The creeping dictatorship of the Left...

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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.

The picture below is worth more than a 1,000 words ...... Better than long speeches. It shows some Middle-Eastern people walking to reach their final objective,to live in a European country, or migrate to America. In the photo, there are 7 men and 1 woman.up to this point – nothing special. But in observing a bit closer, you will notice that the woman has bare feet,accompanied by 3 children, and of the 3, she is carrying 2.There is the problem,none of the men are helping her,because in their culture the woman represents nothing.She is only good to be a slave to the men. Do you really believe that these particular individuals could integrate into our societies and countries and respect our customs and traditions ????

30 April, 2017

If Speech is Violent, What Next?

In the aftermath of the infamous Battle for Berkeley, the subsequent debacle surrounding Ann Coulter’s invitation to the University of California’s flagship campus, not to mention the attempted infidel-stoning of Charles Murray at Middlebury and the rioting that forced Heather Mac Donald to speak to a mostly empty room at Claremont McKenna College, defenders of this kind of campus illiberalism have taken to offering a single defense of this behavior. The argument, in sum, is the use of violent tactics is justified against certain types of speech, because those types of speech harm certain people and thus are inherently violent. In short, words we deem “hate speech” are violent, so why not use force to shut them down?

The key point has been made: the premise that speech is violence is not merely unsupportable at a philosophical level, but also at a practical one. It is an invitation not so much to the tragedy of totalitarian thought control as to simply a thoughtless, wordless, brainless farce.

Now, any number of sober commentators across the political spectrum have pointed out the alarming implications of this doctrine, which they characterize (correctly) as an invitation to totalitarianism. Thus, the most common response to the “speech is violent” canard appears to be an obsessive effort at proving that it isn’t true, and never will be true, because if it were true, it would be too horrible to think of the implications.

While I obviously appreciate these efforts at disproving this preposterous and poisonous notion of speech-as-violence, it seems to me they too often put those of us defending the old Western tradition of free speech on the back foot. If we are too afraid to go beyond refutation, we miss out on an entire class of arguments that could very easily make the speech-equals-violence idea unattractive not merely to those who already fear its implications, but even to some of those who might otherwise be open to it.

Only those of us on the Right can force the Left to confront the truly asinine consequences of this idea, because as of now, only we are capable of the kind of rigorous analysis that would reveal those consequences. One of the key weaknesses of the Left, especially in its modern form, is its utter incapacity for systemic thinking. After all, systems are cold and mean, and having to think in their terms often silences the “marginalized voices” of over-emotional intellectual weaklings. If you actually do apply the logic of a system to the argument that speech is violence, however, you run up against the fact that this doctrine not only prevents speech by politically disfavored groups: it arguably prevents speech altogether.

To demonstrate this, let us assume that certain forms of speech are, in fact, violent. If that is the case, then it would seem to follow that the principles our society uses to deal with physical violence should also be applicable to verbal violence.

One of those principles is the idea of proportionality, and of degrees of harm. For example, if someone pinches you, it’s generally considered a disproportionate response to cut off his arm in retaliation. Further, there are even extents to which the same violent act can be considered worse depending on the circumstances. Consider homicide. First degree murder isn’t just killing someone, it’s killing someone having planned it out in advance. Second degree murder, on the other hand, is just homicide that happens in the spur of the moment—a crime of passion. Manslaughter is homicide that happens in a situation you might not have intended to happen, strictly speaking, but which you should have known would happen, etc.

Given these facts about how society treats actual physical violence, it would seem we have to ask some uncomfortable questions if we choose to treat speech as a form of violence:

If certain types of speech are violence, are all types of speech proportional to each other? That is, is screaming the n-word at a black person a worse form of violent speech than quoting Charles Murray to them? If not, how do we figure out what a proportionate response is to being attacked with violent speech? What level of rhetorical violence is too much or too little? For that matter, what level of physical violence is too much or too little, and how do we analogize the degree of rhetorical harm to the degree of physical harm? Is quoting a Christina Hoff Sommers video equal to pinching someone? Throwing a punch? Murder

Relatedly, if we consider, say, racist speech to be de facto violent speech, then is there such a thing as first degree racism, second degree racism, or manslaughter-level racism? Would citing Richard Spencer approvingly, knowing what he believes, be first degree racism, as opposed to posting something he wrote without knowing who he is (which would be more like second degree murder or manslaughter)? If there are degrees of speech violence, then how do we determine the appropriate response to each? If there are not degrees, then do we default to the worst possible punishment or the least possible punishment for an offense? How do we determine what the worst possible punishment is?

How do we adjudicate the appropriate response to violent speech if the very act of debating guilt might itself be violent? How would even a universal SJW court manage sentencing if they couldn’t even talk about the deserved punishment without possibly engaging in negligent violence?

Alternately, since economics teaches us that cardinal utility is nonexistent, is it not possible that even speech most people consider to be harmless could end up being harmful to one specific person, and therefore be negligent violence? Could we be in a “Knights Who Say Ni” type situation where the word “it” harms someone? If so, what’s the point of talking at all, if you might inadvertently be guilty of something? Why not simply regress to grunting and pointing?

Actually, forget grunting and pointing, because while we’re on the subject, what constitutes speech? Do nonsense syllables count? Let’s say someone points at his penis when looking at a woman a certain way. Is this speech because she can infer the message, even if he never uttered a sound? If so, can we call gestures violent speech in some contexts? How do we know what they are, and how do we decide what they are, if (as already established) it might be too dangerous to talk?

What’s the point of communicating at all? There’s always the risk of assaulting someone without knowing it.

I gather there is no need to waste more words and thought on this endlessly escalating absurdity. The key point has been made: the premise that speech is violence is not merely unsupportable at a philosophical level, but also at a practical one. It is an invitation not so much to the tragedy of totalitarian thought control as to simply a thoughtless, wordless, brainless farce. It surely invites us to Hell, but the Hell involved is best described as some bleak combination of C.S. Lewis’ “grey town” with Tumblr: a universe in which endlessly isolated souls continue to shift their own individual safe spaces further and further apart out of mutual hatred. In place of the vibrancy of the marketplace of ideas, it hands us solitary confinement in a solipsistic mind deprived even of the comforting capacity to frame thoughts.

In short, it would be very tempting to call the doctrine that “speech is violence” one of the most purely violent ideas we know if even a cursory investigation into the idea that speech can be violence did not yield us enough information to know better. For the sake of avoiding the absurd questions and consequences it raises, however, it is best that we dismiss that urge.


Automatic forgiveness makes the world more dangerous

Jeff Jacoby

WORDS OF FORGIVENESS can be deeply powerful. They can also be deeply misguided.

Robert Godwin Sr. was gunned down in cold blood as he was innocently walking home from Easter dinner with his family.
On April 16, a savage named Steve Stephens shot and killed Robert Godwin Sr., a 74-year-old Cleveland man who was innocently walking home from Easter dinner with his children. Stephens recorded his cold-blooded act of murder, then posted the video on Facebook. For two days the killer was at large; he was eventually tracked down in Pennsylvania, where he shot himself as police approached his car.

Even before Stephens was found, his victim's family announced, on national TV, that they had forgiven him. "Each one of us forgives the killer. . . . We want to wrap our arms around him," one of Godwin's daughters told CNN. Another said: "I hold no animosity in my heart against this man."

Godwin's children are devout Christians, and they attributed their instant willingness to forgive their father's murderer to their faith.

On the other side of the world, the Christian family of another murder victim was reacting in exactly the same way.

More than 40 Coptic Christians died when Islamic State terrorists bombed two Egyptian churches on Palm Sunday, and the widow of one of the victims, Naseem Faheem, was interviewed on Egyptian TV.

"I'm not angry at the one who did this," she said through tears. "Believe me, I forgive you."

Such expressions of unconditional forgiveness are profoundly affecting. The host of the Egyptian program was stunned by the widow's words; a video of his reaction — long silence, and an exclamation that "the Copts of Egypt are made of steel!" — went viral. When relatives of the parishioners murdered by Dylann Roof in a South Carolina church in 2015 declared their forgiveness for the killer, their words were all but universally praised. Admired, too, were the Amish parents and grandparents in Lancaster County, Pa., who reacted to the 2006 massacre of their daughters by proclaiming that they would "not think evil" of the man who slaughtered the girls, and that none of them "wants to do anything but forgive."

Rushing to forgive a killer may bring some solace to a victim's relatives, but by what right can anyone "forgive" the murder of another human being? I wish nothing but consolation and peace of mind for those who grieve. But no one is entitled to forgive an offender for a crime committed against someone else. Particularly when the offender has shown no remorse for the evil he committed, and done nothing to repair the damage he caused.

Many Christians believe that if they wish to follow in Jesus' footsteps, they must always pardon wickedness and pray for the forgiveness of evildoers. But no-strings-attached absolution is not what Jesus taught. "Forgive us our sins," he instructed his disciples to pray, "as we forgive those who sin against us." Against us — not against others. Everyone is free to beseech God's forgiveness on those who have tormented them. That is what Jesus did on the cross, when he asked God to forgive his crucifiers (who "know not what they do"). But Jesus never asked God to forgive the Romans who crucified so many thousands of other innocent men and women. And he certainly never instructed his followers to do so.

It isn't only the families of murder victims who seem to think reflexive forgiveness of killers is a good thing. After Godwin's children extended their forgiveness to the man who gunned down their father, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams urged the entire community to do likewise. "They were forgiving of Steve for this atrocious act, and we need to follow their lead," he said.

That is terrible advice. What would society become if the response to every act of brutality and cruelty — every murder, every rape, every armed robbery, every terrorist bombing — was ready forgiveness by thousands, or even millions, of other people? That isn't a path to compassion and social harmony. It is a recipe for callousness in the face of suffering, and an invitation to even more brutality.

Only the victim of a crime has the right to forgive that crime. That makes murder unforgivable under any circumstance in this world. And in the next? Not even God will forgive a killer who has not confessed his guilt and undertaken heartfelt repentance.

By all means fight the evil inflicted upon others. But never imagine that you have the right to forgive it.


Portland rose parade canceled after ‘antifascists’ threaten GOP marchers

For 10 years, the 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association has kicked off the city of Portland’s annual Rose Festival with a family-friendly parade meant to attract crowds to its diverse neighborhood.

Set to march in the parade’s 67th spot this year was the Multnomah County Republican Party, a fact that so outraged two self-described antifascist groups in the deep blue Oregon city that they pledged to protest and disrupt the April 29 event.

Then came an anonymous and ominous email, according to parade organizers, that instructed them to cancel the GOP group’s registration — or else.

“You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely,” the anonymous email said, referring to the violent riots that hit Portland after the 2016 presidential election, reported the Oregonian. “This is nonnegotiable.”

The email said that 200 people would “rush into the parade” and “drag and push” those marching with the Republican Party.

“We will not give one inch to groups who espouse hatred toward LGBT, immigrants, people of color or others,” it said.

On Tuesday, the business association buckled, announcing it would cancel the parade altogether.

“Following threats of violence during the Parade by multiple groups planning to disrupt the event, 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association can no longer guarantee the safety of our community and have made the difficult decision to cancel the Parade,” the group said in a statement.

[A white supremacist is accused of punching a protester. Classmates say he makes them feel ‘unsafe.’]

The “antifascist” groups Oregon Students Empowered and Direct Action Alliance were behind the organized protests scheduled for the parade Saturday but told the Oregonian they had nothing to do with the anonymous email.

A petition to bring back the parade garnered nearly 200 signatures online, but on Wednesday organizers stood firmly beside their decision.

“It’s all about safety for our fans, first and foremost. If we can’t provide safety for our fans, there’s no use in trying,” Rich Jarvis, spokesman for the Rose Festival Foundation, told the Oregonian. “Our official position is we’re extremely sad about this.”


The Intolerance Irony

Over the course of the last year, a dear friend of mine - let's call him Friend A - has completely changed his disposition toward another mutual acquaintance (Friend B).  Friend A and Friend B used to be very close, going all the way back to high school.  But now, Friend A no longer reaches out to Friend B.  He barely responds to his text messages and avoids hanging out.

I consider myself something of a peacemaker, so naturally I inquired what the problem was.  "I can't associate with a bigot," Friend A stated curtly.

You see, Friend B openly voted for and supports Donald Trump.  He even went to the inauguration.  Before 2016, Friend B wasn't a politically active person.  But the "outsiderness" of the Trump campaign appealed to him.  Like many blue-collar Americans, he wanted a "human Molotov cocktail" to rock the Washington, D.C. establishment.  He wanted a "virus in the system."  And to his pleasant surprise on November 8, he got it.

Friend A, however, equates such an opinion with outright racism and sexism; with misogyny and bigotry; with xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and all the rest of it.  In short, Friend A has concluded that to be pro-Trump is to be immoral and intolerant of others.  For him, it is a bridge too far.  Thomas Jefferson once observed that he "never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend."  Friend A clearly disagrees with this.

Such a conclusion is now widespread throughout the American Left.  Being nice to Trump supporters is a very unpopular idea among those who claim the mantle of open-mindedness.  Anti-Trump boycotts are everywhere.  Even in the sports world, Stephen Curry is unsure if he can remain business partners with a man that supports Trump.

When and why did we become like this?  I understand why people didn't vote for Trump.  What I don't understand is how people who didn't vote for Trump cannot understand why people did.  Isn't that a form of close-mindedness?  Isn't that a form of intolerance?

The Left is adamantly consistent in its opposition toward "normalizing" (they love that word) Trump and his supporters.  Friend A, the liberal, genuinely believes - he has said this with a straight face - that we are witnessing nothing less than an actual "Nazi takeover of America."

Goodness grief.  The American Left - particularly the Social Justice Warrior (SJW) Left - seems psychologically dependent upon intentionalistic ethics (vice consequentialistic ethics), and the belief that, as liberal progressives, they are ethically superior by their very virtue of being "progressive."  Anyone that dares to disagree with their enlightened worldview is by default an emissary of hatred.  And so therefore, in their mind, it is both just and righteous to effectively hate the haters.

Hating the haters.  Six months since the election, the irony of this position is still lost on the majority of those who hold it.

Don't get me wrong; there is validity to the idea that genuine intolerance should not be tolerated.  But there's the rub: the origin of the intolerance must be substantively demonstrated and proven.  That is to say, those on the SJW Left who have chosen to "hate the haters" in the name of "tolerance" - as anti-Trump Friend A has done with pro-Trump Friend B - should acknowledge the fact that it is incumbent upon them to explain why.  Especially if it involves friends or family!

But this is an intellectual and ethical standard with which a majority of the American Left appears to feel exonerated from holding itself to.

And therein lies the second irony lost on the American Left: it is often the much-maligned "racist and sexist" Trump supporters who are, in fact, meeting that intellectual and ethical standard by substantively demonstrating the moral basis of their opposition to genuine intolerance, i.e. international Islamism.

The intolerance irony goes something like this...

Step 1: Islamists commit acts of genuine intolerance, such as 1,500 acid attacks since 2011 in London alone, or subjecting a half-million girls to female genital mutilation in America, for example.  (There are many other such examples.)

Step 2: Conservatives and Trump supporters reject this anti-women, anti-LGBT intolerance.  This forms the basis of their immigration views.

Step 3: The SJW Left then equates those immigration views with intolerance of migrants - not intolerance of intolerance - and claims the right to be intolerant of them!

The SJW Left refuses to see past their "domestic enemies."  They refuse to go one step further.  They are acting intolerant... toward people who are intolerant of intolerance.  Ipso facto, they are not only perpetuating intolerance of their own accord, but they are inoculating Islamist intolerance - the original intolerance that threatens women, homosexuals, and religious minorities - from much-needed criticism and ethical analysis. 

If you're being intolerant of those who are intolerant of intolerance, you're being tolerant of intolerance.  Which is to say: you're being intolerant.

Precisely zero liberal progressives have addressed this irony in an intellectually stimulating or challenging manner, despite my continued pursuit of an answer or adequate counterargument.  It's quite humorous.  And pathetic.

This is why Ann Coulter or Milo Yiannopoulos can't speak at UC Berkeley free from the threat of violence.  This is why Gavin McInnes can't speak at New York University free from the threat of violence.  This is why Charles Murray can't speak at Middlebury College free from the threat of violence.

The preponderance of the intolerance in America today comes from those on the Left who consider their conservative countrymen beneath the dignity of dialogue.  The specifics of Friend B's views are immaterial.  It is obligatory of Friend A and those likeminded to palpably discredit the details of views they consider wrong.

Some friendly advice for the SJW Left: don't just say "racist."  Why is it racist?  Let's get into the weeds, shall we?  Ad hominem arguments, strawman arguments, the "silent treatment," and outright violence will not translate into political success in this country.  What do you think this is?  The Islamic Middle East?



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


28  April, 2017

"I was born in Australia and I don’t want to assimilate"  -- but integration and assimilation are not the same thing.

Koraly Dimitriadis does make an important point below but it may not be the one she has in mind. For a start, she is clearly reflecting the views of her Greek parents. Greek immigrants of yesteryear typically saw Australians as a low lot with no morals or standards. They fitted in very well to Australian society with the fish-shops, greengrocers and milk bars that they set up (among other things) but were very strong on maintaining their cultural separateness. "Separateness" in Afrikaans is "apartheid". So they were clearly racists in a loose application of that term and Ms Dimitriadis clearly has a similar view of "old" (Anglo-Celtic) Australians.

Amusingly, as time has gone by, the lack of "standards" that older Greeks deplored in Australia has turned up in Greece also. So young Greeks who return to Greece to absorb their heritage tend to find that modern Greece is much more like Australia than it is like the Greece of their parents' description. I believe that even "hooking up" has arrived in Athens, which would be anathema to older Greeks.

But the underlying fact that Ms Dimitriadis seems not to realize is that integration and assimilation are not the same thing. Australia has absorbed vast numbers of immigrants from Europe and Asia with only minor frictions. The migrants concerned often did not assimilate in that they retained much of their own culture and customs but they integrated into Australian society by working for their living and not making waves. They rarely did break and enters and they don't go around shooting and bombing people in the name of Allah. So no-one was bothered by them and very little was required of them if they wanted to become citizens.

So the recently proposed citizenship test is not remotely aimed at Greeks, East Asians or Hindu Indians. Almost nobody is concerned about them gaining citizenship. There is nothing to be concerned about. What the tests are aimed at is the two groups of recent arrivals that I mentioned: Africans and Muslims. It is they whom the government wants to crack down on. But in an era of political correctness, they do not feel able to be frank about their aims. If they made the citizenship test applicable to Africans and Muslims only, there would be a huge uproar about "racism" from the Left. So a test designed to restrict Africans and Muslims has to be made applicable to all immigrants.

And, reasonably, some people, such as Ms Dimitriadis, feel the test is not and should not be applicable to her or her relatives. Ms Dimitriadis is undoubtedly a good citizen of Australia and deserves no special scrutiny of herself or her culture. So what she has highlighted is the difficulty that political correctness imposes. It causes her and her relatives to be treated like some very obnoxious groups are treated. It removes an important opportunity to make reasonable distinctions.

Just a small aside in conclusion: At the end of her article, she says:

"I’ll be proud to call myself Australian, to follow Australian values, when I see some values I’d like to follow, until then, I’ll stick to being myself"

She might more frankly have said, "I’ll stick to being a Greek Australian". And there is no reason why she should not do that. Greek Australians have made great contributions to Australia. The only difficulty is that political correctness would have made that statement racist

ASSISTANT Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke said something on the ABC’s Q&A this week that did not sit well with me.

When asked about recent swift changes to obtaining Australian citizenship, he responded:  “… if you want to become Australian you have to assimilate and integrate into Australian society.”

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I was born in Australia and I am not interested in assimilating.

Assimilate and integrate into what? Australian society? Isn’t Australia a multicultural society made up of different people, cultures and faiths? Maybe what the government actually means is Anglo Saxon Christian Australian society.

“Australian values” and fluency in the English language will be some of the revamps to the new citizenship testing. Anglo Saxon English migrants will do just fine then. Migrants where English isn’t their first language will be at a disadvantage.

Just off the back of the Senate rejecting the proposed changes to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and racist Australians crying out “freedom of speech”, in conjunction with the recent skilled migration visa changes, it seems our government this year has adopted Pauline Hanson-style discrimination politics.

While the list of questions for the test has yet to be finalised, whether or not it is appropriate to hit your wife is an example being thrown around. Apart from the ludicrous idea that someone applying for citizenship would tick “yes”, wouldn’t appropriate police checks be done when applying for permanent residency and citizenship?

“Membership of the Australian family is a privilege and should be afforded to those who support our values, respect our laws and want to work hard by integrating and contributing to an even better Australia,” Mr Turnbull said.

Since when is knowing fluent English proof you’re a true blue Aussie? Isn’t the language of Australia the hundreds of indigenous languages? Lucky Section 18C is still intact and the words “insult”, “offend” and “humiliate” were not replaced with “harass” because I am terribly offended right now.

Many members of my extended and immediate family who migrated to Australia in the 70s don’t know fluent English and they are prouder Aussies than I am and I was born here. From the day their ship docked, they have worked hard creating flourishing businesses, they have purchased their own home, educated their children to university level, and contributed not only to the economy but to the face of Australia’s multicultural society. It seems when it comes to appreciating different cultures, Anglo’s are good at appreciating the cuisine, not so much the customs and language.

See, this is why I don’t sing the Australian national anthem. Why would I want to pledge my allegiance to a racist country? The only Australia I am interested in is multicultural Australia. Not racist Australia, not Anglo Australia, but multicultural Australia. But all this government has shown me is they are interested in fuelling segregation. Just from the changes to the skilled migration visas and citizenship changes, racist Australians are getting validated by our government.

I can just hear it already: “Stop stealing our jobs, learn English or go back to where you came from, and give us our freedom of speech to offend you out in public rather than discretely behind closed doors.”

If the government really wants to keep jobs for Australians, maybe they could start by banning big companies from outsourcing their call centres to third world countries.

The government needs to realise that the words “assimilate” and “integrate” can be highly offensive to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Because assimilate means integrate into the dominant power and that dominant power is Anglo.

The entire parliament of Australia needs a lesson in multiculturalism, in unifying communities rather than tearing them apart. I’ll be proud to call myself Australian, to follow Australian values, when I see some values I’d like to follow, until then, I’ll stick to being myself.


The One Lesson of the Holocaust

Yom HaShoah comes and goes. A day for looking back at what has happened and a day for looking away from what will happen.
Millions of dollars have been spent building memorials to the victims of the Holocaust, even as Iran is spending its millions on building another kind of memorial to the Holocaust, in the form of nuclear technology that will be used to finish that piece of history that the Islamic terror state claims never took place.

Millions more are spent, by some of the same groups that claim an interest in Holocaust education, on bringing Muslim migrants to America and Europe to carry out the promise of an Islamic apocalypse in which, as the Hadith states, "The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him." That is what the Islamic Holocaust looks like. And it's underway.

A Jew is murdered in France. Another in Jerusalem. And another and another.

The Final Solution, with its immediate extermination of the Jews, has been replaced by the Two State Solution, an intermediate process in which the land on which Jews can live in security is partitioned into smaller and smaller pieces.

The Lebensraum of Islam demands ever more breathing room. And fewer breathing Jews. Israel is carved up into smaller indefensible ghettos. The number of places where the world decides that Jews can be allowed to live, shrink. The rest become "settlers" who must be evicted for the sake of peace. Even if the place they're "settling" is Jerusalem. The oldest Jewish city on earth.

And this Two State Solution, this intermediate process, has the almost universal backing of the major Jewish organizations who are so very deeply concerned about the Holocaust. It has the backing of the diplomats and politicians who put out canned statements urging that we learn the lessons of the Holocaust. The only lesson they have learned though is that another Holocaust needs better marketing.

It is comparatively easy to build a memorial. You hire the architect, raise the money, buy the land and then cut the ribbon. It is a much harder thing to do something about the need for those memorials in the first place. That is what learning the lessons of the Holocaust is about.

It is easier to build another memorial than to look into your heart and ask why two generations later, the majority of the American Jewish community was still too cowardly to stand up to a liberal icon in the White House... when the lives of millions of Jews were on the line.

From FDR to Obama, American Jewish leaders had two opportunities to stand up to a liberal icon and save Jewish lives. No amount of memorials can disguise the fact that they learned nothing.

The reassurances from American Jewish leaders that Obama meant well, that he will not sell out Israel and that he cares sounded familiar. The American Jewish leaders of the 30's and 40's echoed the same sentiments. Even as the St. Louis was turned back and its passengers were sent to the gas chambers, even as every effort made to aid or save Jews from the Holocaust was frustrated and shut down with the active complicity of the liberal American Jewish leadership who were loyal to FDR.

The same people who let millions die went on to light candles and issue their hypocritical sanctimonious statements of mourning for the dead.  More candles have been lit. More memorials have been built. But the lessons of the Holocaust continue to go unlearned.

Regardless of which administration is in office, the Two State Solution and any support for the Islamic terrorists seeking to exterminate the Jews, as they have already exterminated many of the Christians in the region, must be fought. When we fail to do this, then whatever our politics are, we abandon our obligations to the dead and to the living.

The most important lesson of the Holocaust is that the details of how it happened don't really matter. Had Hitler not come to power, had Germany not turned National Socialist, the Holocaust would have happened anyway. Stalin had one planned too before his death. Had it not been Hitler or Stalin, it would have been someone else. It still might be.

The Holocaust did not happen because of intolerance or fascism, as most liberals would like you to believe. It happened for the same overriding reason that any person or group of people is murdered. Because the Jews lacked the means of defending themselves against it.

There have been two Jewish responses to the Holocaust, on the one hand promoting tolerance and assimilation and on the other hand the State of Israel. Tolerance has done nothing to prevent the hatred and murder of Jews. In many cases it has actually served to promote it.

Every Muslim attack in Europe and America can be laid at the door of tolerance. When a Jewish woman is thrown out of a window in Paris or a Rabbi is beaten in Brussels, the true perpetrator is "tolerance".

The State of Israel stands as the only meaningful response to the Holocaust. Rather than building stone memorials and going back to business as usual, the State of Israel is not only a living future for the Jewish people, it is a response to the fundamental lesson of the Holocaust. The Holocaust happened because it could happen to a people who couldn't defend themselves. The State of Israel with its armies and borders was the best physical defense against it happening again.

Today the two responses to the Holocaust are battling out to the death, Tolerance and Assimilation vs the State of Israel. And the State of Israel is getting the worst of it. The teachers of tolerance blame Israel for the failure of their own ideology, manifest in the rising hatred of Jews around the world. If Israel wouldn't exist, somehow Jews wouldn't be hated, their thesis goes. As if Anti-semitism had been discovered lying around in a dustbin sometime after 1948.

But it is tolerance meanwhile that is killing Israel. The left has pushed Israel to the wall, because it represents the inversion of their ideology, it represents the reality that the best hope of the persecuted is not in multiculturalism or in tolerance classes, but in taking responsibility for their own safety and survival. 


Merkel Will Pay Migrants Millions To Leave Germany

Chancellor Angela Merkel is setting aside €90m (£76m) in taxpayers’ money to create a fund which will pay migrants to withdraw their asylum applications and leave Germany voluntarily.
The handouts will form part of a 16-point plan to speed up the removal of rejected asylum seekers, after Tunisian migrant Anis Amri murdered a Polish lorry driver, hijacked his vehicle and drove it into a Christmas market in Berlin while awaiting deportation.

U.S. president Donald Trump told The Times that Merkel made a “catastrophic mistake” when she opened the doors to an unlimited number of migrants in 2015. Her vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, later admitted that his superior had underestimated how difficult it would be to integrate migrants on such a grand scale, and that Germany had been plunged into a kulturkampf, or “cultural war”, as a result.

Germany rejected 170,000 asylum claims in 2016 but, according to the Mail, just 26,000 were repatriated. 55,000 more decided to leave voluntarily – apparently leaving 81,000 bogus applicants unaccounted for.

“We rely heavily on voluntary departures,” admitted Chancellor Merkel, who was announcing the package after falling behind the Social Democrats in polls for Germany’s upcoming elections.

Martin Schulz, the former President of the European Parliament who has been nominated as the Social Democrat challenger to Merkel, said he backed the proposals to speed up deportations.

Schulz has previously insisted that “the people who are arriving [in Europe] are refugees who have been threatened [and] we should welcome them” – a statement which is at odds with the Vice-President of the European Commission’s admission that at least 60 per cent are economic migrants.

As a leading figure in the European Union, Schulz was a strong supporter of the compulsory migrant quotas. These were forced through by the bloc despite strong opposition from central and eastern European member-states, which did not agree with Germany’s unilateral decision to throw open the borders.

Schulz hit out strongly at these countries in 2015, accusing them of “national egotism in its purest form”.

Polish interior minister Mariusz Blaszczak described at Schulz’s words as “an example of German arrogance”.


Palestinians Fume After UK Gov’t Rules Out Apology For Jewish Homeland Declaration

A Palestinian campaign to secure an official British apology for the 100-year-old Balfour Declaration has hit a wall, with Prime Minister Theresa May’s government saying it has no intention to do so.

“We are proud of our role in creating the State of Israel,” the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a written response to a petition calling on the government “to openly apologize to the Palestinian people for issuing the Balfour Declaration.”

In the context of the time, the FCO said, “establishing a homeland for the Jewish people in the land to which they had such strong historical and religious ties was the right and moral thing to do, particularly against the background of centuries of persecution.”

In response, Palestinian envoy in London Manuel Hassassian reaffirmed plans by Palestinian Authority (P.A.) chairman Mahmoud Abbas to sue Britain in an international court, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported Tuesday.

Hassassian said the legal action would only not go ahead if Britain backs down, apologizes to Palestinians for the 1917 declaration and recognizes the “state of Palestine.”

The lawsuit plan was first raised by P.A. delegates at an Arab League meeting in Mauritania last July.  At a Palestinian solidarity event at the U.N. four months later, Abbas letter by Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour voiced government support for the creation of a Jewish homeland in the area known as Palestine – then a part of the disintegrating Ottoman Empire, but soon to be entrusted as a mandate to Britain by the League of Nations.

In 1948, the State of Israel was declared in the area in line with a U.N. General Assembly resolution, and the British mandate ended. Palestinian Arab leaders rejected the U.N. “partition plan” and, rather than establish an Arab state alongside Israel, joined five Arab armies in what the head of the Arab League described as “a war of annihilation” against the Jewish state.

The British government has invited Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to attend events commemorating the Balfour Declaration centenary in November this year.

The “Balfour apology campaign” was spearheaded in Britain by the Palestinian Return Center (PRC), a U.N.-recognized non-governmental organization which denies Israeli accusations of having ties to the terrorist group Hamas.

As of Wednesday, its petition on a U.K. government website had obtained a little more than 13,500 signatures – far below the 100,000 required by a May 3 deadline for the House of Commons to debate the issue.

The PRC-led campaign reacted sharply to the government’s response to its petition, calling it “humiliating, arrogant and emphasizing the British government unconditional endorsement to the brutality of the Israeli governments against the Palestinian people.”

The campaign described as “alarming” the reference in the government statement to the Jews’ “strong historical and religious ties” to the land in question, saying that would “only fuel the conflict as it gives religious motivation for the creation of Israel.”

After the P.A. raised the Balfour issue at the Arab League meeting in Mauritania, then-Israeli foreign ministry director-general Dore Gold said the initiative “demonstrates yet again the continuing refusal of the Palestinian side to recognize the legitimate and indigenous connection of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland.”

Gold argued that the Balfour Declaration had not created the historical rights of the Jews to their homeland, but rather “recognized pre-existing rights that the Jewish people never conceded.”

Many Jews argue those rights go back thousands of years, pointing to profuse historical and archeological evidence – and to the Jewish and Christian scriptures.

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly last September, Netanyahu suggested that if the Palestinians plan to sue Britain over the Balfour Declaration they could go back even further in history.

“The Palestinians may just as well sue Iran for the Cyrus Declaration, which enabled the Jews to rebuild our Temple in Jerusalem 2,500 years ago,” he said. “Come to think of it, why not a Palestinian class action suit against Abraham for buying that plot of land in Hebron where the fathers and mothers of the Jewish people were buried 4,000 years ago?”

In similar vein, Jonathan Feldstein, an Israeli non-profit professional living in Efrat, south of Jerusalem, offered another proposal in response to Abbas’ initiative launch.

“If the Palestinians are preparing to sue the U.K.,” he commented in a Facebook post, “they may as well sue God, because it’s not the U.K. that gave us the Land.”



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


27  April, 2017

Democrats to Pro-Lifers: You Are Unwanted and May Be Discarded

Bernie Sanders and new DNC Chair Tom Perez have been taking their "unity tour" on the road lately, and only underscoring the fact that the mindset of progressive activists these days allows Democrats to unify their party only by driving out dissenters. You might think Sanders - who is so far left he still only tenuously embraces the Democratic Party label - is, of all people, immune from criticism to his left, but he violated one of the Left's most sacred cows by campaigning in Nebraska for Heath Mello, a candidate for Mayor of Omaha who has voted for a number of modest abortion restrictions as a state legislator. How modest? Mello earned a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood in 2015, but Daily Kos withdrew its endorsement of Mello for this heresy:

Prior to Wednesday, Daily Kos was unaware that Heath Mello, a Democrat who is running against the incumbent Republican mayor of Omaha, Nebraska, had supported legislation in the Nebraska state Senate eight years ago that would require women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound.However, as soon as we learned this information, we withdrew our endorsement, because this legislation clearly runs contrary to Daily Kos' deepest values, including our support for women's reproductive rights and our staunch opposition to laws that in any way impede women's access to reproductive health care.according to a contemporaneous Associated Press report from 2009, the bill Mello co-sponsored "requires the physician performing the abortion to tell a woman an ultrasound is available, but it doesn't require the ultrasound to be performed." If a woman does elect to undergo an ultrasound, the images from the ultrasound must be displayed simultaneously. Mello called the measure a "positive first step to reducing the number of abortions in Nebraska."

    That's right: Mello pledges fealty today to the "pro-choice" cause, but eight years ago, he voted to inform women that they could get an ultrasound; fear of even that modest bit of scientific information is enough to get endorsements pulled in today's Democratic Party. Given that Perez is chairman of the party, defeated an opponent even more closely tied to the Left for his job, and is thought (despite his own very hard-left record) to represent the more "moderate" wing of the party by virtue of his ties to big donors, you'd think it would be his job to suggest that maybe a party that's too purist for Bernie Sanders should be a more welcoming place for Democrats trying to win elections in places like Nebraska.

Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez became the first head of the party to demand ideological purity on abortion rights, promising Friday to support only Democratic candidates who back a woman's right to choose. "Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman's right to make her own choices about her body and her health," Perez said in a statement. "That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state." "At a time when women's rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country," he added, "we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice.".
        Perez initially defended the DNC's acceptance of an anti-abortion Democrat. "Our job at the DNC is to help Democrats who have garnered support from voters in their community cross the finish line and win ? from school board to Senate," Perez said..But Perez changed course Friday and delivered a big victory to the reproductive rights movement, saying that he "fundamentally disagree[s] with Heath Mello's personal beliefs about women's reproductive health" and that "every candidate who runs as a Democrat should do the same, because every woman should be able to make her own health choices. Period."

    Dick Durbin underlined that people who consider themselves pro-lifers can be welcome in the Democratic Party only "as long as they are prepared to back the law, Roe versus Wade, prepared to back women's rights as we've defined them under the law." And that doesn't just mean allowing abortion to remain legal, as Mello's case illustrates: it means no limitations, however modest, on abortion - not even efforts to inform women of their choices and the nature of the life growing within them. In fact, Democratic orthodoxy now extends far from "pro-choice" to treating abortion as something the government should subsidize and thus encourage more of: the Democratic Party platform in 2016 called for repealing the Hyde Amendment (which restricts federal funds from being used for abortions), a position backed by supposed moderate, Catholic Tim Kaine in the fall campaign. Democrats routinely threaten to shut down the government if Planned Parenthood (the largest abortion provider in America, performing over 300,000 abortions annually) is not subsidized with federal funds. Democrats have pushed for legislation to repeal a Trump executive order banning federal funds from being used for abortions overseas. In every way, the Democratic Party today stands unified not only against legal restrictions on abortion, but for government subsidies of abortion. The fiction that anyone can vote Democrat today without embracing abortion as an affirmative good is falling to tatters.

    And yet, many people who vote Democrat or are open to voting Democrat don't agree with the party's stance. A 2016 Pew poll found 28% of Democrats, 37% of independents, and 41% of those who identify as moderate or liberal (including 14% of liberals) believe abortion should be illegal in most or all cases. Demographically, the poll found that 41% of women, 40% of African-Americans, 43% of black protestants, and 50% of Hispanics want abortion to be illegal in most or all cases. And that's not even including the people who want it to be legal but subject to regulations and not taxpayer-funded. A 2015 Public Religion Research Institute poll found the same answer among 54% of Hispanic Millennials (the same poll found that over 70% of African-American and Hispanic respondents consider themselves "pro-life," even many who also embrace the "pro-choice" label - a finding suggestive of a significant population of moderates on the issue). Other polls of Millennials found a sizeable pro-life contingent.

    Abortion polling is at least as subject to wild fluctuations and variability by question phrasing as any other issue polling, but the overwhelming mass of polling data shows that there is a non-trivial number of Democratic voters and potential voters who do not want the party to be a lockstep "abortions for all" party. That's particularly the case outside the coastal enclaves where the party is already strong (the thirteen states where Hillary Clinton won a majority, the seventeen states where they hold a majority of the House seats). The chairman of the party just told those voters they are unwanted and disposable.

The 'Failure to Launch' Generation

Millennials are having a tough time growing up in the real world, as some pretty staggering statistics reveal

They are the generation that got trophies, win or lose, just for showing up. The one constantly reminded by their “helicopter” parents how “special” they were, even as those parents bent over backwards to shield them from anything and everything that posed a threat to their “self-esteem.” And now for far too many Millennials, the proverbial chickens have come home to roost — literally. “There are now more young people living with their parents than in any other arrangement,” reveals a new study by the Census Bureau.

“Young” is a pliable word. The study covers adults from ages 18 — through 34. And it further notes that “almost 9 in 10 young people who were living in their parents' home a year ago are still living there today, making it the most stable living arrangement.”

The stability of arrested development is more like it.

The numbers represent a paradigm shift from four decades ago. In 1975, 31.9 million Americans in the 18-to-34 age bracket were married and lived with their spouse, 14.7 million lived with their parents, 6.1 million lived in another arrangement that included relatives or unrelated roommates, 3.1 million lived alone, and 0.7 million cohabited with an unmarried partner, according to Census Bureau data.

In 2016, only 19.9 million were married and lived with a spouse, 22.9 million lived with their parents, 5.6 million lived in another arrangement, 5.9 million lived alone, and 9.2 million cohabited with an unmarried partner.

The Bureau was somewhat flexible with its definitions. For example, adults living in college dormitories were counted as living with their parents. On the other hand, married couples were defined as spouses even if they were still living in the home of one of their parents.

Why the sea change? “More young men are falling to the bottom of the income ladder,” the study states. “In 1975, only 25 percent of men, aged 25 to 34, had incomes of less than $30,000 per year. By 2016, that share rose to 41 percent of young men (incomes for both years are in 2015 dollars).” The study seemingly ties this change to education. “There are now more young women than young men with a college degree,” it states, “whereas in 1975 educational attainment among young men outpaced that of women.”

Geographical location apparently plays a part as well. The study notes that states with the lowest percentage of Millennials living at home are those where “local labor and housing markets shape the ability of young people to find good jobs and affordable housing, which in turn affects whether and when they form their own households.”

No doubt these are mitigating — and measurable — factors. Yet they don’t explain why, despite being the beneficiaries of a living arrangement that relieves them of life’s most pressing responsibilities, 25% of Millennials living with their parents neither work nor go to school.

Perhaps the primary rationale for legalizing millions of illegals, as in they “do the jobs Americans refuse to do,” rings true with this generation. As columnist J.T. O'Donnell reveals, many Millennials are virtually unemployable. Bosses have no interest in being the surrogate parents Millennials expect them to be, nor do they appreciate their “anti-work” attitude. Employers also reject the notion that a job must be a fun place to go that includes “nice work spaces, amenities like gym memberships, healthy meals on-site, in-house parties, etc. … used in an effort to attract and maintain Millennial workers,” she writes.

Furthermore, two Pew Center reports that indicate much of the Millennial Generation’s lack of self-sufficiency has far more to do with attitude than economics. One reveals that as the economy improved, more Millennials were living with their parents. The other reveals Millennials feel much closer to their parents than previous generations. “Thus the real reason more young adults are living at home is because everyone feels more emotionally comfortable with the arrangement,” columnist Jake Novak explains. “It’s not about economic hardship, it’s about doing what’s easier and more familiar for as long as possible.”

Unsurprisingly, this de facto vacation from life has also taken a toll on the institution of marriage. In 1980, more than two-thirds of Baby Boomers were married. Today more than 50% of 24-35-year-olds remain single. And that’s despite the fact less than half the Boomers started college, while two-thirds of Millennials did.

To be fair, student debt undoubtedly keeps many Millennials from gaining their independence, as a staggering $1.4 trillion in outstanding loans indicates. Yet because student loans are ultimately backed by the taxpayer in the event of a default — absent any liabilities for colleges themselves — tuition costs can be raised without restraint.

Ironically — or is that ignorantly — Millennials support the principles that hang this albatross around their necks. A 2016 YouGov survey reveals 43% of them had a favorable view of socialism, while less than a third had a favorable view of capitalism, making Millennials the only American generation that prefers more government control over their lives. Yet they apparently fail to see that government control of the student loan business, courtesy of ObamaCare, has been the primary driver of skyrocketing tuition costs — and the debt they’ve amassed paying for them.

Perhaps the real reason Millennials prefer more government is because they see it as a surrogate parent, allowing them to one move seamlessly from one cradle to another.

Such thinking goes a long way toward explaining why a whopping 79% of them support “free” college.

Second only to living at home, college campuses are the next best arena where Millennials can cultivate the emotional and intellectual insulation they crave. It is in the hallowed halls of academia where today’s spoiled brats become tomorrow’s fascists, after immersing themselves in a marinade of micro-aggressions, safe spaces, trigger warnings, and social justice, enabled by cowardly, and/or equally radicalized, administrations and faculties. Nothing exemplifies Millennials' seemingly interminable adolescence more than their desire to censor anything that conflicts with their carefully cultivated worldview. Censorship best described by columnist Heather Mac Donald as “maudlin pleas for self-preservation.”

This obsession with self-preservation has a price. “Millennials want to have their cake, eat all of it, try to get out of paying for it and then indulge in an orgy of self-loathing about the calories they’ve put on as a result of eating dessert they’ve ultimately failed to enjoy,” writes Millennial columnist Sasha Gardner, who further bemoans a generation that refuses to grow up.

It is a refusal underscored by the reality that far too many Millennials have a monumental, wholly unwarranted, the “world owes me a living” sense of self-entitlement. And if they don’t get what they want? It’s because they’re held back by a world full of phobias, bigotry, cultural appropriation, white privilege, sexual harassment, income inequality and a host of other “outrages” best described by Mac Donald as a collective embrace of the “ideology of victimhood.”

If there’s an attitude better suited to paving a path back to the ultimate “safe space” the parental household represents, one is hard-pressed to imagine what it is.


Rights of innocents should trump political correctness

As is almost always the case, signs of trouble preceded the latest shooting in Paris, which left one police officer dead and two bystanders wounded before police killed the gunman, later identified as French national Karim Cheurfi, a known criminal with a long, violent record. The Islamic State group claimed to be behind the attack. According to police, a note praising IS fell out of Cheurfi’s pocket when he fell.
Cheurfi was of Algerian descent, born in a Paris suburb. The Washington Post reported he had a criminal record and was known to authorities. His rap sheet included four arrests and convictions since 2003. He had spent nearly 14 years in prison for crimes that included burglary, theft and attempted murder.

When Cheurfi attempted to buy weapons French authorities took notice, especially when he made statements about wishing to kill police officers. After he traveled to Algeria earlier this year, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Cheurfi was interviewed, but a judge refused to revoke his probation. It makes one question not only France’s probation laws, but the types of background checks in place that ought to have prevented Cheurfi from legally acquiring any firearm – if he bought it legally – much less the Kalashnikov rifle he allegedly used.

French and other European politicians immediately expressed concern over what effect the shooting and the terrorist attacks that preceded it might have on France’s choice of a new president. Rightist candidates immediately tried to exploit the issue, but it has been a subject on the minds of French voters, particularly in Paris, where a major enclave of immigrants from Muslim countries continue to be seen by many as a threat to the French way of life.

Cheurfi should have been back in jail for parole violations. Given his record, his statements and the trip to Algeria, enough red flags were raised to warrant action.

A side note. While Algeria has not been a main source of terrorism in the world, the human rights agency Algeria Watch has noted: “Although Algerian nationals were not among the suicide bombers of 11 September 2001, they have featured prominently in subsequent investigations into al-Qaida activities in North America and Europe. In the UK, where an Algerian community has grown as a largely unknown minority in recent years, several dozen Algerians have been arrested since mid-2001 in localities as widely spread as Leicester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, London and Manchester. Arrests in London in January 2003 uncovered a cell producing ricin, while in Manchester, one of the Algerian detainees, 27-year-old Kamel Bourgass, was responsible for killing a police officer – the first victim in the UK’s post-11 September anti-terrorist campaign.”

In the United States and other countries in the West, most often someone has to actually break the law before they can be arrested. Given the tactics of terrorists, it might be worth discussing whether to invoke a doctrine of pre-emption, which is sometimes employed when an enemy nation appears to be an imminent threat. If that is an option to prevent death and destruction from countries, why can’t we impose something similar for people who have violent criminal records and who openly state, as Cheurfi did, that he intends to kill police?

Western reluctance to adopt such a practice shows there is one force more powerful than the uniformed police. It is the “PC police.” These are people who care more about how they feel than for the innocent people gunned down in our streets.

Don’t innocents have the right to be protected from fanatics who so often claim to be doing God’s work? With ongoing investigations by the Department of Homeland Security into radical terrorists in every state, it’s long past time to get them before they get any more of us.


Australia: Muslim broadcaster savaged for disrespecting war veterans

ABC presenter Yassmin Abdel-Magied has been savaged on social media after suggesting Australians should spare a thought for those on Manus Island and in Syria instead of the Anzacs.

The host of the ABC 24's Australia Wide program fell afoul of Facebook users today when she posted "Lest We Forget (Manus.Nauru. Syria. Palestine)".

