The creeping dictatorship of the Left...

This document is part of an archive of postings on Political Correctness Watch, a blog hosted by Blogspot who are in turn owned by Google. The index to the archive is available here or here. Indexes to my other blogs can be located here or here. Archives do accompany my original postings but, given the animus towards conservative writing on Google and other internet institutions, their permanence is uncertain. These alternative archives help ensure a more permanent record of what I have written. My Home Page. My Recipes. My alternative Wikipedia. My Blogroll. Email me (John Ray) here. NOTE: The short comments that I have in the side column of the primary site for this blog are now given at the foot of this document.

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, 2019

Top Chicago prosecutor Kim Foxx subpoenaed over Jussie Smollett case

Blacks covering for blacks is unsurprising but this was gross

Chicago’s top prosecutor, Kim Foxx, has been subpoenaed to appear at a hearing over her handling of the Jussie Smollett case, according to a new report.

The Cook County state’s attorney was slapped with the subpoena by a retired judge who’s pushing for the appointment of a special prosecutor to look into how Foxx dealt with the controversial case, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Ex-appellate Judge Sheila O’Brien also subpoenaed Foxx’s top deputy Joseph Magats, and filed a document requesting that Smollett appear at the hearing, the report said.

Foxx came under fire when her office suddenly dropped 16 felony disorderly conduct charges against the “Empire” TV actor. Smollett, who is black and gay, was accused of staging a hate-crime attack on himself for personal gain and lying to cops about it.

O’Brien charged that Foxx’s handling of the case was “plagued with irregularity.

“Foxx’s conflict in this matter is beyond dispute,” O’Brien wrote, adding that Foxx should have sought appointment of a special prosecutor. “Instead, Foxx misled the public into believing that Smollett’s case was handled like any other prosecution and without influence.”

The former judge asked that Foxx and Magats produce all the original documents in the case to prove “that they have not been altered or destroyed and will not be destroyed throughout this case.”

Foxx’s office is also undergoing an independent inspector-general investigation on how she handled the case. Three members of her team, including her chief ethics officer and chief spokesman, have left the office.


Noise from the ‘constantly offended’ is breeding a kind of cultural fascism — and we all stand to lose

Bret Easton Ellis.

Somewhere in the past few years — and I can’t pinpoint exactly when — a vague yet almost overwhelming and irrational annoyance started tearing through me up to a dozen times a day. This annoyance was over things so seemingly minor, so out of my usual field of reference, that I was surprised by how I had to take a deep breath to dismantle this disgust and frustration that was all due to the foolishness of other people: adults, acquaintances and strangers on social media who offered up their rash opinions and judgments, their mindless preoccupations, always with an unwavering certitude that they were right. A toxic attitude seemed to drift off every post or comment or tweet, whether it was actually there or not.

This anger was new, something I’d never ­experienced before — and it was tied in with an anxiousness, an oppression I felt whenever I ventured online, a sense that I was going to somehow make a mistake instead of simply offering an opinion or making a joke or criticising something.

This idea would have been unthinkable 10 years earlier — that an opinion could become something wrong — but in an infuriated, polarised society people were blocked because of these opinions, and unfollowed because they were perceived in ways that might be inaccurate.

People began to instantly see the entire humanity of an individual in a cheeky, offensive tweet and were attacked and unfriended for backing the “wrong” candidate or having the “wrong” opinion. It was as if no one could differentiate between a ­living person and a string of words hastily typed out on a screen. The culture at large seemed to encourage discourse but social media had become a trap, and what it really wanted to do was shut down the individual.

What often activated my stress was that other people were always angry about everything, presenting themselves as enraged by opinions that I believed in or thought were simply innocuous. My pushback against all of this forced me to confront a degraded fantasy of myself — an actor, as someone I never thought existed — and this, in turn, became a constant reminder of my failings. And what was worse: this anger could become addictive to the point where I just gave up and sat there exhausted, mute with stress. But ultimately silence and submission were what the machine wanted.

As I was completing my novel American ­ Psycho in the fall of 1989, I showed some pages of it to the ­person I’d found myself having a relationship with at the time, a lawyer on Wall Street who was a few years older than me. Since we’d been together for a year, Jim naturally was curious about what I’d been working on, and because I hadn’t shown anyone a word from the book since I’d begun writing it two years earlier, I thought it would be OK if I let him take a look. In a few minor respects he had influenced the creation of Patrick Bateman, even if it primarily was a novel that expressed my personal pain when I was struggling and failing to accept adulthood in those lost yuppie years of the late 1980s.

After reading two chapters that had caught his attention, Jim turned to me and said, “You’re going to get into trouble.” I remember very clearly my flash of panic, and also the confusion swirling around me as I turned to him and asked, “What do you mean?” He’d just finished the section that leads into the first rape, and subsequent murder, of a woman, and simply said, “You’re going to get into trouble for that.” I instantly became annoyed and dismissive because this had never crossed my mind. But I also realised that if Jim — a level- headed Princeton grad who was always calm and low-key, never prone to drama — thought this might be true then it automatically carried a weight, particularly given how matter-of-factly he’d said it. I stared at him and asked, “Who am I going to get in trouble with?” And he said, “Everybody.” He read out loud a few lines about a rape that devolves quickly and viciously into murder — hard-core violence, definitely, but something I felt was justified within the context of who and what I was writing about.

Hearing Jim pull out those isolated lines, I supposed, could offend someone, though not within the narrative itself. This was an aesthetic intention of the portrait I was trying to paint — with those colours, with that brush — and I felt the explosions of violence were necessary to my vision. This was my dramatic instinct. There were no rules.

While Jim’s initial response didn’t have any impact on the book — I changed nothing on account of it — his reaction was always hovering somewhere in my mind, even after I turned in American Psycho to my publisher that December and it started moving through the usual production schedule. But as it was read and edited by my editor, then copy-edited, then handed over to the book designer, the rumblings began. People at Simon & Schuster were offended. Women were especially offended, but the mixture of violence, sexuality, and the sick-joke sensibility made the book seem shockingly misogynistic to some men as well. Just as Jim had predicted a year earlier, I was definitely in trouble.

The book was cancelled in November 1990, two months before the release date. Bound galleys had been distributed, and some early readers defended (whether they’d read it or not) the book I believed I’d written — a black farce with an unreliable narrator — but this didn’t matter: the noise from the offended was too loud, and I got kicked out of a corporation I hadn’t even known I’d belonged to. Ultimately, I was allowed to keep the advance, and another publisher (actually more prestigious) bought the rights and published the book as a trade paperback in the spring of 1991.

As the years passed by and the controversy ­surrounding American Psycho faded, it finally was read in the spirit in which it had been created — as satire. And a few of its biggest supporters were women, feminists, including Fay Weldon and the filmmaker Mary Harron, who went on to adapt the novel into a stylish horror-comedy starring Christian Bale that was released nine years later. My one takeaway from this drama was that I came to understand I wasn’t any good at recognising what would or wouldn’t tick people off, because art had never offended me; I understood all works of art were a product of human imagination, created like everything else by flawed and imperfect individuals. Whether it was de Sade’s brutality or Ce?line’s anti-Semitism or Mailer’s misogyny or Polanski’s taste for minors, I was always able to separate the art from its creator and examine and value it (or not) on aesthetic grounds.

Before the horrible blooming of “relatability” — the inclusion of everybody into the same mindset, the supposed safety of mass opinion, the ideology that proposes everybody should be on the same page, the better page — I remember emphatically not wanting what our culture now demanded. Rather than respect and niceness, inclusion and safety, likeability and decency, my goal was to be confronted by things. (The fact that I came from a “conventional” background — although in many ways it certainly wasn’t — might, I suppose, have encouraged my desire to see the worst.)

What did I want? To be challenged. To not live in the safety of my own little snow globe and be reassured by familiarity and surrounded by what made me comfortable and coddled me. To stand in other people’s shoes and see how they saw the world — especially if they were outsiders and monsters and freaks who would lead me as far away as possible from whatever my comfort zone supposedly was — because I sensed I was that outsider, that monster, that freak. I craved being shaken. I loved ambiguity. I wanted to change my mind, about one thing and another, virtually anything. I wanted to get upset and even be damaged by art. I wanted to get wiped out by the cruelty of someone’s vision of the world, whether it was Shakespeare or Scorsese, Joan Didion or Dennis Cooper.

And all of this had a profound effect. It gave me empathy. It helped me realise that another world existed beyond my own, with other viewpoints and backgrounds and proclivities, and I have no doubt that this aided me in becoming an adult. It moved me away from the narcissism of childhood and into the world’s mysteries — the unexplained, the taboo, the other — and drew me closer to a place of understanding and acceptance.

Lee Siegel, a writer and cultural critic, astutely predicted where we’d all end up in an essay defending Stanley Kubrick’s enigmatic dream-film Eyes Wide Shut, whose mysteries were much derided by literal-minded audiences and critics upon its release. What Siegel worried about almost 20 years ago could now be said to define our ­culture: the growing inability to accept any ­viewpoints that differ from the “morally superior” status quo. By coincidence I happened to be rereading this essay while listening to various ­college commencement speeches on YouTube in 2016, when it seemed more imperative than ever to advise students not to “Be Safe”, as so many of these speakers seemed to suggest, but rather to advise them to boldly “Be Unsafe” by refusing to live meekly within the bubble of the parenthesis.

The idea that if you can’t identify with something then it’s not worth watching or reading or listening to is now commonplace — and sometimes used as a weapon to attack others: for not being more “woke” by failing to make something relatable; for being racist when perhaps the offender is, for instance, just an uninterested or clueless white person; or for being a sexual predator instead of, occasionally, plainly a douche, a boor, a loser. “I can’t relate to it” had come to be shorthand for “I won’t watch it”, much as “I can’t identify with it” now means “I won’t read or listen to that”.

You hear this increasingly as a rallying cry, and not only from millennials, yet the idea behind it serves no progressive purpose; it marginalises not only artists but also, ultimately, everybody on the planet. In essence, it’s fascist. Here’s the dead end of social media: after you’ve created your own bubble that reflects only what you relate to or what you identify with, after you’ve blocked and unfollowed people whose opinions and worldview you judge and disagree with, after you’ve created your own little utopia based on your cherished values, then a kind of demented narcissism begins to warp this pretty picture. Not being able or willing to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is the first step toward being not empathetic, and this is why so many progressive movements become as rigid and as authoritarian as the ­institutions they’re resisting.


The resurrection is the central mystery of the Christian faith

Erick Erickson debunks "modern" Christians
As I do every year, I wrote my Holy Week column about Easter. Major historians, even atheists, recognize that the execution of a man named Jesus around A.D. 33 is one of the most — if not the most — significant events in human history. Christians go a step further. They believe Jesus rose again from the dead. And therein lies the problem.

Last week, I noted that “there are many who call themselves Christians, but only those who actually believe in the physical resurrection of Christ are truly Christian.” It is not a controversial statement, or at least, I did not think it was. But a lot of people took it as one man’s opinion and thought the statement was open for debate.

Around the same time, Nicholas Kristof, an opinion writer at The New York Times, produced another in an ongoing series of interviews he conducts with theologians about Christianity. Kristof interviewed Serene Jones, the president of Union Theological Seminary. Jones calls herself a Christian but says belief in the physical resurrection of Jesus is not necessary to be a Christian.

In fact, Jones says: “For Christians for whom the physical resurrection becomes a sort of obsession, that seems to me to be a pretty wobbly faith. What if tomorrow someone found the body of Jesus still in the tomb? Would that then mean that Christianity was a lie? No, faith is stronger than that.”

The problem here is that Christianity would be a lie if Jesus had not been physically raised from the dead. It is in scripture. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul writes: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.” Some progressive theologians get around this by claiming Paul corrupted Christianity, but the Apostle Peter, in 2 Peter 3:16, gives Paul’s epistles the same authority as other scripture, including the Old Testament.

The 21st century is overrun with people who think that unless they experience something themselves or have firsthand knowledge of a fact, there is no truth. This is deeply destructive. One need not go to space to know the Earth is a sphere. If you think the physical resurrection of Jesus being a necessary part of Christian faith is just one person’s opinion, it is time to stop thinking flat-Earthers are wrong.

With the same logic as those who reject the physical resurrection of Jesus but call themselves Christians, men who love women can call themselves lesbians and those who love to eat meat can call themselves vegetarians. After all, facts no longer matter and everything is opinion. Thinking a person can be a Christian while rejecting the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ is akin to anti-vaccine advocates believing vaccines cause autism. Just because supposed experts make the claim does not make the claim credible.

We have two thousand years of Christianity. We have the words of Holy Scripture itself. We have the writings of the apostles. We have the writings of the men who studied under the apostles. We have the writings of the people those men taught. We have three major branches of Christianity in the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches, with denominations in the latter abounding. Every single one of them worships with an unbroken 2,000-year-old belief in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It is the height of white Western arrogance to think one can be a Christian while rejecting settled, shared 2,000-year-old orthodoxy that has tied together a bunch of Christians who agree on almost nothing except that Jesus Christ physically rose from the grave. If one can be a Christian while rejecting the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, someone can also eat a steak tonight and rest well knowing he and his fellow vegetarians will probably live long lives so long as they do not fall off the edge of the Earth.


Fabric of democracy fraying under weight of the mob

GERARD HENDERSON writes from Australia

Isaac Butterfield was, until now, a little heard of stand-up comedian — until he included Holocaust material in his gig at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival this month.

According to a report in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, a Jewish woman emailed Butterfield complaining about some of his material. He replied: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the oven.” The original saying referred to “the kitchen”.

Butterfield’s word usage in this instance is brutally telling, especially when knowingly directed at a Jewish woman. It is an established fact many of the Jews who were murdered by Nazi Germany with poison gas were cremated in ovens. So how did the MICF handle the situation? Well, a spokeswoman said performers were able to express their views, even opinions viewed as offensive. Apart from that, the organisation went into no-comment mode.

This is the same MICF that recently dropped its Barry Award, following comments by comedian Barry Humphries describing transgender as a fashion. Similar comments in recent years have been made by the likes of Julie Burchill and Germaine Greer. The former’s views were removed from the Guardian website.

So, according to the MICF, it is appropriate to strip the name of Australia’s most famous comedian from its key award for making a comment about trans­genderism. But it’s quite OK for Butterfeld to dismiss the views of a Jewish Australian with a tasteless reference to ovens.

In a recent discussion with a young comedian, I asked what remains of humour when so many take offence, often on behalf of somebody else. He replied that it’s still legitimate to make jokes about conservatives. It was a reminder that in the contemporary West it is the Left that is into censorship of thought — and its targets are invariably conservatives.

In his 2019 Keith Murdoch Oration, News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson spoke about “the seemingly powerful global companies that panic and prevaricate at the first mutterings of the … media mob”.

His specific reference was to Google’s decision to surrender when “a mob of Google employees” objected to their employer’s decision to appoint Kay Coles James to an advisory council on artificial intelligence.

The problem was that James is president of the conservative Heritage Foundation. She is also a 69-year-old black American who, as a girl, suffered discrimination when integrated into a white school in Richmond, Virginia.

Thomson commented: “There is no doubt that a mob mentality has taken hold in much of the West and among the most pronounced of the mobs are illiberal liberals, who are roaming the landscape in the seemingly endless, insatiable quest for indignation and umbrage.”

The reference was to the North American use of liberal, meaning Left or left-wing in Australian word usage. He added: “It is vituperation as virtue.”

The latest expression of mob outrage in Australia has been directed at Israel Folau, a rugby union player and committed Christian. His secular “sin” was to post an Instagram warning to drunks, homosexuals, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters that hell awaits them — unless they repent. This was a selection of “the works of the flesh” nominated in St Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians.

Now it appears that Folau breached a warning from Rugby Australia not to make homophobic comments. But St Paul’s mes­sage to the Galatians was not confined to those termed gays today. Even if it were, a lifetime ban for a professional footballer is an enormous punishment for an expression of a religious belief.

The pile-on against Folau seems to begin with companies that advertise with Rugby Australia — most particularly Qantas, whose chief executive, Alan Joyce, apparently suffers no conscience pangs due to the fact the public company of which he is an employee has business dealings with some Muslim nations that are not exactly gay-friendly. And it goes all the way down to sneering secularists such as Nine newspapers’ Peter FitzSimons.

On ABC television’s Offsiders program on April 14, presenter Kelli Underwood and panellist Caroline Wilson bagged Folau and talked down fellow panellist John Harms, who, while not agreeing with the footballer’s comments, argued that his “religious position has to be respected”. Underwood accused Folau of attempting to “hide behind religion” to engage in “hate speech”. The inference is that it’s now hate speech for a Christian to quote St Paul and urge repentance.

What Thomson refers to as “a mob mentality” has even reached the doors of the Australian judicial system. In his judgment in the NSW District Court on December 6 last year in R v Philip Edward Wilson, judge Roy Ellis warned about the “potential for media pressure to impact judicial independence” in child sexual abuse cases.

Ellis’s concern was about “perceived pressure for a court to reach a conclusion which seems to be consistent with the direction of pubic opinion, rather than being consistent with the rule of law that requires a court to hand down individual justice in its decision making process”.

This was an important statement by an experienced judge — which appears to have been ignored by the NSW government. This trial did not involve a jury.

In his sentencing judgment in R v George Pell on March 13, Victorian County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd had this to say: “We have witnessed outside of this court and within our community, examples of a ‘witch-hunt’ or ‘lynch mob’ mentality in relation to Cardinal Pell. I utterly condemn such behaviour. That has nothing to do with justice in a civilised society.”

Again, this was a significant statement about the presence of a mob hostile to the defence and defence counsel by a senior Victorian judge — which appears to have been ignored by the Victorian government. This was a trial by jury.

Democracy has succeeded through the decades because its principal institutions — the executive, the legislature and the judicial system — prevailed against mob opinion.

Let’s hope this remains the case, otherwise intolerance and injustice will prevail.



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


29 April, 2019

Islamist barbarism thrives on West’s weak response

Here’s the most horrific thing from the barbaric assault on Christians and holiday-makers in Sri Lanka. In the Zion Evangelical Church in the eastern city of Batticaloa, Christian children were gathered for Sunday school. Given it was Easter Sunday, their teacher asked them a special question: “How many of you are willing to die for Christ?” According to a teacher who survived what was about to happen, all the children put their hands up.

The children then spilled out into the church grounds to play. Photos show them looking sunny and happy. Minutes later, an Islamist terrorist, who had failed to get into the church itself, walked among the group of children and blew himself up. Twelve children were killed. Many of their teachers were killed, too. Their crime was to be Christian.

Details such as this demand an urgent and serious assessment of the phenomenon of Islamist terrorism. Because this terrorism, even by the historical standards of terrorism, is peculiarly hateful, misanthropic and barbaric.

What drives someone to detonate a suicide belt while standing among children? It brings to mind the suicide bomber who in July 2005 drove his car into a group of children who were accepting sweets from a US soldier and blew himself up. Twenty-four children were killed. Or the female suicide bomber in Iraq in September 2006 who blew herself up among families that were queuing for kerosene.

Try to imagine what happened next. A terrifying glimpse was offered by a witness report in The Washington Post: “Two pre-teen girls embraced each other as they burned to death.”

It brings to mind the twin suicide bombings at All Saints Church in Peshawar in Pakistan in September 2013, when an Islamist extremist blew himself up among poverty-stricken Christian women and children who were queuing outside the church for a free meal, while his associate blew himself up inside the church where people ran to take cover. One hundred and twenty-seven people were killed.

And of course it brings to mind the Manchester Arena bombing of 2017, which faded strikingly fast from the forefront of British political consciousness, in which an Islamic State-inspired extremist blew himself up among parents and children leaving an Ariana Grande concert. The youngest victim was an eight-year-old girl. It’s likely many people in Britain don’t even know her name. It was Saffie Roussos. These are only a handful of the thousands of acts of barbarism carried out by Islamist extremists in recent years. From the US to Europe, from the Middle East to the subcontinent, tens of thousands of people have been slaughtered by Islamist extremists.

This terrorism seems to have utterly dispensed with the old rules of engagement. Its battleground is as likely to be a church or a school or a hospital or a queue of children as it is a piece of land claimed by an opposing military outfit. It follows no moral code whatsoever. Its defining feature is a glaring and terrifying absence of moral restraint. Anything is acceptable. Anyone can be killed. There is no code or rule or even basic human impulse that says to these groups: “Don’t do that. Not here. Not at a Sunday school.”

