openly prejudiced about a working-class girl’s ability to make her own decisions about her body.

So the likes of Katie Price are seen as a dangerous influence on women because they aren’t puritanical about their chests. When, a few years ago, Price said she decided to bottlefeed her kids because ‘I think only a certain person could handle my knockers!’, there was uproar. A woman who prefers her chest to be sexual rather than maternal? The horror!

So, what constitutes a good, wholesome, feminist pair of tits? Well, showing them to other good, wholesome feminists is a good start. The specification of where and when women should be allowed to bare all - on Instagram, yes; in the Sun, no - is really about censoring who is allowed to look at breasts. For feminists, it is okay for like-minded females, babies and men who have pledged their support via Twitter to see breasts, but gruff builders, young lads and pretty much anyone who finds tits titillating cannot be allowed to glimpse a freed nipple.

Both the No More Page 3 campaign and #FreetheNipple speak to a deep-seated class prejudice within contemporary feminism. Whether they are encouraging women to whip out a lactating nipple in restaurants (good breasts) or forbidding men from pinning a perky pair on the wall of their garages (bad breasts), today’s middle-class feminists are really only interested in enforcing a top-down puritanism about nudity and control of working-class behaviour.

What this boob-obsessed bunch can’t face up to is that no one outside of their tiny cliques really cares about what happens to our chests. The world of Page 3 is old-fashioned, yes, but hardly worth getting your bra strap in a twist over. Many young women have over the years flashed for a few photos and then walked away with heavy wallets and light hearts – I don’t see any problem with that at all. Scour Instagram, and you will see the hypocrisy of #FreetheNipple: this hashtag campaign contains promiscuous selfies and shots of casually pierced nipples, all accompanied by token lines about the need to be nice to women. These breast barers are just as keen for attention as those who pose for tabloids, but they think they are involved in a good cause because their ‘likes’ come from middle-class professional Instagrammers rather than oiks in a greasy spoon.

True supporters of women’s equality should reject both these campaigns. If you believe that women have the right to do whatever the hell they want with their bodies, then for God’s sake talk about something other than tits. Yet young middle-class feminists see it as their duty to educate stupid men and stupid women about the parameters of breast-baring, about acceptable and unacceptable boobs. Women have a far better tool, above the chest, so can we please engage it? And could feminists please stop being such fun sponges and quit using tit tape to censor women’s freedom.

SOURCE






The denigration of men: Ridiculed, abused, exploited - the triumph of feminism has made today's men second class citizens

Men are brilliant. Seriously, we are. We invented philosophy, medicine, architecture, cars, trains, helicopters, submarines and the internet. Not to mention the jet engine, IVF, electricity and modern medicine.

We’ve led all the industrial revolutions and sent rockets into Space. We’ve fought wars with tin hats and bayonets and won them. The world we live in would be nothing without Alexander Graham Bell, Sigmund Freud, Horatio Nelson, Winston Churchill, William Shakespeare and Albert Einstein. The geniuses Leonardo da Vinci, Stephen Hawking, Michelangelo, Beethoven, Charles Darwin and Michael Faraday have all contributed immeasurably to our modern lives.

So why is it that, today, there has there never been a worse time to be a man? Rubbishing the male of the species and everything he stands for is a disturbing — and growing — 21st century phenomenon. It is the fashionable fascism of millions of women — and many, many men, too. Instead of feeling proud of our achievements, we men are forced to spend our time apologising for them. When people chide us for not being able to multi-task or use a washing machine we join in the mocking laughter — even though we invented the damned thing in the first place.

If ever we do manage to do something well we’re told it’s because our achievements were handed to us on a plate — probably at the expense of women — and not because we’re skilled and work hard. And, naturally, the problems of the world are all our fault.

In 2013 the [brainless] Labour MP Diane Abbott made a damning speech about Britain’s men and boys, smugly announcing that masculinity was ‘in crisis’. The then shadow Public Health Minister declared that male culture is a ‘celebration of heartlessness; a lack of respect for women’s autonomy and the normalisation of homophobia’.

She sneered that men were choosing to stay in ‘extended adolescence’ by living at home with their parents — which has nothing to do with rising house prices, of course, but everything, according to Ms Abbott, with men being ‘resentful of family life’. If it weren’t so tragic it would be funny.

As it is, this kind of stiletto sexism — popularised by an army of female media commentators such as Julie Burchill, Suzanne Moore and Barbara Ellen — has become a depressingly familiar feature of modern British life. And it shows no sign of going away.

Consider the statistics. If you become a father to twins — one girl, one boy — current data proves that your son will die younger, leave school with fewer qualifications and be less eligible for work than your daughter.

Our universities and further education institutions are dominated by women at a proportion of ten to every seven men, with the Royal Veterinary College formally identifying boys as an under-represented group.

Across the Russell Group of Britain’s leading 20 universities, just three have a majority of male students.

This means your son will be more likely to join the ranks of the unemployed, the majority of whom are now — yes, you’ve guessed it — men.

The Office of National Statistics noted that in the summer of 2014 a total of 1,147,511 British men were out of work, compared with 887,892 women.

Psychologically, your son will be more likely to suffer from depression and attempt suicide than his sibling, but there’ll be less support in place to save him.

He’s also more likely to endure everyday violence than women, with the latest crime statistics for England and Wales noting that two-thirds of homicide victims were men.

If he’s seduced by his female teacher, she’ll leave court with a slapped wrist thanks to a legal system which is frequently lenient with women. But if your daughter has an affair with her male maths teacher he’ll be chalking up numbers on a prison wall before you can say: ‘burn your bra’.

By the time your son is 18, he will probably have absorbed the social message that his dad is much less valuable as a parent than his mother — that fathers in families are an added bonus, not a crucial cog.

Then, if he starts his own family and his relationship doesn’t last, he may become one of the four million UK men who have no access to their children, yet are forced to fund them.

To cap it all, he’ll be progressively neglected by British healthcare despite being more likely to get — and die from — nine out of the top ten killer diseases. You know, the biggies: these include cancer, heart conditions, strokes, pneumonia, diabetes and cirrhosis of the liver.

Fifteen years ago the UK Men’s Health Forum showed that, for every £1 spent on men’s health, £8 was spent on women’s. Since then little has changed, for no good reason. Or rather, one very bad reason: we live in a medical matriarchy. In other words, male life is cheap. Bargain basement, last-day-of-the-sale cheap.

The ultimate insult? It’s all done at our expense. The National Health Service is funded by the public purse, but it’s men — yes, men — who pay a whopping 70 per cent of UK income tax. Yet we are thrown nothing but crumbs in return.

Currently, women are screened for breast cancer, ovarian and cervical cancer. This is great, but excuse me if I don’t jump for joy. There’s still no screening programme for prostate cancer, even though it kills four times more men than cervical cancer does women.

And while we’re on the subject of statistics, we men will die five years earlier than our wives, sisters, daughters and girlfriends in a life expectancy gap that’s increased 400 per cent since 1920.

Oh, and if we are lucky enough to survive the NHS long enough to be able to go on holiday and sit next to a child on a commercial airline such as British Airways, he’ll be moved in case he sexually abuses them. Your grown-up daughter won’t, even if she has previous form.

All in all, the outlook for your son is pretty bleak, isn’t it? Sadly, he will accept the way things are because over the past couple of decades or so it’s what men have done.

In our anxiety to support women’s emancipation — which men agree with, by the way — we have allowed our intellectual ability, our emotional intelligence and our capacity for commitment to be endlessly ridiculed.

Obviously, this isn’t to say that girls are having a brilliant time of it. Most of society is well versed in the problems and pressures faced by women — the same women who have spent years trying to prove their worth beyond motherhood and housework.

But, unlike us, they get column inches and air time. They get government funding and MPs. They have a vocal community who will stand in their defence.

We men, on the other hand, have nobody. We are of no interest to MPs, UN panels or charities. If we want somebody to fight our corner, we are going to have to do it ourselves.

And fight it we must, before it’s too late. We don’t want to undo or compete with feminism — far from it. But we urgently need our own version of women’s lib to stop our sons being permanently deflated, downgraded and disenfranchised. Remember the suffragettes? We are the suffragents.

So here are my suggestions for a new, improved approach to masculinity. It may not be politically correct, but look where political correctness has got us.

Let’s start by ditching a few of those everyday myths about being a bloke in the 21st century. First up, the wage gap. For years men have been guilt-tripped over a supposed discrepancy in pay that apparently sees women lose thousands of pounds every year compared with their male colleagues.

The great news? According to experts who understand it, this simply isn’t true.

The claim has been debunked by leading economists, including Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz, both professors of economics at Harvard University, and Christina Hoff-Somers of the American Enterprise Institute.

‘The wage gap myth has been repeatedly discredited but it will not die,’ says Hoff-Somers. ‘The 23 per cent gap is the difference between average earnings for all men and all women, but it does not take into account differences in occupation, expertise, job tenure and hours worked. When it does, the so-called wage gap narrows to the point of vanishing.’ Essentially, this means a woman who works as a primary school teacher isn’t going to be paid the same as a man who works as a brain surgeon. Which is how it should be. This is about salaries structured on skill, difficulty and reward.

Many women work fewer hours than men. Many choose comfortable, low-paying jobs that fit in with their many other commitments, perhaps to children and ageing parents rather than strenuous, dangerous and life-threatening ones. These naturally bring higher pay for men, but — according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health — also put male workplace fatalities at 94 per cent of the total.

Which suddenly makes women’s career choices look very much more sensible, whatever the pay difference. And make no mistake about it, a choice there has to be. When it comes to careers and families, something has to give. But that’s as it should be.

It’s a mathematical fact there aren’t enough hours in the day for anyone, male or female, to work 60-hour weeks all year, raise children and run a house full-time. So the idea that it should be split down the middle to prove some political point might sound right-on, but in reality it’s the cause of so much unnecessary marital conflict.

Instead, let’s be realistic. Whether it’s an unwelcome truth or not, most new mothers like to nurture the baby they’ve been carrying for nine months, while fathers typically return to work and help bankroll it.  This is absolutely OK.

Think about it: women carry life. That’s the ultimate. We men can’t compete with that, so our purpose is to provide for that life.  That’s our identity as fathers and what we bring to the table. It’s been this way since time immemorial because it’s cost-effective, practical and sensible.

Recent legislative changes tried to rewrite this fact when the Coalition brought in extended paternity leave in 2011, taking it beyond the standard two weeks. But it failed miserably. Fewer than one in 50 used it. In fact, for various reasons, a quarter of new fathers took no leave at all.  This is also absolutely OK if it’s what both partners want.

Eventually, in every relationship, somebody will need to take the bulk of childcare responsibility, while the other manages the rest. Personally, I don’t care who assumes the traditional breadwinner role, but unless you can afford a nanny (or manny) to do the child rearing for you, it can’t be both of you.

Whatever the outcome, just remember: it’s not a choice that must be adjudicated by feminist harridans. I say this because whenever working fathers are discussed in the media, the insinuation is that they don’t pull their weight.

Actually, the opposite is true: aside from proving we can multi-task just fine, research collated by the Fatherhood Institute shows that British dads work the longest hours in Europe — an average of 46.9 hours per week, compared with 45.5 hours in Portugal, 41.5 hours in Germany and 40 hours in France.

Around one in eight UK fathers works excessively long hours — 60 or more — while almost 40 per cent graft more than 48 hours each week. Contrary to popular opinion, we don’t leave the house every morning for the sole purpose of jumping into bed with our secretaries. And when we do get home to spend time with our children we’re no slackers either.

In the late Nineties, fathers of children under five were devoting an average of two hours per day on child-related activities, compared with under 15 minutes in the mid-Seventies.

Today, fathers’ time spent with their children currently accounts for one-third of total parental childcare, even though many of them are working full-time as well.

So we’ve established that men are, in fact, pulling their weight at home, and that the pay gap is not what it’s cracked up to be.

Indeed, in many cases it’s going the other way: the Chartered Management Institute found recently that female managers in their 20s are now bringing home 2.1 per cent more than men of the same age.

So why, I ask, are men still expected to pay for nights out? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve sat in restaurants observing men financing lavish dinners while their glamorous guests freeze at the sight of the credit card machine — even though, dripping with jewellery, they could clearly afford to cough up.

Don’t get me wrong. Plenty of women do go Dutch. Plenty more settle the tab themselves. We like these women. We like them when they allow us to treat them — and likewise, we enjoy it when they spoil us. What we’re after here is a mutually beneficial sharing of bills, as well as minds.

That’s not to say we should throw out chivalrous behaviour altogether. There are plenty of aspects of it — otherwise referred to as ‘being nice’ — that are worth keeping. Holding a door open for a woman, for example, just makes the minutiae of daily life a bit easier for everyone. It’s a kind and respectful thing to do.

All I’m asking for is that we men get a bit of respect in return. Because at the moment we’re being exploited and abused — not least, when it comes to our most important roles of all: as husbands and fathers.

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

Conservatives Rally Against DC ‘Anti-Discrimination’ Bills

A group of conservative lawmakers in Congress are attempting to stop what they call “ill-conceived” legislation from taking effect in the nation’s capital.

One bill, called the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act, could force pro-life employers in Washington D.C. to hire individuals whose reproductive health decisions stand in opposition to the organization’s viewpoint.

“This coercive measure would ban pro-life organizations in D.C. from even considering a job seeker’s views on abortion as a condition of employment,” said Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., who introduced what’s called a “resolution of disapproval” on Monday that, with the support of both chambers of Congress and the president, would override the law in question.

“I hope both chambers of Congress will act swiftly to pass our resolution so that we can stop this ill-conceived law and restore needed protections for those in the pro-life community who call D.C. home,” she said.

A second bill, called the Human Rights Amendment Act (HRAA), seeks to prohibit religious-affiliated schools from discriminating against gay and lesbian student groups.

Conservatives argue this policy would infringe on the ability of private schools to operate according to their religious beliefs. For example, they say it could force a Catholic school to support a student-led gay pride parade despite the school’s stance on homosexuality.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., led the effort against that measure today by introducing a separate resolution of disapproval.

“By passing this Act, the D.C. City Council has infringed on the fundamental right of religious freedom,” Hartzler told The Daily Signal. “Americans are protected by the Constitution from being forced by their government to take actions that go against their religious beliefs. Forcing religious schools to go against their beliefs goes directly against our Constitution and shouldn’t be allowed.”

The Republican Study Committee—with its 170 members—is backing both efforts.

“It is unconscionable that employers should be forced to pay for policies that go against their deeply held religious beliefs, yet that is exactly what the District of Columbia’s legislation would do,” said Rep. Bill Flores, who chairs the committee.

Congress has an obligation to act and exercise its constitutional authority to prevent this flagrant violation of religious freedom. I commend Congressman Black and my colleagues in the Republican Study Committee for joining me in this important fight to preserve and protect our most sacred founding values.

The power to oversee Washington D.C. legislation was granted to Congress under the U.S. Constitution and the Home Rule Act of 1973.

The Senate has already introduced resolutions of disapproval for both the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act and the Human Rights Amendment Act under the leadership of Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and James Lankford, R-Okla.

Both measures were signed into law by Washington D.C.’s Mayor, Muriel Bowser, earlier this year. Her office did not immediately respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment regarding the pushback among Republicans in Congress.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., who supports both bills, released a press release today calling the Republican attempt to strike down the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act an “astonishing infringement of an individual’s right to personal liberty.”

“The District’s local law supports the local interests of D.C. residents who do not want to answer to their employers or anyone else for their reproductive choices,” she said. “Disapproval of the D.C. bill by Congress would signal that the constitutional right to privacy has come under historic attack.”

Norton has not yet commented on Republicans’ attempt to also kill the Human Rights Amendment Act, although she previously stated that the “anti-discrimination legislation” is needed to “protect students from discrimination for their sexual orientation at their own schools and universities.”

Norton also maintains that with these bills, there is “no intent to violate the rights of others, such as freedom of religion.”

Conservatives, on the other hand, believe it is especially important to prohibit these policies given that Washington D.C. is home to some of the largest pro-life and faith-based organizations in the world, including the Susan B. Anthony List, March for Life, the Family Research Council, and the Archdiocese of Washington.

But even if they are successful in passing both resolutions through Congress, Republicans would still need the president’s signature to prevent them from going into law. Right now, it is unclear whether President Obama would support that effort should they reach his desk.

SOURCE






Videogames don’t make you violent – or sexist

The world of videogames is no stranger to moral panics. Recently, researchers at the University of Oxford published the latest in a long line of studies debunking the persistent myth that violent videogames cause aggression in children. The study – published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture – found that, regardless of a particular videogame’s content, children who played videogames moderately were actually less aggressive than those who do not game at all.

But this was no great triumph over media-effects theory. Indeed, the children who weren’t playing videogames were presumably on Twitter, whining about how videogames cause and promote misogyny. In recent months, this new hysteria has been at the forefront of the gaming discussion. Proponents of the idea insist that gaming culture is ‘toxic’, not inclusive enough and that women are represented exclusively as sexual objects in games. They have put forward censorious arguments, which have been countered by a new pro-gaming movement called #Gamergate.

In the past, you were a gamer because you liked playing videogames, regardless of non-issues like gender, race or sexuality. However, the people behind the recent fuss see everything through the warped lens of identity politics. Their narcissism and willingness to harass game developers into submission has made the art of making a good videogame even more of a chore. Instead of developers being able to portray their own vision and tell their stories, they are constantly being coerced by mobs of online activists to adhere to particular neurotic standards. Even when game developers aren’t being shouted down for creating an allegedly aberrant game, the spectre of the Twitterati, the coercive power of their fury, must be ever-present.

Gamers, rallying under the #Gamergate hashtag, are rightfully outraged that their hobby and community are being co-opted by ideologues. The professionally sensitive and perpetually offended crusaders are determined to undermine everything that makes the gaming community great. The fact that small cliques of right-on gamers, and censorious onlookers, have the ability to censor and pressure major game developers shows how influential and belligerent they have become. Nothing, it seems, can faze them. A study published last week categorically debunked the idea that videogames cause sexism, but this has hardly made a dent in the anti-#Gamergate’s self-confidence.

Women have always been welcome in gaming. There have been countless female game developers who have contributed to many gaming masterpieces. What the gaming crusaders can’t seem to get past is that the gaming community doesn’t see them as ‘women in gaming’, in need of special concern – they just see them as fellow gamers. And, surely, if equality is the goal, isn’t this the ideal?

SOURCE





Big Law Thinks Gay Marriage Opponents Are Like Racist Bigots. That’s a Problem

Sunday’s New York Times stated plainly what many of us have known for a while: Our nation’s elites are intolerant of ordinary Americans.

The reporter for the Times revealed a startling reality: “In dozens of interviews, lawyers and law professors said the imbalance in legal firepower in the same-sex marriage cases resulted from a conviction among many lawyers that opposition to such unions is bigotry akin to racism.”

That’s right. Our nation’s legal elites think that the belief that marriage is the exclusive union of husband and wife is “bigotry akin to racism.” That’s a problem. And it explains the growing intolerance showed toward ordinary Americans who believe the truth about marriage.

It also raises a profoundly important question: Will the government respect their rights of conscience and religious liberty?

This isn’t an idle question or dangerous fear-mongering. Throughout the past several years, a constant refrain from the Left has been that people who oppose same-sex marriage are just like people who opposed interracial marriage—and that the law should treat them just as the law treats racist bigots. Of course that argument is not true, but that hasn’t stopped our elites from making it.

The Times noted that while the same number of amicus briefs have been filed at the Supreme Court supporting and opposing state marriage laws, no major law firm had filed a brief supporting marriage as the union of a man and a woman. (Full disclosure: I spoke with The New York Times reporter and am quoted in the article.)

Two weeks ago, we saw in Indiana how Big Business, Big Media and political leaders all used their influence to bring down good religious liberty protections. This confluence of Big Business and Big Government has a name: I call it “cultural cronyism.” The same is true for Big Law.

While Big Business is against religious liberty, Big Law is against marriage. The basic viewpoint was captured in yesterday’s New York Times article:

Gay rights advocates offer their own reason for why prominent lawyers are lined up on one side of the marriage cases. “It’s so clear that there are no good arguments against marriage equality,” said Evan Wolfson, the president of Freedom to Marry. “Lawyers can see the truth.”

This statement is presumptuous and self-serving.

Reasonable people can acknowledge that there are good arguments on both sides of this debate. Only ideologues think their side has all the good arguments and the other side has none.

Surprise! Lawyers can be ideologues too. And these ideologues at the most elite sectors of society—Big Business, Big Law and Big Government—want to penalize and coerce ordinary Americans with traditional beliefs about marriage.

We must fight back.

Ordinary Americans—whether they are in favor of same-sex marriage or opposed—agree that the government shouldn’t penalize their neighbors. Ordinary Americans—even those in favor of same-sex marriage—do not view their neighbors as bigots.

But our governing elites do. So people who believe the truth about marriage need to equip ourselves, because our opponents want to see the law treat all citizens who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife as if they are racists.

But as I explain in this Heritage Backgrounder, great thinkers throughout human history—and from every political community up until the year 2000—thought it reasonable to view marriage as the union of husband and wife.

Indeed, support for marriage as the union of man and woman has been nearly a human universal. It is shared by the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions; by ancient Greek and Roman thinkers untouched by these religions; and by various Enlightenment philosophers. It is affirmed by canon, common, and civil law and by ancient Greek and Roman law.

Bans on interracial marriage and Jim Crow laws, by contrast, were aspects of an insidious movement that denied the fundamental equality and dignity of all human beings and forcibly segregated citizens. When these interracial marriage bans first arose in the American colonies, they were inconsistent not only with the common law inherited from England, but also with the customs of prior world history, which had not banned interracial marriage.

And while the Bible says marriage has nothing to do with race, the Bible insists that it has everything to do with sexual complementarity. From the very beginning of Genesis to the very end of the Book of Revelation, the Bible is replete with spousal imagery and language of husband and wife. So whether from faith or reason or universal human experience, America’s elites must not be allowed to coerce and penalize their neighbors who remain steadfast in the truth about marriage.

America is in a time of transition. Courts have redefined marriage, and beliefs about human sexuality are changing. Will the right to dissent be protected? Will the right of Americans to speak and act in accord with what the United States had always believed about marriage—that it’s a union of husband and wife—be tolerated?

Even if the legal definition of marriage is changed for public policy purposes, should that entitle activists to silence citizens and eradicate charities, schools and businesses that simply ask for the freedom to operate according to this belief?

The United States is a pluralistic society. We need to maintain civil peace even amid disagreement. Our nation’s elites aren’t helping.

SOURCE





Louisiana Timidly Considers Religious Liberty Legislation

Just like Indiana and Arkansas, Louisiana started to consider its own version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but it seems the threat of pushback may dissuade state lawmakers. The president of Louisiana’s Senate, Republican John Alario, said, “As it was originally introduced, I’m not in favor of it. It would put Louisiana in such a bad light, we don’t want any part of it.”

Whatever happened to trading short-term discomfort for long-term benefit? The state’s governor, Bobby Jindal, said he would fight for legislation like the RFRA “that seeks to preserve our most fundamental freedoms.”

The opposition to state-level RFRAs could be nothing more than a heckler’s veto. According to a poll conducted by WPA Opinion Research on behalf of the Family Research Council, 81% of those polled “agree that government should leave people free to follow their beliefs about marriage as they live their daily lives at work and in the way they run their businesses.”

But Louisiana lawmakers are scared of the shrill 19% who want government to tell small businesses to bake the cake, to serve the hypothetical pizzas, regardless of the business owner’s most deeply held beliefs

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

Second Witness Contradicts Leftist Comic Sarah Silverman’s Wage Discrimination Video

Just another Leftist liar.  If "equal pay for women" is a real problem, why can't celebrity Leftists tell a real, true story about it?

Chris Murphy says he was there on the night that comic Sarah Silverman said she got $10 for the same work for which a male comic earned $60. Murphy says Silverman’s story of sexism, told for a video campaign (see below) that champions equal pay for women, is not accurate. He backs then-New York Comedy Club owner Al Martin’s claim that comics — male or female — who just drop in and ask to do a set, like Silverman did that night in 2002, don’t get paid anything.

Murphy, in a Facebook post Monday afternoon, says even Bill Hicks and Rodney Dangerfield, who were big names back in that day, didn’t expect compensation for guest spots at comedy clubs.

“There has been some He said she said things going on about the night in question between her [Silverman] and Al Martin. I feel I’m qualified to write about it since I was there.

I can confirm Sarah was not booked on the show, because I remember being excited she stopped in. Sarah rarely if ever played The New York Comedy Club. It could be because she was under the impression Al never paid comedians.

I gather this because when she came outside after her set she said, “Wow that was a great crowd. The place is packed. Al should be paying comedians”. The hilarious Todd Barry and I informed her he does. She went inside and asked to be paid. The rest is social media history.” — Chris Murphy on Facebook, April 13, 2015

Sarah Silverman direct message to Scott Ott on TwitterAfter writing about Silverman’s comedically sketchy story last week, I reached out to her. She responded with a direct message on Twitter. Silverman said, “What are you fighting for or against exactly. It’s true. He [Al Martin] took advantage of someone he assumed wouldn’t say anything. That’s the point.”

Actually, that’s not the point of the “wage gap” video Silverman made for Levo.com, nor is it the reality of events as we’ve now heard from two other witnesses.

Chris Murphy on Monday became the second witness to contradict Sarah Silverman’s story about wage discrimination which forms the spine of her video about women earning less than men for the same work.

Like many Leftists with a cause, Silverman tries to identify with victims — in this case, women who purportedly get paid less than men for the same work. But even though she went back 13 years to find a personal example, her victim-tale won’t bear scrutiny. She makes it sound like Martin withheld from her the ordinary pay for a comedy set, but ponied up fully for male comic Todd Barry.

Martin maintains that Barry was scheduled for that night, and thus budgeted, but Silverman asked to do a set when she saw the great crowd. When she came back and asked for equal pay because she did the same work as Barry, Martin gave her $10 for cab fare. So, she was actually paid something when the standard expectation for guest spots is $0.

Chris Murphy added…

“I’m not sure why Sarah believed she was taking [sic] advantage of that night because she was a woman. Perhaps she was out of the loop so long she forgot the guest spot policy. Or it could be that in some circles it’s hip to crap on Al Martin.”

If Martin and Murphy are right, then Silverman’s story is not merely a mis-remembering or misunderstanding. She says she went back into the club after learning Barry got paid, and she asked Martin for $60. Silverman says that he sheepishly said, “O, did you want a $60 spot?” — as if he were caught in the act of cheating her, ostensibly because she’s a woman. She calls his behavior “pretty shitty.”

In other words, in the video, Silverman calls out Martin for sex discrimination and deception. I have repeatedly attempted to ask Silverman about these challenges to her narrative, but have heard nothing in response since her direct message on Twitter. At this writing, that video has been viewed more than 162,000 times, but apparently many viewers aren’t buying her story either. Check out the lopsidedly negative thumbs up-to-thumbs down ratio: 379-to-4,828.

If equal pay for women is a real problem, why can’t celebrity Leftists tell a real, true story about it? If there are real victims, these fake stories can do nothing but harm them.

SOURCE






The Gender Wage Gap—A Myth that Just Won’t Die

This past year I was on the academic job market, applying for faculty positions at a variety of colleges and universities. As a woman making a critical career move, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in cover letters, resumes, statistics about cost of living, state income taxes, health insurance, and, of course, salary information.

Chances are you’ve heard the statistic on numerous occasions, “women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns—for exactly the same work.” I certainly heard this several times throughout my job search in various contexts. This issue of the supposed “gender wage gap” came up again recently during the 2015 Oscars when actress Patricia Arquette used the platform to call for wage equality stating,

To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s time to have wage equality once and for all. And equal rights for women in the United States of America.

Social media exploded. Bloggers, politicians, and others applauded Arquette for her statements. The familiar and rallying cry of “equal pay for equal work” was everywhere. While few would disagree with the sentiment that men and women should receive the same compensation for the same services, the position espoused by Arquette and others that women are systematically underpaid is just plain wrong. Of the many economic-related fallacies to be cited as gospel on a regular basis, this one drives me positively insane.

Let’s take a look a closer look at this statistic.

The first thing to notice is that the “77 cents on the dollar” metric isn’t comparing apples to apples. It is a comparison of gross income. That is, it compares the income of all women to that of all men. It fails to take into account important factors—like education, experience, or even just comparing people in the same career. You wouldn’t compare the incomes of elementary school teachers with Bachelor’s degrees to those of individuals with PhDs in physics and complain that there is a “teacher-physicist wage gap”—but this is precisely what this statistic does.

When you take these characteristics into account, the purported “gap” all but disappears.

One important variable to consider is the type of careers men and women select. Simply put, men and women tend to choose different jobs. Looking at data from 2010 on undergraduate majors in the U.S., one sees certain fields are heavily dominated by men and vice versa.

Consumer and human science majors, for example, are about 88 percent female. Eighty-seven percent of library science majors are women. Women also heavily dominate healthcare majors and educational fields, with females representing 80 percent or more of these majors.

By contrast, other disciplines are largely populated by men. Males comprise some 96 percent of military and applied science majors. Eighty-three percent of engineering students are men. Eighty-two percent of computer science majors are male, as are 70 percent of economics majors.

In addition to selecting different jobs, women and men also differ in the number of hours they choose to work. Men are much more likely to work full-time hours or more a week (40+ hours). Women are much more likely to work part-time (less than 35 hours per week). Not surprisingly, people who work part-time jobs tend to earn less than people who work full-time jobs.