She was forced to delete the post after receiving a barrage of comments from irate social users. "It was brought to my attention that my last post was disrespectful, and for that, I apologise unreservedly," she wrote in a follow up post.

While the 26-year-old author may have hoped her apology would be taken for what it was, Abdel-Magied found herself the target of venomous, racist abuse.  "You disgusting piece of low life. Disrespecting our country's veterans. You aren't Australian. Go to hell," one incensed Facebook user wrote.  "Too late now you best leave you are hated in this country, your ISIS brothers will take really good care of you," another wrote.

While another wrote: "You are utter filth. I hope you get sacked for your disgraceful ignorance and insolence. Pig!"

Ms Abdel-Magied is not shy of controversy; in February this year she was engaged in a screaming row with Senator Jacqui Lambie on Q&A. The verbal stoush was triggered by a debate on US President Donald Trump's proposed Muslim ban.



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


26 April, 2017

New Orleans Starts Tearing Down Confederate Monuments, Sparking Protest

New Orleans officials removed the first of four prominent Confederate monuments early Monday, the latest Southern institution to sever itself from symbols viewed by many as a representation racism and white supremacy.

The first memorial to come down was the Liberty Monument, an 1891 obelisk honoring the Crescent City White League.

Workers arrived to begin removing the statue, which commemorates whites who tried to topple a biracial post-Civil War government in New Orleans, around 1:25 a.m. in an attempt to avoid disruption from supporters who want the monuments to stay, some of whom city officials said have made death threats.

The workers inspecting the statue ahead of its removal could be seen wearing flak jackets and helmets. Police officers watched the area from atop the parking garage of a nearby hotel. Meanwhile, a handful of people opposed to the move held a vigil at the statue of Jefferson Davis, who was the president of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has called the Liberty Monument "the most offensive of the four" to be taken down, adding it was erected to "revere white supremacy."

"If there was ever a statue that needed to be taken down, it's that one," he said in an interview Sunday with The Associated Press.

The Crescent City White League attempted to overthrow a biracial Reconstruction government in New Orleans after the Civil War. That attempt failed, but white supremacist Democrats later took control of the state.

An inscription added in 1932 said the Yankees withdrew federal troops and "recognized white supremacy in the South" after the group challenged Louisiana's biracial government after the Civil War. In 1993, these words were covered by a granite slab with a new inscription, saying the obelisk honors "Americans on both sides" who died and that the conflict "should teach us lessons for the future."

Three other statues to Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard and Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis will be removed in later days now that legal challenges have been overcome.

The removals are "about showing the whole world that we as a city and as a people are able to acknowledge, understand, reconcile — and most importantly — choose a better future," Landrieu said in a statement released by his office. "We can remember these divisive chapters in our history in a museum or other facility where they can be put in context — and that's where these statues belong."

Nationally, the debate over Confederate symbols has become heated since nine parishioners were killed at a black church in South Carolina in June 2015. South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from its statehouse grounds in the weeks after, and several Southern cities have since considered removing monuments. The University of Mississippi took down its state flag because it includes the Confederate emblem.

New Orleans is a majority African-American city although the number of black residents has fallen since 2005's Hurricane Katrina drove many people from the city.

The majority black City Council in 2015 voted 6-1 to approve plans to take the statues down, but legal battles over their fate have prevented the removal until now, said Landrieu, who proposed the monuments' removal and rode to victory twice with overwhelming support from the city's black residents.

People who want the Confederate memorials removed say they are offensive artifacts honoring the region's slave-owning past. But others call the monuments part of the city's history and say they should be protected historic structures.

Robert Bonner, 63, who said he is a Civil War re-enactor, was there to protest the statue's removal.

"I think it's a terrible thing," he said. "When you start removing the history of the city, you start losing money. You start losing where you came from and where you've been."

Since officials announced the removals, contractors hired by the city have faced death threats and intimidation in this deep South city where passions about the Civil War still run deep.

Landrieu refused to say who the city would be using to remove the statues because of the intimidation attempts. And the removal will begin at night to ensure police can secure the sites to protect workers, and to ease the burden on traffic for people who live and work in the city, Landrieu said.

"All of what we will do in the next days will be designed to make sure that we protect everybody, that the workers are safe, the folks around the monuments are safe and that nobody gets hurt," Landrieu said.

Landrieu said the memorials don't represent his city as it approaches its 300th anniversary next year. The mayor said the city would remove the monuments, store them and preserve them until an "appropriate" place to display them is determined.

"The monuments are an aberration," he said. "They're actually a denial of our history and they were done in a time when people who still controlled the Confederacy were in charge of this city and it only represents a four-year period in our 1,000-year march to where we are today."


Preying Silently: The Crisis of Christian Persecution
It was 5:30 a.m. when Friar Najeeb Michaeel looked out his window and saw what every Iraqi Christian feared: trucks filled with ISIS soldiers. Dozens of families were fleeing when the terrorists cut in front of them and stopped. “I gave everybody the last rites,” the Friar said. “I thought it was finished for us.” Instead, people abandoned their cars and started running. Miraculously, they survived. But, like most Christians in the Middle East, they don’t know for how long.

Hunted down, beaten, enslaved, and tortured for their faith, Christians have been crying out for the world’s attention since they were first driven from their ancient homelands. Thursday, a group of American scholars did their best to give them that attention at a special event at the National Press Club. Called Under Caesar’s Sword, a partnership of Notre Dame, the Religious Freedom Institute and Georgetown University sounded the alarm for the millions of believers living in terror from the cradle of Christianity to the North Korean underground. “Life has not gotten better” for men and women of faith, said a somber Cardinal Donald Wuerl. In a world where at least one Christian is killed every hour for practicing their faith, the situation is dire.

The group’s report, “In Response to Persecution,” reads like a horror story, explaining that about 200 million Christians around the world are “at risk of physical violence, arrest, torture, even death simply because they live and practice a faith that is not acceptable to the rulers in that part of the world.” Just last year, 9,000 Christians were slaughtered for religious reasons — a 20 percent jump from the year before. To survive, more families are on the run, going underground, or even showing support for the regimes oppressing them. In Iran and Saudi Arabia, where the punishments are most severe, Christians are desperately trying to “[avoid] the attention of the authorities.”

The Hudson Institute’s Nina Shea pointed out that Christians still can’t go to the UN’s refugee camps for safety reasons — and, worse, are not receiving any government aid. That’s unacceptable, considering that the U.S. funds over a quarter of the UN’s budget. While the Trump administration has its work cut out for it climbing out of the hole Obama dug on the crisis, this is an obvious pressure point the White House can use to bring more relief to the suffering. Even now, we aren’t sure that the UN Security Council’s genocide investigation even includes Christians! The Trump team should lean on them to ensure it does.

As a lot of experts have pointed out, there’s also a role for the business community to play. And that starts with putting these basic human rights ahead of their economic interests or good relations. Dollars can speak louder than words, and corporate outrage would go a long way to bringing about change in these war-torn areas. Unfortunately for the White House, the eight years of religious hostility at home has led to a serious culture of indifference abroad. Cleaning up the mess left behind by the Obama administration won’t be easy, but it’s time for President Trump to pick up the torch and lead the way.

For now, American Christians face nothing like their brothers and sisters overseas, but the report makes it clear that this “subtle persecution” is growing – “particularly with respect to their convictions about sexuality, marriage and the sanctity of life.” When secularists turn up the heat on our churches, we can learn a lot from the courageous men and women abroad about how to live as Christians under pressure. After all, if Middle East Christians can face death without denying Christ, we can face name-calling and “hate” lists.

And if our nation wants to revive its reputation as the defender of the defenseless, the church will have to lead the way. We need to call on our pastors to be prepared for the coming persecution in the U.S. and help their flocks stand firm. As the Pope pointed out, the opposition to Christians here and abroad is rooted in the same opposition — it’s just different in degree. If that degree ever ratchets up to the terror we see on beaches in Libya or churches in Egypt, we have to be ready. Until then, we should all make a commitment now to lift up the persecuted, who are suffering for nothing more than confessing Jesus Christ as Lord.


Hidden in Plano Sight

If Plano leaders want to legislate in secret, then voters will sue them in the open! Texans Greg and Laura Hatch are just two of the locals frustrated by the city’s underhanded passage of an LGBT ordinance in 2014. Instead of debating the issue in public, members met behind closed doors and agreed to force a radical anti-faith, anti-gender measure down voters' throats. Now, three years later, the Hatches are taking them to court.

“Texas requires local governments to operate with transparency,” said the couple’s attorney Cleve Doty. He was referring to the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA), which bars any municipality from hiding their business from the people. “This is even more concerning than what is in the ordinance itself because the city refused to play by the rules,” Doty told Breitbart. “Plano’s politicians wanted to hide from the citizens what they were doing and, based on their actions, didn’t want citizen input.”

Of course, there’s a good reason for that. They had to do in secret what they know they’d never get away with in public! This is how the Left operates when it’s on the wrong side of public opinion (which is often!). As upset as Plano residents were by the ordinance, Breitbart points out, they were far more upset they never knew about it. “We are disappointed in our city officials. We know as a kind neighborhood city and we believe Plano can do better,” the Hatches said in a statement. They believe every Plano citizen, “regardless of faith or belief, deserve the right to observe or participate in his or her government.”

That would be a lot more difficult if the Plano measure is allowed to stand. The ordinance was one of the more extreme examples of LGBT activism, even going so far as to criminally fine people or businesses with natural views on marriage and sexuality. “It put many businesses under the thumb of City Hall about things as personal and private as bathrooms, among other things,” Doty explained. “This is a disservice to citizens no matter which side of the issue they’re on: people from both sides of the political debate were excluded from the conversation, and the City created an ordinance that will be void. Nobody wins when the city breaks the law.”

And thanks to this couple, Plano isn’t about to get away with it! Our (cowboy) hats go off to concerned citizens like these two who are fighting for everyone’s right to be heard.


Shtetls, Ghettos to the Jewish State. Nothing has changed

Nothing has changed in attitudes against the Jews in the last century.

From the programs of a hundred years ago to the strain inflicted on Israel today there is an eerie similarity.

Jews confined to their Russian shtetls suffered the murders and horrors of Jew haters.  Polish Jews were herded into ghettoes, ghettoes where their presence was harshly tolerated as a temporary measure by their Nazi masters.

History shows us that these shtetls and ghettoes were gradually reduced in size and denuded of their Jewish population by the ethnic cleansing of their haters.  There Jewish exclusivity did nothing to make them feel safe. On the contrary, a sense of vulnerability and foreboding hovered in the streets and in the homes of the enclosed and entrapped population.

In a real sense, we see this being played out in the Middle East today. Muslim countries expelled their Jews, and Israel was the beneficiary. The Jewish State did not feel like a ghetto then. It welcomed its brethren with open arms. It was a positive development.  But the Arab nations that banished their Jews did not see it that way. They detested the growing Jewish presence in their region and took violent steps to do away with it. In this, they were in kinship with the Russian and German anti-Semites.

On a promise of a reduced homeland the Jews were deprived of the vast majority of the land for the benefit of the complaining Arabs. This territory became known as Transjordan.

Then, after Arab armies failed to destroy the nascent Jewish State, Israel was persuaded to relinquish further land for peace in the name of a non-existent harmonious and peace-loving Palestinian nationhood.

Having lost five wars to eliminate the Jewish presence in the Middle East, the Arabs encouraged and promoted a Palestinian anti-Israel narrative and action campaign. The aim was shudderingly familiar - to pressure the world to force Jews to relinquish territory and property.

Despite an incessant terrorist campaign that left thousands of Israelis dead and more injured, the Arabs, now called Palestinians, were projected as victims.

In the delusional spirit of goodwill, Israel signed accords with a determined enemy, withdrew from developed land in Gaza with beautiful homes, rich agricultural infrastructure, and the beginnings of a tourist industry, traumatically removing its population, only to discover they had been tricked and trapped by international forums determined to reduce the Jewish ghetto in the Middle East further into areas of indefensible lines.

Israeli objections are met with diplomatic threats, boycotts, and the threat of violence.

As with the shtetl and the ghetto, nobody can assure the Jews of Israel that any withdrawal into vulnerable and over-crowded areas will put an end to the persistent threat of a Final Solution to the Jewish Problem in the Middle East. To any Israeli Jew with grave concerns comes a glib dismissal that Jews now have a strong army, so cope with the repercussions.

The international collusion with the Arabs is little different to the collusion of British officials exactly one hundred years ago in Jerusalem, Cairo and Whitehall who, instead of carrying out both British policy and the terms of the League of Nations Mandate to establish the Jewish national homeland, deserted their responsibilities by turning their backs on the Jews they were instructed to assist and, instead, duplicitously encouraged the Arabs to protest the Jewish presence.   What is going on with the false charges of "illegal occupation" and "illegal settlements" if not this?

Today, the effort is to reduce and diminish the Land of Israel further in favor of advancing a Greater Palestine that has failed to contribute any scientific, agricultural or social advancement within its society. Instead, they continue to nurture the age-old anti-Jewish attitude and the perpetuation of anti-Jewish hatred and violence.  A Greater Palestine is divided within itself and united only in their determination to inflict further ethnic cleansing on the Jews of Israel.

From the shtetl to the ghetto to the Jewish State, little has changed in attitudes against the Jews in the last century.



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


25 April, 2017

Boys Punching Girls: Feminism's Big Win

Moldylocks. It's all over social media, the Antifa chick in the dreds getting clocked in the forehead by a "Nazi" (whatever that means) at the Tax Day rally in Berkeley. The usual sources are outraged. The other side is wryly amused. For many years now Hollywood has been giving us heroines who are as strong or stronger than men. They take a punch but never go down. They kick ass. Those of us who live in reality know that this is pure fantasy, but there is a generation of youngins' who think it's possible for a 5'4", 100 lb. girl to fight toe to toe with a 6-foot-tall man and walk away with a bruise or two while leaving the man on the ground in a pool of his own blood. Lara Croft and a million other plucky FBI agents and CIA super spies with big boobs and deadly aim have taught us this.

Twitter is attacking the "alt-right" for hitting a girl. The puncher, Nathan Damigo, is the founder of a white nationalist group at California State, Stanislaus, called Identity Evropa. The alt-right is raising money to buy ice for his hand. Does anyone see the irony in the social justice warriors complaining that a guy hit a girl? A girl who wants equality with men showed up at a Trump rally wearing weighted gloves, tried to punch a guy in the throat, and got laid out with one punch. For as long as I can remember, the feminists have told us they're exactly the same, if not better than men. So why are we supposed to be outraged that one of them got hit in the face by a man? Isn't that exactly what she wanted when she jumped into the fray and started swinging?

These people confuse me. On one hand, Moldylocks wants to be considered an anarchist warrior, bragging that she would take "100 nazi scalps" on social media. And now she's whining to anyone who will listen that she's just a 94 lb. shrinking violet who landed in the hospital after getting her clock cleaned by a big bad boy. I can't muster any sympathy. I tried. Her GoFundMe page goes so far as to call her a "poor girl." Oh, give me a break! This girl knew exactly what she was doing joining Antifa at the Berkeley rally. She was there to fight "nazis." She said so.

I feel sorry for me. I feel intense sadness for the women out here who never wanted this kind of equality, who knew that it would lead to guys punching girls. We raise our sons not to hit women and then women show up and beg to be hit. How on earth do we fix this?

These gals have lost their ever loving minds and now we all suffer the consequences. Forget getting a seat on the bus when you're eight months pregnant, those days are long gone. Now, thanks to the rabid females on the Left, we have to expect to get punched if a brawl breaks out. No one is coming to protect us or shield us from the fray. Thanks a heap, ladies.


Political correctness is ruining our strategy to defeat terrorism

A?gunman opens fire in Paris, ?killing one police officer?and wounding two. Islamic ?State quickly claims responsibility, naming the gunman as “a soldier of the caliphate.”

The savage attack is the latest of many in Paris, understandably sparking widespread fears of terrorism. But some Parisians desperately seek convenient explanations that will let them avoid the necessary conflict.

“Is it because we’ve joined forces and joined a coalition in Iraq and Syria against Islamic State?” one businessman asked on Paris television.

Ah, a perfectly French reaction. If only the country had been nicer to Islamic State, it wouldn’t have this problem. Right, and if only the French had been nicer to Herr Hitler, he would have left them alone.

Yet the habit of ducking a fight with evil is not limited to the French, with some Americans also infected. Appeasement here is expressed as fears that France’s unwashed masses might actually vote to do something about terrorism in Sunday’s presidential election.

Read even a few lines in any American or European elite media outlet and coverage of the attack quickly morphs into worries about its impact on the first round of presidential voting.

Will it strengthen the candidates who propose a stronger hand on terrorism? Will voters abandon the candidates who say unchecked Muslim immigration and refugees pose no threat to public safety?

Heaven forbid. The implicit conclusion is that it’s better to pretend that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism and suck up the slaughter.

With many on both continents more afraid that French hard-liner Marine Le Pen will become president than they are of radical Islam, the establishment once again looks both clueless and feckless. It never learns.

First came Brexit, where Londoners were shocked that a majority of their countrymen wanted out of the European Union. Then came Donald Trump, with Washington, Democrats and the media still having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that Hillary Clinton is not sitting in the Oval Office.

Trump, as a candidate, supported Brexit, while President Barack Obama opposed it. A similar split is happening over the French elections.

Obama called the liberal, pro-European Union candidate to urge him to campaign hard to the very end, while Trump predicted the Paris attack would “probably help” Le Pen, but he did not endorse her.

The president also tweeted, “Another terrorist attack in Paris. The people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on presidential election!”

It’s hard to argue with his conclusion, though Le Pen is far more incendiary than Trump and her election would rock Europe to its core.

Still, the troubles in France, England and the US share root causes. In all three, incumbent government leaders and other centers of power refused to address longstanding and legitimate complaints from an unhappy public.

Facing common issues of jobs, immigration and terrorism, the encrusted establishments have only themselves to blame for the rise of Brexit, Trump and Le Pen. Sensible compromises and progress might have prevented voter revolutions.

Their refusals to act are inexplicable — except for pure arrogance and greed. The problems in all three nations are undeniable, with the benefits of the existing economic and immigration policies clearly benefiting some groups at the expense of others.

Yet there was zero attempt to bridge the gap. Instead, those who felt left out were demonized as stupid and racist, and the establishments’ main argument was fearmongering. The sky would fall, the economies would crash and Islamophobia would win if the disrupters took power.

It’s a knee-jerk, one-size argument that has failed.

Indeed, despite warnings of a collapse, the British economy and stock markets have grown faster than Europe’s since the Brexit vote.

In America, rising consumer and business confidence have pushed the Dow Jones index up about 1,000 points since the November election. And as Trump approaches the end of his first 100 days in office, predictions of calamity and nonstop demonstrations are losing their sting.

Of the three nations, France has the biggest problem with terrorism. Thursday’s murder amplifies the lethality and frequency of attacks over the last two-plus years.

A partial list of the slaughters includes the January 2015 attack in the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine, and related attacks, including on a kosher market, which together left 17 17 victims dead.

In November of that year, 130 people were killed in bombings and shootings around Paris, with 90 of them killed in the Bataclan theater in less than eight minutes.

And last July, on Bastille Day in the French Riviera city of Nice, a terrorist stole a truck and plowed into celebrating crowds, killing 86 people.

A French state of emergency has existed since November 2015, and police powers have been expanded. Although authorities say they foiled some attacks, too many have been successful. The fears, along with the sluggish economy, made it impossible for François Hollande, a sad socialist, even to seek another term.

Perhaps most troubling, it is frequently revealed that the jihadists involved were on French authorities’ radar beforehand. So it is with the latest shooting, with The Wall Street Journal saying police had investigated the Paris gunman two months ago on suspicion he was plotting an attack on police officers.

Once again, in Europe as in America, political correctness kills.


Ted Nugent: Trump discussed how political correctness 'has wrecked everything it has touched'

Ted Nugent and President Trump discussed how "political correctness has wrecked everything it has touched" during a dinner at the White House, the musician said. 

In a blog post for "Deer & Deer Hunting," Nugent praised Trump as an everyman committed to fighting "status quo political correctness" and "power abusing bureaucrats" who oppose hunting regulations.

"We discussed various quality of life issues and how entrenched status quo political correctness has wrecked everything it has touched and how his administration is focused and dedicated to get back to the U.S. Constitutional basics of government of, by and for the people," Nugent wrote.

Nugent, a vocal opponent of gun control and hunting regulations, backed Trump early on in his 2016 presidential bid.

After his dinner Wednesday night with the president, which included former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and musician Kid Rock, Nugent wrote that he believes Trump is on the right track, lauding his "America First" policies and his proposals to slash environmental regulations.

"When his administration’s battlecry [sic] is 'America first' you know we are on the right track after a long and embarrassing disconnect by the political posers who forgot they worked for us instead of vice versa," he wrote.

On the campaign trail, Trump railed against what he deemed out-of-control political correctness and assailed federal environmental rules and laws, accusing such measures of eliminating jobs.


Australia: Symbolic domestic violence 'a blessing'

Peter Kurti

'Women of Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia' provoked controversy recently by giving the go-ahead for Muslim men to strike their wives -- but only in a symbolic way, they insisted. It must be done in a "managed" way with a short stick, a scrap of fabric, or a coiled scarf.

In the course of a panel discussion, two women agreed that discipline was "a beautiful blessing" and sometimes necessary to "promote tranquillity" in the family home. A husband is entitled to discipline a wife, the women said, if she has been disobedient or acted in an immoral way.

Prominent Australian Muslims, including Waleed Aly, condemned the video, as did Muslim MP, Ed Husic, who stated that any form of striking -- "either between husband or wife or anywhere" -- was "not acceptable." The Prophet, they all said, condemned violence.

Australian Muslims are in a tight spot when it comes to the rights of women. Sheik Shady Alsuleiman, a leading Muslim, has asserted the right of a husband to demand sex from his wife. But Yassmin Abdel-Magid, says domestic violence is unacceptable. Which, of course, it is.

Muslim leaders prevaricate whenever Islam rubs up against Western rights, values and laws. Some claim the Qu'ran says one thing, while others deny it and declare that it says another. Multiculturalist policies have inhibited us from judging other cultures. But not all cultures are equal.

This is the social price we are paying for striving to stamp out racism and discrimination. Promoting 'diversity' has long trumped affirming the primacy of our national culture. Now we are remembering that every Australian, regardless of race or creed, has full protection under the law.

Diffidence in the face of the illegal and the unacceptable leads not to liberty, but to tyranny. 



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


24 April, 2017

UK: There are worse things than a Kelvin MacKenzie column...

...like allowing Labour and the police to boss about the free press

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not the only elected politician seemingly keen to silence criticism by using state power against press freedom. Liverpool’s Labour mayor Joe Anderson has demanded a journalist be not only sacked by his newspaper but also prosecuted by the authorities for expressing an opinion the mayor finds offensive. Merseyside Police have done as they were told and launched an official investigation into the journalist’s Thought Crime.

But while Erdogan’s harsh repression of journalists has rightly sparked angry protests in Turkey and elsewhere, Anderson’s ‘Little Erdogan’ impression in Liverpool has raised barely a murmur.

That is presumably because the journalist Labour wants locked up is Kelvin MacKenzie, arguably the most hated hack on Merseyside and beyond, who wrote a controversial column about Liverpool last week. And because the newspaper MacKenzie wrote it for is the Sun, tabloid voice of Rupert Murdoch’s News UK, so unpopular on Merseyside that it is reputedly hard to buy a copy to burn there these days.

But there is a principle at stake here that is far more important than anybody’s personal feelings about a columnist or a proprietor. That is the right of a free press to publish and be damned, and be judged by the public rather than found guilty by interfering politicians and policemen. An important part of press freedom is the right of the Sun to decide for itself who and what to publish, without being dictated to by the mayor of Liverpool or the Merseyside Police.

MacKenzie, of course, has history with Liverpool. He was the editor of the Sun responsible for the infamous front page, headlined ‘The Truth’, which endorsed poisonous lies about Liverpool football fans after 96 of them were crushed to death at Hillsborough Stadium in April 1989. The Sun and MacKenzie have long since apologised. A year ago, fresh inquests found that the fans had been ‘unlawfully killed’. This February, Liverpool FC banned Sun reporters from its Anfield stadium, apparently in response to the paper’s Hillsborough coverage 28 years ago.

So it was asking for trouble for MacKenzie to try to write a ‘humorous’ column touching on Liverpool and football last week, on the eve of the Hillsborough anniversary. To judge by the reaction, however, you might imagine that MacKenzie had been dancing on the dead Liverpool fans’ graves rather than cracking a bad joke about an Everton player and the shadier side of the city.

In an item entitled ‘Here’s why they go ape at Ross’, MacKenzie wrote about Everton star Ross Barkley, who had just been attacked in a Liverpool bar. For MacKenzie, Barkley was ‘one of our dimmest footballers’, comparable to ‘a gorilla at the zoo’. ‘The physique is magnificent but it’s the eyes that tell the story’, he wrote. ‘Not only are the lights not on, there is definitely nobody home.’

The columnist then broadened his targets, saying it was no surprise that Barkley had been punched in a nightclub after ‘allegedly eyeing up an attractive young lady who, as they say, was “spoken for”. The reality is that at £60,000-a-week and being both thick and single, he is an attractive catch in the Liverpool area, where the only men with similar pay packets are drug dealers and therefore not at nightclubs, as they are often guests of Her Majesty.’

Cue predictable outrage from Liverpool politicians, media pundits and football folk, broadcast to a national audience by the BBC and other tabloid-despising media. Attention particularly focused on the comparison between Barkley and a gorilla, with critics pointing out that the player had Nigerian antecedents. The Sun soon issued a statement apologising ‘for the offence caused’, and announcing that MacKenzie had been suspended. It said that his expressed views ‘about the people of Liverpool were wrong, unfunny and are not the view of the paper’, and that they were ‘unaware of Ross Barkley’s heritage and there was never any slur intended’. MacKenzie himself also insisted he knew nothing about Barkley’s mixed-race background before writing the (rubbish) gorilla gag.

None of which was ever going to be enough to assuage the Sun-haters. Labour mayor Anderson upped the stakes, announcing (via Twitter of course) that he had ‘reported MacKenzie & the S*n for their racist slur on Ross Barkley and the people of Liverpool to Merseyside Police & press complaints commission’ (which has actually been replaced by the Independent Press Standards Organisation). Merseyside Plod duly announced they were investigating an alleged ‘racial hate crime’.

Anderson told BBC Sport that ‘Not only is it racist in a sense that [Barkley] is of mixed-race descent, equally it’s a racial stereotype of Liverpool. It is racist and prehistoric.’

This might seem like blatant nonsense even by the standards of the Labour Party. Can an insult be racist if the writer did not know his target is mixed race? And what is this about ‘a racial stereotype of Liverpool’? The people of that fine city might sometimes seem to speak a different language from the rest of us. But are Scousers really to be considered a separate race now?

In fact, under the nonsense that is modern UK law, the answer to both those questions might be ‘yes’. The changes introduced after the MacPherson Report into the murder of Stephen Lawrence define a racial or hate crime as ‘any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person’. So if the mayor of Liverpool or Stan Collymore says the column was racist, it is. Anderson’s reinvention of Scousers as victims of racism simply extends this subjective legal definition to its (il)logical conclusion.

The meaning of racism is thus diminished, turned into an empty all-purpose insult that can be used to delegitimise any opinion you find offensive. And by applying the killer label ‘racist’ to a Sun column, tabloid-bashers can turn an unfunny and insensitive joke into a major public issue, to the point where MacKenzie’s alleged crime against humanity displaced the panic about nuclear war in some of the weekend’s news headlines.

What should us non-racist champions of free speech say about all this? There is no need to defend MacKenzie’s reactionary opinions in order to stand for his right to express them. Free speech does not, of course, grant anybody the inalienable right to express their views in the national media. That is a decision for the Sun – an independent editorial judgement that it alone should make, and for which it will be judged by its reading public.

Most importantly, anybody with an ounce of feeling for freedom of speech and of the press must stand against attempts to get the law and the regulators to interfere in such editorial judgements. It should not be the business of the Labour Party or the Merseyside Police to start laying down the law about what can and cannot be said in a free press.

No doubt the column about Ross Barkley, like much else that MacKenzie writes, was offensive to some. So what? If you don’t like it, don’t read it. The irony in this case is that none of those publicly expressing their outrage would ever read the Sun anyway, and had to make a special point of publishing the remarks online in order to be offended by them and demand the writer be repressed and punished.

In sum, there are worse things to worry about than a Kelvin MacKenzie column. Those who would burn or ban the Sun and have the state tell the press what to publish pose a far greater threat to freedom than anything said by a ‘prehistoric’ hack.

The future of MacKenzie and his ‘unfunny’ column is the business of the journalist and the Sun. The future of press freedom in the UK, and the right to read and hear what we choose and judge for ourselves, is the business of us all.

It remains an iron law of history that, whatever anybody thinks of a free press, there is always one thing worse – an unfree press. Ask the Turks.


'Don't be scared of being called Islamophobic'

Christian minister calls for a BAN on extremist Muslims coming to Australia - and only those who reject sharia law should be accepted

A Baptist reverend born in Egypt says Australia needs to deport radical Islamists and stop taking in so many fundamentalist Muslims.

While outspoken church leaders are saying conciliatory things about migrants, Sydney minister George Capsis said the large-scale migration of hardline Islamists from the Middle East was a threat to Australian democracy.

He made a clear distinction between Islamist extremists, from places like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria, and secular Muslims from Turkey who reject sharia law and fundamentalism.

'We can't have open slather like we used to. We've got to be more discerning,' he told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.

'We mustn't be afraid to be called Islamophobic. We've got to be more careful in our immigration policy.

'If we do not protect the freedoms we have in this country, they'll be eroded.'

Mr Capsis, a minister at Croydon in Sydney's inner west, said Islamist migrant preachers were radicalising the children of migrants and needed to be deported, echoing a call from Adelaide imam Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi.

'We probably should deport some people who preach hate. You hate to do that but you've got to make a stand,' he said.

His call comes only weeks after Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar, who was born in Pakistan, told a forum at Bankstown library, in south-west Sydney, that ex-Muslims deserved capital punishment.

This same Islamist group, which wants a Muslim caliphate based on sharia law, also produced a video last week justifying domestic violence.

Earlier this month, a Christian man claims a group of Muslim teenagers of Middle Eastern appearance ripped off his silver Greek Orthodox necklace during an alleged attack on a Sydney train to Bankstown.

'They ripped the cross off me, threw it to the ground, they said 'f**k Jesus, and then said they said 'Allah' after that,' the man, who chose to remain unnamed, told Daily Mail Australia.

'I thought I was going to die. The next victim might not be so lucky, they might be killed or seriously injured.'

Sydney's west is home to the hardline Sunni Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah Association, whose preachers have described as sinful attending non-Muslim events, having non-Muslim friends and even using a public urinal.

This fundamentalist group runs the Bukhari House Islamic Bookstore at Auburn, which has been linked to Farhad Jabar, the 15-year-old boy who killed accountant Curtis Cheng outside police headquarters at Parramatta in 2015.

Mr Capsis, the 70-year-old son of Greek Orthodox parents who moved to Australia at age four from Egypt, said Islamic fundamentalism had never been a success.

'Unlike Christianity, which has brought prosperity and civilization wherever it is established such as the U.S., the United Kingdom Australia, Islamic fundamentalism takes communities back to the dark ages,' he said.

He added that Islamist fundamentalist migrants, unlike secular Muslims from places like Turkey, had no interest in integrating into Australian society.

'The evidence is pretty clear: the red flag is waving in our faces,' Mr Capsis said. 'None of us want to be vilifying any race of people because every race has its good and its bad but unfortunately as a religion, it's very culturally based. 'Islam is now more culturally political than religious.'

A tipping point with radical Islamism had been reached in Australia, he said, with many people determined not to follow examples set in Europe. 'The tide has turned. We're going to see more Christian leaders come out and make a stand,' he said.

'We've got to protect ourselves. Australian society is not going to tolerate this anymore.'

Mr Capsis has previously spoken out about Muslim attacks on Christians in Sydney.


Sweden Accepted More Migrants Per Capita Than Any Other European Country. Why That’s Changed

Sweden, the latest European country to fall victim to a terrorist attack, has long been known for its generous immigration policies.

In 2015, at the height of the refugee crisis, Sweden took in more migrants per capita than any other European country. That year, more than 162,000 people applied for asylum in Sweden, including 51,000 Syrians seeking protection from terrorism and the country’s civil war.

For comparison, the United Kingdom received 39,000 asylum applications in 2015, while France received 71,000 applications.

“In general terms, Sweden has a reputation as being a safe haven for people in need of protection,” said Bernd Parusel of the Swedish Migration Agency, in an interview with The Daily Signal. “And that has certainly made the country very attractive to people seeking protection. But the situation in 2015 was extraordinary and overwhelming in many ways.”

The government in Sweden, a small Scandinavian country of 10 million people that has been resettling refugees through the United Nations since 1950, reacted swiftly to the crisis, enacting a series of restrictions to its refugee and asylum policies in late 2015 and 2016.

These actions came long before the April 7 terrorist attack, in which an Uzbek man—who was a rejected asylum seeker—is suspected of driving a stolen beer truck into a crowd of shoppers, killing four people and wounding 15 others.

‘Complicated’ Counterterrorism Efforts

Magnus Ranstorp, the head of terrorism research at the Swedish Defense University, says that roughly 12,000 rejected asylum seekers have gone underground, and not returned to their home countries, including 3,000 in the Stockholm region, where this month’s terrorist attack occurred.

The suspect in the attack, Rakhmat Akilov, 39, had applied for permanent residency in 2014, and the Swedish Migration Agency denied his application in June 2016.

In December, he was given four weeks to leave the country, but eluded the grasp of authorities, despite being on their radar as a potential security risk. He provided an inaccurate address for himself.

“We had problems with our counterterrorism efforts before the asylum issue, but this has complicated it,” Ranstorp told The Daily Signal in an interview. “Because you have a lot of people who come in who will not be allowed to stay, and that in itself creates a pool of people who will try to elude themselves from the authorities. They become a shadow population with no rights. And that fuels extremism in all different directions.”

Ranstorp says that about 150 Swedes have returned from Syria or Iraq after fighting with the Islamic State, the terrorist group also known as ISIS. He said there’s no mechanism to connect those individuals with prevention and deradicalization services, and it’s difficult to punish them because of weak sentencing laws.

“Extremists meet little resistance in Sweden,” Ranstorp said. “It’s not that security services and police are not doing their work. The reason is our counterterrorism laws are difficult to apply. You actually have to prove a violent crime was committed or about to be committed [to be convicted of a crime]. It’s not enough that you joined ISIS.”

‘Generous Policies’

Ranstorp is wary about making a direct connection between the terrorist threat and Sweden’s asylum policies.

But the Stockholm attack has renewed attention on the policies of European countries such as Sweden and Germany that took open-door approaches to the refugee crisis, and are now dealing with aftershocks, even after imposing restrictions later on.

As immigrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa took dangerous journeys to Europe with increasing frequency over the last few years, Sweden quickly became a preferred destination.

Until recent policy changes, all asylum seekers in Sweden who were granted full refugee status received a permanent residence permit—meaning they are indefinitely allowed to stay in the country. Syrians, facing the most desperate of circumstances, got even better treatment, earning permanent residence no matter the form of protected status they sought.

In Sweden, asylum seekers are provided lodging if they need it, although, at the height of the crisis, migrants were housed in locations such as schools due to shortages of shelter.

Asylum seekers also have access to free health care, and receive cash stipends for food and necessities.

If their claims are recognized, refugees and migrants provided other forms of protection can participate in a two-year integration program that offers language classes, help finding a job, and a monthly stipend.

“There was concern in Sweden that their generous asylum policies were a pull factor for people to try to come to Sweden, especially as opposed to other countries in Europe,” said Susan Fratzke, an analyst at Migration Policy Institute who studies European Union asylum policy, in an interview with The Daily Signal.

Fratzke noted that Sweden’s generous policies cannot totally explain the strong demand from prospective refugees and asylum seekers. Sweden has an established diaspora population of certain populations, such as Afghanis, which encourages family members to try to reunite with them.

Indeed, she said, unaccompanied children from Afghanistan have ranked as one of the largest groups of migrants to seek protected status in Sweden over the last few years. More than 41,000 migrants from Afghanistan applied for asylum in 2015, making it the second-largest country of origin.

‘Reacted Quickly and Drastically’

Still, in response to the increasing demand, Sweden introduced border security measures and made its asylum offerings less generous.

In November 2015, Sweden introduced border checks with its neighbors for the first time in 20 years, requiring police to monitor trains and ferries and turn back those who don’t have valid travel documents. Under the previous system, asylum seekers could enter the country unobstructed, regardless of whether they had travel documents, like a passport.

Later, in June 2016, Sweden toughened the rules for migrants seeking asylum, limiting who can receive permanent residency, and making it more difficult for parents to reunite with their children.

Under the new policy, most refugees and migrants granted other forms of protected status receive three-year temporary residence instead of permanent residence.

“There was a feeling the situation was about to get out of hand, which is why the government and opposition worked together and reacted quite quickly and drastically to reduce the numbers coming in and to make Sweden less attractive as a destination,” Parusel said.

The measures have had an impact, at least to some degree.

According to the Swedish Migration Agency, 5,677 people applied for asylum in Sweden during the first quarter of 2017, compared to 9,145 in the first quarter of 2016 and 13,053 for the same period in 2015.

At the peak of the crisis in 2015, more than 39,000 individuals applied for asylum in Sweden in just one month (October).

“It’s hard to say what caused the decline in asylum claims in 2016, and this year, in Sweden,” said Fratzke, who also credited action by other European countries with the falling numbers, and a broader European Union agreement that returned asylum seekers to Turkey. “The decrease in the number of arrivals came pretty closely after Sweden introduced the border check measures, but other European countries also imposed their own border security policies.”

Challenges Remain

Despite these changes, Sweden faces ongoing challenges.

Parusel and Fratzke say that it’s difficult to address the problem of rejected asylum seekers staying in the country, as the suspected assailant in this month’s terrorist attack did.

That’s because many countries refuse to take their nationals back. The U.S. also faces this problem.

In addition, just like in the U.S., immigration authorities challenged by limited resources prioritize the types of people they seek to deport, and use their discretion to leave others alone.

With general elections set for Sweden next year, and the far-right, anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats party on the rise, immigration and counterterrorism policy promises to dominate the conversation.

“After the terrorist attack, many people are saying we must not change the way we live in Sweden, and keep our open attitude to the world, including towards immigrants,” Parusel said. “On the other hand, I see no way for Sweden to go back to its previous generous immigration policy.”


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull doubles down on 'Australia first' message

Echoes of Mr Trump

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has taken to social media to promote his citizenship push and migrant worker crackdown, as the government works on selling its "Australia first" agenda.

It was all rolled out after the Easter long weekend.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has posted this video on Facebook saying his government is standing up for Australian jobs and values.

On Tuesday, Mr Turnbull announced the government would axe the 457 foreign worker visa program, and replace it with two new temporary visas, which would impose tougher qualification tests, while cutting down on the number of occupations open to international workers last week.

He followed that announcement up on Thursday with changes to the citizenship rules, which will see would-be Australians subjected to tougher language and "values-based" tests, and much longer waiting times before becoming eligible to apply for citizenship.

Now comes the sell, with Mr Turnbull releasing a short video on his Facebook page espousing the benefits of Australian values – and the policy changes – intersected with images of him meeting people on the street, being mobbed by school children, wearing an Akubra and talking to first and new Australians.

Mr Turnbull released the video shortly after his media conference with US Vice-President Mike Pence, who was elected, along with Donald Trump, on an "America First" platform.

"Australia is the most successful multicultural society in the world," he said.

"We do not define our national identity by race or religion, but by a commitment to shared Australian values. "Those Australian values define us. Australian values unite us.

"Freedom. Parliamentary democracy. The rule of law. Mutual respect. The equality of men and women and a fair go. The opportunity to get ahead, but lend a hand to those who fall behind.

"Our reforms will put these values at the heart of our citizenship requirements. Membership of our Australian family is a privilege and it should be afforded to those who support our values, respect our laws and want to integrate and contribute to an even better Australia."

Using the same language he used during the week, Mr Turnbull said the migration law changes would ensure "temporary worker visas do not become passports to jobs that should or could be done by Australians".

"Yes, businesses require access to the skills they need to grow, but Australian workers should always have priority for Australian jobs," he said, against a backdrop of native trees.

"My government is standing up for Australian jobs and Australian values."

When announcing his changes to the citizenship rules earlier in the week, Mr Turnbull appeared to struggle to name the Australian values he said were at the core of the reforms, saying there would be public consultation.

Facing pressure in the polls and within his own government, Mr Turnbull has sought to re-set his government's message in recent months, as it attempts to appeal to voters it lost at the last election to parties such as One Nation.



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


23 April, 2017

Italian court rules against the facts

Detailed studies of the evidence have found no good evidence that mobile phone use causes cancer of the head and neck. But the most compelling fact in the affair is the huge upsurge of mobile phone usage in the last quarter century.  If mobile phones caused upper body cancer, there should have been as corresponding upsurge in upper body cancers over the same period.  There has  been no such upsurge.  So the Italian court below was talking through its cappello elegante

A POTENTIALLY landmark case, an Italian court has ruled that excessive, work-related use of a mobile phone caused an executive to develop a benign brain tumour.

in a ruling handed down on April 11 but only made public on Thursday, the court in the northern town of Ivrea awarded the plaintiff a state-funded pension.

The ruling is subject to a possible appeal.

Roberto Romeo, 57, had testified that his work duties obliged him to use his mobile for three to four hours of each working day for 15 years.

“For the first time in the world, a court has recognised a causal link between inappropriate use of a mobile phone and a brain tumour,” his lawyers, Stefano Bertone and Renato Ambrosio said in a statement.

Romeo said he did not want to demonise mobiles, “but I believe we have to be more aware about how to use them.

“I had no choice but to use my mobile to talk to colleagues and organise work — for 15 years I was calling all the time, from home, in the car.

“I started to have the feeling of my right ear being blocked all the time and the tumour was diagnosed in 2010. Happily, it was benign but I can no longer hear anything because they had to remove my acoustic nerve.” A medical expert estimated the damage to Romeo at 23 per cent of his bodily function, prompting the judge to make a compensation award of 500 euros per month to be paid by INAIL, a national insurance scheme covering workplace accidents.

Scientific studies of the potential health risks of mobile phones have mostly concluded that they pose no serious risk to human health at the level of most people’s use.


Boosting terror's aura bolsters its ambitions
Charles Jacobs

London's most recent terror incident spun the media and politicians alike into overdrive, labeling it an act designed 'to silence our democracy'.

In reality the perpetrator was a troubled individual who had virtually no capacity to destroy one of the world's oldest governments.

Pertinently, the rhetoric surrounding the recent disarmament of Basque separatist group ETA also served as a prescient reminder that the credence we decide to give to these groups is far more powerful than any weapons they possess.

For decades the aura given to ETA has enabled it to hold Basque society hostage. ETA's brutal methods, small but symbolic attacks -- and the strong language from Spanish critics -- give the group a level of political capital that far outweighs its actual ability to effect change.

As ETA disarmed, the Spanish Prime Minister unfortunately continued to give them credibility by focusing on their ongoing potential to function as a político-militar, rather than praising their decision to hand over weapons caches.

Spain's treatment of the Basque conflict sends an important message to Europe and indeed the rest of the world -- by continuing to build the prominence of terror groups through the media and aggressive political rhetoric, we become a tool of their campaigns.

Organisations such as ETA and the Islamic State thrive on mythological perpetuations of their capabilities that far supersede their actual capacity.

Such myths enabled ETA to assert decades of pseudo control over Basque society and also convinced Brits that a confused individual posed a genuine threat to their democracy.

If we continue to reinforce these attitudes around the globe, we bolster the ambitions of the very terror groups we strive to quell.

It is essential to not perpetuate the fear terrorism thrives on, and to ensure that we do not hold our own society hostage by giving extremists a reputation they do not deserve.


Death Penalty Opponents Are Being Dishonest in Their Arguments
The debate over the death penalty can be infuriatingly dishonest.

Consider the April 17 broadcast of Fox News Channel’s “Special Report with Bret Baier” (a show on which I am an occasional commentator).

Casey Stegall reported on the legal battle in Arkansas, where officials want to execute eight death row inmates in 11 days before their supply of midazolam expires. This is one of the drugs used to carry out lethal injections.

Stegall did his legwork. He talked to Susan Khani, the daughter of the woman murdered, execution-style, by Don Davis in 1990. She told Stegall the last quarter century has been agony for her, adding, “He is just a very cruel person. He needs to be put to death.”

Stegall then talked to the usual death penalty opponents. First was Robert Dunham of the Death Penalty Information Center, who said, “There is a myth that family members of murder victims will get closure out of executions. In fact, for many of the family members, that does not happen.”

So let’s start there. To say that something is a “myth” is to suggest that it is untrue. The Loch Ness Monster is a myth. Bigfoot is a myth. But on Dunham’s own terms, some family members do get closure. He didn’t say, “No family members of murder victims get closure.” He said “many,” a subjective term that could mean pretty much any number short of “most.”

Stegall then talked to Stacy Anderson of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is concerned that we might execute the wrong person. “We know that 156 innocent people have been found on death row in the last 20 years,” she said.

Added Stegall: “The ACLU says cost is another driving force of the decline. Litigating death penalty cases is expensive since the condemned often spend years filing appeals and lawsuits.”

This is also true. But you know what group is arguably most responsible for raising the cost of the death penalty? The American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU is well within its rights to clog the courts with lawsuits. But there’s something remarkably cynical about barraging the courts with often frivolous complaints that raise the costs of the death penalty, then pretending that your objection is the cost.

Indeed, Arkansas is racing to use its drugs before they expire because death penalty opponents have worked tirelessly to make such drugs extremely difficult to obtain.

The same cynicism applies to concerns about innocent people being wrongly executed. I’m in favor of the death penalty. You know what? I’m also passionately opposed to executing the wrong person.

But Don Davis eventually admitted to murdering Jane Daniels in cold blood after breaking into her home, so objections that some other death row inmate might be innocent have no bearing on his case.

Ironically, immediately after Stegall’s report, anchor Bret Baier announced: “A massive manhunt is underway at this hour for a suspect who police say engaged in a heinous public crime that can truly be called a sign of the times.”