This means the new barbarism is very different to the violent groups that existed in the 1970s and 80s. These outfits, such as the Palestine Liberation Organisation or the Irish Republican Army, were usually, though not always, restrained by their political motives and ambitions, contained and controlled by their political beliefs.

Their claim to represent a political outlook and a political constituency meant they tended to behave within a basic moral framework. Their claim to be serious political actors meant they carefully tailored and targeted their militaristic acts. Their acts of violence were frequently bloody, of course, but they rarely did what Islamist terrorists do today: seek to kill as many people as possible, ideal­ly women and children, in a kind of perverse display of pornographic misanthropy, and with no higher aim than to devastate lives, communities and the human family more broadly.

For a few years now, some observers — not nearly enough — have tried to get to grips with the new barbarism, with this utterly unanchored, unrestrained, death-glorying violence. A 2005 New York Times piece titled “The mystery of the insurgency” commented on Iraqi insurgents’ massacre of civilians and how historically unusual it was. This “surge in the killing of civilians” reflects “how mysterious the long-term strategy remains”, it said.

The writer arrived at a horrifying conclusion: that maybe there was no long-term strategy; that maybe killing civilians was the strategy, was the overriding aim. Death for death’s sake.

“Counter-insurgency experts are baffled,” said the NYT piece, because these civilian-targeting groups in Iraq had “developed no alternative government or political wing and displayed no intention of amassing territory to govern”. Of course this changed later, with Islamic State, which did amass territory. But even this contained within it “the mystery of the insurgency”, given that the Islamic State territory was defined by its perverse celebration of extreme ­violence, which it recorded and distributed online. If anything, its territory looked less like a traditional state or guerilla nation than a staging post for the internationalisation of “the surge in the killing of civilians”. A piece of land from which spectacles of deaths could be organised.

What was really unfolding in Iraq back then was the new barbarism. The Western leftists who excused, and in some cases even celebrated, the “Iraqi insurgency” were utterly missing the point of what was happening — not an anti-imperialist rebellion, as they dreamed, but the spread of a new, unhinged breed of violent misanthropy. Of something we had not previously seen, certainly not in our lifetimes.

This is post-state, post-political, post-morality violence. It speaks to and is no doubt inflamed by the hollowing out of political and international norms in recent years. It feels genuinely apocalyptic. But there is another factor that, it seems increasingly likely, is contributing to the intensification of the new barbarism: the striking and self-defeating reluctance of many in the West to condemn this barbarism or even to speak openly about its origins or uniqueness.

The aftermath of the attacks in Sri Lanka captures Western liberal elites’ caginess about morally and politically confronting the new barbarism. There has been no talk of fascism and hatred and our moral responsibility to stand up to these things, as there was after the mosque massacres in Christchurch. There has been no emergence of a Christian solidarity movement, in contrast with the numerous, and correct, cries of solidarity made to Muslims after Christchurch.

Indeed, focus too much on Islamist terrorism these days and you risk being accused of Islamophobia. “Christians used to do this kind of thing,” they will say, inaccurately, to deflect attention from their own unwillingness to take a strong moral stance on Islamist extremist violence. Or they will point out that the US and Britain and other nations are still engaged in violent conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere, even though they must know, somewhere inside their moral universe, that there is an immeasurable difference between America’s military campaigns in the Middle East (which are wrong) and the wilful slaughter of children queuing for sweets or teenage girls collecting petrol.

Whether it is their accusations of Islamophobia or their morally relativistic comparison of today’s new barbarism with the behaviour of Western armies, the liberal elites’ key aim seems to be to avoid having to take a strong position on this new, strange, spectacularly anti-human violence. And this moral cowardice has now crossed the line from being irritating and has become possibly dangerous in itself. Certainly it does nothing to challenge, far less try to stop, the rise of the new barbarism.

A weak and morally disoriented West that will not strongly condemn the nihilistic ideology behind the slaughter of Christians in Sri Lanka, or the bombing of children in Manchester, or the gunning down of rock fans in Paris, is a West that cannot feign surprise when such violence continues. It is no longer enough to say “That’s awful” and then move on; we need a serious reckoning with the war on Christians, the rise of seventh-century barbarism, and the collapse of any semblance of moral restraint among the new terrorists.


Judge accused of helping an undocumented immigrant escape an ICE officer

A Massachusetts judge and a former court officer are accused of helping a twice-deported undocumented defendant elude immigration authorities by slipping out a rear courthouse door.

Newton District Court Judge Shelley Richmond Joseph, 51, and former trial court officer Wesley MacGregor, 56, were indicted Thursday on obstruction of justice and other federal charges.
They face counts of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice, obstruction of a federal proceeding, aiding and abetting, according to an indictment in US District Court in Boston. MacGregor was also charged with one count of perjury.

"This case is about the rule of law," US Attorney Andrew Lelling said in a statement. "We cannot pick and choose the federal laws we follow, or use our personal views to justify violating the law."

Joseph and MacGregor appeared in federal court Thursday afternoon. They were released without bond after pleading not guilty, CNN affiliate WCVB reported.

Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, "believes no one should obstruct federal law enforcement officials trying to do their jobs and supports the Supreme Judicial Court's decision to suspend Judge Joseph without pay," his office said in a statement. His administration has filed legislation to allow court and law enforcement officials to work with immigration authorities "to detain dangerous individuals."

"Everyone in the justice system -- not just judges, but law enforcement officers, prosecutors and defense counsel -- should be held to a higher standard," Lelling said. "The people of Massachusetts expect that, just like they expect judges to be fair, impartial and to follow the law themselves."

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said the indictment was "a radical and politically motivated attack on our state and the independence of our courts" and that the matter could have been handled by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct and the Trial Court.

"It is a bedrock principle of our constitutional system that federal prosecutors should not recklessly interfere with the operation of state courts and their administration of justice," she said in a statement.

Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, called the case "preposterous, ironic, and deeply damaging to the rule of law" and said it had "everything to do with enforcing the president's anti-immigrant agenda."

Federal prosecutors said the charges stemmed from an April 2, 2018, incident in which Richmond and MacGregor allegedly allowed an undocumented immigrant at a criminal court hearing to escape detention by an ICE officer.

Newton Police had arrested and charged the undocumented immigrant days earlier with being a fugitive from justice and drug possession, according to the indictment. Authorities later learned he had been deported from the US in 2003 and 2007 and was prohibited from re-entering the country until 2027. ICE issued an immigration detainer and warrant of removal.


Federal Judge's Bizarre Views of Justice for American ISIS Terrorist and the Bereaved Mother of His Victim

To forgive and forget - or to punish and stand vigilant. That is the question about how to treat Americans who fought for the territorially defeated ISIS as they reenter society, presumably with battlefield experience, atrocities, and religious zealotry for bloodletting baked in.

In Texas, judges of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals are grappling for an answer in a bizarre case in which a federal judge doled out what prosecutors say was a "substantively unreasonable" 18-month sentence for a returned ISIS recruiter and fighter who caused the battlefield death of at least one American. Prosecutors asked for at least 15 years.

Houston-based National Security Division prosecutors in the Southern District of Texas appealed the sentence after Reagan-appointed U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes scoffed at their arguments, expressed a paternal sympathy for the convicted terrorist, and dismissed input from the dead victim's bereaved mother (present in court) as "only her grief...sad but not cogent."

The 18-month sentence was given to Asher Abid Khan, a 24-year-old University of Houston engineering student, after he pleaded guilty to one count of material support to ISIS for trying to join them with a high school friend in 2014, who was killed in action.

Transcripts of the sentencing hearing show the judge readily accepting Khan's narrative that he quickly matured after he was tricked into returning in 2014, no longer believes the propaganda, and that he made one bad youthful mistake. Khan professed to having straightened out his life while free on bond that Judge Hughes granted Khan after his 2015 FBI arrest, despite opposition from prosecutors.

"Given the right breaks, most young people...if you can get their attention and give them some guidance, will quit doing that particular stupid thing," Judge Hughes scolded prosecutors after they pointed out that Khan continued to proselytize online for ISIS after he returned to Texas.

The judge dismissed all that.

"I don't think we need to lock you up for 15 years, and I have been pleased with your progress while you have been under my care. You would be surprised that some people don't take that as a hint."

Judge Hughes offered a parting word of advice to Khan at the sentencing hearing: "Work hard – fly right. Got it?"

"Yes, your honor," Khan replied.

The appellate court's decision holds potential national implications as more Americans return from ISIS; as many as 150 traveled overseas to join the group in Iraq and Syria while about 100 others were prosecuted after they were caught trying.

One obvious gamble inherent in the forgive and forget approach is addressed in studies of terrorist recidivism, including this one by The Soufan Group, which concludes that terrorism supporters often do not 'age out' of their motivations. Those caught leaving or returning might view an 18-month prison stint more as delayed gratification than as wait-just-a-minute deterrent.

U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas, argued as much in a brief filed with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals last month, that "The district court's error was not harmless. Indeed, the magnitude of its error was enormous."

The U.S. Attorney's office wants a new sentencing hearing.

"The sentence," the brief explained "... did not reflect the gravity of Khan's conduct and would not sufficiently deter others from taking the first step along the path to radicalization. The sentence also results in unwarranted disparity with sentences of similarly situated defendants who have received far more serious sentences."

A counter-brief by Khan and his attorney, David Adler, is expected sometime in the coming weeks.


In new S. Africa, some in 'Coloured' community nostalgic for apartheid

The 'Rainbow Nation' is a big lie!" complained Dalene Raiters, a South African mother from the "Coloured" community. "We are not black enough," added her sister who has also been unemployed for years.

"We are not part of this country. We were marginalised during the apartheid and even now," lamented Dalene, getting into her stride about the discrimination of which she insists she is a victim.

"Our people live like mushrooms. Four generations under the same roof," said Elizabeth Raiters, seated in the living room of the family home in the majority "Coloured" township of Eldorado Park, an outlying suburb of Johannesburg.

In total, nine people -- soon to be 10 with a baby due -- live in the property, which has a small bedroom and a hut in the yard.

Elizabeth applied for social housing to ease the squeeze -- but that was 17 years ago, and failed. She is convinced it is because of the colour of her skin.

Apartheid legally divided South Africans into groups of whites, blacks, Indians and "Coloured," a term meaning people deemed to be of mixed race.

The remnants of system were swept away a quarter-century ago, and today the notion of race remains as discredited as is segregation.

Yet the term "Coloured" is still widely used today -- and complaints of exclusion are common.

"We are constantly in the middle," complained Elizabeth, a woman with a small frame and hair held back with a headband.

The "Coloured" community itself also comprises several ethnic groups, notably including the San (bushmen) and Nama -- both indigenous to southern Africa.

They are often referred to as the country's "first nation," according to Keith Duarte, a representative of the community living in Eldorado Park.

In 1994, when the ruling African National Congress (ANC), spearhead of the anti-apartheid fight, was propelled to power, "we all felt that the ANC would represent us, would be inclusive," he said.

"It was the biggest mistake ever... We need to be treated equally," he insisted.

- 'The forgotten sheep' -

In the down-at-heel Eldorado Park township, where the traffic lights sometimes show amber and red at the same time, the small brick homes offer an illusion of comfort.

Behind each home there are courtyards which host cabins made of whatever was available that are home to entire families.

To enter the home of Chesney Van Wyk -- a hut with just three square metres (30 square feet) of floor space -- one does not have to push the door, but instead lift it with two hands. It has neither a handle nor a hinge.

Van Wyk and his partner, who share a small mattress, use a small peach tree behind the door as a bag rack. The shack, made with plastic-covered cardboard, floods whenever it rains.

Chesney makes ends meet thanks to the small jobs the neighbours give him.

But today he was focussed on another task.

Along with dozens of other nearby residents toting picks and shovels, Van Wyk cleared a vacant plot of land before marking out locations for their future homes with branches.

"We are claiming this land. We know it is illegal but every time we apply for a (social) house, we need to fill up some documents and they never get back to us," he said.

"For us it's like we are the forgotten sheep."

During apartheid, "we were not white enough, and now we are not black enough," he added.

- 'I prefer apartheid' -

"They say we are nothing. We are bastards. We are not white, nor black," said Violet Bouwers, a woman in her fifties who was also helping to clear land.

Local youths have limited job opportunities and many have turned to drugs.

In the township, a hit of highly-addictive crystal meth sells for 50 rands ($3.20).

The drug has ravaged many lives.

In April three mothers made criminal complaints against their addicted children for attempted murder and domestic violence, said Dereleen James of the Yellow Ribbon Foundation which fights drug abuse.

One mother recently killed her addicted son.

"She could not handle it anymore," said James, before commencing a lengthy pursuit in her car for a young addict whose mother requested he be detained.

Patients young and old insist they are in their dire situation because of their skin colour.

There are several drug rehabilitation centres in the township where many people see themselves as victims of an unfair system.

If one goes by official figures, this picture of marginalisation is somewhat different.

Household income among the "Coloured" community is twice as high as the black majority who make up 81 percent of the population.

Unemployment stands at 30.5 percent among the black labour force while it is 23 percent for the "Coloured" community.

"Coloured people have always been marginalised under colonial and apartheid rule," said Jamil Khan, a researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand's Centre for Diversity Studies in Johannesburg.

"Post-apartheid South Africa has not addressed that legacy substantially and aggressively enough."

The sense of injustice has persisted to the point that several community members lament the fall of apartheid under which "Coloured" people had neither the freedom to move around nor vote.

"The blacks have all the opportunities," complained pastor's wife Janice Jacobs, 49.

"We were much more comfortable during the apartheid. They would provide us a school pack with all the stationery. We had nurses in the schools. There was order and discipline. If you set a place alight, you would end up in jail.

"The apartheid government used to look after education, health, housing. (This) government does not look after us. I prefer apartheid."



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


29 April, 2019

Why the ‘Free the Nipple’ Win in Court Is a Loss for Women

Kristen Waggoner   

A federal appeals court thinks there’s no difference between a man’s bare chest and a woman’s naked chest—and, despite what some feminists are saying, that’s bad news for women.

Ignoring the real biological differences between men and women strips women of our rights to physical privacy. And even as more and more women are speaking out about their experiences of sexual harassment, the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit—that’s likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court—tells them that those experiences are not legitimate.

As part of the #MeToo movement, women have shared wrenching personal stories of sexual harassment, ranging from unwelcome comments and touches to the extreme of rape.

Thousands of women have related stories of the trauma they experienced because of unwelcome looks, comments, and physical contact with their breasts. These women know, innately, that their breasts are intimate, sexual parts of their bodies, and when their breasts aren’t respected, women suffer serious emotional harm.

But on Feb. 15, the federal court upheld an injunction that prohibits the city of Fort Collins, Colorado, from enforcing a law that prohibits females 10 years old and older from going topless in public.

After Fort Collins passed the ordinance, members of a group called Free the Nipple–Fort Collins sued, arguing that the law violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution because it establishes different standards for men and women. In a 2-1 ruling, the 10th Circuit agreed.

The 10th Circuit’s ruling assumes that perceptions of and sexual responses to particular body parts are socially constructed, and when anti-nudity laws differentiate between men’s and women’s bodies, it is solely because of social stereotypes.

Under the 10th Circuit’s opinion, girls just emerging into womanhood can now walk around in Fort Collins topless. Allowing a 10-, 12-, or 14-year-old girl to walk to school topless tells her a lie about her own body. It tells her that her breasts are no different than a man’s—and, therefore, that she shouldn’t feel any more delicacy about exposing her breasts than a boy would. That puts her in grave danger both physically and emotionally.

Put bluntly, the court thinks that there is no essential difference between a man’s bare chest and a woman’s bare chest. If that’s true, a woman who feels more assaulted by an unwanted look, comment, or touch on her breasts than she would by a comment or touch on her hand or arm is responding to social conditioning, not to anything essentially intimate about her breasts.

Put bluntly, the court thinks that there is no essential difference between a man’s bare chest and a woman’s bare chest.
It also means that women who experience trauma from harassment targeting their breasts are just buying into harmful, regressive stereotypes about their own bodies.

Any woman who has experienced being categorized by the shape and size of her chest knows this is nonsense. Far from being a triumph for women’s rights, this ruling sets up a dangerous precedent, undermining legal respect for women and girls and stripping away crucial protections.

In its original defense of the ban on female nudity, the city of Fort Collins brushed aside the reality that women’s bodies are different than men’s, arguing that the ban was important because topless women might lead to distracting driving.

In other words, the ban was about male lust. It had nothing to do with protecting women’s privacy or affirming that female bodies deserve legal protection.

Everyone involved in this case is operating from the assumption that we women are just oddly shaped men. No one has even considered the possibility that there is something different—fundamentally, biologically, essentially different—about women’s bodies that merits protection.

Everyone involved in this case is operating from the assumption that we women are just oddly shaped men.
But there is something different, and despite what Free the Nipple campaigners claim, denying that basic, natural difference does not empower us. It endangers and impoverishes us.

But even more, this narrative robs women and girls of a true sense of our womanly power and dignity. Women’s breasts are not the same as men’s. Women have the unique, inimitable ability to create and nurture life with our own bodies.

Our breasts are a vital part of that work—a work that is intimately connected with sexuality. Men’s breasts, on the other hand, aren’t involved in creating or sustaining life. In that sense, they are not special.

Regrettably, the 10th Circuit’s ruling effectively asserts that our uniquely female biological capacity to give life isn’t all that special either. The court tells women that there’s nothing distinctive about our bodies.

This is a lie. As the Supreme Court correctly saw in United States v. Virginia, affirming legal equality for the sexes does not require us to ignore real differences.

Writing for the majority in that decision, which concluded that the Virginia Military Institute must accept both male and female cadets, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted that, due to biological differences, privacy needs were nonetheless essential: “Admitting women to [Virginia Military Institute] would undoubtedly require alterations necessary to afford members of each sex privacy from the other sex in living arrangements … ‘because of physiological differences between male and female individuals.’”

The laws and social mores that treat women’s bodies as different from men’s bodies are not illusory. They are based in reality, and we go down a dangerous path when we ignore those differences.

The court’s decision to condemn this ban on female nudity leaves no principled line of defense for any ban on public nudity—and that should definitely get our attention.

Bans on public nudity are based in the belief that the naked body is a precious, intimate thing that should only be shared in situations of trust and safety. Eliminating bans on public nudity communicates that nakedness is not that big of a deal—a message that has serious consequences for women’s rights.

Ask a woman who’s experienced physical abuse from a man: Is it a big deal for her to be naked in a man’s presence? Overwhelmingly the answer is “yes.” But according to the 10th Circuit’s logic, it shouldn’t be.

That’s the same logic that leads people to advocate the elimination of sex-specific privacy facilities, such as bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms.

The court’s decision to condemn this ban on female nudity leaves no principled line of defense for any ban on public nudity.
Their argument is that biological sexual differences are irrelevant; what matters is how individuals identify. So, if a man identifies as a woman and wants to be naked in a shower or locker room with women, it should be no big deal, and women who feel like it is have to simply deal with it.

Women want equality of opportunity in all aspects of life—and, as we’ve heard over and over again, they want their privacy, experiences, and bodies respected. The 10th Circuit’s decision demeans those things.

Far from advancing women’s rights, it eliminates them. The ruling is truly offensive for the way it trivializes women, telling us that we are no different than men—just men with oddly shaped bodies.

It ignores our powerful capacity to create and nurture life, and it forces us to define our bodies in relation to men’s, rather than celebrating the profound, beautiful uniqueness of our female form.


Black corruption again?

FBI and IRS agents on Thursday raided the home and city hall offices of Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh as part of an investigation into possible public corruption, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Pugh took a leave of absence from her position earlier this month after it was revealed that she made $500,000 selling copies of her Healthy Holly children’s-health book to the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) while sitting on the system’s board.

It was later revealed that health insurance provider Kaiser Permanente paid Pugh $100,000 for 20,000 copies of the book while the company was seeking a lucrative contract to insure the city’s employees. In total, Pugh made $800,000 selling copies of her book to local entities since 2011, according to the Sun.

Agents also raided the Maryland Center for Adult Education, a local non-profit that Pugh used to run, as well as her attorney’s offices.

Maryland governor Larry Hogan responded to the news of the raids by calling on Pugh to resign in a Thursday morning statement.

“On April 1, I directed the state prosecutor to investigate the disturbing allegations surrounding Mayor Catherine Pugh’s questionable financial dealings with the University of Maryland Medical System…Now more than ever, Baltimore City needs strong and responsible leadership,” the statement read. “Mayor Pugh has lost the public trust. She is clearly not fit to lead. For the good of the city, Mayor Pugh must resign.”