(Note: women actually tend to earn more than men with the same part-time jobs.)

When women do find themselves in male-dominant fields, they actually tend to do better than their male counterparts in terms of finding a job. Take, for example, academic jobs. One study from 2010 looked specifically at applications for tenure-track jobs in electrical engineering and physics. They found that while women comprised only 11 percent of engineering applicants and 12 percent of physics applicants, they were much more likely to receive job offers. In fact, the study found that 32 and 20 percent of job offers went to female candidates in engineering and physics, respectively.

The gender wage gap falls completely apart if one thinks of it from the perspective of an employer. Suppose you own an accounting firm. Further suppose that the gender wage gap is real—women and men do the exact same work, but you can pay the women in your firm 77 cents for every $1 you pay your male employees.

You need to hire five new accountants. What are your options?

A. You can hire male CPAs at a price of $50,000 each, per year ($250,000 per year for all five),

Or

B. You can hire female CPAs at a price of $38,500 each (77% of the male wage), per year ($192,500 per year for all five).

What would you do? Hire the women, of course! In fact, you’d be foolish to hire any men at all! You’d get the same work from either group of employees, but by hiring women you’d save $57,500 every year.

The same goes for other businesses. If men and women were truly providing “equal work,” but women were systematically paid less than their male counterparts, entrepreneurial business leaders could make a killing hiring women. The fact that we don’t observe this is yet another indication that the statistic is seriously flawed.

Now, some will point to the statistics on the careers men and women tend to choose and say that women aren’t really “free” to choose their careers. This is not only incredibly patronizing, but it ignores the fact that women in the U.S. are not only well-educated, but also well-informed when it comes to selecting careers. It’s not as if women are unaware that social workers and schoolteachers tend to earn less than engineers. We choose careers just as men do. We consider what we think is most important when selecting a career, look at our options, and make the best choices we can.

When it comes to issues of gender equality, there are a variety of issues to discuss. When having these discussions, however, it’s important for women and men to discuss the facts and present correct information. Otherwise, we not only perpetuate incorrect information, but we ultimately fail to advance these issues in any meaningful way.

SOURCE





No, the Culinary Is Not Political

Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio probably doesn't cook much these days. Having built his reputation preparing expensive entrées for his well-heeled customers at Craft Restaurants, Colicchio is now cooking up liberal food policy to expand the government's ever-encroaching role in how we eat, and what.

His self-promotion schedule and branding pursuits could put Kim Kardashian to shame. He's the star and producer of two reality shows on Bravo, Top Chef and Best New Restaurant. Colicchio owns several pricy restaurants and "ethical sandwich" joints on both coasts. He lends his name to a collection of expensive artisanal kitchenware, including a coffee mug for only $46.

But apparently television and restaurant fame don't hold enough gravitas for this wannabe political star. Over the last few years, Chef Colicchio has emerged as the face of the food movement, culinary elitists who insist that every bite of food is a political statement (think climate-change folks going after your shopping cart instead of your SUV).

Testifying before Congress a few years ago about the school-lunch program whet his appetite for politics. Since then, Colicchio has visited Capitol Hill several times to promote mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods, and as the guest of organic farmer Representative Chellie Pingree (D., Maine) he even attended the State of the Union address in January. No doubt the chef will want a seat at the table to spin the now controversial update to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, due for approval later this year.

To further impact food policy, Colicchio co-founded Food Policy Action, a PAC that scores lawmakers on how liberal they vote on food issues. Far from reflecting a consensus of top food and nutrition experts, the FPA scorecard represents a narrow view of some of the nation's most ideologically divisive activists. The group grades House members and senators on whether they "promote policies that support healthy diets, reduce hunger at home and abroad, improve food access and affordability, uphold the rights and dignity of food and farm workers . . . and reduce the environmental impact of farming and food production."

The implication is that members of Congress who don't agree with Colicchio and his leftist cohort oppose healthy food and the reduction of hunger and are indifferent to degradation of the environment.

In a video released during this month's TEDxManhattan, Colicchio attempted to credit FPA for the loss of one Republican congressional seat last year because the candidate was "terrible on food issues" — a stretch given several other factors contributing to the congressman's defeat.

The PAC is gearing up to challenge Republicans on "food security" issues, including labeling GMO products and restoring cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The FPA board is filled with Obama-administration sympathizers, including Gary Hirshberg, an organic-food cheerleader and the Stonyfield chairman, and Robin Schepper, the former executive director of the Let's Move! campaign, which just celebrated its five-year anniversary with the first lady gushing over her own bean-kale burgers and curried pumpkin with peas.

To buttress his political agenda, Colicchio serves up one amuse-bouche after another of half-truths and platitudes. Despite hundreds of billions spent each year to feed people in America, Colicchio insists that "we don't have the political will in this country to fix hunger." His biggest whopper is that the only reason that people prefer fast food to fresh produce is that the latter is more expensive, as if the demand for Big Macs reflected only people's economic decisions and had nothing to do with what they like.

The chef is a big defender of SNAP, which he calls "one of the best-run programs in the country," and is furious about the 1 percent funding cut for it in last year's farm bill. He insists that poor people are obese not because of bad choices but because "the inability to afford healthy food is the biggest problem for millions struggling with obesity," even though the program allows for the purchase of fruits and vegetables (fresh and frozen), lean meats, dairy, and other healthy items.

Serving as a mouthpiece for liberal foodies has paid off for Colicchio; MSNBC named him its first-ever food correspondent last month. (MSNBC host Alex Wagner is married to former White House chef Sam Kass, another food scold, who banned boxed macaroni and cheese from the White House kitchen.)

If you're looking for practical dinner advice, look elsewhere. Colicchio will continue his "food is political" crusade. Gone are the days of mindless food shopping; culinary elitists like Colicchio want a trip to the grocery store to be a political experience. "In today's world, it is impossible to separate our food culture from the politics and policies that shape our choices as consumers and taxpayers, whether we're aware of them or not," Colicchio said about his new gig.

Of course, Colicchio is just one line chef in the busy liberal kitchen of shamers and elitists determined to strip the joy and fellowship out of eating. The main problem with this movement isn't its self-proclaimed noble intentions: it's the impracticality of its core tenets, which are largely unattainable for most Americans. Consider the new executive director of the Let's Move! campaign, Deb Eschmeyer. Her central qualification for the job? She sought to fight obesity by encouraging city kids to go to local farms for organic produce.

But the culinary elitists behind the food movement aren't truly interested in how to get dinner on the table. Theirs is a political crusade disguised as a public-health campaign. They use food as a wedge to further divide Americans between blue plates and red plates.

Listen, for example, to Colicchio's comparison of the food movement with social and political struggles of the past: "At some point, we need to take this social movement and turn it into a political movement," Colicchio said during the Food for Tomorrow conference. "It's what happened in other social movements as well, whether it was civil rights or whether it was marriage equality."

The hyperbole is not only bad politics but will do nothing to improve Americans' health.

SOURCE






Indiana Pizza Parlor Reopens Without Fanfare

The Left, incensed that owners of Memories Pizza would decline to cater a same-sex wedding because of religious objections, tried to protest the pizza parlor serving a one traffic-light Indiana town out of existence. Due to the threats, Kevin O'Connor closed his shop for eight days.

But he reopened April 9 to a full restaurant and not a protester in sight, according to the Associated Press. “I’d do the same thing again,” O'Connor told the AP. “It’s my belief. It’s our belief. It’s what we grew up on. I’m just sorry it comes to this because neither one of us dislike any of those people. I don’t hold any grudges.”

During the time his business was shuttered, a producer from The Blaze created a fund for the pizza shop that collected over $800,000 in donations. So are the owners rolling in the dough? (‘Scuse the pun.) “It was really making us uncomfortable,” O'Connor said. After spending a bit on his pizza parlor, he’ll donate some of it to charity.

So much for the Left’s conspiratorial explanation of the donations as some kind of guerrilla marketing campaign. The Left couldn’t sustain its rage. What’s left is an operating pizza parlor and the disturbing realization that the Left trivializes religious liberty.

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

Sharpton ahoy! Black teen thief shot & killed by Cleveland Police on east side did not have a gun

He had been shot twice before by fellow criminals so clearly had a history of very foolish behaviour.  He may well have tried to grab the cop's gun.  Note that the store he robbed was owned by a fellow black



 A teenager shot and killed by Cleveland Police early Thursday morning has been identified.  Police said 18-year-old Brandon Jones was shot by officers at 2:15 a.m. on Parkwood Drive and Primrose Avenue.

Cleveland Police said officers were checking out a break-in at a small convenience store when the shooting happened.   When two officers arrived, police said Jones came out of the store with a bag.

At least one officer had his gun drawn, a newsnet5.com source stated.

The two officers approached Jones and tried to arrest the man. Police say a struggle between the three ensued.   One officer shot the suspect at least one time.

Jones was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center in critical condition and later died. According to sources, Jones did not have a weapon, but tried to grab an officer's gun.

No police officers were wounded in the incident.  Sources said the police involved were two seasoned veteran officers.

Essex Hayward, the 90-year-old owner of the shop, said it has been robbed several times and even shot before.  He said Jones only got away with cigarettes and some money.  The shop was closed when the break-in happened.

SOURCE






The PC terror of the Twittermob

Two web developers, Hank and Alex, were sharing tech-related in-jokes about `dongles' and `forking someone's repo' at a conference. It was private, jokey wordplay - or at least, that's what they thought. A woman in front of them, Adria Richards, overheard the jokes, became outraged, took a photo of the pair, and posted it on her Twitterfeed. `Not cool' ran the tweet as she `called out' their `inappropriate' and `sexist' jokes. At the end of the conference, they were reprimanded by the conference organisers and eventually sacked from their jobs. It didn't end there. The woman who tweeted her outrage received abuse from freelancing misogynists who themselves were outraged by the firing of Hank and Alex. Hackers attacked the IT server system at Richards' workplace and she, too, was sacked.

It is a grim story, but it is one that, unfortunately, is becoming commonplace. Author and broadcaster Jon Ronson, in his new book So You've Been Publicly Shamed, examines the peculiar twenty-first-century phenomena of the Twitterstorm and `calling out' culture. Ronson is a very good and likeable journalist. He has a talent for spotting a potentially great story and the tenacity to bring it to life. He is a journalist in the old-fashioned sense of the word. He pursues contacts, leads and interviews - many times over - until he's scooped a decent story. And, unlike so many hotshot broadsheet writers, Ronson is always more interested in the people he's writing about than he is in himself. It is this approach which means his contacts are often prepared to open up to him and which explains why his writing can be so compelling.

Ronson, though, has his detractors. His interest in oddballs and freaks suggests he is not someone who takes things too seriously. Yet his eye for the wacky and the strange sometimes ends up hitting on hard political topics. For example, his 2001 documentary, The Secret Rulers of the World, captured how radical lefties were embracing conspiracy theory, once the theory of choice for far-right nutters. Likewise, So You've Been Publicly Shamed captures how the easily offended, often radically minded, have wrecked people's lives in a manner which would make corrupt, repressive states feel proud. What's alarming and chilling about Ronson's case studies is that, far from being isolated incidents, they increasingly reflect a general trend towards the curtailing of free expression.

Take the case of the American, Justine Sacco. Before a trip to South Africa, she made a throwaway quip on Twitter, to her 170 followers, about how white people can't catch AIDS in Africa. This bad joke was a dig at her own apparently cosseted existence rather than at black AIDS suffers. But sadly for Sacco, this joke was lost on one of her followers (she doesn't know who), and by the time she had landed at Cape Town Airport she was trending on Twitter. Ronson provides an extensive list of the tweets in response to Sacco's original post. They were a mixture of pious, indignant rage and low-level sadism. `We are about to watch this @JustineSacco get fired. In REAL time. Before she even KNOWS she's getting fired.' Ronson makes the point that Sacco was the first person he'd interviewed who had been destroyed, not by the government or big business, but by her fellow citizens.

The same was true of Lindsey Stone. She and a friend had a long-running `stupid joke' that involved pulling poses contrary to what a public sign says, such as smoking in front of a no-smoking sign. At Arlington in Washington DC, the pair saw the `silence and respect' sign for US soldiers who had died in combat - this prompted Lindsey to do a goofy am-dram one-finger salute pose in front of the sign. Due to Facebook settings not being as private as many of us think they are, especially for uploaded photos, this private joke became public. Four weeks after returning from Washington DC, Stone became aware of online hostility towards her and her photo. Incredibly, a `Fire Lindsey Stone' Facebook page had been created and had attracted 12,000 likes. The company Lindsey worked for, LIFE (Living Independently Forever), was inundated with emails demanding her sacking - a request that was quickly met. According to Ronson, Stone `fell into a depression, became an insomniac and barely left home for a year'.

Public shaming in the twenty-first century, especially for mildly jokey rather than criminal behaviour, can be devastating for its victims. Ronson, who admits that he's done his fair share of `calling out' tweets, is right to say the process degrades us all. A harder question to answer is why such unhinged responses to bad jokes and legitimate opinions have become the norm rather than the exception.

In trying to answer this question, it would be easy, and wrong, to indulge in anti-human prejudices, and to his credit Ronson picks apart such lazy theories. He demonstrates how the nineteenth-century French doctor and thinker, Gustave Le Bon, was wrong with his `group madness' concept, developed in The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind. Le Bon's theory was that humans totally lose control over their behaviour in a crowd. Our free will evaporates and a contagious madness takes over.

Ronson notes that Le Bon is still popular because `we tend to love nothing more than to declare other people insane'. But the problem with theories like Le Bon's is that they can't explain why some people get involved in Twitterstorms and others choose not to. It seems that how people react in a crowd or on social media is based on patterns of behaviour that reflect wider belief systems. The predilection to behave in this way exists prior to the coming together of any pitchfork- or Twitter-wielding mob.

For the sociologist mile Durkheim, the process of punishment and shaming served to change an individual's behaviour and uphold society's values. From Medieval times through to the nineteenth century, the authorities were willing to tie people to public whipping posts or place them in stocks for their transgressions. Local newspapers would have published a digest detailing the amount of squirming that had occurred. Punishment is primarily expressive - it expresses society's moral outrage at the offence. Through rituals of order, such as a public trial and punishment, society's shared values are reaffirmed and its members come to feel a sense of moral unity.

Thus `calling out' someone's Twitter transgressions could be said to be motivated by a desire to do good for wider society. Ronson draws a not too far-fetched analogy between public shaming on social media and how citizens in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) informed the Stasi (the GDR's terrifying secret police) on their neighbours - they thought this was the right thing to do.

The question today is how and why harmless jokes, or the `wrong' opinions, are seen as transgressive and worthy of what the criminologist John Braithwaite calls `stigmatic shaming' (which means there's no final forgiveness for the individual's `bad behaviour'). But in the twenty-first century the nature of stigmatic shaming has changed, too. Ronson notes how individuals who have been exposed to public judgement for aspects of their sexual behaviour, such as sleeping with prostitutes, are no longer social pariahs. Max Mosley or Wayne Rooney, for instance, were not cast out of public life following tabloid revelations of their paid-for sex romps. Shaming no longer involves the transgression of traditional or religious values but, instead, the transgression of politically correct codes. And it is on social media where the regulatory power of PC codes is most keenly felt.

Twenty-five years ago, the term PC was a joke, largely used by conservatives to lampoon the behaviour of liberals and lefties. Today, far from PC having `gone mad', it has gone thoroughly mainstream. Critics of PC are often viewed as closet bigots, people who simply want to make racist or sexist comments without any comeback. But this misses the point about the problems with PC. PC is designed to control individual behaviour rather than create a more equal or fair society. Through PC, problems to do with racial or sexual inequality have been recast as problems of language etiquette. Justine Sacco's family, for instance, had a long history of actively supporting the ANC in South Africa during the struggle against Apartheid; her tweet was also a joke against herself and perceptions of `white privileged' Americans. But all of this was irrelevant because the politically correct use of language is considered more important than a person's actual opinions or deeds.

Protecting other people's self-esteem or emotional states has become important because humans are no longer seen as being able to cope with `disagreeable' words. This has pretty much become the organising principle on university campuses throughout Britain and America. But the culture of limiting `offence' has only encouraged people to perceive and exaggerate all manner of comments as `offensive'. We've reached the point where an individual's subjective `hurt' now triumphs over solidarity with other people. Indeed, solidarities based around work, how most of us are only one pay cheque away from penury, was once a powerful social bond among the powerless in society. It was widely recognised that handing employers a stick with which to beat an employee could be used against yourself and others. This is why, 30 years ago, nobody would call on someone else to be sacked from their job on the basis of something they had said, no matter how reprehensible they thought it was.

One of the most depressing trends covered in Ronson's book is how calling for someone to be sacked from their job, even though a tweet is unrelated to their work, is often the first demand social-media users all-too gleefully make. It shows just how atomised and lacking in solidarity Western societies have become. Trying to get someone sacked was once considered a terrible thing to do. Now it is considered the right thing to do. Ronson's book demonstrates how social media reflects and exacerbates such malignant trends, such as calling for the state or employers to punish people for opinions, jokes or beliefs considered offensive or inappropriate.

Nevertheless, Ronson is somewhat off the mark when he applies his criticism of public, social-media shaming to the case of author and `motivational public speaker' Jonah Lehrer. In 2012, journalist Michael C Moynihan became suspicious of quotes Lehrer had attributed to Bob Dylan in his book Imagine: How Creativity Works. In fact, the quotes were completely made up. Other editors and book publishers quickly discovered that most of Lehrer's articles and work featured fabrications, inaccuracies and evidence of plagiarism. Ronson uses the case of Lehrer as part of his exploration of public shaming, but actually it's not entirely legitimate to compare Lehrer's downfall with the cases of Sacco, Stone and others. In Lehrer's case, it was a journalist, and then social media, who forced Lehrer to be held to account for his dishonesty and fakery. He was not being destroyed for bad jokes or bad opinions.

Ronson feels uneasy that Lehrer had `been exposed by the sort of person who used to be powerless' and reminds the reader Lehrer had written some wonderful stuff. There's a danger here of confusing Twittermob intolerance with stinging public criticism and ridicule. Increasingly, many journalists are hostile to `below the liners', ordinary members of the public who leave ridiculing comments underneath an opinion piece or review. There's a tendency to confuse the online public who are simply opinionated with Twittermobs and intolerance. Ronson is right to cast a weary and critical eye over the Twittermob mentality. But journalists' views and opinions still ought to be fair game for challenge and ridicule. At times, So You've Been Publicly Shamed doesn't clearly make the distinction between robust public debate and intolerance.

It is also worth pointing out that shame and being shamed are not necessarily bad things. The existence of shame is a recognition that genuinely transgressive acts are problematic. Shaming, therefore, provides a check and balance on wayward behaviour. It is the mechanism through which, informally and organically, civilised boundaries are maintained by society. It is also less repressive because such informal controls do not involve the state and the judiciary. What makes the Twittermob's acts of `shaming' so brutal is that individuals who haven't done anything wrong end up having their lives destroyed. Telling bad-taste jokes does not warrant being given unemployable pariah status. Ronson's engrossing book, and the sorry tales he covers, is a depressing snapshot of Twitter's tyranny of intolerance and the closing down of a free society.

SOURCE






From Ireland to Indiana, the spread of gay-marriage groupthink

Why the campaign for same-sex hitching is so censorious and intolerant

To see how straitjacketed the debate about gay marriage has become, look no further than Ireland.  There, on 22 May, there will be a referendum, with voters asked to say Yes or No to amending the Irish Constitution so that marriage will be redefined as a union between ‘two persons without distinction as to their sex’. Sounds good, right? An opportunity for an actual electorate to have a debate and have its say on the future of marriage? Not so fast.

The run-up to the referendum has been about as far from a fair or open debate as it’s possible to get. One side in the debate - the side that is critical of gay marriage - is demonised daily, treated virtually as heretics, almost as criminals. It’s accused of causing psychological harm, branded as ‘hate speakers’, and frequently forced to make public apologies simply for expressing its belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman. And as a writer for the Irish Independent says, ‘It’s not a debate if one side can’t speak’. The public discussion before the Irish referendum has not been a debate, she says - it’s been ‘a Two Minutes Hate’ against anyone who doesn’t think gay marriage is the greatest idea ever.

Pretty much the entire establishment in Ireland, aside from the increasingly uninfluential bishops and priests, backs gay marriage (giving the lie to the gay-marriage movement’s depiction of itself as a beleaguered minority bravely battling The Man for its civil rights). From the prime minister, Enda Kenny, to the vast majority of Dail Eireann, to pretty much the whole media - most notably the Irish Times, voice of the minuscule cultural elite in Dublin that sets the moral and political agenda in Ireland - every person with power is rallying for gay marriage. And barely a week passes when they don’t demonise the other side, the smaller, less powerful side, the side which, in opposing gay marriage, is apparently harming citizens, causing violence and, worst of all, jeopardising Ireland’s political future.

As with all heretics in history, Ireland’s opponents of gay marriage stand accused of directly harming the public. So last month, the Psychological Society of Ireland issued a dire warning that the propaganda of the anti-gay marriage camp could ‘impact detrimentally on people’. PSI said it is ‘seriously concerned’ that this lobby’s claim that traditional marriage is better than gay marriage, on the grounds that a mother and father make better parents than two people of the same sex, could have ‘far-reaching implications’. It chastised opponents of gay marriage for promoting ideas that ‘run contrary to the positions of professional bodies’ - that is, for daring to defy the new priests: the expert class - and said their words could wreak mental and moral havoc.

As one news report summed it up, PSI thinks that ‘the debate itself [my italics] carrie[s] the potential to have detrimental effects, both psychological and emotional, on adults and children’. So discussion is dangerous; positing a view that runs counter to the elite’s outlook could cause emotional damage. It’s remarkable how much the authoritarian boot has shifted: once it was those who denied Biblical truths who were accused of doing moral harm to citizens; now it is those who cleave to Christian views and doubt gay marriage whose words, whose desire to have a debate, are depicted as dangerous, warping things.

The PSI is not alone in demanding that the anti side watch its words, or better still, stop saying them. An Irish government minister has urged antis to ‘refrain from confrontational and offensive language’. The Irish Times has gone further, publishing a piece calling for the establishment of a ‘homophobia watchdog’ in the run-up to the referendum, so that the authorities can ‘monitor the inevitable destructive rhetoric that will colour one side of the debate’. And to those who cry ‘what about free speech?’, the Irish Times has a simple answer: ‘“Free speech” is not a free pass to inflict psychological trauma.’ That is, your words, your very thoughts, are traumatic, even socially destabilising, and thus they must not enjoy liberty; they should not be expressed.

Echoing those eco-illiberals in the UK and elsewhere who slam media outlets that offer a ‘balanced’ view in the debate on climate change, the Irish Times has also called into question the need for media balance on gay marriage in the run-up to the referendum. Too much of the media have ‘a skewed view of what balance is’, it says, feeling the need to offer a platform to ‘Middle Ireland’, ‘the silent majority’, ‘the mainstream’, when the only consequence of such ‘polarised conversations’ is that ‘facts and reason are drowned out by emotional arguments and inaccuracies’. ‘It’s pointless’, it concludes. It means, amazingly, that debate is pointless. Gay-marriage activists see themselves as ‘factual and reasoned’ and anyone who criticises them as emotional, inaccurate, traumatising, psychologically harmful. Who needs to hear from ‘Middle Ireland’ when the well-educated inhabitants of Dublin 4 know exactly what the nation needs? As it happens, the Irish media do not need lectures from the PSI about trauma or from the Irish Times about ‘skewed balance’, and nor is there a need for a speech-monitoring homophobia watchdog - for the media in Ireland have already dutifully fallen in line behind gay marriage. Indeed, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has recently ruled that too many broadcasters are showing a bias in favour of gay marriage. (There’s no need for rulings like this either, of course; can’t we just let debate flow freely?)

Experts’ and observers’ depiction of gay marriage’s opponents as emotionally harmful is having a direct impact on how the debate is, or rather isn’t, panning out. It is strangling discussion, stifling the expression of what are increasingly depicted as deviant views. In the words of Eilis O’Hanlon at the Irish Independent, the increasingly shrill proponents of gay marriage seem less interested in ‘finding the truth’ than in ‘identifying [themselves] as members of an enlightened elite’, so that the whole referendum run-up is ‘reduced to a case of kindly metropolitan liberals versus nasty Catholic conservatives’.

A writer for the Sunday Independent admitted to feeling reluctant to express her concerns about the behaviour of the pro-gay marriage lobby. Her friends warned her to ‘be careful’ because ‘anyone who sticks their oar in risks attack’. There is a ‘chilling effect’ on public discussion as a result of the treatment of one side as wicked and corrupting, she said. The bishop of Kildare, Denis Nulty, had a point when he recently warned against ‘the danger of groupthink’ on gay marriage. As O’Hanlon says, through groupthink ‘outsiders are demonised and hounded’. Referring to the Twittermobs that formed during a heated debate on gay marriage last year, she says ‘anyone who expressed the slightest reservations about same-sex marriage was howled down as a homophobe and pelted with hashtags and slogans until they either submitted to the mob or were driven offline’.

Ireland’s opponents of gay marriage have also been subjected to the kind of tabloid exposes normally reserved for social deviants. And such is the debate-allergic climate that even bishops, people who should surely be expected to hold a traditionalist view on marriage and the family, have felt pressured to make public apologies. For expressing his view that gay people who adopt children are ‘not necessarily parents’ and that ‘children need a mother and a father’, Bishop Kevin Doran was slammed and hounded, until he agreed to say sorry. He said he ‘regrets any hurt’ his words caused. Even the Primate of All Ireland indulged in a mea culpa: ‘I think that sometimes when we say things we can be insensitive, we can hurt.’ It seems the old bishops have heeded the warnings of the new secular bishops that make up Ireland’s expert and chattering classes, and have agreed to genuflect at the altar of safe, stultified discussion on gay marriage.

What is striking is the extent to which the critics of gay marriage are now treated in a similar way that gays were treated for decades. Homosexuality wasn’t decriminalised in Ireland until 1993 - making you wonder where the Irish state gets off now posing as super-gay-friendly - and before that gays were seen as a blot on the moral landscape. They were seen as psychologically disordered (not just in Ireland, but across the West) and their words and culture were often censored for fear that they would traumatise young people and tear the moral fabric. Sound familiar? Yes, the same is now done to those who hold traditional views on marriage and the family. In Ireland, as elsewhere, the illiberal, intolerant tactics once used against homosexuals have been turned against those who dare to criticise homosexual lifestyles.

Around the world, the institutionalisation of gay marriage has been attended by authoritarianism, whether of the violent state variety or what John Stuart Mill called ‘the tyranny of prevailing opinion’. From French riot police’s tear-gassing of protesters against gay marriage to American activists’ witch-hunting of corporate bosses or small-town restaurants that refuse to cheer gay marriage, this supposedly great civil-rights issue of our age has a powerful intolerant streak to it. (The recent fiftieth anniversary of the Selma march really exposed gay-marriage activists’ claims to be the new civil-rights movement: far from mirroring the blacks who marched for their rights, the gay-marriage movement, most notably in France, looks a lot more like the Montgomery cops who batoned those marchers off the streets.)

Why is the gay-marriage movement so intolerant? Despite winning the backing of almost every powerful figure in the West, from Barack Obama to David Cameron, from Apple to Goldman Sachs, and despite being turned by the media into the great unquestionable, almost sacrilegious cause of our age, still gay-marriage activists hilariously fancy themselves as underdogs and, worse, seek to shush or shame out of existence anyone who opposes them. In the words of the American journalist Damon Linker, the gay-marriage movement seems curiously hell-bent on ‘stamping out rival visions’. Or as Reason magazine said in relation to recent intolerant activism by American gay-marriage campaigners, it seems some are ‘not merely content with the revolutionary step of removing state discrimination against same-sex couples’, but also want to ‘use state power to punish anyone who refuses to lend their business services to wedding ceremonies they find objectionable’.

What’s this all about? Why the illiberalism, the intolerance, the ugliness? It’s because gay marriage is not really about expanding freedom at all. Rather, it represents the emergence of a new, post-traditonalist morality, an attempt by at-sea elites across the West to redefine themselves and their moral missions through the gay issue. Gay marriage has become the favoured means through which our rulers, feeling ever-more detached from their old moral worldview, are institutionalising a new, pseudo-progressive, seemingly consensual morality, based, not around the old ideals of family, commitment and privacy, but around the new po-mo values of relativism (all relationships are the same), non-judgementalism (who are we to say that a mum and dad are better than two mums?), and illiberal liberalism, the central political outlook of our times, which under the guise of building a new liberal consensus seeks to censure and punish anyone who deviates from that consensus. The reason the elites, from the political classes to the influential opinion-forming set, are so instinctually hostile to criticism of gay marriage is because they have invested their very moral rehabilitation, their future political and moral legitimacy, into this issue more than in any other. And thus no ridicule of it can be tolerated. For if you knock gay marriage you are not only knocking gay marriage - you are upsetting Western elites’ efforts to establish a new morality that simplistically distinguishes between Us (good, kind, liberal backers of gay marriage) and Them (the old, the religious, the outdated, the Other).

Ireland captures this perfectly. The reason so many in the political and media classes want, or rather need, the amendment to the Constitution to pass is because they think legalising gay marriage will help rejuvenate Ireland in the twenty-first century. The minister for children said that if Ireland doesn’t legalise gay marriage, it would ‘send out a bad message internationally’. Or as prime minister Kenny put it, passing gay marriage will ‘send out a powerful signal internationally that Ireland has evolved into a fair, compassionate and tolerant nation’.