The suspect was Steve Stephens, the so-called “Facebook Killer,” who video-recorded himself admitting that he was about to murder someone randomly. He then got out of his car, walked up to 74-year-old Robert Godwin, a father of 10 and grandfather of 14, and casually executed him. Stephens then posted the video on Facebook.

Stephens killed himself two days later. But say he hadn’t. Obviously, he would have gotten a trial. Let’s suppose he was found guilty and got the death penalty. We would still be subjected to all of the sleight-of-hand rhetoric about the risk of executing innocent people, the costs, etc., even though there would be zero doubt in this instance.

We’d probably also hear that the death penalty is “racist” — Stevens was black — despite the fact that Stevens' victim was black as well. Meanwhile, Don Davis is white.

It is entirely legitimate and honorable to oppose the death penalty on principle. The problem is that this is a constitutionally ridiculous position given that the plain text of the Constitution itself allows for the death penalty in several places.

Acolytes of the “living Constitution” want to believe that nothing bad (as defined by them) can be constitutional. I don’t think the death penalty is bad, but if you want to get rid of it, amend the Constitution. Otherwise, opponents should stop pretending their real objection is something else.


New puritanism at work in refusals to show pro-men film

Comment from Australia

The liberal democratic model doesn’t need a tune-up; it needs a full body overhaul. Increasingly, the university campus — the very place where young minds should be challenged and provoked, where preconceptions should be tested and the notion of intellectual comfort zones should be anathema — is becoming a symbol of the dismal future of liberal traditions.

Warning signs from the US are bad enough. Safe rooms allow young students to escape confronting ideas in the lecture room. Inside lecture halls, students demand trigger alerts for literature that has been taught, without warnings, for hundreds of years. Students revel in their no-platforming to stop even Germaine Greer talking on campus because some of her views don’t comply with campus orthodoxy. Other speakers are drowned out by drums and saucepans and banging sticks to stop them being heard, in front of cameras, with no shame over the illiberal antics. Complaints about cultural appropriation are aimed at authors such as Lionel Shriver, a fiction writer, on the grounds a white woman should stick to her own white story. Where would this leave Shakespeare? On it goes, the push in one direction to shame those who express different views and to shut down debate we once took for granted in a liberal democracy.

The same virus is closing down Australian minds. Last week the University of Sydney Union board withdrew funding to show a documentary called The Red Pill. Young filmmaker Cassie Jaye was researching rape culture when she came upon a website for men’s rights activists. The feminist, who had previously reported on issues such as single motherhood, LGBTI rights and marriage equality, had her own preconceptions challenged. The result is a thought-provoking exploration of issues that confront men, from ­unequal custody outcomes to male suicide rates, from male deaths in the workplace to inequalities in the criminal justice system, from dismal health statistics affecting men and more.

The film takes its title from the red pill reference in The Matrix where the protagonist is given a choice ­between taking the red pill that opens the mind to explor­ation or the blue pill where the story ends. Clearly the USU board chose the blue pill. And why wouldn’t it? It seems Dendy Cinemas may have swallowed a blue pill too, apparently telling organisers last week they were cancelling a screening of the documentary in Sydney’s Newtown theatre. Dendy have gone curiously quiet, perhaps hoping it will fly under the radar.

The most compelling parts of The Red Pill are Jaye’s video diaries where the filmmaker thrashes through the strictures of her own feminist training. Here on film is the opening of a young feminist mind — precisely what most frightens the feminist ideologues and the cultural Marxists. Having lost control of the economic ­debates, the left’s shift into the cultural sphere has been underway for more than four decades. Daily assaults on basic freedoms, such as the freedom to speak, attest to their domination of this sphere.

Parroting the dogma of feminist academics who admit they haven’t seen The Red Pill, the USU board justified its decision by ­arguing the film promotes “sexual violence”. No one who has seen the film could make such a ridiculously dishonest claim. The film does no such thing. It explores ­issues affecting men.

Today’s cultural dietitians seek to control debates by slapping a nasty label on those with different views, repeating it over and over again, regardless of whether it fits. The aim of using vile labels is to strip opponents of credibility and, even better, censor their views.

Former prime minister Julia Gillard labelled her then opponent Tony Abbott a “misogynist” when her own power was under threat, providing zero evidence of such an evil claim. To coin a phrase from Helen Garner’s nuanced look at sex and power in The First Stone, Gillard had a grid labelled “misogyny” and she resolved to apply it to the broadest possible field of male behaviour. The late Bill Leak was labelled a “racist” by critics to delegitimise and shut down his cartoons about dysfunction in some indigenous families. Enlightenment thinker and former Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali was ­a peddler of “white ­supremacy” for challenging sharia law and demanding a reformation of Islam for the sake of Muslims.

By all means, review Jaye’s documentary. Critique it, pan it if that’s your view after seeing it. But banning it is another chapter in the left’s cultural strangulation of liberal values.

This is a return to another era when puritanical ­hysteria banned DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Back then the objection was to words deemed too rude to publish. The modern puritans treat different views as rude enough to censor. Opposing views have become the newest taboo. Sydney University screened The Hunting Ground documentary about sexual assault of women on American campuses, even though 19 Harvard professors challenged some of its claims. The same university refuses to finance the airing of a documentary raising serious issues afflicting men.

The same pusillanimity was on show last year when The Palace Kino cinema in Melbourne banned The Red Pill, making Australia the first country in the world where it was banned. That move led Ultima Function Centre manager and businessman Nick Georgiades to show the film. ­Online protests ­attacked his business, a death threat was made against him, yet Georgiades aired the film, pointing out that those trying to shut down the film were “proving the very point the director is trying to make”.

I’m ashamed to say that before seeing The Red Pill, I wondered whether the documentary was ­really one for me. But as the ­mother of a teenage boy on the cusp of manhood, I should have been more curious. This is a brilliant documentary that touches on so many issues that may one day confront our sons. Too many of us think we know enough, or at least we are comfortable with what we already know about certain issues. Worse, the USU decision shows stubborn and ideological blindness to information that challenges preconcieved positions. The consequences of the closing of young minds won’t be healthy, given that this generation will shape society in a few short years, which is why fighting against every episode of censorship is a worthy battle.

The Red Pill, with the help of an organisation called Fan Force, will be screened across Australia if enough people sign up on its website to see it. And why shouldn’t we be curious to learn about Jaye’s journey to a more open mind? Why shouldn’t we explore the pressures on boys and men, consider their vulnerabilities and ask how they are faring in a world where women’s issues attract most of the attention? What on earth are we afraid of?



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


21 April, 2017

Networks ‘Aiding and Abetting' Violent Torture of Women by Refusing to Cover It

On Tuesday, Media Research Center (MRC) President Brent Bozell slammed the networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) for ignoring a horrific form of violent torture of females making its way into the United States.

The Big Three networks have refused to cover the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) charges announced last Thursday against Dr. Jumana Nagarwala for performing female genital mutilation (FGM) on girls between the ages of 6 and 8.

Bozell, joined by Act for America Chairman Brigitte Gabriel, issued a statement condemning the media’s hypocrisy for claiming to support feminism while ignoring “an extremely brutal practice of violence against women”:

“The media’s moral compass is hopelessly broken. We have the first case of the brutal practice of FGM in the United States, and the networks are AWOL. You would think an extremely brutal practice of violence against women would make TV headlines here at home, but you would be wrong.

“Where is the outrage? The hypocrisy is staggering. The networks, which have for years championed the causes of left-wing feminists and women's rights, are conspicuously silent on this case and their silence is deafening. This is real exploitation of young girls and the usual suspects who ought to care have little to say about this form of torture making its way to America.”
If the networks won’t tell the American people about cases of FGM, then they are complicit in this violent, physical abuse of women, Bozell and Gabriel warn:

“This practice is illegal and immoral. The networks have an ethical responsibility to report that it’s happening here at home. If they don't, they are guilty of aiding and abetting violence against women out of a politically correct fueled fear of offending Muslims.”


Once Again, CAIR Shows That Islamism and Civil Rights Don't Mix

While CAIR-Georgia official Asma Elhuni was protesting the anti-union policies of a Georgia auto plant in February 2017, CAIR's national office was vigorously resisting the right of its own workers to unionize.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has been claiming for years to be not merely the nation's preeminent Muslim civil rights group, but a defender of the civil rights of all Americans.

In addition to denouncing alleged acts of "Islamophobia," representatives of the organization have been quick to condemn acts of antisemitism, police shootings of African Americans, anti-LGBTQ violence, and so forth, while expressing solidarity with every "progressive" cause under the sun.

But peer beneath CAIR's carefully-crafted press releases and publicity stunts and it's clear that the group's reactionary Islamist roots are as strong as ever.

Last week came a striking demonstration that CAIR's support for workers' rights is just a ruse. The group had been seeking for some time to block the Service Employees International Union from organizing the staff at its national office, claiming that it is a religious organization and therefore exempt from the National Labor Relations Act. The National Labor Relations Board rejected that argument in an April 7 ruling.

Beneath its carefully-crafted press releases, CAIR's reactionary Islamist roots are as strong as ever.

Contrast this with the high-profile appearance just weeks earlier of a CAIR representative alongside auto workers in Marietta, GA, protesting the anti-union policies of a Nissan plant.

The same hypocrisy was on display in the wake of the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, last year by a radical Islamist, when CAIR leaders across the country condemned anti-LGBTQ bigotry. The media fawned over a statement from the head of CAIR's Florida chapter, Hassan Shibly, declaring his "overwhelming love and support and unity" for the LGBTQ community.

But CAIR, with it's strong connections to the Sunni Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, whose hatred of homosexuals is quite explicit, has a long history of promoting homophobia.

Indeed, Shibly himself decried homosexuality as "evil" and a "quick way to earn God's wrath" in a 2009 Facebook essay on gay marriage. While CAIR officials have avoided such statements since Orlando, the organization continues to host radical Islamist speakers notorious for gay-bashing at its events.

For example, the radical cleric Siraj Wahhaj, a former member of CAIR's advisory board, remains one of the organization's most frequent speakers. Wahhaj has preached that homosexuality is "a disease of this [American] society" and reminded his congregants, "[You know what the punishment is, if a man is found with another man? The Prophet Mohammad said the one who does it and the one to whom it is done to, kill them both."

Although CAIR officials nowadays speak of women's rights, the mainstay of the organization's "civil rights" work is funding lawsuits under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and other statutes to ostensibly protect the "right" of Muslim women to wear face-concealing religious garb in any and all circumstances, from police booking photos and airline security checkpoints to any number of jobs and professions that require dress codes.

"To be shown without a headscarf, it's almost like being shown naked," CAIR national spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told the Washington Post last year.

CAIR claims it works to protect the rights of women, but it's really about protecting the "right" of men to oppress women. Islamists want to create a social environment in which no American Muslim woman will ever have legitimate cause to take off her hijab without the permission of her husband or male relatives.

Islamic extremists prosper in the West because they've learned to exploit its rhetoric and democratic processes.

Again, CAIR's choice of speakers at its events reveals the duplicity of the Islamist organization's message. One cleric promoted by CAIR, Abdul Nasir Jangda, has justified the possession of female sex slaves, and advocated marital rape as a "divinely given right."

The mainstream media rarely challenges CAIR representatives who appear on TV claiming to support lofty ideals that conflict squarely with the extremism they preach within the Muslim-American community.

Deceit lies at the heart of lawful Islamism. Extremists that prosper in the West do so because they have learned to exploit its rhetoric and democratic processes. But it cannot be long before that hypocrisy is laid bare – perhaps it will be the next time a CAIR official expresses solidarity with a labor union.


Religious Discrimination Case Goes to SCOTUS: Will Religious Nonprofits Be Treated Fairly?

Playgrounds are for children who exhaust every drop of available energy earnestly traversing the monkey bars, unabashedly whirling round the merry-go-round, and bravely scaling its framework (both on structures intended for climbing, as well as those that are simply conformable to it).

Playgrounds are also for parents and caregivers who release their charges to a world of sensory engagement, while themselves enjoying perhaps a moment of somewhat-solitary reflection or the rare opportunity to converse—even momentarily—with another adult.

Playgrounds are for the elderly men and women who shuffle down to a neighborhood park to sit on a bench and listen to the melodic sounds of children’s laughter. (Incidentally, there are even playgrounds designed for the seniors themselves.)

And aside from these practical benefits of playgrounds, they function as a sort of social hub, a physical connecting point where diverse members of the community come together. In The New Yorker, Emily Raboteau describes it this way:

In the playgrounds with my kids ... I talk with people I would otherwise never have spoken to. A Hasidic mother of six, a decade younger than I am. A teen-age mom a decade younger than her. A Trinidadian nanny with a talent for Sudoku puzzles. An out-of-work opera singer, father to twins. A foster parent peddling The Watchtower.

Playgrounds are for the community and, in a very real sense, they build community.

From community playground to High Court petitioner

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide what to do about a small playground at a small church in a small Missouri city. The case itself is anything but small; one New York Times reporter referred to Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer as “the term’s remaining marquee case,” and its implications could reverberate throughout the country.

Trinity Lutheran Church is going before the Supreme Court for one reason: It wants Missouri to play fair on the playground. Missouri is going before the Supreme Court for one reason: Its problematic implementation of the Missouri Scrap Tire Grant Program.

Initially, the state’s intentions—by all indications—were commendable. As I’ve written previously, Missouri officials instituted the scrap tire program to increase playground safety. It is an admirable goal—emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children for playground-related injuries every year, and 20,000 of those children suffer traumatic brain injuries. Through the program, the state reimbursed grant recipients for rubberized surface material they purchased for the playgrounds. In addition to making playgrounds safer for children, the program benefited the environment because the surface material is manufactured from recycled tires, thereby reducing the number of tires in landfills. Thus, state officials devised a way to simultaneously enrich its communities, protect its children, and protect the environment. Everyone wins, or so it seemed.

What made Missouri’s efforts to better its communities so counterproductive, however, was its unwillingness to treat all playgrounds—and therefore all community members—equally. Specifically, the state excluded playgrounds at religious nonprofits from the program. As a result, Trinity Lutheran’s preschool, called The Learning Center, was denied one of the 14 grants awarded in the year it applied, even though its application was ranked fifth out of the 44 applications received that year.

The state constitution prohibits aid to religion, and officials apparently concluded that reimbursing religious nonprofits for rubber playground surfaces was the functional equivalent of funding a fervent altar call or financing a university student’s pursuit of a devotional theology degree. Most of the kids on the jungle gym could easily recognize the difference between a rubber landing and a heavenly rising, but unfortunately, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit agreed with Missouri. And now the Supreme Court is set to decide whether Missouri’s state establishment clause forbids it from offering neutrally available public benefits—which include benefits like police and fire services—to religious groups.

Discrimination against religious nonprofits hurts the community

Even if the heavy-handed discrimination Missouri displayed toward religion and religious entities was justified (and it most certainly was not), the facts demonstrate that by its actions the state was punishing all community members, not just religious ones.

First, while The Learning Center is a program of the church, it overwhelmingly serves community members who are not church members. Indeed, more than 90 percent of the children enrolled at the preschool do not attend Trinity Lutheran, but they are equally disadvantaged by the state’s exclusion of religious nonprofits.

Second, The Learning Center has an “open gate” policy, which means the playground is available for use by an even broader cross section of the community after hours and on weekends. Those community members, however, are prevented from enjoying the safe surface present at many other community playgrounds, simply because the community playground they bring their children to is located at a religious nonprofit.

Third, discrimination against religious nonprofits is, in and of itself, bad for the community. More than half of the 20 largest charities in the country were founded on religious principles, and by religious organizations or individuals, and those charities provide vital services to the community. Punishing these nonprofits, or depriving them of an equal playing field when it comes to neutrally available public benefits, effectively punishes the communities they serve.

Missouri officials should have embraced a spirit of fair play and enabled playgrounds to bring the community together. Here’s hoping the Supreme Court shows everyone the beauty of the playground.


Landmark case tests pre-nup law in Australia

Feminist-inspired divorce laws are already a large deterrent to marriage.  Living together is now roughly as common as marriage. The ladies complain that their man "won't commit".  He would be most unwise to do so given the legal hazards. If pre-nups are invalidated, that will be a further deterrent

A widow who claims she was made to sign a prenup under "duress" has gone to the High Court over the $11 million estate left behind by her property developer ex-husband.

The woman, a foreigner who cannot be named for legal reasons, received legal advice before her wedding in 2007 that the agreement was "no good" but signed it anyway, The Australian reports. She also signed a second agreement after the wedding against further advice she received.

The High Court agreed to hear the case last month.

The judgment could affect the strength of prenuptial agreements in Australia, as well as what constitutes as "duress".

Four days before her wedding, the widow had been told she must sign the agreement "or the wedding is off", her barrister Matthew Foley has told the court. Her lawyers will also argue she had no bargaining power at this point, given she had "no job, no home, no visa, her parents brought out from (their country)."

According to The Australian, the widow began her fight for the two agreements to be nullified a year after separating from her husband in 2011. He died in 2014 but his two adult children are now continuing the legal fight as the estate's trustees.

Lawyer representing the two children Robert Lethbridge told the court the woman "got the bargain that she indeed wanted".

The couple reportedly met through an online dating website in 2006, when she was 36 and living in her home country overseas and he was a 67-year-old father of three. He was then worth more than $18 million.

They began living together in Australia a year later but six months after she arrived she was asked to sign the agreement. Receiving independent advice, she was told she would be entitled to only $50,000 if they broke up after three years or nothing if they broke up earlier. 

In 2015, Brisbane's Federal Circuit Court ruled that both agreements were signed under duress, citing the woman's lack of financial equality and visa status.

However, this was overturned by the Family Court last year, which found there was no duress given she had received her own legal advice but "went ahead regardless".

The High Court has now been asked to determine principles surrounding such agreements in the appeal by the widow.



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


20 April, 2017

The Hyde Amendment at 40 Years and Reproductive Rights in the United States

It mostly prevents abortions in government hospitals, which is why many women turn to private organizations such as Planned Parenthood

On September 30, 1976, in the waning months of the 94th Congress, freshman Representative Henry J. Hyde (R-IL) witnessed his namesake amendment enacted into law via the Departments of Labor and Health, Education, and Welfare Appropriation Act of 1977 (PL 94-439).1 All of one sentence, the amendment stipulated that “None of the [Medicaid] funds contained in this Act shall be used to perform abortions except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term.”1 For the past 40 years, the Hyde Amendment, an appropriation rider (annually renewed provision), has been unfailingly extended and frequently reworded.2 Moreover, its blueprint for the dissociation of federal funds from abortion services has been progressively applied to multiple public, as well as private, health insurance plans.2 Today, the Hyde Amendment remains controversial, and the subject of opposing partisan calls for its nullification or codification. This Viewpoint traces the evolution of the Hyde Amendment, explores its unremitting expansion, and discusses its likely future.

Efforts to eliminate the funding for abortions by Medicaid date back to the 1973 resolution of Roe v Wade and to the affirmation of abortion as a constitutional right. However, it was only after a pair of false legislative starts that the Hyde Amendment came to pass following a contentious 3-month–long debate that included dozens of compromise proposals. No sooner had the newly enacted amendment been finalized that legal action (McRae v Mathews in 1976) was brought to enjoin its implementation. In that case, grounds for a stay alleged violation of the First Amendment (Establishment Clause) and Fifth Amendment (Due Process Clause) as well as of the federal Medicaid statute. A 4-year legal battle ensued. It was not until June 30, 1980, in Harris v McRae, that the Supreme Court held that the Hyde Amendment did not “violate the Establishment Clause” nor “impinge on the ‘liberty’ protected by the Due Process Clause.”3 The court further held that Medicaid-participating states were not obligated by Title XIX of the Social Security Act to provide funding for abortions “for which federal reimbursement is unavailable under the Hyde Amendment.”3

In the years since the enactment of the Hyde Amendment, its blueprint for the dissociation of federal funds from abortion services has been applied to an increasing number of public health insurance plans other than the Medicaid program.2 In a series of targeted initiatives, the “Hyde” blueprint was extended to appropriation statutes of the Peace Corps, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Medicare program, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, and the District of Columbia.2 Similar, if permanent, constraints were extended to authorizing statutes of the Department of Defense, the Indian Health Service, the Veterans Health Administration, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.2 In so doing, the Hyde Amendment, now a government-wide imperative, all but eliminated federally funded abortion services. More recently, coincident with the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the Hyde Amendment was extended to federally subsidized private health insurance plans offered through the exchanges.4 As detailed in Executive Order 13535, federal premium assistance in the form of “tax credits and cost-sharing reduction payments” are to be wholly “segregated” and precluded from underwriting “abortion services.”4 In addition, the Hyde blueprint was emulated by multiple states intent on precluding state funds and private health insurance plans from underwriting abortion services. Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia prohibit the utilization of state funds toward abortion care. Yet other states constrain abortion coverage by private health insurance plans both on and off the online marketplaces.

Unsuccessful legislative endeavors to codify the Hyde Amendment into statutory permanence date back to the Child Health Assurance Act of 1979 (HR 4962). Statutory codification of the Hyde Amendment would have eliminated the need for its annual renewal. Multiple subsequent initiatives met with a similar fate. Recent developments, however, suggest a renewed interest in this legislative goal. In a first, the 2016 Republican Party platform called for “codification of the Hyde Amendment and its application across the government, including Obamacare.”5 The Trump-Pence campaign similarly pledged to “making the Hyde Amendment permanent law to protect taxpayers from having to pay for abortions.”6 It was in this context that the House has recently passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017 (HR 7).7 True to its title, the bill, first introduced in 2011, amends Title 1 of the US Code to ensure that “no funds authorized or appropriated by [f]ederal law…shall be expended for any abortion.”7 In addition, the bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to disallow federal premium assistance for the purchase of private health insurance plans that provide “coverage for abortion.”7 Moreover, the bill revises the private health insurance plan disclosure requirements to include the extent of “coverage of abortion and abortion premium surcharges.”7

Attempts to nullify the Hyde Amendment via a dedicated statute have been few and far between. In a sign of renewal, the 2016 Democratic Party platform resolved “to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment.”8 Hillary R. Clinton, then the Democratic presidential nominee, offered that “laws…like the Hyde Amendment” preclude low-income women from exercising “their full rights.”9 The recently introduced Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act of 2017 (HR 771) is in keeping with this world view.10 First sponsored in 2015, the bill aims “[t]o ensure affordable abortion coverage and care for every woman.”10 The bill further requires that the federal government guarantee coverage for abortion services “in its role as an insurer, employer, or health care provider.”10 In addition, the bill specifies that the “[f]ederal [g]overnment shall not prohibit, restrict, or otherwise inhibit insurance coverage of abortion care by [s]tate or local government or by private health plans.”10

Durable and incessantly expansive, the Hyde Amendment has cast a long shadow over the public and private funding of elective abortions. Still, its codification by a federal statute remains elusive. The latest such effort, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017, could well trigger a Democratic filibuster in the Senate, the outcome of which cannot be reliably forecasted.7 President Trump has indicated that he would sign the bill subject to a bicameral consensus. Nullification via the EACH Woman Act of 2017 is deemed highly improbable given its unlikely passage by the Republican-dominated House.

It would thus appear that the Hyde Amendment is destined to persist for some time as an annually renewed appropriation rider unless codified through No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act or health care reform statutes yet to be enacted. It follows that low-income, reproductive-age women—especially women of color—cannot expect access to abortion services to improve anytime soon. Lamenting this very same reality several decades earlier, Justice Thurgood Marshall offered that “the class burdened by the Hyde Amendment consists of indigent women, a substantial proportion of whom are members of minority races” for whom “denial of a Medicaid-funded abortion is equivalent to denial of legal abortion altogether.”3

JAMA. 2017;317(15):1523-1524. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.2742

NBC Sports: U.S. Flag at Baseball Games Too Political

Too political? Everything is political to the overly sensitive mind of today’s leftist. When the Atlanta Braves unfurled a gigantic flag for the playing of the national anthem, it prompted an ultra sensitive member of the partisan media and his Twitter followers to express a whole host of ridiculous claims.

In a Twitter post this weekend, NBC baseball writer Craig Calcaterra complained that the presentation of Old Glory evoked overly political tones. He and his like-minded comrades used the occasion to attack the flag, the military, President Trump, conservatives and the singing of God Bless America:

“Will you keep politics out of sports, please? We like sports to be politics-free.”

That was the first shot fired in what became a lively Twitter free-for-all between conservative patriots and hate America snowflakes. He also blogged about it here, stating the government had paid pro sports teams for the opportunity to promote patriotism and recruitment (of the people who will protect our freedom). He said his Tweet was an attempt to troll the “stick to sports” crowd. He said flag waving is a political strategy.

“How is the flag political? Matthew Weymar Tweeted to Calcaterra. The NBC writer responded that maybe a flag “in and of itself isn’t always political. A two-acre flag with a military flyover is saying something very specific, however.” Chris McAllister asked Calcaterra what an American flag for Democrats looks like?” Touche!

Rick Krahn commented, “I think there was a time when love for country wasn’t considered political. And a lot of people would like to return to that time.”

Calcaterra said it’s not so easy doing that: “Getting there requires people to accept that those who question our leaders and do not support all military ventures can still be patriots.”

Krahn told Calcaterra that those who oppose “often do so by cutting down country or those who serve it.” Joseph Daher added, “You can disagree with the leaders and still support the soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen who died under that flag.”

Calcaterra countered, “And you can support them in ways other than flying a two-acre flag, yet we routinely fail to.” He attached a photo of veterans protesting at a VA hospital along with the link to a story in The Nation about a lack of VA resources for vets. Daher called him out by asking: “Baseball shouldn’t have a flag because the VA is in shambles?”

Additionally, Calcaterra said “if you criticize their (sports teams’) use of the military you’re called unpatriotic.” And by not standing for the singing of God Bless America, Calcaterra dialed up his inner snowflake and said the reactions around him made him feel bad.

Mark Simon hit the NBC lib right between the eyes: “This is a left-wing screed. It is not about patriotism, rather what offends your politics.” Ryan Kantor explained to Calcaterra how his complaints are viewed: “You should applaud apolitical patriotism or everyone will mistake your criticisms for anti-American rhetoric.” Cameron Darnell argued, “People die for our rights in this country, so yeah we’re gonna layout the flag. We’re also gonna have a military.”

Calcaterra said, “Wrapping oneself in the flag is a common means of achieving political ends.” That may be true for the rainbow flag.

Calcaterra complained that his criticisms “in this realm will always, always be considered anti-American regardless of what else I say.” Without citing examples, he added: “Conspicuous patriotism is often used as a cudgel to silence/shame those who question our leaders.”

Using that logic, Krahn schooled Calcaterra by saying it was unfair to label criticisms of Obama as racism. “Cuts both ways.”

Additional Tweets further demonstrated the Hate America mentality. Mark Rittle wrote, “I’d like to attend sporting events without romanticizing the war machine.” And Shawn Drotar griped that at the average NFL game “jingoism comes with the ticket.”

What are we left to assume from Calcaterra’s remarks? For one, if we removed everything that offends leftists in the public square, it would be a bland, barren scene. Secondly, many in the partisan media are perfectly fine with organizations pushing far Left politics in our faces. Like withdrawing sports events due to religious freedom laws and with LGBT promotions at their games.

As Gary Deaton tweeted to Calcaterra, “stick to sports.”


Worse Than Racists

By Walter E. Williams

As a group, black Americans have made the greatest gains — over some of the highest hurdles and in a very short span of time — of any racial group in mankind's history. What's the evidence? If one totaled up the earnings of black Americans and considered us as a separate nation with our own gross domestic product, we would rank among the 20 richest nations. It was a black American, Gen. Colin Powell, who once headed the world's mightiest military. Black Americans are among the world's most famous personalities, and a few are among the world's richest people.

The significance of these and other achievements is that at the end of the Civil War, neither a slave nor a slave owner would have believed such progress would be possible in a little over a century — if ever. As such, it speaks to the intestinal fortitude of a people. Just as importantly, it speaks to the greatness of a nation in which such gains were possible. Nowhere else on the face of the earth would such progress be possible except in the United States of America. The big and thorny issue that confronts our nation is how these gains can be extended to the one-third or more of the black population for whom they have proved elusive.

A major part of the solution should be the elimination of public and private policy that rewards inferiority and irresponsibility. Chief among the policies that reward inferiority and irresponsibility is the welfare state. When some people know that they can have children out of wedlock, drop out of school and refuse employment and suffer little consequence, one should not be surprised to see the growth of such behavior. The poverty rate among blacks is about 30 percent. It's seen as politically correct to blame today's poverty on racial discrimination, but that's nonsense. Why? The poverty rate among black intact husband-and-wife families has been in the single digits for more than two decades. Does one want to argue that racists discriminate against female-headed families but not husband-and-wife families?

Education is one of the ways out of poverty, but stupid political correctness stands in the way for many blacks. For example, a few years ago, a white Charleston, South Carolina, teacher frequently complained of black students calling her a white b——, white m——f——, white c— and white ho. School officials told her that racially charged profanity was simply part of the students' culture and that if she couldn't handle it, she was in the wrong school. The teacher brought a harassment suit, and the school district settled out of court for $200,000.

To suggest that such disrespectful and violent behavior, though it's observed in many predominantly black schools, is part of black culture is an insulting lie. Worse than that is the fact that such destructive behavior and lack of respect for authority is rewarded. We can see some of the results by visiting some city public schools where violence, disorder and disrespect is the order of the day.

Many whites are ashamed and saddened by our history of slavery, Jim Crow and gross racial discrimination. As a result, they often hold blacks accountable to standards and conduct they would never accept from whites. A recent example is black students at colleges such as NYU, UC Berkeley, UCLA and Oberlin demanding racially segregated housing. Spineless college administrators have caved to their demands. These administrators would never even listen to a group of white students demanding white-only housing accommodations. These administrators and other guilt-ridden whites have one standard of conduct for whites and a lower standard for blacks.

Black people can be thankful that racist forms of double standards and public and private policies rewarding inferiority and irresponsibility were not broadly accepted during the 1920s, '30s, '40s and '50s. There would not have been the kind of intellectual excellence and spiritual courage that created the world's most successful civil rights movement.


Marine Le Pen vows to suspend immigration, and 'protect' voters from 'savage globalisation' as she declares mass-migration 'a tragedy for France' ahead of Sunday's elections

Marine Le Pen vowed to reinstate France's borders and declared mass-migration as 'a tragedy' for her country as she savaged the EU during a rally on Tuesday.

The far-right National Front candidate also pledged to suspend all immigration if she wins the presidency, saying her rivals support 'savage globalisation'.

Chants of  'en est chez nous' - 'this is our country' - broke out among the 5,000 supporters who had turned out to hear her speak in Paris ahead of Sunday's first round of voting.

However, polls have been tightening in recent days, with hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon now within the margin of error, along with Francois Fillon, the former frontrunner whose campaign has been dogged by allegations of corruption.

Le Pen told supporters: 'I will protect you. My first measure as president will be to reinstate France's borders.

'The choice on Sunday is simple. It is a choice between a France that is rising again and a France that is sinking.

Referring to her supporters as 'patriots', she added: 'Fight for victory, until the very last minute. 'If every patriot can this week convince just one abstentionist, just one undecided voter, we are sure to win!

Getting the crowd to boo the EU and its border-free Schengen area, Le Pen said: 'Mass immigration is not an opportunity for France, it's a tragedy for France.'

Promising to immediately impose a moratorium on immigration, she said: 'The French sometimes have fewer rights than foreigners - even illegal ones.'

Earlier on Tuesday Scuffles broke out between police and about 70 protesters outside the hall where Le Pen was addressing supporters.

Police fired teargas at the protesters, who threw rocks and chunks of wood as they tried to get closer to the Zenith concert hall.

French voters go to the polls on Sunday in the first round of the most unpredictable presidential election in decades.

Opinion polls have for months shown Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron qualifying for the May 7 run-off, but the gap with conservative Francois Fillon and far-leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon has been tightening.

Melenchon, enjoying a late poll surge, campaigned on a barge floating through the canals of Paris and Fillon took his tough-on-security campaign to the southern French city of Nice, which was scarred by a deadly attack last year that killed 86 people.

The race is being watched internationally as an important gauge of populist sentiment, and the outcome is increasingly uncertain just six days before Sunday's first round vote.

Le Pen's nationalist rhetoric and Melenchon's anti-globalisation campaign have resonated with French voters sick of the status quo.

Macron, meanwhile, is painting himself as an anti-establishment figure seeking to bury the traditional left-right spectrum that has governed France for decades.

The top two vote-getters Sunday of the 11 candidates on the ballot advance to the May 7 presidential runoff.

The latest polls suggest that Le Pen, Macron, Melenchon and Fillon all have a chance of reaching the runoff - and as many as a third of voters remain undecided.

Macron, a former investment banker well connected in the business world, held a rally in Paris on Monday attended by 20,000 people, according to organizers.

Advocating for strong pro-European views, he has pledged to represent an 'open, confident, winning France' in contrast with far-right and far-left rivals.

Without naming them, he said Le Pen and Melenchon want to isolate France form the rest of the world. 'We feel everywhere the temptation of barbarism ready to surge in other guises ... No, we will not let them do it,' he said.

He also made an implicit reference to Fillon by suggesting some are seeking the presidency to get judicial immunity.

Fillon's austerity-focused campaign has been damaged by accusations that he misused taxpayer money to pay his wife and children for government jobs that they allegedly did not perform. French investigators are probing the case.

Fillon denies wrongdoing and is focusing instead on security issues that resonate with many voters after two years of deadly attacks across the country. French voters will cast their ballots under a state of emergency that's been repeatedly extended as new violence has hit.

After Macron, Le Pen is holding her last big rally in the Paris region later Monday.

Meanwhile, Melenchon, speaking on a river boat in Pantin, in the Paris suburbs, said he doesn't want France to exit the European Union but would be ready to do it if other member states don't accept negotiations to reform the 28-nation bloc.



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


19 April, 2017

A feminist take on the MOAB

The largest study to look at sex differences in brain anatomy found that women tend to have thicker cortices, whereas men had higher brain volume

Do the anatomical differences between men and women—sex organs, facial hair, and the like—extend to our brains? The question has been as difficult to answer as it has been controversial. Now, the largest brain-imaging study of its kind indeed finds some sex-specific patterns, but overall more similarities than differences. The work raises new questions about how brain differences between the sexes may influence intelligence and behavior.

For decades, brain scientists have noticed that on average, male brains tend to have slightly higher total brain volume than female ones, even when corrected for males’ larger average body size. But it has proved notoriously tricky to pin down exactly which substructures within the brain are more or less voluminous. Most studies have looked at relatively small sample sizes—typically fewer than 100 brains—making large-scale conclusions impossible.

In the new study, a team of researchers led by psychologist Stuart Ritchie, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh, turned to data from UK Biobank, an ongoing, long-term biomedical study of people living in the United Kingdom with 500,000 enrollees. A subset of those enrolled in the study underwent brain scans using MRI. In 2750 women and 2466 men aged 44–77, Ritchie and his colleagues examined the volumes of 68 regions within the brain, as well as the thickness of the cerebral cortex, the brain’s wrinkly outer layer thought to be important in consciousness, language, memory, perception, and other functions.

Adjusting for age, on average, they found that women tended to have significantly thicker cortices than men. Thicker cortices have been associated with higher scores on a variety of cognitive and general intelligence tests. Meanwhile, men had higher brain volumes than women in every subcortical region they looked at, including the hippocampus (which plays broad roles in memory and spatial awareness), the amygdala (emotions, memory, and decision-making), striatum (learning, inhibition, and reward-processing), and thalamus (processing and relaying sensory information to other parts of the brain).

When the researchers adjusted the numbers to look at the subcortical regions relative to overall brain size, the comparisons became much closer: There were only 14 regions where men had higher brain volume and 10 regions where women did.

Volumes and cortical thickness between men also tended to vary much more than they did between women, the researchers report this month in a paper posted to the bioRxiv server, which makes articles available before they have been peer reviewed.

That’s intriguing because it lines up with previous work looking at sex and IQ tests. “[That previous study] finds no average difference in intelligence, but males were more variable than females,” Ritchie says. “This is why our finding that male participants’ brains were, in most measures, more variable than female participants’ brains is so interesting. It fits with a lot of other evidence that seems to point toward males being more variable physically and mentally.”

Despite the study’s consistent sex-linked patterns, the researchers also found considerable overlap between men and women in brain volume and cortical thickness, just as you might find in height. In other words, just by looking at the brain scan, or height, of someone plucked at random from the study, researchers would be hard pressed to say whether it came from a man or woman. That suggests both sexes’ brains are far more similar than they are different.

The study didn’t account for whether participants’ gender matched their biological designation as male or female.

The study’s sheer size makes the results convincing, writes Amber Ruigrok, a neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom who has studied sex differences in the brain, in an email to Science. “Larger overall volumes in males and higher cortical thickness in females fits with findings from previous research. But since previous research mostly used relatively small sample sizes, this study confirms these predictions.”

Ruigrok notes one factor that should be addressed in future studies: menopause. Many of the women in the study were in the age range of the stages of menopause, and hormonal fluctuations have been shown to influence brain structures. That may have played some role in the sex differences noted in the study, she says.

The controversial—and still unsettled—question is whether these patterns mean anything to intelligence or behavior. Though popular culture is replete with supposed examples of intellectual and behavioral differences between the sexes, only a few, like higher physical aggression in men, have been borne out by scientific research.

For the moment, Ritchie says his work isn’t equipped to answer such heady questions: He is focused on accurately describing the differences in the male and female brain, not speculating on what they could mean.


Georgetown's Jonathan Brown Kicks Out Critic, Again


Jonathan Brown, director of Georgetown University's Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU), brooks no disagreement. Having expelled this writer from a February 7 apologist lecture on Islamic slavery that provoked nationwide outrage, Brown ejected me from another Georgetown event on March 16.

I achieved infamy as a "Jihad Watch correspondent who had written sensationalist pieces about Georgetown events" according to Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian of the über-establishmentarian Foreign Policy in her March 16 online article, "Islamophobia Inc." Jihad Watch publisher Robert Spencer comprehensively rebutted this "lurid fantasy." (For the record, I also report regularly for Campus Watch.)

Brown was visibly surprised when I entered Georgetown's Alumni House for the opening dinner of the Peace Requires Encounter Summit. The summit ostensibly sought to "build relationships" - apparently only with those approved by Islamic supremacists - co-sponsors included the Muslim Brotherhood-derived Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Franciscan Action Network (FAN), and Unity Productions Foundation (UPF), a producer of pro-Islam films.

UPF's Daniel Tutt, of Marymount University, invited me via email to the Friday-Sunday summit after I registered for the screening of UPF's latest production, The Sultan and the Saint. Upon spotting me at Friday evening's kick-off, an agitated Brown demanded that I leave the invitation-only event before summoning Tutt, who obsequiously acknowledged his mistake in having invited a "noted Islamophobe" who had "slandered" Brown. Tutt apologized to me before I left, but at Saturday's screening he asked if I would disrupt the showing, a paranoid inquiry I denied.

Tutt's previous writings demonstrate why he holds such a sinister perception of Islamic supremacism's critics or as he puts it, a "growing right-wing populist reactionary neo-Fascist network." He maintains that the current "intensification of Islamophobia must be understood and diagnosed primarily, but not exclusively, as the outcome of capitalist exploitation." This false view excuses Islamic supremacist behavior and blames "the system."

Alas, the feature film presented an equally whitewashed view of Islamic history with an examination of the 1219 meeting between St. Francis of Assisi and the Egyptian sultan al-Malik al-Kamil in Egypt during the Fifth Crusade. The film - as narrated by actor Jeremy Irons - falsely contrasts St. Francis "preaching about the Lord of love" while the "medieval Church still holds to the vision of a ferocious, vengeful God who summons believers to war." Various scenes show al-Kamil as a boy reciting Quran 2:256, a verse often misunderstood by non-Muslims as documenting Islamic tolerance, and Muslims praying the Fatiha (Quran 1:1-7) with the key omission of its last verse. According to numerous authoritative Islamic interpretations, its terms condemn Jews and Christians. Irons avoids any such disquieting analysis as he concludes the film, stating that "angry, dehumanizing words sparked violence today as before. Transcending differences, the road to peace runs through the common humanity that we all share."

This approach ignores facts documented by many historians, including Frank M. Rega. In his book on the St. Francis-al-Kamil meeting, Rega noted that St. Francis understood the Crusades as "part of an ongoing just war in response to Muslim invasions of Christian lands," including the 846 Muslim sack of Rome. University of Nantes historian John V. Tolan traces the historiography of this encounter over the centuries to show that twentieth century scholars "presented the two as men of peace far above the fray between fanatical crusader and jihadists." Francis becomes "a sort of spiritual forebear to...those who oppose colonial violence and war in the Middle East - up to and including the two Iraq Wars of George Bush father and son." These insights, coupled with UPF's past distortions about modern Muslims, Muslims fighting Nazism in World War II, and Muslims enslaved in America, place The Sultan and the Saint firmly within this politicized, apologetic historiography.

Following the Georgetown screening before an audience of around seventy, the panelists stressed interfaith relations, while avoiding disquieting inquiries into Islam. UPF co-founder and film director Alex Kronemer focused on the film's psychological analysis of violence and made evolutionary arguments about how humans "are wired to see differences and fear them." As he has previously written, he is the "product of a Jewish-Christian marriage" who, after a life of spiritual seeking, converted to Islam's "message of compassion and tolerance."

Marie Denis, the co-president of Pax Christi, a leftist, anti-Israel Catholic pacifist group, chided Catholics for "pointing to imagined violence in another community." Rather, they should reflect upon the film's depiction of well-known Crusader atrocities (e.g. the 1099 sack of Jerusalem) that ignored the brutality of Muslims like al-Kamil's uncle, the renowned Crusader opponent Saladin. Meanwhile, along with FAN Executive Director Patrick Carolan, Denis signed a 2014 letter opposing American military strikes against the all-too real violence of the Islamic State. 

Former UPF employee and Muslim writer Laila Alawa, a "huge fan of being politically correct," evoked her past radical tweets, including the illiberal admonition that "free speech has consequences." Ahmed Younis, former national director of the radical Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and current Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and Washington Post writer Elizabeth Bruenig completed the panel. Bruenig has written approvingly of President Barack Obama's 2015 politicized remarks concerning the Crusades and promoted the falsehood that Israel threatens Middle East Christians.

With prominent attendees enjoying catered buffets undisturbed in Georgetown's hallowed halls, the summit made a mockery of its "Islamophobia" hysteria. Meanwhile, Brown benefits from Saudi largesse, while promoting his views at events to which critics have no entrée. Clearly, those who feel besieged by nefarious "Islamophobes" are demonstrating a case of projection. Such behavior confirms Spencer's analysis of "Islamic culture" as "extremely brittle and insecure." Yet there will be no escaping this writer in the future


19-Foot High Cross Erected in Daley Plaza as ‘Constitutionally Protected Expression of Faith’

Thursday evening, a giant 19-foot high purple-draped cross was erected in Chicago’s Daley Plaza as the initial event of an Easter season observance that includes a nine-day prayer vigil, an Easter morning sunrise service and the display of an oversized image of the resurrected Jesus Christ (known as the Divine Mercy).

“The Easter cross and the image of the risen Jesus Christ represent a constitutionally protected expression of faith - the observance of the resurrection - by private citizens in a public forum," explained Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, which joined with private citizens to co-sponsor the “Jesus in Daley Plaza” display.

“These Easter displays are privately funded and sponsored, bereft of any government aid or endorsement, and therefore are clothed and armored with the full protection of the First Amendment of our U.S. Constitution,” Brejcha says.

The event will run around the clock through Sunday, April 23. On Easter Sunday, an interdenominational music and prayer service will be held, during which the drapery on the cross will be changed to white, traditionally symbolizing renewed life.


Shark attack in Western Australia: conservation policies value sharks over human life

Our insane shark-conservation policies have cost another life, this time a 17-year-old girl who was attacked in front of her parents and siblings.

I would like to say that this incident will be the turning point in this debate, that our politicians will finally realise we need to reduce the increasing number of aggressive, lethal sharks in our waters, but this is unlikely.

The forces against such action are deeply entrenched in all our major organisations. For example, Surf Life Saving Western Australia, where yesterday’s attack occurred, recommends six responses to sharks: research, education, surveillance, communication, preventive action (“shark barriers”, which can be built only in placid waters) and emergency response. It does not recommend the reduction of sharks, despite many fishermen in the state saying the size and abundance of large sharks, especially great whites, off WA are alarmingly high.

Researchers and academics whose careers depend upon continued funding into the behaviour and fragility of these “apex predators” long ago convinced politicians and large sections of the community that to reduce the number of sharks in our waters would be an ecological disaster.

So a teenage kid, doing what Aussie teenagers have done for more than a century, has died instead. She won’t be the last.

The Senate’s environment committee, chaired by Green Tasmanian Peter Whish-Wilson, will coincidentally hold public hearings into shark mitigation strategies in Perth on Thursday. If, when the hearings begin, the committee expresses sympathy for the latest victim’s family, it will be an act of breathtaking hypocrisy.

As reported in The Australian this month, the committee has already reached a conclusion that its job is to help revive the number of sharks in our waters, downplay the dangers they pose, dismiss methods that have proven successful in Queensland and Sydney, and educate the public about these “wonderful” and “extraordinary” animals.

Its priority is the safety of sharks first, people second.

Of the six people invited to the Perth hearings, two are conservationist academics (UWA professors Shaun Collin and Rebecca Meeuwig); one is selling an unreliable personal electronic deterrent (Shark Shield); one advocates the immediate abandonment of drumlins and nets in Queensland, the presence of which has coincided with an almost complete absence of fatal attacks for 50 years (Sea Shepherd); and another is SLSWA, whose timid six-point plan is outlined above.

The committee’s hearing in Sydney last month repeatedly heard witnesses say that surfers and other ocean users must accept the risk of entering the water. Even surfers are spouting this line these days.

“Real surfers understand that sharks are extraordinary beasts and that we are in their environment,” Surfrider Foundation representative Brendan Donohoe, from Sydney’s North Narrabeen beach, told the committee during its Sydney hearings last month.

Whish-Wilson jokingly responded: “I would be more scared of the locals at North Narrabeen than I would be of sharks.”

Mr Donohoe also told the committee that “there are a lot of morons around”, by which he meant there were many people who blamed governments for the shark crisis currently affecting Australia. “The idea that it is someone else’s fault is astounding to me. Everyone knows the risk, and the risk is not statistically lessened by anything we do.”