Pugh apologized in March for having “done something to upset the people” and returned $100,000 to the UMMS. She has maintained, however, that she did not exploit her position for personal financial gain.

“All my income is reported to the IRS and everything is filed,” Pugh told the Sun when asked whether she would release her tax returns publicly. “I don’t know what witch hunt y’all are on, but it’s done. I’ve got 1099s and I pay my taxes and everything is filed.”


The case for calming down

What if our fears about children and screen time are unfounded? A controversial cohort of scientists say we have techno-panic all wrong.

I am a laid-back dad. As long as my three boys have done all their chores, their homework and their piano practice, and they’ve run around the park three times and polished their shoes, I don’t mind them watching a bit of ­television. But when it comes to ­tablets, phones and (shudder) games consoles, I’ve always put my foot down.

The trouble is, I’ve had to put my foot down a lot. My eldest “needed” a smartphone when he started high school. The middle one wheedled a Kindle Fire out of us when he was eight. The youngest was a Minecraft expert before he could read. And once the tech makes its way into the home, it is unstoppable. The “one hour a day” rule lasted a month; the “no devices after 7pm” rule is under constant attack. According to the children, it’s not fair. All their friends have ­bedrooms like something out of Minority Report. Why do we have to be so Amish about it?

Well, I say, look at the evidence. In January, yet another peer-reviewed study linked increased screen time with decreased cognitive development. Neuroscientist Susan Greenfield claims that overuse of computers is rewiring our children’s brains and could be causing behavioural issues, attention deficit disorder, even autism. Children who play violent video games, she believes, are more likely to be violent. Parents attest that children are so addicted to the online battle game Fortnite, they’d rather wet themselves than take a toilet break. Faced with all of that, I have taken the view — like many conscientious parents — that my boys should be climbing trees and riding bikes instead.

The technorati who gave us the digital world appear to agree. The educational establishment of choice for Silicon Valley’s top execs is a Steiner school where their kids dry apple rings, plant vegetables and play with wooden toys in an entirely analog environment. The school’s philosophy is that technology stifles creativity, human interactions and attention spans. No screens are allowed. So where does that leave the rest of us? Worried? Resigned? Full of guilt at how we’ve let our iPads become surrogate babysitters? All of the above.

But what if all the fears are unfounded? What if this techno-panic is just as unnecessary as the parental hysteria that first accompanied rock’n’roll? That is the thesis of Dr Pete Etchells, a psychologist specialising in video game research. For years, he and a small cohort of scientists have been rowing against the Luddite tide. Every time a new headline screams something like “Violent video games make kids kill” or “Shock links between early-stage iPad use and later stage stupidity”, they are there pushing back.

Etchells, 35, has written a book, Lost in a Good Game: Why We Play Video Games and What They Can Do for Us. “The conversations we have in the media don’t often reflect the complexity of the science behind them,” he begins when we meet in his office at Bath Spa University in England. “It can be uncertain because psychology is a messy thing. People are complex.”

To be honest, I’d come here expecting a fight. Etchells is not a parent — yet (he is due to become a father soon). He’s never had to prise a child off Clash of Clans. He’s never wondered if the “schoolgirl” messaging another child in a game chatroom is actually some seedy bloke in the Philippines. I had planned to throw every horror story at him and show him he was wrong. This did not happen. “I understand this is an emotive issue,” he says. “But those emotions have shaped the debate for the past two decades. I always try to be as evidence-based as I can and my feeling is that in terms of the scare stories you see in the news, there’s not too much to worry about.”

When I ask about the links between screen time and wellbeing, for example, he replies: “We had decades of research that said there were effects. What we’re starting to get now is more robust research that shows there is an effect, but it’s negligible. Other factors, like whether or not you wear glasses, have a stronger effect.”

Surely, though, it’s healthier for a child to get lost in a good book rather than a good game? “It depends on the book and the game, but it’s really not as simple as that,” he says before questioning the whole concept of “screen time”. “You take two people, say two 15-year-old girls who spend three hours on screens a day… The first girl has a very positive family life and she’ll play Minecraft for a bit and she’ll watch Netflix with her parents for a bit and then use the internet to do some homework. The other girl has a tense relationship with her family, she’s struggling at school, agonising over her body image on Instagram and watching nonsense on YouTube. These very different situations are counted as the same, so ‘screen time’ is not a very helpful concept.”

Rather than assuming all use of technology is equal (and equally bad), perhaps we should take a more nuanced approach. If screen time is a mix of gaming, entertainment, learning and interacting, that’s very different from a child spending hours alone in their room comparing their life with a Kardashian’s, disappearing down a self-harm wormhole or looking at Pornhub. If parents and children can share a Minecraft session it might even be a bonding experience.

Yet what about Susan Greenfield, who has repeatedly stated that screen use changes the way children’s brains are wired? It is almost impossible to listen to her arguments and not want to destroy every gadget in your home. “Everything we do changes our brains,” Etchells counters. “Our brains are changing all the time.” Greenfield’s arguments overstate the effects, he claims, and focus only on the negatives. She is, in short, scaremongering.

Of course, the games Etchells was playing in the early 1990s were far more rudimentary than they are now. Modern games such as Call of Duty are incredibly realistic. How can it be healthy for kids to spend their evenings shooting people over and over again? “There is an age-rating system for games that is not adhered to, and that is a problem,” he says. “I don’t know why. Is it because there’s a perception that they are a kids’ thing to do? Call of Duty is an 18. Would you let your 10-year-old watch an 18-rated movie? The answer is always no. For some reason, there’s a blind spot when it comes to video games.”

Nevertheless, Etchells does not accept there is a causal link between violent video games and real-world violence. “If you look at population-level data for video games, violent video game sales have been going up since the 1970s. Over the same period, the murder rate has gone down. There is a negative correlation.”

It is common, in the aftermath of a killing spree, to read that the shooter “played violent video games for hours”. The tabloid view is simple: the games inspired the violence. Again, Etchells says this is oversimplified. “In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, violent video games were blamed, but during the criminal investigation it emerged that the game the guy played the most was [dance simulator] Dance Dance Revolution. It’s hard to see how that could be linked to something so real and horrendous.”

“Rather than thinking about these things as causal, it might be more useful to think about them as markers. If you were doing anything for 16 hours a day to the exclusion of everything else, that might be a cause for concern. Why are you hiding in your room for 16 hours a day reading a book? Why are you becoming socially isolated? There’s no one single factor that can be causal in these cases. There’s a multitude of effects.”

His general point is actually quite simple. The hysteria that surrounds technology makes it difficult to have the more nuanced discussions we need to ensure the role of technology in our lives is a positive one. For Etchells, the key is balance. “I don’t really see playing video games and going outside as mutually exclusive,” he says. “The evidence suggests that they’re not zero-sum games. Play is really important. A child can engage in play through video games or through going outside. You should do both of those things, because they’re good for different reasons.”

For a man who is reluctant to give parenting advice, Etchells has managed to make me rethink how I parent my sons’ tech use. His suggestion — to take more time to understand the ways our children use their devices — has had two effects. It has allayed (some of) my concerns about how much time they’re wasting on screens, and it has reduced the frequency and intensity of the arguments I have with my sons. A couple of weeks ago I played Minecraft with them. Last week, we finally bought a preloved PlayStation 3 (circa 2011). We played a football game together for an afternoon when we could have been outside playing football. Instinctively, it felt wrong, but we had a great time.


Growing Up, She Thought She Was a Man. Now She’s Fighting the Patriarchy

A woman discovers that it is OK to have masculine interests and attitudes while remaining a woman

Katrina Trinko: Joining us today is Eliana Bookbinder, a young woman who is a member of the Women’s Liberation Front and who had her own gender-identity struggle as a young adult. Eliana, thanks for joining us today.

Eliana Bookbinder: Thanks for having me.

Trinko: When did you first start to think that you were a man, and what made you think that?

Bookbinder: Probably, I started thinking that around when I was 12 or 13. I’d had a lot of issues. I had very masculine interests.

I wasn’t super-comfortable with my body. I was very, very uncomfortable with feminine clothing and makeup, things like that. I sort of started to think OK, maybe I’m not actually a girl. Maybe I’m actually a boy.

Trinko: Did you talk to anyone about feeling that? Like, tell your friends or your parents or anything?

Bookbinder:  I didn’t. I kept it mostly to myself; like, entirely to myself, until a few years later. I did read a lot about it online, although I never actually mustered up the nerve to post and receive feedback.

Daniel Davis: When did you begin to actually identify as a man, and how did that process come about?

Bookbinder: What happened was, I was reading a lot. I was on Tumblr and Facebook and also a blogging community that I followed, and I was seeing a lot of stuff about how being trans is about not fitting in with the gender roles you’re assigned, not being a very feminine woman or a very masculine man, and it’s all about how you feel about your gender identity.

I remember thinking in all of it, I don’t feel like a woman, and I’m not very comfortable with femininity, and I’m much more comfortable with traditionally masculine activities and clothing, so I guess I’m a boy.

I was definitely influenced a lot by the blogs I was reading and the people I followed on Tumblr and Facebook.

Trinko: When you decided you were a boy, did that affect what your name was? Did it affect how you dressed? What did that actually mean?

Bookbinder: I never quite got to coming out. I picked out a name. I was just going to go by, I think, Eli, because it’s a shortening of Eliana, but I always dressed [in] T-shirt, jeans, shorts, things like that, so it didn’t really change how I dressed, because I already dressed in a very masculine way.

I never got to the point of actually getting a binder, but I was looking around online for where to find one. There are, disturbingly, places where you can actually get used binders from older trans-identified women or donated if you’re a young woman who can’t get one herself, which is kind of disturbing.

Davis: How did your family and friends take to the transition that you had?

Bookbinder: I came to my senses before I really told many of them. I think I maybe told my brother, who was more confused about it than anything else.

Hearing about it later, my parents were really, like, “How could this have happened to our kid?” because they thought I was pretty well insulated from it. I was home-schooled.

I didn’t have any in-real-life friends who were transitioning or anything like that, but I had enough friends and contact with people who were transitioning online that I heard about it.

Trinko: You now identify as female. Correct?

Bookbinder: I now accept that I am a female human being.

Davis: OK, so what changed you to that? Or, not changed you to that, because you are biologically that, but what made you accept it?

Bookbinder:  It was actually two things. One was, the blogging community I followed, that had some trans people and some non-trans people in it, had a major schism around someone saying well, trans women aren’t just women, full stop.

That’s not what those words mean … . I was, like, yeah, if you’re transitioning from A to B, that means you’re not B. That doesn’t make sense. I, from there, started to see a lot of the logical fallacies in the trans ideology.

I also started working at Boy Scout camp, which doesn’t sound like it’d be a great place for someone who thinks their trans, little trans-identified girl, but for me it was the first place where I’d been really valued for my masculine interests.

I was very interested in science. I was really good at starting fires. I was physically strong. I was valued for all of those things. Those were valuable skills in this community at Boy Scout camp, but I was also definitely female.

I was in the girls’ campsite. There were other girls and women who were very masculine. We were valued, but we weren’t men.

Trinko: That’s so interesting, because I think, having been a teenage girl myself, it is such a turbulent, weird period, where you feel so much pressure to conform to a certain image, and it does seem that, increasingly, it’s a very narrow image.

Like, you must be interested in all these things, and I remember that I wasn’t very interested in makeup. It’s funny how you can be under so much pressure for something like that.

Bookbinder: Yeah, it’s really weird. Among other things, makeup just makes my eyes water a lot, so I don’t like wearing it.

Trinko: Yeah, it’s tough if you have allergies.

Bookbinder:  Yeah, so I wasn’t interested in it. I like being able to run around and move freely. Got in a lot of trouble when I was little because I had a dress for going to my parents’ friends’ wedding, and I was, like, OK, I guess I’m going bicycle-riding in this. It did not end well.

Davis: What about after that? In college, did you join a feminist group on campus?

Bookbinder:  No. I went to Earlham College, which is a little liberal arts school in rural Indiana run by Quakers, and there wasn’t really a feminist group on campus.

There was the Action Against Sexual Violence Coalition, Action Against Sexual Violence something. They had a mission, working on sexual violence. Our women’s center actually got renamed my junior year the Center for Inclusive Gender Identities, so it was not a very radical-feminist-friendly place.

Trinko: What was your college experience like? Did you share your prior gender-identity struggle? Did you talk about how you felt that trans women were not women in exactly the same way that women are? How did those conversations go?

Bookbinder: Not well. I kept mostly quiet, but even just posting on Facebook that I think that people who are obviously men wearing dresses aren’t women, I had people ask mutual acquaintances if I was dangerous.

Like, if I was physically dangerous, which was really funny because I was walking around with a cane. I still have the cane.

I had hate mail slipped under my door. It was not a good time. I got excluded from a lot of on campus social stuff because I was considered dangerous.

Trinko: This was just because of your views on gender?

Bookbinder:  Yes.

Trinko: One of the things that I’ve noticed is this huge pressure from society that if you’re a certain way, if you’re a boy who likes musicals, you’re probably gay or maybe trans. If you’re a girl who likes wearing shorts and t-shirts and doesn’t want to wear dresses, you might be a trans guy.

I’m just curious, what do you think can be done to our culture? How do we make it so we don’t make these boxes so narrow? I just find it so interesting that you talked about at Boy Scouts camp that you were able to do all these things, and you felt valued for doing all these things, but you felt valued as a woman.

I just feel like our society right now, they act like they’re all “woke,” but we have such narrow boxes.

Bookbinder:  I don’t fully know. I think, definitely, working on decoupling femininity from what it means to be female. I don’t fully know. It’s something that I think about a lot, but it’s not something I have any good answers for.

I think honestly a lot of it is accepting, working on showing young girls and boys that, yes, there are adult men who like musicals, and there are adult women who chop wood and make fires and build stuff, and showing them gender-nonconforming adults who are still OK in their bodies.

Trinko: Right, because I would just say, at the end of the day, what makes you your gender, it’s not liking to wear dresses or something. It’s much deeper and much more innate than that.

Bookbinder:  Yeah, it’s, like, what makes me a woman is the fact that I am an adult human female.

Davis: It’s also about the Women’s Liberation Front and how it fits into the larger, I guess, LGBT movement.

Bookbinder:  The Women’s Liberation Front, or WoLF, is a radical feminist organization. We work to basically liberate women from the patriarchy.

Our view is that sex-role stereotypes, or gender, are fundamentally the … Oh, what’s the phrasing here? Part of the hierarchy that puts men over women, the patriarchy, and that we should abolish them.

We shouldn’t have sex-role stereotypes. I wouldn’t say that they’re necessarily part of the LGBT movement. A lot of the LGBT movement actually doesn’t really like us very much.

We’re more part of the feminism movement, but we’re our own little thing.

Trinko: Why does the LGBT movement reject groups like yours?

Bookbinder: Because we are against transgender ideology. We don’t think that a man can become a woman in any sort of very meaningful way.

Particularly, we don’t think that what makes a woman is the makeup and the hair and plastic surgery and things like that.

Davis: Well, I wanted to ask you about a bill that’s getting a lot of traction … among House Democrats. [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi is pushing a bill called the Equality Act.

It would advance the transgender theory across the country in so many ways, including in education, and it would basically make gender defined by your own mental state, rather than anything objective that people can just observe.

Do you have any thoughts about that bill?

Bookbinder: The Equality [Act] was kind of a train wreck, honestly.

It poses a direct danger to women and girls, because of how it takes sex, which we all know to mean male and female, and replaces it with gender identity, which is this intangible spirit that people “just know” in themselves.

There’s no external way of validating it. There’s no reality check, whereas 99% of people, we can tell if they’re male or female.

It also makes it so that you could just say, “I’m a man” [or] “I’m a woman.” There wouldn’t be any sort of requirement that you at least have had a diagnosis from a medical professional.

This bill really, really would negatively impact the safety of women and girls. It would make it so that I couldn’t request a female doctor, because if I requested a female doctor, I could also get a male doctor who says he’s female.

Same for chaperones, handling intimate care at a hospital, supervising drug tests. That’s actually happened a few times.

Also for supervising children on overnight trips. I would not be able to say, if I had children, I want my female children supervised by a female caregiver, because I could request that, but the person they consider a female caregiver could be a man who just says he’s a woman.

It would also desegregate, based on sex, hospital rooms, locker rooms, and group showers, where people are naked. Prisons, juvenile detention facilities, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers. All these places where women and children are vulnerable would be open to any male, any man, who says that they’re a woman.

Davis: Does the Women’s Liberation Front share your view officially? Have they come out against the bill?

Bookbinder: I’m holding our U.S. Equality Act gender-identity impact summary; so, yes. They are officially against the U.S. Equality Act.

Trinko: Circling back, we see, anecdotally, more and more teens are struggling with their gender-identity nowadays.

Schools are reporting unprecedented numbers of kids wondering if they’re trans, et cetera. What would you say if a girl around 13 [or] 14 came to you and said I’m struggling with my gender identity?

Bookbinder:  I would say that, “Yes, being a woman in a patriarchal society can suck. It can feel like you’re trapped in a box, like there are no good options, and like you are a freak for not wanting to be feminine.”

It can feel like, maybe if you were a boy, people would take you seriously. Maybe if you were a boy, you could do what you wanted to do. That is just another form of the patriarchy.

What it’s trying to do is, trying to get you to mutilate your body and reject your body, which is the embodiment of who you are, instead of rejecting sexist ideology.

It’s OK to be uncomfortable with your body. I am still uncomfortable with my body often. Just because you’re uncomfortable with your body, doesn’t mean that your body is the problem. The problem is sexism and misogyny.

You can work on accepting your body and having your interests. You don’t have to either change your interests or your body to fit into sexist ideology.

Davis: All right. Well, Eliana, we really appreciate you coming in and being on and sharing your story.

Bookbinder:  Thank you, guys, for having me.



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


28 April, 2019

Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day: Revisiting Islam’s Greatest Slaughter of Christians

Today, April 24, marks the “Great Crime,” that is, the genocide of Christians—mostly Armenians but also Assyrians—that took place under the Islamic Ottoman Empire throughout World War I.  Then, the Turks liquidated approximately 1.5 million Armenians and 300,000 Assyrians.

Most objective American historians who have studied the question unequivocally agree that it was a deliberate, calculated genocide:

More than one million Armenians perished as the result of execution, starvation, disease, the harsh environment, and physical abuse.  A people who lived in eastern Turkey for nearly 3,000 years [more than double the amount of time the invading Islamic Turks had occupied Anatolia, now known as “Turkey”] lost its homeland and was profoundly decimated in the first large-scale genocide of the twentieth century. 

At the beginning of 1915 there were some two million Armenians within Turkey; today there are fewer than 60,000….  Despite the vast amount of evidence that points to the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide, eyewitness accounts, official archives, photographic evidence, the reports of diplomats, and the testimony of survivors, denial of the Armenian Genocide by successive regimes in Turkey has gone on from 1915 to the present.

Similarly, in 1920, U.S. Senate Resolution 359 heard testimony that included evidence of “[m]utilation, violation, torture, and death [which] have left their haunting memories in a hundred beautiful Armenian valleys, and the traveler in that region is seldom free from the evidence of this most colossal crime of all the ages.”

In her memoir, Ravished Armenia, Aurora Mardiganian described being raped and thrown into a harem (consistent with Islam’s rules of war).  Unlike thousands of other Armenian girls who were discarded after being defiled, she managed to escape. In the city of Malatia, she saw 16 Christian girls crucified: “Each girl had been nailed alive upon her cross,” she wrote, “spikes through her feet and hands, only their hair blown by the wind, covered their bodies.”  Such scenes were portrayed in the 1919 documentary film Auction of Souls, some of which is based on Mardiganian’s memoirs.

Whereas the genocide is largely acknowledged in the West, one of its primary if not fundamental causes is habitually overlooked: religion.  The genocide is usually articulated through a singularly secular paradigm, one that factors only things that are intelligible from a secular, Western point of view—such as identity and gender politics, nationalism, and territorial disputes. Such an approach does little more than project modern Western perspectives onto vastly different civilizations and eras.

War, of course, is another factor that clouds the true face of the genocide.  Because these atrocities mostly occurred during World War I, so the argument goes, they are ultimately a reflection of just that—war, in all its chaos and destruction, and nothing more.  But as Winston Churchill, who described the massacres as an “administrative holocaust,” correctly observed, “The opportunity [WWI] presented itself for clearing Turkish soil of a Christian race.”  Even Adolf Hitler had pointed out that “Turkey is taking advantage of the war in order to thoroughly liquidate its internal foes, i.e., the indigenous Christians, without being thereby disturbed by foreign intervention.”