All this talk of ‘sending signals’ to the world shows how absolutely central gay marriage has become to the project of Western elites making themselves over in these post-Cold War, post-traditionalist, post-political times. The Irish state needs gay marriage for the same reason Obama and Cameron need it - to fashion a new moral worldview and ‘send a signal’ about its elitist progressivism, its decency in comparison to the old world, the old people, the old outlook. That so many gay-rights campaigners are going along with this politicisation and exploitation of their lifestyles by elites on the lookout for a new sense of purpose is remarkable. That those who hold a divergent view on gay marriage are being silenced is a scandal.

SOURCE






ACLU Targets Religious Charities Over Refusing Abortions, Contraception for Immigrant Children

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on Apr. 6  against the federal government to obtain “documents related to how groups that are awarded government funding contracts are restricting refugee and undocumented immigrant teenagers' access to reproductive health services, including contraception and abortion.”

The lawsuit is seeking the release of documents from the Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families about contracts awarded to religious groups that are helping unaccompanied minors, many of whom have crossed into the United States from Mexico.

Brigitte Amiri, an ACLU senior staff attorney, said that religious organizations, particularly the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), are taking millions of dollars in federal funding and refusing “to provide teens with critical reproductive health care — such as emergency contraception and abortion — as required by U.S. law.”

“Recently, the federal government released proposed regulations requiring federal contractors who care for unaccompanied minors to provide access to contraception, emergency contraception, and abortion if a teen has been raped,” said the ACLU, referencing a recent interim rule published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

“In response, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, one of the groups that received a government-funded contract to provide care to these teens, said any requirement that they provide information about contraception or abortion, even a referral or the arrangement for such services, would violate their religious freedom,” the ACLU said, citing the USCCB’s Feb. 20 letter of reply to ORR’s interim rule.

The Dec. 24, 2014 interim rule, which will go into effect this June, requires federally funded organizations caring for illegal alien minors to provide “unimpeded access to emergency medical treatment,” including “emergency contraception,” and abortion.

The ACLU argues that, “religious freedom does not include the right to take a government contract that requires providing access to health care, and then refuse to provide a teen who has been raped the health care she needs.”

However the USCCB and other religious organizations have invoked the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which bars the federal government from denying government grants and contracts on the basis of a group’s free exercise of religion.

“There is little question that a government requirement to provide or refer for items or procedures to which an organization has a religious and moral objection would impose a ‘substantial burden’ on its exercise of religion,” the USCCB wrote.

“Abortion takes an innocent human life and wounds another life.  It is the antithesis of healthcare.  This lawsuit will not expand access to humane care, but rather will peddle death and harm to an already vulnerable population — young undocumented immigrants — dealing a blow both to life and to religious freedom,”  Mallory Quigley, Communications Director at the Susan B. Anthony List, a national pro-life advocacy group, told CNSNews.com in reference to the ACLU lawsuit.

“Abortion does not cure, it does not provide relief or solace for the problems of sexual assault or poverty.  Abortion only inflicts further wounds on those already hurting.  Religious organizations such as Catholic Relief Services are providing true compassion and care, and the dignity that these young women deserve,” she said.

The ORR regulation anticipated religious freedom objections in its preamble, noting, “ORR is mindful that some potential and existing grantees and contractors may have religious or moral objections to providing certain kinds of services, including referrals (for example, for emergency contraception)."

“ORR is committed to providing resources and referrals for the full range of legally permissible services to UCs (Unaccompanied Children) who need them, helping to facilitate access to these options, and doing so in a timely fashion and in a manner that respects the diverse religious and cultural backgrounds of UCs,” states the rule.

“At the same time, ORR is also committed to finding ways for organizations to partner with us, even if they object to providing specific services on religious grounds,” it states.

The USCCB, along with Catholic Relief Services, the National Association of Evangelicals, World Vision, and World Relief called the referral option “inadequate” and called for an amendment to the rule providing a “meaningful accommodation” that “frees existing and prospective grantees, contractors, sub-grantees and subcontractors from any requirement to provide, facilitate the provision of, provide information about, or refer or arrange for items or procedures to which they have a religious or moral objection.”

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

Two multiculturalists charged with sexual battery after police found video of unconscious girl in scene likened to 'wild animals preying on a carcass laying in the woods'




Two college students have been charged in connection to an unconscious girl who was allegedly gang raped on a Florida beach during Spring Break in broad daylight, authorities said.

Troy University students Delonte' Martistee, 22, of Georgia and Ryan Austin Calhoun, 23, of Alabama were charged on Friday with sexual battery by multiple perpetrators relating to the incident that occurred between March 10-12, according to Bay County Sheriff's Office.

According to WFSA, it has been confirmed by university officials that both men were suspended, and Martistee, a promising track star, has been removed from the team.

The alleged victim told deputies she thought she had been drugged before the incident and that she was afraid to report it because she could not remember many details, Panama City News Herald reported.  'She knows something happened, but she doesn't know what happened,' Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen said.  Authorities are still searching for two additional suspects in the case.

Friday's charges stem from a video police found where hundreds of people are seen watching the incident without attempting to intervene during the alleged attack on Panama City Beach, authorities claim.  The footage was uncovered on a cell phone during an unconnected investigation into a shooting in Troy, Alabama.

Alerting the Bay County Sheriff's Office, the two departments worked together to identify two suspects and the alleged victim.

McKeithen branded the video the 'most disgusting, sickening thing' and likened the scene to 'wild animals preying on a carcass laying in the woods'.

In the video, McKeithen said one man is heard in the clip saying, 'she isn't going to know,' before putting his hand inside her bikini bottoms.

The incapacitated young woman is surrounded by several men while seated on a beach chair during the video filmed behind Spinnaker Beach Club.

McKeithen told a press conference: 'This is happening in broad daylight with hundreds of people seeing and hearing what is happening and they are more concerned about spilling their beer than somebody being raped.

'This is such a traumatizing event for this girl. No one should have to fear this would happen in Panama City Beach, but it does.'

The investigation related to the incident is ongoing.

SOURCE







Cage's lies over new anti-terror laws: Terrorism apologists accused of scaremongering after warning Muslims police will take their children away

Terrorism apologists who called Jihadi John a ‘beautiful young man’ have been accused of scaremongering after warning Muslims that police will use new anti-terror legislation to take their children away.

Asim Qureshi, research director for the ‘human rights’ group Cage, made the comments during a nationwide tour about the recently-introduced Counter-Terrorism and Security (CTS) Act.

The group held talks in seven cities across the country including Leicester, Sheffield, Bradford and London.

Mr Qureshi claimed the Government would consider taking away children as young as seven if they attended demonstrations by the Stop The War group, which campaigns against what it sees as unjust wars, or repeated political slogans in schools.

At the Bradford meeting on Wednesday, Mr Qureshi said: ‘There is a little sub-clause in the CTS Act that says the Government can consider avenues under health and social services.

‘How I read that is if you don’t consent to deradicalisation programmes, we are going to take your kids away from you – and force you to consent to these programmes for your children.

‘That’s what the Bill allows them to do. The end conclusion is that, without giving our consent, they will start thinking about taking our children away from us.

‘That for me has been the most dangerous part of this Act.’

Mr Qureshi’s comments were widely criticised. Nazir Afzal, the former chief Crown prosecutor for North-West England, said the remarks amounted to ‘scaremongering, pure and simple’.

He said: ‘It is possible to read every bit of legislation in any way you want to, but we need to get real. Taking a child away from their parents is the last thing the State wants to do.’

A Conservative spokesman said the comments were lies, adding: ‘This is, frankly, outrageous scaremongering.’ Labour said Mr Qureshi’s claims didn’t ‘bear scrutiny or come close to reality’.

Cage attracted criticism in February after it was revealed it had been in close contact with Mohammed Emwazi, also known as IS executioner Jihadi John.

Mr Qureshi gave a press conference at which he described Emwazi as a ‘beautiful young man’ who was ‘extremely gentle’.

SOURCE






Judge APOLOGISES to teenager she has to sentence for having sex

A judge has apologised to a teenager who was prosecuted for having sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17.

Connor O'Keefe, now 18, had consensual sex with the girl after they got drunk at a 'peace festival' in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire last summer.

In extraordinary comments, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano questioned why the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had brought O'Keefe to court.

She said: 'I don't know what the world has come to when I am asked to deal with two teenagers who got drunk and had sex.'

O'Keefe was originally charged with rape after having sex with the girl in a supermarket car park after they got drunk at a festival in June last year.

But last month, O’Keefe was cleared of rape after his plea of guilty to an alternative offence of sexual activity with a child was accepted by the prosecution.

Warwick Crown Court heard O'Keefe, who was 17 at the time, and the victim were part of a group who went to a Morrisons supermarket in the early hours of the morning.

The pair then had consensual sex in the car park of the store after other friends went to a nearby McDonald's.

Judge de Bertodano this week criticised the CPS for bringing the case to court as she sentencing O'Keefe to a one-month conditional discharge and ordered him to register as a sex offender for two weeks.

She said: 'So what I'm dealing with is consensual sex between two teenagers.

'I have to deal with this on the basis that a 17-year-old had sex with a girl who was almost 16, and they had both had too much to drink. What are we doing here?

'But still the prosecution wanted to press on. I don't know what the world has come to when I am asked to deal, in a serious criminal court, with two teenagers who got drunk and had sex.

'If it had been rape, that would have been a different matter. I feel extremely sorry for you having to end up in this position.

She added: 'Clearly this started as a very serious case, but what it comes to is simply a teenage incident which should never have come near the courts at all.

'These sort of cases have no place in this kind of court. I want you to go away with that ringing in your ears and for it not to cast a shadow over the rest of your teenage years.

'You have been through a great deal as a result of this. I hope you can now put it behind you. I don't think this matter should be here at all.'

The court heard the girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, originally claimed he had left her immediately after they had sex but CCTV showed them leaving the car park together.

They then went to a fast food restaurant where the girl, who was described as 'very drunk', chatted to friends, who gave her money for a taxi.

Prosecutor Andrew Wallace told the court the victim had drank a large quantity of alcohol after going to the Leamington Peace Festival last summer.

He said O'Keefe, from Warwick, was said to have been 'excited, shouting and annoying everyone' and had 'tried it on' with one of the girl's friends.

Explaining why his new plea had been accepted, Mr Wallace said there was inconsistencies in the girl's original evidence.

Graeme Simpson, defending, said 'her account was significantly undermined'.

SOURCE






Women in the marines experiment fails

The two-and-a-half year period in which the Marine Corps' Infantry Officer Course became gender-integrated for research will end without a single female graduate.

The final iteration of IOC to accept female Marines on a volunteer basis began April 2 with two female participants. One was a volunteer and one was a member of the newly integrated ground intelligence track.

Both were dropped that same day during the grueling initial Combat Endurance Test, said Capt. Maureen Krebs, a spokeswoman for Headquarters Marine Corps. Nine of the 90 men who began the course were also cut.

IOC, held quarterly at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, began accepting female officers fresh out of training in September 2012 as part of a larger research effort into the feasibility of opening ground combat jobs to women. Lieutenants who made it through the legendarily tough 86-day course would not receive an infantry military occupational specialty or career advancement; they did it only for the challenge and the hope of being part of a historical Marine Corps achievement.

But as the research continued, few volunteers took advantage of the opportunity. By July 2014, only 20 female officers had attempted the course. Only one made it through the Combat Endurance Test, and none made it to the end.

In an effort to achieve their goal of 100 female volunteers cycling through IOC, the Marine Corps opened the course to female company-grade officers in October 2014, making hundreds more Marines eligible for the course. The Corps also began requiring that volunteers get a first-class score on the male version of the service's Physical Fitness Test in an effort to better prepare them for the rigors of IOC.

The effort was a mixed success. In the October iteration of IOC, three of the seven female volunteers made it through the Combat Endurance Test, bringing the total number of women to pass the test to four. Two of those who passed the test were captains from the fleet. As time passed, no influx of volunteers materialized, however.

The testing period ends with just 27 female volunteers having attempted the course. Two other female officers also attempted the course as part of required ground intelligence officer training. The 0203 ground intelligence officer military occupational specialty was opened to female officers in late 2013, with IOC as a qualification requirement for applicants. None of the 29 female officers made it to the end of the course.

While IOC is closing to volunteers, female applicants for ground intelligence officer positions will continue to attend the course in the future, Krebs said.

Officials have said that ongoing research will consider many aspects of temporarily integrating IOC, including the number of volunteers, their pass rate, and performance in the course. That data will be taken alongside other research points, including the much higher success rate for enlisted female Marines in passing the Infantry Training Battalion course at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. As of February, 358 women had attempted the course, with 122 graduates, for a pass rate of 34 percent.

Also considered will be data generated from the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force, which is conducting assessments with male and female troops in a variety of infantry specialties now on the West Coast. All this information will be compiled this summer and used to inform Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford's recommendation to the secretary of Defense on whether or not to open remaining ground combat units to female troops.

A decision is expected from the Pentagon early next year.

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

Married multicultural 'feminist' who is running for Parliament is filmed groping stripper

A would-be Lib Dem MP who describes himself as a feminist has been filmed repeatedly trying to touch a naked lap dancer.  Married father-of-one Maajid Nawaz asked for two private sessions at a strip club in east London.

Footage shows the prospective parliamentary candidate – who calls himself an advocate of women’s rights – attempting to touch her arms and thighs, which is against the venue’s policy.

Staff said Nawaz had been pestering the girl all night and his actions had been ‘outrageous’.

In the film, Nawaz – a convicted former extremist – can be seen repeatedly trying to make contact with the girl as she dances naked for him in a private room during two £20 lap dances.

Manager Jay Shah, who witnessed Nawaz’s behaviour, said he was ‘very drunk’ and bouncers threatened to throw him out several times.

‘He was asking her to touch him and he was touching her,’ he said. ‘In general he was quite persistent with her, asking to take her out and for her number.’

A rising star of the Liberal Democrats, 37-year-old Nawaz is also a leading figure in the Muslim community and head of anti-extremism charity the Quilliam Foundation, which he set up.

A regular guest on BBC News programmes, he declared on Newsnight in 2013: ‘I consider myself a feminist.’ He once wrote on Twitter: ‘You don’t need to be a woman to stand for women’s rights.’

He often throws his weight behind gender issues such as the campaign against female genital mutilation and paints himself as a role model for young Muslim men at risk of radicalisation.

But Abdul Malik, the club’s owner, said he wanted the video to be seen by the public because of the way Nawaz portrays himself as a feminist and a family man. ‘He’s always talking about religion on TV and I thought, what a hypocrite,’ he said.

He claimed ‘arrogant’ Nawaz acts like a ‘spokesman for Islam’ – but visited the club during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

A spokesman for Nawaz said he denied touching the dancer ‘inappropriately’ and added that his reputation for advocating women’s rights was ‘in the context of Islamic extremism’.

He said he had not been warned about his behaviour, and was not ‘out of control’ through drink or breaching the rules.

The spokesman said: ‘The evening you refer to was our client’s stag night before his marriage. ‘His best man took him to the gentleman’s club with the full knowledge of our client’s then future wife (now his wife).’

SOURCE






The ‘Party of CEOs’ and Religious Liberty

Social conservatives need to get serious. Since Indiana, the need for a new, well-funded political arm for Christians and other traditional believers has never been more obvious. In so many ways, the days of cheap grace are over. It is going to get increasingly costly and risky to publicly adhere to traditional Christian teachings on sex and marriage, as Professor Robert George warned us.

Frank Bruni approvingly notes in the New York Times that a major gay philanthropist told him, “Church leaders must be made ‘to take homosexuality off the sin list.’” A Talking Points Memo columnist followed up with the Orwellian idea that unless cops are pointing a gun at your head, you, as a Christian, aren’t being “forced” to do anything — never mind that you’ll be fined and punished if you don’t.

Meanwhile, the EEOC has just opened up a case against Mount de Sales Academy, a Catholic high school in Georgia, for firing its band director when he said he was entering a gay marriage.

A Wyoming Equality activist said churches should either marry gay couples or lose their tax deduction, before quickly deleting his own Facebook post.

Many churches, and even whole small denominations, will fold to the moral and political power of the gay-rights community (which, obviously, includes many people who are not gay).

The Catholic Church is riven, with many liberal Catholics misinterpreting Pope Francis’s recent statements as calls to spread secular liberal pieties instead of comforting the marginalized. Instead of speaking truth to power, Emmanuel College, a small Catholic college in Massachusetts, has decided to join the dominant powers in shaming and humiliating the small number of evangelical Christians in its vicinity by refusing to let its athletes compete against Gordon College students.

And now, in a startling display of the power of crony capitalism, major corporations in Indiana and elsewhere are weighing in on the side of using government power to oppress small Christian businesses — and against whatever other religious-liberty protections the gay-rights community dubs anti-gay.

Years ago, back when I was running the National Organization for Marriage and scouring the gay press daily for hints of what to expect in the future, I noticed a stray comment — I believe it was from the then-chairman of the Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solomonese. I can’t find the quote now but I what I recall him saying is: “Our secret weapon is going to be our corporate network.” Secret out of the bag.

One of the big points to emerge from Indiana is that big business has decided to weigh in in favor of “equality” and against moral “liberty” in a big way. "Big business has been at the forefront of the backlash against the Indiana law, and similar legislation pending in states around the U.S.,” reports CNN’s Money channel.

Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle announced he would cancel a $40 million expansion in Indianapolis. Salesforce’s Marc Benioff pledged to reduce investments in Indiana and help employees relocate (to one of the other 20 states with RFRAs?), pronouncing Indiana’s rather innocuous RFRA to be “brutal” and “unjust.”

Most eloquently and helpfully, Benioff explained the social phenomena we are now witnessing: “This is a really important point that, you know, CEOs have a lot of power and control on investment in states and we want to invest in states where there is equality,” he said. “One thing that you’re seeing is that there is a third [political] party emerging in this country, which is the party of CEOs.”

I am sure much of this reflects the sincere if misguided sentiments of the Party of CEOs, but there is another force at work here as well. When I say that traditional believers lack institutions, I mean that over the last ten years, the stage for the moment that has just emerged has been set, piece by piece, with very little effective, creative, or well-funded response by the so-called Religious Right.

Can a president endorse gay marriage without facing any significant, organized, and well-funded blowback? Check. Can the Left drive Catholic adoption agencies out of business? Check; been there, done that in Massachusetts, Illinois, and D.C. Can they get a beauty queen canned for saying she opposes same-sex marriage? Check. Can they attack a whole corporation because a CEO gives personal money to Prop 8 in California? Check. Can they force a blue-chip Atlanta law firm to dump the House of Representatives as a client over gay marriage? Check. Can they suspend and discipline the first deaf diversity officer at a federally chartered university because she signed a petition urging that gay marriage be put to her state’s voters? Check. Can they get a Washington State judge disciplined for an ethics violation merely for saying in his private chambers that he won’t perform same-sex marriages for religious reasons? Check. Can they get a Catholic high-school teacher suspended for criticizing the motivations of the gay political lobby? Check.

Can they get thousands of high profile Christian donors to embrace and participate in a truce strategy, as if once we elect a silent pro-lifer to office he will magically transform himself into a fighter for the unborn, let alone for millions of loving, hardworking, decent people across America getting fired, demoted, or at least slandered as bigots and haters?  If you are on my Facebook page, you know that the answer is yes, there are many.

How did we get to the point where, unbeknownst to millions of decent, hardworking Americans who want nothing more than to live and let live, “religious liberty” is now a code word for a “license to discriminate”?

How did we get to the point where Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle not only wades into the debate to oppose Indiana’s RFRA, he proudly announced what Apple CEO Tim Cook would consider “brave” plans to punish the state by deciding not to expand his company’s headquarters in Indianapolis?

The largest answer is: Because traditional believers have not invested in the kind of political and information networks we need to be taken seriously.

To understand that, you have to go back and look at what happened to Target in Minnesota, which gave substantial amounts of money to a political organization that supported Governor Tom Emmer, purely for business-related reasons. (For Gawker’s subtle take, see: “Meet Tom Emmer, Target’s Favorite Right-Wing Nutjob.”)

Target was disciplined for donating, for business reasons, to a GOP politician who also supported letting Minnesotans vote on the question of gay marriage.

The actual protesters and boycotters were creative but tiny in number. It was their access to the mainstream media that gave the corporation heebie-jeebies, led to an immediate apology, and eventually to Target TV’s ads featuring two gay dads.

So when Mike Pence signed the RFRA into law, and the media firestorm ensued, I am guessing Oesterle knew he had a problem. For supporting Pence, his company would be fair game, under the LGBT rules, unless he figured out a way out of the fire.

Global and national corporations apparently do not have to show respect for religious people, but they must not attract the well-organized ire of the impressive and powerful LGBT community. This happened when they decided that the cultural, the financial, and the political power are all in the hands of the gay-rights movement.

Nobody is afraid of what a Republican might to do his or her corporation. It is better to be feared than loved, or at least certainly more lucrative. In the aftermath of Indiana, I compiled this report card, on which GOP candidates responded publicly to the open hatred expressed toward traditional believers in Indiana.

It is not an attempt to grade the candidates on their overall positions, or even on their religious-liberty positions. (Who does that? What is the smart, effective political organization that views its mission as keeping track of what legislation GOP candidates say they are willing to support, and grading them on it? Then directing money, ads, and boots on the ground to candidates who support the rights of traditional believers to make a living in America? Oh, that organization doesn’t exist yet.

It is a snapshot of one moment in time: When they came for Indiana Christians, who ran toward the lions and who prudently ran away? I do not say that, if your candidate did not take this moment to shine, you cannot support him or her. I do say you should be pushing the candidate to do more and show more courage instead of accepting your own dhimmitude.

When it comes to the GOP presidential nomination, I’ll say this: I will enthusiastically support whomever the party nominates if he or she is better on the life issue than the Democratic nominee (most of whom have embraced, as Rand Paul just said, aborting seven-pound unborn babies).

But I am tired of those who keep telling me that their candidate is secretly and silently solid on the issues I care about most. We have not one instance of a candidate who, having secretly supported us, became brave once in power. It never happens.

Vote for whom you will, but do not fool yourself that you are holding some secret Messiah trump. Because we have not built powerful and effective political institutions, social conservatives sit under the table, feeding on the crumbs from the libertarians (who have made these investments), hoping our silent and secret political Messiah will save us from the Democratic wolves. This is a recipe for failure and loss. The loss, alas, will not just be ours. It will be the loss of much that America holds dear.

SOURCE






Labour parliamentary candidate called people displaying England flags 'simpletons and racists'

A Labour parliamentary candidate has apologised 'wholeheartedly' for telling people to throw 'Tippex' over cars displaying England flags.

Huw Thomas, the Labour candidate in Ceredigion, West Wales, suggested on an online forum in 2006 that the flags were for a 'simpleton' or a 'casual racist'.

He posted his views on a Welsh language website called Mais E writing during the 2006 World Cup: 'I agree it is totally sickening the number of English flags to be seen around Wales.

'It really shows the level our society has been infiltrated by immigrants who aren't ready to integrate.'

He also stated: 'I got the opportunity when I was offered an English flag for half price in WHSmiths Oxford to answer with the sentence: "Since I am neither a simpleton nor a casual racist I must decline your offer".'

In a statement he said: 'I apologise wholeheartedly for these comments, made while I was a young student. These are not my views now and I deeply regret writing this post online.

'Every candidate at this election will have gone through a political journey. Most will have said or thought things when they were young and at university, college or school that they now regret. This is certainly the case for me.'

He added that people in Ceredigion 'deserve an MP that will admit when they are wrong'. 

It comes after senior Labour MP Emily Thornberry stood down in November after publishing a picture of a house in Rochester draped in England flags.

The MP for Islington South and Finsbury, in North London, took the snap while canvassing in the by-election in Rochester and Strood and was accused of being 'snobby' and 'sneering down her nose' at working class voters.

SOURCE






Historian David Starkey in attack on 'victim status' of Muslims, disabled people and other ethnic minorities

His factual claims about IQ are in fact well-supported by the evidence

Historian David Starkey has launched an astonishing attack on the 'victim status' of ethnic minorities and disabled people - and says women are only of average intelligence.

The outspoken 70-year-old said evidence suggested women tended to be of average intelligence, whereas men were either 'very, very bright or very thick', but denied he is sexist.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Telegraph, he hit out at Baroness Doreen Lawrence, the mother of race murder victim Stephen, for following what he claimed was the approach of US civil rights leaders after Martin Luther King's death by 'treating blacks as victims'.

He said: 'They espoused victimhood and violence. And I think to a dangerous extent that has happened in this country. With all the praise that's been lavished on Doreen Lawrence, she's constantly treating blacks as victims.

'All forms of liberation, and I speak as gay and I was in all this when it wasn't fashionable, when you didn't get your CBE for being a prominent poofter, when there were actual penalties for doing it - all of them depend upon you taking control. About you refusing to be a victim.

'And I find it very, very sad the sway there is now this perpetual procession of people - group after group - wanting to assume the status of victim. It's catastrophic.'

Starkey, who said he was 'born quite seriously disabled', added people with physical and mental disabilities should not be portrayed as victims.

And he claimed fears of Islamophobia were victimising Muslims, making them 'therefore somehow privileged and exempt'.

A recent poll showed many Muslims reported higher community tensions, with one in three saying they felt under greater suspicion in the last few years, while 44 per cent of non-Muslims reporting being more wary.

SOURCE

*************************

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

***************************




12 April, 2015

Multiculturalist  now "most wanted"

A British-born businessman has been placed on the FBI's Most Wanted list over claims he conducted a multi-million pound luxury car scam.

Afzal Khan is accused of conning a string of customers and financial firms at a motor dealership he ran in the US.

Federal agents hunting the 32-year-old, originally from Edinburgh, fear he may have fled the country and have offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Flamboyant Khan, known to his clients as 'Bobby', opened the Emporio Motor Group in New Jersey in 2013 and maintained a high profile.  He appeared on US reality series The Real Housewives Of New Jersey and counted members of the show's cast among his clients.

He has now been accused of a massive fraud involving super cars including Lamborghinis, Bentleys and Rolls Royces.

He is accused of obtaining loans from a bank for cars that he never delivered, but for which the purchaser was still responsible.

He also obtained loans for cars that were delivered, but for which neither he nor Emporio had title documents. As a result, the purchasers of these cars were liable for the loan, but could not register the vehicles.

Khan also offered to sell cars for customers, and then neither returned the cars nor provided any money from car sales.

One financial institution is said to have lost $1.6million from its dealings with Khan and 75 customers have come forward to make complaints against him.

If convicted, he could face a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a multi-million dollar fine.

Khan was born in Edinburgh to Pakistani parents and moved to America more than 20 years ago. Police and the FBI attempted to arrest him at his New Jersey home at the end of October but could not locate him.

He has now been placed on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted 'white collar criminals' list.

In an interview he gave when he opened his car dealership in 2013, Khan boasted that he had been selling luxury cars since he was 18

He said: 'There's a waiting list for any car like this, because you can't find it, but the number of millionaires and billionaires grows every day.  'Everybody wants the next toy. This is a boutique dealership. It's like walking into a Gucci or a Fendi store.'

The FBI wanted poster for Khan says he has ties to the United Arab Emirates, Canada, the UK and Pakistan, and may be found in those countries. He is described as 5 feet 10 inches and 180 pounds, with a scar on his right arm.

Last week, Khan's brother Anil Iqbal was arrested by police in New Jersey investigating the alleged scam.

Iqbal, 36, who was an employee at the dealership, has been charged with conspiracy to commit theft, theft by extortion, theft by deception and fencing.

An FBI spokesman said: 'Afzal Khan is wanted for allegedly defrauding customers and financial institutions while he was the owner of Emporio Motor Group, a car dealership in Ramsey, New Jersey.

'From approximately December 2013 to September 2014, Khan allegedly obtained loans for vehicles that were never delivered, obtained loans for vehicles without proper title, and issued insufficient funds checks.

'Khan also allegedly offered to sell vehicles on consignment and then neither returned the vehicles nor provided any funds for the vehicle sales.

'A federal arrest warrant was issued for Khan on October 21, 2014, by the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, Newark, New Jersey, after he was charged with wire fraud.

'The FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest of Afzal Khan.'

SOURCE






Snatched from her loving family and handed to strangers: Sophia was an adored baby with a devoted mother and besotted grandparents. Then social workers took an extraordinary decision

There are few people more evil than British social workers.  They revel in using their powers to hurt people

The small pink bedroom remains pristine, untouched. The cot, its coverlet neat and pressed, stands empty. There are soft toys, a candy-coloured pedal car, a pushchair and a pretty little Moses basket.

Photos of a toddler — laughing, held aloft on her grandfather’s shoulders — give proof to a child’s existence, yet nothing in the room shows signs of use or life.

Indeed, the little girl — we’ll call her Sophia — for whom the bedroom was intended, has never slept in it. Since she was born 22 months ago, there has been no joyous welcome to the four-bedroom house on the South Coast in which her family live.

Instead, just two days after her birth, Sophia was wrenched from her family, and the shock was so profound, so terrible, that they are still reeling.

The law prevents us from using Sophia’s real name, because any day now the toddler will be forcibly adopted against her family’s wishes. She will, thereafter, become the child of strangers, who will raise her, without contact from her blood relatives, until she is an adult.

Yet Sophia already had a family who loved her; who were overjoyed by the prospect of caring for her. So much so that her 20-year-old mother, Samantha, had decided to live at her parents’ home so her daughter would have their love and support as well as hers.

In fact it was Sophia’s grandparents, Jayne Harley, 50, a doctors’ receptionist, and her husband Neil, 44, who runs a scaffolding company, who decorated the room in readiness for their first grandchild.