Committee member Lee Rhiannon responded by saying: “Thanks very much. It is a really interesting discussion.”

Rhiannon’s concern was not reducing the increasing number of aggressive sharks in our waters, but making surfers “alert to the environment”.

This is another example of how dramatically this debate has shifted towards shark, not human, safety. Originally, the opposite was the case.

In 2000, the CSIRO’s chief great white researcher, Barry Bruce, told the ABC he was conducting research that hopefully would “predict the areas where encounters… are more common and understand more about their populations”.

He said something similar in 2006, that his research might predict “where sharks are likely to be” so resources for “looking after people” could be “better targeted”.

Researchers, including Bruce himself, last year conceded that such predictions are impossible. A report for the WA Department of Fisheries, co-authored by Bruce after conducting one of the biggest shark tagging and tracking projects in history, found that great white behaviour is “highly variable” and “not consistent”.

Similarly, Bruce’s counterpart in NSW, the Department of Primary Industries’ Vic Peddemors, compared shark movements to a dropped bag of marbles - “they go everywhere”.

The focus among researchers and politicians now is to find ways that minimise attacks without killing sharks or other marine creatures. Many of these methods are astonishingly expensive and mostly unproven.

All this research and inquiry has achieved little for beach safety. Meanwhile, Australia’s international reputation as a great coastal tourist destination is dying. So too are our formerly happy coastal surfing towns.

It would be encouraging if the Senate committee shifted its focus towards reducing the number of sharks off our waters, but the signs suggest this is extremely unlikely.



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


18 April, 2017

Last Week Showed The Clearest Problem With Modern Feminism

Katie Frates

People wonder why some of us are so unimpressed with modern feminism. To those people, I would direct their attention to the news that a Michigan doctor allegedly performed female genital mutilation (FGM) on multiple young girls.

More specifically, I’d direct their attention to the lack of attention feminists have given this horrific story.

The Department of Justice has charged female emergency room physician Jumana Nagarwala with performing FGM in the U.S. It alleges Nagarwala performed the procedures on “multiple minor girls.” Nagarwala is the first person to be charged in the U.S. under anti-FGM laws.

There has been no Twitter storm, no Facebook blowup and no calls for action. Slate hasn’t yet written about it. Salon, a highly-opinionated feminist website, took wire copy from The Associated Press. The Huffington Post wrote two pieces, one which made sure to point out that FGM predates religion, and another that mentioned the doctor in the first sentence, but then proceeded to rant about the patriarchy for six paragraphs.

Shannon Watts, the anti-gun activist and fake feminist who blindly screamed sexism at United Airlines when it had done nothing wrong, has said nothing. It’s a lot easier to claim a corporation is, as Watts put it, “sexist and sexualizes young girls,” than it is for her to fight against actual sexualization of young girls when their genitals are being cut off. Perhaps that’s because with the former, Watts doesn’t need to do anything aside from tweet, and with the latter, she does.

Sarah Silverman and Chrissy Teigen, both of whom declared they would stop giving United their business, haven’t tweeted anything about Nagarwala.

Linda Sarsour, who organized the Women’s March on Washington, was silent until someone brought it up in reply to her tweet saying “Absolute nightmare” about Trump bombing Afghanistan. She offered a lackluster “I sure do” when asked if she wept for the girls in Michigan. Sarsour said nothing else about it, even though multiple people tweeted the story at her.

Loud-and-proud feminists Lena Dunham, Cecile Richards and Ashley Judd have also stayed quiet. “One of us can be dismissed. Two of us can be ignored. But together we are a movement and we are unstoppable,” Richards said at the march against President Donald Trump.

Why isn’t that movement being driven full-force against FGM? As with Watts, screaming into a microphone or shooting off a tweet at Trump are preferable to taking a stand against real barbaric treatment of women.

Hillary Clinton hasn’t mentioned it, either, though her daughter Chelsea did.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated in 2012 “that 513,000 women and girls in the United States were at risk of or had been subjected to female genital mutilation,” according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s “Report to the Honorable Harry Reid, Minority Leader, U.S. Senate” in June 2016.

The report went on to say, “CDC attributes this change primarily to increased immigration from countries where FGM/C is practiced, rather than an increase in the occurrence of FGM/C.”

“More than 3 million girls are estimated to be at risk for FGM annually,” the World Health Organization (WHO) website states. “The practice is most common in the western, eastern and north-eastern regions of Africa, in some countries the Middle East and Asia.”

Unicef provides a graphic showing where FGM is most predominately practiced. The top four include Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Sudan. Most of those countries are Muslim-majority or have large Muslim populations. Obscure Christian sects also perform FGM, as do some Jewish ones.

Department of Homeland Security figures show thousands of people immigrate from these countries to the U.S. And as WHO explained, FGM is practiced “among migrants from these areas. FGM is therefore a global concern.”

There’s an obvious clash of narratives here: Liberals want more immigration, and since feminism has been absorbed into the amorphous social justice blob that is liberalism, so do they. If immigrants are cutting up little girls in the U.S., that’s bad for the narrative. Therefore, it’s not at the top of their priority list. FGM gets pushed even lower if the perpetrator happens to be Muslim. FGM isn’t a “sexy” political topic, it’s not going to win anyone any votes, and doesn’t affect the majority of the country. Focus only on Trump’s sexism and Republicans trying to defund Planned Parenthood and everything will be OK.

Liberals need to accept that if they want increased immigration and acceptance of refugees, there are serious cultural disparities that must be aggressively eradicated. Not every part of every non-white, non-Christian culture should be protected.

Feminists have to unleash their fury on FGM wherever it’s found — especially if it’s uncovered in the U.S.

Prove that feminism cares about more than superficial first-world problems. Prove that feminism is willing to focus its time and energy on topics that don’t get Twitter followers or airtime on CNN and MSNBC. Prove that feminism isn’t as shallow as it seems to be.


Opposing immigration wasn’t always "racist"

Today, the battle lines over immigration policy are sharply defined. In the last two years, Donald Trump’s rise has drawn attention to the Republican Party’s lurch toward the right. Opposition to current levels of immigration, illegal and otherwise, has taken on a tone that is stridently populist, even reactionary.

Meanwhile on the left, big-city mayors and blue-state legislatures are declaring sanctuaries for undocumented residents. Democrats have criticized not just Trump’s limitations on refugees, travelers from Muslim countries, and H-1B visas, but also his stepped-up enforcement of existing immigration laws. While liberals and progressives have stopped short of endorsing open borders, they’ve come to treat opposition to illegal immigration and constraints on illegal immigration as unacceptable, even racist.

In academia and the media, Trumpism is receiving plenty of attention. Yet the Democrats’ new default position — that opposition to illegal immigration and constraints on legal immigration are virtually unacceptable — is just as extreme, certainly by historic standards. The shift in the liberal perspective has just received far less scrutiny.

Not long ago, liberals and progressives felt far more conflicted about immigration. Within living memory, a powerful labor movement favored limits on immigration and fought against the reviled Bracero guest worker program, which began during World War II and was finally ended in 1964. At times, labor organizer Cesar Chavez supported the arrest and deportation of illegal farm workers. His union, whose members were predominantly of Mexican origin, viewed these interlopers from Mexico as strike-breakers and scabs.

Today, progressive unions like the Service Employees International Union are prepared to support some form of guest worker program. In general, today’s labor unions have come to accept that sovereign states, including the United States, either cannot or will not control national borders, and that this new status quo must be embraced. Meanwhile, multiculturalism has become a more powerful force within the Democratic Party — and American society — than labor solidarity. Any liberal restraint on immigration tradition has disappeared.

More than any other contemporary issue, the debate over immigration relies heavily on historical analogy. Progressives bolster their case by invoking America’s history as “a nation of immigrants” and pointing to America’s shameful neglect of Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe.

Yet historical analogies can be misleading. Take the Statue of Liberty. Immigration advocates repeatedly invoke its evocative image to make their point. Yet instead of beckoning newcomers hither with her lamp “beside the Golden Door,” Lady Liberty was intended by her French donors — embattled antimonarchical republicans — as a tribute to what was then the world’s only successful republic. Far from inviting freedom-loving peoples around the world to the United States, Lady Liberty’s torch was intended to inspire them to stay put and establish republics of their own.

Just as today’s opposition to high levels of immigration is presumed to be rooted in prejudice and racism, so too are these same motives attributed to post-World War I policies that curtailed immigration and imposed national-origin quotas. To be sure, some immigration restrictionists at that time did rely on racist arguments. Yet historians paint a much more nuanced picture of that era.

In her examination of a 25-year battle to enact a literacy test, Harvard economic historian Claudia Goldin observes that the idea “gained momentum because immigration in the 1890s had shifted to ethnic and national groups whose schooling levels and living standards were distinctly below those of previous groups.” She concludes that this “flood of immigrants eventually did result in large negative effects on the wages of native-born workers.”

Likewise, in a 2005 Oxford University Press book on global migration, economic historians Timothy J. Hatton and Jeffrey G. Williamson emphasize the importance of labor market fundamentals. A stream of illiterate migrants from Southern and Eastern Europe was facilitated by the advent of steamship travel, rendering the trans-Atlantic voyage safer, faster, and cheaper. The resulting “declining positive selection” also translated into increasing numbers of men arriving without families who did not intend to remain, but rather to save money and eventually return home. These “birds of passage” posed challenges involving neighborhood stability, community cohesion, social disorder, and crime.

Arguing that “the low and declining quality of the immigrants” arriving between 1890 and 1930 provoked subsequent restrictions, Hatton and Williamson conclude that “racism and xenophobia do not seem to have been at work in driving the evolution of policy toward potential European immigrants.” Nativists armed with racial and ethnic arguments did attempt to win trade unionists to their cause. But according to the British scholar A.T. Lane, “careful examination of the columns of many labor journals has produced few examples of racist thinking applied to immigration.”

In the early 20th century, the possible effect of large-scale immigration upon the labor market was the subject of spirited debate, including among labor advocates. Today, at least in progressive circles, even raising the question is nearly verboten.

A century ago, some progressives also raised legitimate concerns about the impact of mass immigration on national cohesion. The tensions between different national-origin groups in the United States noticeably deepened as World War I approached. Contrary to the reigning view that Germans were the object of unfounded prejudice and mistreatment while the Allies fought with the kaiser, historians have presented ample evidence that Germans in America openly displayed intemperate sympathy for the Fatherland.

In November 1915, the young Reinhold Niebuhr — a Lutheran pastor in Detroit, a son of German immigrants, and later a renowned liberal theologian — complained in a November 1915 letter to a mentor: “Among the ministers here at least and among many that I know of in other parts there is no real interest in the welfare of this country and no genuine American patriotism.” He continued, “Every aspect of German life and culture is glorified and practically every aspect of American life is ridiculed.”

Foreign conflicts echoed in American streets. In cities like Chicago, Polish immigrants sided with formally neutral America and vehemently opposed their German neighbors’ vociferous support for their ancestral homeland. Meanwhile, Irish immigrants and their American-born relatives sided with Germany and opposed America’s implicit support for Britain and the Allies. Not surprisingly, once America entered the war against Germany, such voices in support of the kaiser greatly diminished. But they did not disappear completely, nor did the sentiments behind them — evidence that, upon their arrival on these shores, immigrant identities did not immediately dissolve into a melting pot of Americanism.

In the opening decades of the last century there was a variety of reasons why Americans of an enlightened liberal bent might have supported limits on mass immigration. What’s striking about today’s debate, at least on the political left, is its unwillingness to entertain that possibility. At some point, a broad commitment to multiculturalism, and to sheltering beleaguered people from around the world, came into conflict with the labor movement’s past apprehensions about an influx of low-skilled labor, and the latter lost out. Unskilled immigrants have also become the steady, pliable providers of services for busy, upper-middle-class professionals — a group that increasingly dominates the Democratic ranks.

Liberal and progressive thinkers don’t seem to realize how far their position has shifted, even as policy elites describe the demographic consequences of mass immigration in blithely sweeping terms. “We are transforming ourselves,” declared Doris Meissner, the nation’s top immigration official under Bill Clinton, on many occasions. Rodolfo de la Garza of Columbia University has a telling subtitle for his recent book: “US Immigration in the Twenty-First Century: Making Americans, Remaking America.”

In practice, such a transformative project was bound to have serious repercussions. In September 1919, a strike by the predominantly Irish police force in Boston helped propel the taciturn Yankee governor of Massachusetts, Calvin Coolidge, to Washington and eventually the White House. Nearly a century later, a populist running on a fiercely restrictionist platform won enough votes in Democratic Rust Belt states to claim the presidency. Trump, no doubt, played to racial sentiments. But he also saw something his opponents didn’t: that even if Democrats refuse to acknowledge some of the complexities of immigration, many voters still see a need for limits.


The new clerisy’s fondness for censorship makes it an enemy of truth

The most curious thing about the political class’s war in defence of truth is that it coexists with a war against freedom of speech. In one breath, our betters, whether it’s the technocrats of the EU or broadsheet thinkers, bemoan a crisis of truth, claiming that a combination of demagoguery and populist myth-making has propelled the modern West into a ‘post-truth’ era. Yet in the next they express disdain for the ideal of unfettered free thought and debate. Whether they’re instituting laws against ‘hate speech’ or enforcing social stigma against such things as ‘climate-change denial’ or ‘Europhobia’, they exhibit a palpable discomfort with the idea of a fully open public sphere in which nothing is unsayable.

We might even say that in 2017, there are two things that really animate the political and cultural elites of the West: first, their self-styled urge to defend truth, their pose as warriors for honesty against the misinformation of the new populists; and secondly, their agitation with unfettered discussion and with the expression of what they consider to be hateful or outré views. This is striking, because truth without freedom, without the freest possible space in which to debate and doubt and blaspheme, is not truth at all. It is dogma. It represents an assumption of intellectual and moral infallibility rather than a winning and proving of it in the only way that counts: through free public contestation. That our rulers both claim to love truth and fear freedom of speech utterly explodes the pretensions of their moral panic about a ‘post-truth’ era. It’s not truth they want to protect - it’s the authority of their prejudice.

Anybody genuinely concerned with the idea of truth, with deepening humanity’s understanding of itself, nature and society, with encouraging the deployment of reason in order to render the world more knowable, ought to have a natural and in fact quite fierce disposition to freedom of thought and speech. The two go hand in hand. Actually, the one — truth — is reliant on the other — freedom. This point has been consistently argued by liberals throughout the modern period. John Milton, in his passionate plea in 1644 against the licensing of the press in England, famously argued that we should ‘Let Truth and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worst in a free and open encounter?’ To guard the truth, or what we presume to be true, from free, open discussion is to do truth an ‘injury’, said Milton — it ‘misdoubts her strength’.

Censorship, Milton argued, is the implacable enemy of truth. In fact it is the ‘stop of Truth’. Repressing the utterance or publication of ‘scandalous, seditious, and libellous’ material is often done in the name of preserving truth, he said, but in fact it commits two wrongs against truth. First, in assuming the public should not have to think for itself, and in fact cannot do so, it weakens the public’s intellectual and moral capacities, dulling their ability autonomously to distinguish truth from falsehood. In ‘disexercising and blunting our abilities’, censorship represents a ‘discouragement of all learning’, said Milton. ‘Our faith and knowledge thrives by exercise, as well as our limbs’, he said. That is, we must use our mental and moral muscles, our faculty of judgement, as surely as we use our physical muscles, and censorship prevents us from doing that. And secondly, the censorship of scandal or sedition or ‘evil’ shrinks the sphere of public discussion and thus puts off the potential discovery of greater truths, he argued — by ‘hindring and cropping the discovery that might be yet further made both in religious and civill Wisdome’.

So censorship is hostile to truth both in its implicit doubting of the public’s capacity for critical, truthful thought and in its weakening of the kind of conditions in which old ideas might come to be superseded by newer, more truthful ones. Milton strikingly argued that if someone thinks something is true simply because he has been told it’s true, then this isn’t ‘truth’ in any meaningful sense. He wrote: ‘If [a man] beleeve things only because his Pastor sayes so, or the Assembly so determins, without knowing other reason, [then] though his belief be true, the very truth he holds becomes his heresie.’ Why? Because he has ‘gladly [posted] off to another’ the ‘charge and care’ of his beliefs and worldview. That is, he has outsourced his own moral universe to a higher authority; his belief in truth is passive and childish; truth has been given to him, not discovered or learned by him.

These arguments were pushed further by John Stuart Mill in the late 1800s. In On Liberty, Mill argues that truth and understanding are impossible to achieve in any meaningful way without the fullest possible freedom of speech. Every attempt to silence speech is an ‘assumption of infallibility’ on the part of the authorities, he argued. Censorship encourages dogmatic thinking and rigid conformism, not truth. In Mill’s words, ‘Complete liberty of contradicting and disproving our opinion, is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for purposes of action; and on no other terms can a being with human faculties have any rational assurance of being right.’ That is, truth, or at least the conviction that one is speaking the truth, is utterly dependent on a free sphere that allows for complete liberty of contradicting our ideas, and mainstream ideas.

That today’s elites speak of truth while simultaneously agitating and even legislating against the possibility of ‘complete contradiction’ — that is, complete freedom of speech — suggests truth is not their motor. Rather, they have assumed infallibility; they expect from us an uncritical acceptance of their ideas. They think they are the holders of truth, not because they have subjected their ideology to the liberty of complete contradiction, but because they just know they are right. This is dogma, not truth; it is religion, not politics. In Mill’s words, if your ‘truth’ is not ‘fully, frequently, and fearlessly discussed, [then] it will be held as dead dogma, not a living truth’.

Such has been the belief in the interplay of freedom and truth, and that the latter cannot truly exist without the former, that liberals traditionally argued that not only should we not censor what we consider to be false, but we should actually encourage its expression. Mill, for example, was fascinated by, and impressed with, the fact that even the Roman Catholic Church allows for the expression of falsehood in certain circumstances. Even this ‘most intolerant of churches’ invites a ‘devil’s advocate’ to argue against the canonisation of a saint, he pointed out. The idea there was that truth, even the truth of a saint’s life, didn’t need to be protected against falsehood, and in fact might be improved upon through exposure to falsehood. In the 20th century, Thomas Irwin Emerson, the great American defender of freedom of speech, argued in his book The System of Freedom of Expression (1970) that those who wish to suppress or punish falsehoods, even libellous ones made with ‘actual malice’, fail to ‘take into account that false statements, whether intentional or not, perform a significant function in a system of freedom of expression by forcing citizens to defend, justify and rethink their positions’.

In stark contrast to this profound liberal tradition of associating truth with freedom of speech, and arguing against the suppression of any speech, however wrong or hateful or seditious it might be, today’s so-called liberals and self-styled defenders of truth against what they view as ‘post-truth’ mania are strikingly hostile to freedom of speech. The very same section of society currently arguing for greater respect for truth — what we might call the new clerisy: the insulated, technocratic-leaning political class that has dominated public life for the past 30 years or so — is often at the forefront of using either law or the considerable power of social stigma to prevent or weaken the expression of problematic views. And strikingly, they do this most frequently and most fervently in relation to the things that they consider to be ‘the truth’.

From climate change to the wisdom of pooling sovereignty into institutions like the EU to the ideology of multiculturalism, it is the very ideas our rulers consider to be most important, and most true, that are most feverishly guarded from the complete liberty of contradiction and scepticism — or ‘denial’, as they pejoratively call it. So there is an intense informal stigmatisation of ‘climate-change denial’. Those who question climate-change alarmism will be treated as heretics. Greens and others openly call on broadcasters to jettison their obsession with ‘balance’ and refuse to host ‘climate-change deniers’ because one side in this discussion is telling the truth and the other is lying. As a Guardian columnist argues, media ‘impartiality’ can lend itself to the ‘post-truth’ moment, by giving ‘undue attention to marginal opinion’. In short, we should broadcast ‘truth’ — established, unquestionable truth — and refuse to provide a platform to those who doubt it or refute it. Such an attempt to cleanse the public sphere of that which is considered false, or anti-truth, or post-truth, runs counter to hundreds of years of liberal thought.

Likewise, the ideals of the EU oligarchy have long been presumed to be above the complete liberty of contradiction. An armoury of delegitimising brands has been used to depict criticism of the EU as a species of prejudice, and possibly even a disorder, certainly something that cannot be freely expressed in polite society. The term ‘Europhobia’ suggests opposition to Brussels is an irrational fear, an illegitimate opinion. A writer for New Europe magazine puts ‘Europhobia’ alongside ‘xenophobia, nationalism, Islamophobia and racism’ as a value that is ‘alien to our postwar European culture’. The design is to chill its expression, make it a shameful conviction, unutterable in serious, intelligent circles.

Criticising multiculturalism is likewise demonised. Words like ‘Islamophobia’ and ‘xenophobia’ are deployed not only against those who say genuinely prejudiced things, but also against those who suggest Western liberal values are superior to, say, Islamic values. The informal freezing of full, frank discussion about the ideology of multiculturalism is an attempt to promote with menaces the new value of non-judgementalism, of relativism, above any strong political or moral conviction. The irony — relativism elevated to the status of an unquestionable truth. Hate-speech legislation, actual brute law, is also frequently deployed to the end of preserving the ideology of multiculturalism. The recent legal punishments of Swedish pastors for describing homosexuality as a ‘tumour’ on society, and French animal-rights activists who call halal meat ‘barbaric’, and Danish artists who paint insulting pictures of Muslim migrants, are intended as threatening reminders that the ridicule of other cultures will not be tolerated, and that treating all cultures and lifestyles as equally worthy of respect is the only ‘truth’ that will be tolerated.

That the ‘pro-truth’ technocratic class expends so much energy protecting its core values from contradiction and discussion — whether it is environmentalism (really the value of post-industry), or pooled sovereignty (the value of post-democracy), or multiculturalism (the value of post-judgement) — is very striking. It tells us that what is really happening in this era of concern about ‘post-truth’ is that the prejudices of the 21st-century elites are being reimagined as ‘truths’ that may not be contested freely — that is, they are being turned into dogmas, and put beyond open, unstigmatised public discussion. They are ‘truths’ only in the sense that, in Milton’s words, the Assembly — that is, the political and cultural establishment — ‘determins’ that they are. They are dead dogmas, not living truths. The very insulation of them from unfettered discussion confirms they have more in common with religious diktats than enlightened truths.

For centuries, great liberal thinkers called for freedom of thought and speech because they trusted in two things: in the public’s capacity to decide what is true, and in the robustness of truthful arguments, in the ability of that which is true, or which feels true to us, to survive the rough and shove of public contradiction and even false argument. Today, it is the decline of faith in these two things, in these two fundamental facilitators of truth and enlightenment, that motors the thirst for new forms of censorship, censure and intellectual stigma.

People are no longer trusted to see truth from falsehood; it is no longer believed that, in Milton’s words, the public’s ‘knowledge thrives by exercise’. Rather, the public is viewed as the child-like victim of false claims, of media manipulation, of awesomely powerful advertising, and other forces likely to warp our minds and fill us up with misinformation. Thus we must be protected from the consequences of freedom of speech and be given ‘the truth’.

As one feminist author argues, old liberals’ belief in ‘the ability of people to recognise truth’ was misguided, because there is now a ‘wealth of empirical data from psychology documenting and describing the failures of rational assessment to which people are prone’. Here, strikingly, the new ‘truth’ of empirical data is deployed to the end of denying the capacity of human beings to think rationally and engage fully in public discussion. One of the elite’s new ‘truths’ is that ordinary people have little appetite for or understanding of truth. This is a dogma of disdain for the public’s moral capacity masquerading as a scientific truth that is beyond contestation. And if you challenge the idea that empirical data shows that people are irrational, what will they say about you? That you are ‘post-truth’. That very accusation, of being ‘post-truth’, is now used to chill the very public discussion that makes truth possible.

And they have lost faith in the standing of truth itself, in the ability of truth to win in a ‘grapple with falsehood’. This is because by ‘truth’ they don’t mean the kind of thing that Milton or Mill or other enlightened thinkers were interested in: the profound truth of human understanding, the deep truth of knowledge, the truth of humanity’s unique capacity to know his world, and to change it, too. No, they mean ‘empirical data’, pie charts, narrow, usually very convenient facts, often arrived at through advocacy research designed to discover precisely those facts so that they might be utilised to serve the ends of policing behaviour, re-engineering social attitudes, and other petty political projects. From Milton to Mill, liberals’ conviction that truth would survive and in fact thrive in the public sphere was underpinned by the profundity, the depth, the strength of the truths they were interested in. Today, the low, bureaucratic instinct to protect ‘truth’ from the complete liberty of contradiction is motored by a recognition, at some level, of the hollowness and shallowness of these ‘truths’, of their existence as dogmas for the governance of a critical, sceptical populace rather than as truths for the improvement of humanity’s understanding and conditions.

Everything the new elites say in favour of truth is called into question, shot down in fact, by their instinctive and increasingly institutionalised hostility to the freedom of contradiction and ridicule and blasphemy against their ideals. If you believe something is true, you will be happy to subject it to as much criticism and dissent as possible. As Mill said, the greatest beliefs have ‘no safeguard to rest on but a standing invitation to the whole world to prove them unfounded’. That the new clerisy is unwilling to issue such an invitation, or to permit any strong contradiction of their values and ideas, confirms they have not the remotest interest in truth, and rather are concerned with the maintenance of their dogmatic prejudices over the 21st-century masses.

In such circumstances, heresy must not only be defended; it becomes a duty — the duty of everyone genuinely keen to cultivate a free, enlightened public life in which truth, reason and progress become our guiding principles. We should rail against their dogmas that they falsely describe as truths.



Australia: WHAT’S the most transgressive, the most dangerous thing a teenage girl can do in 2017? Have a baby — and want to take care of it herself

These kids knew enough to be rightly afraid of authoritarian social workers

In an era when teenagers are piercing and inking and Snapchatting and live-camming their naked bodies, there is one young western Sydney girl who chose to go ahead with a pregnancy nearly everyone else in her situation would have terminated.

Jenifer Morrison, 15, gave birth to baby Aria in hospital, and then — apparently motivated by terror of having her baby taken away by authorities — she ran away with her child and the ­father, an almost shockingly young-looking 14-year-old boy named Jayden Lavender.

Jenifer and Jayden are engaged and wanted to marry before the baby’s birth, but were legally unable to wed because they are both under 16.

Together with their tiny infant, they camped in the bush on a cold autumn night and, when police found them the following day, they said they were heartbroken at the prospect they would not be allowed to take their baby home.

There’s something deeply troubling about all this.

What is really best for baby Aria? To be shuffled between a dozen homes for the next decade? Even in the best-case scenario, to be adopted by strangers and to wonder for the rest of her life what would have happened if she’d been able to grow up with her own mum and dad — is that best? To be denied the chance to be with her mother and father — the two human beings with whom she has an unbreakable biological connection — ­because they happen to be young?

Aria has two parents who love her and want her. That makes her richer than a lot of children born in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

I have no doubt that the officials who want to take Aria from her parents are motivated by the best intentions, and I’m not for a moment arguing they should have been simply left to look after Aria by themselves.

Jayden and Jenifer are, of course, still legally children. They removed the child from the hospital and took her into the freezing night air, which reflects about the level of commonsense you’d expect from a couple of young teenagers. There is no way they are capable of caring for a tiny baby without some serious adult intervention.

But don’t they get a chance to try?

I think it’s safe to say, without harming anyone’s reputation, that Jenifer and Jayden have not been the beneficiaries of outstanding parenting, given the fact they fell pregnant in the first place.

But someone has to break the cycle of slack parenting. And so why shouldn’t it be a 15-year-old girl and her 14-year-old boyfriend?

I think the desperate motivation to try, indicated by their terribly sad attempt to take Aria from the hospital, should earn Jayden and Jenifer a little credit.

There’s a reason we don’t hear these kinds of stories very often. It’s not because Jayden and Jenifer are particularly wicked or wild. In fact, it’s the opposite. Most young girls who get pregnant have abortions. Their babies get no chance at life whatsoever.

And the children born to dysfunctional or chaotic households — the ones who are taken away — are so often re-victimised by a care system that fails to give them the stability or the protection they deserve.

We let little children down all the time. It looks like more than a few people have let Jayden and Jenifer down. And now, when all they want is to live up to the opportunity they’ve been given in the snuggly pink form of baby Aria, we’re going to let them all down again.

I hope with all my heart Jayden and Jenifer get the chance to learn how beautiful and how hard parenting can be, with the support of people who know what they’re doing.

Surely, if our gleaming safety-net state can achieve anything, we can support these two and their baby to be safe, happy and together.



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


17 April, 2017

Boat load of highly skilled engineers, scientists and doctors to enrich Europe with their vibrant culture of peace and love

Larger picture here

Values of the vicarage can bring the UK together after Brexit, Theresa May says in her Easter message

Britons should be guided and brought together by the values of growing up in a Church of England vicarage as the UK leaves the European Union, Theresa May says today.

The Prime Minister also said that Christians should not be afraid to discuss their faith in public in a message to mark Easter Day.

Mrs May, the daughter of a vicar, said Britons’ “shared interests, our shared ambitions, and above all our shared values can – and must – bring us together” after the decision to leave the EU. She said: “After a period of intense debate over the right future for our country, there is a sense that people are coming together and uniting behind the opportunities that lie ahead.”.

The Prime Ministerdescribed Easter as “a moment to reflect and an important time for Christians and others to gather together with families and friends”.

She said: “I think of those values that we share – values that I learnt in my own childhood, growing up in a vicarage. Values of compassion, community, citizenship. The sense of obligation we have to one another.

“These are values we all hold in common – and values that are visibly lived out every day by Christians – as well as by people of other faiths or none.”

Mrs May grew up in the village of Church Enstone in the Cotswolds with her father the Reverend Hubert Brasier and her mother Zaidee.

The Conservative leader also reiterated her view that Britons should not be afraid of discussing their faith with friends or work colleagues.

She said: “We should be confident about the role that Christianity has to play in the lives of people in our country. And we should treasure the strong tradition that we have in this country of religious tolerance and freedom of speech.

“We must continue to ensure that people feel able to speak about their faith, and that absolutely includes their faith in Christ.”

Mrs May also paid tribute to “the sacrifices and service of aid workers who put themselves in harm’s way to bring much needed relief in war-torn parts of the world”.

She said: “We should celebrate all these contributions and others like them, and the difference they make in our society and around the world.”

Mrs May added: “And we must do more to stand up for the freedom of people of all religions to practise their beliefs openly and in peace and safety. So this Easter, whatever our faith, let us come together as a nation confident in our values and united in our commitment to fulfil the obligations that we have to one another.”

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, called for people to tackle the world’s problems “through action and support for social justice, peace and reconciliation”. He said: “Christians throughout the world will this weekend be remembering Jesus’s example of love and sacrifice, and the Easter message of redemption and peace.”

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, warned against Britain becoming consumed by nostalgia and nationalism. He said: “I don’t want the Christian message to be stolen by the nostalgic nationalists, just as no liberal should seek to appropriate Jesus for their own purposes either.”


The dangers of equating words with actions

The idea that words cause harm is being used to justify censorship and violence.

‘Over the past few years, several guest speakers with controversial and objectionable beliefs have presented their ideas at Wellesley.  We, the faculty in [Commission for Ethnicity, Race and Equity], defend free speech and believe it is essential to a liberal-arts education.  However…’

I needn’t complete the quotation. The ominous ‘however’ is enough to let us know what’s coming next. It’s a familiar technique, reminiscent of that well-worn conversational opener, ‘I’m not racist, but…’. In this case, it is the beginning of an email from six professors at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, in which colleagues are advised to avoid inviting potentially controversial speakers to the campus for fear of causing offence. Because God forbid a university should be a forum for exploring difficult or contentious ideas.

The email encourages faculty members to make no distinction between words and physical violence. The professors discuss a ‘disturbing… pattern of harm’ in the speakers thus far invited. They describe how students have been left ‘in distress’ at having to listen to such ‘painful’ ideas. These talks have caused ‘damage’, and any who have had the courage to rebut the speakers’ arguments have experienced ‘injury’ as a result. If students really are as delicate as this assessment implies, it’s a good job the US government hasn’t reinstated conscription.

Perhaps there are some who genuinely consider emotional grievances to be every bit as damaging as physical violations, but such acute frailty is rare.  In truth, most of those who demand a Safe Space from offensive ideas are being disingenuous. The conflation of words and violence is a tactic used to avoid debate and, with the febrile atmosphere currently prevailing on some university campuses, it appears to be working.

Take, for instance, the ongoing furore at the University of Toronto, where Professor Jordan Peterson’s refusal to adopt gender-neutral pronouns has led to calls for his resignation and the possibility of legal action under Ontario’s human rights code. During a recent televised debate, Nicholas Matte, a teacher at the University of Toronto’s faculty of sexual diversity studies, accused Peterson of ‘abusing students’. His actions, Matte said, were ‘tantamount to violence’. Another activist withdrew from the panel on the grounds that to even hold a debate with Peterson was ‘an act of transphobia’.

This is the kind of rhetorical sleight of hand we’ve come to expect from those on the left with an aversion to free speech or open debate. Ntokozo Qwabe, the key activist behind the campaign to remove Cecil Rhodes’s statue from Oriel College in Oxford, claimed that for the university to preserve the monument would be to inflict ‘violence’ on the black community. In these terms, student ‘safety’ involves the protection of emotional sensibilities as much as physical wellbeing. The Safe Space mentality seeks to destabilise the terms of debate, reimagining two opposing points of view as a struggle between the oppressor and the oppressed, the violent and the victimised. After all, how can one have a reasoned discussion with a person whose intention is to cause harm?

At the same time, we have seen a reluctance on the left to condemn actual violence when it is perpetrated in its name. In the wake of protests at the University of California, Berkeley earlier this year – a response to a scheduled appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos – some university professors openly defended the riots and the destruction of property that ensued. Similarly, after conservative provocateur Gavin McInnes was assaulted during his talk at New York University, a woman was filmed screeching at police and urging them to physically attack McInnes and his entourage. ‘You should be protecting these students from hate… How dare you fucking assholes protect neo-Nazis! Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you… You should kick their ass!’ This charming individual claimed to be a professor, although her specialist subject is anyone’s guess. One assumes it isn’t oratory or critical thinking.

This insistence that words can be a form of violence has a further, more sinister, strategic purpose. It means that inflicting physical harm on one’s ideological opponents can be justified as self-defence. When alt-right figurehead Richard Spencer was punched during an interview in Washington, many were quick to support his assailant. The Guardian published an extended piece of sophistry on the subject of whether or not it was ethical to punch a Nazi. The author stopped short of actually condoning violence, although there can be little doubt of where he stands on the issue, given his endorsement of another article which concludes that punching Nazis is ‘not only ethical, but imperative’.

The danger of this reasoning should be obvious. Nobody is suggesting that we have a responsibility to seek out neo-Nazi thugs or Ku Klux Klan members and engage them in debate, but surrendering the moral high ground to a reprobate like Spencer can hardly be said to be a shrewd move. As Hannah Arendt pointed out in her essay On Violence (1970), political violence is inherently self-defeating because ‘the means used to achieve political goals are more often than not of greater relevance to the future world than the intended goals’. However justifiable or rational our objectives might be, recourse to violence has a delegitimising effect, and its inherent ‘arbitrariness’ is likely to result in increasingly unpredictable cycles of conflict.

Arendt’s essay demonstrates the folly of interpreting violence as a form of political discourse. We should be likewise wary of any attempts to interpret speech, political or otherwise, as a form of violence. There is a world of difference between barbed words and barbed wire. To erode the distinction is to risk the promotion of a culture in which debate is impossible, individual liberty is denied, and physical hostility is validated as a pre-emptive form of defence. There are many who would misconstrue this as progress. For the rest of us, we need to be on our guard.


Australia: The pot calls the kettle black

A violent brawl between four men has been captured by a passenger on a train in Melbourne.  The footage shows a group of men arguing on a Sunbury line train, before three men appear to attack one man who is left slumped on the floor, reported 7 News.

A witness who spoke to 7 News however, said there was more to the scenario than it appeared. The witness said the man on the ground who was being attacked was the one who initiated the fight.

'He was bleeding from his lip because he suffered a lot of punches. And he deserved it too,' the witness said.

He explained the altercation began with insults between the three Arabic men and the African man.

'He (the African man) said ''Go back to where you came from'' and ''All immigrants are a problem to this country and you bring all the crime here'',' the witness said.

After this, the insults turned to terrorism.

The witness said the African man told the three other men that all Arabic people were part of ISIS, and that's when the physical fight began. He said: 'They just wanted to beat she s*** out of him and they did.'

Other passengers sought help from transit guards when the train pulled into Tottenham station.

One man was seen getting off the train and yelling 'Look here, they're fighting on the train. There's one down on the ground now. They seem to be affected by alcohol.'  Transit guards are then seen rushing into the carriage.

According to 7 News police and transit guards spoke to the four men but none of them wanted to press charges or take the incident further, with each group blaming each other for the violence.

The witness to the incident said he thinks public transport needs more security.



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


16 April, 2017

Trump Signs Resolution Overturning Obama Regulation That Forced States to Fund Planned Parenthood

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed H.J. Res. 43, a resolution that overturns former President Barack Obama’s regulation forcing states to fund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, under Title X.

“This resolution that he signed today overturns a regulation that was put in place by the previous administration on their way out the door that would have taken away the right of states to set their own policies and priorities for Title 10 family-planning programs,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced Thursday.

H.J. Res. 43 brings the total number of Congressional Review Act legislation pieces that the president has signed to 13, Spicer said.

Pro-life groups praised the president’s decision. “This week the pro-life movement had two huge victories: first, the swearing-in of Justice Gorsuch and now, President Trump will undo former President Obama’s parting gift to the abortion industry,” Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement ahead of the signing Thursday.

“The resolution signed today simply ensures that states are not forced to fund an abortion business with taxpayer dollars. Rather, states have the option to spend Title X money on comprehensive health care clinics that better serve women and girls,” said Dannenfelser who was present at the signing.

“We thank President Trump, Vice President Pence, who cast the tie breaking vote last month, as well as the women who led this effort in Congress, Rep. Diane Black and Sen. Joni Ernst,” Dannenfelser said.

“Prioritizing funding away from Planned Parenthood to comprehensive health care alternatives is a winning issue. We expect to see Congress continue its efforts to redirect additional taxpayer funding away from Planned Parenthood through pro-life health care reform after the spring recess,” she added.

"President Trump is expressing the sentiment many of us feel about Planned Parenthood receiving our tax dollars to assault the souls and sensibilities of our children. We are grateful that the Title X bill the president signed today finally allows states to withhold Title X funds from abortion providers,” American Life League President Judie Brown said in a statement.

“Our supporters contacted their members of Congress asking them to vote yes as this bill made its way through the House and the Senate. This law will undo an Obama era regulation and return to states the ability to withhold Title X money from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. The passage of this law and its signing by the president demonstrate a real changing of the guard in DC. We look forward to many more victories for the babies,” Jim Sedlak, executive director of American Life League and founder of STOPP (Stop Planned Parenthood International), said in a statement.

Planned Parenthood condemned Trump for signing the resolution but clarified that H.J. Res. 43 “does not ‘defund’ Planned Parenthood.”

“That is a separate issue. However, this latest move could embolden states to try to block access to health care through Title X, both at Planned Parenthood health centers and independent clinics. These types of actions are already illegal, as a court in Florida found just this past summer,” Planned Parenthood Federation of America said in a statement Thursday.

“People are sick and tired of politicians making it even harder for them to access health care, and this bill is just the latest example. Planned Parenthood strongly opposes President Trump’s willingness to undermine millions of women’s access to birth control through the Title X family planning program. Four million people depend on the Title X family planning program, and by signing this bill, President Trump disregards their health and well-being,” Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.

“We should build on the tremendous progress made in this country with expanded access to birth control, instead of enacting policies that take us backward. Too many women still face barriers to health care, especially young women, women of color, those who live in rural areas, and women with low incomes,” Laguens said.

She said women’s “worst fears” are coming true.

“Women marched in historic numbers the day after the inauguration because they feared the worst. Their worst fears are now coming true. We are facing the worst political attack on women’s health in a generation as lawmakers have spent the past three months trading away women’s health and rights at every turn,” Languens said.

“That’s why women are the core of the resistance and have have been organizing and speaking out since the day after the election. They know speaking up and speaking out can change the direction of this government,” she added.

“The legislation signed by President Trump today marks yet another regressive decision by men in Washington aimed at restricting a woman’s fundamental right to make her own reproductive health choices,” New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a statement.

“No health care provider should have to choose between providing basic reproductive health care and other vital public health services,” he said. “I was proud to lead a coalition of Attorneys General in filing an amicus brief against the Ohio state law that would defund Planned Parenthood and other health care providers. And I will continue to do all I can to protect women’s fundamental reproductive rights, no matter what happens in Washington,” Schneiderman said.


Political Correctness Has Killed Assimilation

When our parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents voluntarily immigrated to the United States, they brought with them not only a desire to embrace a new homeland, but also a desire to become culturally "American."

This didn’t mean rejecting their cultural identity; it meant making room in it for new influences, which is why they often identified themselves as Italian-Americans, or Irish-Americans, or Chinese-Americans.

Not all Americans came here voluntarily, of course, but while the Native Americans fought to retain any cultural identity, freed slaves generally sought to assimilate into the greater American culture too.

This impulse to adapt by keeping some traditions while embracing new ones is what has made our country the rich and diverse “melting pot” it is today; the notion that one’s identity as an American always included space for new things, whether that was food, hairstyles, language, or even relationships, has made our nation wonderfully heterogeneous.

Not everyone loved the idea, of course, and there have always been people who embraced a misguided, nostalgic, or even racist view that our national identity was somehow better in the past.

For the vast majority of immigrants, however, coming to America was about pursuing the dream of a better life; what better way to celebrate that aspiration than to learn the language and adopt American ways of doing things?

That’s the melting pot. And this American experiment has been a tremendous success because of our willingness to embrace many aspects of immigrant culture and make them our own.

Today, however, the melting pot has gone cold. Instead, there are members of the left that view the adoption of cultural traits and characteristics as "cultural appropriation" and who try to shame anyone who practices it. In their view, language, dress, cooking  — even makeup and jewelry — have a specific ethnic or cultural identity and only people who are of that ethnicity or cultural heritage can wear or use them.

Previous generations of immigrants saw opportunity in encouraging their fellow Americans to embrace their Old-World traditions.

Today, this cultural mélange is viewed with suspicion and deemed politically incorrect.

Consider a few recent examples. If you wear hoop earrings on a college campus, the Cultural Appropriation Police might assault you for stealing a Latino fashion style; if you’re white and have braided your hair, dare to wear a kimono when you’re not Japanese, or even produce a clothing ad with women dancing on the beach (to a song that was "appropriated" from African-Americans), you are also in breach of politically correct norms.

A white superhero who knows martial arts? Yup, that’s cultural appropriation too, even if you’re The Iron Fist. Or a line of shoes inspired by gay activists? That’s also appropriation because only gay people should be allowed to wear "Queercore" shoes.

What these activists don’t seem to understand is that not only is it perfectly normal for cultures to absorb elements of other cultures, but that this is precisely what has made America such a wonderful nation.

Without cultural appropriation, we can’t cook and eat favorite American foods like pizza, burritos, or gyros; we also can’t wear many popular fashions; we can’t decorate our houses to match our own tastes.

We can’t even talk. After all, most slang and many words in modern English originated from other languages.

And that, mis amigos, would not be dope; we’d have to stop rendezvousing with friends at the local cafe, deli, or patio area, and the Renaissance would need a new name.

Come to think of it, if we continue on this path of labeling anything and everything an act of “cultural appropriation,” we can just call our future The Dark Ages. Assuming that phrase doesn’t originate in another language or culture, that is.


Progressive Child Abuse

Transgender advocates are recommending that more kids be given hormone blockers to prevent puberty.

Trying to understand the logic of cultural leftists is an exercise in futility. After years — decades, actually — of downplaying and essentially denying any difference between the sexes and claiming gender roles are social constructs, they’ve done an about-face. Not only are certain characteristics indicative of gender but the sexes are so different that those who dislike their own can and even should claim another! Because there is no uniqueness between the sexes. Except when there is.

It’s bad enough that supposedly rational adults embrace such confusion, but now they’re seeking to validate their position by conducting medical and psychological experiments on children as young as kindergarten-age.

In a recent New York Times guest column, Yale School of Medicine Research Fellow Jack Turban praises the medical (mal)practice of giving children who dislike their birth-gender implants to block the onset of puberty so they can prepare to “transition” to their chosen gender. He tells the story of 14-year-old “Hannah” — born a boy — who “is using a puberty-blocking implant and getting ready to embark on the path of developing a female body by starting estrogen.” The implant, Turban writes, is a “hard rod” just beneath the skin of “Hannah’s” arm which “releases a drug that turns off the brain cells that would otherwise kick off puberty. … [It’s] been in place for two years, preventing the process that would have deepened her voice and given her an Adam’s apple.”

In other words, beginning at age 12, “Hannah’s” parents, with the complicity of medical professionals, began giving this child drugs to stunt his brain cells and the natural progression of biology.

It’s absurd that the obvious even requires saying, but for the record, this kind of medical experimentation on children is not a mark of a civilized society. In fact, one might argue it’s child abuse. Then again, a nation that dismembers its in-utero children can hardly become queasy at blocking brain cells. That would be a bit incongruous, now, wouldn’t it?

In a fashion typical of those who embrace transgenderism and other manifestations of gender disorientation pathology, Turban has hardly a negative word to say about any harmful effects of chemically altering children’s brain cells to deliberately stunt natural development. Instead, he paints a rosy picture, points to “Hannah” as “happy” with the implant, and calls him a “thriving teenager.” And he erroneously claims that “[o]ver the past few years, it has become clear that if we support these children in their transgender identities instead of trying to change them, they thrive instead of struggling with anxiety and depression.”

Putting aside for a moment the fact that the only ones trying to “change” children are those implanting drugs in their arms to botch brain cell activity, “thrive” is hardly an accurate word for thousands of individuals who bought into the deception that if only they could become the gender they wanted, they would find joy.

An astounding 46% of transgender men and 42% of transgender women have attempted suicide, according to one study from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Among transgender individuals who underwent hormone treatment, the suicide-attempt rate was 45%. By comparison, less than 5% of the overall U.S. population reports attempting suicide in their lifetime.

In fact, the study authors specifically write, “Overall, the most striking finding of our analysis was the exceptionally high prevalence of lifetime suicide attempts reported by … [transgender and gender non-conforming adults] across all demographics and experiences.”