It’s worth noting that little has changed; in the context of war in Iraq, Syria, and Libya, the first to be targeted for genocide have been Christians and other minorities.

But even the most cited factor of the Armenian Genocide, “ethnic identity conflict,” while legitimate, must be understood in light of the fact that, historically, religion accounted more for a person’s identity than language or heritage.   This is daily demonstrated throughout the Islamic world today, where Muslim governments and Muslim mobs persecute Christian minorities who share the same race, ethnicity, language, and culture; minorities who are indistinguishable from the majority—except, of course, for being non-Muslims, or “infidels.”

As one Armenian studies professor asks, “If it [the Armenian Genocide] was a feud between Turks and Armenians, what explains the genocide carried out by Turkey against the Christian Assyrians at the same time?”

Indeed, according to a 2017 book, Year of the Sword: The Assyrian Christian Genocide:

[The] policy of ethnic cleansing was stirred up by pan-Islamism and religious fanaticism.  Christians were considered infidels ( kafir).  The call to Jihad, decreed on 29 November 1914 and instigated and orchestrated for political ends, was part of the plan” to “combine and sweep over the lands of Christians and to exterminate them.”   As with the Armenians, eyewitness accounts tell of the sadistic eye-gouging of Assyrians and the gang rape of their children on church altars. According to key documents, all this was part of “an Ottoman plan to exterminate Turkey’s Christians.

To understand how the historic genocide of Armenians and Assyrians is representative of the modern-day plight of Christians under Islam, one need only read the following words written in 1918 by President Theodore Roosevelt; however, read “Armenian” as “Christian” and “Turkish” as  “Islamic,” as supplied in brackets:

the Armenian [Christian] massacre was the greatest crime of the war, and the failure to act against Turkey [the Islamic world] is to condone it… the failure to deal radically with the Turkish [Islamic] horror means that all talk of guaranteeing the future peace of the world is mischievous nonsense.

Indeed, if we “fail to deal radically” with the “horror” currently being visited upon millions of Christians around the Islamic world—which in some areas reached genocidal proportions—we “condone it” and had better cease talking “mischievous nonsense” of a utopian world of peace and tolerance.

Put differently, silence is always the ally of those who would liquidate the “other.”  In 1915, Adolf Hitler rationalized his genocidal plans, which he implemented some three decades later, when he rhetorically asked: “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

And who among today’s major politicians speaks—let alone does anything—about the ongoing annihilation of Christians by Muslims, most recently (but not singularly) seen in the Easter Sunday church bombings of Sri Lanka that left over 300 dead?


Born That Way? Research Says No

Transgenderism's "born the wrong way" claim is undercutting the homosexual lobby.

The argument that homosexuals were “born that way” — that their orientation should be viewed as an immutable characteristic rather than a chosen behavior — has long been the primary justification for the extension of nondiscrimination laws to include an individual’s “sexual orientation.” However, as the sexual revolution has continued its crusade to destroy all traditional norms, the rise of transgenderism and the concept of “gender fluidity” has ironically undercut the whole “born that way” argument.

A recently published analysis by Peter Sprigg, a Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council, finds, “Evidence Shows Sexual Orientation Can Change.” Sprigg points out that:

The truth is, “sexual orientation” is a multi-faceted concept, involving a combination of attractions, behaviors, and personal identity. These four studies all demonstrate that significant change in each of the elements of sexual orientation is possible. The percentage changing from homosexuality to heterosexuality ranged from 13% to 53% (while the percentage changing from heterosexuality to homosexuality ranged only from 1% to 12%). In one survey of “same-sex attracted respondents,” up to 38% of men and 53% of women “changed to heterosexuality” in only a six-year period.

Confirmation of this has come from a surprising source. Scholar Lisa Diamond (who herself identifies as a lesbian) has long studied and written about the “sexual fluidity” of women. In a 2016 article with her colleague Clifford Rosky, she declared, “Given the consistency of these findings, it is not scientifically accurate to describe same-sex sexual orientation as a uniformly immutable trait.”

As many Christians and conservatives have long pointed out, there is a tremendous difference between state of being and choice. Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, those desiring to throw off the moral restraints of America’s historic Judeo-Christian culture sought out numerous ways in which to challenge those long-accepted norms. Homosexual behavior was long understood to be a matter of practice rather than an immutable human characteristic. As such it found very little acceptance within the broader culture. It wasn’t until the late 1980s and early 1990s that the broader culture began to acquiesce to the “born that way” mythology.

There was never any real biological basis for this change; rather as the emotive nonsense of “if it feels right, it is right” took hold within the American culture, the argument against homosexuality being a biologically innate characteristic lost out to the new “truth” of personal emotive experience. As a result, to question a person’s feelings became tantamount to questioning the legitimacy of their being.

But consistency has always been the Achilles heel of emotive-based reasoning, and nowhere has this been more evident than in the reaction by the Rainbow Mafia against those who have left the homosexual lifestyle. No matter their personal experience, the Rainbow Mafia loudly ridicules the possibility that these former practicing homosexuals are no longer homosexual. It is therefore interesting that the rise of transgenderism and its arguably more consistent commitment to the emotive ethic with its “born the wrong way” declaration has the Rainbow Mafia at loggerheads.

Suddenly, the primary justification for the recognition of homosexuality as a protected class based upon immutability is undercut. No longer can homosexuality be claimed as an immutable characteristic. Instead, it returns to what it always was: a choice.


Handshakes could be banned under new workplace rules to avoid expensive sexual harassment claims, an expert has said

Handshakes could be banned under new workplace rules to avoid expensive sexual harassment claims, a UK expert has said.

Kate Palmer, an associate director of advisory at human resources consultancy Peninsula, said employers may ban all forms of physical contact to avoid confusion about what kind of touch is appropriate.

Ms Palmer said the #MeToo movement had forced employers to think about implementing more “black and white” policies.

“Some employers may put a complete ban on physical contact,” she told Metro. “Whether that’s going too far or not is a question I would pose, because it’s contextual. Does shaking someone’s hand go too far? They may just say ‘no contact at all’ because there’s no grey area.”

She said a handshake is “probably safe” unless an employer bans it, then it is a rule that needs to be followed.

It comes as three out of four people want a complete ban on physical contact in the workplace, according to a recent survey of 2000 adults by Totaljobs.

Ms Palmer added putting a hand on someone’s back or giving them a hug when they are upset could be “too personal” and staff should be “mindful” of that kind of touch. She said the level of appropriate contact varies from person to person but also from industry to industry.

For example, patting someone on the back on a construction site may be more acceptable than if it was an office.

The associate director said employers should make it clear what their policies are.

She said added the workplace does extend outside the office — including leaving drinks or the Christmas party.

Ms Palmer said employers should remind staff to “be sensible, but don’t cross the line”.


Cousins, aged five and six, are tasked with navigating their way around London with no adults in daring TV experiment

Frankly, to any modern responsible parent, it sounds tantamount to child abuse.

Who in their right mind would bring a five-year-old boy — and one who has never even been to a big city — to London, put a map in his hand and wave him off?

Who would leave this child — able to distinguish his left from his right, but only just — outside the Imperial War Museum and tell him to find his own way to the London Eye, by bus?

His only companion will be his cousin, who is also five. Actually, it would be considered highly neglectful, were it to happen for real. London bus drivers are instructed to alert the authorities if they suspect a young child is travelling alone.

This situation would be a Code Red, in London Transport speak, and the police would be called.

That they didn’t in this case was because it was a meticulously planned social experiment, for an ITV show investigating how much freedom we give our children — and whether they could benefit from more.

In this particular case, seven children (three groups, aged from four to seven) were set the task of getting themselves across the busy capital unaided.

Planet Child, hosted by doctor twin brothers Chris and Xand Van Tulleken, contrasts the freedom given to children in other parts of the world with the rather wrapped-in-cotton-wool existence British children have.

Are we too protective? We are reminded that most British kids are so heavily supervised that they spend less time outdoors than prison inmates.

In the show, we find out how other cultures do it. We meet a six-year-old in Tokyo who routinely travels alone across the city to get to school.

In Namibia, we are introduced to a seven-year-old and his five-year-old brother who walk miles from the safety of their village, not an adult in sight. They may not have to negotiate traffic, but they do have to be alert to wild dogs and elephants.

Another world? Certainly, in the UK, our parenting style is much more hands-on.

‘I think we were interested in the fact that children get treated very differently around the world,’ admits Dr Xand. ‘We wanted to see if the assumptions we make about parenting in the UK could be challenged.’

Dr Chris adds: ‘It’s about kids and how they behave. We provoke them and put them in weird situations — and we’ve found it’s surprising how they respond.’

In Planet Child, children are asked to take part in a range of experiments, from climbing trees to going shopping, to assess their attitude to risk and their ability to cope without adult supervision.

The London experiment is the most radical. So how do the children get on?

Well little Kieran Robinson and his cousin Rita, who live on a farm in rural Yorkshire, almost fail at the first hurdle when they succumb to the lure of the play area in the Imperial War Museum Gardens.

At the point where the production crew think they should be boarding the allotted bus, the pair — oblivious to any idea of timetables — are having a whale of a time on the slides.

What happens when they do finally leave? Well, your heart is in your mouth watching the two little figures heading into the heaving city streets, and trying to find a particular bus stop.

They ask a lady at the bus stop for help. Clever? Or downright worrying, given our preoccupations with Stranger Danger?

Of course, the children were never in any actual danger during the filming. Their parents had been asked to allow them to take part with full assurances that they would never be entirely alone — although, crucially, the children were not told this.

The London bus they would be getting on was rigged with cameras which would follow their every move. Adult ‘minders’ would be there, at a distance, posing as passengers.

At the first sign the children were distressed, they would quickly intervene.

Nonetheless, it makes for tense viewing. Perhaps the most astonishing thing is that the adults never have to step in. The children really aren’t fazed by the task.

There are a few bumpy moments. They aren’t told when to get off the bus, and there are some panicked little faces as they see the London Eye come into view, then go out of sight again as the bus follows its route.

As a viewer, it’s excruciating. How can these kids possibly negotiate all this?

Without giving too much away, they do — much to their delight, and the adults’ astonishment. They just got on with it, admits Dr Xand. ‘Left to their own devices, they do what they are asked to do.’

What about their parents, who were not able to follow their children’s progress on camera and had to rely on updates from the film crew? Suffice to say, they were all a bag of nerves.

‘I spent a lot of the time thinking: “What have we done?”’ admits Laura Robinson, Kieran’s mum.

‘Having grown up on a farm, Kieran maybe has more freedom than most. He can go out and play in the fields. But although he’s very independent, he’s never been to anywhere bigger than Skipton, and even then I won’t let go of his hand.’

Waving him off in London was something else. ‘I was worried about the traffic. The crew kept us updated with how they were getting on — “They’ve got on the bus now”; “They are fine” — but our hearts were still in our mouths. When we saw their heads bobbing towards us at the London Eye, I was so relieved.’

Interestingly, while some of the parents involved were reduced to tears during the experiment, none of the children was.

There were other experiments that weren’t quite so epic, but fascinating nonetheless.

One takes place in the Roses’ garden. An assault course is set up for Darcee and Judah and their little brothers. Then random equipment is left near a big tree — and the parents are asked to let the children get on with it. Cameras record what happens next.

‘There was a ladder,’ says Becky. ‘I knew immediately that the older two would put it against the tree. Then Darcee started to climb.’

Never had the older twins attempted to climb this tree. ‘And if they had, I would have gone running out to say “stop”. This time, Darcee got halfway up before she said: “It’s not stable”, which was a relief. It meant she was aware of the danger.’

Darcee continued, cautiously, until she was high in the tree. No one fell that day. There were no trips to A&E. But there were children punching the air with how much they had achieved.

Since then the Roses, like the other families, say they have made a concerted effort to allow the children a freer rein. ‘We’ve been blown away about how much it’s made us rethink things,’ says Tim.

Can we all learn from this programme? Dr Chris admits he is now less of a ‘helicopter parent’ with his own toddler daughter. ‘Now, I don’t assist her coming down a short flight of stairs because if she falls down two steps, she’s less likely to fall off a building or off a wall when she is confronted by those [as she will better assess the risks].’

Bottom line, we are unlikely to kill our children by letting them climb a tree; but we might be putting them in danger by failing to let them learn how to climb.

‘If you look at the statistics of child fatalities, the vast amount of incidents are around things like car accidents,’ says Dr Chris. ‘They don’t generally die in playgrounds, falling off swings.

‘We underestimate children constantly. They are capable of far more than we think.’



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


26 April, 2019

This Supreme Court Case Threatens the Left’s View of Group Identity, Victimhood

Oral arguments heard at the Supreme Court Tuesday were ostensibly about whether the 2020 census could include a question about citizenship.

But don’t be fooled. The reason this case rocketed to the Supreme Court and has been so hotly contested is that the debate hinges, at bottom, on two starkly different visions of America.

In one vision, what matters is loyalty to and affiliation with a nation-state that is self-contained, independent, civic, and colorbind. In the other vision, priority is given to one’s membership in a subnational group that is based on subjective self-identity (like race or sexual orientation), and association with that group yields benefits and preferences in everything, from hiring to contracting, employment, housing, and even electoral redistricting.

The divide essentially comes down to a commitment to America as a nation vs. a commitment to one’s subgroup and the hierarchy of victimhood.

This is one of the great debates of our time—not just here, but around the world.

Whatever the Supreme Court decides—and an opinion is needed by summer if the Census Bureau is to meet its deadline of printing millions of forms—rest assured that this debate will not go away any time soon.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of the nation-state seem to have been greatly exaggerated. Despite pressure from above—from sovereignty-draining, transnational institutions like the United Nations and the European Union—and from below, i.e., from identity groups based on race, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability status, and anything else that can confer conceptual victimhood (and thus special rights) on an individual, the nation-state has shown remarkable resilience.

Defenders of the nation-state remind us that democracy, the rule of law, self-determination, liberty, and everything else Americans and like-minded people hold dear depend on territorially and culturally defined nation-states. Its opponents like to portray the nation-state as archaic, unnecessary, and a gateway to authoritarianism, if not worse.

The Trump administration has championed the sovereignist view, and in 2017 recognized the importance of citizenship by requesting that a question on citizenship be added to the 2020 census.

Progressive groups have left no stone unturned in their bid to frustrate the administration on this front. Notably, these same groups defend a panoply of other census questions that divide Americans by sex, ethnicity, and race.

These groups argue that the citizenship question would depress responses among certain marginalized groups, especially Hispanics. Yet the Census Bureau says it has no credible evidence that the question would affect the quality of the data.

Dozens of progressive organizations brought suit in New York, joined by 18 states and the District of Columbia. They won in district court in New York, thus the case Tuesday was Department of Commerce v. New York.

The hearing Tuesday did not in the least devote itself to these large questions of nationhood, sovereignty, and the like. Instead, there was a lot of technical and statistical back-and-forth between liberal justices and United States Solicitor General Noel Francisco, who represented the administration, and between the conservative justices and New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood; Dale Ho, the lawyer for the New York plaintiffs; and Douglas Letter, the lawyer who represented the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. All of these latter individuals argued against including the citizenship question.

It is difficult, as usual, to predict which way a court will go. Ho did his side no favors by admitting at one point that, yes, the Trump administration is right that citizenship data is needed to enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

At issue is the fact that the Voting Rights Act does indeed call, in some places, for drawing districts where at least 50 percent of the voting population are members of a racial or ethnic minority.

Ho, perhaps unwittingly, made the case that “if the minority group has relatively low citizenship rates, for example, as is the case with Hispanic populations in some circumstances, then you need citizenship data to make sure that you’re drawing a district in which minority voters are, in fact, a majority of the population.”

That data is now provided by the American Community Survey, a smaller census product that goes out to fewer households. But some states, ironically including some of those suing the Trump administration, have complained that that data is not reliable.

Justice Neil Gorsuch thus jumped on Ho’s argument and pointed out that “some of the states who are now respondents before us have in litigation, including in this court, argued that [American Community Survey] data should not be relied upon for purposes of citizenship or other purposes, that the census data is more accurate. What do we do about that? It seems to me like you kind of put the government in a bit of a catch 22.”

It is the unified left that is in a catch 22, however—and the Voting Rights Act, as it is currently interpreted, put it there. The left does not mind (it in fact loves) the racial gerrymandering that is aided by census questions on ethnicity, race, and so forth. But because what is actually needed is voters, the administration can now say it needs citizenship data, since only citizens are allowed to vote.

The left is terrified by this prospect. It now realizes that available citizenship data will allow jurisdictions to apportion and redistrict seats according to voter, or citizen population, not total population, as they are constitutionally entitled to do. That would, for example, prevent liberal districts from swelling their numbers by adding populations of non-voting noncitizens or even illegal immigrants.

This essentially means citizenship data on the American nation itself—not arbitrary subgroups—would determine the shape of the House of Representatives, and the number and composition of electoral votes at election time. Our elections would more accurately represent the America that really exists, not the faux America envisioned by intersectional activists.

To win this issue, not just in the Supreme Court, but in the all-important court of public opinion, those who believe in the nation-state must constantly make the case that its view of the nation is nonracial, but instead is truly inclusive and colorblind. We must show that the other vision leads to balkanization, conflict, and ultimately, national splintering.


The banishing of Kate Smith isn't 'sensitive' — it's ridiculous

by Jeff Jacoby

OUTSIDE THE WELLS FARGO ARENA in Philadelphia is a nondescript, grit-strewn concrete slab. It is all that remains after the Flyers hockey organization last weekend hauled away the statue of an exuberant Kate Smith that had stood there for 32 years. Gone too is the plaque that explained Smith's cherished place in Flyers history:

"Blessed with a voice and presence which led her to stardom on Broadway, radio, and television, Miss Smith came to symbolize joyous, homespun American patriotism. Kate Smith had a special relationship with the Flyers. . . . Her live performance of 'God Bless America' helped inspire the Flyers to become Stanley Cup Champions for the first time in 1974. This statue, honoring one of America's greatest patriots, is a gift from the Philadelphia Flyers to the people of our great country."

For decades, Smith's recording of "God Bless America" was embraced by Flyers fans as a harbinger of luck; the team went 101-31-5 in games when the song was played. The New York Yankees had a Kate Smith ritual as well: After 9/11, Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" was heard during every seventh inning at Yankee Stadium.

Both traditions screeched to a halt last week. The Yankees and the Flyers announced that they would no longer play the Smith soundtrack — and in the Flyers' case, would immediately remove her statue — because early in her career she had recorded two songs with cringe-inducing racial lyrics. By 21st-century standards, the songs — "That's Why Darkies Were Born" and "Pickaninny Heaven" — are undeniably grotesque. But there is no indication that Smith's recordings were motivated by racist hatred. In fact, "Darkies" was a biting satire of white supremacist bigotry, which explains why it was also recorded in 1931 by Paul Robeson, the formidable African American baritone whose father had been a slave.

Smith was one of the most popular American entertainers of her time. She recorded some 3,000 songs and sold 19 million records over her long career. During World War II, she traveled more than 500,000 miles to entertain the troops, and sold an astonishing $600 million in War Bonds to help finance the war effort. Her 1938 recording of "God Bless America" was so influential that both of the 1940 presidential candidates, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie, made it their official campaign songs. To this day, millions of Americans know Kate Smith for that iconic patriotic anthem. Until last week, almost no one remembered the two songs with the offending racial stereotypes.

The Flyers and the Yankees are private companies and free, if they wish, to treat Smith as a pariah after decades of celebrating her legacy. They shouldn't get away, however, with pretending to be doing something enlightened. A Yankees spokesman claimed Smith's "God Bless America" was being dropped because the team "take[s] social, racial, and cultural insensitivities very seriously" and is "erring on the side of sensitivity." But obliterating every reference to the memory of honorable men and women on the grounds that, by today's benchmark, they were imperfect isn't "sensitive." It's ridiculous — and chilling.

If Smith had been newly exposed as a lifelong bigot who despised African Americans and championed Jim Crow, the case for declaring her persona non grata would be strong. No one has suggested anything of the kind. On the contrary: In 1951, Smith invited Josephine Baker to appear on her popular TV program, the first time the controversial black entertainer was seen on American television.

There are times when it is appropriate to expunge the name of honorees from the public square. I strongly favor the removal of every memorial to the Confederacy, and of rechristening every school, military base, or highway named for the politicians and generals who went to war to perpetuate slavery and dismantle the United States. The Confederate cause was a hideous one, and nothing about it ever deserved public esteem.