But our Nanny State decreed they should not be permitted to bring up their own child. A social worker and two police officers arrived at the hospital where Sophia was born, two days after her delivery by emergency Caesarean, and prevented them taking her home.

Last month, this newspaper ran a series of stories about single mothers in the Sixties who were coerced into giving up their babies for adoption for the sole reason that they were unmarried.

Today, unbelievably, forced adoptions still occur. But the Harleys’ story is so jaw-dropping, so harrowing, it is almost impossible to believe it happened in modern Britain.

But it did, and Sophia’s family spent 18 months fighting through the courts for the right to raise her. It was a battle that took them to the Court of Appeal in London and cost them £60,000 — raised from loans and savings — in legal fees.

Their ordeal began when Samantha, who was then aged 19, announced that she was pregnant.

‘We weren’t happy,’ recalls Jayne. ‘Sammy was still at college, training to be a nail technician, and her boyfriend, who was in his mid-20s, wasn’t working. It wasn’t the sort of relationship we wanted for her. We felt she could do better.

‘But Sammy was intent on keeping the baby — she wouldn’t consider a termination — so we agreed we’d support her in every way we could.’

Jayne was concerned that Samantha, who had been a ‘challenging’ child and was diagnosed in her teens with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), would need help with parenting.

She and Neil, her husband of 14 years, resolved to step in: Samantha and the newborn should live at home with them, they all agreed.

Then Jayne discovered a disquieting fact about Samantha’s boyfriend John (not his real name). ‘We heard that he was on the Sex Offenders’ Register. My immediate thought was: “Oh God, please don’t let him be a rapist or paedophile.” ’

Court records, however, revealed that his crime was a sexual assault on a woman. ‘He had forced his hand up her skirt and kissed her against her will. It was a serious offence and it would be wrong to diminish it. But he wasn’t a paedophile or rapist,’ says Jayne.

Nonetheless, she was relieved when Samantha ended her relationship with John early on in the pregnancy. They remained friends, and Jayne accepted this as evidence that John intended to have a role in his child’s life, which seemed laudable.

Pending motherhood, moreover, gave Samantha a new sense of purpose. ‘She’d been defiant and disruptive, but she changed completely,’ recalls Jayne. ‘She improved herself, passed her driving test, bought a little car. She stayed in, devoted herself to studying and completed her college course.

‘And we started to look forward to the future. We got the baby’s room ready and bought everything she could possibly need.’

When, in June 2013, Samantha was admitted to hospital for the birth, Jayne was with her. She was surprised, however, when John, who was by then in a relationship with another young woman, arrived, too.

‘There was no plan for him to be there, but I didn’t regard him as a danger,’ recalls Jayne. ‘We’d even agreed that any future involvement between John and the baby would be arranged through social services.’

Jayne revelled in her new role as grandparent. ‘Holding Sophia was like holding my own daughter,’ she recalls. ‘There was the same level of love. Samantha had produced this beautiful baby girl. Seeing her for the first time was one of the happiest moments of my life.’

Then, two days after she was born in summer 2013, Jayne went to the hospital to collect her daughter and her baby to bring them home.

‘But there was delay after delay,’ she says. ‘Then a nurse said she needed to sign some paperwork. That was when the police and a social worker arrived and the nightmare started.’

What happened next was chilling.

‘They said Samantha had to go to a mother and baby unit outside the county, and that she had to leave immediately,’ says her mother.

‘My daughter was hysterical, screaming, “Mum, why are they doing this?” I couldn’t answer her. All I could think was that social services departments were there to keep families together, not tear them apart.

‘I was stunned. All I knew was that two of the most precious people in our lives were being taken away and I couldn’t prevent it. I had no idea what we’d done wrong. It was barbaric; inhumane.

‘I asked why on earth they were doing it. They said Sophia was at risk from her parents. I couldn’t understand it. I re-live that moment every day: my daughter’s terrified face, begging me to stop it from happening, screaming for help, and me being powerless to do a thing.’

Jayne has never been able to establish exactly why, but she believes Social Services were panicked by the arrival of John at the hospital, and Jayne and her daughter became scapegoats.

Before being packed off to a mother and baby unit outside London (where she would ultimately spend 16 weeks), Samantha had never spent a night away from home. She was bewildered and frightened.

‘They said that if she went, she could keep her baby,’ says Jayne. ‘We tried to be positive. We said: “They’ll teach you parenting skills.”  ‘None of us knew it was to be an assessment — that Samantha would be under scrutiny 24/7.’

For the next four months, Jayne and Neil, who had raised Samantha and her sister from his wife’s first marriage since they were five and six respectively, made the 250-mile round-trip to the unit every Sunday. It was the only day they were permitted to visit.

They were cheered by Samantha’s progress. ‘We could see how well she was parenting Sophia, and the bond that was developing between them,’ recalls Jayne. ‘Sophia was content. She was a smiley, happy baby.’

Despite this, greater trauma was in store. In October, when Samantha’s placement ended, she was told it had actually been an assessment — and that she had failed.

‘They said her parenting skills were not in doubt,’ says Jayne. ‘The problem was that she — like us, apparently — did not recognise her child could be exposed to “future emotional harm”.’

Sophia was wrenched peremptorily from the family who loved her and entrusted to the care of her prospective adoptive parents. The dreadful irony was lost on social workers.

Jayne says: ‘They kept saying Sophia was at risk of emotional harm from us, yet Social Services were the abusers. You cannot commit a more inhumane act than to prise a baby from the arms of the family that loves her and place her with strangers.’

Jayne and Neil, however, were not prepared to give up without a fight. In January 2014, they applied for a Special Guardianship Order.

Their application, through the courts, was to prove both long and costly — and ultimately futile. They are hard-working people but they did not have the financial resources to fund an expensive legal battle. Like all grandparents, they were not entitled to legal aid.

They raised £30,000 through a loan, borrowed £20,000 from their own parents and consumed their £10,000 nest egg on their fight.

Two GPs from the surgery where Jayne worked provided references for her, as did a young woman Jayne had informally fostered — at the request of the very Social Services department that now considered her a risk to her own grandchild — when she was a troubled adolescent. Yet still their application failed.

‘When I stood in the witness box, they treated me like a criminal,’ says Jayne. ‘I was traumatised. We felt helpless. It was as if they were trying to annihilate us.’

They employed a barrister, who said they had a strong case for appeal, so their quest reached the Court of Appeal in London.

That, too, failed. The decision left their solicitor, Michael Stocken, dumbfounded.

‘It seems as though the Court of Appeal bent over backwards to endorse the first court’s decision,’ he says. ‘But there’s no doubt that it is better for a child’s welfare to be with a loving kinship carer.

‘If grandparents with the Harleys’ background and commitment, and with all they had to offer their grandchild, lose a case like this, what hope is there for anyone else?

‘It has cost them a tremendous amount, and they were prepared to move heaven and earth to provide their grandchild with a loving home. They’re kind and genuine people. I cannot imagine the distress it has caused them all. They’ve had a very raw deal.’

This is scant solace for Jayne and Neil. All the while they pursued their case through the courts, they and Samantha were permitted to see Sophia just once a week at a supervised Family Contact Centre.

‘It was bittersweet,’ says Jayne. ‘We watched our granddaughter grow into a funny, feisty little character. She loved rough and tumble play with Neil. She called him DadDad, and I was Nana. Neil used to carry her on his shoulders and she would lay her little face against his.

‘She’s affectionate and loving, and we adore her. The pain of watching her tearful little face when we said goodbye each time, hearing her scream “Mummy”, and “Nana”, almost outweighed the pleasure of seeing her.’

Finally, their last line of appeal exhausted, they had to say a last and permanent goodbye to the child they all cherished; the little girl they loved so much that, as Jayne says: ‘We would have given our lives for her in a heartbeat.’

That final parting this January was unimaginably sad — not just for Jayne, Neil and Samantha but also for Sophia, now 22 months, who had formed a strong bond of love with them.

‘Shine like the little star you are. We will always love you,’ Jayne wrote in a farewell letter to her granddaughter. From Samantha there were presents of jewellery. ‘One day we will be one,’ she wrote, in hope, to her daughter. They’ve named a star after her.

‘When we went for the last time, I’m sure Sophia sensed it was a final goodbye,’ says Jayne, through tears. ‘She grabbed Samantha’s car keys. We had to prise her little hands out of ours.

‘All we could do was tell her how much we loved her; how although we weren’t with her, we’d be there always, waiting for her.

‘We don’t know what sort of turmoil her little mind is going through. Now, all we can do is pray for her, and wait until she is 18; until she’s old enough to come back to us. That’s all I live for now.

‘And until that day, everything will be left as it is. Her room will still be there, unchanged. We won’t part with a single thing. It will stay, with the memory box containing the photos of her first scan, the balloons we bought on the day she was born, her first knitted hat and her first tiny shoes.

‘She will know not a day passed when we did not think of her; that we loved her with all our hearts.’

SOURCE






Silence and violence in Leftist protest world

By Miranda Devine, writing from Australia

WHEN leftist authoritarians try to stop people from expressing views they don’t like,they don’t like, all they do is create publicity and even sympathy for causes they oppose.

Whether they violently disrupt protests against sharia law or force the closure of a pizza shop whose Christian owners don’t want to cater for a hypothetical gay wedding, the morally righteous are their own worst enemy.

If you watched the foul-mouthed violence and flag-burning of the so-called anti-racists who disrupted peaceful rallies of a hitherto obscure group of protesters named ­Reclaim Australia, you would automatically have sided with the victims of their abuse.

You may not agree with the Reclaim Australia crowd that Australia has a problem with minorities who “are trying to change Australia’s cultural identity.” You may not agree that halal certification of food in Australia should be banned, that sharia law should be ­illegal, and the burqa forbidden. You may not agree that schools should teach “pride in the Australian flag and anthem”. You may not agree with mandatory 10-year jail terms and deportation for anyone who carries out female genital mutilation. You may be optimistic, as I am, that Australia will absorb Muslim migrants just as well as it has absorbed previous groups and that Australia will be stronger for its ­hybrid vigour.

But that doesn’t mean that those who think differently shouldn’t air their views without being punched, kicked, spat on, showered with police horse dung, abused and intimidated into going home.

That’s what happened on Saturday when rallies around the country planned by ­Reclaim Australia to protest Islamic extremism were ­assailed by mobs of Socialist Party activists, unionists, anarchists, Abbott-haters and ­assorted other disgruntles.

These tolerance police claimed to be acting virtuously as enemies of racism but in ­reality they are part of a well-organised campaign of civil disruption whose ultimate goal is to destroy the capitalist ­system.

In Sydney, police did a good job of keeping most of the so-called anti-racists apart from the 200 or so Reclaim Australia supporters in the rain at Martin Place. But in Melbourne’s Federation Square the clashes between the two groups were so vicious and ­aggressive, they made headlines around the world.

Footage shows both sides pushing and shoving, but it was the so-called anti-racists, who initiated the violence.

They linked arms in Melbourne to form a barrier to stop people, including several speakers, from joining the ­Reclaim rally. They didn’t want to pose a counter view, but to stop the rally.

“We’re not interested in holding our rally somewhere else … this is dangerous to allow hate speech to occur on the streets of Melbourne,” Socialist Party candidate and union organiser Mel Gregson told reporters. “The streets of Melbourne are not the place for anti-Muslim ideas.”

What is she so afraid of? A bad idea expressed out loud is a lot better than a bad idea suppressed and forced underground where it festers and gains power.

Exposed to criticism, ideas can be held up to ridicule, countered with better ideas. If they are bad ideas, the good sense of the Australian people will reject them. That’s the whole point of free speech.

Max, who describes himself as an “average middle aged bloke” went to the Reclaim rally in Melbourne with his three-year-old in a pram, ­because he wanted to hear what the speakers had to say about Islam. His entrance to Federation Square was blocked by “vile youths spitting and abusing passersby and those wishing to attend”.

Pushed and shoved, and fearing for his child’s safety, he never made it to the rally, and vented his spleen online ­instead. “It was up to me to make my own opinion of what was to be said.”

And that is the whole point. All the pseudo anti-racists achieved was to put Reclaim Australia on the map in its very first outing. Now the name is known around the world.

Pauline Hanson, who spoke at the Brisbane rally, made her name the same way. Her fringe One Nation party gained enormous kudos and public awareness in the 1990s when violent socialist protesters attacked its supporters, bussing in rent — a hooligans to bash elderly people. Hanson became a martyr and a political force overnight. Every violent protest drew new recruits to One Nation. Disgusted by the behaviour of her opponents, the silent majority chose her side, even if they didn’t agree with her views.

Similarly, when anti-homophobia zealots tried to shut down a pizza shop in small town Indiana after its Christian owners told a reporter they would not cater for a ­hypothetical gay wedding, the backlash was immediate. The public donated $US842,000 in 48 hours to Memories Pizza owners Crystal and Kevin O’Connor, who now say God rewarded them for their stance.

This is what happens when the totalitarian left tries to ­impose its will in a democracy. It will never win because reasonable people recoil from such closed-minded bigotry.

SOURCE






UK: Photography censorship even at the races

But from what got through the net you can see why. Acres of obese female flesh are not attractive. I don't have a strong enough stomach to reproduce any of it but it is there at the source.  A rare demure lady who was there below



It was billed as the year that Aintree would finally become fashionable, following last month's announcement that a strict new dress code emphasising 'Chanel-style looks' had been introduced.

Racecourse bosses will be hoping that all faux pas will be averted with the help of the dress code, which was issued in a bid to repair the race meeting's boozy image and encourage more racing fans to attend on Ladies Day.

They have also issued instructions to media organisations that say any photographer caught taking photos of badly dressed or drunken racegoers will have their pass taken away.

'We want to overwhelm the negativity, to push the positivity to the front,' said John Baker, regional director of the Jockey Club North West which runs the racecourse.

'Our event is full of character, it's fun, and that's generated by the personality of the Liverpool people. We have to absolutely protect that because it's at the core of what we are, and we have a responsibility to our customers to project the correct image.

'We have talked about trying to monitor those photographers, so if we see any element clearly looking for a negative shot and we can identify that, we will take their accreditation off them and we'll kick them off the site. That's not easily manageable, but that's what we'll endeavour to do.'

But not everyone managed to pull off the high fashion ensembles recommended by the style guide and, instead, appeared bent on proving that mismatched hair extensions and acres of cleavage are still in vogue.

Along with low-cut dresses, the micro-skirts and platform shoes that have become a Grand National staple in recent years were very much on show as were some unflatteringly tight get-ups.

Another lady chose to wear a dress that came dangerously close to bridal and compounded it by finishing the look with silver wedding-style shoes and diamanté accessories.

More still appeared intent on getting stuck into the booze as early as possible, with a number of ladies deploying the silver champagne funnels that were first seen last month at Cheltenham.

But it wasn't all bad news for racing bosses: some beautifully dressed ladies had clearly taken the new style code to heart and looked wonderful in on-trend midi skirts, delicate cocktail hats and even, in one case, a pair of flat pumps.

Hats proved particularly popular, with many of the ladies choosing pretty fascinators and bold broad-brimmed titfers enlivened with colourful plumes of feathers - a trend also on display at last month's Cheltenham Festival.

Another particularly well-dressed lady was Dani Lawrence, girlfriend of Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones, who looked wonderful in a delicate cream lace dress.

But not everyone was pleased, in particular bookmakers Coral who had been attempting to lure in the punters by offering odds on fashion faux pas.  Among the most popular so far are breasts falling out of dresses, exposed bottoms and split frocks - all of which have been priced at very low odds of 2/1 by the bookmaker.

Other fashion mishaps thought likely to occur by Coral include skirts being blown up at 3/1, hats being blown away at 6/1 and hair extensions falling out at 8/1.

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

The ‘We Need To Have A Conversation’ Malarkey

Ilana Mercer

You know just how scholarly a policy paper is when it is studded with a clichéd expression like “we need to have a conversation about …” The pop-phrase is familiar from these farcical usages:

“We need to have a conversation about race”—when, in reality, we do nothing but subject ourselves to a one-way browbeating about imagined slights committed against the pigmentally burdened.

“We need to have a conversation about immigration”—when such a “conversation” is strictly confined to a lecture on how to adapt to the program of Third World mass immigration. This particular “conversation” involves learning to live with a lower quality of life, poorer education, environmental degradation; less safety and security, more taxation and alienation.

In this mold is a policy paper by Jennifer Bradley, formerly of the liberal Brookings Institute. Bradley had a stroke of luck. Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report found fit to link her essay on his eponymous news website site. Titled “The Changing Face of the Heartland: Preparing America’s Diverse Workforce for Tomorrow,” Bradley’s Brookings Essay would have been more honestly titled “Get-With the Program, Middle American. Demography Is Destiny.”

Disguised as scholarship, the Bradley essay schools Middle America at length on how to prepare its diversifying workforce for tomorrow. Thus, for example, she states that “America is on the cusp of becoming a country with no racial majority, where new minorities are poised to exert a profound impact on U.S. society, economics, and politics.” The implication here is that this seismic shift is due to a mystic force beyond the control of the host population, rather than to willful policies in which the native population has never had a say and will likely never have one.

Bradley’s particular concern is with “two demographic shifts.” The one is the aging of the predominantly white (and presumably productive) generation of Americans born after World War II. Another is the concomitant influx of “Mexicans, Hmong, Indians, Vietnamese, Somalis, Liberians, and Ethiopians.”

“According to the Minnesota State Demographic Center, the Asian, black, and Hispanic populations in the state tripled between 1990 and 2010, while the white population grew by less than 10 percent. This trend will continue,” warns Bradley: “From 2010 to 2030, the number of people of color is expected to grow twice as quickly as the number of whites.”

There goes that mystic force again.

“As Minnesota and the region go, so goes the nation,” states Bradley, matter-of-fact.

As Bradley sees it, a feature of the diversity explosion in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Midwest microcosm is a widening “race-based education and achievement gap” that will “become a drag on workforce growths unless something was done to reverse these trends.”

Translated, this means the immigrant population isn’t measuring up.

I can think of a few unexplored options to narrow the gap described. One is to welcome immigrants who’ll add value to the economy, rather than drain taxpayer resources. Bradley, however, is here not to strike up a true conversation—which would include exploring all options—but to dictate the terms of the “conversation.”

Indeed, the raiment of scholarship she sheds as quickly as a prostitute sheds her clothes (only less admirably; working girls deserve respect). Bradley brays about the need to “reframe the conversation about race-based education and achievement gaps in Minneapolis-St. Paul—turning what had been a moral (and insufficiently effective) commitment to its underserved communities into an economic necessity. Leading figures from the worlds of government, business, and academia, and public and private groups throughout the region [all stakeholders, but you] are now trying to figure out how to undo the effects of decades of neglect, tackling the problem from many perspectives and with an ever greater sense of urgency.”

Because the imported population is failing to achieve parity with the host population, Bradley has inferred that the newcomers are “underserved”; that they require more resources, when the fault could just as well lie in the kind of incompatible immigrant being privileged by policy makers. The essay’s premise is that America is “underserving” her immigrant population, when it is the other way round:

Averaged out, the immigrant population is underserving the American economy.

In this “conversation,” the social “scientist” recommends throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the causality quagmire. The mass-immigration imperative, moreover, is presented as the antidote to a declining birth rate and an aging population, when in fact mass immigration is the excuse statists make for persevering with immigration policies that are guaranteed to further undermine civil society and shore up the welfare State.

Demographics need not be destiny. The West became the best not by out-breeding the undeveloped world—not due to huge numbers—but because of human capital; people of superior ideas and abilities, capable of innovation, exploration, science, philosophy.

SOURCE






How can a child of three need transgender counselling?

There are few things more upsetting than having an unhappy child — especially if, as their parent, you can't work out what you're doing wrong.

Every parent compares their son or daughter with classmates or friends' children — you never want to think your own is the odd one out, the misfit.

But all children are different, often brilliantly and creatively so, and the progress of the world depends on oddballs.

The best advice is: 'Give it time, support them, love them as they are, listen to what they're saying.'

In today's world, however, we like neat labels on everything.

There can be comfort in slapping a scientific name on your child's behaviour, as if you were diagnosing an illness. And there is a powerful risk that professionals, fascinated by their own academic discipline, collude in that.

We know too many children — improbably many — are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with symptoms including inattentiveness and impulsiveness.

Or perhaps it will be another newly-named 'condition', such as Oppositional Defiant Disorder — which 'often involves arguing ('opposing') and disobeying ('defying') the adults who look after them', according to the NHS website.

In the process, tens of thousands of children are put on drugs to control their behaviour, without sufficient resort to sensible measures such as restricting their screen time, ensuring enough sleep and feeding them sensibly.

Others get labelled as clinically depressive, when the reason for their sadness is rational: divorce, bereavement, abuse.

And now we learn that there is a boom in the small but significant number of children below the age of puberty being referred to clinics with 'gender dysphoria' — the conviction of being born in the wrong body, previously known as transsexualism.

The Tavistock clinic and others report ever more children referred to them by anxious parents, some as young as three. Boys who want to be girls, girls who assert that they are really boys. One charity specialising in the condition says it's being contacted by 20 families a month.

Now, I believe gender dysphoria is real. It has been well-known for decades. No one quite knows why it happens.

Maybe it's abnormal development before birth, perhaps simply an oddity of nature — even one to be celebrated, rather than fretted over.

In the past, it was unrecognised or condemned as perversion. Today, understanding is greater, and those — an estimated one in 125,000 — who are genuinely, deeply unhappy have the option of 'transitioning', both socially and surgically.

There's a respectable history to this. Jan Morris, previously the star journalist James Morris, who reported from the conquest of Everest in 1953, lived as a woman in the late Sixties, went abroad for final surgery in 1972 and wrote a brilliant, wise, sensitive book called Conundrum, which demystified the transgender condition for many of us.

James was married; now, Jan and the same beloved wife are legally same-sex spouses, living a quiet life in Wales.

In another social sphere, April Ashley was born George Jamieson in tough Liverpool circumstances.

Aged 25, and having saved £3,000, she paid for reassignment surgery in Morocco in May 1960 and worked briefly as a model until her story was exposed in a red-top newspaper a year later.

She has spent a lifetime campaigning for gender equality and three years ago was made an MBE.

Understanding has grown, gradually, and that is good. Even Coronation Street has seen the much-beloved character of Hayley Cropper, who at first horrified the Street by admitting she was born as Harold, but subsequently married and became a stalwart of the community, and was only ever mocked by the nastiest character available (poisonous Tracy Barlow, who hates everyone anyway).

A 2004 Act of Parliament gave full rights to those in their new gender who, with medical and psychiatric help, manoeuvre themselves into the body they always needed.

Strange, but there it is. Even I wrote a novel (Passing Go) in which a transgender teenager is rejected by his/her angry father, only to prove the calmest and kindest member of the family.

The question now is whether the acceptance of this rare condition (I repeat, only one in 125,000) is panicking parents into misunderstanding or crazily encouraging young children in their innocent fantasies; and then feeding them to a psychiatric profession hungry for subjects with a fashionably interesting syndrome to study.

Some clinicians are quoted as saying that 1 per cent of us 'have transgender feelings to some extent' — which is 1,250 times as many as might be diagnosed with the full gender dysphoria.

But not every quirk of behaviour is a symptom. Small children, let's face it, often live in a fabulous, magical world in which they may be a dog, a cat, a rabbit, or even a railway train.

My favourite exchange with one child on the subject came when I was asked: 'Do wishes come true?' 'Well, sometimes, darling, if you work hard...'  'No! I just wished I were an elephant, but I don't want to be!'

And often, at that age, you fancy joining the other gender. A small boy plays dressing-up or covets dolls — he may well be expressing a perfectly normal range of male personality, and support you in your old age with his couture designs.

That girl in dungarees and spiky hair who desires to be Spider?man? She may just be rejecting (quite rightly) the boring modern pressure to covet pop?tarty looks and shriek a lot.

Either child may refuse to dress in the conventional way for their sex, and announce that they want to belong to the other gender. It's often a temporary thing, just a normal phase of childhood.

If that goes on and on towards puberty and makes them unhappy at school, then it is reasonable enough to explore, with a counsellor who is not obsessively over-interested, whether — by rare chance — the real condition lies at the root of this behaviour.

But we risk falling into the trap of seeing a problem where there is none at all, with children coming under terrible pressure to behave in a textbook way, as their parents' anxieties about deviations from 'normal behaviour' are fed by the medical lobby.

Surgery in cases of gender dysphoria is still strictly for over-18s. But, alarmingly, some clinics seem willing to prescribe drugs that delay the onset of puberty because of the 'distress' of what is normal development.

The drug route should only be a desperate resort. As one doctor at a Canadian gender clinic, Kenneth Zucker, puts it: 'Suppose a black kid came into your clinic and wanted to be white. Wouldn't you try to understand what is happening in the child's life that is making him feel like that? You certainly wouldn't recommend skin-bleaching.'

So, wise psychiatrists will listen calmly, and say: 'Wait and see.' As for pre-schoolers, the Tavistock clinic does not 'generally consider it helpful to make a formal diagnosis in very young children'.

There is a school of thought, though, that is more gung-ho and which reckons that, especially with male-to-female transition, you can't start too early, preventing puberty with drugs to stop a voice breaking and beard growing in adolescence.

How horrifying that anxious parents might be encouraging a child in that direction even though, given time, he might later accept that he is male. A happily feminine sort of male, perhaps, with a woman's sensibility and maybe an attraction to his own sex, but a bloke nonetheless.

The problem is that we live in an age of labelling, medical neurosis and extreme parental anxiety, coupled with a trend — weird to us Sixties tomboys — of old-fashioned stereotyping.

We see pinkified, princessified little girls being taken to nail bars and makeover parties at five, to be made as vain and prissy as their mums.

Boys, meanwhile, are harassed by the need to be a tough-guy, shooty-bang or football-hero stereotype. No wonder some rebel.

It might help if schools made their uniforms less specific — trousers and open-necked shirts for all — to resolve morning dress-battles with children who need to work out who they are in peace.

Yes, it's good that counsellors and charities are offering support to genuinely baffled parents.

I only hope that they do not act in haste, but say sensible things such as: 'Let them be. Call them whatever name they favour, keep an open mind.

'Either way, it's not the end of the world. And, statistically, the odds are he or she will grow out of it.'

SOURCE






Some Gays Defending Indiana RFRA, Apologizing for ‘Mean-Spirited Attacks’

Instead of attacking Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), some gays are defending the state law against “civil rights shakedown grifters” and apologizing for the “mean-spirited attacks.”

Bruce Majors, a gay man who ran for mayor of Washington, D.C. last year as a Libertarian, had some hard-hitting words for the liberals who targeted Indiana over the state’s RFRA last week.

“Once again, the gay lobbyists and bureaucrats are seeking more employment, money and power as ‘civil rights’ shakedown grifters at the expense of real progress for gay people,” Majors told CNSNews.com. “I reject all these fascists.”

The original RFRA signed into law by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on March 26 would have allowed private business owners to cite religious objections if they were sued by potential customers for refusing to serve them.

However, after the state law was criticized by liberals and gay rights activists nationwide, Pence signed a revised law that made sexual orientation a protected class in 11 Indiana communities that already prohibit discrimination against gays and lesbians, effectively nullifying the RFRA because religious belief could not be used as a defense in a discrimination lawsuit.

However, Majors observed that the law could have a negative impact on gay businesses as well.

“These laws forcing people to associate against their will mean that any gay business – from cruise ships, bed and breakfasts, and gay senior communities and nursing homes that developers have been contemplating – can be stopped by anyone claiming that they are being discriminated against,” he said.

Majors also spoke in support of the “Memories Pizza” shop owners in Walkerton, Indiana who said they could not in in good conscience cater a gay wedding.

“If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” Crystal O’Connor, one of the shop’s owners, told a local television station.

The pizza shop received so many threats of violence that it was forced to shut down indefinitely, with one high school golf coach even sending out a request on Twitter for help to “burn down” the shop. The coach, Jess Dooley, was later suspended.

One liberal Website said of the shop’s ordeal, “Sounds like an open and closed case of bigotry rearing its ugly head and quickly being slapped down by the good people of the world, right?”

But Majors pointed out that viewpoints on RFRA were not monolithic, even among gays. “They do not speak for me, nor do they speak for all gay people, as one can see from the openly gay people donating to their relief fund on GoFundMe,” he said.

Majors was referring to a webpage created to help raise money for the pizza shop’s owners in light of their ordeal. Contributors donated $842,442 as of April 4th. They included a woman who identified herself as Courtney Hoffman, who sent $20 - along with an apology on behalf of the gay community.

“As a member of the gay community, I would like to apologize for the mean-spirited attacks on you and your business,” the message read. “I know many gay individuals who fully support your right to stand up for your beliefs and run your business according to those beliefs. We are outraged at the level of hate and intolerance that has been directed at you and I sincerely hope that you are able to rebuild."

Other gay individuals have also come out on the issue in recent days. In a column published last week, Casey Given, another D.C. resident, wrote that the harsh reaction to the Indiana law had backfired.

"As a gay man, I would... likely would avoid Memories Pizza if I were a Walkerton resident (that is, unless their pies are spectacular).

“However, there are many people I encounter on a daily basis that have radically differing views to me. That doesn’t give me an excuse to batter them on their politics just because we don’t see eye-to-eye on everything. Doing so is just downright rude,” Given wrote. “Far from its intended goal of facilitating tolerance, modern progressivism seems to make individuals more hostile to each other."