This finding would not surprise Walt Heyer, who underwent a sex-change operation and lived as a woman for eight years without finding the peace he craved. “Changing genders is short-term gain with long-term pain,” he writes. “Its consequences include early mortality, regret, mental illness, and suicide.” Heyer isn’t alone. His website, sexchangeregret.com, shares the stories not heralded by the media — the stories of what happens to people like “Hannah” weeks, months and even years down the road.

In a brand new column, Heyer writes, “Doctors jam trans kids with puberty blockers and trans adults with cross-gender hormones, then recommend irreversible genital surgery, all without having long-term systematic studies of the effectiveness of such invasive treatment. Parents of trans kids don’t have the benefit of trustworthy information on the probable outcomes of up to 90 percent of gender changers.” That’s because the vast majority of post-trans surgery subjects are what’s called “lost to follow-up,” so no studies account for them. Some of that is intentional — just not counting those who transition back to their birth sex — because, according to Heyer, “LGBTQ studies purposefully exclude anything that would reflect badly on their overblown trans agenda.”

“Hannah” is searching for an identity that will never be found in medical inducements or surgical constructions. By telling him otherwise and applauding those who damage children psychologically and physically in the name of gender progressivism, the Jack Turbans of the world — never mind the parents and mad scientists who hurt these kids — aren’t giving hope; they’re endorsing child abuse.


New progressive morality rapidly taking over from Christian beliefs

Comment from Australia

As Christians celebrate Easter under threat and persecution in many countries, Christian tradi­tion faces erosion in Australia from an array of forces — the ­failure of its churches and clerics, the march of secularism and the rise of an alternative progressive morality.

The new morality arises from neither dogma nor revelation. Its focus is diversity, human rights, self-expression and identity politics. It is a set of values and a way of relating to others. Its essence is the discarding of the worth of trad­ition and enshrining in law rules and procedures for contemporary cultural norms. It is best seen as the comprehensive politicisation of our culture.

British sociologist Frank Furedi recently captured its manifestations: “Conflicts over values have acquired an enormous significance in political life. Recent debates on abortion, euthanasia, immigration, gay marriage and family life indicate that there is an absence of agreement on some of the most fundamental questions facing society.

“The contestation of norms and values has politicised culture and often people’s lifestyles — who you sleep with, what you eat and consume, how you feed and bring up your child, the language you use — are interpreted as political statements.”

The upshot is a society in confusion and dispute over the meaning of virtue. For much of its history, Australia, along with other Western nations, was a society that agreed on core values arising from Christian tradition and this was a unifying factor during bitter disputes over class, income and economic organisation.

But as the Christian tradition weakens and the progressive morality rises, our society is divided at its heart, a process that few want to discuss yet which is set to intensify.

As Furedi says: “Advocates of cultural politics have succeeded in marginalising the influence of traditional values and their outdated language. In contemporary soc­iety, moral statements are rarely taken seriously and have the form of a plea.” Disciples of the new morality have brilliantly manipulated and expanded the range of cultural issues on which to moralise — their ultimate success being the moralisation of “space”, witness the sanctity of the “safe space” for the protection of the individual.

Politics is intruding into private and family life. Value judgments are being made about how you live in a way inconceivable two decades ago. Politics is driven by belief in an expanding space for human rights, notably the right of individuals to control more and more of their lives from birth to death. This equates to a new social etiquette and moral code. As the culture is endlessly politicised, the scope for disputes escalates.

The Western secular democratic state was founded on a ­­neg­otiated harmony between sec­ularists and Christians about the ultimate questions. The model allowed homage to both God and Caesar. Contrary to current misconceptions the secular state was neutral between believers and non-believers and between different believers — a system that allowed religion to flourish. The laws of the state and the laws of the church co-existed in a tolerated and often fruitful settlement that facilitated a successful society. But this is now collapsing. The emerging differences are fundamental given the promotion of gay marriage, the push to legalise killing in the cause of humanitarianism, the restriction of free speech on the basis of causing offence, the promotion of gender fluidity and rejection of the boy/girl gender paradigm, and the manipulation of schools for ideological, sex, gender and climate programs.

The scope of the new morality extends even further — into how children should be raised, the structure of family life and the deployment of multiculturalism to weaken Christian symbols.

Sociologists describe this phenomenon in terms of diversity and inclusion but miss its ideological essence — the crusade to liberate the individual from the Western tradition with its Christian moral straitjacket. The incubator of progressive ideology is the education sector — universities and schools. It is founded in the belief that new-world societies such as America and Australia have failed to come to terms with the racism, indigenous exploitation, sexism, patriarchy and monoculturalism at their core.

Because these traits are seen as endemic, the effort to purge them becomes an endless task requiring a wider politicisation of the culture. The end point is never reached. And that is the real point, the campaign is a perpetual process. Because the Christian ethos is identified with the past and tradition — part of the problem — it becomes a priority for the purging.

As the sharp end of the progressive agenda is gradually enacted, part of the contemporary zeitgeist, the Western democratic state will face a dilemma it has never before encountered: a conflict in the domain of human relations between the laws and values of the state and the laws and values of the church (or most religions in our multicultural polity).

How Australia manages this defies prediction. How will the previous compact allowing people to honour both God and Caesar work in future? There is one certainty, it won’t be the same any more. State and church will not be at war physically but they will be in conflict in moral and intellectual terms. They will disagree on the core moral principles of society.

You can be pretty certain this historical challenge will be messy, divisive and debilitating. The grim forebodings of the Catholic Church were signalled by Archbishop Anthony Fisher in his 2015 lecture on Religion and Freedom for the Centre for Independent Studies when he projected out to 2025 based on current trends.

Fisher speculated about an amended Marriage Act where references to man or woman had been removed; changes to other laws deleted references to mother and father; religious freedom was seriously limited so faith schools had to teach a gay-friendly state-imposed curriculum; teaching children the Christian view of marriage was outlawed and members of the clergy who defied the state risked imprisonment.

To simplify a complex situation, the new morality has two sources — the broad-based credo of diversity and inclusion as a public and private good and the smaller ideological movement at its core, best described as secular fundamentalists who want sweeping changes to the principles governing our society. In Australia, the Greens are home to many of these secular fundamentalists.

New York University social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind, says the campaign for social justice or the new morality in the US is akin to a secular religion. He warns “this new religion is causing an existential crisis” within the US university sector.

While Haidt’s work focuses on the US university his diagnosis captures the essence of the new morality, branding it “an extremely intense, fundamental social justice religion”. This point is basic to what we have seen in Australia — the rising intolerance of the secular fundamentalists and their determination to silence, censor and repress the individuals and institutions they oppose.

Fundamentalism is tied to identity politics. The core issue at stake is whether minority causes and interests should override nat­ional standards and values. This is now happening. A fortnight ago the Senate majority was explicit, the test for section 18C of the racial Discrimination Act cannot be Australian community standards. This idea was repudiated by a Senate majority that said the test must be the standards of the offended minority.

Corporates are now intimidated by minorities, witness the Coopers beer boycott when the company backed down from being associated with a model debate on gay marriage between Liberal MPs Andrew Hastie and Tim Wilson. State power is being used aggressively to promote the new morality under false pretences, witness the Victorian government campaign to promote a gender fluidity agenda in all public schools under the anti-bullying rubric. Similar ideological campaigns are being waged in schools and preschools as part of anti-violence programs. The role of educational institutions is paramount.

Earlier this year the same-sex marriage plebiscite was rejected mainly because it would cause offence to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community. This was a first for our politics — coupled with claims by ALP figures it would be a licence for homophobia, with the gay community willingly embracing the mantle of victimhood this involved. Claims of mental damage have become a core political tactic.

The lesson seemed manifest: government cannot take actions that offend minorities. Greens leader Richard Di Natale has repeatedly branded as “homophobic” critics of the Safe Schools program in Victoria. When has any federal political leader resorted to such unjustified denigration and abuse of his critics?

This is a huge and amusing irony. The Catholic Church in Australia is a fusion of Irish practice, Greek rationality and Gospel revelation with few traces left of any fundamentalism (unlike US Evangelicals). The point, however, is that fundamentalism is now rising and conspicuous, notably among the new moralists.

It is one thing to look back and applaud the centuries-old magic of church and the Western state living together but separately when the differences between them were reconciled, but it is another situation completely when they constitute rival moral sources on the most fundamental and emotional issues governing personal virtue in our society.

Yet this is the future we face. The Greens, the vanguard of progressive thinking in Australia, offer a clue to the next step. At the 2016 election the party ran on far-reaching changes to anti-discrimination laws to curtail the freedom of religious institutions, schools and charities. Former Greens senator Robert Simms said churches enjoyed a “get out of jail free” card to discriminate against people on gender identity. This is consistent with the position of a section of the progressive movement — to drive religion from the public square.

This is one response to the coming ideological clash between church and state. It is, however, complicated by the rise of Islam and the position of many progressives who support Islam in the spirit of multicultural identity politics and decline (so far) to depict it as a religion best kept away from the public square.

Given the rise of Islam and its more assertive character, the role of the Islamic theocratic state will become even more prominent, begging the question: what sort of Western state will it face?

There are two options. One is a Western state where secularist ideology has become more assertive and intolerant as Christianity is rendered more vulnerable and marginalised. The other is some form of new settlement that retains the key to Western success — homage to God and to Caesar — in a secular state that still remains neutral between believers and non-believers.

At one point Archbishop Fisher said the Australian desire to “get along” may mean “we give each other space to do our own thing”. In the next breath, however, he was sceptical of such optimism because under the new morality “as conscience reduces to personal tastes, respect for its claims is harder to sustain”.

The Christian definition of good and evil, right and wrong, is regarded as obsolete by much of the culture, replaced by an obsessive focus on individual wants, identity and self-expression. You might have thought Australia was becoming a less racist, less sexist, less patriarchal nation as Malcolm Turnbull calls us “the most successful multicultural nation on earth”. But you are wrong.

The tenor and content of our public debate, more than ever, is about racism, sexism and patriarchy. Indeed, in the recent section 18C debate much of the argument for the status quo was that racism in Australia is increasing and this law is essential to save the nation from its racist outbreaks.

The push for euthanasia is explicit — the law originating in Christian ethics is now obsolete and must be replaced by a new individual-centred morality to permit state-sanctioned killing for humanitarian purposes.

What happens when state and church disagree on the core principles of society? It would be nice to think nothing much would happen. But ideological movements never settle for compromise: they understand only total victory. For example, the triumph of marriage equality will never be complete as long as the church is allowed to deny same-sex marriage in its own domain. Laws that authorise same-sex marriage will not end this struggle; they will merely take the struggle to another plateau.

The vanguard of the new morality are the elites. Indeed, capture of the elites has been a triumph for the broad and disparate progressive tide. In Australia, like the US, elites in government, business, the public service and civic organisations are embracing progressive ideas on the basis of social etiquette, personal respect and organisational protocols. There are some golden rules: all cultures are equal; the historically disadvantaged must be affirmed; concern for the feelings and identity of others must be prioritised. The need to respect identity politics is captured by Furedi in ­describing why a world-leading institution like the University of Cambridge feels obliged to organise events “to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month, Black and Ethnic Minority History Month, International Women’s Day, International Day of Persons with Disabilities and Holocaust Memorial Day”.

Furedi says: “The university offers training programs and online courses to help people acquire the skills of ‘managing diversity’. Such courses presume that the management of diversity and relationships between people requires professional expertise.”

The sheer size of the professional class now dealing with the new morality is immense. Such professionals have a strong self-­interest in the cause and earn high salaries (check the Australian Human Rights Commission among others). Indeed, the status and social standing of many professionals is a function of the spread of the new morality. The sense of self-interest is pervasive and big money is involved.

It is assumed, naturally, the new morality is a plus for institutions. But this is not necessarily true. Enter Haidt and his revealing work on the American university system: he has identified what constitutes institutional moral corruption at the heart of the US educational establishment.

If you want to grasp the origins and power of the new morality in the US, there is no better place to begin. Haidt has produced staggering figures on the revolution of the past 20 years in the US university system. It is basic to the culture war now raging in America.

Haidt (not a conservative) says “very few people” in the US know the extent of left-wing conformity entrenched in the humanities and social sciences in the US academy. As late as the 1990s the left-right ratio in the academy was only 2:1 but 15 years later there has been a “transformation” with the ratio now 5:1, with “almost everybody on the left” — and this includes professors from dental, engineering and agricultural schools.

The bias is much worse in the humanities. Taking his own field of social psychology, Haidt found the most recent data was 17:1. He quoted one survey with 291 respondents showing 85 per cent left-liberal and 6 per cent identifying as conservative, a ratio of 14:1.

He then followed a more extensive survey (William von Hippel and David M. Buss) involving members of the academic body of social psychologists. Of the 326 respondents, 291 identified as left of centre, which was 89 per cent, and only 2.5 per cent identified as right of centre. This gives a left-right ratio of 36:1.

Asked who they voted for or would have voted for at the 2012 presidential election, 305 out of 322 said Barack Obama (94.7 per cent), four said Mitt Romney (1.2 per cent) and 13 said another candidate (4 per cent). This meant a Democrat-Republican ratio of 76:1. When a series of political questions were put and scaled the result was a left-right ratio of 314:1.

Haidt calls this an “existential threat” in his field. “I don’t mean to single out social psychology,” he says. “It is the field that I know best. But what we have learned is this rapid shift to political purity has happened to most fields in the humanities and social sciences in just the last two decades.”

He is blunt about the implications: this had to call into question the integrity of academic research and scholarship. He says “scholarship to support a political agenda almost always succeeds” and the scholar “rarely if ever” believes they are biased. The truth, he argues, is that “a motivated scholarship often propagates plea­sing falsehoods”. He says US undergraduates are “exposed to less political diversity than ever before in the history of this country”.

Why is this relevant? Because educational institutions are the originating impulse for the new morality and its secular fundamentalism. America, of course, is not Australia. Is Australia different or the same? It would be nice to know. Haidt warns about the wider dangers of the new fundamentalism: “We can expect political polarisation to get steadily worse in coming decades as this moral culture of victimhood spreads.” History tells us the new moral­ity is merely the latest in the periodic and messianic quests to remake society, an ingrained feature of the human condition. It is a function of the post-ideological age and acts as a replacement for the demise of Marxism and widely assumed failure of socialism.

It is true the Christian churches carry the main responsibility for their failures. It is also true that as the new morality gains sway and secular fundamentals make advances, the tension and conflict between secular norms and church norms will intensify.

There will be no settlement or social harmony from the agendas of the new moralists — just a fragmented society, the demise of the long narrative that has bound our communities together, a conflicted moral order and the fracturing of the church-state compact so vital to our success.



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


14 April, 2017

Australia:  Melbourne crime gang declared a 'non-entity' by Victoria Police

So all the people who reported being robbed and assaulted by Africans were colour-blind?  Give us a break!  Victoria police are notorious for cover-ups so the report below should be taken with a shaker full of salt.  But you can to some extent read between the lines.  Take this neat little utterance:
"Predominantly, a large cohort of that gang was in fact Australian-born offenders," Deputy Commissioner Patton said

Maybe they were.  But who were their parents? Africans?

In any case, the problem is African crime, not one particular gang.  And African crime is huge in Melbourne, as it is wherever there are Africans

Victoria Police have declared the Apex crime gang a "non-entity" saying it is no longer and never was predominantly African.

Giving evidence to a Parliamentary Inquiry into Migrant Settlement Outcomes, Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said at its peak the gang consisted of about 130 people who loosely claimed to be members.

He said it was now in recession and was not made up of one or two ethnicities, but from people from a range of backgrounds.  "Predominantly, a large cohort of that gang was in fact Australian-born offenders," Deputy Commissioner Patton said

Police said they now believed they had "broken the back" of the gang. "We have charged the leaders of that gang and imprisoned them," he said. "We would call them a non-entity in terms of a gang."

The spectre of Apex came to prominence at the Moomba riots in 2016, when youths ran amok in the CBD and thrust the idea of migrant crime to the forefront.

In its first incarnation, the gang was named after a Dandenong Street and was made up of South Sudanese and Pacific Islanders.

The inquiry is being chaired by Liberal MP, and former police officer, Jason Wood who has been outspoken about the so-called threat of Apex and migrant crime gangs in Melbourne and called for the Federal Government to crack down.

However, the inquiry heard after the Moomba riots it morphed into an all encompassing group loosely linked through social media.

Deputy Commissioner Patton said the carjackings, home invasions and jewellery store robberies that have plagued Melbourne are being carried out by criminals from all backgrounds. "Over 50 per cent of them are Australians," he repeated when questioned by Mr Wood.

Commander of Victoria Police's anti-gangs division, Peter De Santo, said there may be "some remnants" of the Apex gang but they have morphed into "networked offending" linked by social media.

He added that Middle Eastern crime gangs had recruited some "disadvantaged youth" but it was the exception to the rule.

Extermination of Christians in Egypt Not Getting Enough Attention: Piers Morgan Asks, ‘Why?’

A three-month nationwide state of emergency took effect in Egypt on Monday, following the terror attacks on two Christian churches that killed at least 44 people on Palm Sunday.

ISIS said it sent suicide bombers to the two churches, one in Alexandria and one in Tanta. The head of the Coptic Christian church, Pope Tawadros II, was inside the cathedral in Alexandria when the bomb exploded, but he was not hurt.

ISIS also bombed a Cairo church in December, killing 30 people there, and it has threatened more violence directed at Christians, saying their blood will flow “like rivers,” the Associated Press reported.

While terror attacks in Paris, Nice, London and Sweden all got “huge attention,” the ones in Egypt did not, and that’s a problem, Piers Morgan, the editor-at-large at Daily Mail.com, told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson Monday night.

“And yet, what happened in Egypt was unbelievably significant,” Morgan said. “If you look at what ISIS really stands for, what they are carrying out now in the Middle East and in Egypt in particular, is a kind of genocidal attack on Christians and Christianity.

“They want Christianity eradicated, and they want to convert all Muslims to their crusade. They want it to be a holy war. And they want Christians gone. And I don't think that narrative is getting the attention it should get in the American media and, I have to say, in other media as well around the world.”

Morgan pointed to last week’s suicide bombing of a subway in St. Petersburg, Russia, that killed 13 people. Press reports on Monday said eight members of “extremist cells” have been arrested in connection with that attack.

Piers Morgan said ISIS was very blunt about the St. Petersburg attack: “They made it absolutely clear, this is a war against the cross. They said that. That is what the statement said.

“They are at war in their heads with Christianity. Not just with Christianity, they are at war with all other religions as well. But they have been signaling out in increasingly virulent terms that their real war now is against Christians and the cross.”

Morgan, a Catholic, said he’s concerned about the pope, who is due to visit Egypt on April 28 and 29. “He would be a massive target, a massive prize for these Islamist terrorists,” Morgan said.

“They have made it very clear that he is the number one target for them in that battle against Christians. They attacked the church where the Coptic pope was actually officiating. So they have made their intentions clear.

“Now, I think this is a huge story. This is the kind of story that ought to be dominating cable news in America. It should be dominating headlines around the world. The press in America should be full of headlines about this. This narrative, to me, is very straightforward. ISIS have declared war on Christianity. I'm not seeing that being covered enough.”

Morgan told Carlson he works “literally 500 yards from Westminster Bridge,” where a man named Khalid Masood rammed a rented SUV into pedestrians on March 22, killing four of them, then stabbing a security guard at the gates of the British Parliament.

While people like Masood are “dangerous,” what happened in Egypt “was hugely more significant in the overall war,” Morgan said. The attack on the Egyptian churches “looks very tactical by ISIS. It looked like they sent in highly trained people to do this.

“And it looked (like) a far more coordinated part of a much bigger plot by them to take on Christianity…But again, the coverage of St. Petersburg, the coverage of Egypt, not as high as the coverage of a handful of people being killed in Sweden and London. And I ask, simply, why?”


The multiple implications of Australia's high rate of immigration

With less than a month until the federal budget, a host of issues loom large on the Australian political landscape. Housing affordability, economic growth, the return of right-wing populism, groaning infrastructure, environmental stresses and the pressures of an ageing society.

They make headlines, divide communities and define elections. And they are all connected. The thread that links them is arguably the most important, and most sensitive, factor in Australian politics: immigration.

Migration to Australia currently sits at double the long-term average, down from triple during the last years of the mining boom. The bulk of this influx comes from the government's permanent migration program, currently pegged at 190,000 people a year and mostly comprising skilled migrants.

As the natural growth rate from births is low, it's immigration that takes Australia's population growth to 1.5 per cent, higher than the global average. Last year, the natural increase was 155,500 and migration amounted to 193,200.

 The advantages, disadvantages and question of whether the intake should be reduced are deeply complex, and they are being discussed publicly and privately ahead of the budget. This is in part thanks to former prime  minister Tony Abbott, who said the government should promise to "cut immigration to make housing more affordable".
House prices

The debate over the explosive growth of house prices in urban areas, especially Sydney and Melbourne, rages on. Various federal and state government measures - like changes to stamp duty, raiding super and caps on capital gains tax - are routinely tossed around and sometimes tossed out. But there's always the elephant in the overly-priced room.

"High rates of immigration put upward pressure on land and housing prices in Australia's largest cities," a 2016 Productivity Commission report into the migration intake said, noting that poor urban planning and zoning laws compound this.

"While this is beneficial to property owners," the report said of the demand introduced by migration, "it increases costs and thereby reduces the living standards for those entering the property market."

But even if reducing the migrant would reduce demand for housing, Reserve Bank chief Philip Lowe has called immigration a source of national strength.

"To give that advantage up just so that we can take some pressure off housing prices, I find kind of problematic," he said last year.

However, the pressure does remain and a recent NSW government forecast found Sydney will require 726,000 new dwellings by 2036 to keep up with growth.
Boosting the economy

The Productivity Commission found new migrants boost economic growth through consumption and the supply of labor, particularly jobs that struggle to get filled otherwise.

The valuable increase to gross domestic product has been a crucial ingredient in Australia's 25 years of unbroken economic growth and continues to mask other vulnerabilities in the economy.

At an aggregate level, recent immigrants had a negligible impact on wages, employment and participation of the existing labour force.

Groaning infrastructure

"We do not have the infrastructure capacity to support today's population, far less the population of the future."

That is what the former secretary of the Treasury Ken Henry told the Committee for Economic Development of Australia in February amid ongoing frustration about Australian roads and public transport.

"On the basis of official projections of Australia's population growth, our governments could be calling tenders for the design of a brand new city for two million people every five years" he said.

Both Mr Henry and the Governor of the Reserve Bank Philip Lowe agree: these are growing pains that we are not prepared for.

"This imbalance is compounded by insufficient investment in the transport infrastructure needed to support our growing population," Dr Lowe told a meeting of the Reserve Bank governors this week.

The Committee for Economic Development of Australia has questioned "whether the current settlement patterns of migrants, predominantly into Sydney and Melbourne, can continue indefinitely with these figures."

Environmental pressure

The more people you have, the more pressure is placed on the natural environment. This means that more work is required to protect it, particularly in urban areas.

In Sydney, more than 70 green spaces - the "green grid" considered a crucial part of a liveable city - have been identified as under threat from the booming population. Australia's largest city will pack in another 2.1 million people over the next two decades.

The gravitation of of migrants to urban areas, alongside the natural population growth in these areas, means that effective urban planning and environmental regulations are required to preserve local ecosystems, open spaces, clean air and clean water and minimise the impacts of waste and garbage.
An ageing society

It is one way to sell a migration boom, who is going to pay the taxes to look after an ageing population?

On this the Productivity Commission is clear: "By increasing the proportion of people in the workforce, immigration can reduce the impacts of population ageing," it found.

Accordingly, the government places an emphasis on skilled migrants with an age limit of 50. Last year, these migrants accounted for 128,550 of the 190,000-strong migration program while 57,000 came to join family.

But this "demographic dividend" does not offer a panacea, it delays rather than eliminates population ageing.

Based on the current rate of migration, Australia will still have 25 per cent of the population aged over 65 by 2060 when the population hits 42 million.

The figure is set to become far worse if the the intake is cut, as has been speculated, putting generations at risk of billions of dollars in higher health care costs and the burden of the aged pension.

Anti-immigrant sentiment

There has always been a segment of Australian society opposed to immigration and hostile towards people seen as different.

According to the Scanlon Foundation's Mapping Social Cohesion survey, at least 30 per cent of people consistently feel immigration is too high, including a core that are staunchly opposed to immigrants on ethnic and cultural grounds. Built on top of this is sentiment driven by economic uncertainty and concern about the infrastructure and environmental impacts.

Professor Andrew Markus, author of the Scanlon report, says there has been no demonstrable boost to anti-migration sentiment in recent years. He argues those voices are now just louder and better represented in political discourse.

"If there are problems that are of concern to people that flow from population growth, such as infrastructure or housing, then governments need to deal with that. It's primarily a function of growth, not primarily immigration," Professor Markus says, asserting that government policy needs to keep up


Australia: Justice targets won’t help Aboriginal incarceration rates

Pressure is mounting for the Prime Minister to introduce Indigenous justice targets. But having targets for other social indicators hasn’t helped improve them. Ten years have passed since the Closing the Gap campaign was launched and only one of the seven targets is on track to be met — Year 12 attainment.

There is no doubt Indigenous incarceration rates are unacceptably high. Indigenous people account for a quarter of the prison population in Australia and the situation is even worse for Indigenous youth.  According to the latest AIHW report, 59% of juveniles in detention are Indigenous, despite Indigenous young people only making up 6% of the population aged 10-17.

Having a target to aim for may make people feel they are doing something to address these appalling statistics, but there is little evidence to suggest it will help reduce the number of Indigenous people going to jail. If the government is serious about lowering the Indigenous incarceration rate, it needs to focus on strategies that will actually help reduce offending and reoffending.

The rise in Indigenous incarceration rates is often attributed to institutional racism, with the popular narrative being police unfairly target Indigenous people, particularly youth. But while this may sometimes be the case, it is not the underlying reason behind the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in jail.

The only way to reduce the incarceration rate is to reduce the number of Indigenous people committing crimes. The best way to do that is by improving Indigenous education and employment outcomes. Unemployment is a greater risk factor for offending than being Indigenous — with unemployed Indigenous people 20 times more likely to go to jail than Indigenous people who are employed. Latest statistics also indicate that there is no employment gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians with a University degree.

If the government was actually making headway on its Closing the Gap targets, the Indigenous incarceration rate would be going down.  Rather than introducing yet another target, the government should try to achieve its existing ones.



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


13 April, 2017

Sweden Truck Attack Provides Lesson: Protect Borders, Promote Assimilation

There is a tendency toward schadenfreude in all of us, and it takes a strong person to swallow those tendencies, particularly when the would-be recipient is a smug, deserving prig.

Back in late February, President Donald Trump made a public comment in reference to the risks inherent in taking on large numbers of unassimilated migrants and would-be refugees by referring to the example of Sweden. ("Look what happened last night in Sweden.")

His comments were typically imprecise in that Trumpian kind of way, and so the media did its usual slice-and-dice job, helped along nicely by the Swedish government, whose senior officials and foreign ministry leaped forward to decry his statement, and deny that there were any problems whatever in their assimilation of newcomers.

They appeared to take great delight in their self-assigned task of showing Trump to be confused, off-base and groundless, and they did this despite the fact that there had in fact been several ugly incidents of terrible crimes in which migrants were perpetrators, and that Sweden really does appear to be confronting a cultural crisis brought about by its absorption of migrants, many of whom not only haven't, but don't want to integrate.

But then Sweden appears to be in denial; a progressive, left-leaning nation whose ideals, ouroboros-like, have swung in a full circle to begin chewing on their own tails: one of those places where hate speech, very broadly construed, is condemned and even prosecuted, unless it comes from migrants whose different cultural norms make it "okay" to spew vitriol against others, such as Jews or homosexuals.

I suppose that Swedish officials, assuming that they had inoculated themselves against terror attacks by being so passive and accepting in the face of extreme Islamic views, were caught completely off-guard, then, by the recent horrific truck attack at a downtown pedestrian mall in the capital city of Stockholm that took several lives and caused many more injuries. It certainly appears to be an attempt to copycat previous infamous truck attacks in Nice, France, Israel, and elsewhere.

The thing is, Islamists are not grateful for soft treatment at the hands of western governments; guided by the twin principles of jihad and hijrah (immigration with the intention of converting the population of the new country to Islam), they scorn it and don't hesitate to bite the hand that is feeding them.

To his credit, the president has not engaged in the kind of schadenfreude I mentioned at the beginning of this blog.


Republicans still have ethical standards

Chappaquiddick Ted might also have been mentioned below

Becoming a politician is a "dirty job" that even Mike Rowe would avoid. The now former governor of Alabama proves once again that the average American's expressed disgust for politicians is often justly deserved.

On Monday, Alabama Republican Governor Robert Bentley resigned from office. A little over a year ago, accusations came to light of an attempted cover-up of an alleged affair between Bentley and one of his top aides. As the scandal further unfolded, revelations of potential campaign finance violations as well as misuse of state police and intimidation tactics convinced the Republican-controlled state legislature to pursue impeachment proceedings. Now, Lt. Governor Kay Ivey will become only the second woman in Alabama history to serve as governor as she replaces Bentley.

Sex scandals are nothing new when it comes to politics. But whether it brings down those involved often depends on the politician's party affiliation. Years ago another governor from a southern state was able to survive as he hushed up numerous allegations on his way to winning the White House. Bill Clinton, who committed perjury during his attempt to cover-up his affair with Monica Lewinsky, was impeached and yet retained his presidency, infamously setting a precedent. Democrats, having no moral compass, thus rallied around an arrogant serial adulterer for partisan purposes. Alabama Republicans weren't going to repeat that abuse of power.

While the Bentley scandal may bear some similarities to Clinton's many scandals, it truly pales in comparison, both in the level of corruption and in the consequences. Put simply, Bentley leaves office in disgrace still facing legal issues, while Clinton not only survived but thrived afterwards, becoming a hero of the Left and a multimillionaire on the speaking circuit. Because Bill got away with it, others may assume they can too. Sometimes they can. Arguably thanks to Bill, Donald Trump was able to survive his own sordid personal history, including sexually lewd comments revealed as an October surprise.

On a final note, it's worth remembering the words of the Gipper. Ronald Reagan famously opined, "It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."


Maryland lawmakers withdraw ‘sanctuary state’ bill that challenged Trump’s immigration policy

A proposal to turn Maryland into a “sanctuary state” by limiting local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities died in the State House on Monday after lawmakers withdrew the bill — which had garnered a veto threat from the governor and a rebuke from Trump administration Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In one of the first big state-level challenges to the administration’s tougher line on illegal immigration, the original bill would have prevented police from inquiring about a person’s immigration status during a stop or detention and blocked jail officials from holding people past their release dates so immigration agents could detain them.

Debate over the bill, called the Maryland Law Enforcement and Governmental Trust Act, came amid outrage after two Montgomery County high school students, at least one of whom is an illegal immigrant, were accused of raping a 14-year-old girl inside a school restroom, shining a spotlight on the sanctuary movement and drawing a direct rebuke from the White House. Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, had said he would veto the bill if it was passed in the General Assembly.

Maryland is one of a handful of states to consider “sanctuary” status, which scores of cities and counties across the county have adopted. California, New York, Illinois and Nevada are reportedly considering their own versions of the Maryland bill protecting illegal immigrants from the reach of federal law.
The House of Delegates voted last month to adopt the proposal, but the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee gave it an unfavorable report, and the bill was withdrawn as the Maryland General Assembly’s 90-day legislative session wound down.

Lawmakers opted instead for a face-saving compromise, enshrining in Maryland law a provision already recognized in federal law that restricts officers’ ability to ask about immigration status before an arrest. That proposal was set for debate in the final hours of the General Assembly Monday night, but it appeared unlikely to gain traction.

Some Democratic lawmakers, unhappy with the compromise adopted by leadership, pledged Monday to continue to fight for protections for immigrants and people of color. “We are not going to stop until we have justice and protections for everyone in the State of Maryland,” Delegate Cheryl D. Glenn, Baltimore Democrat, said in a rally Monday afternoon in Annapolis.

Sessions’ rebuke

The bill also drew rebuke from Mr. Sessions, a key architect of President Trump’s immigration platform during the election campaign last year. Mr. Sessions said last month that the legislation was “not good policy” and implored state officials not to adopt the proposal.

Maryland Republican Party Chairman Dirk D. Haire said the bill appeared to have started a “civil war” between the liberal and moderate Democrats in the legislature. “Mainstream Democrats have been responsive to the message we’ve been sending, which is that sanctuary cities are dangerous,” Mr. Haire said.

He said the uproar over the rape at Rockville High School in Montgomery County highlighted residents’ concerns about sanctuary jurisdictions becoming a magnet for illegal immigrants who commit crimes. “I think it had the effect of focusing on the fact that criminals are entering illegally and committing crimes,” Mr. Haire said. “It does point out that it’s not just peaceful or hardworking immigrants who are entering the country.”

One of the two men accused of the rape encountered immigration agents in Texas about eight months ago and was issued a court date to face charges of immigration violations. He never showed up and traveled to Maryland, where he enrolled in school last fall.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s list of sanctuary cities tallies three communities in Maryland that have local policies shielding illegal immigrants from federal agents: the city of Baltimore and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
All told, ICE’s most recent list last week details 142 jurisdictions across the country that have policies restricting cooperation with federal agents. That is down from the previous week’s list, which cited 151 jurisdictions.

California and Connecticut, two states that have approved their own versions of the Trust Act, are on ICE’s list.


No More 'Catch and Release' for Illegal Immigrants
One of the smartest steps President Donald Trump has taken to get our illegal immigration problem under control was ending the Obama administration’s policy known as “catch and release.”

Border Patrol agents have long sarcastically called it the “catch and run” policy. Why?

Because aliens who have been caught and then released under the stipulation they show up for a scheduled hearing frequently fail to appear in court. That’s the finding of a new report produced by former federal immigration court judge Mark H. Metcalf and published by the Center for Immigration Studies.

In fact, no courts have higher failure-to-appear rates by defendants than U.S. immigration courts, the report found.

Why should this concern us?

These illegal aliens are ignoring immigration court orders to appear without fear of repercussion, leaving them free to run and disappear into the interior of the country. Chances are, they won’t be found again, incarcerated or deported. In fact, over the past 20 years, 37 percent of all illegal aliens released pending trial never showed up for court.

According to Metcalf, of the almost 2.5 million aliens released from detention, 918,098 failed to appear in court. Nearly 46,000 aliens disappeared each year rather than appear in court when they were supposed to.

Aliens are more likely to be ordered deported for their failure to appear than through actual court decisions on the merits of their supposed claimed right to remain in the U.S. Even in cases where aliens are ordered deported because they never showed up for court, those deportation orders are widely ignored both by those immigrants and by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division within the Department of Homeland Security that is charged with enforcing them.

Metcalf found that almost a million deportation orders issued by federal immigration judges — 953,506 to be exact — have not been enforced by ICE. That is a 58 percent increase since 2002. Bottom line, immigrants who are here illegally believe that they can stay here illegally even when they have been ordered removed. Why? Because the federal government has in the past chosen to ignore these orders.

Even worse, Metcalf says, the Department of Justice has been manipulating the statistics it reports to Congress to cover up the staggeringly high failure-to-appear rate. When DOJ reported statistical data on the percentage of illegal immigrants who failed to appear in court, it made the number look misleadingly smaller by including detained aliens in the total number. Obviously, aliens being held by ICE are going to be brought to court. They don’t have the ability to ignore court orders to appear.

Among the aliens who disappeared and never showed up for court are more than 3,000 aliens from countries that the State Department says are involved in terrorism or have activist terrorist organizations. That includes aliens from Iran, Sudan and Syria, all of whose governments are classified as state sponsors of terrorism. In fact, Metcalf found, a troubling 11 percent of asylum applicants from those three state sponsors of terrorism absconded before their court proceedings. We have no idea where they are inside the country or what they are doing.

This problem illustrates a significant double standard in our legal system. There is no other court in America that lets defendants ignore orders to appear. In fact, federal law provides severe penalties for failing to show up to a federal district court. Only in immigration courts can non-citizens disappear and potentially not face the kinds of consequences that a citizen would face for failing to appear in federal district court.

When illegal immigrants ignore our courts and ICE doesn’t enforce the law, it destroys the integrity of our legal system and encourages continued illegal immigration. The Trump administration is right to try and prevent illegal aliens from exploiting the loopholes in our immigration court system.



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


12 April, 2017

Why Most High-Achievers Are Men (& Why We Cannot Afford Sexual Egalitarianism)

BOOK REVIEW of "Smart and SeXy: The Evolutionary Origins and Biological Underpinnings of Cognitive Differences between the Sexes".  London: Arktos Media, Ltd., 2016

Roderick Kaine, who has previously written for the neo-reactionary movement under the name Atavisionary, is an American trained as a biochemist. His first book, now available from Arktos, is both a genetically based explanation of cognitive differences between the sexes, and a demonstration that the economic and demographic costs of sexual egalitarianism will bring about the destruction of Western Civilization if that ideology is not abandoned.

There are several well-established differences in cognitive functioning between men and women. First, adult men appear to have a three to five point advantage over women in average IQ. Second, and more important, there is a much wider range of variation in male intelligence, with more men at the highest and lowest levels, and with women tending to bunch in the middle. Third, women tend toward greater verbal ability, while men have greater mathematical ability and much greater visuospatial ability.

One consequence of these differences is that men greatly outnumber women among high achievers in engineering and the hard sciences, a circumstance which, in the author’s words, “engenders astonishing levels of envy among some women.” Elaborate but unconvincing theories revolving around discrimination and “stereotype threat” have been elaborated to account for these differences and justify preferential treatment of women in these fields.

Yet these differences in cognitive ability can easily be explained by studying the human brain. Male brains on the whole are 8 to 10 percent larger than female brains, and controlling for body size differences does not eliminate the difference. The correlation coefficient between brain size and IQ is about 0.35 or 0.4 when the most accurate measuring techniques are used. One area, the inferior parietal lobe, is 25 percent larger in males. The male brain also has about 15 to 16 percent more neurons than the female.

As a proportion of the brain, men have significantly more white matter than women and women have more grey matter than men. Unadjusted for overall volume differences, however, men have about the same amount of grey matter as women and the male advantage in white matter is even more profound.

During the fetal stage, testosterone promotes asymmetry between brain hemispheres by delaying the development of the left hemisphere. This allows for the fuller development of the male’s right hemisphere, associated with visuospatial processing. Conversely, lower fetal testosterone in women means that the left hemisphere develops earlier and better, giving them a relative advantage in verbal intelligence. Broca’s area, a region of the left hemisphere involved in language processing, has also been observed to contain more grey matter and enjoy higher blood flow in women than in men. This indicates that language centers contribute more to general intelligence (g) in women than in men.

Much more HERE

An Air Force Pilot's a Christian? After Her! 

The once reliably center-right Economist provided further evidence of its descent into mainstream media territory (i.e., solidly leftist) with a recent article echoing anti-religion zealot Mikey Weinstein. Weinstein’s feathers were ruffled (again) because a decorated U.S. Air Force pilot told the base newspaper, “The overarching thing that defines all my life is my relationship with God. … The reason and purpose behind everything I do is to glorify God and make His Name known.”

The Economist seconds Weinstein’s claim that this statement constitutes a “gross violation” of Air Force policy against statements that could “reasonably be construed to be officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief.” Weinstein goes on to argue, and the article’s author concurs, that the officer’s statement is evidence that the Air Force is being subverted by religious zealots and doesn’t know what its actual mission is.

A profile in Ebony magazine says Christina Hopper, now a major, “is the first African-American woman to fly a fighter jet in a combat mission during a major war. She is the recipient of the Air Medal for her courage and bravery during the destruction of a Republican Guard supply line in treacherous flying conditions during Operation Iraqi Freedom.” But by all means, Mickey, complain about her faith.

More recently, Weinstein harangued the Air Force for not being more vocal about the fact that the newly appointed commandant of cadets at the Air Force Academy is a proud, same-sex-married lesbian. He also filed an inspector general complaint against a blog allegedly written by another active duty Air Force officer that raises a seemingly valid question regarding the prospective commandant’s integrity. Weinstein didn’t specify how gender disorientation pathology does contribute to the Air Force’s mission, but he argues that the blog’s author should be prosecuted for violation of a number of Uniform Code of Military Justice articles. He’s unsurprisingly silent about the prospective commandant’s violation of Article 83 (Fraudulent Enlistment).

The Air Force needs to firmly push back against Weinstein’s bullying once and for all. Past concessions have only emboldened Weinstein and his misnamed Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Air Force leadership should first acknowledge the obvious distinction between actively proselytizing and making a simple statement about what’s important to the speaker. We should give Airmen a little credit and trust that they’re smart enough not to “reasonably construe” that such a statement amounts to “official endorsement” and an expectation that the Airmen adopt the speaker’s religion or face punitive consequences. They should also strongly rebut MRFF’s ridiculous charge that religion hinders the service’s ability to perform its mission. Given that religion, character and morality are all intertwined, absence of religion/morality/character arguably poses a much greater threat to the Air Force — and nation — than a decorated officer’s acknowledgement of what she finds important. After all, isn’t the Air Force supposed to “Aim High”?


We must stop pandering to risky food fads

Beneath the obsessions for gluten-free and dairy-free diets there is growing harm caused to health by excessive hygiene

I suggest you finish your breakfast before reading this column.

When the National Health Service announced last month that it would no longer prescribe gluten-free food, it surprised me that it had been doing so in the first place. Whether you have genuine gluten intolerance — such as those with coeliac disease — or are merely following the fad, why should the taxpayer subsidise your diet, when the shops are groaning with gluten-free products? As I shall explain, perhaps the NHS should prescribe worms instead.

Where nutrition is concerned, the line between medical disorder and dietary preference has blurred. There are genuine medical issues relating to food, but they are hidden under a heap of fads. The recent news that milk consumption is dramatically down among young people seems to be because of a large amount of fashion with a small amount of disease.

It is the medical issue that concerns me here, but before I get to that, a word about fads. Lucrative obsessions among the wealthy with “clean” food, raw food, “detox” diets and “superfood” are pseudoscience, shamelessly exploiting gullible people and worsening the epidemic of eating disorders. Much of anorexia starts with “orthorexia”, or fussy eating, driven by irresponsible advice from celebrities who should know better. Nutrition education should be a priority, and public heath authorities need to get over their monomania about the sugar industry and start thinking about the damage being done by food fads.

At the heart of the problem is a misunderstanding of the concept of dose. Any kind of food is bad for you in excess, but that does not mean it is bad for you in small doses. Likewise, if something is harmful when missing from the diet, it does not mean it is good for you when supplied in overabundance. Vitamin C is vital for people with scurvy, but of zero benefit for people who are getting enough vegetables and fruit in their diet.

However, with that off my chest, there is nonetheless a growing food and health problem. Beneath the nonsense fads, beneath the worship of kale and goji berries and the absurd detox mythology, there clearly is increasing food intolerance among a smaller number of people. It urgently needs attention, because otherwise we might find in a few decades that more and more lives are ruined by allergies and illnesses.

This is a global issue. The menu in the restaurant in Guatemala City where I dined on Friday was sprinkled with symbols: gluten-free, dairy-free or peanut-free. These are real dangers for some people, who must avoid wheat, milk and nuts, three of mankind’s oldest staple foods. In a world where almost everything has been getting better, allergies have got steadily worse. Why?

I reckon the cause is now pretty clear: a lack of worms. The allergic reaction to these foods is caused by immunoglobulin E, a component of the immune system whose day job in the past was to combat parasitic worms. A recent study by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found that key proteins from 31 species of parasites are very similar to allergenic proteins. A protein in birch pollen that triggers hay fever is very similar to a protein found in parasitic worms that causes the infection schistosomiasis, for example.

It’s not that the immune system is “bored” now we have got rid of worms. The theory is more persuasive than that: worms have the capacity to damp down inflammatory immune reactions in their hosts, the better to survive. So human immune systems evolved to “expect” suppression by parasites; without it they overreact. To put it another way, we outsourced part of the regulation of our immune system to parasites.

Milk intolerance may be different because in most parts of the world it is caused by a sugar, lactose, whose indigestibility is a genetic trait. The gene for lactase, the enzyme that tackles lactose, is switched off in mammals when they are weaned. Only in Europe and parts of Africa, where people began milking cows a few thousand years ago, did mutations spread that kept the gene for digesting lactose switched on during adulthood.

But much milk intolerance in westerners is probably not lactose intolerance, but an allergic reaction to a protein called beta casein A1. Hence the growing popularity of “A2 milk”, a product pioneered in New Zealand from cows that don’t make A1. So milk intolerance, too, may be about proteins and may also be related to wormlessness.

As recounted in a fascinating book, An Epidemic of Absence, by Moises Velasquez-Manoff, the correlation between the disappearance of worms and the appearance of asthma, allergies, type 1 diabetes and dietary intolerances is remarkably precise in time and place. In and around the Ethiopian town of Jimma asthma suddenly became common in the 1990s only in the places and at the time that hookworm was eradicated. No other factor — air pollution, dust mites, pesticides, viral epidemics — could explain the change. In Karelia, a region divided between Finland and Russia, very similar people had far more coeliac disease and allergies on the Finnish side, where sanitation was much better and parasites fewer.

Moreover, experiments have now been done to give allergic people hookworms or whipworms. Sure enough, their allergic symptoms — from asthma to irritable bowel disease — often clear up fast. A whole industry of “helminth hackers” has emerged in the United States supplying worm eggs through the post for people with intolerances. Be warned that it is not necessarily worth it.

Ideally, we would now work out how the worms regulate the immune system and replicate the effect with safe pharmaceuticals. That should not be beyond the wit of 21st-century science.

It is probably not just worms. The impoverishment of our gut flora — the bacteria in our intestines — in the modern world, as a result of excessive hygiene and antibiotics, looks increasingly likely to be the cause of various other health issues, including obesity and possibly autism, though early experiments on the latter are inconclusive. Open Biome is a “stool bank” that will supply you with faecal transplants from healthy people to enrich your gut garden. It will also pay good money for faecal donations from healthy people. Now there’s a tip you did not expect to read in The Times.

I do hope you enjoy your lunch.


‘Sick and tired’ of hospital’s Islam bias

The new $2.3 billion Royal Adelaide Hospital will open this year with a prayer room for Muslims but without a “chapel” after ­bureaucrats opted for a “spiritual care” area to cater for “multiple faiths”.