But that's a far cry from retroactively dishonoring someone whose life was largely admirable, if imperfect. Even great people can have lamentable flaws, especially when viewed in retrospect. Rarely is it wise or fair to let the flaw nullify the greatness.

Before deciding that someone's name or image (or recording) be purged from a place of honor it has long occupied, I propose a two-part test: (1) Was the person honored for unworthy or indecent behavior? (2) Is the person known today primarily for unworthy or indecent behavior? If the answer to both is No, the honor or memorial should stay.

Kate Smith was a beloved singer who brought joy to millions, raised America's spirits in dark times, and materially aided the war against Nazi Germany and its allies. That is her legacy, not a couple of dubious, long-forgotten songs.


Mass.: Officials close ranks in defense of secret courts

Massachusetts’ “secret courts” will remain secret for the foreseeable future. So much for transparency in our justice system.

The show cause hearings — preliminary hearings held by clerk magistrates, who are not even necessarily lawyers — will remain largely behind closed doors in the wake of the latest report from a trial court working group. The report was released, not surprisingly, on the same day as the Mueller report. A cynic might conclude that the members of the committee — all current or former judges, clerk magistrates, or other court personnel — wanted to deliver their homage to the status quo on a day when it probably would be buried beneath an avalanche of breaking news.

The widespread use of these closed-door hearings was exposed in a recent Globe Spotlight report that found inconsistencies in how the policy of private hearings was implemented from one courthouse to another and a range of abuses, especially when it came to cases involving public officials.

But the working group, headed by retired District Court Judge Paul LoConto and Boston Municipal Court Judge Kenneth Fiandaca, recommended only that “the magistrate should consider opening the hearing to the public when the accused or complainant is a public official or public employee. However, the fact that the accused or complainant is a public official or public employee should not, by itself, be a basis to make a hearing or the records available to the public.”

And it added, “When determining whether the accusations are of legitimate public concern and the accused is a public official or employee, the magistrate should consider whether the accused’s conduct is relevant to the conduct of his or her office, misuse of authority, or are allegations of official wrongdoing.”

By that standard, a bothersome DUI or an assault on a spouse or girlfriend probably wouldn’t come close.

One of the few sensible recommendations: “The magistrate should consider whether there has been prior publication of the name of the accused or the conduct for which the accused has been charged.” This calls to mind the case of Kevin Spacey. The actor’s show cause hearing on sexual assault charges on Nantucket was duly recorded, and that recording made public.

As for recording those secret hearings on a routine basis — in the event there is a question about their content, propriety, or outcome — well, that apparently will hinge on the outcome of a suit brought by the Globe, to be heard by the Supreme Judicial Court next month. The report did note that show cause hearings held by a judge are “required to be electronically recorded,” but not hearings held by clerk magistrates.

The report also revealed that only about one-third of the 62 District Court divisions routinely record show cause hearings, and that doesn’t include Boston Municipal Court.

The working group found absolutely no need to change policy when it comes to clerk magistrates — who, remember, are not judges — holding hearings in felony cases.

The only good news — however slim — was that the group punted on a full review of standards for show cause hearings, suggesting “a new cross-departmental committee be formed.” A committee that isn’t already wedded to the status quo might be a good place to start.

Just because a system has operated for decades under the premise that such closed-door hearings are “for the protection and benefit of the accused” is no reason it must continue to do so. The system continues to cry out for more transparency, for greater regard for the public interest, and for the rights of victims.

Bills filed in the House and Senate this session would require such hearings generally be open, unless there’s a good reason to close them, and would mandate they be recorded. That’s certainly an option, given the unwillingness of the judicial branch to reform itself.


Persecution of Christians being taken to extremes

The barbaric and evil attack on Christians in Sri Lanka is yet a further illustration of what Christian activist Patrick Sookhdeo in The Death of Western Christianity describes as Christianophobia: “a state of fear and hatred against Christianity and Christians”.

Sookhdeo argues that we are living across the globe in an intolerant and oppressive “anti-Christian age” where those committed to the Bible suffer oppression and violence, and in extreme cases torture and death.

In China the communist government creates a climate of fear and intimidation where Christians are treated as second-class citizens and the Catholic Church is denied the freedom to act independently of government.

In Egypt the Christian Copts are also oppressed: in April 2017, on Palm Sunday, 45 worshippers were killed when two churches were bombed by Islamist terrorists. A year earlier in Pakistan, 75 Christians were killed and hundreds injured while celebrating Easter in an attack by Islamist militants.

And as explained in the just-released book The Thirty-Year Genocide by Benny Morris and Dror Ze’evi, detailing the treatment of Christians in what is now Turkey, there is a long history in the Middle East of extreme and inhumane violence and cruelty.

During the period from 1894 to 1924, covering the last years of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the Turkish republic, Christians suffered under a state-mandated strategy of “premeditated mass killing, homicidal deportation, forced conversion, mass rape and brutal abduction”. Indeed, such is the barbaric treatment currently inflicted on Christians that Muslim commentator and author Mehdi Hasan argues online in The Intercept that commentators and politicians in the West should do more to acknow­ledge their brutal and merciless treatment.

After noting the widespread condemnation in response to the horrific attack on the mosques in Christchurch, Hasan writes: “I am a Muslim, and I consider myself to be on the left, but I’m embarrassed to admit that in both Muslim and left circles the issue of Christian persecution has been downplayed and even ignored for far too long.”

As to why there is an aversion in the West to admitting Christians are suffering and that more needs to be done to make public what is happening, the reasons are many and complex.

Italian academic Augusto Del Noce, in The Crisis of Modernity, argues the prevailing orthodoxy dominating the West is one of secular humanism inspired by neo-Marxism, critical theory and scientific rationalism. Since the end of World War I, Christianity as a moral and spiritual system based on the New ­Testament and the word of God has been supplanted by an ideology committed to creating a ­man-made utopia based on empiricism and the belief that political and economic factors deter­mine how societies are structured.

Such is the hostility that secular critics argue we are living in a post-Christian age where the belief system based on the New Testament that has nourished and underpinned Western civilisation for thousands of years is obsolete and irrelevant.

As detailed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, the dominant mode of thinking and relating to others and the world at large is characterised by relativism and subjectivism. Christianity, on the other hand, is based on the word of God and the conviction that there are ­absolutes.

In this postmodern world of critical theory the Bible is simply one text among many that has to be critiqued and deconstructed in terms of power relationships and how it imposes a Eurocentric, mis­ogynist and heteronormative view of the world — one guilty of privileging whiteness.

The subservience to multiculturalism and uncritically celebrating diversity and difference also help to explain why Christianity is not being given the recognition and attention it deserves.

For years schools and universities have taught students that there is nothing special or unique about Christianity and that all cultures and belief systems deserve the same recognition (with the exception of Western civilisation).


Best illustrated by the national curriculum, Christianity is absent or considered on the same footing as indigenous spirituality. Harmony Day and Sorry Day are on the same level as Christmas and Easter, and Dreamtime stories are given the same emphasis as Genesis.

Evidenced by those hundreds of academics who have signed open letters condemning universities for entertaining the possibility of hosting a Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, the aversion to Christianity is widespread in the academy.

The hostility and indifference to Christianity in Australia is not limited to schools and universities. Whether it’s the ABC’s The Drum and Q&A or The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald,most commentators are cultural-left and more concerned about identity politics and politically correct victimhood than the plight of Christians.



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


25 April, 2019

Supreme Court to Weigh In: Who Has the Power to Rewrite the Law?

Harris Funeral Homes in Michigan has been ministering to grieving families for over 100 years.

But if government officials with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) get their way, they will punish this family-owned business.

Tom Rost owns Harris Funeral Homes. He and his employees strive to minister to families grieving the loss of a loved one. And they have done just that, serving their community with compassion. In 2011, Tom won the Preferred Funeral Directors International Parker Award for demonstrating exemplary service; and his family business, located in the Detroit area, was voted “best hometown funeral home” in 2016.

Harris Funeral Homes’ priority is for families to focus on their loss and their grief – which is why its policies, which include a sex-specific dress code, are crafted to emphasize professionalism and encourage employees to blend in to the background.

But it’s that dress code that has landed him in court, after Rost was informed that a male funeral director would no longer be wearing the men’s uniform, but would be dressing in women’s clothing instead. Because of that decision not to comply with the dress code, the funeral home felt that it had no choice but to part ways with the employee. And then the EEOC filed a lawsuit.

This should have been an open-and-shut case. After all, small businesses are allowed under the law to differentiate between men and women in their dress codes. Even the EEOC’s own employee manual states that a “dress code may require male employees to wear neckties at all times and female employees to wear skirts or dresses at all times.”

But the EEOC has elevated its political goals above the interests of the grieving people Tom and Harris Funeral Homes serve.

In order to achieve its own political goals through the courts, the EEOC decided that the definition of “sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin – should mean “gender identity.”

But businesses have the right to rely on what the law is – not what government agencies want it to be – when they create and enforce employment policies.

It’s also worth noting that the former employee was free to dress however that employee wanted outside of work. Harris Funeral Homes simply expects its employees to follow the dress code during work hours, since the dress code is a crucial component to how it serves grieving families.

The EEOC doesn’t see it that way. And the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has sided with the EEOC. Thankfully, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear this case. Alliance Defending Freedom – representing Harris Funeral Homes – is asking the Court to answer the question: Who has the authority to rewrite federal law?

Here’s the bottom line: “Sex” and “gender identity” are not the same thing.

“Sex” treats whether someone is male or female as an objective fact based on biological truth. “Gender identity,” on the other hand, is a fluid, difficult-to-define concept based on subjective perceptions.

Replacing “sex” with “gender identity” in Title VII should not be taken lightly. Only Congress has the authority to make such a drastic shift – a change that has widespread consequences for everyone.

It would undermine equal treatment for women – allowing women’s scholarships to be given to men who believe themselves to be women, for example;

It would jeopardize the dignity and privacy of women – forcing organizations to open women’s shelters, locker rooms, and restrooms to men who believe themselves to be women; and

It would put employers in difficult situations – requiring them to treat men who believe themselves to be women as if they are in fact women.

These are important issues that you and I have the right to decide through our elected officials. Unelected officials – whether bureaucrats or judges – don’t have the power to make these choices for us.

Now the U.S. Supreme Court has an opportunity to make this clear.


On liberal authoritarianism

Bowing to the authority of experts saps the lifeblood of democracy.  The idea of "experts" on political questions must be met with a sneer.  Even on non-political questions, the experts are often wrong

Political liberalism has evolved over nearly three centuries from a philosophy of safeguarding freedoms into a philosophy of demanding rights.

There have been good reasons for this shift. Liberals have come to realise that freedoms on their own are not always sustainable. People sometimes vote to relinquish their freedoms. Very often people use their freedoms to enslave others. Freedom may be just as likely to be used irresponsibly as it is to be used responsibly. Thus the mainstream of liberal opinion has come to the view that the protection of basic human rights, especially the protection of minority rights, is an indispensable prerequisite for the maintenance of individual freedom.

To some extent this is true. But the principle that some human rights must be ensured prompts the question of which ones. Someone has to decide, and if that decision preempts democratic decision-making, then clearly the decision cannot be left up to the people. In fact, among liberal political scientists, the whole idea that the people should define the scope of basic human rights is now sneeringly referred to as ‘majoritarian’ democracy, qualified as if it were no kind of democracy at all.

Mainstream liberals have reasoned that the delineation of the set of human rights that are necessary for the maintenance of individual freedom can only be properly performed by experts. Those experts, the experts in human rights, are by definition educated professionals like academics, lawyers, judges, journalists, civil servants, social workers, medical doctors and lobbyists. By virtue of dedicated study and professional practice they have made themselves the legitimate authorities on the subject. And they truly are the legitimate authorities on the subject. When you want an authority on chemistry, you consult a chemist. When you want an authority on human rights, you consult a human-rights lawyer.

The whole idea that the people should define the scope of human rights is now often sneeringly referred to as ‘majoritarian’ democracy, qualified as if it were no kind of democracy at all

The problem is that politics is a unique field of human activity. Authoritarianism in chemistry may be unproblematic, even desirable. Authoritarianism in politics is dangerous, even when the authorities themselves are above reproach. In the contemporary liberal worldview, certain policies are mandatory, others are beyond the pale, and only the experts can tell which is which. Liberal democracy thus requires the obedience of the voters (or at least the citizens) to expert authority. The people are the passive recipients of those rights the experts deem them to possess.

As the domain of rights expands, experts end up making more and more of the decisions – or at least more of the decisions that matter – in an ever-increasing number of the most important aspects of public life: economic policy, criminal justice, what’s taught in schools, who’s allowed to enter the country, what diseases will be cured, even (in many cases) who will have the opportunity to run for elective office. In these areas and more, experts arrogate to themselves the authority to adjudicate competing claims for public resources and private benefits. As society evolves, the areas reserved to expert adjudication seem only to expand. In the course of normal politics, previously depoliticised policy domains rarely return to the realm of democratic determination.

The new authoritarianism of the 21st century has nothing to do with the Trump presidency. It is neither a right-wing authoritarianism, nor a nationalist authoritarianism, nor even a conservative authoritarianism. The new authoritarianism of the 21st century is, paradoxically, a liberal authoritarianism. It is a tyranny of experts.

Though it may pain teachers to hear it, critical-thinking skills teach the habit of obedience, not because teachers value obedience, but because of the very criteria on which success in critical thinking must be judged. Critical thinking teaches students to reason toward the correct answer. But what if there is no correct answer? Or what if there is a correct answer but it is impossible to know what it is? Most public-policy questions fall into these two open categories. In such cases, independent thinking won’t necessarily lead people to the right answers. What independent thinking does is give the thinker – in this case, the citizen – a stake in the answer.

For example, consider the question of whether the US should have intervened earlier in the First World War. If it had, millions of lives might have been saved, Russia might not have fallen to the Bolsheviks, and Germany might have been more comprehensively defeated, changing German attitudes and preventing the rise of Nazism and the coming of the Second World War. Or perhaps the 20th century would have turned out even more horrifically than it did. We will never know. But we do know that the delay in America’s entry into the war left time for the issue to be comprehensively discussed, for ordinary Americans to form opinions for and against getting involved, and for them to express those opinions, whatever their merits.

As a result, when the US did go to war in 1917, it was with the support of the American people. Those who were initially against intervention, who may even have voted for Woodrow Wilson on the basis of his isolationist slogans (‘America first’ and ‘He kept us out of war’), patriotically joined in the cause.

Contrast that process with the politics behind America’s more recent wars waged in south-east Asia and the Middle East, hatched by cabals of experts with little genuine public debate. Despite their (current) unpopularity, it is impossible to say for sure whether these wars were right or wrong, successful or unsuccessful, because the relevant counterfactuals will never be known. What we do know is that there was no consensus among ordinary citizens about America’s participation in these wars.

Free-thinking citizens might have made even worse decisions. History is littered with the stories of democratic countries going to war for all the wrong reasons, from Athens’ gratuitous invasion of Sicily in 415 BC to America’s avaricious war on Spain in 1898. Independent thinkers are not necessarily better thinkers. But they take responsibility for their decisions in a way that obedient subjects do not. Independent thinking is more important for the health of democracy than is the success or failure of any particular policy decision.

Discretionary wars brightly illustrate the rise of the new authoritarianism because they crystalise decision-making processes into discrete, well-known events. But for the quality of democracy itself, the most important policy questions are those about freedoms and rights: who has them, who can grant them, and who can take them away. These are fundamentally questions about sovereignty and where it is located. The traditional American answer is that sovereignty resides in ‘We the People’. The traditional French answer is the state, and the traditional British answer is characteristically something in between: parliament.

But these traditional answers are now being challenged. Experts increasingly assert the existence of universal human rights that are beyond the political power of the people or the state to regulate. Whereas universal freedoms may be ‘self-evident’ (reserved rather than granted), universal rights must be granted by someone. Under the new authoritarianism, that someone is the expert class.

It might be sensationalist to claim that a self-appointed and self-perpetuating human-rights aristocracy is running roughshod over Western democracy. But with less hyperbole, there has been in the West a slow but comprehensive historical evolution from the broad consensus that governments derive their legitimacy from the people via democratic mandates to an emerging view that governments derive their legitimacy by governing in ways that have been endorsed by expert authorities. And that is a development that should worry democrats everywhere.


Allen West: Situational Ethics of Progressive, Socialist Left Should Be Disconcerting to Us All

I spent Easter weekend in South Florida and was invited to a Passover Seder on Good Friday. Our dear friends invited us up to Palm Beach Gardens, and it was great to see them. As I sat down to enjoy the evening, there were two ladies seated next to me, of a different political philosophy, and they knew who I was. Yes, you know it. I was engaged in a political discussion, especially since the Robert Mueller Special Counsel report had been released. But, as the Boy Scout – oops, can’t say that anymore, I guess – the Scouts motto says, “Be prepared.”

The dinner conversation began with the ladies asking me about the challengers to President Trump. I responded by stating I did not support a political philosophy that is rooted in socialist principles. And of course, the response was that the proposals of these Democratic Party challengers were not socialist. Having two advanced degrees on the subject, I explained the basic tenets of socialism. I also confided that I did not support these presidential candidates who were advocating for “reparations.” One of the women told me that none of them had said anything about reparations, that she had not heard that. Therefore, we have a Media Research Center that evidences the utter bias in the mainstream media. I was compelled, between bites of food, to use an iPhone to bring up an article about the Democratic presidential candidates, who, at the behest of Al Sharpton, agreed to support the issue of reparations.

But what became the crux of the conversation was the topic of the Mueller report. I had to contend with the progressive, socialist left talking point about President Trump’s obstruction of justice. The ladies did not want to talk about how the entire Mueller investigation charade was started. That seemed to hold no interest for them. What they did express was an abject emotional response and a belief that President Trump has perpetrated a gross lie against the American people. And so I asked them if their outrage was politically based, or if they condemned any lying, by anyone.

I think you all know where I am heading, right?

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has come out criticizing current Attorney General Barr, stating that Barr has made mistakes. AG Holder has asserted that AG Barr is the AG for the American people, not the president. However, it was AG Holder in an interview with Tom Joyner who claimed that he was President Obama’s wingman. It was also AG Holder who once said that he was an “activist” Attorney General, and we can all agree with him on that. Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell has called upon the resignation of AG Barr, but where were the voices calling for the resignation of Eric Holder after the revelations of Operation Fast and Furious. Maybe we have forgotten, but as a result of that scheme, a U.S. Border Patrol Agent named Brian Terry lost his life.

I brought up the lie of President Barack Obama relating to the Islamic terrorist attack in Benghazi. As a retired Army officer, I remain appalled that an American president, and a presidential candidate, would abandon Americans to die, and then delude the public about it. One of the ladies responded that she did not want to hear about President Obama. She only cared about President Trump and his lies. And therein lies the crux of where we find ourselves in America. The progressive, socialist left plays the game of situational ethics. If it is something that advances their ideological agenda, ya know, “If you like your doctor, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor,” it is not a lie. It is not a lie because the ends justify their means. When it comes to four Americans dying in an Islamic terrorist attack, “what difference, at this point, does it make?” is the refrain.

However, if there is an investigation that was started based upon a questionable dossier, and then the target of that investigation – who is by all accounts innocent – expresses his disgust, then that is proof positive of a criminal offense. But it is a criminal and impeachable offense only in the minds of those who seek a certain political outcome. And the ethics of the progressive, socialist left adjust to fit the situation based upon how it benefits them politically.

AG Loretta Lynch secretly meeting with Bill Clinton on the tarmac in Phoenix – that is fine. The Clinton Foundation getting large sums of money from foreign sources – that is fine. Barack Obama telling a Russian president that he will have more flexibility after his reelection – that is fine. Weaponizing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) against the American people, particularly constitutional conservatives – that is fine. After all, they were the political opposition. Sending billions of dollars to the world’s biggest sponsor of Islamic terrorism, Iran – that is fine. Releasing Islamic jihadists from detention at Guantanamo Bay (GITMO), to include five senior Taliban leaders – that is fine. Denying there is a crisis on our southern border – that is fine – especially when your ideological agenda is about open borders. Denying free tuition benefits to Gold Star families while granting the same to illegal immigrants, well, that apparently is also fine.

The situational ethics of the progressive, socialist left, their utter hypocrisy, should be disconcerting to us all. Consider the current House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who is demanding the fully unredacted Mueller report … but who spoke out against the same for the Ken Starr report, on then President Bill Clinton.