Given, who is the director of communications at Students for Liberty, continued. “For the sake of sanity, it’s time for society to realize that politics is just one small characteristic of our complex makeup as individuals.”

“We can still be courteous to those who disagree with us; the world would be a very mean and lonely place otherwise,” he concluded.

Majors was even more forceful in his criticism of RFRA opponents, saying that “so-called anti-discrimination laws are largely a sham and have helped no one, other than making pompous liberals feel superior.”

SOURCE






Congressman: ‘Disturbing’ for Military Chaplains to Be Punished Over Views on Sexuality

While the nation debates whether Christian business owners should be forced by the government to cater same-sex marriages, the military is embroiled in its own dispute over religious freedom.

In two high-profile cases, military chaplains have been punished for citing their religious beliefs during private counseling sessions and other official events, sparking questions about what military chaplains are allowed to say in the name of faith.

Last fall, Capt. Joe Lawhorn was punished for making references to the Bible and distributing a handout that cited the Christian scriptures during a suicide prevention seminar at the University of North Georgia.

The most recent example involves Lt. Cmdr. Wes Modder, a decorated chaplain of the Base Chapel Naval Weapons Station at Joint Base in South Carolina. Modder was removed from his unit after several of his fellow service members in the Navy complained about his views on homosexuality and sexual relationships outside of marriage.

Among the allegations, the Navy wrote in a Feb. 17 “Detachment for Cause” that Modder told students, “homosexuality was wrong,” insinuated that he had the ability “to ‘save’ gay people,” and “berated a pregnant student for becoming pregnant while not married.”

The Navy contends that Modder “failed to show tolerance” and that on multiple occasions, “he discriminated against students who were of different faiths and backgrounds.”

But others argue that the military is being intolerant of Modder’s beliefs.

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the only U.S. congressman to also serve as an Air Force Reserve chaplain, believes the military has gone too far in punishing Modder and others like him.

“It’s First Amendment rights for a reason,” Collins told The Daily Signal in an exclusive interview. “Not because you agree with it.”

Last week, Collins, along with 34 other members of Congress, came to Modder’s defense in a letter demanding that the Navy “provide information on the nature of the accusations and investigations” and “confirmation as to what steps the Navy is taking to reinforce the policies and protections in place for service members and chaplains to freely exercise their religiously-informed beliefs.”

Though Collins contends that chaplains have a responsibility to “self-monitor” their language, the congressman also says that Modder’s beliefs shouldn’t come as a surprise to those seeking his counsel.

“He’s not going to give an atheist perspective if he has a cross on his uniform,” Collins said. “That’s just not going to happen and it shouldn’t be expected to happen.”

Former Army Capt. Jason Torpy, president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, a non-profit organization representing “atheists and humanists in the military,” has been an outspoken critic of Modder’s case.

He said that while a chaplain “shouldn’t have to advocate for somebody else’s beliefs,” they are required to serve in a pluralistic religious environment.

“Nobody’s expecting them to come in and say, ‘Hey, being gay is awesome.’” Instead, Torpy said:

Have a civil, compassionate and professional discussion using all of the professional chaplain skills that you have. That’s the reasonable expectation. It’s unreasonable for people to browbeat people or belittle them in any context.

Collins, who served a tour in Iraq as a military chaplain, believes that Modder and others like him are being used to send a “chilling effect” throughout the military.

“They’re being told that they can’t say certain things, which are all founded within their faith tenets,” he said. “It’s been very disturbing to me.”

Modder’s attorney, Michael Berry, director of military affairs for the Liberty Institute, maintains that chaplains have a legal right to cite their faith in official duty.

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision in City of Boerne v. Flores, which decided that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) only applies to the federal government, Congress included a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that incorporates RFRA’s strict scrutiny standard as the legal measure that the Defense Department must satisfy in order to deny religious accommodation requests.

“In other words, Congress directed the [Defense Department] to apply [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] to the military, which it did in January of 2014,” Berry said.

For the same reason, 20 states—including Indiana—have passed their own religious freedom laws.

“Congress made it very clear that service members do not lose their First Amendment religious liberty,” Berry said. “This means military commanders are going to have a much more difficult time justifying their hostility to religious freedom. It also means those commanders are often breaking the law when they discriminate against service members of faith.”

Torpy, on the other hand, maintains Modder has a right to those beliefs but a responsibility as a military chaplain to accommodate all.

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

Another one of Australia's charming multiculturalists



A SERIAL cop abuser caught three times in the space of as many months hurling vile, expletive-ridden and threatening abuse at police was given only a fine yesterday.

Rakeem Ebrahim, 19, called officers dogs, c**ts and homos before taunting them about having sex with their girlfriends, mothers and even their grandmothers.

Downing Centre Local Court heard his conviction for using offensive language and resisting an officer was his third conviction for abusing and intimidating police over a three-month period last year.

Ebrahim was contrite in court after pleading guilty to swearing but the Marayong man had a wide smile as he left burdened with only a $1000 fine.

The police union said the soft penalties for serial offenders like Ebrahim sapped the morale of officers.

The unprovoked abuse started when officers spoke to a group of 30 youths in Hyde Park at 2am on September 13 last year.

Despite being warned five times to stop swearing Ebrahim was unrelenting.  “If you didn’t have a badge I’d smash you…you homo c**t, I bet you suck cock... you don’t deserve my f**king respect you dog c**t,” he said.  “I f**ked your misses, she was good. “You’re all fucking dead dog c**ts.”

When he was separated from the group in a bid to calm him down the abuse continued.  “F**k off c**t I’m not going anywhere,” he said.

When officers tried to arrest him he swung his arms and tightened them to prevent being handcuffed. It took a short struggle before he was handcuffed.

His behaviour improved when he found himself in paddy wagon but the officers told the court he had continually ignored their instructions.

“The accused showed an absolute disregard for these actions,” court documents said.  “He immediately caught the attention of the police due to the extreme use of offensive language.”

Magistrate Graeme Curran said it was “appalling” and “disgraceful” behaviour.  “I’ve see some rough stuff but this is beyond the pale,” he said.

The court also heard Ebrahim had been on a good behaviour bond which had expired prior to yesterday’s conviction.

On September 25 last year he was placed on a six-month good behaviour bond and fined $500 for offensive language and resisting and intimidating a police officer at Marayong in June.

Three days before this conviction he was charged for intimidating an officer and using offensive language in George St, Sydney. He was fined $1500 on March 27.

Police Association President Scott Weber said the courts should come down harder on those who abuse police.

“This offender was showing off in front of his mates and shows a lack of respect for society,” he said.  “If he is saying this to an armed officer what do you think he will do to a family walking down the street?

“The judgement handed down for ongoing offenders does not match community expectation. There should be some restriction on their behaviour as they are likely to do it again.

“Police use a lot of discretion and should not be abused for performing their role.”

SOURCE






UK: Criminal record checks BANNED on foreign murderers and rapists who want to be minicab drivers

Asylum seekers and refugees applying to be minicab drivers are exempt from criminal records checks, potentially allowing murderers and rapists to get behind the wheel.

Rules laid down by Transport for London (TfL) mean refugees and those applying for asylum do not have to reveal whether they have a criminal history when trying to become a cab driver.

The legal loophole in an official application document on 'private hire driver licensing' says people coming to Britain will not be required to have their criminal convictions checked.

Asylum seekers and refugees applying to be minicab drivers are exempt from criminal records checks (file picture)    +2
Asylum seekers and refugees applying to be minicab drivers are exempt from criminal records checks (file picture)

The form, seen by the Daily Express, states: 'With regards to overseas criminal records checks, no such checks will be made in respect of those applicants who declare that they are in possession of or who have applied for refugee or asylum status.'

Everyone else who applies for a cab licence must undergo criminal records checks. Those from outside the EU who have spent more than three months abroad over the last three years have to provide a 'letter of good conduct' from their home country.

This usually requires their country of origin to give a reference to the Home Office, revealing whether the applicant has a criminal history. But asylum seekers and refugees are exempt from this too, according to a second document.

A TfL guide on taxi and private hire applications states: 'Any applicant who has been granted or is awaiting a decision to be granted asylum/refugee status will not be required to produce a Certificate of Good Conduct from the country he is claiming asylum from.'

Campaigners called for a change in the guidelines, calling on all minicab drivers to undergo thorough criminal checks.

Tory MP Nick de Bois said: 'They should not be offering licences to those they can't check on. They could be putting vulnerable members of the public in the hands of thieves, murderers and rapists. It beggars belief.'

Helen Chapman, manager of London taxi and private hire at TfL, said: 'All applicants for a Taxi or Private Hire drivers licence are required to undertake an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check which is carried out by the Home Office.

'Any applicant that has lived in a country other than the UK for more than three months within the last three years is also required to produce a Certificate of Good Conduct from the relevant country.

'We recognise this may not be possible if an applicant is granted asylum or refugee status and, where applicable, these applicants will be required to provide a Certificate of Good Conduct from any other country of residence within the last three years. They will also be required to provide evidence of their Certificate of Registration or a letter from the Border and Immigration Agency.'

SOURCE






Six-month-old baby died with cocaine in her stomach despite parents being reported to social services five times

Another example of how British social workers harass middle class people over trivialities  while ignoring big problems among lower class people

A six-month-old baby died with traces of cocaine in her stomach despite her drug-user parents being reported to social services five times.

Small amounts of painkiller and anti-depressant drugs were also found in the infant, known as Mary, who died suddenly in 2013, after a lengthy stay in Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool.

Now a review released today has called for a host of lessons to be learned after several agencies fell short in sharing information that could have highlighted the baby's vulnerability.

According to a report, Mary's family, who lived in Liverpool, were well-known to social services and had been reported five times amid concerns of alcohol abuse, domestic violence and child neglect.

A school had also raised concerns about the way other children in the family were being brought up.

Mary was the youngest child in a family of four children born to a mother aged 30 and a father aged 33.

At the time of her death, her siblings were one, eight and 10.

Her parents came to the attention of social care unit Careline five times between 2008 and 2012.

Mary's siblings' school had already raised concerns that the two eldest children were overweight, staying off school and left to look after their baby brother while their parents stayed in bed.

Mary was born 12 weeks early at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in January 2013 and was diagnosed with a number of medical conditions, including a heart murmur.

She was kept in hospital for three months during which time there were 'several consecutive days' in which she had no contact with her parents.

After she was discharged from hospital and into her parents' care, a number of community nurse follow-up visits were scheduled.

But the nurse was unable to get access to the family despite visiting them three times in one week. A fourth visit was successful but later appointments were not kept.

A day before Mary died in July 2013, a health visitor went to the home but was stopped at the door.

A post-mortem revealed the presence 'at very low levels' of cocaine, tramadol and mirtazapine (an anti-depressant) in her stomach.

Police also found empty beer cans, drugs and a syringe on the premises and her mother admitted to the police that she used cocaine and cannabis in the home.

Because of a lack of evidence, a coroner ruled the cause of Mary’s death was 'unascertained' as it was ruled the traces of drugs, which could have come from the environment or through resuscitation attempts, were not considered to have directly led to her death.

The report said: 'Whilst agencies had some concerns about the older children, they generally worked to single rather than multi-agency agendas and processes.

'There was some evidence of good informal liaisons such as between the school and the education welfare officer, or the school and school nurse, but generally the level of inter-agency communication required to support a family with four children was not achieved.

'Child Mary was a vulnerable child and a discussion between health professionals may well have highlighted important information about [the mother’s] history of not engaging with health services in respect of her children and the shared information may have led to further action.'

But Liverpool Safeguarding Children Board, which compiled the independent report, said it was impossible to tell if the death of baby Mary – not her real name – could have been avoided.

Chairman Howard Cooper said: 'Predicting the likelihood of such an outcome for a vulnerable baby is difficult to achieve with any meaningful degree of accuracy.

'It cannot be inferred that child Mary’s death was preventable, but there are lessons to be learned for all the agencies involved with this family about multi-agency working.”

Mr Cooper said a number of recommendations had been made in the wake of the infant's death to improve working relationships between agencies tasked with supporting vulnerable children and their families.

The 10 findings made by the board included an assessment that the follow-up services by Mary’s hospital and community health services were “ineffective” for a vulnerable baby in the care of parents with a “very poor history of co-operation”.

The panel also criticised the lack of a multi-agency system for monitoring missed medical appointments, resulting in “potentially significant” signs of neglect being missed.

SOURCE






Where the right to speak is howled down

By Peter Baldwin, minister for higher education (1990-93) in the Hawke-Keating government

The University of Sydney is one of Australia’s most venerable higher education institutions. It should be a place where controversial issues are debated freely and openly with the contending sides able to present their cases without intimidation and harassment.

It should be governed by an administration that strongly affirms the importance of free debate and acts swiftly and decisively to protect it if it comes under threat. It should definitely not be a place where mob rule is allowed to prevail or where activist groups get to decide which viewpoints can be expressed.

Can that be said of Sydney University today? Based on an experience I had there recently, it would appear not.

On March 11 I attended a public meeting on the campus addressed by Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan. His talk was about the ethical dilemmas that faced military forces opposed by non-state groups.

Kemp was in Israel during the Gaza conflict in July-August last year, and he gave the Israel Defence Forces credit for their measures to minimise civilian cas­ualties during their operations. He found it difficult to envisage what more they could have done given the need to counter attacks deliberately launched from within densely populated areas. In saying this, he did not deny there were ser­ious errors and abuses by some IDF forces, including possible war crimes.

This, it seems, is sufficient to make him a pariah to some of Israel’s more extreme critics. Enough of a pariah to warrant silencing him wherever possible; and sad to say, today’s universities are places where this is possible.

Kemp was able to speak unimpeded for about 20 minutes, at which point 15 to 20 people pushed past a security guard and began loudly chanting “Richard Kemp you can’t hide, you support genocide”, led by a young woman with a megaphone set to maximum volume.

Kemp described the experience in these pages on March 17, so I won’t detail it all again. But at one point the lights went out, leaving some — including me — wondering what was to come next. It was a genuinely frightening experience; a systematic, planned attempt to wreck the meeting. The attempt to suppress speakers perceived as pro-Israeli on campus is part of a wider pattern at Australian universities and internationally spearheaded by supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign.

The young woman with the megaphone shouting down Kemp went on to defend the speech rights of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an extremist Islamist organisation that gained notoriety last year when its Australian spokesman pointedly and repeatedly refused during an ABC Lateline interview to condemn the tactics used by Islamic State (mass beheadings, crucifixions, selling women into slavery, and so on).

The clueless young woman with the megaphone shouted about Hibz ut-Tahrir’s opposition to US policy, but this group has a few other ideas such as the following reported in The Australian recently: “The top Australian cleric of extremist Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir has ramped up his hate speech in a rant referring to Jews as ‘the most evil creature of Allah’ who have ‘corrupted the world’ and will ‘pay for blood with blood’.”

In the latest tirade to surface, cleric Ismail al-Wahwah — representing an organisation whose stated aim is to take over the world — said recognising Jews constituted the “epitome of evil” because that would “strengthen the cancerous entity”.

The disrupters ludicrously charged Kemp with supporting genocide while they and the rest of the BDS brigade have nothing to say about the open and explicit support of genocide by Hamas, now part of a unity government with Fatah. The Hamas charter adopted in 1988 looks forward (in article seven) to exterminating every last Jew on earth and incorporating “every inch” of Palestine in an Islamic state. Hamas refuses to rescind this foul, evil document despite repeated calls to do so and, on the contrary, relentlessly promotes its genocidal goals in its propaganda and schools.

As someone affiliated with the Labor Left throughout my active political career I find this growing affinity between the far Left and the Islamists one of the strangest and most disconcerting developments of recent times.

The naivety is quite astounding. A quick Google search turned up an article by the megaphone woman on the website of the Trotskyist group Solidarity in which she extols workers’ control in, of all places, post-revolutionary Iran, where all the leftist groups instrumental in overthrowing the shah ruthlessly were crushed by the Khomeneists once they had fulfilled their “useful idiot” role. Some of the people she is defending would gladly stick her head and those of her Marxist colleagues on the end of a pike if they were ever to take over.

Two well-known pro-BDS aca­demics were present: Jake Lynch, director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Centre; and Nick Riemer, a senior lecturer in the English department. Both denied involvement in the disruption but loudly supported it once it began.

How do they justify this stance? They have both gone on the record.

Columnist Gerard Henderson raised the following question with Lynch: “Since you support disrupting the Kemp lecture, do you also think it would be acceptable to disrupt speakers hosted by your centre such as John Pilger and Hanan Ashrawi? If not, how do you justify the double standard?”

Lynch replied: “I would dispute the parallel with John Pilger or Hanan Ashrawi. I have never heard either of them deliver a speech that was disingenuous or deceitful in the way of the remarks by Colonel Kemp.”

Riemer gives a detailed defence of the disruption in a long article in the online journal New Matilda. This piece of casuistic nonsense is worth reading in full as it says volumes about the mentality that defenders of free speech on campus have to contend with these days.

Here is a sample of his “reasoning”: “Many left-wing people, I ­believe, would defend the proposition that protesters have the right to disrupt any kind of public speaker, but that only disruptions of certain public speakers are right.”

Applied to the present case, this means anyone has the right to disrupt a pro or an anti-IDF speaker, but only interruptions of pro-IDF speakers are actually ­justified.

In the first paragraph Riemer asserts a general “right to disrupt” any speaker. This cannot be squared with any reasonable understanding of the right to free speech, the whole point and effect of disruption being to prevent the effective exercise of the latter. Bear in mind that we are not talking about the kind of interjection familiar from parliamentary debates but the systematic drowning out of a speaker with a megaphone and sustained chanting. There was specific provision in the meeting format for questions and critique, but the goal of the disrupters was to censor, not challenge, what Kemp had to say.

Note the second paragraph where Riemer, like Lynch, justifies disrupting the expression of one side of the debate. How does he rationalise this? He asserts the rightness of disrupting speech that is “extreme” or “hateful” or, in an Aristotelian touch, “fails to promote human flourishing”.

To label Kemp’s lucid and well-reasoned presentation as hateful or extreme is just bizarre. As for the stuff about failing to promote human flourishing, perhaps Riem­er should consider that by turning Gaza into an armed camp, launching thousands of projectiles into Israel and pouring huge amounts of cement provided under aid programs into building a subterranean network of attack tunnels, Hamas and its supporters and apologists are failing to “promote human flourishing”.

Riemer goes on: “As such, his (Kemp’s) speech aims at the dismantling of the very democratic freedoms among Palestinians which commitment to the principle of free speech is supposed to embody.”

What “democratic freedoms” would those be? Is he familiar with the increasingly brutal crackdown on dissenters in the territory controlled by the Palestinian Author­ity, with dissidents jailed for long periods for “extending the tongue” against the authority? Or the vicious persecution of Christians, most of whom have now fled the territories? Or the far worse situation in Gaza where dissenters can expect a bullet in the head, where the death sentence is prescribed for homosexuality?

The only country in the region where any semblance of democratic freedoms exist is Israel, where the Arab-aligned parties emerged as the third largest force in the recent elections, where people of all faiths — and none — are safe, and where homosexuals can live free from fear.

Tel Aviv was named as the most popular gay tourist destination in the world recently. This was labelled “pinkwashing” by the BDS brigade, just a cunning Israeli plot to disguise their oppression of the Palestinians.

The intellectual arrogance of the campus BDS supporters, articulated by Lynch and Riemer, is quite astounding. No postmodern questioning of objective truth here; not only is the truth “out there” but Lynch and Riemer are in possession of it and are able to distinguish it from lies and deceit. No need to allow people to actually hear the contending cases presented fully and effectively, even in contexts such as the Kemp lecture where they can be challenged. Defend Israel in any respect and you are a warmonger, callously indifferent to the fate of oppressed people. You need to be silenced.

This is a truly sinister development, and one not confined to Australian universities. Jewish students at Sydney University with whom I corresponded report feeling increasingly insecure and fearful on campus. My sense is that increasingly anti-Zionism is a mask for occulted anti-Semitism.

Will the university administration, led by vice-chancellor Mich­ael Spence, act decisively to defend free speech on campus in response to this outrage? Time will tell, but at this stage the portents are not encouraging.

The university has engaged a firm of workplace lawyers to investigate the incident and the responsibility of individual staff and students and consider all “allegations and counter-allegations”. It is profoundly disappointing, however, that so far the vice-chancellor has not gone on the public record to say that what happened was completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in future.

There is absolutely no reason a clear statement of principle could not have been made right away. Does the vice-chancellor really need advice from a firm of workplace lawyers before doing this much? Of course decisions about individual culpability should be handled carefully, with those accused given an opportunity to respond to allegations.

Finally, I note a certain inconsistency in the university’s attention to procedural fairness.

In October last year Barry Spurr, a distinguished academic with a long association with the univer­sity, was suspended from his position and barred from the campus within a day following the disclosure of offensive language in some hacked private emails. He was subjected to this terrible public humiliation before being given any opportunity to give his defence that he was speaking in a joking or ironic voice.

No workplace lawyers to consider all sides before taking action in that case.

The common factor in these two incidents was the presence of chanting mobs of demonstrators, in one case silencing someone with whom they disagree, in the other demanding the peremptory sacking of an academic. In one case a panicked rush to action by the vice-chancellor, in the other a drawn-out process with all involved bound by strict confidentiality provisions — a procedural black hole.

It is hard to avoid the depressing conclusion that at Sydney University today mob rule works.

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

Cameron says Britain should 'feel proud that this is a Christian country' as he hails Church a 'living, active force for good'

David Cameron has called on people to 'feel proud to say this is a Christian country', in his annual Easter message.

As the election campaign slowed to mark the Easter weekend, the Prime Minister hailed the work of the Church and condemned the persecution of Christians following the massacre in Kenya.

Mr Cameron's praise for the Church comes after he criticised bishops for a controversial election letter calling for a 'fresh moral vision of the kind of country we want to be' which was widely seen as an attack on the Coalition's welfare cuts.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, has condemned certain welfare reforms as part of a series of interventions by church leaders raising concerns about the shape of the economy.

In his video message the Prime Minister, who has defended the right of the Church to intervene in political debate, said Easter was ' time to reflect on the part that Christianity plays in our national life'.

'The Church is not just a collection of beautiful old buildings; it is a living, active force doing great works across our country,' he said.

'When people are homeless, the Church is there with hot meals and shelter. When people are addicted or in debt; when people are suffering, or grieving - the Church is there.'

'Across Britain, Christians don't just talk about 'loving thy neighbour', they live it out ... in faith schools, in prisons, in community groups.

'And it's for all these reasons that we should feel proud to say: this is a Christian country.

'Yes, we are a nation that embraces, welcomes and accepts all faiths and none but we are still a Christian country.'

The PM, whose severely disabled son Ivan died in 2009, said that he knew ' from the most difficult times in my own life, that the kindness of the church can be a huge comfort'.

'We have a duty to speak out about the persecution of Christians around the world too,' Mr Cameron said.  'It is truly shocking to know that in 2015, there are still Christians being threatened, tortured - even killed - because of their faith...

'In the coming months, we must continue to speak as one voice for freedom of belief.

'So this Easter, we should keep in our thoughts all those Christians facing persecution abroad and give thanks for all those Christians who are making a real difference here at home.'

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said: ' While politicians in the UK are busy on the campaign trail, we must not forget the cruel and barbaric killings that took place in Kenya.

'The thoughts of people here are very much with the families and friends of the murdered students in Garissa University.'

Labour leader Ed Miliband said 'fear and uncertainty' were issues for Christians both in the UK and abroad.

'In the midst of the Easter celebrations our hearts go out to those who face difficult times both overseas and closer to home. My thoughts are particularly with Christians in Syria, Iraq and other countries where the church suffers terrible persecution,' he wrote in a post on Facebook.

'According to the International Society for Human Rights, Christians are the victims of 80% of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today. We must all do everything we can to speak out against this evil and work to alleviate the suffering of those who are persecuted simply for their creed.

'But we don't need to travel far to find families facing fear and uncertainty. Over two million children are now living in poverty in the UK. I have admiration for those church members and Christian charities that provide support and hope to those in need.

'Over the Easter weekend millions of Christians will attend Easter services and events up and down the country. Through such gatherings, the Church shares the story of the resurrection, and spreads the good news of Easter.

'In the months to come I hope that we will all stand up for justice, serve the most vulnerable and work to positively transform our communities together.'

SOURCE






UK: NO EASTER GREETING TO CHRISTIANS ON PRIME MINISTER'S WEBSITE

There was an official Easter message from the Office of the Prime Minister in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, and they were published for the whole world to see on the No10 website. But not this year.

The omission must be to do with the election campaign, people speculated. Parliament was dissolved on 30th March, so perhaps Government websites reflect the fact that there are no longer any MPs and all parliamentary business has ceased. Except that, constitutionally, the Government does not resign when Parliament is dissolved: the Prime Minister is appointed by the Queen, and all Ministers of State are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister. Ergo the Government remains in office until the result of the General Election is known and a new administration is formed.

Which is why the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister published Nick Clegg’s Easter message (on 2nd April), in which, despite being an atheist, he affirmed: “What it celebrates is the moving and powerful story of Jesus’s sacrifice and resurrection.” And it is also why the FCO published the Foreign Secretary’s Easter message (on 3rd April), in which he appealed: “My hope is that all those facing discrimination, persecution and violence because of their faith – particularly in the Middle East, the cradle of Christianity – have a peaceful Easter.”

But throughout the Easter period (and at the time of writing), the Office of the Prime Minister displayed a few humdrum statements, namely about a phone call with President Obama and another with Sultan Qaboos of Oman.

And there is the Prime Minister’s Passover greeting to Britain’s Jews, which was issued on 2nd April (the same day as the Deputy Prime Minister’s Easter greeting).

Funny, isn’t it? The No10 website carries prominent and very prompt (if not advanced) greetings to Jews during Passover, Rosh Hashanah and other holy festivals. And the Prime Minister never fails to wish Muslims well during Ramadan and Eid (both of them). There are effusive announcements about Vaisakhi and fulsome statements about Diwali to embrace Sikhs and Hindus. But nothing this year for Christians about Easter.

It is all the more peculiar because it isn’t as if the Prime Minister hasn’t gone to the trouble of recording one, and it has been tweeted out by the official No10 Twitter account and published on YouTube. “My video message on the importance of Christianity in our national life,” he says..

But, unlike Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Eid (both of them), Vaisakhi and Diwali, the most important festival in the Christian calendar is not apparently so important as to merit publication and dissemination on the official 10 Downing Street website.

Why would David Cameron restrict his Easter greeting to Christians on Twitter? Only 12,490 have viewed that video (it will doubtless climb today). Judging by the Eid-al-Fitr video (currently on 33,994), this increases (at least) three-fold when promoted by the Office of the Prime Minister (ignoring the relative demographic variations in numerical faith adherence, which is obviously a key variable).

Why would David Cameron issue a (bizarre) Easter greeting via Premier Christianity magazine (which doesn’t mention Jesus or the Resurrection, and takes a gratuitous swipe at the Church of England); and another through the Conservative Christian Fellowship (which at least mentions Jesus [though not Resurrection] and is crafted in slightly more orthodox terms for its target audience [there is, after all, an election looming]), but fail to publish his official Easter greeting to all of Britain’s Christians (and, indeed, to all the world’s Christians, especially those throughout the Middle East and parts of Africa) on the official 10 Downing Street website?

It’s not because he doesn’t believe it all, is it? “Easter is all about remembering the importance of change, responsibility, and doing the right thing for the good of our children. And today, that message matters more than ever,” he observes rather prosaically in that Premier Christianity article. But the lack of belief in the Resurrection of Christ doesn’t stop Nick Clegg talking about it. These are politicians, after all. So why no timely Easter greeting on the Downing Street website? Sabbath adherence? A nod to the atheist/humanist/secularist vote? Mere oversight? It may be a mystery for the ages.

SOURCE






$828,000 raised for Indiana pizzeria that said it won't cater gay weddings

A fundraiser for the owners of an Indiana pizzeria that became the target of widespread animosity after they said they wouldn't cater a same-sex wedding reception has collected more than $828,000 from anonymous donors.

A GoFundMe page started by a producer from The Blaze, a conservative news network founded by Glenn Beck, has drawn more than 28,500 donors.

"The intent was to help the family stave off the burdensome cost of having the media parked out front, activists tearing them down, and no customers coming in. Our goal was simply to help take one thing off this family's plate as the strangers sought to destroy them," wrote Lawrence Jones, a producer who works for Blaze personality Dana Loesch. "But other strangers came to the rescue and the total just keeps going up."

The Walkerton pizzeria was dragged to the center of a national debate over Indiana's Religous Freedom Restoration Act on Tuesday, when Crystal O'Connor told a local television reporter her family would refuse requests to cater a same-sex wedding reception because it conflicted with their faith.

The comments quickly gained national attention, as activists said the pizzeria highlighted concerns that Indiana's legislation allowed blanket protections for businesses that engaged in discriminatory practices.

Crystal's father, Kevin O'Connor, told The Times on Wednesday that he has no problem with same-sex couples, and had not sought to make a declaration that he wouldn't serve them. His daughter was simply responding to a television reporter's question, O'Connor said, and he had not been asked to cater a wedding before she made those comments.

“We service anyone. I don’t care who it is. I don’t care if they’re covered with tattoos, I don’t care if they got rings in their ears. I don’t care if they’re gay. The only thing I said was I cannot condone gay marriage," O'Connor, 61, had told The Times.

He expressed concerns that he might go out of business because of the comments, and later shut down the store after receiving threats, according to local media accounts.