The move has angered Australian Conservatives senator Cory Bernardi, who says Aus­tralians are “sick and tired” of ­accommodating a minority religion while undermining Christian traditions and heritage.

The hospital’s new “spiritual care” room is a departure from other major hospitals in the state, including the Queen Elizabeth and Flinders Medical Centre, which have chapels.

A chapel and a separate prayer space for Muslims exist at the current Royal Adelaide Hospital, while the Women’s and Children’s Hospital has recently opened a “sacred space” for all ­religions.

South Australian Health Minister Jack Snelling, a key figure in Labor’s Catholic right faction, told The Australian yes­terday in a brief statement that arrangements for the chapel at the new hospital “are the same as they are at the current RAH (Royal Adelaide Hospital)’’.

However, the new hospital is yet to be opened and SA Health has spruiked its still unveiled ­religious areas as “a dedicated space for private, individual or group prayer, meditation and quiet reflection” on level three of the vast building. Both spaces — the prayer room and the spiritual care area — are understood to be devoid of religious symbols.

The prayer room has separate washing facilities for men and women, and compass points to show the direction of Mecca.

Senator Bernardi, a South Australian, said the new hospital’s arrangement was “everything that’s wrong” with the approach to integrate other cultural groups, and the prayer room was “clearly designed for Islam”.

Separate washing areas were “all the symbolism I need that this is tailor-made to accommodate to a tiny minority’’, he said yesterday. “We’re bending over to ­appease a minority for fear of causing offence while undermining our tradition and heritage.

“In a hospital environment, catering to all faiths is important, but what’s happened here is all faiths are supposed to share the space except for those of Islam, who once again want to exclude themselves and be granted ­special status.

“If you’re going to give priority to a particular faith, it should be to the Christian faith because that’s the overwhelmingly dominant ethos and part of our cultural ethos.”

The 2011 census showed that 61.1 per cent of Australians identified as Christian and 2.2 per cent as Muslim, with the Christian majority higher in South ­Australia.

The Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth has a multi-faith prayer room and a dedicated room for the Muslim community. Similar facilities are planned for the delayed new $1.2bn Perth Children’s Hospital, not expected to open until later this year.

Perth church leaders lobbied the then Barnett Liberal government in 2015 for a Christian chapel to be built at the Perth Children’s Hospital. Now retired Anglican Archbishop Roger Herft called the Perth hospital’s multi-faith centre “an empty shell for people who are grasping for hope”.

Muslims Australia president Kayser Trad said Senator Bernardi’s concerns were “further evidence of (his) paranoia and narrow-minded bigotry”. He said decisions about prayer spaces related to the needs of the hospital’s demographic, with Muslims requiring wash facilities for a variety of limbs, including feet.

“Many non-Muslims find using a wash basin to wash the feet objectionable,’’ Mr Trad said.

Anglican Diocese of Adelaide administrator Bishop Tim Harris said he understood the new hospital provided areas that would be “genuinely multi-faith’’.

“While the Christian presence is still significant, and numerically still the majority, we recognise we are no longer living in times of the church receiving privileged status in public space, nor do we seek such privileged or priority treatment in publicly funded facilities.’’

The hospital was supposed to open in April last year before a legal dispute between government and builders delayed it; now it is a year overdue and $640 million over budget.



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


11 April, 2017

Homosexuality: The Seventh Circuit Stretch
If Congress won’t rewrite the law, liberals will find a court who will! That’s been the M.O. of the Left for decades: packing the bench with wannabe legislators who’ll impose the agendas they could never pass democratically. It worked on school prayer, abortion, and marriage, as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) bragged last year. Now, the Left is using the same playbook on the gender debate — knowing full well that it’s the only way it can force its vision on an unwilling America. Fortunately, there are some judges who agree with us that if the Left wants to change the definition of discrimination, it’s asking the wrong branch of government. Unfortunately, those judges aren’t in the majority on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. In a mind-boggling decision Tuesday, the judges not only stole Congress’s job — they admitted they were doing it!

For years, liberals have tried to pass legislation making “sexual orientation” a protected category under the Civil Rights Act — first with ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) and then with the “Equality Act.” The House and Senate rejected them every time. They recognized, as we do, that sexual orientation wasn’t on the minds of legislators 53 years ago when it was trying to weed out prejudice — and more importantly, it wasn’t in the text of the law that passed! No bother, liberals said. We’ll just rewrite the policy through our activist courts.

And Tuesday, the 7th Circuit was more than willing to comply. “For many years,” Chief Judge Diane Wood admitted, “the courts of appeals of this country understood the prohibition against sex discrimination to exclude discrimination on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation.” So by her own admission, there’s absolutely no justification for rewriting the law. Still, she goes on, it’s the court’s responsibility to take a “fresh look” at its position. And in doing so, she writes, “we conclude today that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.”

The decision, an 8-3 bombshell, was astounding because it bucked not just the 7th Circuit’s precedent but every circuit’s precedent. Judge Diane Sykes was just as shocked as we are. “Any case heard by the full court is important,” she wrote in her dissent, “This one is momentous. All the more reason to pay careful attention to the limits on the court’s role… We are not authorized to infuse the text with a new or unconventional meaning or to update it to respond to changed social, economic, or political conditions.” In a powerful rebuke, she warns her colleagues that they’ve crossed into dangerous new territory.

Our role is to… [interpret] the statutory language as a reasonable person would have understood it at the time of enactment. When we assume the power to alter the original public meaning of a statute through the process of interpretation, we assume a power that is not ours. The Constitution assigns the power to make and amend statutory law to the elected representatives of the people. However welcome today’s decision might be as a policy matter, it comes at a great cost to representative self-government.
Translation: If you want to be a legislator, run for office! Stop “smuggling in” your own agenda, Sykes writes, “under cover of an aggressive reading of loosely related Supreme Court precedents.” Legislative change, she recognizes, “is arduous and can be slow to come. But we’re not authorized to amend Title VII by interpretation.” Despite what the Left would have you believe, impatience with Congress is no reason for throwing the separation of powers overboard! A panel of the 11th Circuit Court argued the same point in a similar case three weeks ago. Led by Judge William Pryor, it came to the opposite conclusion on the Civil Rights Act, upholding it the way it was written. Unlike Judge Wood, it understand that if liberals want to make the workplace an incubator of their radical agenda, they’ll have to persuade America the old fashioned way: democratically!

Of course, the backdrop for both decisions is the ongoing debate over Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch. Is it any wonder the knives are coming out for the president’s nominee? The 49-year-old has been adamant about respecting the court’s limited role. Trust me, that’s not what the Left wants to hear. It’s in the market for an undercover legislator. And if this case has illustrated anything, FRC’s Peter Sprigg points out, it’s “how important it is to appoint judges who understand their limited role in our constitutional system, who will exercise judicial restraint, and who will interpret both the Constitution and federal statutes in accordance with their original meaning.”


Transgender bathroom policy still hurting Target

IF THE experience of US retailer Target is anything to go by, when it comes to controversial political issues, businesses should adopt a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Last year, the company sparked a massive boycott after publishing a seemingly innocuous blog post welcoming transgender shoppers to use bathrooms and fitting rooms corresponding with their “gender identities”.

Nearly a year later, and Target is still feeling the effects of the backlash.

The irony for Target is that many retailers and businesses have similar policies — they just don’t advertise them publicly. “Transgender-inclusive policies are not a safety risk,” the National Center for Transgender Equality writes. “If they were, we would know by now, as transgender people have been using public bathrooms and locker rooms for decades.”

It came amid a heated debate over a move by the state of North Carolina to introduce legislation requiring people to use bathrooms corresponding with the sex on their birth certificates, one of a number of so-called “bathroom bills” fuelling debates about equal rights and privacy.

“Recent debate around proposed laws in several states has reignited a national conversation around inclusivity,” the blog post on April 19 read. “So earlier this week, we reiterated with our team members where Target stands and how our beliefs are brought to life in how we serve our guests.

“Inclusivity is a core belief at Target. It’s something we celebrate. We stand for equality and equity, and strive to make our guests and team members feel accepted, respected and welcomed in our stores and workplaces every day.

“We believe that everyone — every team member, every guest, and every community — deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally. Consistent with this belief, Target supports the federal Equality Act, which provides protections to LGBT individuals, and opposes action that enables discrimination.

“In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the rest room or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.

“We regularly assess issues and consider many factors such as impact to our business, guests and team members. Given the specific questions these legislative proposals raised about how we manage our fitting rooms and rest rooms, we felt it was important to state our position. Everyone deserves to feel like they belong. And you’ll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, the post was sparked after a number of staff requested their bosses to clarify the company’s stance. After an internal memo to managers reiterated the policy, some in the company sent an email to executives informing them of a plan to announce it publicly.

Target’s chief executive, Brian Cornell, reportedly did not receive that email, and so never approved the blog post — which, within hours, prompted a customer backlash and condemnation from Christian groups.

A petition to boycott the retailer, launched by the American Family Association, has attracted more than one million signatures. Foot traffic to a number of stores, particularly in the conservative southern states, declined considerably.

“Target didn’t adequately assess the risk, and the ensuing backlash [AFA boycott] was self-inflicted,” Mr Cornell told staff, according to the Journal.

While Target has said on a number of occasions the boycott had “no material impact on the business”, one analyst said it “seemed to matter”. In February, the company reported falling sales for three quarters in a row.

“Since the boycott started, Target’s stock has lost 35 per cent of its value, and [it has] shuttered plans for major expansion projects,” said AFA senior vice president Buddy Smith.

“Together we are making an unprecedented financial impact on a corporation whose policy is to allow men to use women’s rest rooms and dressing rooms. Target’s decision is unacceptable for families, and their dangerous and misguided policy continues to put women and children in harm’s way.”

While an investigation by CBS found no evidence of a predator ever posing as a transgender person committing a bathroom assault, the Family Research Council compiled a list of incidents in which “men violated the privacy of women in bathrooms, locker rooms, and other private spaces”.

“It is important to note that the concern is not that transgender individuals are more likely to be sexual predators, but rather that sexual predators could exploit such laws by posing as transgender in order to gain access to women and girls,” the FRC wrote.

“Beyond this, when companies such as Target implement any-sex bathroom/dressing room policies, it encourages criminals to take advantage of these policies to commit crimes.”


In ‘Scary’ Episode, This Employer Is Hoisted in Effigy by Anti-Trump Agitators

Anthony J. Saliba is no shrinking violet. As a prominent Chicago financier as well as a trustee of the nation’s leading conservative think tank, he has seen his share of rough-and-tumble battles.

But Tony Saliba hadn’t ever seen a crude effigy of himself paraded around, one that represented him a puppeteer manipulating the president of the United States. Until recently at a landmark of Chicago’s financial district, anyway.

That’s when 100 to 200 protesters, depending on who is counting, descended on the Bank of America Building on South LaSalle Street, in effect looking for Saliba. His business offices are on an upper floor of the 45-floor structure.

“I was, like, wow,” Saliba says in a phone interview with The Daily Signal.

The demonstrators marched and chanted, blocked the street and main entrance, and carried signs with messages directed at President Donald Trump, Saliba himself, and The Heritage Foundation, the Washington-based think tank where the entrepreneur has served on the Board of Trustees since 2012.

One sign read: “Tony Saliba: Put people over profit.”

“They filled the revolving doors so nobody could come or go,” Saliba says, who learned about the protest afterward.

Chicago police said they arrested eight men and women, ages 26 to 78, and charged them with criminal trespass for blocking the doors to the building.

Since Trump’s inauguration, the Windy City has been the stage for some sizable protests, including a series of “Resist Trump Tuesdays” during the new administration’s first 100 days.

The reason for the self-described resistance March 21: Trump’s proposed budget cuts across most of the government, many of them recommended by Heritage policy experts as part of the think tank’s “Blueprint for Balance.”

In particular, the protesters said they were angry about recommended cuts in spending at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Some of their signs and slogans singled out HUD Secretary Ben Carson.

Heritage analysts, among others, have identified specific HUD programs as ineffective and wasteful.

As it turned out, Saliba didn’t go to his office that day. He was at home, fighting a cold, and only learned about the disruption a day later when family members, co-workers, and friends began emailing him with links to photos and stories posted online.

“They used my name and address and Heritage board affiliation,” he says of the protesters in the interview with The Daily Signal, which is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.

Trading Pioneer and Leader

Saliba, 61, admits to being amused at first—until he showed the photos and stories several days later to his wife, Moira, and she “freaked out.”

It was a bit intimidating, he admits in retrospect, seeing a blown-up photo of his smiling face mounted atop an effigy that cradled a hand puppet with Trump’s face on it.

“It was just scary that my picture was bigger than life on a big doll they were carrying around,” Saliba says of the effigy. “I was holding a puppet of Trump’s head on a stick, like I was a puppet master.”

The protesters also pasted fake U.S. currency to the images of Saliba and Trump.

Saliba, considered a pioneer and leader in the Chicago derivatives market, was the only options trader to be profiled in the best-selling 1989 book “Market Wizards.” He is now an author himself.

Saliba credits police for handling the situation calmly, and for preventing protesters from reaching the elevators in the Bank of America Building.

What seems to bug Saliba is the personal attack by Trump opponents who probably have no idea that his own dozen or so business ventures have provided jobs for about 500 residents of Chicago since 1981.

“They don’t even get the good things I do,” he says. “That’s the narrow-mindedness, and they look at business only as profit.”

Reflecting on the highly charged anti-Trump rhetoric and disruptions continuing across the nation, Saliba says he tends to agree with an assessment shared with him by Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America, the think tank’s lobbying affiliate.

“Settle in and consider this disruptive protesting is going to be the baseline for the bulk of the next year or so,” Saliba says. “They may try to keep these things going until the midterms.”

“They’re trying to disrupt [the Trump administration] and continue to energize their base. You gotta give them credit, they seem to be pretty organized.”

DeMint, who attracted heat on the national stage as a conservative congressman and senator from South Carolina, says he has seen this sort of thing many times before.

“When liberals lose political arguments, they resort to shameless intimidation tactics,” DeMint told The Daily Signal in an email, adding:


We rush to condemn Islamophobia. What about anti-Christian attacks?

Miranda Devine writes from Australia:

WHILE we constantly are lectured about Islamophobic violence, despite little evidence of its existence, there is official silence about its flip side: religiously motivated attacks on Christians.

One Greek community leader, Rev George Capsis, has gone so far as to warn Christians not to wear overt religious symbols when they are travelling though Muslim enclaves of southwestern Sydney.

But last Tuesday afternoon, 30-year-old Greek Orthodox Christian, Mike, discovered too late the risks of wearing a large cross outside his clothing while travelling on the train from Campsie to Bankstown with his girlfriend.

He says he was minding his own business talking on his mobile phone, when four young men of Middle Eastern appearance allegedly violently ripped the crucifix off his neck, and stomped on it while swearing “F*** Jesus” and referring to “Allah”.

He says they punched him and kicked him in his face, back and shoulders during the attack which began about 3pm, just after the train left Belmore station.

When his girlfriend tried to defend him, two Arabic-speaking women also allegedly hit and kicked her.

The crucifix, which his mother had given him, was bent, and the silver chain broken in two places.

“I was born in Australia of Greek heritage,” says Mike. “I’ve always worn my cross. For him to rip it off and step on it has to be a religious crime... It’s not on to feel unsafe in your own country.”

He says the men also destroyed his Ray-Ban sunglasses.

Mike has a doctor’s report cataloguing his injuries, which include abrasions and bruises on his face, left shoulder, and upper and lower back.

He claims that five uniformed railway “Transport Officers” watched the attack and did nothing to help him, although police were waiting for the train when it reached Bankstown station.

Two police officers took the names of three alleged assailants and a statement from Mike, photographed his injuries, told him they would review CCTV footage from the train and that he should expect a letter in a month, which may require his attendance at court.

After the assault, Mike was so shaken up that he contacted Baptist minister Rev Capsis, a pillar of the local Greek community, and former deputy mayor of Sutherland Shire Council.

Capsis claims Mike is the fourth Christian who has complained to him of a religiously-motivated attack in the past six months.

“This is not an isolated incident. There are gangs of these young fellows of Muslim background who have been harassing people they identify as Christian… You don’t hear about it because no one’s reporting it.”

The other three attacks Capsis says have occurred around public transport in southwest Sydney: “It’s like their territory; they don’t want Christians or other types of infidels there…

“People like Greek Orthodox carry a big cross. I tell them to be practical and if they’re in those areas and wearing a big cross and a group of young guys comes, hide it in your shirt. Why provoke it?

“If this keeps up, someone will be hurt. It’s got to be nipped in the bud.”

After our media inquiries, police contacted Mike and reinterviewed him yesterday.

A spokeswoman confirmed that detectives from Bankstown Local Area Command are investigating “reports of alleged religiously-motivated abuse on a Sydney train this week”.

“The incident has prompted police to remind the community that any bias-motivated crime will not be tolerated.”

Sydney Trains yesterday defended the inaction of its Transport Officers, with a spokesman saying they are not authorised to intervene in assaults and their primary responsibilities are customer service and fare evasion.

If an incident takes place, such as the attack on Mike, they are trained to stand back in a “safe space” to observe, and contact police, if necessary.

He confirmed that Transport Officers conducting operations on a train between Campsie and Bankstown stations on April 4 “requested Police assistance in response to a physical altercation between two groups of people”.

Apart from the fact that this description of an unprovoked attack of six people against two is a curious downplaying of its seriousness, why are ticket inspections deemed more important than passenger safety? Surely, if taxpayers fund dedicated Transport Officers to ride the trains all day, they should be authorised to do more than just observe crimes and call police. Anyone can do that.

In any case, Mike says he and his girlfriend are now too scared to catch the train.

He doesn’t want his surname published because he fears for his safety, but has decided to speak out because he wants the attack to be taken seriously.

“It’s a multicultural society. I don’t attack anyone’s beliefs but if they attack me for no reason, justice has to be served.”

There have been isolated reports of anti-Christian abuse in recent years, such as churchgoers in Sydney’s west copping death threats from men driving past in a car bearing the Islamic State flag.

Christians also increasingly are fair game for intimidation by the militant LGBTI lobby, but for the most part, Christophobia is downplayed.

When the Australian Christian Lobby was car-bombed late last year, for instance, ACT police within hours made the extraordinary declaration that the attack was not religiously, ideologically or politically motivated.

And, while the Executive Council of Australian Jewry has reported a 10 per cent increase in anti-Semitic threats or acts of violence last year alone, the only religious bigotry we hear about is Islamophobia.

Police take it so seriously that during the Lindt cafe siege, they launched Operation Hammerhead to combat “bias crime” against Muslims, which didn’t occur. While the lives of the hostages were still at risk, hashtag activists sprang to the defence of theoretical victims of Islamophobia with the “I’ll ride with you” hashtag.

But there are no hashtags for Christians like Mike when they ride on Sydney trains.



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


10 April, 2017

Truck attack causes a rethink in Sweden

One brutal attack by a man who drove a stolen truck into shoppers in Stockholm has brought Sweden's open-door immigration policies under increased scrutiny - and raised the question if Swedish society, considered democratic and egalitarian, has failed to integrate its newcomers.

The suspect in Friday's attack, a 39-year-old native of Uzbekistan who has been arrested by police, had been on authorities' radar previously but they dismissed him as a "marginal character." It was unclear whether he was also a Swedish citizen or resident or even how long he'd been in the country.

The attack killed four people and wounded 15. In response, hundreds gathered on Saturday at the site of the crash in the Swedish capital, building a heartbreaking wall of flowers on the aluminium fence put up to keep them away from the site's broken glass and twisted metal. Some hugged police officers nearby.

Sweden has long been known for its open-door policy toward migrants and refugees. But after the Scandinavian country of 10 million took in a record 163,000 refugees in 2015 - the highest per-capita rate in Europe - Prime Minister Stefan Lofven conceded it could no longer cope with the influx.

At a press conference in late 2015, deputy prime minister of the small Greens Party - a junior government partner - Asa Romson, broke into tears as she announced measures to deter asylum-seekers in a reversal of Sweden's welcoming policy toward people fleeing war and persecution. She described it as "a terrible decision", admitting the proposals would make life even more precarious for refugees.

On Saturday, Lofven laid flowers at the truck crash site, declaring Monday a national day of mourning, with a minute of silence at noon. He urged citizens to "get through this" and strolled through the streets of the capital to chat with them.

No one has claimed responsibility for Friday's attack but Sweden's police chief said authorities were confident they had detained the man who carried it out.

The prime minister made a point of walking around Stockholm saying the aim of terrorism is to undermine democracy.

"But such a goal will never be achieved in Sweden," Lofven said.


A logical result of Leftist reality denial

White woman gets kudos for pretending to be black

There is a guy in California who identifies as a tree. I used to see him getting around Santa Monica, wearing brown clothes with twigs in his hair, or else standing completely still, hoping birds would land on him. I was transfixed. The kids were like: meh. If he wants to be a tree, let him be a tree. But is he actually a tree? No.

Which brings me to Rachel Dolezal. You’ll remember Rachel, and if you don’t, go Google her, and you will find a woman with braids piled on her head, who looks as if she spent way too long on the tanning bed.

Rachel’s photographs mostly show her leading Black Lives Matter protests, or she’ll be speaking about racism in the police force, or else she’ll be giving interviews about how she identifies as black.

But Dolezal isn’t black. She has white parents. A genealogist who studied her family tree found white ancestors going back four centuries. She says this doesn’t matter because “how I feel is more important than how I was born”. She feels, on the inside, like a black person, and she has tried to make herself look more like a black person by getting cornrows and self-tanning her skin.

And, amazingly, some people are taking her seriously.

Rachel has been in the news this week because she has published a memoir, In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World. She has appeared on all the main TV talk show in the US. She has been profiled by The New York Times and The Guardian, where she has expanded her argument about how she identifies as being black.

It’s all been very respectful but at some point, surely, somebody has to ask the question: why are we indulging this nonsense?

Here are the facts: Rachel Dolezal is not black.

For about 10 years, from 2007 onward, she pretended to be black and then she got caught — and all credit to journo Jeff Humphrey, who confronted her in the street, on tape, so she couldn’t get away with it any more — and now she’s spinning like a white-tail spider in her own web of deceit.

Rachel was born and raised in a bog-standard, white suburban American home, with Christian parents who say she’s always had a problem with the truth. Besides Rachel, they adopted four black kids, and at some point Rachel came into contact with an African-American woman in her neighbourhood who specialised in braiding black hair.

Rachel got cornrows and she noticed that people started treating her differently. No longer was she a run-of-the-mill, freckle-face with dirty blonde hair. Suddenly she was exotic. And she liked it. And so she kept on pretending.

As a black activist, Rachel had purpose and meaning in her life that she couldn’t find as a boring white person. She had status in the black community, and the respect of black and white peers.

She encouraged the idea that she was part of a larger struggle for human rights in her own life, and in the lives of others in her community. She presented herself as a civil rights leader, taking up a position alongside the great black activists — poets, lawyers, and preachers — who came before her. It made her feel proud.

But she isn’t. She is a fraud. And deep in her heart she knows she’s a fraud. How else to explain the lengths to which she went to trick people, by studiously applying tanner to make her skin darker and braiding her hair.

Rachel is trying to use her book to explain that away — she made herself up in ways that made her feel beautiful, apparently — but that’s blackface, pure and simple. The sloppiness of her essential argument needs to be called out, too. Rachel says there’s no such thing as race since we all share the same ancestry.

But if that is true, why is she black? It either matters or it does not. If it doesn’t, then she’s not any particular race. She’s just Rachel, the human, which would be fine, but that’s not what she’s saying. She’s saying she’s black.

Also, if race is a construct, then the ability to identify as one race or another must go both ways. But it very clearly doesn’t. Ask yourself this question: could Barack Obama ever be white?

He has a white mother and a black father. He says he’s black, but let’s pretend for now that he has decided to identify as white. Would anyone accept that?

No, they would not. Obama could never be accepted as white, and neither could Muhammad Ali, nor Oprah Winfrey. And if there is no way for Obama — who actually has a white mother — to become white, then there is absolutely no way for Rachel, with her English and German ancestors, to become black.

Which brings us to the matter of lived experience: Rachel says she’s black but at any point she could go back to being white. That is not a privilege extended to those people on the other side of the black-white divide.

And for a very long time that mattered because the back of the bus was for black people. Votes were for white people. Race had a real impact on people’s lives.

Discrimination on the basis of race is now illegal in the US and in Australia but black leaders in both nations will leave you in no doubt that racism continues to shape their lives.

If nothing about race is real — if everyone is, in fact, the same — then there is no racism. Whole arguments, indeed, whole industries, collapse. In which case, Rachel ­really has belled the cat.

And now let’s take Rachel’s argument one incendiary step further: what would happen if a wholly white Australian announced they were Aboriginal? If they started tanning their skin and frizzing their hair and wearing a kangaroo skin around their shoulders?

The outrage would be tremendous. What if they decided to use their fake claim to Aboriginality to claim specific benefits, Aboriginal government jobs or to set up indigenous corporations, securing grants and donations? This has, in fact, happened, not once but several times and retribution, in term of stripping the fraudsters of their benefits, has been swift.

The US is different. Freedom of speech and all that. Rachel Dolezal is apparently quite within her rights to identify as a black, but the beauty of that is that we in turn have the right to say what we see when Rachel’s frizzed-up head comes zooming into view.

Which is: you’re a fraud, Rachel. An offensive fraud, and a white one, to boot.


Congressman Provides 'Perfect Example of Why Public Has Lost Confidence in the National Media'

“This is a perfect example of why the public has lost confidence in the national media,” Rep. Arrington said in a statement condemning the Washington Post’s “fake news” headline.

“GOP Lawmaker: The Bible says the unemployed ‘shall not eat,’” the Post declared in a headline last Friday in an article misrepresenting Arrington’s comment – without even quoting him in the piece. Arrington had actually quoted a Bible passage encouraging able-bodied people to be productive: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”

In an appearance on “Fox & Friends” Thursday, Rep. Arrington expressed shock that a paper “as reputable as The Washington Post” would be so intellectually dishonest:

“It was ridiculous. It was such a blatant mischaracterization of what I said. Anybody that would watch that video or read my remarks would know that that was a misrepresentation.

“I couldn’t believe that a news organization as reputable as the Washington Post would allow such reckless and irresponsible journalism.”

Rep. Arrington then provided the context of the remarks The Washington Post had portrayed as cold and heartless:

“I wanted to introduce what I think is a more complete view of God’s character and that is the Biblical principle of personal responsibility – that God expects those who are able to be productive to not be idle.”

Arrington’s office has not heard back from The Washington Post, despite two statements issued by the congressman condemning the newspaper’s dishonesty:

“I am disappointed in the Washington Post for so blatantly misrepresenting my comments. Thank you to The Federalist, and all of the other reporters who are accurately reporting my statements.

“Though the Bible calls us on us to be compassionate, it also instructs us to encourage personal responsibility and be good stewards of God's grace.”

Second Statement:

“This is a perfect example of why the public has lost confidence in the national media. Thanks to pressure by other news outlets, the Washington Post has changed their headline as well as the content of their story.

“All of this, over a comment about the Biblical principle of balancing compassion with personal responsibility. Contrary to what the Washington Post reporter says, I believe the majority of citizens in this country support traditional American values.”

The Washington Post has, subsequently, revised the story's headline and added a quote from Rep. Arrington.


Sexist Defence Force chief promotes gender diversity as crucial to Australia's military capability

Politically correct rubbish.  Women should be free to try for any job but it is just ideology to say that they must be equally represented in all jobs.  How about treating people just as individuals, regardless of what they have between their legs?  Neither sex discrimination nor race discrimination has any place in the official policies of a just society

A gathering of women who work in defence and national security has been told their participation in the traditionally male-dominated sector is crucial to Australia's military capability.

Addressing the inaugural Women and National Security Conference in Canberra today, Defence chief, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, stressed the importance of a diverse workforce for the ADF.

"A diverse workforce is all about capability. The greater our diversity, the greater the range of ideas and insights to challenge the accepted norm, assess the risks, see them from a different perspective, and develop creative solutions," he said.

"I've seen this on operations but I also see it every day in my own office.  "Right now 57 per cent of my personal staff are women. This is no mistake. In fact, I hand choose everyone for that office.  "They are the first to tell me how it really is in their candour on behalf of their peers and the networks that they represent.

"Combined with the mix of unique insights, [it] helps me see issues from a different point of view, and in my experiences, our differences make a stronger team."

Asked when Australia might have its first female chief of Army, Navy or Air Force, the Defence chief declined to nominate a date, but singled out the Royal Australian Navy for praise in allowing women to rise to leadership positions.

"The area that is leading most is Navy. We have some very talented senior Navy females who have commanded ships, they've commanded on operations," he said.

"So without making a prediction about where this might go, you can get an idea of where I'm thinking.

"The other two services are behind in that area but we're growing women with the appropriate experience through those roles and you'll see that come out.

"But a generational change takes a generation and so if you rush it you sometimes force people into a point of failure, not because they're not capable of doing but they just don't have the experience.

"So you've got to watch that as you're looking to progress anyone through the organisation."

Air Chief Marshal Binskin, who once served as a fighter pilot, said he was surprised and concerned he still had not seen an Australian woman in that role.

"Air Force have done a good assessment of what's there and what might need to change culturally, as well as the professional development in looking to develop females in the fighter pilot community.  "I'm confident we'll start to see women flow through that stream soon."



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


9 April, 2017

How Senate Dems Went Anti-Israel

On March 23, 2017, Senators had a simple choice to make. On one side was J Street; an anti-Israel pressure group that had hosted BDS activists and opposed Israel's right to defend itself. On the other was Ambassador David Friedman, the first pro-Israel nominee in decades.

And the choice was made.

Every Democrat chose to stand with J Street with only two exceptions; Senator Robert Menendez, the last pro-national defense Democrat, and Senator Manchin.

There could hardly be a better demonstration of the descent into the fever swamps of anti-Israel politics then their decision to stand with an anti-Israel hate group whose Muslim-led student arm is waging war on campuses against the Zionist "occupation".

Senator Schatz, who weaseled his way into his office when the Governor of Hawaii decided to appoint his minion to the job, was first in line. Schatz sniveled that Republicans had come out against Obama's Iran deal which provided billions to terrorists. Schatz spent 5 minutes lying like a rug. Then he accused Ambassador Friedman of not being "objective" about whether Islamic terrorists destroy Israel or not.

"I take a back seat to no one in my personal and professional passion for the United States-Israel relationship," he whined. There isn't a seat far back enough on the longest bus in the world.

Schatz is backed by J Street. The Anti-Israel group's PAC actively fundraised for him. It even solicited volunteers for him. J Street PAC was No. 2 in Schatz's top 5 contributors. Brian Schatz sold his hardly used soul for a low six figures. And George Soros probably overpaid for a worthless product.

But Schatz rewarded the anti-Israel group with his undying loyalty. He joined the boycott of Netanyahu's speech and vocally backed the deal that protects Iran's nuclear program and pours billions into its terrorist machine. While Schatz bemoaned Ambassador Friedman's criticism of the anti-Israel group that owned him, he did not utter its name. "J Street", like Rumpelstiltskin or Voldemort, could not be voiced.

Next up was Senator Udall of New Mexico. Politics is the Udall family business. Udall's father and uncle were congressmen. His cousin was a senator. J Street's cash made it Udall's third biggest donor. Udall was the second biggest recipient of J Street checks in the '14 election cycle.

$157,310. That was what Udall got from the anti-Israel lobby. Now it was time for him to dance for J Street's dirty money. And dance, he did.

Udall, who had voted to confirm numerous Obama ambassadors whose only qualifications had been their six figure checks, bemoaned Friedman's lack of "diplomatic experience". But he had voted for a soap opera producer who couldn't name a strategic interest in Hungary as ambassador to Hungary.

The other Senator from J Street sputtered that Jews living in "settlements" on territory claimed by Islamic terrorists were an "obstacle to peace." And then Udall did what Schatz had been too cowardly to do. The puppet named the puppeteer. The slave spoke the name of his master on the Senate floor.

"Most horrific, he said: J-Street supporters . . . are far worse than kapos," Udall blithered.

Above all else a man who criticized Udall's paymasters could not be tolerated. Why not? Because J Street signs the checks. And if J Street's haters are kapos, what does that make him?

But then it was time to send in the clown. Next up in J Street's batting order was the Senator from Saturday Night Live. Senator Franken had received no money from J Street. Not a penny. And he's up for reelection in 2020. Minnesota's second biggest joke on America was left-wing enough for J Street money. He was anti-Israel enough for J Street money. And doggone it, J Street ought to like him.

Schatz and Udall were bought and paid for by J Street. Al Franken was auditioning for cash. It was hard to know which of them was sadder and more despicable. Schatz and Udall were kept men of the anti-Israel lobby. Franken was flagging down Jeremy Ben-Ami's car in a trench coat and offering his services.

Franken had moved from comedy to politics because he was only unintentionally funny. The author of Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them lectured that, "Diplomacy means not resorting to insults and to name-calling when you have a disagreement."

And Ambassador Friedman had insulted the nice men and women whom Franken hoped would write him a nice big check so he could go on being Senator Franken instead of having to play Stuart Smalley on a nostalgia cruise where he would be sharing equal billing with Legionnaire's Disease. "Mr. Friedman," Franken lisped, "called supporters of the American Jewish Organization J Street 'far worse than kapos.'''

Schatz and Udall had been satisfied with noting the grave insult to their paymaster and moving on. But Franken was auditioning and so he went all out singing the praises of J Street.

"J Street is a pro-Israel organization dedicated to the two-state solution," Franken flattered. Insulting J Street members was a "calumny" and should be a "disqualifier". It was "profoundly insensitive". If J Street doesn't send Franken a check after this, its terrorist supporters have hearts like stones.

"Mr. Friedman's offensive remarks don't stop there," Senator Franken huffed. "He even called me a clown and a moron."

There's no doubt that Ambassador Friedman's remarks were deeply offensive to clowns and morons. The clown and moron community deserves an apology for being compared to Senator Franken.

But why did Friedman call Franken a clown and a moron? It was over Franken's attacks on a Trump ad critical of George Soros. Soros helped fund J Street.

After Franken had made his appeal for J Street money, it was back to those senators lucky enough to already be riding the anti-Israel lobby's gravy train.

Senator Leahy (J Street PAC - $44,588) got up to denounce the insult to J Street without actually naming his 3rd biggest donor. "We all want what is best for the American people," he sniveled.

Leahy's definition of the "American people" is a left-wing Hungarian billionaire.

Senator Van Hollen (J Street PAC - $66,506) took a more unique approach by objecting to Friedman's description of our Islamic "allies" as "cowards", "hypocrites" and "freeloaders". It could just as easily have been a description of Van Hollen and his cowardly, hypocritical, freeloading colleagues.

And then it was finally over. Every Democrat, but one, who had spoken against Friedman, was owned by J Street. And every Democrat, but two voted for J Street. And why not? It's good money.

Senator Schumer betrayed his Jewish constituents. He sided with J Street. So did Senator Cardin. So did almost all of the rest. But this was what the Dems had become.

The contentious vote to confirm an ambassador is highly unusual.

Senate Dems had no objection when Obama sold the ambassadorships of the UK, Japan, France, Canada, Italy and Germany to the highest bidder. ($3.5 mil for the UK, $2.5 mil France, $2 mil Japan, $1.7 mil Switzerland, $1.5 mil Belgium, Canada $1 mil and Germany $1.5 mil.)

Obama appointed his campaign finance manager, John Kerry's cousin, married to the heiress of the Jack Daniel's liquor empire, ambassador to the UK. The Senate confirmed him by unanimous consent. The wife of the former CEO of eBay, who kicked in $2 mil, was named Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council. He made a soap opera producer who raised over $500K, the ambassador to Hungary and the producer of Dr. Dolittle 2, who raised millions for him, the ambassador to Denmark.

This grotesque parade of hideous corruption was approved with unanimous consent when in a more honest time everyone involved in this would be sitting under spotlights in an interrogation room.

Senator McCain put up a fight over the soap opera ambassador. McCain asked her, "What are our strategic interests in Hungary?" The Bold and the Beautiful producer spewed gibberish. The vote came to the Senate floor. The Democrats who voted against Friedman voted for her. Franken, Schumer, Gillibrand, Udall, Schatz; the whole miserable gang of liars, scoundrels and hypocrites.

But it's not our Ambassador to Hungary who matters, but the Hungarian who owns the Democrats.

Senate Dems ought to be made to answer why the choice of Ambassador to Israel should be determined by an anti-Israel pressure group funded by George Soros, a Hungarian billionaire who described his role in the Holocaust as "the most exciting time of my life", and Consolacion Esdicul who works for a Hong Kong gambler? They ought to be made to answer why they stand with Soros and the PLO over Israel.    


Churched Kids Fare Better Than Nonattenders: Will Today’s ‘Cultured Despisers’ of Religion Pay Heed?

Religion is good for you: emotionally, physically, and economically. Who knew? Not the secularists.

In 2000, Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam published his groundbreaking book, “Bowling Alone.” Putnam argued that Americans’ reduced interest in civic engagement—by which he meant not only things of a political nature but also things like the PTA, Boy Scouts, groups like the Elks, and, yes, bowling leagues—had reduced the store of what is called “social capital.”

“Social capital” is what sociologist call “the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively.”

This is more than theory. It gets to the heart of one of the pressing issues of our time: social and economic inequality. And while Americans, as a whole, prefer to bowl alone, this solitude isn’t equally distributed.

As Putnam documents in his most recent book, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,” one thing that separates children from families in the top 25 percent of households measured by income and education from their counterparts in the bottom twenty-five percent is social capital. The well-off parents featured in “Our Kids” were, if anything, exhaustingly engaged and enmeshed in far-reaching networks that made life better for their kids.

While we shouldn’t be surprised that good connections offer better-off kids a significant advantage over their poorer counterparts, there’s something else that provides another significant advantage: religious participation.

Churchgoing kids “are less prone to substance abuse (drugs, alcohol, and smoking), risky behavior (like not wearing seat belts), and delinquency (shoplifting, misbehaving in school, and being suspended or expelled).”

But the benefits of regular church attendance do not stop there. As Putnam tells us, “Compared to their unchurched peers, youth who are involved in a religious organization take tougher courses, get higher grades and test scores, and are less likely to drop out of high school.”

They also “have better relations with their parents and other adults, have more friendships with high-performing peers, are more involved in sports and other extracurricular activities.” In fact, churchgoing is so beneficial to academic performance that “a child whose parents attend church regularly is 40 to 50 percent more likely to go on to college than a matched child of nonattenders.”

Now, this is true regardless of socioeconomic status. The problem is that regular church attendance is increasingly tied to socioeconomic status. According to Putnam, while “weekly church attendance” among college-educated families since the late 1970s has remained more or less the same, it has dropped by almost a third among those with a high school diploma or less. The result is “a substantial class gap that did not exist” fifty years ago. It’s yet another way that poorer kids are falling behind their more affluent counterparts.

Given the benefits of regular church attendance, the insistence on minimizing the role of religion in American public life is, to put it mildly, perverse. Society hasn’t figured out how to reliably give poor kids access to the kinds of advantages, both material and intangible, that better-off kids take for granted.

But we, the Church, do know how to reach out to them and their families in Jesus’ name. We have millennia of experience in ministering to the least, the last, and the lost. And now we have evidence that this kind of ministry has benefits that few people, Christians or non-Christians, ever suspected.

Will today’s “cultured despisers” of religion pay heed? Probably not. But we owe it to the kids—all kids—to ignore those naysayers and to freely give them what we have freely received.


LGBTQ Advocates Demand That Donald Trump Compiles A Registry Of All Gay Americans

Imagine a scenario in which the Trump administration called for all Americans to register their sexual preferences with the government. Gay, straight, bi, trans, and every other permutation of sexual desire and identity would be compiled and cross-referenced by government officials. Lying or failing to answer the question would be a violation of federal law, subject to fines. The government would know precisely what is going on in your bedroom, and in the bedrooms of your fellow citizens across the nation.

That sounds like a lefty fever dream, a dystopian vision of Trumpian persecution.

Instead, it is the policy some LGBT advocates are clamoring for and were disappointed not to have received last week. Rather than celebrating the protection of their privacy, the National LGBTQ Taskforce released a press statement condemning the administration’s decision to continue the existing policy of minding their own business.

Do You Really Want Government to Collect This Data?

“We call on President Trump and his Administration to begin collecting sexual orientation and gender identity data on the American Community Survey as soon as possible,” Criminal and Economic Justice Project Director Meghan Maury was quoted as saying, “and urge Congress to conduct oversight hearings to reveal why the Administration made the last-minute decision not to collect data on LGBTQ people.” The decision not to compile a government database of gay people was “another step to deny LGBTQ people freedom, justice, and equity,” she went on to say.

It is a strange sort of freedom, justice, and equality that requires a bureaucrat’s catalog to realize it. Even more so when it requires you, under penalty of law, to exercise it. The census is not optional, and a question about sexual orientation would mandate that people disclose their sexual identity to the United States government—even if they have not disclosed that to anyone else.

For an organization that clearly dislikes and distrusts Donald Trump, the National LGBTQ Taskforce is certainly anxious to give him the personal information of millions of people. Outing yourself, in their view, is not just encouraged: it is required.

As The Government Grows, So Too The Census
“The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.”

From this one sentence in the Constitution, the census has grown into a massive data-collecting operation. That sentence makes the original purpose of the census clear, even without context. The Constitution creates a House of Representatives that is apportioned by population. The only way to determine that apportionment is to know how many people there are in each state. The only way to do that was a census.

Censuses had a bad reputation in the Old Testament, but they were fairly uncontroversial in early America. Perhaps that is because the census was only minimally intrusive in the citizens’ lives back then. The 1790 census did not even write down everyone’s name, only the head of household. The enumeration was simple: how many people in the household, broken down by age bracket, race, and whether the person was free or enslaved. The slavery question was necessary because of the Constitution’s three-fifths clause, which affected how many representatives were apportioned to each state, but the race and sex questions were superfluous. This was a low-tech census even for its day: until 1830, census takers did not even have standard forms to fill out, so they listed the people in his district however they chose, so long as it answered the basic questions.

As time went on, the census asked more and more of people. By 1850, they started listing everyone by name (other than slaves) and asking about national origin. More family information was added each year. Changing demographics and the American obsession with race also meant that the original categories of white, black, and other soon expanded. In 1890, the high tide of scientific racism, the choices included white, black, mulatto, quadroon, octoroon, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian. The government didn’t just want to know your race; for mixed race people, they want to know the exact percentage of African ancestry you had.

Even before emancipation racial questions were not strictly necessary, but afterward they were completely unneeded. Likewise the questions about citizenship status, marital status, household relationships, and any number of other details. So why include them? One part of the answer must be that the government always wants to know more about the people within its borders. The reasons for this can be good or evil but any government, whether it wants to help its citizens or oppress them, must first know about them.

That sort of information was not readily available in the nation’s early days, which meant the government had to do it itself. That has been a boon to historians and genealogists, who find information in those censuses—now digitized—that they could not otherwise find without sifting through local city and church records that are often inaccessible, when they even still exist.

Our Bureaucracy Already Overflows With Personal Data
That dearth of data no longer prevails today. In modern America, information about the population is everywhere. Businesses want demographic information, and are willing to pay for it. Social scientists will do the same. Genealogists of the future will not need to comb the 2020 Census for clues about their ancestors—evidence of our existence is omnipresent. Not a day goes by without a news story about some new survey or poll. Our nation’s bureaucracy is overflowing with personal information on us, and private sources are full of it, as well.

The census mostly duplicates these information sources. For some, that means we should not bother; for others, it suggests that there is no harm in it. The census itself is undoubtedly constitutional. Indeed, the Constitution requires it, but that only applies to the actual enumeration. The decennial reapportionment of the House requires an actual count of Americans, but it does not require anything beyond that.

What About Personal Privacy?
The problem with including personal information in the census is two-fold. First is the problem of coercion. Pollsters have compiled terabytes of data on the American people, but all of it was gathered through agreement of the parties. No one forces you to answer a poll or survey, or to be truthful if you choose to do so. That can be a problem for survey teams, but it is a benefit to the people. Your right to be left alone is preserved. You do not commit a crime when you hang up on a pollster.

An even larger problem is that, once compiled, the database of personal information represents a powerful tool for a government to use against its populace. For all the Left’s furor during the last election campaign over a “Muslim registry,” the same progressive activists are falling over themselves to give the government a sexuality registry, in addition to the racial registry they already possess. If you do not trust the government (or this administration specifically,) why give them another tool to aid in your persecution?

Most of the world’s nations do not compile the detailed census that the United States does. Even among first-world nations, demanding racial identity data from citizens is not universal. A 2001 Brookings Institution report explains the policy in France, which is very different from our own:

France has intentionally avoided implementing “race-conscious” policies. There are no public policies in France that target benefits or confer recognition on groups defined as races. For many Frenchmen, the very term race sends a shiver running down their spines, since it tends to recall the atrocities of Nazi Germany and the complicity of France’s Vichy regime in deporting Jews to concentration camps. Race is such a taboo term that a 1978 law specifically banned the collection and computerized storage of race-based data without the express consent of the interviewees or a waiver by a state committee. France therefore collects no census or other data on the race (or ethnicity) of its citizens.

We Should Be Wary Of Government Data Collection

That some other country differs from us is not reason alone to make a policy change, but it does show that a similarly advanced society can function without doing things exactly the way we do them. We should think hard about reducing the amount of personal, private data we are compelled to divulge to the government. As Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in the 1977 case of Whalen v. Roe, “[w]e are not unaware of the threat to privacy implicit in the accumulation of vast amounts of personal information in computerized data banks or other massive government files.”

Americans should be free to disclose their private data, but they should never be compelled to disclose it. If we care about our privacy, we should at the very least keep our sexual identities off the census forms. We would do well to cut a bit more than that, and to tell the government to mind its own business.


Feminists Condemn Webb for 40-Year-Old Article

Jim Webb is a Navy Cross recipient, best-selling author, Reagan-era secretary of the Navy, former senator (and a Democrat, no less), presidential candidate, and Naval Academy alum — in other words, he’s exceptionally accomplished. Yet he was recently forced to decline the Distinguished Graduate Award from the Academy by a small but vocal group of feminists, largely because of an article he wrote in 1979. The article — “Women Can’t Fight” — was well within the mainstream when written and was based on Webb’s first-hand (and award-winning) experience as a Marine infantry officer in Vietnam.