What happened at the end of the dinner? One of the women, a hard New York City liberal, progressive asked to take a picture with me. The other confided that she would vote for me for whatever because I was a calm, informed, rational, and intelligent man. The lesson learned: objective truth will always win the day over situational ethics.


Australia: Fraser Anning speaks following Sri Lankan bombings

What the senator says seems simply factual to me.  What has he said that is not true?  There are fashions about things that must not be said but that is all the more reason to say them, it seems to me

Senator Fraser Anning has claimed he was “right all along” in an  anti-Muslim Twitter rant following the Sri Lankan bombings.

The Sri Lankan Government has blamed the attacks on Islamic extremist group National Thowheeth Jama’ath.

Senator Anning wasted little time using the attacks to announce he was “right all along” about the connection between Islam and violence.

“I was right all along. Islamic populations do indeed create violence.”

The Queensland senator went on to call out New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who was pictured donning a hijab out of respect following the Christchurch mosque shootings last month.

“Where is all the condemnation around the world on extreme radical Islam,” Senator Anning wrote. “Our politicians are quiet. What about the New Zealand PM who is now wearing a hijab, embracing Islam and playing the Islamic call to prayer?”

 Where is the world coming together for Christianity after almost 300 are dead and churches bombed in Sri Lanka?

This is one of the largest Islamic terrorist attacks ever, and yet the mainstream media is far less outraged compared to during the Christchurch shootings.

The media were next in the firing line, with Senator Anning claiming mainstream news outlets have been giving less attention to the Sri Lankan bombings than they gave to the Christchurch massacre.

He then took a swipe at “egg boy”, also known as Will Connolly, who gained the nickname after cracking an egg on Senator Anning’s head in the wake of his controversial comments about Christchurch.

“Almost 300 dead due to Islamic terrorists in Sri Lanka. Where is egg boy now?” the tweet read.

 What I said and has been proven completely true is that Islamic populations when they increase in number will result in an increase in violence.

I also said during Christchurch, that whilst Muslims had been the victims, Muslims are usually the perpetrators in terrorist attacks.

The Islamophobic comments Senator Anning made following the Christchurch shootings were slammed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as “disgusting”.

But the widespread backlash didn’t deter the senator from last night reiterating and standing by what he said.

“I also said during Christchurch, that whilst Muslims had been the victims, Muslims are usually the perpetrators in terrorist attacks,” he tweeted.

Senator Anning finished off his rant by warning Australians there will be more terrorist attacks here if the government continued to allow Muslims to enter the country.

He even went as far as telling people they would “face death” if they didn’t heed his advice.

Senator Anning’s controversial posts have racked up thousands of comments, both from people condemning the senator’s actions and from people praising him.



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


24 April, 2019

Supreme Court to Hear Cases Involving Firings of Gay, Transgender Employees

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear three cases centered on whether federal law against discrimination in employment applies to sexual orientation and gender identity.

After hearing Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, the high court will decide whether the words “because of … sex,” found in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, also forbid employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The court consolidated Bostock with a similar case, Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda.

The high court also will hear arguments in R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before ruling on whether Title VII as worded bars discrimination against transgender individuals.

Title VII specifically prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It does not mention lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender Americans.

Lower federal courts came to conflicting decisions in Bostock, in which a child welfare worker said he was fired for being gay, and Zarda, in which a sky-diving instructor argued the same.

The Atlanta-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit decided that Title VII doesn’t prohibit “discharge for homosexuality,” while the New York-based 2nd Circuit ruled for the instructor, saying that discrimination based on sexual orientation “is motivated, at least in part, by sex and is thus a subset of sex discrimination.”

In Harris Funeral Homes, a funeral director in Michigan was fired by the family-owned business after disclosing a transition from man to woman, which also involved dressing as a woman.

The Cincinnati-based Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit sided with the employee, concluding: “Discrimination ‘because of sex’ inherently includes discrimination against employees because of a change in their sex.”

While many liberals see the Supreme Court as poised to restrict LGBT rights, conservatives argue that federal law doesn’t go as far as activists claim.

“There is a reason why, for the past 25 years, activists have tried to legislatively amend federal civil rights law to include ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity.’ That reason is simple: because it doesn’t include those categories,” Heritage Foundation scholar Ryan T. Anderson said, adding:

Courts should not do what activists have failed to do: Redefine ‘sex’ to mean ‘sexual orientation and gender identity.’ Doing so not only gets the law wrong, it also has serious negative consequences for women’s equality, safety, and privacy.

The Christian legal aid group Alliance Defending Freedom last fall petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the funeral home case, arguing that only Congress may rewrite a federal statute to allow a male employee who identifies as female to dress in women’s clothing in violation of a company dress code.

Although a federal district judge decided in the employer’s favor, on appeal the 6th Circuit sided with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the agency’s lawsuit against Harris Funeral Homes, and Alliance Defending Freedom hopes to reverse that outcome at the high court.

“Neither government agencies nor the courts have authority to rewrite federal law by replacing ‘sex’ with ‘gender identity’—a change with widespread consequences for everyone,” John Bursch, the organization’s vice president of appellate advocacy, said.

“Businesses have the right to rely on what the law is—not what government agencies want it to be—when they create and enforce employment policies,” Bursch said.


UK Chain Spruiks Ultra-Politically Correct ‘Gingerbread Person’

The march to stamp out gender identity is picking up pace across the Western world. In the UK, the politically correct brigade has pushed the issue beyond humans and into the world of baked goods.

According to Britain’s Supermarket Co-op, apparently gingerbread men — who to the best of our knowledge have always appeared rather gender neutral — can leave some of their customers feeling excluded. Hence the chain’s plans to sell a…drum roll please…‘gingerbread person’.

We suspect they may find an eager — if small — market in Tasmania, which this week became the first state to make gender optional on birth certificates.

As PAA reports, Co-op is setting up a competition with customers
to help name their new gender-neutral gingerbread person. The supermarket will make a shortlist of the best contenders and from there will make their final decision.

The actual design of the gingerbread person is yet to be finalised. One possible design of the human-shaped biscuit is a smiling face sporting a grey tunic.

About its look, a Co-op representative said: ‘Inclusion and diversity lie at the heart of Co-ops values and we’re looking to create a character which can be used to celebrate different occasions through the year and will appeal to all our customers.’

So far, they’ve mentioned Christmas and Halloween icing outfits. So just the Western holidays then…where’s the ‘inclusion’ in that?

Looks like they’ve got their work cut out for them designing outfits for any possible occasion ever. Good luck.

Twitter has already seen a flood of responses, a lot of which are calling out the senselessness of this gender-neutral idea.

One shopper has taken the mickey out of the whole competition, arguing ‘the rights of the gingerbread should be taken into account, do we know how it feels about having its current identity unilaterally taken and another imposed without prior consultation?’

Another suggested doing something a little more productive with this new biscuit invention, such as making it ‘100% recyclable’.

Still ridiculous, but certainly more effective than trying to find a name that isn’t offensive to anyone. Good luck with that, as well.


Microsoft staff are openly questioning the value of diversity

Some Microsoft employees are openly questioning whether diversity is important, in a lengthy discussion on an internal online messaging board meant for communicating with CEO Satya Nadella.

Two posts on the board criticizing Microsoft diversity initiatives as “discriminatory hiring” and suggesting that women are less suited for engineering roles have elicited more than 800 comments, both affirming and criticizing the viewpoints, multiple Microsoft employees have told Quartz. The posts were written by a female Microsoft program manager. Quartz reached out to her directly for comment, and isn’t making her name public at this point, pending her response.

“Does Microsoft have any plans to end the current policy that financially incentivizes discriminatory hiring practices? To be clear, I am referring to the fact that senior leadership is awarded more money if they discriminate against Asians and white men,” read the original post by the Microsoft program manager on Yammer, a corporate messaging platform owned by Microsoft. The employee commented consistently throughout the thread, making similar arguments. Quartz reviewed lengthy sections of the internal discussion provided by Microsoft employees.

“I have an ever-increasing file of white male Microsoft employees who have faced outright and overt discrimination because they had the misfortune of being born both white and male. This is unacceptable,” the program manager wrote in a comment later. The Microsoft employees who spoke to Quartz said they weren’t aware of any action by the company in response, despite the comments being reported to Microsoft’s human resources department.

When contacted by Quartz, Microsoft pointed to comments by three company officials in the message-board threads. A member of Microsoft’s employee investigations team responded to the initial post in January, writing that the company does not tolerate discrimination of any kind. Another Microsoft staff member, who leads the team that helps the board of directors determine executive pay, explained the diversity-based compensation initiative. “Our board and executive leadership team believe diverse and inclusive teams are good for business and consistent with our mission and inspire-to culture,” she wrote. “Linking compensation to these aspirations is an important demonstration of executive commitment to something we believe strongly in.

“Many women simply aren’t cut out for the corporate rat race, so to speak, and that’s not because of ‘the patriarchy…’”
The internal debate over the merits of diversity comes as Microsoft is grappling with an uproar over allegations of sexism and sexual harassment that some staff said the company hasn’t adequately responded to over the years. It is also a powerful glimpse into internal dissent against efforts by the world’s biggest tech companies to increase the number of women and people of color on staff, in the face of criticism that those groups are underrepresented, especially in the leadership ranks.

The Microsoft author echoes former Google employee James Damore, who in 2017 wrote a memo that went internally viral at Google, leaning on pseudoscience to argue that women aren’t cut out for the tech industry. Damore was fired for breaching the company’s code of conduct amid enormous public and internal controversy, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a memo that the firing was due to “advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

Below is a selection of comments from the Microsoft employee, with the capitalization for emphasis in the original comments by the employee:

“Because women used to be actively prohibited from full-time employment many decades ago, there is now the misguided belief that women SHOULD work, and if women AREN’T working, there’s something wrong…. Many women simply aren’t cut out for the corporate rat race, so to speak, and that’s not because of ‘the patriarchy,’ it’s because men and women aren’t identical, and women are much more inclined to gain fulfillment elsewhere.”

“We still lack any empirical evidence that the demographic distribution in tech is rationally and logically detrimental to the success of the business in this industry….We have a plethora of data available that demonstrate women are less likely to be interested in engineering AT ALL than men, and it’s not because of any *ism or *phobia or ‘unconscious bias’- it’s because men and women think very differently from each other, and the specific types of thought process and problem solving required for engineering of all kinds (software or otherwise) are simply less prevalent among women. This is an established fact.

However, this established fact makes people very uncomfortable, because it suggests that the gender distribution in engineering might not actually be a problem (and thus women can no longer bleat about being victims of sexism in the workplace), these facts are ignored in favor of meaningless platitudes our SLT [senior leadership team] continues to shove down our throats – e.g. ‘We’re not doing enough’ and ‘we clearly have a long way to go.’”

“We MUST immediately cease the practice of attaching financial incentives and performance metrics to ‘diversity hiring’ – as long as we give more money and higher annual reviews explicitly for NOT hiring/promoting white men and Asians, this will continue to be a serious problem at the company.”

One of the posts was written on January 10 and had more than 625 comments, and the other was written on April 4 and had more than 175 comments, according to Microsoft employees who wished to remain anonymous.

As the controversy around Google’s firing of Damore illustrated, it can be extremely contentious for companies to wade into disciplining employees for their personal views on such issues. They can face intense criticism for retaliating against individual speech because it’s not politically correct—and if the company doesn’t respond, critics can say they’re not supporting an inclusive workplace. The abundance of online forums for employees to express their views is a complicating factor, as is the modern worker’s high level of comfort with sharing their views online.

But the latest Microsoft posts are especially fraught, given Microsoft has recently pledged greater commitment to diversity and inclusion. And compounding that is the fact that the posts appeared in Microsoft’s official “CEO Connection” Yammer channel, the public forum typically used for asking questions for Nadella to answer when he speaks at company-wide meetings.

The latest posts aren’t the only examples of active online opposition to concerns about diversity at Microsoft. In September 2018, a female employee who had just graduated from university and joined Microsoft expressed concern on Yammer about a lack of gender diversity in her department. She posted that, “As a woman in [software development], it really pains me to see the skewed gender ratio around me (I believe azure [sic] compute is less than 20% women).”

The post racked up nearly 1,000 comments, with many male programmers jumping in to take an opposing view. As in the two posts from January and April, not all comments were anti-diversity: Some Microsoft employees argued back against their colleagues.

“Where? How? Proof? Data? If if it is [skewed] let’s fix that. But just saying Microsoft has less female than male engineer [sic] is not a valid point,” a male Microsoft employee responded to a separate employee who defended the original poster.

It’s unclear that Microsoft’s management or human resources staff responded to that discussion, which also took place in the CEO Connection channel. Microsoft employees say that the typical post on the channel has anywhere from two to 12 comments, and that more than 600 is very unusual. Another Microsoft employee said that the Yammer user interface is difficult to manage, and as a result, many in the company avoid using it, so the posts were likely not seen by most of Microsoft’s roughly 135,000 employees.

Data Microsoft employees provided to Quartz about the 2019 posts by the female program manager showed that more than 4,000 employees had viewed each post.

Microsoft employees say that the company’s seeming inaction on this matter directly conflicts with an email sent to all Microsoft employees earlier this month by Nadella promising a more inclusive workplace. Nadella sent that after an email chain, originally reported by Quartz, alleging harassment and discrimination faced by women circulated internally for weeks.

“HR isn’t trying to enforce the inclusive culture that they’re talking about,” one Microsoft employee who read the latest posts by the program manager and responses to them told Quartz. “HR, Satya, all the leadership are sending out emails that they want to have an inclusive culture, but they’re not willing to take any action other than talk about it,” they said. “They allow people to post these damaging, stereotypical things about women and minorities, and they do nothing about it.”


Australia's Prime Minister is an authentic Christian

If you are old enough to remember a budget surplus then you will remember countless interviews with Kevin Rudd outside church. Before and after his election the Labor leader was ever willing to advertise his claimed conservatism by giving Sunday press conferences with spires as a backdrop.

It was smart politics and from what we know of Rudd it was an authentic depiction of his faith, even if it was used to create an entirely fictitious impression of his general political/economic disposition. Most successful politicians draw a character dividend of inferred stability and conservatism by associating themselves with mainstream religion. This is why Scott Morrison’s appearance at his Pentecostal church on the weekend was fascinating. I don’t know his media minders or their religious affiliations but I can guarantee they would have been reluctant and wary about letting cameras in on this event. This “happy clapping” version of Christianity is a growing part of the nation’s religious make-up but it is not the norm.

Morrison’s minders would have worried that pictures of the Prime Minister singing with his arms in the air praising Jesus and eyes closed in devotion would make voters uncomfortable. But they had no choice.

There was an election campaign running over Easter, he leads the nation and goes to church — the minders had to allow cameras in and share this experience with voters. After all, the alternative prime minister, Bill Shorten, was going to be at a more mainstream church and wouldn’t be shunning attention.

Morrison has worn some online abuse and mocking for his overt show of faith. But you get the sense most Australians respect his choice and his authenticity. He didn’t appear contrived or uncomfortable.

Aside from competence and authority, authenticity is the critical ingredient for politicians. And like the others, you can’t fake it. Morrison comes across as a daggy dad because he is one; and he is comfortable enough in his happy-clapper skin to allow the world to see it. Voters are likely to respect him for that.

Yesterday he likened our multicultural society to being greater than the sum of all its parts in the same way that his homemade curries weave culinary magic from a variety of ingredients. He seems relaxed on the campaign trail and the country is getting to know him.

Shorten is a canny campaigner. As I have pointed out before he never misses the right political point in his media appearances. He dodges difficult questions and pivots to his attack points masterfully. But he is having a bad campaign so far, caught out on factual errors, refusing to answer questions and lashing out at the media. He will need to turn it around and get onto the front foot.

Morrison and his team still need to do much more to highlight Labor’s weaknesses and convince voters they have learned from the dysfunction of the past. The electoral degree of difficulty is astronomical. But there is an early sense that he is winning people over as an authentic figure who seems at ease with voters and all the carry-on of campaigning.



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


23 April, 2019

Predestination and Donald Trump

The doctrine of predestination is part of Christian teachings.  It is to be found primarily in Paul's letter to the Ephesians, chapter 1 but there are also various hints of it in Christ's words.  For instance, when Simon Peter cut off the servant's ear with his sword in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said: "Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" -- John 18:10.

The early Christian reformer, John Calvin of Geneva, was a great expositor of predestination. He placed it front and centre of his teaching.  But it was a difficult doctrine.  If everything is predestined before we were born, what is the point of trying to be good? We could personally have no hand in what we did. And, more to the point, whether we were saved to eternal life in heaven or not was also pre-ordained. So, as Calvin saw it, the interesting thing was to see which group you belonged to:  The saved or the damned.

And you could find that out by looking at the lot that the Lord had given you. If you lived a virtuous and prosperous life, that suggested that the Lord had picked you out as one of the good guys and you could be proud of that.

So that was a considerable discipline.  If you misbehaved, it would reveal you as one of the damned. And all good people would shy away from you.  So you had to act very virtuously or you would have no hope of eternal life.  So Calvin built up a reasonable ethical system that way, that did take predestination into account.  You were always looking for signs of God's favour to reassure yourself of your destiny and the signs were your own ethical behaviour.

And Calvin was influential.  His disciple John Knox took his teachings to Scotland, where they took strong root and the various Presbyterian churches preached it from their pulpits. And the Dutch Reformed churches are generally Calvinist too.  Protestant Dutchmen in Australia generally just go along to their local Presbyterian church.

In my lifetime, however, I doubt that I have ever heard any mention of the doctrine from a Presbyterian pulpit.  It has sort of unofficially died out as being too "difficult" a doctrine.  The odd thing, though, is that the doctrine has lived on among the Presbyterian laity.  I remember well the way both my mother and my aunties would say to me on occasions -- with quiet confidence --   "Don't worry, John.  It was all planned out before were were born".  The people are still often Calvinists, regardless of what the clergy are.

My theology is no better than Calvin's so I don't propose to attempt an improvement on it. I think it may be helpful  however if I point out a few things. 

The most important is that predestination is part of the mercy gospel, which is a prominent element in Christian teaching. Its powerful preaching in Matthew 5 is well known:  "If a man smiteth thee on thy right cheek ..."  So predestination fits in there.  If you know that an evildoer cannot help it, that he was predestined to do that evil, you are much more likely to be forgiving than if you think he could possibly have refrained from doing that evil deed. "There but for the grace of God go I". So predestination makes Christians merciful, which is probably a good thing.

Predestination also helps to make sense of the world.  If strange things happen, you will not be disturbed by them.  They are just God's will and nobody can know the mind of the Lord.  So the doctrine gives you mental repose.  Whatever happens, it is all taken care of.  There is no cause to worry. And it seems to work.  In my experience Presbyterians do seem to be steadier in the face of life's uncertainties and difficulties.  "It's all God's will". So they just get on with their lives as best they can.   It's about as non-neurotic as you can get.

The great example in our era of steadiness in the face of furious and prolonged abuse and attack would have to be Mr. Trump -- and he was brought up as a Presbyterian, courtesy of his Scottish mother.  Did he hear from his mother:  "It was all planned out before we were born"?  I would be surprised if he did not.

Arabs also, of course, believe that everything is fated:  "InshAllah!". But it seems to be altogether too relaxing to them.  It becomes an excuse not to strive. They don't have Calvin's wisdom on that.

NY Times Shows Its Ignorance of Christianity with Major Blunder in Notre Dame Reporting

A piece by the New York Times detailed the rescue operation that went into the recovery of the artifacts and art, with firefighters and clergy working together before the flames consumed the priceless relics.

According to a past version of the story — as quoted by The Washington Free Beacon — The Times said that one of the pieces saved, the body of Christ, is a statue of Jesus Christ that was carried out by Father Jean-Marc Fournier just in time.

But there’s one little problem. Father Fournier didn’t save a statue of Jesus from Notre Dame.

The “body of Christ” isn’t a sculpture, but a religious sacrament consisting of bread usually given with wine. Many Christians believe these Eucharist elements are changed into the actual blood and body of Christ as they are consecrated.

This tradition comes from the story of the Last Supper. In Luke 22:19, Jesus’ words are recounted: “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.'”

The New York Times was quick to fix their article, issuing a correction at the bottom of the piece explaining their mistake.

“An earlier version of this article misidentified one of two objects recovered from Notre-Dame by the Rev. Jean-Marc Fournier. It was the Blessed Sacrament, not a statue of Jesus.”