Loesch interviewed the O'Connors earlier this week, and the GoFundMe page was started shortly after. She published a sarcastic blog post Friday dismissing the idea that the fundraising website was a cash-grab by the O'Connors or anyone else.

SOURCE






Indiana and Arkansas Concede to Politics in Religious Liberty Fight

State-level conservatives confronted with the sea of change that homosexual rights activists bring to society must choose between what is moral and what is political. Bowing to national pressure, the Indiana lawmaking machine weakened its Religious Freedom Restoration Act, essentially creating a protected class of “LGBT” people, writes Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson.

Similarly, Arkansas weakened its RFRA bill Thursday. Matt Lewis writes in The Telegraph, “[W]hile conservatives tend to view this as nothing more than a power grab by gay rights activists, others truly view this as a great civil rights cause. In their minds, protections allowing a devout believer to decline to photograph a gay wedding would be tantamount to Jim Crow laws where African-Americans were turned away at lunch counters.

While this analogy seems a stretch, the notion of comparing one’s own cause to the civil rights struggle is some mighty high moral ground to seize – and seize it they have.” Due to leftists' successful and emotionally evocative rhetoric, Republicans are stuck. Should they once again concede ground as the Left labels them bigots? Or do they stand firm to fight for Liberty? Lawmakers made their choice plain.

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

Gang of multiculturalists battered 81-year-old woman with metal bar as they ransacked her home



A gang of thugs who battered an 81-year-old woman with a metal bar as they ransacked her home were jailed for a total of 44 years.

Jermaine Kellman, 29, Marvin Sempler, 30, Clinton Jackson, 25, and Darren Lewis, 34, targeted the couple in their 80s after they were tipped off that money was kept in their home in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

Verna Fisher, then 81, awoke in total darkness in the early hours of 31 July last year confronted by four men wearing white balaclavas and gloves.

She tried to cry out for help, but Lewis had his hand clasped over her mouth while demanding money, the Old Bailey heard.

Mrs Fisher was thrown off the bed while the burglars took her purse containing £250 and a mobile phone from under her pillow.

But the men continued to demand more money before Lewis struck the pensioner twice with a metal bar, leaving her covered in blood, prosecutor Philip Evans said.

Her bed-ridden husband Mortimer, who was 85, was sleeping in another room and woke with a man standing over him, but was powerless to help his wife.

The couple were so traumatised by the terrifying ordeal that they had to leave their home.  Mrs Fisher now lives with her daughter, while Mr Fisher sadly passed away in October 2014.

There were gasps from the public gallery as Jackson was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment and brothers Kellman and Sempler were each handed 13-year jail terms. Lewis will be sentenced later this month.

Judge Steven Gullick said offences of violence committed at night in the homes of the elderly and vulnerable must be met with significant custodial sentences.

The court heard a cousin of Sempler and Kellman, who had worked for the Fishers as a cleaner, told the brothers that the couple kept cash in their home.

Lewis was the man brandishing an eight or nine inch metal bar as he demanded money off the petrified pensioner, the prosecutor said.

Mrs Fisher was then thrown off her bed and the gang found a purse, containing £250 and her bank cards, and a mobile phone under her pillow.

‘Lewis continued to demand money and to reinforce his demands struck her twice on the nose with the metal bar,’ Judge Gullick said.

He also demanded she give him the PIN number to her bank cards, the court heard.

‘Despite her ordeal Mrs Fisher had the presence of mind to give Lewis numbers to cards she knew were not in her purse,’ the judge added.

Kellman, of Wandsworth, southeast London; Sempler, of Lewisham, and Lewis, of Croydon pleaded guilty to a single count of aggravated burglary.  Jackson, of Norwood, south London, was convicted of the same offence following a trial at St Albans Crown Court.

SOURCE






I Oppose Gay Marriage. Should I Still Be Able to Get a Job?

A pizzeria in Indiana may go out of business because its owners told a local TV station they wouldn’t cater a gay wedding.

Amid the uproar over the state’s religious freedom law, Crystal O’Connor, owner of Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Ind., told a local ABC News affiliate, “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no.”

The owners were clear they serve LGBT customers outside of a gay wedding. “If a gay couple or a couple belonging to another religion came in to the restaurant to eat, they would never deny them service,” reported the ABC affiliate.

But that’s not good enough.

“Oh, and if you believe this review isn’t a review because I’ve never been to this pizzeria, I have been. We’ve all been. It was called Auschwitz,” wrote Lenore C. on Yelp.

“Die in a pizza fire, haters! If you’re going to hate, you don’t deserve love in any form. No love from your neighbors, your “god”, or my wallet. You don’t deserve to live in the united states, and you most certainly don’t deserve to own a business!” wrote A.R., also on Yelp.

Is this the path Americans—whether for or against legalizing gay marriage—want to go down?

Memories Pizza isn’t an isolated incident. Last year, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich was forced to step down, after a heated campaign against him because he had donated in support of California’s Proposition 8, which held that marriage was between a man and a woman. In January, Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was fired after an uproar over passages in his self-published book that denounced homosexual actions.

Neither Eich or Cochran was accused of discrimination against LGBT Americans. “I never saw any kind of behavior or attitude from him that was not in line with Mozilla’s values of inclusiveness,” said Mozilla executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker of Eich in 2014. Cochran told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution “city officials told him that their investigation showed ‘zero’ instances where he had discriminated against anybody as chief.”

But this isn’t about actual discrimination, apparently. It’s about demanding all Americans support gay marriage.

Yes, polling shows increased support for gay marriage in recent years. (Converts include President Obama. Why was it not bigoted to vote for him in 2008 again?) But polling also shows a significant chunk of Americans remain opposed. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released earlier this month showed about a third of Americans oppose gay marriage.

But this isn’t about the numbers. It’s about whether we want to exclude from jobs Americans—including yes, myself—who don’t support same-sex marriage. It’s about whether we want to force businesses to either support same-sex marriage or potentially face fines and/or being forced to shut down

According to a February poll, that’s not what most Americans want. Fifty-seven percent of Americans thought wedding-related businesses with religious concerns should be allowed to refuse providing service to same-sex couples, while 39 percent thought they shouldn’t.

Of course, Americans should be able to choose which businesses they patronize—and which they don’t. But do we really want to make supporting gay marriage a litmus test for every business owner and employee?

Do we really want to make Americans afraid to say they oppose same-sex marriage for fear it will lead to being fired or threatened?

The likely closing of Memories Pizza—although the over $150K raised for the O’Connors in fundraising site GoFundMe from supporters suggests they will have financial support for what they do next—isn’t a win for gay marriage advocates (some of whom believe in religious freedom for all Americans, including those who oppose same-sex marriage.) It’s a win for bullies—and for those who seek to impose their own beliefs on everyone else. And it’s a loss for the rest of us.

SOURCE






Ted Cruz’s Campaign Shows the Duplicity of the ‘Multicultural’ Left

Ted Cruz’s official campaign isn’t even two weeks old, and already it’s done the nation a favor—by highlighting the duplicity of the “multicultural” left and what it is really after.

Ever since Cruz announced his candidacy for president, “Latino leaders” have been stepping all over themselves to declare that not only does he not speak for Hispanics (something only they presumably do) but he’s not even a “legitimate” Hispanic.

All of which serves to pull the curtain back on multiculturalism: Defined by liberals, it’s a concept that exists solely to advance liberal objectives.

It’s not ancestry that makes one a member of a group but whether one adheres to the leftist worldview that created the group-identity mindset in the first place.

And it’s certainly not designed to serve the interests of the individual members of any group, beyond the “benefit” of fostering an “us vs. them” mentality. Thus, the dismissal of Cruz’s “Hispanicity.”

“Although Ted Cruz has a Latino name and immigration in his past, there the similarities between the Latino community and him end,” the co-directors of the Dream Act Coalition, Cesar Vargas and Erika Andiola, said.

Matt Barreto, founder of the leftist-leaning Latino Decisions polling group, took it a step further: “He is going to go after the vote of the people who don’t like Latinos—that’s his crowd, the anti-immigration crowd.”

Cruz, added Barreto, opposes illegal immigration and ObamaCare, and these positions make him a pariah among Hispanics.

And who can forget how former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said that he didn’t think Cruz should even “be defined as a Hispanic”?

Richardson, himself often identified in the media as “a leading Hispanic,” is Mexican on his mother’s side. Cruz is Cuban on his father’s. The Rev. Rafael Bienvenido Cruz was born in Matanzas, Cuba.

Far from running away from his father’s legacy, Cruz speaks often about Rafael’s experiences in Cuba, how he suffered imprisonment and torture there.

He also very often uses the Cuban Revolution as a cautionary tale for what could happen in this country if we adopt central planning.

And Cruz speaks about his father’s immigrant travails in this country—how he washed dishes and made his way, despite starting out with literally only a fistful of dollars.

Again, the senator makes full use of his father’s immigrant story as a parable that demonstrates the virtues of America.

Now, the Census Bureau is crystal clear in its definitions: “‘Hispanic or Latino’ refers to a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.”

As I and many others have long argued, “Hispanics,” like “Asians,” is a synthetically made ethnicity with little basis in reality, but this is what the definition is.

The problem for Ted Cruz is that his and Rafael’s story of endurance, assimilation and ultimate achievement gets it all backward—as far as the guardians of multiculturalism are concerned.

They don’t want immigrants, at least not immigrants as we’ve traditionally thought of them. What the multiculturalists want is something else altogether: They look at the same people and see instead minorities.

Minorities—a concept that came into vogue only in the 1970s—are different. They have grievances that come from “a history of past discrimination” and therefore require “remedies,” such as affirmative action and quotas.

Far from practices that instill pride in immigrant achievement or the country that made it possible, what results is a mindset that nurtures grievances and divides society.

Minorities take the nation from E Pluribus Unum to, in Mayor David Dinkins’ words, a Gorgeous Mosaic.

As John Fonte of the Hudson Institute put it a decade and a half ago, multiculturalism holds that for “subordinate” groups such as minorities to be empowered, it is “necessary first to delegitimize the dominant belief systems of the predominant groups and to create a ‘counter-hegemony’ (i.e., a new system of values for the subordinate groups).”

Multiculturalism is a handy way to make counter-hegemony succeed.

PayPal founder Peter Thiel, in his “The Diversity Myth” (written with David O. Sacks), called it a “word game” that has allowed radicals to succeed, where “an honest discussion would not lead to results that fit the desired agenda.”

Clearly, the Rev. Rafael Bienvenido Cruz and the son he raised would want no part of that. No wonder they find themselves kicked off the Hispanic island.

SOURCE





Devout Christian NHS worker launches appeal after being suspended for inviting a Muslim colleague to church

A devout Christian has launched an appeal against an employment tribunal which found she had ‘bullied’ a Muslim colleague by praying for her and inviting her to church.

Victoria Wasteney, 38, says she was branded a ‘religious nutcase’ when she was suspended from her job as a senior occupational therapist, after her colleague Enya Nawaz, then aged 25, accused her of trying to convert her to Christianity.

Her lawyers have now submitted a challenge to an employment tribunal, arguing that they broke the law by restricting her freedom of conscience and religion - enshrined in article nine of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Miss Wasteney, a born-again Christian, was working at the St John Howard Centre in Homerton, east London, when she became friendly with a junior colleague Miss Nawaz.

The two women had discussed Islam and Christianity, as well as the work done by her church at the Christian Revival Church in the O2 Arena in Greenwich against human trafficking.

When Miss Nawaz was upset about health problems, Miss Wasteney said she offered to pray for her – putting her hand on her knee and asking God for ‘peace and healing’.

She also invited her to church events and gave her colleague a book, I Dared To Call Him Father, about a Muslim woman who converts to Christianity, but denied she was trying to make Miss Nawaz convert.

Miss Nawaz went onto make a formal complaint, and the East London NHS Foundation Trust suspended Ms Wasteney on full pay from her £50,000-a-year job for nine months while they investigated in June 2013.

A disciplinary hearing upheld three complaints about the book, the invitation to attend church and Miss Wasteney’s offer to pray for Miss Nawaz, and gave her a written warning for misconduct.

She continues to work for the Trust, but not in her specialist field.

She launched her own employment tribunal against the NHS in January, saying she wanted to raise awareness about the increasing difficulties experienced by religious people in the workplace and claiming the organisation had failed to clear her of wrong doing because it would be 'politically incorrect' to find a Christian innocent.

Speaking in January to the Daily Mail Miss Wasteney said: 'I'm not anti-Muslim and I'm always very mindful to be sensitive to other people's beliefs.

 'We discussed our beliefs but I certainly didn't tell her that my way was the only way. I don't even believe it's possible to force someone to convert.

'But the way it was all handled left me looking like a religious nutcase and I would like an acknowledgement that there is a negative attitude towards Christianity in some areas of the public sector.'

The latest legal bid, she argues, will have implications for the right to express religious beliefs in the workplace.

Miss Wasteney will be represented in court by human rights barrister Paul Diamond, and her appeal is supported by the Christian Legal Centre, according to The Sunday Times.

Chief executive of the centre Andrea Williams told the paper: ‘Persecution starts with marginalisation.  ‘Where countries let go of a cohesive Christian world view you get chaos and marginalisation.  ‘We are letting go of what has given us our freedom.’

She added:'The tribunal found it was inappropriate for her to engage in prayers or give her colleague a book given her senior position.  'She is just an open, friendly, kind person and had a normal relationship with a colleague and there was nothing untoward.

'We are going to the Employment Appeals Tribunal and will be arguing that the ECHR enshrines the freedom to be able to speak about faith in the workplace and not be disciplined for it and have conversations with others. 'We lodged the papers on Thursday.

'The NHS is increasingly dominated by a suffocating liberal agenda that chooses to bend over backwards to accommodate certain beliefs but punishes the Christian.'

SOURCE

*************************

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

***************************





6 April, 2015

Victory for fox hunting after RSPCA abandons policy of 'pursuing pointless prosecutions' after collapse of latest case



The RSPCA is considering abandoning its controversial policy of 'pursuing pointless fox hunting prosecutions' after the collapse of the latest case.

The animal charity has no more legal actions left under the Hunting Act after its decision last month to drop the case against William Bryer, joint master of the renowned Cattistock Hunt in Dorset.

Following criticism for spending £22.5million pursuing animal welfare prosecutions last year, the RSPCA is now reviewing its policy on fox hunting cases.

The RSPCA has the power to bring its own prosecutions rather than rely on the police or the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

However last October, a report commissioned by the charity recommended abandoning the policy and leaving the job to the CPS, which has more expertise.

The organisation stressed that its main role is to focus on the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of animals, rather than taking people to court.

A spokesman said: 'One of the questions we are currently looking into it whether or not we continue to prosecute under the Hunting Act.'

Other hunts use an exemption that allows dogs to flush out the animals from woodland which can then be shot.

There were more than 400 prosecutions under the controversial Hunting Act between 2009 and 2013.

Just 49 people were charged with hunting offences in 2005, but this more than doubled to 110 by 2010.

However critics claim many of these people are prosecuted under the Hunting Act for poaching offences, rather than fox hunting, and that hardly any are from official hunts.

Last month Mr Bryer's case collapsed after the RSPCA pulled out of a three-year battle to prove he had broken hunting laws.

His solicitor, Jamie Foster, claimed that the case had been flawed from the start. He said: 'There is video footage of my client laying legal trails before and after the alleged breach of the hunting ban which was not disclosed to us by the RSPCA.'

He said the laying of a trail, or a scent which the hounds can track rather than chasing a live animal, showed that the Cattistock had behaved responsibly, not recklessly as the prosecution claimed.

Tim Bonner, from the Countryside Alliance, said: 'We would welcome any decision by the RSPCA to leave the question of prosecuting hunts to the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

'The Society has always faced a fundamental difficulty acting as a prosecutor while also being a political campaigning organisation. It can only be in the best interests of animal welfare that the RSPCA returns to its core principles rather than pursuing pointless prosecutions through the courts.'

An RSPCA spokesman said: 'Whilst we have not changed our policy on prosecuting alleged offences under the Hunting Act we don't have any other hunt cases pending at the moment.'

SOURCE






Sajid Javid: The 'cultural' problem among Asian Muslim men

Muslim communities in parts of Britain have a “cultural” problem that has allowed Asian men to view women as commodities to be abused, Sajid Javid, the Culture Secretary, has said.

Mr Javid told The Daily Telegraph that some of the values in certain communities were “totally unacceptable in British society” and must be discussed by the Government.

Mr Javid, the son of a Muslim bus driver, said a “misplaced sense of political correctness” prevented police and social workers from “properly investigating” claims of abuse.

His comments follow inquiries into sexual abuse by Asian men in Rochdale, Rotherham and Oxford. The scandals saw hundreds of vulnerable young girls fall into the hands of gangs because the authorities failed to protect them, often because police and social workers were fearful of being presented as racist.

Mr Javid said: “Well, first of all the perpetrators were disproportionately Asian Muslim men, and I absolutely think there has been a misplaced sense of political correctness that prevented authorities, whether social workers or police, from properly investigating what was going on.

Mr Javid, the Culture Secretary, with the portrait of Lady Thatcher that hangs in his office

“If we are to learn proper lessons from this, we have to look at the cultural side of some communities in Britain and see why it is that in some communities there are men that have a view of women that is completely unacceptable in modern British society; why do they have such a low value of women that they see them as commodities to be abused?”

The Culture Secretary, who is seen as a future leader of the Conservative Party, said the authorities had to “get to the bottom of this” and emphasised that “we have to look at the cultural aspects of it”. He urged communities to look into “what might be going on that we don’t know about”.

Mr Javid added: “We can no longer be held back in any sense by political correctness. I know plenty of people, British Muslims, men and women, who would 100 per cent agree with that, not only out of a sense of shame but also because of the fear of what else might be going on.

“Some of the values that certain people in some communities have, in their attitudes to women or on the question of freedom of expression, are just totally unacceptable in British society; and we do no one any favours when we don’t investigate or talk about them

SOURCE






Attacks on Muslims will become specific hate crime, say Tories

What about attacks BY Muslims?

Every police force in England and Wales will be required to record anti-Muslim hate crimes and treat them as seriously as anti-Semitic attacks if the Tories win the next General Election, Theresa May has announced.

In a move hailed by Islamic groups, Mrs May said that police will have to record Islamophobic attacks as a separate category, just as anti-Semitic crimes are recorded separately.

At present some forces, including London’s Metropolitan Police, do record Islamophobic crimes as such. Other forces categorise them as hate crimes or specific offences such as assault or grievous bodily harm.

The new requirement will create the first accurate picture of the extent of Islamophobic hate crimes in Britain.

Charities say there has been a steady rise of anti-Muslim hate crimes since 9/11.

But after incidents such as the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby outside Woolwich barracks in 2013 and the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January, there are spikes in incidents in the UK, say experts.

Mrs May made her pledge in a speech on counter-extremism to the Foundation for Peace in London just before Parliament was dissolved.

She told the conference: ‘We will require police forces to record anti-Muslim crimes as well as anti-Semitic crimes.’

On the same day, Mrs May answered a question from Labour MP Kate Green in Parliament, who asked what steps the Government was taking to record anti-Muslim hate crimes.

Mrs May said: ‘A Conservative government would require the police to be recording Muslim hate crime, anti-Muslim incidents, as well as anti-Semitic incidents.’

The Home Office does not publish national statistics for Islamophobic offences.

But in 2013-14, police recorded 44,480 hate crimes, an increase of five per cent over the same period the previous year across England and Wales. The vast majority – 37,484 – were race-hate crimes.

Tell Mama, a Government-backed Islamic group, said that more than half of all the victims (54 per cent) of Islamophobic incidents are women, perhaps because they ‘appear more Islamic’, wearing the burka or headscarf.

Tell Mama figures show that in the ten months after the Lee Rigby attack, a total of 734 incidents were reported to the organisation – an increase of 20 per cent on the same period the previous year.

The most serious incident is believed to be the frenzied knife attack on Saudi Arabian student Nahid Almanea, 31, in Colchester, Essex, in June last year.

Detectives believe she was attacked because she was wearing Islamic clothes. So far no one has been arrested for the murder.

Mohammed Amin, a patron of Tell Mama, said of Mrs May’s speech: ‘This is a positive step forward.’  The Muslim Council of Britain has also welcomed the proposal. Iqbal Sacranie, the group’s former Secretary-General, said: ‘This change will bring parity between Muslim and Jewish groups.’

SOURCE






Australia: Perth hospital to have Muslim prayer room but no Christian chapel

OUTRAGED church leaders are lobbying the State Government for a Christian chapel to be built at the new Perth Children’s Hospital, warning “we need to stand up for our beliefs”.

Six religious leaders, including former tennis great Margaret Court, have written to Health Minister Kim Hames, demanding he “reverse the decision” not to have a dedicated area for Christians to pray at the $1.2 billion hospital, which opens next year.

And Perth Anglican Archbishop Roger Herft has also written to Premier Colin Barnett about the need for a Christian chapel, likening a planned multi-faith centre to “an empty shell for people who are grasping for hope”.

Mrs Court, the senior pastor of the Victory Life Centre and the wife of former Liberal state president Barry Court, accused the State Government of “bowing” to the demands of minority groups by planning for a separate Muslim prayer area.

“It really saddened me when I found out. It’s not too late to change it,” she said. “We are a Judaeo Christian nation and I think we seem to always be bowing to minority groups and I think it’s very, very wrong.

“It’s very important that we do not lose our values or our standards and I think a lot of people, particularly in a children’s hospital... need somewhere to reach out to God.

“I think at all of our hospitals there need to be a Christian chapel or prayer room... if they want to have a prayer area for the Muslims that’s fine. But have one for the Christians.”

The latest WA report shows Christianity remains our most common religion (58 per cent), with other religions such as Buddhism (2.1 per cent), Islam (1.7 per cent) and Hinduism (0.9 per cent) on the rise.

A spokeswoman for the Child and Adolescent Health Service confirmed that there would be a dedicated Muslim prayer area within a “multi-faith centre” at the new hospital.

She said the same model operated at Princess Margaret Hospital, and a Christian chapel was located at nearby Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

“The multi-faith centre will incorporate a central worship area, featuring religious texts and/or iconology of significant faith traditions and a non-denominational book in which visitors can write their own prayers, surrounded by a private interview room, chaplaincy office and outdoor courtyard,” she said.

“There will also be also be a Muslim prayer area, separated from the central worship area by a fixed screen, and Islamic ablution facilities, within the PCH multi-faith centre.”

In their letter to the Government, church leaders said the multi-faith centre would “differ significantly to what is normally associated with a Christian chapel”.

“There will not be a cross or an open bible, paintings of other items that help create an atmosphere where people sense the presence of God and find comfort and strength,” they wrote.

Archbishop Herft said nurses and other medical staff from PMH had raised concerns with him that the new hospital would not have a dedicated Christian chapel.

He wrote to Mr Barnett in February but had not yet received a reply.  “I do believe there needs to a chapel with symbols of the Christian faith that patients, their families and staff can turn to in moments of suffering and pain,” he said.

Catholic Archbishop Timothy Costelloe said “to simply provide an empty room which has no real beauty, comfort or dignity to it, and no flexibility, would not respect the needs of people at what will often be difficult and lonely times for them in a hospital setting”.

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

Do video games make you SMARTER? Gamers found to learn more quickly than those who don't play

Another good answer to the "fears" of the pandering Baroness Greenfield

Playing video games makes you better at learning than non-gamers, a study has claimed.

Research found that gaming boosts the ability to learn a number of tasks more accurately, and possibly puts gamers in an 'expert category' of problem solving.

But the researchers note they are not quite sure if gaming makes people learn skills better - or if people who learn skills better are more likely to become gamers.

The research was carried out by scientists at Brown University in Rhode Island.

To conduct the study, the researchers pitted nine frequent gamers against a control group of nine people who game rarely, if ever.

They participated in a two-day trial of visual task learning. In visual processing research this is a standard protocol called a ‘texture discrimination task.’

Prior studies have shown that people can be trained to improve their performance in the task, but if they move on to a second task too quickly, it can interfere with the learning process.

The researchers wanted to find out if gamers could overcome this interference better, compared to non-gamers.

And the results showed that gamers managed to improve performance on both tasks, while non-gamers did what was expected.

That is, they improved on the second task they trained on, but not on the first. Learning the second task interfered with learning the first.

The data show that gamers on average improved their combination of speed and accuracy by about 15 per cent on their second task and about 11 per cent on their first task.

Non-gamers produced the same average 15 per cent improvement on their second task, but they actually got a bit worse on the first task they learned, by about 5 per cent.

Despite the small number of participants, the results proved statistically significant.

‘When we study perceptual learning we usually exclude people who have tons of video game playing time because they seem to have different visual processing. They are quicker and more accurate,' said senior author Dr Yuka Sasaki, associate professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences at Brown University.

‘But they may be in an expert category of visual processing.

‘We sometimes see that an expert athlete can learn movements very quickly and accurately and a musician can play the piano at the very first sight of the notes very elegantly, so maybe the learning process is also different.

‘Maybe they can learn more efficiently and quickly as a result of training.’

The exact neural mechanisms underlying visual or perceptual learning are not yet known, Dr Sasaki said, but the study suggests that gamers may have a more efficient process for hardwiring their visual task learning than non-gamers.

‘It may be possible that the vast amount of visual training frequent gamers receive over the years could help contribute to honing consolidation mechanisms in the brain, especially for visually developed skills,’ the researchers wrote.

Being certain will require more research. Importantly, the study doesn't prove whether playing video games improves learning ability or whether people with an innate ability become gamers because they find gaming more rewarding.

The study also has a stark gender imbalance between the nearly all-male gamer group and the nearly all-female non-gamer group.

But the researchers could not find evidence in the literature for gender differences in perceptual learning that would make this disparity worrisome.

By documenting these and other apparent cognitive differences between gamers and non-gamers, the field is discovering that there is more to video games than merely passing the time, lead author and graduate student Aaron Berard said.

‘A lot of people still view video games as a time-wasting activity even though research is beginning to show their beneficial aspects,’ Mr Berard said.

‘If we can demonstrate that video games may actually improve some cognitive functioning, perhaps we, as a society, can embrace newer technology and media with positive application.’

SOURCE






What Jokes Are Too Insensitive?

Comedy Central hosted another one of its vicious and disgusting celebrity "roasts" on March 30, with Justin Bieber as the target. During the "pre-show" before the roast, unfunny comedian Jeff Ross arrived wearing a pope costume and accompanied by sexy "nuns" in black habits and fishnet stockings.

Red-carpet host Sarah Tiana introduced him as the "popemaster general" and gushed,"You look amazing. You're going to be hilarious." Ross replied, "Bless you, Sarah. Congratulations on all of your abortions."

The slaughter of innocent babies is hilarious, apparently. During the roast, rapper Snoop Dogg lashed out at Bieber. "Now when your mama was 17 years old and got pregnant, everybody told her to get an abortion, right? ... And they still trying to convince her right now." Comedian Natasha Leggero cracked that Bieber has "moves" because "he was in the womb dodging a coat hanger."

Question: If that isn't controversial — to say the least — what is?

Answer: Poking fun at transgenders.

On the iHeartRadio Music Awards that same evening, actor Jamie Foxx made fun of 65-year-old Olympics legend Bruce Jenner, who is reportedly pondering a "transition" away from his "assigned" maleness.

Jenner "will be here doing a his-and-hers duet by himself," Foxx announced while a photo of Jenner flashed behind him. "I'm just busting your balls while I still can."

Horrors. There is nothing the transgender lobby hates more than crotch jokes. Many prominent "trans women" show outrage and refuse to answer whether they have retained their male genitals.

A flood of social-media accusations of mean-spirited "transphobia" led to stories by CNN, MSNBC, TMZ, USA Today and others. The most amazing part was who was allowed to pose as guardians of civility. USA Today quoted a tweet from gay gossip columnist Perez Hilton: "Boo! Shame on you #iHeartAwards for allowing #iamjamiefoxx to be transphobic on national television! Those #BruceJenner jokes were wrong!"

This is the same Perez Hilton who ruined Miss America contestant Carrie Prejean for not "correctly" answering his endorse-gay-marriage demand during the pageant's question-and-answer routine on NBC and then called her a "dumb (B-word)." This is the same Perez Hilton best known for routinely drawing graffiti on photos on his blog: semen dripping out of the mouths of celebrities, both male and female.

Shame on anyone who thinks this pig has the right to pass judgment on anyone's civility.

Then came rapper Kanye West, whose wife, Kim Kardashian, is Jenner's stepdaughter.

"Kanye wants Jamie to publicly apologize to Bruce and his daughters," an insider explained to the gossip site HollywoodLife.com. "He's tight with Jamie, but taking jabs at Bruce's sexuality at an awards show, let alone one for kids, is just wrong. ... Really Kanye thinks Jamie made a fool of himself, more than a fool of Bruce."

So Kanye West — the jerk who said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people" in the middle of a Hurricane Katrina fundraiser on national TV — is now playing Miss Manners and insisting that someone else made a fool of himself on the boob tube.

Kanye West — the guy who raps that Jesus is the "most high," but he's a "close high." This is the guy who stopped a "song" at a concert in Australia to demand that everyone stand up, and those who didn't had to display a prosthetic limb and a wheelchair to prove they weren't showing disrespect to the rapper.

Jenner apparently demands nothing but respect. The pope invites ridicule. Abortion is funny. God help us. Our world is upside down.

SOURCE







'Let them bloody well go': Ukip candidate says British teenagers who want to join ISIS should be given FREE flights

British teenagers who want to join ISIS should be given free seats on flights to Iraq and Syria, a Ukip candidate has said.