His critics — none of whom have even a remotely equivalent perspective or experience base to draw on — are broadcasting a confusing, but dangerous message, with today’s Academy midshipmen watching the spectacle from the front row. Never mind that Webb has disavowed the article, stating that his language reflected his immaturity and apologizing for any harm it caused. The fact that Webb directed implementation of some of the most female-friendly policies in the history of the Department while serving as secretary of the Navy doesn’t seem to matter either. He said some things that may have been acceptable then, but that the New Enlightened folks consider very mean and that hurt their feelings very badly now. This tolerant thinking goes something like this: “If you don’t punish him by revoking the award, we will punish the rest of you (and the other award recipients) by screaming obscenities during the ceremony.”

His opponents' reasoning is, at best, inconsistent. On the one hand they denounce Webb’s thesis (that females' are ill-suited for the rigors of ground combat), while on the other they argue a few hundred words in a relatively obscure magazine created an “unsafe environment” that caused — and continues to cause, 40 years later — great harm to fragile females in the military. They effectively turn the old “sticks and stones” adage inside out: bayonets and bullets, no problem; adjectives and verbs, big problem.

It’s also ironic, and moderately amusing, that their protest has introduced an article they find so threatening to a much broader audience. Demonstrating the intellectual and moral emptiness of their argument, one opponent said she thought it would actually be okay for Webb to receive the award … but only if a female was similarly recognized first. If only there were a female Navy Cross-winning, former SecNav, former senator available for them to nominate. Or an Academy alumna that could claim even one of those accomplishments.



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


7 April, 2017

Alabama Set to Outlaw Marriage Licenses: 'The State Does Not Make Things Sacred'

An Alabama state senator who introduced a bill to outlaw marriage licenses said his proposal would solve the predicament of civil servants like Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who went to jail after refusing to sign a marriage license for a homosexual couple, despite the Supreme Court's legalization of gay marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges. His bill would solve this problem by drawing a clear line between sacred solemnization of marriage and the state's legal recognition of it.

"It's my belief that the state cannot make any kind of contract sacred," state Senator Greg Albritton (R., Baldwin County) told PJ Media in an interview on Thursday. "That's not its place, that's not its purpose. It doesn't have that religious authority to make something sacred, but it can make it binding for the purpose of the parties."

Albritton's bill (S.B. 20) passed the state Senate in early March. He said his goal is to resolve a judicial controversy. Eight Alabama counties have refused to issue marriage licenses since the Obergefell decision in June 2015, due to concerns the clerks would be forced to violate their consciences by endorsing homosexual marriages.

"We get this passed, everyone in the state will be able to take care of their business," Albritton said. S.B. 20 would "eliminate the need for the ceremony and the signing of the minister," streamlining the process of getting married legally. All a couple would need to do is sign and notarize a document affirming their legal ability to get married, and the state would merely record it as a marriage.

"Sign it, notarize it, record it, you're done," the senator said. "The state would not be making the decision on who could or could not be married any longer."

This bill would reverse a legal process set up by Jim Crow laws, whereby probate judges can decide whether or not to issue marriage licenses. "Right now the law states that a probate judge may issue a license, but there's no requirement that they issue a license at all," Albritton explained. "Under my bill, they don't have an option."

But the fact that the judges don't have an option would free civil servants in Kim Davis's position. "It would remove her from that threat, real or perceived, of violating her principles, because this is no longer a matter of her approving someone getting married," the senator said. "All she's doing is recording the act that has occurred, that is outside her authority."

"Frankly, all of the judges in the state that I am aware of, who are in the similar position as Miss Davis, all feel that this would resolve their issues completely," Albritton added.

By eliminating the judges' freedom to endorse or oppose a marriage, the bill would separate the sacred celebration of a wedding from the official state recognition of a legal partnership.

"We don't need to have a state authority solemnize or make a religious ceremony of a state function," Albritton said. "We have come to a sense now that marriage is defined by the state as a contract, and yet religious ceremonies and religious teachings are different." Marriage is fundamentally "a religious rite, a sacred covenant," not a mere contract. "Those two do not go hand-in-hand and have not for some time."

S.B. 20 "makes that break clean." The bill "allows religious authorities to conduct marriages as they see fit, and allows the state to recognize marriages when they are established."

Some have attacked his bill, suggesting that the law would get rid of documentation for a marriage. The senator explained that this is a misunderstanding of what the bill would actually do. In practical terms, very little would actually change.

There would still be a fee, but it becomes a "recording fee" instead of a "licensing fee." Couples would still receive a marriage document, but it would not be a "license" but rather a "record." Even marriage licenses under current law are limited to a 30-day period, after which a marriage is either recorded by the state or voided. After the state records a marriage, the document in question technically ceases to be a license (which gives state sanction for an action) and becomes a record of what happened.

Furthermore, this bill would also free up judges' time and save taxpayer money. "The probate judge office will be less taxed in this regard," Albritton explained. S.B. 20 "will eliminate the need for an additional clerk because there won't be any need for that additional step."

The state senator told PJ Media he fully expects S.B. 20 to pass the House of Representatives and to become settled Alabama law. This is the fourth time Albritton has introduced this bill since a federal judge struck down an Alabama law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, in early 2015, World magazine reported. Each bill has passed the Senate but failed in the House.

During a special session in September 2015, the bill came up for a vote in the House, and a majority of members voted for it, but the measure failed because it did not pass the two-thirds threshold required to pass in the special session. Albritton told PJ Media he expects the bill to come before the House in a regular session and become law.

The major hurdle at the moment? Impeachment proceedings. S.B. 20 is in the House Judiciary Committee, the same committee tasked with handling the impeachment of Governor Robert Bentley. When it comes to the governor, the state senator told PJ Media that "politics has destroyed his life."

While S.B. 20 would protect the religious freedom of probate judges, Albritton explained that he refused to put religious liberty language into the bill because that would make it needlessly provocative. "All it does is create chaos and combativeness," and that's why similar legislation in states like Oklahoma and Michigan have failed. "I'm trying to take a less inflammatory methodology of accomplishing something that we need."

The real question is, will the House Judiciary Committee agree that Alabama needs this bill more than it needs to impeach its governor?


In the Wake of the Westminister Bridge Attack, What the Mice of Gough Island Can Teach Us About Islam

The British-built de Havilland Comet was the world's first commercial jetliner, placed in service in 1949. But in the early 1950s, several of the planes crashed. To prevent further loss of life, the fleet was grounded to identify the problem's source and correct it.

The ultimate cause was attributed to a design flaw-the square-cut windows led to fatigue cracks in the airframe. Resolving the problem required installing an oval-shaped window replacement. 

By accurately identifying and addressing the problem source, air travel once again was made safe for Brits.

But today, another problem makes Britain unsafe for its citizens. Unfortunately, in the aftermath of a March 23 terrorist attack on Westminister Bridge, in which a Muslim jihadist ploughed a vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians, Britain's leadership refuses to identify the cause of the problem in order to appropriately resolve it.

In an exchange in Parliament after the attack, Conservative MP Michael Tomlinson naively asked Prime Minister Theresa May, "It is reported that what happened yesterday was an act of ‘Islamic terror.' Will the Prime Minister agree with me that what happened was not Islamic, just as the murder of Airey Neave was not Christian, and that in fact both are perversions of religion?"

As disturbing as Tomlinson's question was, May's response was even more so, saying, "I absolutely agree, and it is wrong to describe this as ‘Islamic terrorism;' it is ‘Islamist terrorism;' it is a perversion of a great faith." Playing semantics, she ignored a chilling reality about Islam.

As these terrorist acts only involved one or two Muslim attackers, the Brits, as do many Western authorities, sought to dismiss any linkage to Islam as the source of the perpetrator's motivation. Instead, they chose to identify an attacker as a "lone wolf" perverting the religion or claiming the terrorist's motivation may never be known-which was done in this most recent case.

Such dismissal of the motivational rationale is disingenuous. It promotes a naïve belief-i.e., Islam is not violent, therefore, any Muslim resorting to violence must not be one. But this ignores Islam's long historical record of violence.

Proponents of peaceful Islam fail to ask critical questions:
If Islam is peaceful and if those acting violently in its name pervert it, why has Islam experienced a 1400-year storied past of brutal violence? Should not such a history of Islam cause non-Muslims concern something inherently is wrong with the religion?

Is it not logical, therefore, non-Muslims be concerned Islam has existed for a thousand plus years and continues to exist as a burning ember, igniting generations of followers into action believing they rightly and justly are doing what the Quran mandates they do-impose their religion upon all others, using force if necessary?

What is incredulous is Western blindness, created by an era of outrageous political correctness, in failing to do what was done over six decades ago to save passenger lives in the aviation industry by identifying a problem and then acting to resolve it.

The danger today is we refuse appropriately to challenge an ideology promoting hatred, intolerance and violence, simply because it is packaged as a religion. How many "lone wolf" attacks by Muslims must we witness before reason dictates we acknowledge a pattern exists, linking such acts to Islam? Reason dictates, based upon Islam's 1400-year history of violence, we conclude we are not talking about a perversion of Islam causing terrorism-but about Islam itself.

Sadly, many of those declaring Islam peaceful have failed even to read the Quran to verify, for themselves, it is as they preach. Ironically, they simply give Islam a free pass, as an established religion, to co-exist with all other religions. But they fail to understand religious co-existence is not on Islam's mind. As the Westminister Bridge attacker and those before him represent, Islam's mandate is domination.

Those accepting Islam as peaceful do other religions a grave injustice. By failing to read the Quran, non-Muslims fail to grasp Islam's reality-i.e., our very existence is contrary to theirs with the Quran mandating their religion alone survive. It is an end to be imposed by force by Muslims if not embraced voluntarily by non-believers.

There is an uninhabited island, Gough, located in the South Atlantic Ocean, that has been a breeding ground for the albatross for centuries. The bird population has thrived, never knowing predators. This changed recently.

Several years ago, mice-possibly from a passing ship-made their way to the island. They now thrive by feasting upon albatross chicks. Amazingly, conservationists report, the mice attack live chicks-outweighing them 250 fold-while the chicks' parents do nothing to fend them off.

Environmentalists claim the parents are "ecologically naïve"-i.e., having never known predators before, they simply are blind to a threat to their very existence standing right before them. As a result, concerns exist, over time, the albatross may become endangered.

The question we need consider is whether democracy eventually will go the way of the albatross as a generation of Western parents, ecologically naïve about Islam's threat to their existence, fail to save their own "chicks."


Is Profiling OK?

By Walter E. Williams

Profiling is needlessly a misunderstood concept. What's called profiling is part of the optimal stock of human behavior and something we all do. Let's begin by describing behavior that might come under the heading of profiling.

Prior to making decisions, people seek to gain information. To obtain information is costly, requiring the expenditure of time and/or money. Therefore, people seek to find ways to economize on information costs. Let's try simple examples.

You are a manager of a furniture moving company and seek to hire 10 people to load and unload furniture onto and off trucks. Twenty people show up for the job, and they all appear to be equal except by sex. Ten are men, and 10 are women. Whom would you hire? You might give them all tests to determine how much weight they could carry under various conditions, such as inclines and declines, and the speed at which they could carry. To conduct such tests might be costly. Such costs could be avoided through profiling — that is, using an easily observable physical attribute, such as a person's sex, as a proxy for unobserved attributes, such as endurance and strength. Though sex is not a perfect predictor of strength and endurance, it's pretty reliable.

Imagine that you're a chief of police. There has been a rash of auto break-ins by which electronic equipment has been stolen. You're trying to capture the culprits. Would you have your officers stake out and investigate residents of senior citizen homes? What about spending resources investigating men and women 50 years of age or older? I'm guessing there would be greater success capturing the culprits by focusing police resources on younger people — and particularly young men. The reason is that breaking in to autos is mostly a young man's game. Should charges be brought against you because, as police chief, you used the physical attributes of age and sex as a crime tool? Would it be fair for people to accuse you of playing favorites by not using investigative resources on seniors and middle-aged adults of either sex even though there is a non-zero chance that they are among the culprits?

Physicians routinely screen women for breast cancer and do not routinely screen men. The American Cancer Society says that the lifetime risk of men getting breast cancer is about 0.1 percent. Should doctors and medical insurance companies be prosecuted for the discriminatory practice of prescribing routine breast cancer screening for women but not for men?

Some racial and ethnic groups have higher incidence and mortality from various diseases than the national average. The rates of death from cardiovascular diseases are about 30 percent higher among black adults than among white adults. Cervical cancer rates are five times greater among Vietnamese women in the U.S. than among white women. Pima Indians of Arizona have the world's highest known diabetes rates. Prostate cancer is nearly twice as common among black men as it is among white men. Using a cheap-to-observe attribute, such as race, as a proxy for a costly-to-observe attribute, such as the probability of some disease, can assist medical providers in the delivery of more effective medical services. For example, just knowing that a patient is a black man causes a physician to be alert to the prospect of prostate cancer. The unintelligent might call this racial profiling, but it's really prostate cancer profiling.

In the real world, there are many attributes correlated with race and sex. Jews are 3 percent of the U.S. population but 35 percent of our Nobel Prize winners. Blacks are 13 percent of our population but about 74 percent of professional basketball players and about 69 percent of professional football players. Male geniuses outnumber female geniuses 7-to-1. Women have wider peripheral vision than men. Men have better distance vision than women.

The bottom line is that people differ significantly by race and sex. Just knowing the race or sex of an individual may on occasion allow us to guess about something not readily observed.


Beware the barge of bullies trumpeting diversity

Comment from Glenn Davies, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney.  Sydney diocese stays close to scripture and flourishes as a result

There is only one upside from the recent attacks and unprecedented abuse directed at an academic and the directors of Christian organisations: people are beginning to wake up and take notice. They are starting to understand that the campaign for same-sex marriage is not sailing on a raft of rainbows but on a barge of bullies.

Last week there was the IBM executive whose position was questioned because he was a ­director of the Lachlan Macquarie Institute. He was the subject of attack in his previous employment as well.

Then there was the Christian academic who had not even entered the same-sex marriage debate, whose university was pres­sured over his employment which, it was claimed, conflicted with its membership in the so-called Pride in Diversity campaign. What kind of diversity is so monochrome that it does not allow differing expressions of opinion in the debate?

Not only has this minority view tried to swamp the public debate with its introspective, ­authoritarian denial of free speech, it has struck at the heart of Australian democracy and the freedoms that we all cherish.

This narrow-minded, freedom-restricting carping is what the same-sex marriage campaign has come to. At the beginning, the promise seemed to be innocent enough — change one word in the marriage legislation and there would be equality for all. Now, as people start to digest the magnitude of such a social change and the ramifications that would follow for families and the rest of the community when marriage is cut adrift from the significance of gender distinctiveness (the Safe Schools Coalition program is only one of these side effects), other voices are starting to speak up.

But, just as quickly, they are shut down in the name of diversity. I was one of the Christian leaders who convened a meeting of church leaders in Sydney last year, to be held at the Mercure Hotel. No sooner had we set the venue than staff were subjected to an ugly campaign of harassment and threats.

For the safety of staff and guests, the hotel cancelled the booking. Were we not harangued by political leaders opposed to a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, that such a debate would incite hate speech from those defending the traditional definition of marriage? Yet this has not happened. On the contrary, it is those who have been frustrated by the government’s determination to adhere to its election policy to allow the citizens to have their say who have taken the opportunity to harangue, marginalise and ostracise those who do not support a society where gender is interchangeable.

Catholic Archbishop of Hobart Julian Porteous was taken to the brink in Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Tribunal for espousing views on marriage that accord with Australian law, let alone being the view of his church, as well as all churches and that which civilisations have held for millennia. The avant-garde opponents of these time-honoured mores had hoped to silence him.

What kind of a society calls someone before a tribunal because they are defending the law of the land? What kind of state legislation allows such a travesty of justice to occur? Has our society been that deprived of common sense and love of freedom that a carefully ­articulated defence of commonwealth legislation can be deemed offensive merely because someone wants the law changed and is offended because their views are at odds with the current law?

It was revealed this week that the real fear on this issue is not “homophobia”, which has become a slur against those who hold a different view from this regressive minority, but “plebiphobia”, fear of the people: the fear that a popular vote may be lost.

Now the corporate world has been press-ganged into that same cause. It is a regrettable state of affairs that executives of some the large public companies have been too weak-kneed to resist the attacks of a strident minority via social media platforms. The way it has been presented is “diversity”.

Just a quick look through the diversity policies of the companies that wrote to the Prime Minister on same-sex marriage recently shows focus on gender, cultural background, disability and sexual orientation. Spot the gap: faith. Such a large part of the lives of millions in our multi-faith country is nowhere to be seen.

This contrasts sharply with the US. In a 2015 survey, 36 per cent of US workers reported experiencing or witnessing workplace relig­ious discrimination. In re­sponse, many US companies have signed up to the Corporate Pledge in Support of Freedom of Religion or Belief.

In what kind of “diversity” do we as Australians really believe? I want to live in a land that respects the individual, that allows freedom of expression and freedom of faith. I want to be able to be free to convince my fellow Australians that Jesus Christ is Lord of all creation and that true freedom is only to be found in him. I also want to live in a land where others can contradict my views and espouse their own beliefs without fear of persecution or intimidation. That is true diversity. That is true freedom of speech and freedom of religion of which we ought to be justly proud and that I would happily defend with my life.



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


6 April, 2017

British PM attacks 'ridiculous' National Trust over 'airbrushing' of Easter - now event is quietly rebranded

Theresa May has hit out at the National Trust for dropping "Easter" from its egg hunt, describing the decision as "absolutely ridiculous".

The Prime Minister said Easter was "very important" to her and that she didn't know what the organisation "are thinking".

It comes as the National Trust Twitter was bombarded with messages on social media from disgruntled members asking how to cancel their membership. 

Now the Trust has admitted fault by quietly editing the heading of its webpage for the egg hunt to include the word "Easter".

Following this newspaper's coverage of the outrage over the event's rebranded name, it now reads: "Join the Cadbury Egg Hunts this Easter."

Mrs May was speaking in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, where she is making a trade visit. Mrs May told ITV News: "I'm not just a vicar's daughter - I'm a member of the National Trust as well. I think the stance they've taken is absolutely ridiculous and I don't know what they're thinking about.

"Easter's very important. It's important to me, it's a very important festival for the Christian faith for millions across the world. "So I think what the National Trust is doing is frankly just ridiculous."

Mrs May's comments come after the Church of England has accused the National Trust of "airbrushing faith" after it dropped the word "Easter" from its annual Easter egg hunt.

The annual event, which sees hundreds of thousands of children search for chocolate eggs at National Trust properties, has been rebranded to exclude Easter for the first time in 10 years.

Asked whether he agreed with Theresa May, the Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "It upsets me as well because I don't see why Cadbury should take over the name, because that's what it's done, it's commercialisation gone a bit too far. "I'm a member of the national trust and I will be buying an Easter egg for my grandson."

National Trust members have threatened to cancel their membership

In previous years it has been called an "Easter Egg Trail", however this year it has been renamed the "Great British Egg Hunt". Cadbury, which sponsors the event, said that it wanted to appeal to non-Christians, saying: "We invite people from all faiths and none to enjoy our seasonal treats."

But last night senior figures in the Church of England condemned the decision.

The National Trust denied it was downplaying Easter and claimed Cadbury was responsible for the rebranding of the egg hunt.

A spokesman said: “The National Trust is in no way downplaying the significance of Easter, which is why we put on a huge number of events, activities and walks to bring families together at this time of year. We work closely with Cadbury, who are responsible for the branding and wording of our egg hunt campaign.”

A spokesman for Cadbury said: "Each year, our Easter campaigns have a different name and this year our seasonal campaign is called the ‘Cadbury’s Great British Egg Hunt’.

"It is clear to see that within our communications and marketing we clearly state the word Easter and include it in a number of promotional materials, including our website, where we do also promote our partnership with National Trust at this seasonal time of year. We invite people from all faiths and none to enjoy our seasonal treats, which can be found around Easter time.”


The Air Force Flies Over the Rainbow  

Col. Kristin Goodwin, who is openly lesbian, has been nominated to become the next commandant of the U.S. Air Force Academy. She was included on a list of several military officers in an announcement from Secretary of Defense James Mattis of nominees for rank increase and position appointments made by Donald Trump. Should Goodwin’s nomination be confirmed, she would be the second openly homosexual service member reaching a significantly high position since Barack Obama repealed the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Goodwin’s appointment has greatly troubled former Navy Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, who heads the Pray in Jesus Name Project. He is concerned over the impact her appointment will have upon religious liberty at the Air Force Academy — a legitimate concern after the AFA’s “So Help Me God” episode. Klingenschmitt blames the nomination on Barack Obama’s appointees, saying, “Obama’s bureaucrats in the Pentagon are still running the show. Obama is gone. Why does he still have this power?”

While the announcement of Goodwin’s nomination in an Academy article makes no mention of her gender disorientation pathology, this may be an attempt to fly her under the radar in order to secure Senate approval later this year. In all probability, Goodwin was chosen by Obama lackeys in the Pentagon based primarily upon the fact that she is openly homosexual. In other words, it’s possible she was promoted to this position not despite her sexual orientation but because of it. This is all part of a continuing effort by the Left to fundamentally transform society and culture, and Obama’s effort to destroy military morale through social engineering.

The Goodwin choice also highlights the obstructionism game of Democrats to slow down the confirmation of Trump’s nominees. Continuing to have Obama appointees entrenched in the government will only prove to further hinder Trump as he seeks to implement his aggressive policy changes.


Reversing Another Obama Policy, Trump Pulls Funding for UN Population Fund

The Trump administration said Monday it was ending funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), long a target of conservatives over concerns that its work in China abets the communist authorities’ controversial population limitation programs.

The administration’s first confirmed cut to a U.N. agency will cost the UNFPA $32.5 million.

Its budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 calls for unspecified reductions to contributions to the U.N. budget, and further “seeks to reduce or end direct funding for international organizations whose missions do not substantially advance U.S. foreign policy interests, are duplicative, or are not well-managed.”

The move comes as a follow up to President Trump’s decision, three days after his inauguration, to restore Reagan-era policy that denies federal funding to abortion-supporting or promoting groups.

The State Department said the determination to cut UNFPA funding “was made based on the fact that China’s family planning policies still involve the use of coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization, and UNFPA partners on family planning activities with the Chinese government agency responsible for these coercive policies.”

The 1985 “Kemp-Kasten amendment” prohibits federal funding for any agency that “supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.”

The Reagan administration first withheld UNFPA funding under the amendment in 1986, and the first Bush administration followed suit in 1989. President Clinton restored the funding in 1993, before President George W. Bush defunded the UNFPA from 2002 to 2008, in a move costing the U.N. organization a total of some $244 million.

President Obama restored funding soon after taking office. In FY 2016 it gave $67.88 million to the agency in assessed and voluntary contributions.

The UNFPA has long denied that its work in China supports Beijing’s efforts to curb population growth through the “one-child” and subsequent “two-child” policies, which critics say are characterized by coercive measures such as forced abortion and sterilization. It did so again on Monday in a statement regretting the administration’s decision.

“This decision is based on the erroneous claim that UNFPA ‘supports, or participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization’ in China,” it said. “UNFPA refutes this claim, as all of its work promotes the human rights of individuals and couples to make their own decisions, free of coercion or discrimination.”

The agency said it was being denied U.S. funding for “its life-saving work the world over.”

“The support we received over the years from the government and people of the United States has saved tens of thousands of mothers from preventable deaths and disabilities, and especially now in the rapidly developing global humanitarian crises,” it said. ‘The blood of Chinese women and babies is on our hands’

China introduced its “one-child” policy in 1979, restricting couples to one child only, with some exceptions – for example some rurally-based or ethnic minority couples were allowed a second child if their firstborn was a girl.

Over the decades since it has been enforced through forced abortions and sterilizations, punitive fines and other penalties for violators. Critics have described it as one of the most far-reaching government-enforced human rights violations in history.

In a society with a cultural preference for baby boys, sex-selective abortions – although illegal – have contributed to a lopsided male-female ratio which experts warn will have troubling implications for future generations.

In 2015 Beijing loosened the policy to allow two children.

Women’s Rights Without Frontiers president Reggie Littlejohn told a panel discussion alongside the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women session in New York last month that forced abortions and the conditions that give rise to sex-selective abortions of baby girls continue under the “two-child” policy.

“I believe that any independent, unbiased investigation into UNFPA’s activities in China will lead to the inescapable conclusion that they are complicit with China’s population control practices, which include forced abortion and involuntary sterilization,” Littlejohn said.

“To the extent that the global community is funding the UNFPA, the blood of Chinese women and babies is on our hands.”

At least two of the four men and women who have led the UNFPA since its formation are on record as having praised the Chinese birth-limitation efforts.

“China has every reason to feel proud of and pleased with its remarkable achievements made in its family planning policy and control of its population growth over the past 10 years,” UNFPA executive director Nafis Sadik of Pakistan told the Xinhua news agency in April 1991.

“China made some outstanding achievements in a very short time and fulfilled its commitment to the world,” she said. “The UNFPA is going to employ some of these [Chinese demographic] experts to work in other countries and popularize China’s experiences in population growth control and family planning.”

Ten years later Sadik’s successor, Thoraya Obaid of Saudi Arabia, also praised China’s policy, according to a March 2001 report in China’s People’s Daily.

As a general policy, UNFPA claims not to “promote abortion as a method of family planning.”

At the same time, however, it is a key partner of two of the world’s largest abortion providers, Marie Stopes International and the International Planned Parenthood Federation.


Our teens are out of control. Why? Because parents are too weak

Angela Mollard, writing from Australia

Among parents of teens, talk has been of nothing else this week. A 15-year-old boy allegedly filming another 15-year-old boy allegedly raping a girl who had passed out drunk. Apparently she wasn't aware of what had happened until video emerged of the attack.

Cranbrook student charged with aggravated sexual assault

The response has been predictable: shock, horror, revulsion, fear, incredulity and blame.

The fact is teenage girls are being sexually assaulted every weekend at parties, according to drug and alcohol campaigner Paul Dillon.

"It literally happens every single weekend and the saddest part is that girls very rarely report it because they think it's part of the alcohol experience," he told me this week.

"I can't tell you the number of girls who've told me they've blacked out and only found out there's been a guy on top of them or having sex with them when they've been shown a photograph."

Consent, alcohol, morality, social media - all are at the heart of this growing social problem but the issue none of us are willing to discuss is this: parental meekness.

Parents have become like mice, scurrying around trying to keep their children happy yet willing to disappear into a hole when their lion-like teens demand it. "Can I have a party?" inquires the teen. "There's 80 people coming. Some will sleepover. Don't worry about food. Oh, and can you and Dad stay upstairs all night?"

And what do parents say? "Well, OK, but make sure things don't get out of hand."

But things do get "out of hand" because, as Paul Dillon tells me, in teenage brains the desire for reward outweighs the sense of risk.

We talk about parental neglect in Aboriginal communities and yet in metropolitan suburbs all over the country parents - including the wealthiest - are turning a blind eye to what their kids are doing. Dillon tells me about the rise of the "mixed sleepover"; of parents hiring security guards for a party then thinking they can go out themselves; of a teenager being encouraged to drink by her parent even though she doesn't want to.

He tells me of an incident he couldn't believe "didn't make the papers". A 13-year-old girl had 20 friends to stay for a sleepover and the parents went out to the movies. Apparently they came home to find an ambulance in their driveway and other parents in uproar because one of the kids had slipped over and badly smashed her head on the concrete. Fortunately the girls had the wherewithal to contact emergency services.

Another mum contacted him, beside herself after her daughter had been sexually assaulted at a mixed 14th birthday sleepover.

"The mum had dutifully rung the parents to check they would be home, how many kids would be staying and to leave her contact number. The one question she'd neglected to ask was if boys would be staying. Her daughter had woken in the night to find herself being sexually assaulted. She was mortified so said nothing until she got home."

When I was a teen parents were a tribe. They'd call each other and if one said "no" they'd all say "no". Nobody gave their own teen alcohol let alone anyone else's. And no one let school-age boyfriends or girlfriends sleepover.

On one occasion when I wasn't home at 11pm, aged 16, my Dad drove over to my boyfriend's house where we were standing outside kissing. He shone the car lights on us, yelled at me to get home and told me I was grounded for a fortnight.

Now, as a mother of two girls aged 16 and 13, I - along with my friends - are dealing most weekends with parties, sleepovers, alcohol, and how to keep our kids safe. A friend who had a successful 15th party for her son - no alcohol, everyone checked off at the door, all bags locked in the spare bedroom, extra parents for security, and a finish time of 10.30pm, told me she recently agreed to a small "gatho" a year later.

Big mistake. There were only 15 kids but some brought alcohol, a couple disappeared into a bedroom and, monitoring alone, she spent the evening feeling as if she barely had control.

As Dillon, who heads up Drug and Alcohol Training Australia (DARTA) tells me: "A trained publican finds it difficult to effectively monitor a room full of drinkers so how can parents expect to control 40, 60 or 80 teens when alcohol is tolerated."

Dillon advises making it as "bloody difficult as humanly possible" for teens to drink. If you won't supply alcohol or let them drink at home and they threaten to go and drink in the park, don't cave. As he says, most won't.

Likewise, I believe parents need to lose our meekness and work together like the mafia. We have the mature brains so we make the rules. We need to monitor, to shine torches into the dark recesses of the garden, to tell groping teens to cut it out, to alert the parents if a teen we've collected from a party is drunk.

We need to be there as a deterrent and a sounding board. We need to have each other's backs as we strive to teach kids to protect their own.



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


5 April, 2017

"Sanctuary City" governments vow to protect even violent predators in defiance of Trump administration

Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned on Monday that sanctuary jurisdictions risked losing federal grants if they persisted in obstructing the enforcement of federal immigration laws. Billions of dollars in federal law enforcement funding are at stake. "I urge the nation’s states and cities to carefully consider the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to enforce our immigration laws," Attorney General Sessions said. "Countless Americans would be alive today and countless loved ones would not be grieving today if these policies of sanctuary cities were ended."

Instead of heeding the Attorney General’s sound advice and taking care of their own citizens, city officials around the country are planning to sabotage federal law enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws.

“We are going to become this administration's worst nightmare,” said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. On the same day that Attorney General Sessions issued his warning, she hosted a meeting with like-minded officials from other sanctuary cities, including San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, and Philadelphia, who prioritize the welfare of illegal immigrants over their own citizens. Ms. Mark-Viverito and her comrades threatened to block access by federal immigration authorities to city property and to city records that could help with the enforcement of the nation's immigration laws. They are acting in the spirit of Alabama’s late Governor George Wallace, who stood in the schoolhouse door to defy federal enforcement of desegregation.

“The Trump Administration is pushing an unrealistic and mean spirited executive order,” tweeted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Spare us the tears, Mr. Mayor. We are not talking about innocent children caught up in vindictive mass deportation sweeps. Rather, President Trump’s so-called “mean-spirited executive order” is intended to rid this country of fiends like Estivan Rafael Marques Velasquez, a gang member from El Salvador with a criminal record, who was released from Rikers Island this year onto the streets of New York before U.S. officers from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit could pick him up for deportation proceedings. And there is Luis Alejandro Villegas, 31, who was released from local custody on Dec. 31, 2016, despite a detainer request from ICE. Villegas had previously been removed from the United States and has a prior conviction for forcible theft armed with a deadly weapon.

"Villegas is a criminal alien who was released back into our New York communities, posing an increased and unnecessary risk to those who live in this great city,” said Thomas R. Decker, field office director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations in New York.

Fortunately, ICE agents were able to catch up with both Velasquez and Villegas on their own and place them into federal custody. If de Blasio has his way, we may not be so lucky next time. In the New York City suburb of Hempstead, two women and a 2-year old girl ran out of luck. A MS-13 street gang member, who had been deported back to El Salvador from the U.S. four times and had a number of prior arrests, stabbed the women and sexually assaulted the little girl.

Hempstead is in Nassau County, which is a sanctuary jurisdiction. Hempstead’s Mayor Wayne J. Hall, Sr. said last February, "President Trump's recent executive orders go against the moral fiber with which our great nation was built, and I wholeheartedly support New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and countless other Mayors throughout the United States in denouncing these acts. I, Mayor DeBlasio and leaders from many other communities throughout the country will work together to oppose these executive orders and protect the rights of all people." Good going, Mayor Hall. Now you can explain your opposition to rounding up and deporting illegal aliens with prior criminal records to the illegal aliens' victims in your town, whom you should have been more worried about.

Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is presiding over a city beset by rampant crime, reiterated his pledge that Chicago will “continue to welcome” immigrants. “Chicago was built on the back of immigrants and our future is hitched to the wagon of immigrants who come to the city,” he added. Do these include the 45 out of 48 illegal immigrants picked up in a raid last month in the Chicago area who had previously been convicted of crimes, including criminal sexual assault? Twenty of the illegal aliens had returned to the country after have been already deported. In refusing to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement officials, Mayor Emanuel is hitching Chicago’s future in part to criminal illegal aliens who remain free to prey on Chicago’s citizens.

Challenging the Trump administration’s intention to put an end to sanctuary cities, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday that his city’s policies are “designed to keep our residents safe.” Tell that to the surviving family and friends of the Californian woman killed in a car crash caused by a drunk illegal alien with a long rap sheet, who had been deported previously. Perhaps Mayor Garcetti would do well to listen to the victim’s fiancé, who blamed politicians like himself for the “criminal illegal immigrants that are being harbored here.” Then again, Garcetti, Emanuel, de Blasio and the rest of the sanctuary city crowd are intent on placing their own pro-illegal alien progressive agenda above the safety and welfare of the people they are supposed to serve and protect.

In Travis County, Texas, Sheriff Sally Hernandez, known as “Sanctuary Sally,” has adopted sanctuary policies for the county in defiance of both federal and Texas state law enforcement. “We can’t have state and elected officials in the state like Sanctuary Sally [Hernandez] down here in Travis County turn a blind eye to releasing illegals that have felony convictions and then wonder what’s going to happen when they get back into general population,” said Texas District 7 Senator Paul Bettencourt. But it may be too late. According to a report issued by ICE on March 20, identifying those sanctuary jurisdictions which released criminal aliens under an immigration detainer, Sanctuary Sally’s county scored the number 1 position. It’s only a matter of time when a released illegal immigrant with felony convictions commits another crime.

Illegal immigrants in the United States make up approximately 3.5% of the nation’s entire population. According to data compiled from the U.S. Sentencing Commission for fiscal year 2015, illegal immigrants were responsible for 30.2 percent of convictions for kidnapping/hostage taking, 17.8 percent of convictions for drug trafficking, 11.6 percent of convictions for fraud, 10.4 percent of convictions for money laundering, 6.1 percent of convictions for assault, and 5.5 percent of convictions for murder. So much for the myth spread by the pro-illegal immigrant crowd that illegal immigrants commit serious crimes at a much lower rate than U.S.-born citizens.

Harboring or shielding from detection any alien who “remains in the United States in violation of law” is itself a violation of federal law. It also has real life consequences for the victims of the crimes committed by illegal aliens who are being shielded in sanctuary jurisdictions. Local and state officials who willfully help illegal immigrants evade detention for possible deportation should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.


CAIR Orders U.S. Air Force to Ditch "Anti-Muslim" Counterterrorism Instructor

The Islamic terrorist front group that transformed the way U.S. law enforcement agencies conduct anti-terrorism training is ordering the Air Force to sever ties with an instructor it considers to be anti-Muslim. The question is will the Trump administration cave into its demands? Under Barack Obama, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group that reportedly raises money for Hamas, wielded tremendous power and managed to bully law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal level to alter counterterrorism training materials deemed by the group to discriminate against Muslims.

This includes getting the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to purge anti-terrorism training curricula of material determined to be "offensive" to Muslims. Judicial Watch uncovered that scandal and obtained the FBI records. Based on troves of government documents, Judicial Watch subsequently published a special, in-depth report on the scandal. CAIR is not specifically named but the records show that an undisclosed group of "Subject Matter Experts" (SME) determined the federal training material was offensive to Muslims. CAIR also got police departments in Illinois to eliminate anti-terrorism training materials and instructors deemed anti-Muslim. As an example, CAIR asserted that an instructor for the Lombard, Illinois police force wrote an article years earlier that included disparaging comments about the Prophet Muhammad. The course was called "Islamic Awareness as a Counter-Terrorist Strategy" and departments in Lombard, Elmhurst and Highland Park caved into CAIR's demands.

Keep in mind that CAIR is a terrorist front group with extensive links to foreign and domestic Islamists. It was founded in 1994 by three Middle Eastern extremists (Omar Ahmad, Nihad Awad and Rafeeq Jaber) who ran the American propaganda wing of Hamas, known then as the Islamic Association for Palestine. In 2008 CAIR was a co-conspirator in a federal terror-finance case involving the Hamas front group Holy Land Foundation. Read more in a Judicial Watch special report that focuses on Muslim charities. Judicial Watch also tried to find out if CAIR got the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to overhaul its anti-terrorism training but the spy agency said it could "neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of records" involving meetings or communications with the Muslim rights group. The CIA asserted that the information is classified intelligence protected from disclosure. The response goes on to cite the statutes-such as the CIA Act of 1949 and National Security Act of 1947-that allow the agency to hide even the most benign information from the American public. It's likely that the CIA met with CAIR during the Obama years-or at least had communication with the extremist group-and doesn't want the public to know about it.

Time will tell if CAIR's cozy relationship with the Obama administration will carry over into the new one. Regardless, the group was emboldened in the last eight years and continues making demands in the name of Muslim rights. This week it called on the military to get rid of a top counterterrorism instructor at the United States Air Force Special Operations School (USSAFSOS) in Florida. The instructor, Patrick Dunleavy, teaches a course called "The Dynamics of International Terrorism" designed to provide awareness and appreciation of the organization, motivation, operational capabilities and threat posed by terrorists on an international, national, and regional basis. It was designed for individuals with no previous antiterrorism training and focuses on protective measures that government personnel and their families can employ to minimize threats.

Dunleavy, the course instructor, is a former deputy inspector general for the New York State Department of Corrections and has testified before Congress as an expert witness on the threat of Islamic radicalization in the nation's prison system. Dunleavy is also a senior fellow at a decades-old nonprofit dedicated to investigating the operations, funding, activities and front groups of Islamic extremists worldwide. The think-tank, Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), is recognized as a comprehensive data center on radical Islamic terrorist cells and its founder is a terrorism and national security expert who has advised Congress, the president, FBI and National Security Council. After 9/11 he published a best-selling book documenting how one of the world's most notorious terrorist groups plotted the worst terrorist attack on American soil without detection or scrutiny by American authorities.

CAIR uses Dunleavy's association with IPT to call for his ouster as a military antiterrorism instructor, asserting that the research center is an "anti-Muslim propaganda mouthpiece, and has made a number of false statements betraying a personal prejudice against Islam and Muslims." IPT's founder, Steven Emerson, has a history of making "Islamophobic" statements, CAIR says, involving terrorist attacks that date back to the 1990s. The Islamic group reminds the commander of the U.S. Airforce Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field in Florida (Lieutenant General Marshall B. Webb), that under Obama the military caved into its demands. "As you may recall in 2012, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey ordered the U.S. military to ‘scour its training material to ensure it doesn't contain anti-Islamic content," CAIR writes in a letter to Lieutenant General Webb. Judicial Watch will monitor this situation to see how the Trump Department of Defense (DOD) handles these preposterous requests.


Nikki Haley is kicking anti-Semites in the UN to the curb

Nikki Haley, the “new sheriff in town,’’ is taking no guff from anti-Semites disguised as Israel-haters infesting the United Nations, that den of obscene bigots and butcher-lovers that sits, like a giant middle finger pointing at America, on the East Side of Manhattan.

After years of being shuttled to the back of the proverbial bus, folks in the Jewish community, plus all who value freedom and decency, are breathing sighs of sweet relief. Say what you will about the administration of President Trump, its insiders have the Jewish state’s back.

With Haley’s ascent to the top of this country’s diplomatic heap, high-ranking UN officials and ambassadors are shaking in their Italian loafers.

Malcolm Hoenlein, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told me, “They are taking threats to cut funding very seriously.’’

For Haley to “go into that arena of hostility, having someone stand up for Israel — it’s most reassuring to people everywhere,’’ enthused Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis.

The married mother of two, 45, was confirmed by the Senate in January as the United States ambassador to the UN, whose headquarters sits uneasily on an “international’’ no-man’s-land that isn’t considered American soil.

Yet freeloading diplos show little gratitude toward US taxpayers for financing the party venue’s operational and peacekeeping budgets to the tune of more than $3.5 billion this year, by far the largest share paid by any member nation.

I have suggested that UN headquarters would be put to better use as luxury condos, perhaps with affordable units sprinkled in.

But suddenly, everything has changed.

Haley burst into the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in Washington, DC, Monday, kicking butt and taking names.

To Potasnik, she was a “rock star.’’

“The days of Israel-bashing are over,” she declared to enthusiastic applause. “For anyone who says you can’t get anything done at the UN, they need to know there is a new sheriff in town.”

She said, “I wear heels. It’s not for a fashion statement, it’s because if I see something wrong, we’re gonna kick ’em every time.’’ And so, she ushered in a new era of support for Israel, this country’s great ally in the Middle East. It’s the only democracy in the region and the only place there in which LGBT types live and love freely without fear of persecution or murder, women enjoy equal rights, and all people are free to worship, or not, as they choose.

And yet, many political progressives and naysayers, here and abroad, malign Israel to the point of wishing the country wiped from the map.

It makes zero sense.

Haley, the daughter of Indian Sikh immigrants, converted to Christianity and served as the Republican governor of South Carolina, finding her mojo as a defender of civil and human rights. She pushed for and won the removal of the Confederate battle flag, seen by many as a symbol of racism, from the grounds of the State House in 2015.

The same year, she became the first chief executive officer in the nation to sign a law banning her state’s government from doing business with any company participating in the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement — BDS — or with any firm discriminating “based on race, color, religion, gender or national origin of the targeted person or entity.”

The relationship between Israel and the administration of former President Barack Obama was strained, to put it mildly, culminating in the US joining in the Israel-threatening nuclear deal with Iran, and this country’s abstention from December’s UN Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlements. Haley described the move at AIPAC as “embarrassing” and “hurtful.”

Yet pro-Israel reps would not blame Obama entirely for the bad blood. “This hostility long preceded President Obama,’’ said Hoenlein.

This month, Haley demanded that a UN commission withdraw a report that described Israel as an “apartheid state’’ — trashing it for the self-defensive treatment of Palestinians. The fracas, and demands for retraction from the UN secretary-general, prompted Rima Khalaf, then-executive secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, to resign her post. Good.

The report was yanked from the commission’s website.

Peace in the Middle East can only be achieved if both sides come together at the bargaining table, and the Palestinian side has refused to sit back down with the Israelis.

Haley understands that healing differences is as simple as that.  What a menschette.


Political correctness largely self-defeating

CHRIS KENNY, writing from Australia

In this postmodern, politically correct, post-truth, post-Trump age, we are encouraged to forget facts, ideas and arguments, and just speculate on identity and motives. So I guess I’m the token white, middle-aged, heterosexual, right-of-centre, cisgendered male in this debate.

The question tonight is not whether I am politically correct or you support political correctness, but whether political correctness has failed itself.

Jacinta Nampijinpa Price and I contend the answer is unambiguously in the affirmative. Political correctness exists to shape our thoughts; as George Orwell explained in detail, control language and you control thought. But it is failing. Dissent is rudely breaking through.

The agenda of political correctness is that of the left — the green left, the socially progressive left, the virtue-signalling left. The politically correct pretend gender away, reducing heterosexuality to just one of a suite of options; they want us all to pretend we are saving the planet; they’d like to eliminate borders and nationality; and they decry organised religion — well, organised Christian religion.

But in all these areas the more the PC mob imposes strictures through universities, bureaucracies and the media-political class, the more the mainstream resists. The primacy of sovereignty is reclaimed by the masses through Brexit, European politics and the rise of Donald Trump. Climate gestures are under attack and the Paris Agreement seems increasingly likely to be ignored. It has been Trumped.

Intolerant anti-Muslim parties are on the march in Europe and Australia, and walls and bans figured prominently in Trump’s ascendancy. Not only is this happening despite a regime of political correctness in liberal democracies, it is largely a backlash against political correctness. “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct,” said candidate Trump — he was that blatant.

So, too, is resurrected renegade Australian politician Pauline Hanson, who runs anti-Muslim and anti-immigration lines. “The problem is,” Hanson says, “we have not had leaders with the foresight or intestinal fortitude to cast aside political correctness.”

If political correctness aided the rise of Trump and Hanson — or indeed the success of Brexit or Marine Le Pen — it has ­failed itself. It has provided a springboard for all that it despises.

The moral, ideological and political cowardice of centre-left and centre-right parties in the face of the politically correct thought police has created an extreme backlash. This happens because political correctness has become an absurdity; a perversity. Instead of railing against indigenous dysfunction and disadvantage, it attacks a cartoonist; instead of saving rivers, it attacks coal companies; it boycotts a beer to shut down debate on gay marriage. Political correctness has divorced the media-political class from the mainstream, creating a chasm between political posturing and common sense.

It is worse than you think. When a radicalised Muslim cleric pulled a gun, said he had a bomb and took 17 people hostage in a cafe near here — claiming allegiance to Islamic State — the politically correct started a social media campaign trumpeting care and solidarity, not for the hos­tages but for Muslims on public transport. The “I’ll ride with you” hashtag started when a former Greens candidate in Brisbane tweeted about a fabricated incident on a train — this was virtue-signalling to combat an anti-Muslim backlash that never happened. The media loved it; one ABC presenter said it was the only “bright spot” of the siege. Imagine that: a “bright spot” in a terror attack.

Real people held at gunpoint — two innocents were later killed — while the Twitter PC brigade pretended mainstream Australians and Islamophobia were the real threat. And it was all fake.

At the inquest we learned that while police waited, preferring not to launch an operation against the terrorist, they did launch Operation Hammerhead, which put police on the streets to protect Muslims from this imaginary backlash. This is political correctness gone mad.

Politicians often talk in riddles to avoid mention of Islamism; in response to jihadist terrorism Barack Obama held a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism. People see this weakness and vote for the hardliners who at least recognise a serious threat. Political correctness fails itself.

Let’s look at feminism. Confronted by the subjugation of some Muslim women — sequestered under the burka or subjected to female genital mutilation and forced child marriages — the politically correct don’t protest but don scarfs to show solidarity. Again, that’s a fail.