Regardless, this is still an embarrassing element of the story to overlook.

The Times is considered reputable by many, and as such, their articles are likely handled by several people, including writers and editors. Not a single person caught a fairly simple error the first time around — The Times only updated the story after the fact.

This could have easily been a mistake overlooked by both the writers and proofreaders — and that’s no big deal. Everyone makes mistakes every day, it’s part of being human.

But a more convincing theory is that The Times is simply out-of-touch with modern American Christians.

As a basic tenet in many branches of Christianity, the reference shouldn’t have been esoteric enough to elude at least two different people.

And The Times hasn’t always been friendly to Christian institutions. As recently as January of this year, a Times journalist tweeted a crusade to “expose” Christian schools after media fury targeting Vice President Mike Pence’s wife for teaching at an anti-LGBT Christian school.

Whether that hatchet job sprang from malice or a simple ignorance of the faith (possibly akin to confusing the Eucharist for a statue), The New York Times has a long way to go if they ever hope to reach Christians in America.


Report Reveals Trump Was Fighting Hard for Israel Before He Was Even Inaugurated

There were plenty of takeaways from the redacted Mueller report, most of which dealt with Russian collusion (there wasn’t any) and obstruction of justice (it depends on whether you follow the opinion of special counsel Robert Mueller or Attorney General William Barr as to what constitutes obstruction).

However, one of the more interesting items buried in the report dealt with Donald Trump’s fight against an anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations before he was even in the White House.

It seems like a dim memory now, but U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 was one of the most controversial issues during the transition period between the Obama and Trump administrations.

Resolution 2334, originally introduced by Egypt in December of 2016, condemned “all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions … Expressing grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines.”

As Hank Berrien notes over at The Daily Wire, the resolution “essentially stated that Judea and Samaria and part of Jerusalem do not belong to Israel.”

The resolution reaffirmed “that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

It also demanded “that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard,” and condemned villages built in Judea and Samaria — lands that have historically been part of Israel since biblical times.

Ordinarily, the United States, Israel’s most staunch defender at the U.N., could kill off such a resolution in the Security Council with one vote. But therein lay the problem: The Obama administration planned to pass on voting either way, a Brutus-like act.

Trump and his team likely weren’t going to convince the Obama administration that it was being rash, so they tried to get the Russians to vote against it. Russia is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council and, like the United States, also has veto power. Thus, Trump’s point men on the issue — his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser — worked on getting it defeated, including trying to persuade the Kremlin to vote against the resolution.

“According to Flynn, the Transition Team regarded the vote as a significant issue and wanted to support Israel by opposing the resolution,” the Mueller report read.

“On December 22, 2016, multiple members of the Transition Team, as well as President-Elect Trump, communicated with foreign government officials to determine their views on the resolution and to rally support to delay the vote or defeat the resolution. Kushner led the effort for the Transition Team; Flynn was responsible for the Russian government.

“Minutes after an early morning phone call with Kushner on December 22, Flynn called [Soviet Ambassador Sergey] Kislyak. According to Flynn, he informed Kislyak about the vote and the Transition Team’s opposition to the resolution, and requested that Russia vote against or delay the resolution.”

The president-elect, the report said, also worked on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi about the resolution his country had introduced, leading him to postpone the vote.

Ultimately, however, “Malaysia, New Zealand Senegal and Venezuela resubmitted the application” the next day, the report said. Flynn worked on Kislyak to see if Russia would vote against it.

“When Flynn again spoke with Kislyak, Kislyak informed Flynn that if the resolution came to a vote, Russia would not vote against it,” the report said. “The resolution later passed 14-0, with the United States abstaining.”

Mind you, the section was more about detailing contacts between the Trump campaign/transition team and the Russian government (no, still no collusion).

However, there’s an important point buried in there. No, they weren’t able to kill Resolution 2334. Yes, the embassy is now in Jerusalem. That says it all, no?


Australia: Qld govt slaps ban on junk food ads

Leftist authoritarianism again.  NO food is junk.  They all contain nutrients but vary in which ones. Salt, sugar and fat are all good for you

A ban on advertising of junk food on billboards and spaces owned by the Queensland government will be enforced in a bid to help people make healthier choices.

Junk food advertising will be banned from billboards, train stations and transport owned by the Queensland government.

In a move aimed at helping Queenslanders make healthier choices, the ban will apply to outdoor spaces and other sites, excluding stadiums.

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles says change won't be seen in big sporting venues for a number of years due to complexities with contracts.

Foods will be ruled in or out based on their salt, sugar and fat content.

The move is part of the state government's program aimed at increasing the number of Queenslanders with a healthy body weight by 10 per cent by 2026.

"This is really about the government saying were going to lead by example," Mr Miles said on Sunday. "And this is one way we can do that."

Mr Miles said the ban would apply to about 2000 billboards, which rake in millions of dollars each year for the government.

Lyn Hamill from Diabetes Queensland says reducing children's exposure to bright and colourful packaging of unhealthy foods will mean they will want them less often.

But the state opposition says the ban is a distraction from an emergency department crisis. "We think the government should be focusing on hospital beds not billboards," Liberal National Party deputy leader Tim Mander said. "We want the Palaszczuk government to get its priorities right.



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


22 April, 2019

The far-right is mainly a Leftist fantasy

A few fruitcakes are magnified into a movement by the Left in order for them to have a bogeyman that they can frighten themselves with -- and thus give themselves an illusion of having something important to say.  Both Breivik and Tarrant were loners with not a single other person to support them.  There was no "movement"

Even before the horrific terrorist atrocity in Christchurch, there have been signs that racist extremists are becoming more active. In the UK, four of the 18 terror attacks prevented by the intelligence agencies since March 2017 have come from the far right. Although, thankfully, the far right is still a fringe phenomenon, it is futile to deny that such groups are steadily growing in influence. How sad, then, that the debate about how best to stymie this disturbing trend has been reduced to facile and baseless finger-pointing.

Often seen as ‘a sideshow to the serious business of governance’ (to borrow Stephen Heuser’s phrase), what has become known as the ‘culture war’ has been brought into sharp focus through the reinstatement of tribal faultlines in politics. This week we have seen David Lammy doubling down on his ludicrous comparison of the European Research Group with the Nazi party, and Chris Key in the Independent calling for UKIP and the newly formed Brexit Party to be banned from television debates. It is clear that neither Key nor Lammy have a secure understanding of what ‘far right’ actually means and, quite apart from the distasteful nature of such political opportunism, their strategy only serves to generate the kind of resentment upon which the far right depends.

The blame game after Christchurch was a similarly scattershot affair. Australian senator Fraser Anning blamed Muslim immigration. American videogame developer Brianna Wu implicated Tucker Carlson. A student at a vigil in New York City harangued Chelsea Clinton, saying the attack had been ‘stoked by people like you’. A chain of bookstores in New Zealand stopped selling Jordan Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life on the supposition that it had inspired the killer, which would suggest that they are not remotely familiar with its contents.

Although obviously an emotional time, there can be no excuse for such divisive kneejerk responses. Soon after the attack, the New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, called for a concerted global fight against racism. The sentiment is obviously laudable, but her government has begun by enacting heavy-handed internet censorship which extends even to discussion of the shooting. This is a boon to the far right, who will doubtless play on the legitimate grievances of citizens who feel that their freedoms are being curtailed. The far right – no supporters of free speech – are able to point to the increasingly censorial tactics of politicians in order to pose as martyrs.

Those who seek to narrow the Overton window of acceptable thought, to restrict free speech as a means to prevent the ‘normalisation’ and ‘legitimisation’ of certain forms of discourse, are doing more harm than good. But the cultish nature of the social-justice movement – with its combination of utter self-certainty, a reluctance to debate, and a belief among its most vocal proponents that they represent the underdogs – means that it will be difficult to stem the momentum.

Perhaps the most damaging aspect of present-day social-justice activism is its weaponised form of identity politics, a feature it has in common with the far right. On both sides we have seen the promotion of a ‘Them vs Us’ mentality, one favoured throughout history by those who wish to reduce complex situations to a readily digestible slogan. Moreover, identitarians on both the left and the right see human beings only through the prism of race, gender or sexuality, and fail to account for the primacy of the individual. As such, they are in direct opposition to the principles of Martin Luther King, who valued the content of one’s character over the colour of one’s skin. While collectivist rhetoric from the racist far right is easy enough to dismiss, it is far more difficult when it comes from those who claim to be advancing a progressive agenda. ‘Well-intentioned authoritarianism’ might be a semantic contradiction, but it has nonetheless emerged as a powerful and ominous force.

After events such as Christchurch, it is important to reflect on the circumstances that have somehow produced a human being so lacking in empathy that he would commit such an unfathomable act of violence, but in doing so we must exercise caution. The instinct to apportion blame to anyone other than the perpetrator is understandable, but it only really serves to mitigate his own responsibility. All of us are open to persuasion and influence, and the effects of propaganda are well documented, but we also have individual autonomy and should be held accountable for our choices. The leap of faith it takes to blame the right-wing commentariat for the murder of Jo Cox, for instance, is as myopic and distasteful as those who seek to demonise all Muslims for the behaviour of a violent minority.

The question as to why the far right is growing in strength, albeit from a position of relative obscurity, is a complex issue that will only be further complicated if we engage in crude blame games. It strikes me as obvious that extremism thrives in divided cultures. Racism is by definition divisive, and its proponents are by and large impervious to reason. We are fortunate enough to live in a country in which racists are treated with the contempt they deserve, but there are many who have exploited the anonymity of the internet to disseminate their lies.

The clandestine nature of these far-right activists has given rise to precisely the sort of response they seek. That is to say, the likes of David Lammy have been goaded into a dangerous form of concept creep, detecting fascism even where it doesn’t exist. They have eschewed the dictionary definition as an inconvenience, so that even to express misgivings about the benefits of free movement in the European Union, or to criticise aspects of Islamic doctrine, can lead to one being branded as ‘far right’. Speaking as someone who is in favour of immigration, I have often been dismayed to find those on my side of the argument dismiss the valid concerns of their opponents as ‘fascism’. Quite apart from the historical illiteracy this entails, it is hardly likely to persuade anyone to change his or her mind.

We need to restore some clarity when it comes to these terms. We are right to call groups such as the BNP ‘far right’ because they have always been dominated by those who believe in the concept of racial superiority. But once the meaning of the term spreads to incorporate readers of right-leaning tabloids, the average UKIP voter, or members of the ERG, we are helping to create the illusion that fascism has gone mainstream. By adopting this flawed tactic, activists are effectively working as PR for the far right, who are able to claim a degree of support far in excess of the reality.

The best resolution to the culture war would be an end to the pre-eminence of identity politics and a non-partisan consensus on the inviolability of free speech in any civilised democracy. We are seemingly trapped in an endless cycle in which the racist far right and the extreme identitarian left are locked in a mutually cannibalistic struggle, feeding off each other as they fight. It is the far right, however, who will be the chief beneficiaries of an unresolved culture war. In order to defeat them, we need to move beyond the kind of political tribalism that creates the very conditions within which they can thrive.


Transgender Privilege: Why Must We All Be Forced to Bow to It?

The subject of this article is transgenderism, the advocacy for and encouragement of individuals changing genders. It is not about individuals who have engaged, to one degree or other, in changing genders. These are our follow citizens and fellow community members, who should have the same rights, and are due the same consideration, as all of our fellow citizens and community members.

Transgenderism is said to be a response to gender dysphoria, which the American Psychiatric Association defines as follows:

Gender dysphoria involves a conflict between a person's physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify. People with gender dysphoria may be very uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned, sometimes described as being uncomfortable with their body (particularly developments during puberty) or being uncomfortable with the expected roles of their assigned gender.
The APA regards gender dysphoria as a mental disorder, discussing diagnosis and treatment. The APA guidelines on treatment are as follows:

Treatment options for gender dysphoria include counseling, cross-sex hormones, puberty suppression and gender reassignment surgery. Some adults may have a strong desire to be of a different gender and to be treated as a different gender without seeking medical treatment or altering their body. They may only want support to feel comfortable in their gender identity. Others may want more extensive treatment including hormone treatment and gender reassignment surgery leading to a transition to the opposite sex. Some may choose hormone treatment or surgery alone.
The discussion of gender dysphoria usually treats it as a unique case human discomfort, often recommending radical measures for correction. But perhaps gender dysphoria should be considered with the context of the wide range of dysphoria experienced by people, such as body dysphoria. For example, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America defines it as follows:

People who have body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) think about their real or perceived flaws for hours each day. They can't control their negative thoughts and don't believe people who tell them that they look fine. Their thoughts may cause severe emotional distress and interfere with their daily functioning. They may miss work or school, avoid social situations and isolate themselves, even from family and friends, because they fear others will notice their flaws.
The ADAA recognizes that BDD is just an extreme expression of a widely experienced discontent: “Most of us have something we don't like about our appearance — a crooked nose, an uneven smile, or eyes that are too large or too small. And though we may fret about our imperfections, they don’t interfere with our daily lives.”


The Natural Limits of Identity Politics

Economist Herbert Stein’s old adage—“If something cannot go on forever, it will stop”—still holds.

Take illegal immigration.

There are currently somewhere from 11 million to 15 million immigrants living in the United States without legal authorization.

Last month, nearly 100,000 people were apprehended or turned away while trying to illegally cross the southern border. Some experts suggest that at least that number made it across without arrest. At that rate, the United States would be gaining a fairly large city of undocumented arrivals each month.

Most of the people who enter the United States illegally arrive without fluency in English, a high school diploma, competitive job skills, or money. The majority will require support subsidies, and collectively they will require increased legal and law enforcement investments.

At some point, American social services will be so taxed that the system will be rendered dysfunctional—as is already occurring in areas of the American Southwest. Or, some regions of America will so resemble the countries illegal immigrants abandoned that there will be little point in heading north.

Either way, the current border chaos will find its own self-correcting mechanisms, even if that means there will be no border at all—or northern Mexico and the southern United States will become indistinguishable.

Currently, the national debt is $22 trillion and growing at a rate of nearly $1 trillion a year due to staggering annual budget deficits. The George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations roughly doubled the debt they inherited, and the Donald Trump administration may be on schedule to do the same.

More importantly, the national debt is now over 100% of the gross domestic product.

Presidents and Congress like to spend and to spread money to voters. They fear politically suicidal recessions if they cut back. But over the last 20 years, the government has mostly exhausted traditional economic stimuli such as larger budget deficits, near-zero real interest rates, and expansion of the money supply.

Common sense would dictate that in the present boom cycle, the president and Congress would get together to reduce discretionary spending and at least curb the growth of entitlements before we enter the next inevitable recession.

Otherwise, history outlines a lot of near-automatic solutions to unsustainable government borrowing. Sometimes massive inflation ensues, as the government is forced to print currency to pay bondholders with play money, eroding the assets of those who are thrifty and put cash savings in the bank.

Sometimes more desperate governments simply renounce their obligations to bondholders, on the principle that such creditors are well off anyway and can afford the losses.

Another solution has been simply to slash defense spending and entitlements, and hope that neither a war abroad nor civil strife at home breaks out.

The common result of all these draconian solutions is a general distrust of government. The big fear is an ensuing Venezuela-like nightmare, with shortages, violence, black markets, mass flight, corruption, and hatred of elected officials.

For history’s rare multiracial and multiethnic republics, an “e pluribus unum” cohesion is essential. Each particular tribe must owe greater allegiance to the commonwealth than to those who superficially look or worship alike.

Yet over the last 20 years we have deprecated “unity” and championed “diversity.” Americans are being urged by popular culture, universities, schools, and government to emphasize their innate differences rather than their common similarities.

Sometimes the strained effort turns comical. Some hyphenate or add accents or foreign pronunciations to their names. Others fabricate phony ethnic pedigrees in hopes of gaining an edge in job-seeking or admissions.

The common theme is to be anything other than just normal Americans for whom race, gender, and ethnicity are incidental rather than essential to their character.

But unchecked tribalism historically leads to nihilism. Meritocracy is abandoned as bureaucrats select their own rather than the best-qualified. A Tower of Babel chaos ensues as the common language is replaced by myriad local tongues, in the fashion of fifth-century imperial Rome. Class differences are subordinated to tribal animosities. Almost every contentious issue is distilled into racial or ethnic victims and victimizers.

History always offers guidance to the eventual end game when people are unwilling to give up their chauvinism. Vicious tribal war can break out as in contemporary Syria. The nation can fragment into ethnic enclaves as seen in the Balkans. Or factions can stake out regional no-go zones of power, as we see in Iraq and Libya.

In sum, the present identity politics divisiveness is not a sustainable model for a multiracial nation, and it will soon reach its natural limits one way or another. On a number of fronts, if Americans do not address these growing crises, history will. And it won’t be pretty.


Antisemitic Australian Labor Party candidate believes Palestinian falsifications

Such falsifications are as old as the hills.  You would have to be naive to believe them

Star Labor candidate for Curtin Melissa Parke has quit after a controversial speech which outraged the Jewish community.

Speaking to pro-Palestinian activists last month, Ms Parke described the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as 'worse than the South African system of apartheid'. 

Ms Parke also claimed she 'remembered vividly' when 'a pregnant refugee woman was ordered at a checkpoint in Gaza to drink a bottle of bleach', The Herald Sun reported.

She made the comments at first-ever meeting of the Western Australian Labor for Palestine group in March and stepped down on Friday night.

The bleach burned the woman's throat and insides but her baby was saved, according to Ms Parke. 

Ms Parke is a former lawyer for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees and has worked in the Gaza Strip.

She said she did not want her views on the Middle East to distract from electing a Labor government.

Her speech was called 'nothing more than a laundry list of slanders, including discredited conspiracy theories and downright falsification' by Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein.

Ms Parke withdrew from the race for the Perth seat of Curtin, which was vacated by former foreign minister Julie Bishop.

It is considered a safe Liberal seat because it has been held by the party since 1998.

The former Fremantle MP resigned from her seat in 2016 after nine years to spend more time with family.



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

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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


21 April, 2019

Women are more susceptible than men to falling under the control of cults

I don't pretend to have a full understanding of it but I have long noted that women, particularly older women, are very commonly "spiritual" -- to the point that by the time they are 50, they nearly all seem to believe in something weird -- aromatherapy, Reiki etc -- so they are an easy mark for con-men. 

"Little Pebble" was one in Australia until he went to jail for sexual offensiveness. 

And you just have to look at the congregation in mainstream churches -- mainly old ladies.  So the NXIVM group differs only in being more criminal than most

I actually see the "spirituality" as a form of schizophrenia, as it is a belief in things that are not there.  I have spoken at length with some of the women concerned and they say that they know they are part of something that is all around them and bigger than themselves and they feel they are in partial contact with it.  So there is definitely a delusion involved.  But why women lose reality contact so readily is the puzzle.  Its pervasiveness suggests that it has a function so is it some sort of safety valve for the big stresses that child bearing and rearing places on women?

As a psychologist, it is my job to understand human behaviour and I do understand a lot of it (or think I do) but female gullibility in the face of improbabilities is a challenge that really stretches me.  My best guess is that females have to be gullible to believe and rely on men.  The one thing I am sure of is that it is very deep-rooted and, as such, almost certainly genetically encoded

As more details spill from the NXIVM trial, we get an insight into the cult world: branding, sex slaves and physical constraint

NXIVM has described itself as “a company whose mission is to raise human awareness, foster an ethical humanitarian civilization, and celebrate what it means to be human.” Critics have alleged other definitions for the group; definitions such as “sex-cult” and “pyramid scheme.” Federal U.S. prosecutors, meanwhile, are focusing on NXIVM’s alleged criminal activity: racketeering, wire fraud, sex trafficking, and forced labour, for a start.

The group’s spiritual leader and founder, Keith Raniere, goes on trial later this month, a bonus charge of possession of child pornography having been recently added to his already extensive list of alleged crimes. It’s ugly and confounding. How do people get away with this stuff and who falls for it?

Part of the answer is well established, if not well explained: women are more susceptible than men to falling under the control of exploitative movements. Or they do so more often, anyway. Research suggests as many as 70 per cent of cult members in the world are women.

In the NXIVM scandals, most of the worst stories emerge from something called “DOS” — a sort of sorority within NXIVM in which women allegedly recruited other women for all manner of abuse, including having their bodies physically branded with Raniere’s initials and submitting unconditionally to Raniere’s sexual wishes.