Keith Fraser, who is standing in Hackney North and Stoke Newington, said money should be spent on chartering planes rather than trying to stop them fighting with extremists.

Around 600 Britons are believed to have fled to Syria including a group of three schoolgirls from east London.

Mr Fraser said: ‘We have many young people wanting to join up with their “brothers” in IS. Let them bloody well go.

‘Why are we concerned in wasting our time and resources in assuring these people don’t go to join?

‘Instead let’s find out who wants to go and we can then spend public money in chartering our own planes to take them there. We don’t need these traitors in our beloved country.

‘They can hand over their British passports on the way out and say don’t ever try and come back.’

The Ukip candidate, who currently works as a chartered surveyor, said that the extremists ‘have one aim to convert or murder all “non-believers”.’

He added: ‘They don’t like our freedom, want to destroy our way of life and will not rest until they fly their flag over our shores.’

Mr Fraser’s comments came as Nigel Farage revealed the party’s pledge card, which includes saying no to the EU, controlling the country's borders, an extra £3 billion for the NHS, cuts in foreign aid spending and no tax on the minimum wage.

At the launch in Westminster, the Ukip leader said it is now ‘a party of what modern Britain is’.

He said: ‘The thing about Ukip is we have become the most eclectic, diverse political party.

‘We've got all shades of opinion, we've got people from the left, people from the right, people of all ages, all classes, all races.’

Although the posters include a pledge to control the UK's borders, the word ‘immigration’ does not feature.

The leader was joined by Ukip MP Mark Reckless and other senior Ukip figures, but Clacton MP Douglas Carswell did not attend the event as he was campaigning in his constituency.

Mr Farage said a strong showing for Ukip at May's election could boost the calls for electoral reform, which in turn could make his eurosceptics a ‘big party in British politics’.

He said: ‘I've always thought there should be election reform but that is frankly irrelevant in the next 38 days.

‘Yes, this is very hard for us because you find good Ukip support in Labour constituencies and in Conservative constituencies.

‘Yes, that's a challenge but what we have to do is to get over the line in enough seats in this General Election campaign and then you'll see how many seats we've actually come second in, and you'll realise as part of a longer-term strategy this really could become a big party in British politics.’

On his quest to become an MP in South Thanet, Mr Farage said he was facing a ‘hell of a fight’.  He said: ‘There are easier seats I could have gone for. I am confident but certainly not complacent.’

Asked if his party could get into double figures for seats, he replied: ‘Of course we can.’

When questioned about the significance of the TV debate later this week, Mr Farage replied: ‘It is important for all of us, but yes the stakes are high.’

SOURCE






The amazing power of genetics -- as revealed by identical twins

Some find them unnerving and even slightly creepy while, to others, they are endearing, mysterious and charming. Whatever your view, one thing’s for certain: when it comes to twins, particularly identical ones, they are an endless source of fascination.

Yet, despite all this interest, the rest of us remain baffled, emotionally and scientifically, by the uncanny bonds identical twins share.

Having spent a year researching twins for my new novel, I have come to realise that we are only beginning to grasp how strange they truly are and quite why they have compelled us for thousands of years.

Take pre-colonial Brazilians, who thought twins were a product of adultery, resulting in the poor innocent mother often being executed for her supposed infidelity.

Some primitive African societies abhorred twins because of the way multiple births resemble an animal’s litter. It wasn’t uncommon for the unlucky children to be slaughtered and their mother exiled.

In Greek mythology, however, twins were believed to be the product of human intercourse with the gods, meaning they were sacred, while ancient Slavs maintained that twins shared one special soul.

Not all monozygotic twins (i.e. twins born from a single fertilised egg) are truly identical. Some are ‘mirror image’ twins.

This means that in one twin the hair might swirl clockwise, in the other twin it will swirl anticlockwise — but it will swirl in exactly the same way. For one twin, the left side of the mouth might curve upwards; in the other twin, the right side of the mouth has precisely the same curve.

This peculiar ‘looking-glass effect’ extends to the positioning of internal organs. But many identicals are truly identical in ways we are still uncovering.

Obviously, identical twins share facial characteristics and body shape. But they also share virtually identical DNA, meaning they are more closely related to each other than to anyone else, including their parents or their own children.

A daring £5 million jewel heist was carried out at a Berlin department store in 2009. Closed-circuit TV showed one of three masked man removing a glove at the scene, which the police later recovered. The glove provided DNA evidence traced to identical twin brothers. But with no way of pinning it on one brother, both were acquitted.

Identicals also share the same blood group, the same hormones, the same serum proteins; they are alike in heart rate, blood pressure, brain waves, respiratory rate and digestive process.

Parents often refuse, believing they will be able to distinguish their twins as they age (not least, by dressing them differently).

This, however, can be a mistake because twins can grow more identical over time (as their identical DNA asserts itself, following different levels of nourishment in the womb).

And twins often end up being dressed in exactly the same clothes anyway, lest one become jealous of the other getting ‘better’ treatment.

Here, we enter the peculiar world of twin psychology.

Over recent decades, scientists such as Thomas Bouchard, of the Minnesota Centre For Twin And Family Research, have analysed the personalities of twins and discovered seriously uncanny facts. Take the classic example of twins separated at birth. The extent to which they can echo each other in later life is breathtaking.

One of my favourite cases is the separated twins who discovered, when reunited, that they both entered the sea on beach holidays by wading backwards up to their knees.

Probably the most famous case of eerie identicality is that of Jim Lewis and Jim Springer. These identical American twins were separated when four weeks old, and adopted by different families in Ohio.

When reunited at the age of 39, in 1979, they discovered that both of them suffered from tension headaches, both had worked as sheriff’s deputies and both smoked Salem cigarettes.

They also drove exactly the same kind of car and both enjoyed woodworking in the garage.

Both had been named James by their respective adoptive parents, and both had married twice — first to women named Linda, then to women called Betty. Both had produced sons named James Allan. Both had at one time owned dogs named Toy. And they both took their holidays at the very same beach in Florida.

Some parents of twins have reported their children having identical dreams. Others recount twins suffering pains, in the same part of the body, when only one of them is hurt.

Doctors who observe twins in the womb have watched identicals do a strange kind of matching twin dance: the fetal twins come close to each other, face to face, then one of the twins makes a circle, and the other does the very same. It as if they are, in utero, telepathically aware of each other’s movements.

Even in death, twins share an incredible bond. A prime, if rather dark, example is the 72?year?old brothers in Finland. In 2002, they were killed on their bicycles on the same road in Northern Finland in two accidents, two hours apart.

When one twin survives the death of another, they likewise possess an oddness which startles. Author Joan Woodward, in her 2009 study of twin bereavement, reported several striking examples of twins’ reactions when one of them dies.

Some young twins simply do not believe the death, and continue to act as if the lost twin is alive, talking to the dead sibling at breakfast, in a shared twin language, for instance.

Other infant twins seem painfully confused as to whether their twin is really gone, because they keep seeing the living image of their dead sibling in the mirror or in a reflecting window; when they see themselves, they see the sibling.

By contrast, a few bereaved twin children deliberately seek out mirrors in order to reassure themselves their dead twin lives on. They want to see the living ghost.

Other twins react differently still. Woodward records how some, following the death of a co-twin, take over their lost sibling’s characteristics and behaviour, as if trying to make up for the loss by actually becoming the dead sibling.

One twin whose brother died at the age of 12 became so eerily like his dead sibling that his parents were convinced he had the ‘spirit of his brother within him’. Another female twin was so grief-stricken she took her dead sister’s name.

These strange reactions surrounding the deaths of identicals can have effects beyond the twins themselves.

During my research, I came across one wholly remarkable example of twin confusion, following a death. It happened in California in the Nineties (though the details and names have been protected by the authorities, for obvious reasons).

One day, driving off on holiday, the Andersons — father, mother and their identical twin daughters Samantha and Katie — had a terrible crash. An ambulance was called and the victims were cut from the car.

However, after reaching the hospital, Samantha soon died and Katie was left in a coma.

It was a horrific loss, but life had to go on. The family concentrated on helping the hospitalised Samantha get over the death of her twin.

A funeral for Katie was held. And yet, as her surviving daughter improved, mum Sally found it strange that Samantha behaved so much like her dead sister.

Finally, Sally studied her child’s birthmark very closely (the twins had similar but not identical birthmarks) and realised a terrible mistake had been made — Katie had survived and Samantha had died.

This realisation occurred two weeks after the accident. The Andersons had buried the ‘wrong’ daughter.

It was reading that extraordinary true-life story — and all these other facts — that gave me the idea for a thriller. What would happen if the Andersons’ experience was repeated, but the family only discovered their error a year later? What ghostly consequences might ensue?

Whatever the answer, one thing I know for sure is that twins will continue to fascinate us because they pose so many profound and unsettling questions.

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

Multicultural rapist who repeatedly attacked a 13-year-old girl and paid her £2 each time is jailed for 18 years



A sex attacker who repeatedly raped a 13-year-old was jailed for 18 years today.

Ghanaian Alex Baah, of south-east London, paid the girl £2 after each assault, the Old Bailey heard.

The 42-year-old raped the girl at an address near Croydon and sent her perverted text messages, the court was told.

The victim finally complained to police in August 2013 when she was aged 15.

Jobless Baah denied touching the girl and claimed she had planted evidence and stole his mobile to send the messages.

But the jury convicted him of five counts of rape committed between 2010 and 2013.

The jury failed to reach verdicts on a further two counts of raping the girl when she was eleven and those charges were dropped.

Judge Simon Farrell told the father-of-three his behaviour was ‘wicked'.  He said: ‘This was a terrible case. The damaged caused to this girl is incalculable.'  The judge added: ‘Rape of a child is a particularly serious offence and calls for severe punishment.’

The girl, who cannot be identified, told how Baah would give her money after he raped her.

After an attack in early August 2013, she turned up unexpectedly at her aunt’s house in floods of tears.  Her aunt said: ‘As soon as she arrived at my house she walked through the door and said: “He’s been touching me”.

‘I called her mother and she managed to get hold of her first but she was hysterical and wasn’t talking clearly. Then she showed me the text messages.'

Baah’s name had been was saved in the girl’s phone under ‘P****’, the court heard.

Traces of Baah’s DNA were found on the girl’s clothes during a medical examination after she alerted police.

Giving evidence Baah claimed: ‘I don’t know how it got there, but the only way I can think is she go to the bathroom and use it against me.’

He also tried to argue that text messages sent from his phone may have been an attempt to set him up.

Baah, of Plumstead, denied two counts of raping a child under the age of 13 and five counts of rape of the same victim between 2008 and 2013.

In addition to his jail term, the judge passed a sexual offences prevention order which bans Baah from wilfully being in the presence of a girl under the age of 16.

He waved at relatives in the public gallery as he was led to the cells.

SOURCE





Is social class important in Australia?

Prominent Australian novelist Tim Winton has a very long winded article in "The Monthly", Australia's premier Marxist magazine.  Marxists of course obsess about social class and that would seem to be why Winton appears in that magazine -- because his article is all about class.  Wordy as it is however, there is not much you can pin down in the article as a firm claim.  It is more a  collection of soliloquies and anecdotes.  I reproduce just his conclusion below as that seems to be as near he gets to saying something definite. My own investigations into social class were rather more numerate.

Winton concedes that  class has become much less important in recent decades but probably overestimates how important it used to be.  He sees his own emergence from a working class background in the '70s as a sort or rare good fortune.  It was not.  My days at university were a decade before his.  I was there in the '60s to his '70s and I had no barriers in my way at all.  I came from a background as least as working class as Winton's (my father was a red-headed lumberjack who liked a drink and was ready with his fists) but I was a beneficiary of the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme initiated by that great conservative Prime Minister, Robert Menzies.  That gave free university education plus a living allowance to the top third of High School graduates, reasonably regarded as the population slice most likely to be able to absorb a university education.  It was a lot more generous than the present HECS-HELP arrangements.

My studies were largely untroubled and I had a lot of fun as a conservative student activist.  Where most students were marching in anti-Vietnam demonstrations, I joined the army (Reserves).  I guess I was brought up in a psychogically healthier home than Winton was -- one that did not seethe with resentment of other people's good fortune -- which appears to be Winton's background, according to his account.

And after an interlude of just one year I went into academe, got tenure and stayed there until I retired.  Obviously I had the brains to do that but my point is that that was all it took.  Social class at no point entered into it.

In conclusion, I am amused that Winton is happy with his own lot and seems to have no resolve to do anything personally in aid of the poor.  He and I have that in common.  But he thinks that "something should be done" about the poor, while I think that nothing more can be. But his thinking gets acclaim while mine gets obloquy.  Fortunately not much bothers me.  I am pleased that a very great Rabbi agrees with me though.  See the Gospel of John 12:8


Where once Australia looked like a pyramid in terms of its social strata, with the working class as its broad base and ballast and the rich at the top, it’s come to resemble something of a misshapen diamond – wide in the middle – and that’s no bad thing in and of itself. I say that, of course, as a member of the emblematically widening middle. The problem is those Australians the middle has left behind without a glance.

At the bottom, of course, there are the poor, who make up almost 13 per cent of Australia’s population. The most visible of them will always be the welfare class: the sick, the addicted, the impaired and the unemployed, who only exist in the public mind as fodder for tabloid TV and the flagellants of brute radio. But if ever there was a truly “forgotten people” in our time it must be the working poor. These folk, the cleaners and carers and hospitality workers, excite no media outrage. They labour in the shadows in increasingly contingent working situations. Described as “casuals”, the only casual element of their existence is the attitude of the entities that employ them. Often on perpetual call or split shifts, their working lives are unstable. Many of them women, a significant proportion of them migrants, they have little bargaining power and low rates of union representation. As Helen Masterman-Smith and Barbara Pocock vividly document in their 2008 study, Living Low Paid, these people work in hospitals, supermarkets and five-star hotels. They mind the children of prosperous professional couples and wash their incontinent parents in care for an hourly rate most middle-class teenage babysitters can afford to turn their noses up at. It is upon these citizens’ low pay and insecurity that the prosperity of safer families is often built.

 For these vulnerable Australians, there is little mobility. And precious little of what mobility affords – namely, confidence. The cockiness that irritates the old middle class when they encounter fly-in, fly-out workers with their Holden SS utes and tatts and jetskis is rare among the labouring poor. For years I worked in a residential high-rise where the looks on people’s faces in the lifts and on the walkways ranged from wry resignation to unspeakable entrapment. Single mothers on shrinking benefits, injured workers on disability allowances, middle-aged people stocking supermarket shelves at night. Even the most functional and optimistic of them seemed tired. They were not exhausted from partying, from keeping up with all their dizzying choices; they were worn out from simply hanging on and making do. As an accidental tourist in their lives, I was struck by this weariness. And I felt awkward in their presence. Their faces and voices were completely familiar. They smelt like the people of my boyhood – fags, sugar and the beefy whiff of free-range armpit – but despite the cheerful, non-committal conversations we had on our slow ascents in the lift, I felt a distance that took many months to come to terms with. Like the expatriate whose view of home is largely antique, I was a class traveller who’d become a stranger to his own. For all my connection to family, for all the decades I’d spent in fishing towns among tradespeople and labourers, the working class I knew was no more. My new neighbours were living another life entirely.

The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman writes about the contrast between the “light, sprightly and volatile” working lives of mobile citizens at the top of society and those who are largely without choice and prospects. Comfortable, confident people, heirs of the new individualism, often view strangers in cohorts below them in astoundingly superficial terms, as if they have adopted a look, chosen an identity as they often do themselves, as if life were a largely sartorial affair. Faced with your own surfeit of choices, it’s easy to assume everyone has so many. The “liquid” elite understands exotic poverty – it rallies to it tearfully – but it often fails to recognise domestic hardship: poverty of choice, poverty born of constraint, the poverty that is working servitude or the bonded shame of unemployment. Despite the angelic appeal of market thinking, there is no gainsaying the correlation between success and certain family backgrounds, geographical locations, ethnicities and schools. Pretending otherwise isn’t simply dishonest, it’s morally corrosive.

The culture that formed me was poorer, flatter and probably fairer than the one I live in today. Class was more visible, less confusing, more honestly defined and clearly understood. And it was something you could discuss without feeling like a heretic. The decency of our society used to be the measure of its success. Such decency rescued many of us from over-determined lives. It was the moral force that eroded barriers between people, opened up pathways previously unimagined. Not only did it enlarge our personal imaginations but it also enhanced our collective experience. The new cultural confidence this reform produced prefigured the material prosperity we currently enjoy. It was government intervention as much as the so-called genius of the market that underpinned our current prosperity, and it amazes me how quickly we’ve let ourselves be persuaded otherwise.

I have no illusions about overcoming class distinctions completely. Nor am I discounting the role that character plays in an individual’s fortunes. But it disturbs me to see governments abandoning those at the bottom while pandering to the appetites of the comfortable. Under such conditions, what chance is there for the working poor to fight their way free to share in the spoils of our common wealth? No one’s talking ideology. There is no insurrection brewing. For many Australian families, a gap in the fence is all the revolution they require. But while business prospers from the increased casualisation of its workforce, and government continues to reward the insatiable middle, the prospects of help for the weakest and decency for all seem dim indeed.

SOURCE







The Fascist Left and Same-Sex Marriage

Last week, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a law with the same name as one signed on the federal level by President Bill Clinton in 1993, which was co-sponsored by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the presumptive next Senate minority leader. Naturally, Pence found himself on the wrong end of a partisan barrage from ABC News' George Stephanopoulos for signing that law the following Sunday. It sure is nice to be a Democrat.

What exactly does the law state? The Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana states that “a governmental entity may not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.” That rule does not apply only if the government’s action “is in furtherance of a compelling government interest” and is also “the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling government interest.” If government does act against someone in violation of that person’s religious principles, he or she can assert that violation “as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding.”

The law does not specifically single out same-sex marriage as an activity against which a religious person may discriminate, but it certainly holds out that possibility. Of course, that possibility is already inherent in a little concept we in the United States used to call freedom – freedom to choose how to conduct one’s business and freedom to practice one’s religion in one’s practice of business.

Under a philosophy of freedom, the market solves the general problem of private discrimination, because if one person decides to discriminate against Jews or blacks or gays, he or she loses money and is put out of business for his or her trouble. Nobody has the right, under a philosophy of freedom, to invoke the power of the government’s gun in order to force someone to provide a good or service.

That system is a heck of a lot safer for minorities than a system by which government regulates the proper conduct of voluntary activities. Black Americans should know that, given that Jim Crow was not merely a system of voluntary discrimination but a government-enforced set of regulations designed to ban voluntary transactions involving blacks. Gays, too, should understand that freedom is far preferable to government-enforced societal standards governing consenting transactions, given that government used to be utilized to discriminate openly against homosexual behavior.

But the left has rewritten the concept of freedom to mean “whatever the government allows you to do,” and leftists now insist that government cannot allow discrimination – unless, of course, the government is itself enforcing discrimination against religious Christians who don’t want to violate their belief in traditional marriage.

Same-sex marriage, it turns out, was never designed to grant legal benefits to same-sex couples. That could have been done under a regime of civil unions. Same-sex marriage was always designed to allow the government to have the power to cram down punishment on anyone who disobeys the government’s vision of the public good. One need not be an advocate of discrimination against gays to believe that government does not have the ability to enforce the prevailing social standards of the time in violation of individual rights. There are many situations in which advocates of freedom dislike particular exercises of that freedom but understand that government attacks on individual rights are far more threatening to the public good.

You do not have a right to my services; I have a right to provide my services to whomever I choose. If you believe that your interpretation of public good enables you to bring a gun to the party, you are a bully and a tyrant. So it is with the modern American left, to whom freedom now means only the freedom to do what it is the left wants you to do at point of gun.

SOURCE






Being raised by a lesbian and a bisexual ruined my life: Mary Portas claims motherhood’s better without men. But in this haunting account actress Hetty Baynes Russell disagrees

She nearly missed out on the chance of having an adoring father -- and nothing can replace that happy occurrence

Throughout my childhood it was a morning ritual. On waking, I would skip through to my parents’ bedroom and climb between the sheets for a cup of tea and some snuggles.

How lucky I was to know such consistent affection. While some of my friends struggled to forge a bond with their families, I took this easy intimacy for granted. To me it was entirely normal behaviour.

Only on closer inspection, and with the benefit of hindsight, I can now see this was anything but normal. For on the other side of the bed from my lovely Mummy was not my father, but Mary, my mother’s lover — a formidable and often frightening figure who was very much the ‘man of the house’.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say my mother was a lesbian, as she was completely mad about men too, but Mary completely captivated Mummy.

To this day, describing mother as bisexual — for that is clearly what she was — still makes me feel uncomfortable. This is not through some outdated prudishness: homosexuality, these days, is rightly accepted as natural and I am proud to count a number of gay people among my closest friends.

It is because, back in the 1950s, it was so far from the norm as to be scandalous. And despite spending my entire childhood living cheek-by-jowl with my mother and her lesbian lover, it was not until four decades later that the true exent of their relationship finally came out into the open.

And far from being a healthy, nurturing state of affairs, this arrangement — where I was caught in a destructive, triangular battle for my mother’s affection with another woman, while forced to watch helplessly as my father was emasculated and airbrushed from our lives — was simultaneously damaging and confusing.

Which is why, when I pick up the newspapers to read of retail guru Mary Portas, who has a two-year-old son with her wife Melanie Rickey, saying ‘motherhood is better without men’, my heart sinks. Those words could have come out of the mouths of either of my ‘two mothers’.

Of course, gay people can make fantastic parents. Indeed, who am I to say that an unconventional family unit cannot function effectively just because my own did not? Yet, has there ever been a point in history when parenthood was more bewildering?

With so many people vying for space and prominence within the family, I know, from experience, they can become hotbeds for resentment and jealousies which can cause irreparable, long-term damage to a child.

So how to explain the bizarre construct which passed for my family?

My mother, Margot, was a rare beauty who was never short of male attention.

By the time I came along, she had been married to my father, Leslie Baynes, a world-renowned aeronautical engineer, since the war. They had three girls and a boy before I appeared several years later.

Two years before I was born, my parents took out a lease on a beautiful country property with its own estate in a perfect little corner of Dorset. That was my home and, with eight years between myself and my closest sibling, I was effectively brought up there as an only child.

I adored my father, not that I saw a huge amount of him: he was hugely in demand and terribly busy, so he would be away during the week. But I would wait by the door every Friday, listening out for the sound of his car.

In his absence, another figure came to be of overbearing importance in my mother’s life. She was sculptor Mary Spencer Watson, raised on the same estate by her father, portrait painter George Spencer Watson RA, and named by my parents as my godmother.

I really cannot recall when the takeover happened, but happen it most surely did. For, as early as I can remember, Mary came to share my mother’s bed every night; Daddy had his own room. To my innocent mind, it had been like this for ever, and therefore was entirely normal.

At some point, so early in my life that I cannot remember it, she effectively took over as the man of the house, too.  Masculine to a fault, it was she who did all the odd jobs around the house and took charge of the discipline.

Daddy was sidelined and constantly humiliated, but bore the humiliation in silence. This was an era when same-sex relationships simply did not happen — not out in the open, at least.

Somehow, mostly out of shame, I suspect, my father managed to put up with this bizarre arrangement for the best part of a decade.

While I hung on my gentle, loving father’s every word, I never heard Mary or Mother utter a good word about him. Conflict was for ever bubbling under the surface.

I vividly recall the arguments between Daddy and Mary over who should carve the Sunday roast, for example. What better way to illustrate the power struggle that was happening, insidiuously, under the roof of our home? With my father increasingly absent (who can blame him) Mary became the parent who assumed the duty of driving me around the Dorset countryside for endless ballet lessons and competitions.

I had a ‘career childhood’. From an early age I showed a capacity to dance very well, and my mother’s dream (as well as mine) was that I would become the next Dame Margot Fonteyn. This meant rehearsing relentlessly, resulting in even less time spent with my father.

Then, when I was nine, Mary and Mother took me away from him altogether. I still remember looking out of the car window and seeing tears rolling down his kind, gentle face as we drove away to our new second home in Kingston upon Thames in Surrey — Mary, Mummy and me and three of my older siblings.

They said it was so I could be closer to the Royal Ballet School in Richmond, although I hadn’t even applied at that point, so I know that it was a flimsy excuse. From that point onwards, Mary’s principal role in my family was unquestioned. She and Mother were considered my parents by friends, and in my diaries I referred to them as M². Nobody questioned it, that was just the way it was.

Mary described us as ‘we three’. They held hands, kissed on the lips and behaved just like man and wife. When, confused, I asked where I had come from, my mother told me: ‘God and Mummy made you.’.

Daddy was airbrushed from history, in this as in all matters. Men, in general, were decried as useless, especially in the family context.

If you had asked me during my teens what I thought of the arrangement, I wouldn’t have missed a beat. I was not raised to question it — this was a normal, happy childhood, with the inevitable ups and downs, but plenty of love.

Only now I know it wasn’t.

The damage I had suffered only manifested itself when I was 15 and developed clinical depression and anorexia. From then on, it was a slow process of coming to terms with pain I had buried deep inside my troubled soul.  It was almost as if I carried their shame and acted it out in a self-destructive way.

In my twenties I cultivated an overtly heterosexual blonde bombshell image, and formed a string of inappropriate relationships with men.

I was attracted to father figures, eccentric geniuses, as a rule, and ended up marrying the legendary film director Ken Russell, who died in 2011.  Even more confusingly, Ken and Mary were physically very similar in stature and colouring. What does that say about me?

Yes, I was loved, but at what price? For while I have no doubt that Mary loved me — her maternal instincts outweighed her veneer of masculinity — there was also horrendous jealousy there, which frequently erupted into violence.

She was jealous of me for the same reason she deplored my father. I was the apple of my mother’s eye, and as such perceived as a threat. While Mummy always treated me like a little princess, inevitably my special position in her heart led to conflict with Mary.

She could be terrifying, on one occasion flying at a male suitor —who had taken a shine to my mother — with a carving knife (mercifully, he dodged out of the way in time).

After this incident, I returned home to find Mary on her knees, pleading with Mummy not to throw away what they had together. I was around ten at the time, and no idea what they were talking about.

Most of the time, however, I was on the receiving end of this kind of behaviour (though I must confess to fighting back as hard as my slight frame would allow).

When I was eight we went on a caravan holiday to Scotland. I stumbled into a heated discussion between Mummy and Mary, incurring my godmother’s displeasure. She pushed me backwards so violently I went hurtling through the air, landing outside the caravan, dropping three feet and landing flat on my back, winded and shaken.

A family member shot some footage on a cine-camera of that moment, and, after the holiday it was played backwards, as a comedy moment showing me leaping through the air to land on my feet in the caravan. Only there was nothing funny about what had happened, nothing funny at all.

On another occasion Mary locked me inside a hen house that had no windows when, in her view, I had been naughty.

Unconsciously, I struggled with Mary’s masculinity, which my childlike mind instinctively wanted to challenge. When I was eight or nine years old, I asked Mary what she wanted for Christmas. She asked for a hammer and chisel, so I bought her scented soap.  I so wanted her to be a woman for once.

In any dispute, I was always reminded of where my failings came from: my father.  ‘You’re a Baynes through and through,’ was Mary’s ultimate insult.

I, meanwhile, was denied the opportunity to grieve his loss from the family.

Never mentioned, except in ridicule, not considered necessary or even relevant, my whole relationship with my lovely father was effectively stolen from me.

We did manage to get the relationship back, many years later, when I was in my mid-20s. I was, by this time, in recovery from anorexia and building a successful career as an actress.

It was only then that my father finally told me that my mother and Mary were in a lesbian relationship.  Astonishing as it may sound, this came as a shock to me. It transpired that my father, devastated and furious that he had been ousted from his family, had threatened to reveal all in his divorce papers.

It was only a week before the case was due to go to court that he withdrew his papers, accepting Mummy’s version of events that he had ‘abandoned’ his own family.  He was, after all, a man of standing and the ensuing scandal could have ruined all of them — and he still cared deeply about my mother.

As it was, he ended up bankrupt and living in a shack by the sea. He was broken by the experience — not that I saw one iota of sympathy from Mummy or Mary. They simply dismissed him as being ‘weak’.

Following the revelation about their true relationship, I was desperate for answers. But when I confronted Mother and Mary they denied everything. They even went so far as to threaten to sue my father for defamation.

So, the lies, half-truths, confusion and damage were left to fester for many years to come.

My father died in 1989, but at least by then I had the comfort of being reconciled with him and back in regular contact.

Then I made the most shocking discovery of all. In discussion with my therapist I uncovered the repressed memory which went to explain so much about my emotional turmoil.

Amid huge upset, I suddenly remembered something I had witnessed at the age of four, when I stumbled across my mother and Mary being intimate together.

I cannot go into details — it is too upsetting — but I can vividly recall them sitting me down afterwards and saying how important it was that I should never mention what I had seen to anybody.

Mary finally admitted her relationship with my mother in 2006, shortly before her death.  By now my mother was deep in Alzheimer’s, and while she outlived her lover by a couple of years, she had long since retreated into a world of her own.

Mary told me of her chronic shame, and I did my best to reassure her: there was nothing wrong with their love — it was the lies and their cruel dismissal of my father that was the real problem.

It came as a relief to finally hear the real truth, but I can’t help wondering about the difference it would have made to all our lives if it had come out 20 years earlier.

Ken and I had one son together, Rex, now 22, before we split in 1999, and he is the light of my life. So it is not as if my own experiences put me off motherhood. I did, however, learn a lot of lessons about parenting the hard way.