On border protection the politically correct campaigned against tough laws and got their wish in Australia in 2008. This restarted the evil people-smuggling trade, saw at least 1200 drown, tens of thousands go into detention and left those who couldn’t afford a people-smuggler stranded in camps, sliding further back in the queue. Fail.

The politically correct want gay marriage but didn’t like Australian voters having a say, so they campaigned against a plebiscite; if not for the PC brigade gay marriage would be legal. Fail.

The politically correct believe it is more important to display moral superiority than confront reality and get things done. The evidence is all around us: political correctness has failed itself. But of course practitioners, such as our opponents, can’t admit that — because that would be politically incorrect.



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


4 April, 2017

The roots of populism

Jon Holbrook

David Goodhart’s The Road To Somewhere is a compelling critique of elite-based politics

Couplets have their place in political analysis providing they do two things: describe the forces behind political debate and outline a way of transcending them. In other words, a useful couplet needs to be able to address the past and present, and the future. In The Road to Somewhere, David Goodhart gives us a new couplet: the ‘Anywheres’ and the ‘Somewheres’. It is a schism of values and identities that, he argues, accounts for the Brexit vote, the election of Donald Trump, the decline of the centre-left and the rise of populism across Europe.

The Anywheres and Somewheres both ask themselves the same question: what do they want from society and how do they get it? But they come up with radically different answers. The Anywheres want to get on in the world and to do this they place ‘a high value on autonomy, mobility and novelty and a much lower value on group identity, tradition and national social contracts (faith, flag and family)’. As Goodhart says, ‘work, and in fact life itself, is about individual self-realisation’. He describes the Anywhere ideology as that of ‘progressive individualism’.

The Somewheres also want a better life, but their forum is local rather than global and their means of obtaining it is more family- and community-focused, rather than workplace-based. The Somewheres feel uncomfortable about ‘an achievement society in which they struggle to achieve’. Goodhart rejects the dismissive view of many social commentators that this strata of society is reactionary, racist or xenophobic (although he recognises that such elements exist on the fringes). Indeed, he describes them as ‘in the main, modern people for whom women’s equality and minority rights, distrust of power, free expression, consumerism and individual choice, are part of the air they breathe’. He describes the Somewhere ideology as socially conservative and communitarian which can be summed up in the phrase ‘decent populism’.

The schism between Anywheres and Somewheres has been most pronounced over immigration. This was the issue which caused Goodhart to question his own Anywhere ideology when, in 2004, as editor of the centre-left current-affairs magazine, Prospect, he wrote an essay, ‘Too Diverse?’, that questioned the benefits of mass immigration. Despite being accused of ‘nice racism’ and ‘liberal Powellism’, Goodhart continued his studies and became convinced that the left had got on the wrong side of the argument on both mass immigration (too enthusiastic) and integration of minorities and national identity (too indifferent).

But The Road To Somewhere does far more than merely address the issue of immigration, central though that is to the Anywhere/Somewhere divide. For Goodhart recognises that what gives the divide its political significance today is the fact that ‘until 30 or 40 years ago, the Somewhere worldview remained completely dominant. It was British common sense.’  Whereas today Anywheres, who he places as numerically no more than 25 per cent of the British population, have come to dominate public policy and thinking. Each of these policy headlines of the past decade or so shows how marginalised the Somewhere viewpoint has become: the 2003 decision to open the British labour market to people from eastern Europe (seven years before the EU required it); the 2007 decision to allow Romania and Bulgaria to join the EU (pushed hard by Tony Blair initially against the wishes of the European Commission); support for more economic integration as represented by the TTIP trade negotiations; support for gay marriage; the big increase in foreign aid; the large subsidies for renewable energy and the relentless increase in petrol duty.

And in addition to the policy headlines, Goodhart notes how the prevailing view that has informed public policy for the past few decades has been that of the Anywheres, particularly with regards to education, work and family. Higher education has expanded (good for Anywheres), while vocational education and apprenticeship provision has declined (bad for Somewheres). Educational success has been elevated into the gold standard of social esteem, while those with fewer qualifications seek jobs that could and increasingly are being done by a keen foreign workforce - by exporting factories and importing labour (good for Anywheres but bad for Somewheres).

Anywheres have also dominated family policy so as to give Britain ‘one of the most family-unfriendly tax and benefit regimes in the developed world’. Goodhart traces this back to 1990, when Nigel Lawson had wanted to retain a tax allowance that did not penalise single-earner couple households. But Margaret Thatcher’s ‘one feminist policy intervention’ appears to have been her ‘pronounced lack of sympathy for mothers who stayed at home to look after their young children rather than going out to work’. This resulted in an ungenerous tax allowance for couples that waned until abolished by Gordon Brown in 2000. Since 1990, single-parent households have been financially incentivised, particularly when claiming welfare benefits.

Goodhart’s use of the Anywhere/Somewhere couplet is particularly illuminating when applied to family policy for it highlights how Anywhere ideas have benefitted the Anywheres while undermining the interests of Somewheres. Goodhart explains how family policy ‘has been dominated by the concerns of highly educated, upper-professional Anywhere women’ with interests in workplace equality, whereas Somewheres have a greater interest in sustaining family life. Changes in family life and the ideas and policies that have driven them have been good for Anywhere men and women, who have tended to benefit from double-income, stable family households.

The family policies that have benefitted Anywheres have also caused Somewheres to experience a far greater incidence of family breakdown, single parenthood and welfare dependency. Somewhere men, without the esteem derived from high-status careers, are particularly in need of family responsibilities to motivate them and would benefit from financial incentives and ideas that bolstered the traditional family unit. Consistent with this need, opinion surveys show that Somewhere men and women did not expect sex equality to result in ‘the complete abolition of the gender division of labour, including the idea of the man as main (but not sole) breadwinner when children are young’. Accordingly, while Somewheres talk about ‘the central importance of the conventional family’, they are frequently unable to practise it as the institution that is so important to them has been weakened by government ideas and policies.

The Road to Somewhere will make uncomfortable reading for the 25 per cent of Anywheres who have pursued their own self-interest with little regard for the interests of the 50 per cent of Somewheres (and the rest who he calls the Inbetweeners). They will be discomforted because, as Goodhart notes, ‘the two value clusters… are clearly visible in a host of opinion and value surveys’.  Indeed, his analysis will help to explain why in 2016, Anywheres lost the EU referendum in Britain and the presidential election in America and more generally why they see before them a society that they find difficult to understand.

But, and it is an important but, Goodhart does not develop his argument so that his reader can begin to understand how the schism of values, ideas and policies – a schism that is prevalent across the Western world – can be overcome. Goodhart frequently refers to ‘anywhere over-reach’, which he hopes can be addressed with his ‘plea for a less headstrong Anywhere liberalism’. Yet the reaction of Anywheres to Brexit and Trump shows that pleading with them to listen to Somewheres and ameliorate their policies will achieve nothing. His hope for ‘a happier co-existence’ between Anywheres and Somewheres ‘after the shock of 2016’ is not likely to be fulfilled with ameliorating pleas.

The strength of Goodhart‘s book is that he has invented labels that describe real social forces in modern Western societies. And an awareness of the ideological conflict between Anywheres and Somewheres may help policymakers to recalibrate their thinking. But people treasure their values and policies, especially ones that connect with their own self-interest and perception of what they want from society and how to get it. They will not give them up lightly.

Fortunately, Western societies have a mechanism for transcending conflicting values: it’s called democracy and it needs to be re-energised. Goodhart does not spell out the extent to which Anywheres are wary of, if not hostile towards, democracy. Yet his book contains much information from which such a conclusion could be drawn. He criticises the Anywheres who claim that the nation state is unable to stop the march of globalisation – a way of rendering political debate pointless. He states that Anywheres tend to be less politically tolerant than Somewheres – a way of avoiding political debate. He observes the Anywhere penchant for claiming the moral high ground from which they dismiss Somewheres as racist, nativist or for holding less worthy views – a way of closing down political debate. And he notes how Anywheres have set up and then controlled technocratic, legal and supra-national organisations – a way of putting policy beyond political debate.

The reality of the Anywhere ascendancy is that it has come about by neutering democracy. That was the only way that 25 per cent of the population could usher in policy after policy that suited their interests while impoverishing, materially and ideologically, the majority. Brexit, Trump, the decline of the centre-left and the rise of populism across Europe all represent a significant backlash against the Anywhere ascendancy. But if democracy is to serve the interests of all its people, the people will need to do more than ‘plea for a less headstrong Anywhere liberalism’. Goodhart’s book is a compelling critique of 21st-century Western politics. The task for his readers is to develop ideas, policies and new political parties that can meet the needs, not of the 25 per cent, but of the entire demos.


Swedish Government Funds Latest BDS Initiative in France

As shown by NGO Monitor research, a report published today by a coalition of French and Palestinian pro-BDS organizations that calls on the French government to “pressure” French financial institutions to divest from Israeli banks, communication, insurance, and utility companies, is funded by the Swedish government.

The report, titled ‘The Dangerous Ties between French Banks and Insurances Companies with Israeli Occupation‘ and written by Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS), CCFD – Terre Solidaire, International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), the French League of Human Rights (LDH), and Al-Haq, also calls on the French government to intervene and force French banks and insurance companies to “disengage without delay from any financial link with Israeli banks” as well as encourages “a legislative proposal prohibiting enterprises from all sectors to invest in the settlements.”

Olga Deutsch, Director of the Europe Desk at NGO Monitor, “BDS groups are once again targeting France and Israel with economic warfare, and it is no surprise that the central pillars of the French and Israeli economies are in their sights. What is even more troubling is that a third country – Sweden – is involved as well, and this report reflects the danger of irresponsible Swedish funding to NGOs.”

The logo of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) appears on the publication. In addition, the Swedish government provides millions of dollars in core funding to FIDH, committing $5,170,707 between 2012-2016. Sweden also provides $5.7 million from 2013-2017 to the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat which funds Al Haq, an organization whose General Director Shawan Jabarin has alleged ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a recognized terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.

The French government has also directly given hundreds of thousands of Euro for projects and core funding to each of the NGOs involved in writing the report, including FIDH, AFPS, CCFD – Terre Solidaire, LDH, and Al Haq.

The NGOs behind the report were part of a similar coalition that in 2016 pressured the French telecom giant Orange to drop its alliance with the Israeli company Partner.


I’m calling out the loons who make Israel bashing the mother of all virtues

Soon after London Fashion Week concluded, Israel Apartheid Week began. Another week, another obsessive focus on Israel.

The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is mostly spearheaded in the West by people who have little to nothing attaching them to the Middle-East conflict.

Nothing, that is, beyond the fact that belonging to the hard-left and not supporting BDS has become the equivalent of claiming a love for fashion, while hating haute couture. Though unlike haute couture, BDS is an inelegant and simplistic solution to a protracted and incredibly complicated problem. But who cares for detail when you have a fabulous placard to wave?

The lazy analogy that BDS rests on is with South African apartheid. But unlike apartheid-era South Africa, Arabs make up 20 percent of Israel’s full citizenry. Most of these Arab-Israeli citizens are Muslim. There are mosques on Israeli beaches. Alongside Hebrew, Arabic is an official language of Israel. An Arab-Israeli judge has even impeached and convicted former Israeli prime minster, Ehud Olmert.

And though many problems with integration persist – as they do with minority communities across the West – when surveyed 77 percent of these Arabs expressed an overwhelming preference to remain Israeli, rather than become citizens of a future Palestinian state.

The reason is obvious, Israeli-Muslims have more freedom of religion than other minorities – and even other Muslims have in all other Middle-Eastern countries.

The problem lies in the status of the West Bank and Gaza, not with any imaginary apartheid system inside Israel proper. So lazy is the apartheid analogy that I could effectively end my article at this paragraph. But so entrenched has our political laziness become, I feel compelled to carry on.

Far from being an apartheid, what we have is a somewhat unexceptional, albeit rather tragic, land dispute. An unexceptional land dispute: this is all that it was.

Until it became fetishised.

All of these disputes involve deep religious, historic, and political meaning for their respective parties.

And only the overwhelming narcissism of our Abrahamic faiths – including those among us who define themselves against them—would value the religious and historic significance of these “Holy Lands” to mean anything more than other lost holy lands for Buddhists in Tibet, or Sikhs in Khalistan, which was lost to Pakistan’s Punjab a year before Israel’s creation.

Yet activists with little ancestral connection to Palestine have become obsessed with instramentalising this particular dispute to grind their own ideological axes.

Just as I would argue for Palestinians during past crises in Gaza, Israelis are not collectively responsible for the mistakes of their government in failing to achieve peace.

BDS seeks to hold Israelis collectively responsible. BDS punishes an entire people for the actions of a government that only came to power because of the quirks of a proportionally representative (PR) system that allows for minority religious parties to exert undue influence over policy.

As a result of Israel’s PR system, Netanyahu is only able to secure victory by forming a coalition with Naftali Bennett’s far-right, pro-settler Jewish Home.

It is not uncommon on Western university campuses to witness absurdities such as student groups refusing to condemn ISIS for fear of causing anti-Muslim bigotry, or proudly partnering with pro-jihadist groups such as CAGE UK, all the while calling for the entire people of Israel to be boycotted.

No doubt, many of these same student groups would support Obama’s deal to ease sanctions on Hezbollah-terrorist-supporting, Assad-backing, theocratic Iran, while simultaneously calling for sanctions to be imposed on a democratic Israel.

In this latter case, it should be remembered that Iranian film has done wonders breaking down barriers and critiquing internal oppression, because Iranian cultural exchange was exempt from U.S.-imposed sanctions.

Consistency would be to continue encouraging more such openness, but the incredibly regressive step seeking to ban Israeli culture achieves the exact opposite.

As a British author I would be mortified if my work were censored around the world due to the actions of my government—such as the invasion of Iraq, which I have always opposed.

How would Turkish authors feel if they were held responsible for the increasingly unhinged, autocratic Erdogan’s Islamisation of Turkey, or his approach toward the Kurds?

And yet, amid Chinese abuse in Tibet and Xinjiang, Burmese oppression of the Rohingya, the Kurdish people’s struggles, the plight of women and just about any free thinker in Saudi Arabia and Iran, the rights of practically everybody in North Korea, and the Ukrainian struggle to liberate the Crimea, the only foreign government that seems to attract the constant ire of our National Union of Students is the one that – with all its imperfections – is more democratic and transparent than most of the above: Israel.

Even the outgoing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon agreed that “decades of political manoeuvring have created a disproportionate number of resolutions, reports, and committees against Israel… In many cases, instead of helping the Palestinian issue, this reality has foiled the ability of the UN to fulfill its role effectively.”

To this day, 47 resolutions concerning the Israel-Palestine conflict have been adopted by the UN Security Council. From 2016 alone one need only look at the 18 resolutions against Israel adopted during the UN General Assembly in September, or the 12 resolutions adopted in the Human Rights Council. The tragic reality is that these were more than those focused on Syria, North Korea, Iran, and South Sudan combined.

Yes, you read that correctly.

To cite disproportionality against Israel inevitably leads to accusations by the hard-left that one’s fallen into the fallacy of “whatabouttery.” That is, trying to distract from one’s own transgressions by shouting “what about” someone else’s. In this case, supposedly trying to downplay Israel’s abuses or failings by pointing to other conflicts around the world.

But I am not engaging in this fallacy. I am calling it out.

Due to our Abrahamic narcissism, Israel has become the perennial ‘whatabout’ used by almost every political persuasion to push their own – often sinister – agenda. Fanatical Israeli settlers who usually hail from America seek to blow up the al-Aqsa compound to resurrect the Temple.

Evangelical Christians support Israel so that the Messiah can return and initiate armageddon, after which Jews can presumably go to hell.

Hamas has never held elections since coming to power, and brutally tortures and drags ‘collaborators’ across the streets of Gaza from the backs of motorcycles… but Israel!

Islamists the world over cite Israel as proof for why their theocratic caliphate must return.

Arab despots point to Israel as their excuse for never holding free and fair elections, ever.

Rather than look inwards, Muslim conspiracy loons claim Israel created ISIS.

The hard-left, such as the UK’s Stop the War, uses Israel to criticise the ‘imperialist West’, all the while acquiescing to Russia’s annexation of the Crimea.

The hard-right use Israel for everything from boosting defence spending, to justifying ethnic profiling to building anti-immigrant walls.

In this way, obsessing over Israel has become the mother of all virtue-signals.

And while the conflict is uncannily similar to Pakistan’s dispute with India over Kashmir – Israel and Pakistan were created for virtually identical reasons during the same period – Israel attracts far more hysteria.

Only by releasing the “exceptional status” pressure from this conflict, by stripping it of its religious hyperbole, by removing it from the spotlight, by simply placing it on a par with every and any other conflict in the world – tragic but not unique – do we stand a better chance of solving it. I call this “Israeli unexceptionalism.”

Only by accepting that there is nothing special about this conflict are the stakes lowered, emotions drained and reason returned. Only by remaining somewhat dispassionate are the frothing prophets of doom, with their armageddon pathology, deprived of their manipulative power over us.

Until then, just like London Fashion Week, Israel Apartheid Week will remain to me the moral leftist equivalent of our narcissistic first world problems.


More "takers" must become earners

Our tax base is concentrated in an ever-diminishing group of lifters. Nearly 60 per cent of corporate tax is paid by just 0.1 per cent of companies whilst nearly half of all personal tax is paid by nine per cent of earners

By Australian conservative politicuian Cory Bernardi

The “Statement of National Challenges” report was released this week by the Menzies Research Centre. It is very sober reading for anyone concerned about the future of our economy and our quality of life.

The subtitle of the report is ‘why Australians are struggling to get ahead’ and I think that is a sentiment shared by many of us.
The report’s author, former head of the National Commission of Audit, Tony Shepherd AO states:

“For generations the great promise celebrated in our national anthem - wealth in exchange for toil - has given us an enviable lifestyle. Yet Australians are beginning to doubt that promise…they have become distrustful of government and nervous about the future."

It’s a message that regular readers of this column have heard repeatedly over the years. The question remains, why aren’t the political class doing much to fix it?

At some levels, I don’t think many in politics are equipped to see the long term implications of their decisions. They justify our escalating national debt as less bad than others and therefore ok. They legitimise our high taxes by comparing them to socialist countries. They excuse the rorting of our generous welfare system as a human right rather than a hand-up.

It’s as if living beyond one’s means is a moral obligation for government.

The Shepherd report also contains some telling statistics under the heading ‘a strong economy is the basis of a just and fair society’; highlighting our borrowing for recurrent spending and our ageing population.

We currently spend in excess of $155 billion annually on welfare and $72 billion on health. That’s over half the budget on these two measures alone and both are growing well in excess of inflation.

Alarmingly, our tax base is concentrated in an ever-diminishing group of lifters. Nearly 60 per cent of corporate tax is paid by just 0.1 per cent of companies whilst nearly half of all personal tax is paid by nine per cent of earners.

Clearly this is not sustainable and makes a mockery of the cacophony of chanting ‘make the wealthy pay their fair share’ mantra. These lifters are doing that - and more.

I realise such statistics may not sit well with those who see others doing better but we have to confront the reality of the problem facing our nation.

Too many are expecting too much from government. Unfortunately too many in government seek to placate those demands for political expediency.

The real price of that opportunism will be borne by the next generation.



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


3 April, 2017

What I think about homosexuals

I was tempted to begin this short essay with:  "Some of my best friends are homosexuals", but I resisted the temptation.  "Some of my best friends are Jews" is of course a famously antisemitic statement, though what genuinely philosemitic people are supposed to say, I have never figured out.  Is it assumed that there are no philosemitic people?  Jews must grimly think so at times. I think I could reasonably be described as philosemitic.  I am, for instance, a passionate supporter of Israel and have been since before my teens.  If one is allowed to be a gentile Zionist, I am one.

The first thing that should be said about homosexuals is also the last one that is usually said and I will henceforth be branded a "homophobe" for saying it. A phobia is an irrational fear but I certainly do not fear homosexuals.  Those in my social circle are perfectly pleasant, in fact.  And my late sister was a homosexual, if that counts.  I also have a homosexual niece but she is very shy so I rarely see her.

So what is that evil thing that I should not say?  It is that among normal people the very ideas of homosexual contact is disgusting.  And that revulsion is why homosexuals were once heavily oppressed.  The revulsion probably stems from the liking that people have for the opposite sex.  If men and women were not heavily attracted to one-another, the human race would undoubtedly have died out long ago. 

To quote a famous person with bad hair: "“I’ve gotta use some tic tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” he says.“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait." 

So it is probably just the converse of what is seen as attractive that the opposite of that is seen as repelling.

So, the fact that there is a natural revulsion at the very thought of homosexuality helps explain why homosexuality is such a molten issue at the moment.  In their usual way, Leftists have seized on an issue that they can cudgel others with. They revel in destroying anything characteristic of the existing system.  And attacking a natural instinct is about as good as it gets for them. They can really oppress people about that.  Valorizing something that most people dislike makes them feel good.  It separates them from the common herd that they scorn.

And the fact that there is a natural revulsion against homosexuality probably explains why the Bible comes down so heavily against it. As Leviticus 20:13 says: "If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads". 

That is a very clear judgment and command.  In Romans chapters 1 and 2, however, the Apostle Paul rescinded that command, saying that God alone will punish them. God alone is entitled to judge them.  It is however clear that Paul heavily disapproved of homosexuality so respect for Bible teachings would cause true Christians to think similarly.  So from a Christian point of view, any "Christian" denomination that has homosexual clergy is clearly of the Devil, not of God.

And there is a Devil.  Whether you conceive of him as a man in a red suit with horns and a tail, or as a fallen angel or the destructive side of human nature, there is clearly much evil in human life.  Freud called it "Thanatos", the death instinct.

So, to me the very idea of homosexuality is repelling but I take everyone as I find them so homosexuals who behave in socially pleasant ways will find no criticism from me.  What they do in their bedrooms is of no concern to me. I would rather not think about it in fact. And as far as I can see, most Christians behave similarly.  They accept the Apostle Paul's command not to judge individuals but cannot say or do anything that expresses approval  of homosexuality.  Only thought police could ask for more

After millions of our finest young men have died fighting the thought police of Communism and Nazism, it shows the power of the Devil that we still have thought police among us.

Bakers Accused of Hate Get Emotional Day in Court

The ongoing battle between gay rights and religious liberty escalated Thursday as husband-and-wife bakers in Oregon appealed their case after being ordered to pay $135,000 in damages for declining to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.

“Everything up to this point has been administrative hearings,” Aaron Klein, co-owner with his wife Melissa of the since-closed bakery, told The Daily Signal afterward.

“Every time we tried to make a constitutional argument it was stomped on, because it was administrative law,” he said. “But now we’re finally in a courtroom where the Constitution and due process can be argued on a level we haven’t seen before. I’m looking forward to seeing the outcome.”

In court, an attorney for the Kleins again argued that designing and baking a cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage would violate the bakers’ Christian faith.

Both the Kleins and the same-sex couple who filed the original complaint against them were present inside the courtroom.

Afterward, while speaking to reporters, Melissa Klein had an emotional response. “I loved my shop, and losing it has been so hard for me and my family,” Melissa Klein says.

In an exclusive telephone interview with The Daily Signal later, she added: “That was a part of our life, and it was something that we thought was going to be passed down to our kids. It’s something that I miss every day still. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get over it because it was our second home.”

A three-judge panel of the Oregon Court of Appeals heard oral arguments from both sides, with questions focused on issues such as:

Does Oregon have a “compelling reason” to grant the Kleins a religious exemption from the state’s antidiscrimination law?
Does a cake count as artistic expression protected by the First Amendment, and how do you differentiate between what constitutes art and what doesn’t?

What was the particular message involved in designing and making a cake for a same-sex wedding, and how is it understood by an observer?

To what extent may an artist be compelled to do something?

The Kleins used to run Sweet Cakes by Melissa, a family bakery they owned and operated in Gresham, Oregon. But after the Kleins declined in 2013 to make a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding, citing their religious beliefs, they faced protests that eventually led them to shut down their bakery.

In July 2015, an administrative judge for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries ruled that the Kleins had discriminated against a lesbian couple, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, on the basis of their sexual orientation. The judge ordered the Kleins to pay the $135,000 for physical, emotional, and mental damages.

Under Oregon law, it is illegal for businesses to refuse service based on a customer’s sexual orientation, as well as race, gender, and other characteristics.

The Kleins maintained that they did not discriminate, but only declined to make the cake because of their religious beliefs about marriage. Designing and baking a custom cake for a same-sex wedding, they said, would violate their Christian faith.

The Kleins appealed to the Oregon Court of Appeals on the basis of their constitutional rights to religious freedom, free speech, and due process.

The three appeals judges also pursued these lines of questioning:

Was the award of damages—the $135,000 the Kleins were ordered to pay—out of line with other cases before the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries?

Was it reasonable for that state agency to extend the damages through more than two years after the alleged discrimination actually occurred?

Did Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner Brad Avakian prejudge the case and in doing so strip the Kleins of their right to due process?

How is sexual orientation different from race as a personal characteristic?

Each side had equal time to make their case and the Kleins, as plaintiffs, got an additional five minutes for a rebuttal. The oral arguments were live-streamed, and may be watched in full here.

“The government should never force someone to violate their conscience or their beliefs,” Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of First Liberty Institute, a religious freedom group that represents the Kleins, said in a press statement, adding:

“In a diverse and pluralistic society, people of good will should be able to peacefully coexist with different beliefs. We hope the court will uphold the Kleins’ rights to free speech and religious liberty.”

But Charlie Burr, a spokesman for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, whose lawyers represent the Bowman-Cryers,  said: “The facts of this case clearly demonstrate that the Kleins unlawfully discriminated against a same-sex couple when they refused service based on sexual orientation.”

Since the case began in 2013, the Kleins have argued the cards were stacked against them.

Lawyers for the Bureau of Labor and Industries pursued the charges against the Kleins on behalf of the lesbian couple, who went on to marry.

Avakian, the agency official, made multiple public comments criticizing them before any rulings, the Kleins said.

The administrative judge who issued the final ruling also is employed by the state agency.

Besides ordering the Kleins to pay $135,000, Avakian ordered the former bakery owners to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.

Both parties have said the case has taken a heavy toll on their families. Aaron and Melissa Klein, who have five children, say they continue to face hurtful attacks from liberal activists.

According to an article the Bowman-Cryers wrote for The Advocate, a publication focused on LGBT issues, they are foster parents for two “high-needs” girls. “Part of the reason we decided to get married in the first place was to provide stability for our daughters,” they wrote, adding:

Before we became engaged, we became foster parents for two very high-needs girls after their mother, a close friend of ours, died suddenly. Lizzy, now 9, has cerebral palsy, autism, and a chromosomal disorder that causes developmental delays. Anastasia, now 7, has Asperger’s and stopped speaking when her mother died.

While the case wound its way through the courts, we won full adoptive custody of Lizzy and Anastasia, and they are the light of our lives.

The appeals judges are not expected to rule for several months. If they rule against the Kleins, the couple’s next step would be appealing to the Oregon Supreme Court.


‘Political correctness’ in modern America

The phrase “politically correct” is about as combustible as any. Bring up those words and you know you’re treading into ideological war territory.

So, gulp. Here I go.

For many, I think the term “politically correct” represents a type of stifling of honesty. People feel hemmed in by a societal pressure to conform to a belief system that they don’t accept — an “elitist” message, which restricts language and actions. I feel that’s why there’s such a fierce rejection of “political correctness.” It’s received as a type of pat of the head, a sort of “let me tell you how to think, cause you’re an idiot and not intellectually or morally on my level.”

Does anyone ever respond well to that sort of feeling? I’ve always felt bitter when I’ve thought someone is looking down on me. I think our partisan politics have been reduced to this disrespect battle. One side is bitter at the perception of intense disrespect. The other side feels exactly the same thing. And because we all feel so angry and disrespected, we’re ready to lash out with a hostile dismissal of strangers’ humanity, which is a circular problem, a tornado gathering velocity.

I think Donald Trump has so much power because he is the big societal voice of a common individual rage against a perceived collective pat on the head. He is absolutely a finger in the eye of that idea of liberal condescension. Because of this, his questionable behavior and statements seem to pale in comparison — for many, at least — to his aggressive fight against liberal condescension, which he rails against without apology. I think that’s why he gets a pass on things that would surely doom other politicians and why there is such huge passion at his back. Let me add, I don’t claim to know what you think. This is just my perception of bigger political trends. And I may be wrong.

Of course, when we talk of “political correctness,” we inevitably turn to college campuses. And I think colleges have erred in a really big way — acting out of fear, not bravery when it come to ideas. What I mean is, I don’t think colleges should have “safe spaces” or “trigger warnings” regarding ideas. A college should be a place where ideas aren’t muzzled but are expressed with passion, whether they’re left or right, nice or mean. Then, such speech should be opposed with whatever passion and eloquence another speaker can muster. College is not a place to restrict thought but to realize that the world is big and that your own worldview is contradicted, no matter how right you think you are. And how are you going to deal with that? Well, that inner conflict is actually critical to education and critical thinking. Hateful speech calls for forceful rejection, but it doesn’t call for a muzzle. It calls for more speech, delivered, hopefully, without mirrored hate.

But I also think “political correctness” is used in lazy ways these days. Any action, any language that angers someone can be dismissed as “politically correct.” But I think actual “political correctness” can apply to left and right. I see it simply as the pressure of a societal norm on an individual, which can be good or bad, depending on the pressure. For instance, it’s good for someone to feel pressure not to call someone the “N” word in public, right? That form of political correctness was once not there. But, for the good of civilized society, it needs to be. However, shutting down conservative dissent on a college campus would be an example of such political correctness gone too far. So, there’s a sort of balance worth seeking.

We should recognize that there is always societal pressure on you to be a certain way depending on where you are. And what is that pressure anyway? Well, it’s the battle over common decency. We feel there’s a type of common sense that we understand and that others should see too. And we’re horribly frustrated — furious, actually — when they can’t see things the way we do. If they can’t agree with my decency, well, then they’re indecent, right? Who hasn’t felt this? And sometimes, maybe we’re right. But it’s worth being skeptical of our own passionate judgment about strangers, because people are usually more complicated than we understand.

Many people don’t seem to have any hesitation to judge strangers with extreme passion based on very little information. I don’t find this admirable in a Democrat or a Republican or in myself — which I certainly do at times. Who doesn’t? But I can at least recognize that what is admirable is the effort to learn more about others and to resist simple judgments in my head.


Leftist racism is now acceptable in Australia

IF you don’t think that multiculturalism and the politics of identity have become instruments of division in Australia, then you need to hear Tara Coverdale’s story.   

Like most mothers with young children, Coverdale enjoys opportunities to socialise with other mothers of children the same age while on maternity leave, especially in her neighbourhood in inner-city Sydney.

So when a Russian-born friend mentioned a playgroup on Thursdays, at the Alexandria Park Community Centre, she was enthusiastic.

Two weeks ago, on a humid Thursday morning, she bundled her eight-month-old baby in the pram and walked with her four-year-old son the short distance to the community centre.

When she arrived, her red-haired son raced off to play while she looked around for her friend.

That was when a staff member approached and asked if it was her first day. Coverdale thought how nice that she was so attentive.

“I’m sorry you can’t come here. It’s a multicultural playgroup.”  But then the woman said: “Can I ask what your cultural background is?” Taken aback, Coverdale, who has blonde hair and freckles, said: “I’m Australian”.

Immediately, the woman said: “I’m sorry, you can’t come here. It’s for multicultural families and people who speak languages other than English at home.”

Coverdale stood her ground: “I said ‘I’m not leaving’. My kids were playing. My older son was having such a good time with his buddy, and I thought, ‘Why should I leave?’”

But then the centre “facilitator”, aka manager, Jo Fletcher, confronted her: “Can I just ask what your cultural background is.” When Coverdale said she was fourth-generation Australian, Fletcher said: “I’m sorry you can’t come here. It’s a multicultural playgroup.”

This conversation is an account from Coverdale’s recollection. Fletcher did not respond to phone calls and a text message last week, but she confirmed to the NSW Department of Education, which funds the centre, that such a conversation had taken place.

Coverdale said she tried charm in a bid to be allowed to attend the playgroup, but Fletcher insisted it was exclusively for “multicultural” mothers who “might be lonely and might want to build a network of people who speak the same language”.

Coverdale asked wouldn’t it be better for those mothers to meet someone like her, who knows a lot of people in the community.

“What if I was really lonely and I get sent away from a play group?”

Then she asked what playgroup would she be allowed to join.  “We don’t have one here for you,” said Fletcher. “You’ll have to go up to Erskineville or Newtown.”

Erskineville’s playgroup is for “Rainbow babies and kids”, and Newtown is a 30-minute walk.

The only other playgroup offered at Alexandria Park is on Wednesdays but it is reserved for “Swedish-speaking families”, according to a timetable Fletcher provided.

“We’re in a pretty progressive area,” says Coverdale. “It’s very accepting of all people. But I feel like I’m excluded.”

And she asks: “How does that help Australia help people to integrate speak English and build a life…

“I pay a lot of tax. I pay my rates. To think I’m actually not welcome is unfair.”

The other mums thought her treatment was “terrible… They think it’s a great facility and appreciate it but they don’t want to exclude people”.

While she was at the centre she saw other mothers walk in and, “they were made to feel very welcome. Because they didn’t look ‘Australian’ they didn’t even get asked about their background.”

So Coverdale and her red-haired sons were ejected from the playgroup.

Ironically enough, it was just a few days before Harmony Day, a big event at Alexandria Park, “to celebrate our country’s cultural diversity”, with a free halal beef and chicken sausage sizzle. To twist the knife a little deeper, this year’s theme was “We all belong”.

Just not if you are of “Anglo-Celtic” heritage.

Anti-Discrimination Board Acting President Elizabeth Wing confirmed on Friday that “on the face of it”, exclusion from a playgroup “on the basis of race or ethnic background... would appear to be a breach of the [anti-discrimination] act”.

After being alerted to the problem on Friday, Education Minister Rob Stokes and his department, to their credit, instructed Fletcher to allow all families to attend the playgroup.

“I was disappointed to hear that a mum and her young child felt they were not welcome... This is not acceptable. Everyone, regardless of their background, should feel included in these wonderful community activities.”

The Education Department also has “counselled the program facilitator [Fletcher] regarding the requirement of the program to be inclusive”, said a spokesman late Friday.

A good result, but Fletcher is a creature of her milieu. It is politically incorrect to say so, but anti-white racism is now acceptable in Australia, in the name of diversity and “celebrating difference”.

In the ADF, for instance, there are attempts to erase the “Anglo-Saxon” warrior culture, and a recent lamb advertisement stated there are “too many white people” on TV, and lined up caucasians sneeringly labelled “white-whites, translucent whites, beige whites, red whites, and dark whites”.

Bigotry is condoned as a corrective to so-called “white privilege”.

But reinforcing separate cultural identities inevitably leads to the balkanization of Australia and the disowning of our national identity.

Thankfully, Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs, last month reset national policy, with an approach which emphasises unity and shared values. It’s about time.



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


2 April, 2017

Heal From Your ‘Toxic Whiteness!’

Some seriously disturbed people.  It's self-hatred that is toxic

Even among the crazy alt-left, "Everyday Feminism" has a bad name. A Slate article described EF as, “the website that encompasses everything insufferable about social justice culture.”

That’s an understatement. It includes sections on “Privilege,” “Trans and GNC” (Gender Non-Conforming), and of course, “Fem 101.” Like most alt-left sites, it’s not just pro-LGBT. It’s strident to the point of hating straight people. In fact, you almost have to apologize for being white, male and straight just to go to their moronic website.

EF is a big list site: “6 Ways to Love Yourself When You’re Undocumented in the US,” – remember “You are a magical human being.” Or “6 Affirmations for Trans Folks Who Don’t Feel ‘Trans Enough’” – “Your body doesn’t determine what your gender is.” But my favorite item at EF is “Healing from Toxic Whiteness – an online training program for white people commited [SIC] to racial justice.”

For just $97 (or you might get a scholarship!) you can learn “that the US has deeply normalized white supremacy and is built on a foundation of systemic oppression.”

Actual quote: “You may be finding yourself coming to terms with just how prevalent and harmful white supremacy is – and how your white privilege has kept you ignorant and in denial of this reality in the first place.” If you are a white guy reading this, you are doubly toxic!

Actual quote two: “Similar to toxic masculinity, toxic whiteness is something that was created by white supremacy and done to white people.” So go try to learn your Compassionate Activism today!


No to 'Racial Impact Statements'

The Federalist Society blogsite has an interesting post by James Scanlan on proposed legislation in New Jersey that would require racial and ethnic impact statements for any legislative measure that affects pretrial detention, sentencing, probation, or parole policies. Mr. Scanlan notes that racial-impact-statement laws have already, alas, been enacted in Connecticut, Iowa, and Oregon and that similar legislation has recently been introduced in Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, and Wisconsin; and, what’s more, frequently the legislation addresses not just post-arrest and conviction policies, but what is made criminal in the first place.

Mr. Scanlan does a wonderful job of pointing out how this law is methodologically flawed and practically unworkable, and we’d like to elaborate briefly on why the whole approach is bad policy and probably unconstitutional as well.

There are, for starters, no laws that don’t have a disparate impact on some racial or ethnic group — tax laws, antitrust laws, environmental laws, criminal laws, you name it. In the criminal context, this is because human beings don’t commit crimes in the same exact proportion that their particular racial or ethnic group is to the general population, and indeed those proportions change over time.

And what is the government supposed to do with this information, anyway? What it should do, of course, is ignore it: Criminal laws should be written without regard to race, and let the chips fall where they may. It is disturbing to contemplate a legislature carefully crafting a law with an eye on racial and ethnic outcomes; such race-based decision-making is precisely what the Constitution enjoins, and its presence will only encourage lawsuits.

But obviously there is an expectation here that the disparities will be addressed and, in some way, diminished. There are two ways that this might be done, both bad.

The first is not to make some type of behavior illegal that should be illegal because it is dangerous or in some other way bad for the community. This will be unfortunate for the public generally, and especially for those who live in the area where the activity is going on — most often, poor urban areas with high crime rates. But as is often the case, the Left appears more concerned with the race of the perpetrator than it is with the race of his or her victims, even though they are usually the same.

The second way to deal with a predicted disparity is to tweak the law so that more white (or, likely, Asian American) people are arrested, too. That’s probably not what the ACLU has in mind, but one could see an effort to bundle together two bills so that there is racial “balance”: the original one that had a disparate impact on blacks, say, and a second one written not because it is really needed but so that it has a disparate impact on whites. So, for example, a bill that increased penalties for some of the types of street crime that happen in poor, inner-city neighborhoods would be combined with a bill that increased penalties for some types of white-collar crime.

The next white-collar criminal prosecuted under that law would then have a ready-made challenge, namely that the law being applied to him was passed with racially discriminatory intent. That’s unconstitutional.

According to the crime statistics amassed by the FBI for 2015, it is an unfortunate, and politically incorrect, fact that African Americans commit crimes at a greater rate than other racial and ethnic groups including Asian Americans, whites, and Hispanics. But the reason for this is that too many African Americans grow up in homes without a father and live in broken and dysfunctional communities; and those problems will not be solved, and indeed will be exacerbated, by the Left’s ignoring and excusing this reality and instead insisting that any disparity is due to “institutional racism” in our criminal justice system.


California Shoots the Messengers

California has charged two pro-life journalists with 15 felonies — essentially for committing acts of journalism. Two years ago, David Daleidan and Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress made undercover videos to expose Planned Parenthood's practice of selling and profiting from the body parts of aborted babies. The videos shocked much of the American public and brought about renewed calls for a congressional investigation and government defunding of the nation's largest abortion mill. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a former Democrat member of Congress, leveled charges against the two journalists for secretly recording conversations with those involved in Planned Parenthood's aborted baby-parts selling scheme. "The right to privacy is a cornerstone of California's Constitution, and a right that is foundational in a free democratic society," Becerra declared. "We will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations."

This story stinks of unabashed partisanship, cronyism and government tyranny. Former California AG Kamala Harris, a long-time supporter of Planned Parenthood, chose not to investigate the damning evidence found in the videos, but instead focused her investigation on the pro-life journalists. During the investigation Harris secretly worked with Planned Parenthood to craft legislation designed to protect the organization. Harris has since been elected to the U.S. Senate where she is a staunch advocate for Planned Parenthood, which just happened to help fund her campaign.

California's case against Daleidan and Merrit is suspect at best. The undercover videos were recorded in public areas. Arguably it was done under false pretenses, but that was necessary for candid discussion. Even during one of the recorded discussions, top Planned Parenthood executive Deborah Nucatola says it's not a good idea to talk about the selling of aborted baby parts in a "non-confidential setting."

If found guilty on all felony charges, the two Daleidan and Merrit could be looking at up to 15 years in prison. The abortion industry is clearly seeking to use the force of government to put fear into those who would dare to expose and endanger their vile business. The Left will stop at nothing to protect its most sacred cow — abortion.


Australia: Urfa Masood to be Victoria's first female Muslim magistrate

Will sharia principles creep into her verdicts?

Victoria has appointed its first Muslim woman to the bench.

Attorney-General Martin Pakula on Tuesday morning announced the appointment of Urfa Masood to the Magistrates' Court of Victoria.

Ms Masood, who is of Sri Lankan background, will be the first Muslim woman to sit on the bench of any Victorian court.

Ms Masood started practising criminal law in 2003 and has worked for the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and the Australian Tax Office. She has worked cases in the Magistrates', County, Children's, Family and Federal Courts.

In 2012 she became an adjunct lecturer at the College of Law, where she teaches advocacy.

Mr Pakula congratulated Ms Masood on her new position, saying she brought to the role extensive experience in criminal and family law.

"Ms Masood has extensive experience in criminal law, child protection and family law, as well as with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, which will prove invaluable in her role as a magistrate," he said.

Annette Vickery, deputy chief executive of the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, said it was important to have magistrates with an understanding of the issues facing Aboriginal communities.

"The Aboriginal Legal Service has long been recognised as a development ground for exceptional legal talent and we congratulate one of our previous staff members on her appointment to the bench," she said.



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, 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)

A 19th century Democrat political poster below:

Leftist tolerance


JFK knew Leftist dogmatism

-- Geert Wilders

The most beautiful woman in the world? I think she was. Yes: It's Agnetha Fältskog

A beautiful baby is king -- with blue eyes, blond hair and white skin. How incorrect can you get?

Kristina Pimenova, said to be the most beautiful girl in the world. Note blue eyes and blonde hair

Enough said

There really is an actress named Donna Air. She seems a pleasant enough woman, though

What feminism has wrought:

There's actually some wisdom there. The dreamy lady says she is holding out for someone who meets her standards. The other lady reasonably replies "There's nobody there". Standards can be unrealistically high and feminists have laboured mightily to make them so

Some bright spark occasionally decides that Leftism is feminine and conservatism is masculine. That totally misses the point. If true, how come the vote in American presidential elections usually shows something close to a 50/50 split between men and women? And in the 2016 Presidential election, Trump won 53 percent of white women, despite allegations focused on his past treatment of some women.

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.

The problem with minorities is not race but culture. For instance, many American black males fit in well with the majority culture. They go to college, work legally for their living, marry and support the mother of their children, go to church, abstain from crime and are considerate towards others. Who could reasonably object to such people? It is people who subscribe to minority cultures -- black, Latino or Muslim -- who can give rise to concern. If antisocial attitudes and/or behaviour become pervasive among a group, however, policies may reasonably devised to deal with that group as a whole

Black lives DON'T matter -- to other blacks. The leading cause of death among young black males is attack by other young black males

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

Occasionally I put up on this blog complaints about the privileged position of homosexuals in today's world. I look forward to the day when the pendulum swings back and homosexuals are treated as equals before the law. To a simple Leftist mind, that makes me "homophobic", even though I have no fear of any kind of homosexuals.

But I thought it might be useful for me to point out a few things. For a start, I am not unwise enough to say that some of my best friends are homosexual. None are, in fact. Though there are two homosexuals in my normal social circle whom I get on well with and whom I think well of.

Of possible relevance: My late sister was a homosexual; I loved Liberace's sense of humour and I thought that Robert Helpmann was marvellous as Don Quixote in the Nureyev ballet of that name.

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

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, here, here (DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12581) and here, for instance"

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.

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).

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


Although it is a popular traditional chant, the "Kol Nidre" should be abandoned by modern Jewish congregations. It was totally understandable where it originated in the Middle Ages but is morally obnoxious in the modern world and vivid "proof" of all sorts of antisemitic stereotypes

What the Bible says about homosexuality:

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; It is abomination" -- Lev. 18:22

In his great diatribe against the pagan Romans, the apostle Paul included homosexuality among their sins:

"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.... Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" -- Romans 1:26,27,32.

So churches that condone homosexuality are clearly post-Christian

Although I am an atheist, I have great respect for the wisdom of ancient times as collected in the Bible. And its condemnation of homosexuality 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 the second chapter of his epistle to the Romans 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 (Judges 19 & 20) 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

"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)

I think it's not unreasonable to see Islam as the religion of the Devil. Any religion that loves death or leads to parents rejoicing when their children blow themselves up is surely of the Devil -- however you conceive of the Devil. Whether he is a man in a red suit with horns and a tail, a fallen spirit being, or simply the evil side of human nature hardly matters. In all cases Islam is clearly anti-life and only the Devil or his disciples could rejoice in that.

And there surely could be few lower forms of human behaviour than to give abuse and harm in return for help. The compassionate practices of countries with Christian traditions have led many such countries to give a new home to Muslim refugees and seekers after a better life. It's basic humanity that such kindness should attract gratitude and appreciation. But do Muslims appreciate it? They most commonly show contempt for the countries and societies concerned. That's another sign of Satanic influence.

And how's this for demonic thinking?: "Asian father whose daughter drowned in Dubai sea 'stopped lifeguards from saving her because he didn't want her touched and dishonoured by strange men'

And where Muslims tell us that they love death, the great Christian celebration is of the birth of a baby -- the monogenes theos (only begotten god) as John 1:18 describes it in the original Greek -- Christmas!

No wonder so many Muslims are hostile and angry. They have little companionship from women and not even any companionship from dogs -- which are emotionally important in most other cultures. Dogs are "unclean"

Some advice from Martin Luther: Esto peccator et pecca fortiter, sed fortius fide et gaude in christo qui victor est peccati, mortis et mundi: peccandum est quam diu sic sumus. Vita haec non est habitatio justitiae

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

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