I believe that if there is room for all parties involved to love each other unconditionally, then any family set-up can work.

But sometimes — frighteningly often, in fact — unconventional parental relationships end up being hotbeds of jealousy and confusion that are damaging to children.

That has been the problem for me all of my life: despite the enormous amount of privilege I enjoyed, it was a life of confusion and a lack of emotional security.

And that is why I was in therapy for so many years, trying to make sense of it all.

So by all means roll the dice, ladies and gentlemen, but don’t kid yourself about the fact you are taking a chance with an innocent life.

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

Multiculturalist caught on CCTV striking his partner 15 times 'like a human punchbag' in front of their young children
 



Jason Edwards, 36, cornered his partner in the lift at Westfield Shopping Centre in Shepherd’s Bush, west London, before launching an assault on her.

The attack, which lasted around two minutes, took place in front of the victim’s three children, who are all under the age of 13.

When the lift doors opened, Edwards was greeted by a security guard but managed to flee the scene before police arrived.

The victim, who has not been named but is from north west London, did not attend hospital following the attack and refused to press charges or inform the police of her partner’s identity.

However, an investigation was launched by detectives at the Community Safety Unit in Hammersmith and Fulham and Edwards was tracked down days later on February 16.

He admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm at magistrates’ court the following day and has now been jailed for two years at Isleworth Crown Court, Greater London.

Following his sentencing, detective sergeant Damian Ash, of the Metropolitan Police, said: ‘Shockingly, Edward’s attack has been compared to a boxer relentlessly cornering and punching his opponent on the ropes.

‘For nearly two minutes he struck his partner as if she was a human punch bag in front of her three children who were helpless to stop it.

‘Despite reluctance from the victim in revealing the identity of her partner and attacker, we were able to progress the investigation quickly using the CCTV and intelligence available to us’

He added: ‘This case is testimony to our commitment in bringing violent offenders to justice, whatever the circumstances are, even when there is no victim statement provided at court.’

SOURCE






Female venture capitalist loses Silicon Valley sex discrimination case

Jury says gender was not a substantial factor in Kleiner Perkins' decision not to promote Ellen Pao, in case that has gripped Silicon Valley

A female venture capitalist has lost a high-profile sex discrimination case that shined a spotlight on the "boys' club culture" of Silicon Valley.

Ellen Pao, who worked as a junior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, had accused her former employer of passing her over for the position of senior partner while her male colleagues were promoted.

After more than two days of deliberation, the jury of six women and six men on Friday found that Kleiner Perkins had not acted unfairly or unlawfully and that gender had not played a part in the company's decision not to promote her.

Ms Pao said she filed the case as she "wanted something to change" in the industry, where sexism has become so pervasive it has been likened to the Wall Street of the 1980s.

The 45-year-old told the San Francisco Superior Court how she was excluded from an all-male dinner with Al Gore, former US vice president, and felt “very uncomfortable” hearing male guests of the firm talking about pornography on a private jet.

She was given menial tasks to do that were below her pay grade, “in order to embarrass her”, her lawyers had argued.

She also testified that one male partner was “relentless” in his pursuit of her and cut her out of email chains and meetings when she ended the affair upon discovering he was married.

After the verdict, Ms Pao told the courthouse that people around the world had reached out to her and told her that they had stories similar to her own.  "If I've helped to level the playing field for women and minorities in venture capital, then the battle was worth it," she said.

The San Francisco Chronicle too was hopeful the case would spur change, writing in an op-ed: “Even in defeat, Pao’s courage in challenging the underside of Silicon Valley culture could help pave the way for a more enlightened era."

Ms Pao, a small-framed woman of 5'4", took to the stand in the last week of the month-long trial, cross-examined by the razor-tongued defence lawyer Lynne Hermle, and watched over by senior Kleiner Perkins management staff who had taken up most of the front-row seats.

She listened as she was told by one senior partner that it was “just not in her genetic makeup” to be an investor, while others accused her of being a liar, a money-grabber and a “chronic complainer”.

Her lawyer, Alan Exelrod, disagreed with their assessment. “Ms Pao generated more revenue for Kleiner Perkins than any of the men who were promoted in 2012,” he said in his closing arguments. “As of the decision to promote in 2012, Ellen Pao drove the returns. The men received the promotions.  "They ran Kleiner Perkins like a boys’ club," Mr Exelrod concluded.

Lynne Hermle, the lead lawyer for Kleiner Perkins, told jurors however that Ms Pao was never qualified, or cut out, to be a general partner in its funds.

Venture capital "is a very tough profession,” she said. “Few people do it, few people do it very well and very few people do it long term.”

Despite having won, the storied firm, which was an early investor in Google, Amazon and AOL among others, will be smarting from the very public scrutiny that could well harm the reputation it has spent the last 40 years building.

The case has gripped Silicon Valley - in part because of its rare insight into the cloak-and-dagger venture capital world, and in part due to the rarity of such gender discrimination cases making it this far in the legal system.

For the past four weeks, spectators and reporters alike have crowded into the small San Francisco courtroom to watch the David and Goliath battle play out. Even former Yahoo! president Sue Decker brought her daughter along to hear the case’s closing statements.

Ms Pao had become one of the only women in venture capital to publicly stand against the billionaire kingmakers of the startup world.

The loss will be felt by two other women who filed discrimination claims in recent weeks against Twitter and Facebook for their “tap-on the-shoulder” promotions practice they say favoured men.

The Pao lawsuit had also shined a light on the gross underrepresentation of women in the technology and investment sectors and had led some companies to re-examine their cultures and practices even before the verdict.

Freada Kapor Klein, a top diversity consultant, said she has recently been contacted by more than a dozen companies asking her how they can improve the environment for women.

“People understand that the issues raised in this trial are about company culture in general,” she said

SOURCE






AR: Senate panel backs “conscience protection” measure

 An effort to prevent Arkansas government from infringing on someone's religious beliefs was revived Tuesday, with a state Senate panel advancing a bill that critics have called a thinly veiled endorsement of discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The legislation approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee would ban state and local government from taking action that would burden someone's religious beliefs unless a "compelling governmental interest" is proven. The bill, if enacted, would strengthen any case of a person suing the government if that person could prove their religious beliefs were infringed upon. The Senate could take up the bill as soon as Wednesday.

The lawmaker behind the proposal said he didn't view the measure as anti-gay, and said it was aimed at giving Arkansans more protections for their religious beliefs and practices.

"It's pro-religion, the ability for someone to carry out their beliefs without the state bugging them about it," Republican Rep. Bob Ballinger of Hindsville told the panel. "That's what this is."

The legislation is patterned after the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states have similar laws and several states are currently considering them.

The same measure stalled before the panel last month on a 3-3 vote after retail giant Wal-Mart said the proposal sent the wrong message about its home state and Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he had reservations about the bill. The panel advanced the measure Tuesday on a 5-3 vote, with Democratic Sen. David Burnett joining the committee's four Republicans in support.

"This is a shameful outcome for a shameful bill," Kendra Johnson, the state director of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. "The fight now turns to the full Senate, where all fair-minded Arkansans must stand together to halt this destructive legislation that undermines the core values of this state."

Democratic Sen. Linda Chesterfield of Little Rock, who voted against the measure, called it "terrible."

"There is something very, very wrong when you allow religion to be the excuse for discrimination," Chesterfield said after the vote. "That is exactly what we've allowed here to happen."

The bill is another setback for gay rights groups, a month after Hutchinson allowed separate legislation to become law that bans local governments from expanding anti-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation or gender identity.

Hutchinson had expressed concerns about that bill infringing on local control, but allowed it to become law without his signature — a move governors have used to express displeasure with legislation without prompting a veto fight with lawmakers. It takes a simple majority to override a governor's veto in Arkansas.

The governor has stopped short of saying whether he'd sign the "conscience protection" measure if it reaches his desk. On Tuesday he said he supported changes made aimed at addressing his concerns about unintended consequences.

"I will continue to monitor any additional changes and how this proceeds through the legislative process," he said in a statement released by his office.

SOURCE

UPDATE:  The bill has been passed but was sent back for revision by Governor Asa Hutchinson.  He appears to have been freaked by the attacks on the Indiana bill.






Freedom of Speech and Tanya Cohen

by Sean Gabb

I have been directed to this article, published today: "Australia Must Have Zero Tolerance for Online Hatred", by Tanya Cohen of something called The Australian Independent Media Network. It is a very long article, and I will begin my response by quoting the passages I find most objectionable.

1. “…it’s just common sense that freedom of speech doesn’t give anyone the right to offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, vilify, incite hatred or violence, be impolite or uncivil, disrespect, oppose human rights, spread lies or misinformation, argue against the common good, or promote ideas which have no place in society. We all learned this in school, and it’s not something that’s even up for debate. Hate speech is not free speech….”

2. “…even right-wing libertarians were outraged that anyone would propose watering down laws against hate speech.”

3. “There are two sides to the free speech debate in Australia: the people who believe that all offensive or insulting speech should always be illegal (the vast majority of Australians), and the people who believe that only racial vilification or incitement to hatred should be illegal (the far-right, ultra-libertarian free speech fundamentalists).”

4. “You simply cannot call yourself a progressive in Australia unless you support the outlawing of all un-progressive speech. One of the most fundamental goals of the Australian progressive movement is ensuring that anyone who voices un-progressive ideas is aggressively prosecuted, and this is something that all Australian progressives firmly agree with.”

5. “What I propose is something called a Human Rights Online Act. This Act would not only make it a severe criminal offence on the federal level to publish, distribute, promote, or access hate speech online, but would also implement a federal Internet filtering system to protect Australians from being exposed to hate sites run out of the US. The Internet filter should block access to all hate sites, and anyone who tries to access any hate sites should be sent to gaol, much like people who access child pornography. In keeping with other human rights legislation in Australia – like the proposed Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill, which was unfortunately narrowly defeated by the efforts of the far-right – anyone accused of offending, insulting, humiliating, or intimidating other people should be required to prove their innocence or be declared guilty automatically, and this should also apply for anyone accused of publishing, distributing, promoting, or accessing online hatred. The principle of guilty until proven innocent is the only principle that really works when it comes to cracking down on hate speech….”

6. “Internet filtering should not just filter out hate speech. It should filter out anything that violates human rights and/or poses a danger to society. Our Australian Classification Board bans any film, video game, book, or other form of media if it offends against community standards, contains content harmful to society, or is demeaning to human dignity. If a book, film, or video game contains content that degrades human dignity, then it therefore constitutes a violation of human rights, since human dignity is a fundamental human right that all civilised governments are tasked with upholding.”

7. “All Australian websites should be required to register with the Australian Human Rights Commission in order to ensure strict compliance with human rights. If any websites contain content that opposes human rights, then they should be shut down immediately and their owners sent to gaol. In addition, all Australian websites should be required to promote human rights. Any website found to inadequately promote human rights should be shut down by the Australian Human Rights Commission, and the owner fined or sent to gaol.”


As I read through the article, I kept asking whether Miss Cohen really existed, or if this was a satire on the modern left. Quotation (4) – about banning anything “unprogressive” – does verge on the Swiftian. So does the indefinable but “fundamental” right to “dignity” that is given precedence over the traditional rights to freedom of speech and association and to the requirements of natural justice. Sadly, she does appear to exist, and this does appear to be an honest statement of what she believes.

This being so, you can take the quotations given above as part of her article’s refutation. Miss Cohen is calling for the censorship of any opinion that she and her friends find disagreeable. She wants to punish not only those who write and publish such things, but also those who read them. She believes in reversing the burden of proof, so that those accused of writing or publishing or reading shall be made to prove that they have not done as accused – to prove this out of their own resources against a prosecution with bottomless pockets and skilled lawyers. She also believes in licensing the media, so that disagreeable opinions will not be published.

There is nothing unusual about the substance of her demands. I first came across their like in the early 1980s, when I was at university. It struck me then as a scandalous misuse of words to make human rights of censorship and unlimited state power – me and the older lefties who had not caved in to the neo-Marxists. But that was then. We live today in a world captured and increasingly reshaped by Miss Cohen and her friends. All I find unusual now is the honesty of her demands. It may be that she really is a clever satirist. Or perhaps she is just stupid. But I am used to a more sophisticated defence of locking people away for their opinions, and without a fair trial.

I will deal with two of her specific claims. The first is that “right-wing libertarians” do not mind the banning of “hate speech.” The second is that “Hate speech is not free speech.”

I am undoubtedly a libertarian. I am probably a right-wing libertarian. I believe that people should, at the minimum, be free to say whatever they please about alleged matters of public fact. I am sceptical about the justice of the laws covering libel and confidentiality and copyright and official secrecy. But, so long as these are confined to achieving their traditionally stated ends, I will, for present purposes, leave them to one side. I will also leave aside photographic displays of sexual activity not limited to consenting adults. Yet, even at its minimal definition, the right to freedom of speech covers every class of utterance that Miss Cohen wants to censor. So far as libertarians, almost by definition, believe in freedom of speech, either she is mistaken about the meaning of libertarianism, or she is playing with the meaning of words.

I turn to her claim about the nature of “hate speech.” The term is designed to bring into mind ideas of inarticulate screams, or of simple orders to kill or to hurt. In fact, every act of “hate speech” I have seen punished or denounced has involved the same combination of propositions and inferences I see anywhere else.

Let us, for example, take these two cases:

1. Bearing in mind differences of population and wealth, the Great War was less destructive to England than the civil wars of the seventeenth century. Proportionately, fewer men were killed, and the economic costs were lower. Yet the physical effects of the civil wars drop out of view after 1660, and those of the Great War were a national obsession until 1939, and are now widely seen as the greatest single cause of our national decline. Therefore, anyone who accepts the consensus view of the Great War as a catastrophe is mistaking symptoms for causes. Whether or not going to war was an error, a fundamentally healthy nation could have shaken off the losses of the Somme and Passchendaele in a decade at most. That we did not indicates that there was already something wrong with us by 1914.

2. There are measurable differences between racial groups. Some of these are of intellectual capacity. Others are of propensity to crimes against life or property or both. Even otherwise, there are differences of outlook that show themselves in how the members of one group relate to each other and to members of other groups. These differences have been uncovered and confirmed by more than a century of research. They have also long been accepted as matters of common sense. Therefore, racially homogenous countries are well advised to keep out immigrants of other races. Where a country is already mixed, it makes sense to segregate each racial group so far as possible, and to govern each by different laws, or to apply the same laws with different effect to each group.

I give no opinion on the truth of these cases. The first I have just made up. The second I have distilled from my reading of various nationalist blogs and journals. Whether they are true is beside my present point. My point is that each case begins with factual claims, from which inferences are then drawn. If you disagree with either, it seems obvious to me that the proper mode of disagreement is to show that the factual claims are untrue, or that the inferences are not validly drawn. Calling in the police is at best unlikely to advance our understanding of the world.

I suppose Miss Cohen would argue that the first case, if accepted, will have no obvious effects on what is done in the present, but that the second, if accepted, will lead to ethnic cleansing or apartheid. She would infer from this that laws against advancing the second case are needed to stop a great evil from being committed.

I agree that, if we accept the racial nationalist case, difficult questions come onto the agenda. In the same way, however, if my gold crowns wear out this year, I shall not be able to afford a family holiday. The unpleasantness of the apodosis has no bearing on the truth of the protasis. Suppose the racial nationalists are right. Suppose that what they advocate is the lesser of evils in the long term. Or suppose that they are right in their factual claims, but that there are alternative and less alarming inferences to be drawn from these.  This would surely be worth knowing. I say that, once a case has been stated with any show of evidence, and certainly once it has gained any body of support, it needs to be contested in open debate, not silenced by the State.

Furthermore, where written arguments are concerned, readers are generally alone and have ample time to think before taking action. This must be considered a new intervening cause in any course that leads from the communication of ideas to actual violence. If Miss Cohen wanted laws against street agitators, she might have a case. Censoring the written word is plain suppression of debate.

The main focus of Miss Cohen’s article is on those who dissent from the present discourse on race and immigration. Looking at Quotation (6), though – “Internet filtering should not just filter out hate speech. It should filter out anything that violates human rights and/or poses a danger to society.” – we can see that she wants to shut down debate on every leftist claim. She would not allow any dissent on the nature and extent of climate change, or on what is happening in the Middle East – she is a pro-Palestinian, not that I think better or worse of her for this – or on how dangerous drinking and smoking are to health. Indeed, we seem to be at the beginning of a change in the consensus on diet and health. For about forty years, we have been told that fat is bad for us, and that we should eat a lot of carbohydrate. It may be that we are about to be told that fat is good for us, and that sugar is the main cause of obesity and diabetes. Had her proposed law been in place across the world, this debate would have been flattened by claims of “social danger.”

I could say more, but will not. I will conclude by suggesting that you should read Miss Cohen for yourself. You decide whether she is a satirist of genius, or an embarrassment to the modern left by virtue of her blundering honesty.

SOURCE

*************************

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, 2015

Indiana boycott urged after state passes 'anti-gay' law

It is not clear who exactly below is calling for a boycott but presumably they will all also be boycotting all Muslim countries.  Muslims execute homosexuals -- which seems rather worse than  refusing to bake cakes for them

Law that could make it easier for religious conservatives to refuse service to gay couples approved, sparking nationwide outrage
       
The Arkansas Senate overwhelmingly approved on Friday a Republican-backed bill whose authors say is intended to protect religious freedoms but critics contend could allow businesses to refuse service to gay people.

The Republican governor of Indiana signed into law a similar "religious freedom" bill on Thursday, prompting protests from human rights groups and criticism from some business leaders.

The bill advancing in the Republican-led Arkansas legislature says "governments should not substantially burden the free exercise of religion without compelling justification."

Supporters say a business should not be forced to, for example, cater a same-sex wedding if doing so would violate the religious beliefs of the owner.

The hashtag #boycottIndiana quickly became one of the most talked about topics on social media site Twitter.

Two of the most powerful companies in the United States, retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc, which has its home office in Arkansas, and technology giant Apple Inc have criticised the measure.

"We feel this legislation is counter to this core basic belief of respect for the individual and sends the wrong message about Arkansas, as well as the diverse environment which exists in the state," a Walmart spokesman said in a statement.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, referring to the measures in the two states, said in a tweet: "Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana's new law and calling on Arkansas Gov. to veto the similar HB1228."

The measure passed the Arkansas House in February by a comfortable margin and now goes back to it for consideration of amendments in the Senate version. Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, has said he would sign the measure into law.

A U.S. judge last year struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage but the decision has been put on hold pending appeals.

SOURCE






Pence: 'This Avalanche of Intolerance That's Been Poured on Our State Is Outrageous'

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) says his state has been hit by an "avalanche of intolerance" ever since he signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week.

"George, look, the issue here is, you know, is tolerance a two-way street or not?" Pence told ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday.

"I mean, you know, there's a lot of talk about tolerance in this country today having to do with people on the left. But here Indiana steps forward to protect the constitutional rights and privileges of freedom of religion for people of faith and families of faith in our state, and this avalanche of intolerance that's been poured on our state is just outrageous."

Pence said the bill he signed is not about discrimination, nor is it about disputes between individuals unless government action is involved. He said the law is intended to empower individuals (as well as churches and businesses) when they believe the government is trampling on their religious freedom by requiring them to do things they oppose on religious grounds.

Critics say the new law will sanction discrimination against homosexuals.

"The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into federal law by President Bill Clinton more than 20 years ago," Pence noted. "And it lays out a framework for ensuring that a very high level of scrutiny is given any time government action impinges on the religious liberty of any American."

Indiana is the 20th state to enact a law modeled after the federal legislation. Barack Obama voted for a similar law when he served in the Illinois State Senate.

Stephanopoulos asked Pence if the law will allow Christian florists who oppose same-sex marriage to refuse to serve homosexual couples, for example:

"George, the -- the question here is if the -- if there is a government action or a law that an individual believes impinges on their religious liberty, they have the opportunity to go to court, just as The Religious Freedom Restoration Act that Bill Clinton signed allowed them -- go to court and the court would evaluate the circumstance under the standards articulated in this Act.

"That's all it is. And when you see these headlines about -- about Indiana, a license to discriminate in Indiana and -- and -- it just -- I'm telling you, George, it is a red herring and I think it's deeply troubling to millions of Americans and -- and, frankly, people all across the state of Indiana who feel troubled about government overreach.

"This isn't about disputes between individuals, it's about government overreach. And I'm proud that Indiana stepped forward and I'm working -- I'm working hard to clarify this."

On Monday, Republican lawmakers in Indiana said they plan to add language to the  state law to clarify that it doesn't allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.

But neither Pence nor those Republican lawmakers support the inclusion of language making homosexuals a protected class under the state's civil rights laws.

SOURCE






A multicultural drug baron



A playboy drug baron who stashed an arsenal of guns and ammunition in a young mother's Honda Civic in exchange for letting her friend drive his Maserati has been jailed for 27 years.

Babs Arogundade, 28, who also owned a Bentley, lived a life of luxury and regularly splashed out thousands of pounds on champagne and expensive jewellery including diamond-encrusted Rolex watches.

However, his gangster lifestyle came to light when he was caught stashing lethal weapons in the boot of 27-year-old mother Bianca Willoughby's car in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.

Police found four shotguns, a loaded Smith and Wesson handgun and a Winchester rifle when they raided the vehicle during a surveillance operation focusing on Arogundade's criminal lifestyle.

His crimes were outlined at the Old Bailey on Friday, where he was convicted of conspiracy to supply drugs and possession of firearms.

The court heard how Arogundade often frequented expensive West End nightclubs and met Ms Willoughby two nights before he was caught in May 2013.

She is said to have agreed to help him with 'a favour' after she went to his home in St John's Wood, north west London, to ask for financial support for her business.

The 'favour' was to look after bags filled with the weapons in exchange for him allowing her friend to borrow his expensive Maserati for a wedding.

Prosecutor Tom Wilkins told the court about the operation on May 27, 2013, which led to the conviction of the 'charismatic gangster'.

He told the Old Bailey: 'Armed officers intercepted a blue Honda Civic parked in Hemel Hempstead and found Willoughby sitting in the driver's seat with her four-year-old son sitting next to her.

'Inside the boot was four shotguns, a hand gun and a rifle together with compatible ammunition.'

Arogundade was standing by the boot with a sports bag, the prosecutor said.

He added: 'The prosecution say he brought that bag and would have used it to take back whichever firearms he was going to select from Willoughby's car.'

The cache included a Smith and Wesson revolver containing one bullet, a Winchester rifle with seven rounds, a sawn off pump-action shotgun and three other shotguns with more than 300 shells.

Mr Wilkins said the stash could 'really only be described as an arsenal of guns and ammunition'.

SOURCE






Australia: NSW conservatives the big winner with Chinese voters after  Labor and unions ‘racist’ election campaign backfires

Leftists are racist or anti-racist as it suits them.  They have no lasting principles

LABOR and the unions’ “racist” campaign against Chinese investment in the state’s electricity network is being blamed for a swing towards the Liberal Party in seats such as Oatley, in Sydney’s southwest, that have substantial Chinese populations.

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey described the anti-Chinese scaremongering of Labor and the unions as “backdoor xenophobia”.

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union began TV ads last Monday warning that leasing 49 per cent of the electricity to a foreign country was “just not on”.

The union also said the NSW Treasurer Andrew Constance was having “secret” meetings with representatives of the Chinese government over the leasing plan.

Mr Hockey said yesterday the campaign against Chinese investment in the state’s publicly-owned poles and wires network was an example of “backdoor xenophobia that Australians hate”.

“There was an element of xenophobia and racism involved in the NSW Labor campaign that I have not seen in more than 20 years in politics,” Mr Hockey said.

“It was outrageous for a mainstream party to engage in the racism that the Labor Party engaged in.”

During the campaign, Opposition Leader Luke Foley said he did not trust the Foreign Investment Review Board to protect NSW residents in the event of a power sale to Chinese interests.

Mr Foley also said Chinese investment could present a security risk and claimed ASIO would be interested in it.

Despite the widespread ­opposition to Labor and the unions’ scaremongering, Mr Foley defended Labor’s campaign yesterday.

“My view is the very large swing to Labor – 9 per cent swing, a 14-seat lift – was based in part on the unpopularity of Mr Baird’s privatisation policy,” he said. “I also presented a swag of other policies to the electorate – positive plans.

“I said on day one I would lead a party of policies, never a mere party of protest, and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”

But senior Liberal sources said the strongest gains in Oatley were in booths with a high Chinese population.

A senior Liberal source said the union-Labor campaign had been grossly offensive to voters of Chinese descent.

“If you are Chinese, or of Chinese descent, a small business person, or a professional person in Oatley, and you saw that being played out, not only is it offensive culturally, and racially, but it is just stupid,” the source said.

But a Labor source claimed the anti-Chinese scare tactics did not affect the Oatley result, instead putting Mr Coure’s remarkable win down to the fact that he is a hugely popular local member.

“He was the only MP in focus groups that people could name,” the Labor Party source said yesterday. “He is extremely well-known and very popular.”

The electorate of Oatley in southern Sydney takes in the suburbs of Hurstville, Penshurst, Oatley and Mortdale.

With a swing of 3.1 per cent, it was one of five seats that swung towards the Liberals, the others being East Hills (0.8 per cent), Drummoyne (2.7 per cent), Seven Hills (0.6 per cent) and Parramatta (2.2 per cent).

SOURCE

*************************

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

***************************





HOME (Index page)

BIO for John Ray






(Isaiah 62:1)


Political correctness is Fascism pretending to be manners


Political Correctness is as big a threat to free speech as Communism and Fascism. All 3 were/are socialist.


Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves. Leftist motivations are fundamentally Fascist. They want to "fundamentally transform" the lives of their fellow citizens, which is as authoritarian as you can get. We saw where it led in Russia and China. The "compassion" that Leftists parade is just a cloak for their ghastly real motivations


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 children 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


What feminism has wrought:


Racial differences in temperament: Chinese are more passive even as little babies


The genetics of crime: I have been pointing out for some time the evidence that there is a substantial genetic element in criminality. Some people are born bad. See here, here and here, for instance"


Although I am an atheist, I have great respect for the wisdom of ancient times as collected in the Bible. And the command in Leviticus 20:13 that homosexuals should be put to death makes considerable sense to me. In an era when family values are under constant assault, such a return to the basics could be helpful. Nonetheless, I approve of St. Paul's advice in Romans chapter 1 that it is for God to punish them, not us. In secular terms, homosexuality between consenting adults in private should not be penalized but nor should it be promoted or praised. In Christian terms, "Gay pride" is of the Devil


The homosexuals of Gibeah set in train a series of events which brought down great wrath and destruction on their tribe. The tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out when it would not disown its homosexuals. Are we seeing a related process in the woes presently being experienced by the amoral Western world? Note that there was one Western country that was not affected by the global financial crisis and subsequently had no debt problems: Australia. In September 2012 the Australian federal parliament considered a bill to implement homosexual marriage. It was rejected by a large majority -- including members from both major political parties


Religion is deeply human. The recent discoveries at Gobekli Tepe suggest that it was religion not farming that gave birth to civilization. Early civilizations were at any rate all very religious. Atheism is mainly a very modern development and is even now very much a minority opinion


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.


"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)


So why do Leftists say "There is no such thing as right and wrong" when backed into a rhetorical corner? They say it because that is the predominant conclusion of analytic philosophers. And, as Keynes said: "Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”


Children are the best thing in life. See also here.


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."


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.


A modern feminist complains: "We are so far from “having it all” that “we barely even have a slice of the pie, which we probably baked ourselves while sobbing into the pastry at 4am”."


Patriotism does NOT in general go with hostilty towards others. See e.g. here and here and even here ("Ethnocentrism and Xenophobia: A Cross-Cultural Study" by anthropologist Elizabeth Cashdan. In Current Anthropology Vol. 42, No. 5, December 2001).



There really is an actress named Donna Air


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


"An objection I hear frequently is: ‘Why should we tolerate intolerance?’ The assumption is that tolerating views that you don’t agree with is like a gift, an act of kindness. It suggests we’re doing people a favour by tolerating their view. My argument is that tolerance is vital to us, to you and I, because it’s actually the presupposition of all our freedoms.

You cannot be free in any meaningful sense unless there is a recognition that we are free to act on our beliefs, we’re free to think what we want and express ourselves freely. Unless we have that freedom, all those other freedoms that we have on paper mean nothing" -- SOURCE


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


Even Mahatma Gandhi was profoundly unimpressed by Africans








Index page for this site


DETAILS OF REGULARLY UPDATED BLOGS BY JOHN RAY:

"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
Western Heart


BLOGS OCCASIONALLY UPDATED:

"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Recipes"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Coral reef compendium.
Queensland Police
Australian Police News
Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest
Dagmar Schellenberger


BLOGS NO LONGER BEING UPDATED

"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
OF INTEREST (2)
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues


There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)


Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following:
http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/42197/20121106-1520/jonjayray.comuv.com/


ALSO:

Mirror for this blog
Mirror for "Dissecting Leftism"
Longer Academic Papers
Johnray links
Academic home page
Academic Backup Page
General Backup
General Backup 2
Pictorial Home Page
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Rarely updated)



Selected reading

MONOGRAPH ON LEFTISM
CONSERVATISM AS HERESY
Rightism defined
Leftist Churches
Leftist Racism
Fascism is Leftist
Hitler a socialist
What are Leftists
Psychology of Left
Status Quo?
Leftism is authoritarian
James on Leftism
Irbe on Leftism
Beltt on Leftism

Critiques
Lakoff
Van Hiel
Sidanius
Kruglanski
Pyszczynski et al.