There are many theories about why women are disproportionately represented in the population of cult followers, perhaps the most common being that women are conditioned and/or wired to believe there is something wrong with them. The urge to self-correct to find outside acceptance is human, but it’s also familiarly female: lose weight, be gracious, be grateful, be obedient. Win without hurting anyone’s feelings. Be better than who you are.

That theory may be simplistic given that it rests on broad generalizations — which are themselves based on thought patterns whose cultural, evolutionary and biological bases are tough to tease apart. (Women certainly have no monopoly on feeling inadequate.) But even if it’s only part of the story, women’s general tendency to make self-acceptance contingent on improvement and external praise must play its role.

Others say that more women join cults than men because women have a greater need for spiritual fulfilment. According to Pew Research Center, women are indeed generally more religious than men, with women across the globe being somewhat more likely to affiliate with a religious faith than men. Or maybe women join cults because it’s what they know given their long history of oppression. (This made me wonder if other historically oppressed groups, such as African Americans, are more susceptible to cults, but I didn’t find ready evidence one way or the other. I did find a weird story about ties between Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam and Scientology. And I learned that most of the people who joined the Reverend Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple — most famous for guiding its members to mass suicide at their compound in Guyana via poisoned Flavour Aid — were African American. Women in Jonestown also outnumbered men, with black women making up close to half the population.)

What’s interesting, if not unique, about NXIVM is the strong role women appear to have played in attracting other women to the group and then keeping them in the group’s grips. Remember the disturbing branding of women’s flesh I mentioned earlier? This allegedly took place with several women holding down another woman on a table while a female doctor allegedly burned the restrained woman’s skin with a laser-like device. Raniere had a female cofounder, who is now accused of many of the same crimes perpetrated against women as he is. That woman’s daughter has admitted to keeping a female slave. One of the reasons NXIVM has been such a headline-grabber is that Smallville actress Allison Mack has pled guilty to two racketeering counts for her involvement in DOS, which included blackmailing women into compliance with Raniere’s demands.

So whatever part subservience may play in attracting women to cults, they are clearly also capable of the predatory instincts of male cult leaders like Raniere — even if often ultimately in service of the male leader himself. Anyone who watched Wild Wild Country, the Netflix documentary about Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, can attest that most of the aggressive acts taken in that movement (including brazen bioterrorism attacks) were initiated by Rajneesh’s personal assistant, a woman named Ma Anand Sheela.

The best we can hope for is that when the NXIVM trials are done, the worst exploiters and abusers are brought to justice, male and female. And that women reading about the NXIVM story may become less likely to listen to that voice — whether from inside their own head or from a charismatic guru — telling them how much better they could be. Because they will be able to see they are good enough as they are.


Gender-Based Pricing? British Lawmaker Wants to Outlaw ‘Pink Tax’

Just because products look the same does not mean that the cost of puting them on the market is the same.  Women's products typically require a bigger marketing spend

Razors. Deodorant. Car insurance. These are just some of the products which are often cited as costing more for women than men, and British lawmakers are now considering legislation that would do away with this so-called “pink tax.”

A bill introduced in the House of Commons last month would extend consumer protection to prevent companies from charging more for “products and services that are substantially similar” but which are marketed differently for men and women.

“Products marketed at women are on average considerably more expensive than those marketed at men,” the bill’s author, Liberal Democrat lawmaker Christine Jardine, said in a statement.

“Often the only difference is the color [of the product concerned], yet this unfair price gap will have a significant financial impact on a woman over the course of her life,” she said.

In recent years, studies and newspaper investigations on both sides of the Atlantic have prompted calls for lawmakers to act against the ostensible practice of gender-based pricing differences.

In 2018, British tax firm RIFT found that women pay on average 6.3 percent more than men for a four-pack of disposable razors, and 10.6 percent more for deodorant sticks of identical size.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) said last August it found that in five out of ten personal health care categories examined, “average retail prices paid were significantly higher for women’s products than for men’s.”

“In 2 categories – shaving gel and nondisposable razors – men’s versions sold at a significantly higher price.”

The GAO said it did not have enough information to determine if the differences were due to bias, or to other factors, such as advertising costs or product demand.

In January, the California Department of Insurance issued new rules stating that auto insurers may not charge drivers higher premiums based on their gender.

Jardine’s bill is not being supported by the Conservative government, whose view is that the government should not be setting prices for goods and services.

“Although I share concerns on this issue, prices in the U.K. are set by competition, not by the government,” Victoria Atkins, the Minister for Women, told the House of Commons. “As intelligent, questioning consumers, women should not be afraid to challenge retailers or manufacturers who are trying to rip us off and, where we are not satisfied, to vote with our purchasing decisions.”

Atkins said although the government would not be supporting the legislation, it welcomed “the focus [Jardine] is bringing to this important issue.”

Bills brought independently of the government traditionally have a difficult time becoming law in Britain. If not passed into law by the end of the current parliamentary year, which is projected to end this summer, the gender-pricing bill will die.

During an earlier House of Commons debate on the issue, several years ago, Scottish National Party MP John McNally said that before entering parliament he had worked as a hairdresser, barber and salon owner – an industry in which he said there were “"universally accepted gender pricing inequalities.”

He noted then that “a haircut for a man with short hair could cost 40 percent less than one for a woman with short hair.”

“There are some cases, particularly in my profession, of a legitimate business need for gender pricing,” he said. “But the fact is that society is not generally aware of gender pricing inequality, which is of great concern.”

Last week, McNally said he was currently campaigning for the mandatory registration of all hair salons, which would in part, “address inconsistencies within the gender pricing, where applicable.”


The majority of American Jews have no spine

They are dead scared of being unpopular so Israel just embarrasses them

BY DAVID P. GOLDMAN a.k.a. "Spengler"

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN April 13 that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s plan to extend Israeli sovereignty to West Bank settlements wouldn’t hurt the administration’s forthcoming peace plan, a gesture of support to the Jewish State unthinkable under any previous administration. Following President Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights earlier this month, Pompeo’s declaration is a landmark victory for the Jewish State. It is also a victory for the small minority of American Jewish leaders who stood by President Trump, and joined hands with evangelical Christians and other conservatives to support the realignment of American policy with America’s closest and most reliable ally in the world. Zionist Organization of America's Morton Klein, whom I have the honor to call a friend, is the most outspoken advocate of this realignment among the leaders of major American Jewish organizations. Not surprisingly, he’s taking the most incoming.

We live in strange times, when supporting the president of the United States and the prime minister of Israel makes you a pariah among the liberal majority of American Jews. An April 12 item in The Times of Israel reports that nine American Jewish organizations—including the Reform and Conservative movements—asked President Trump to stop PM Netanyahu from annexing West Bank settlements. Among other reasons, annexation “would create intense divisions” among American Jews, the statement said. The liberal Jewish organization got their answer the next day from Secretary Pompeo.

I was saddened to read Armin Rosen’s diatribe against Mort Klein April 10 in the Jewish webzine The Tablet, a publication to which I have contributed since its inception, and several of whose writers and editors I count as friends. It’s a kitchen-sink sort of attack, dredging up every complaint from every disgruntled employee that an organization might incur over decades, including a security guard’s suit for alleged back pay. And it even cites a salacious personal smear against Mort and his wife Rita, emailed to the publication from an anonymous account. Rosen, to be sure, quotes the Kleins’ refutation of the story, but they should not have been subjected to this sort of thing in the first place.

“The ZOA is squatting on a piece of the ideological spectrum that could be put to good use,” Rosen quotes an unnamed Republican activist. “On the far left, J Street has built a meaningful membership by paying attention beyond DC—building local chapters, college campus groups, and so on. Tragically, nobody is doing this on the responsible right. ZOA should have been—and not only because it historically had this foundation.” This is twaddle from a source too timid to go on record reciting a bromide. Just the opposite is true. Pro-Trump Jewish students on college campuses are hunkered down, persecuted by a faculty that is liberal by an 8:1 margin and administrators who are liberal by a 12:1 margin. J Street has the near-official support of most university administrations. Jewish conservatives on campus are subject to a reign of terror, and what they require is a courageous leader who can speak for them. That’s what Morton Klein has been doing, and that makes him the most effective leader of any of the major organizations.

Iran wants to destroy Israel. Hamas is Iran’s cat’s paw. Without the Israeli Army, Hamas would overthrow the feckless Palestine Authority in days, the way it kicked Mahmoud Abbas’ papier-mâché government out of Gaza in 2007 after Israel withdrew. Iran has brought 80,000 mercenaries into Syria in addition to its own Revolutionary Guard Corps, and emplaced 150,000 rockets with Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon. Those are undisputed facts. Disputed, but nonetheless true, is that Hamas seeks to maximize casualties among the civilian population it controls in order to win the sympathy of the squeamish West. No combatant in history has ever behaved so cruelly to its own people.

President Trump has responded by withdrawing from the Iran deal, slapping sanctions on Iran, branding  the Revolutionary Guard a foreign terrorist organization, moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the West Bank, and, most recently, endorsing de facto Netanyahu’s promise to extend Israeli sovereignty to West Bank settlements. In short, Trump refuses to play the insipid, hypocritical game that sapped the credibility resources of his predecessors. The sky has not fallen; on the contrary, Israel’s prospective adversaries in the region, including Russia, Egypt, and the Gulf States, accord Israel all the more respect for it. The regimes of the Middle East respect strength, not squeamishness, and America’s show of strength has restored respect to America and its allies. One doesn’t have to endorse everything the president does to recognize that he has done more for Israel’s security than any other American.

The problem, I wrote in Tablet nearly five years ago, is not the settlers, but the unsettlers. ISIS has been crushed as a unified military force but its militants lurk in the civillian population, ready to regroup. Iran has imported at least 80,000 militiamen into Syria as shock troops and settlers. Hezbollah has 150,000 rockets aimed at Israel from its northern border. Egypt is fighting a dirty war against Muslim Brotherhood terrorists. And Hamas, the Palestinian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, uses its base in Gaza to fire rockets at Israeli civilians. As al-Jazeera reported last year, “regional dynamics have pushed Hamas back into Iran’s embrace.” Hamas would seize control of the West Bank from Abbas in moments if not for the presence of the Israeli army. Under any foreseeable conditions, a Palestinian state in the West Bank would become a cesspool for jihadists attacking Israel in combination with the rocket jihads of Gaza as well as Hezbollah.

Everyone knows this, which means that the two-state solution is merely a Potemkin village left standing to assuage liberal sensibilities and the residual sense of grievance in the Arab world. Israelis are tired of the whole sick charade, which is why they voted Netanyahu back into office with a mandate to establish Israeli sovereign over territories that otherwise would be staging grounds for Iranian rocket attacks.

Suicide by cop, suicide by Israel: There is a reason that Black Lives Matter cohabits with Linda Sarsour and Rep. Ilhan Omar on the lunatic fringe of American politics. Michael Brown sadly chose suicide when he put his head down and charged at Officer Darren Wilson in 2014, and we listened to two years’ worth of lies about the incident before Wilson was exonerated. The cannon-fodder of Gaza whom Hamas herds to the Israeli border chooses suicide in a similar way. This is too horrible for liberal sensibilities to absorb. The fault must lie with the policeman defending his life, or the Israeli soldiers defending their border against terrorists who want to massacre civilians. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, like Hamas and ISIS, are fanatics who would rather die than live peacefully next to a Jewish State; at the very least, they would rather arrange the deaths of large numbers of their subject populations. Liberal Jews can afford to preen their moral feathers. Israelis have to live under the threat of rockets and know better.

Traditionally non-partisan organizations like the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee are less effective than they used to be, because the Democratic Party has made Israel a partisan issue. Most of the Democratic presidential hopefuls boycotted last month's AIPAC annual conference in Washington. As noted, the liberal Jewish denominations, as well as the venerable Anti-Defamation League, have turned on Israel. As Jews around the world prepare for the Passover feast that marks the birth of the Jewish people at the Exodus from Egypt, I can’t help recalling an ancient rabbinic commentary (Midrash) that claims that most Jews did not leave Egypt with Moses. They were too comfortable and too complacent to heed God’s call and venture into the wilderness. Gathered around the fleshpots, American Jews are abandoning the liberal denominations in droves and joining the ranks of the none-of-the-aboves.


Is This Bank Chasing Away Conservatives?

I have been a Chase Bank customer for years. Who knows how much longer it’ll be? Will the company’s thought police come for me next? How about you? If you are a non-leftist who does business with the financial giant owned by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., you need to ask questions and get answers.

On Tuesday, investigative journalist James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas team released a disturbing new video on the runaround that Chase officials gave Texas conservative entrepreneur Enrique Tarrio about his canceled account. Big business may very well be enabling America’s very own version of the Chinese social-credit system in which political dissent is flagged, shunned, punished, and eradicated.

First, some background:

Tarrio is a young, peaceful, Afro-Cuban freethinker and chairman of the Proud Boys organization. In February 2019, the Texas Trump supporter received a letter from Chase Bank informing him that “after careful consideration,” the financial institution could “no longer support” his banking account. The notice followed a hit piece against minorities who support the president by The Daily Beast, a reliable echo chamber for the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center smear machine.

Tarrio was subsequently kicked off Chase’s payment processor, which he used to sell patriotic and pro-Trump T-shirts. Next, he was deplatformed from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Airbnb, FirstData, Square, Stripe, and PayPal before losing his bank accounts. When I asked on Twitter in February why we can’t have just one financial institution that doesn’t cave to social-justice warriors, the official Chase Twitter account tweeted me back:

“Hi Michelle, this article is inaccurate. We did not close his personal account. We do not close accounts based on political affiliation.”

NOW WATCH: 'Trump Is Reportedly Thinking about Replacing the Fed's Chairman with a New Conservative'

I pointed out that Chase’s letter clearly stated that the company had closed his account. “So if not for political reasons,” I asked, “why, ‘after careful consideration,’ did you close his account?” The social-media manager of Chase’s corporate Twitter account, previously so eager to spill the tea, replied: “For privacy reasons, we can’t say more.”

Thanks to Project Veritas, we now know more. Undercover audio and video exposed how:

One Chase employee blamed “clerical” issues for Tarrio’s account cancellation.

Another stated: “I see nothing that indicates any reason why the account should be closed. I don’t see any outstanding transactions or anything ridiculous.”

Another explained: “Chase is not involved with any like, you know, alt-right people or anything.” Those with “no moral character” are people that “the bank usually doesn’t get involved with in any business relationships, period.”

Several repeated a company line in Tarrio’s mysterious file: “Decision is not reversible.”

Others who received Chase shutdown notices so far in 2019: conservative Rebel Media contributor Martina Markota and U.S. Army combat vet and vocal Trump supporter Joe Biggs.

ere Markota’s and Biggs’s removals “clerical” errors or unfounded, or were they based on an ideological litmus test disguised as a “moral character” assessment?

More questions arise:

How exactly is J.P. Morgan Chase’s $500,000 donation last year to the SPLC left-wing operatives being put to use?

Why did the company embrace a known defamation racket whose stated mission is to “destroy” its political enemies on the right?

What comment does Chase have now that SPLC’s top leaders have been purged amid internal accusations of intolerance and discrimination within the walls of the notorious Poverty Palace?

Does Chase keep tabs on high-profile conservative customers’ political speech on social-media platforms?

Is Chase operating from the same playbook as Paypal, which is booting off conservatives in consultation with the SPLC? One of its most recent victims: Luke Rohlfing, a young reporter for BigLeaguePolitics.com, who had exposed how the payment processor was allowing Open Borders Inc. heavyweight Pueblo Sin Fronteras to raise money for illegal-immigrant caravans conspiring to break our immigration laws — even though Paypal’s own terms of service state clearly that users may not engage in any activities that “violate any law, statute, ordinance, or regulation.”

Tarrio warns of the speech-squelching pattern emerging across Silicon Valley and on Wall Street: “First we get silenced on social media, then Paypal, then I get debanked. It’s a very dangerous trend.”

As for Chase Bank, I sent all my questions to chief communications officer Patricia Wexler, who challenged the authenticity of one of the employees recorded by Veritas (O’Keefe showed proof of the Chase New York media relations number dialed and had audio of the employee identifying himself as a Chase rep) and ignored the substance of the report.

Evasion and denial are surefire ways to lose business. Is it Chase Bank or Chase Away Bank? Inquiring customers would like to know.



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


19 April, 2019

European Churches: Vandalized, Defecated On, and Torched "Every Day"

In February, vandals desecrated and smashed crosses and statues at Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur, France, and mangled the arms of a statue of a crucified Christ in a mocking manner. In addition, an altar cloth was burned. (Image source: Eutrope/Wikimedia Commons)

Countless churches throughout Western Europe are being vandalized, defecated on, and torched.

In France, two churches are desecrated every day on average. According to PI-News, a German news site, 1,063 attacks on Christian churches or symbols (crucifixes, icons, statues) were registered in France in 2018. This represents a 17% increase compared to the previous year (2017), when 878 attacks were registered— meaning that such attacks are only going from bad to worse.

Among some of the recent desecrations in France, the following took place in just February and March:

Vandals plundered Notre-Dame des Enfants Church in Nîmes and used human excrement to draw a cross there; consecrated bread was found thrown outside among garbage.

The Saint-Nicolas Church in Houilles was vandalized on three separate occasions in February; a 19th century statue of the Virgin Mary, regarded as "irreparable," was "completely pulverized," said a clergyman; and a hanging cross was thrown to the floor.

Vandals desecrated and smashed crosses and statues at Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur, and mangled the arms of a statue of a crucified Christ in a mocking manner. In addition, an altar cloth was burned.

Arsonists torched the Church of St. Sulpice in Paris soon after midday mass on Sunday, March 17.

Similar reports are coming out of Germany. Four separate churches were vandalized and/or torched in March alone. "In this country," PI-News explained, "there is a creeping war against everything that symbolizes Christianity: attacks on mountain-summit crosses, on sacred statues by the wayside, on churches... and recently also on cemeteries."

Who is primarily behind these ongoing and increasing attacks on churches in Europe? The same German report offers a hint: "Crosses are broken, altars smashed, Bibles set on fire, baptismal fonts overturned, and the church doors smeared with Islamic expressions like 'Allahu Akbar.'"

Another German report from November 11, 2017 noted that in the Alps and Bavaria alone, around 200 churches were attacked and many crosses broken: "Police are currently dealing with church desecrations again and again. The perpetrators are often youthful rioters with a migration background." Elsewhere they are described as "young Islamists."

Sometimes, sadly, in European regions with large Muslim populations, there seems to be a concomitant rise in attacks on churches and Christian symbols. Before Christmas 2016, in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany, where more than a million Muslims reside, some 50 public Christian statues (including those of Jesus) were beheaded and crucifixes broken.

In 2016, following the arrival in Germany of another million mostly Muslim migrants, a local newspaper reported that in the town of Dülmen, "'not a day goes by' without attacks on religious statues in the town of less than 50,000 people, and the immediate surrounding area."

In France it also seems that where the number of Muslim migrants increases, so do attacks on churches. A January 2017 study revealed that, "Islamist extremist attacks on Christians" in France rose by 38 percent, going from 273 attacks in 2015 to 376 in 2016; the majority occurred during Christmas season and "many of the attacks took place in churches and other places of worship."

As a typical example, in 2014, a Muslim man committed "major acts of vandalism" inside a historic Catholic church in Thonon-les-Bains. According to a report (with pictures) he "overturned and broke two altars, the candelabras and lecterns, destroyed statues, tore down a tabernacle, twisted a massive bronze cross, smashed in a sacristy door and even broke some stained-glass windows." He also "trampled on" the Eucharist.

For similar examples in other European countries, please see here, here, here, here, and here.

In virtually every instance of church attacks, authorities and media obfuscate the identity of the vandals. In those rare instances when the Muslim (or "migrant") identity of the destroyers is leaked, the perpetrators are then presented as suffering from mental health issues. As the recent PI-News report says:

"Hardly anyone writes and speaks about the increasing attacks on Christian symbols. There is an eloquent silence in both France and Germany about the scandal of the desecrations and the origin of the perpetrators.... Not a word, not even the slightest hint that could in anyway lead to the suspicion of migrants... It is not the perpetrators who are in danger of being ostracized, but those who dare to associate the desecration of Christian symbols with immigrant imports. They are accused of hatred, hate speech and racism."


The real Roger Scruton scandal

Brendy says that it is the behaviour of the New Statesman that has been most disturbing.  The only surprise is that he expects honesty and integrity of a Leftist organ

The Roger Scruton scandal is indeed disturbing. Not because of what Roger Scruton said, but because of what the New Statesman did. In order to score a hit against a conservative philosopher cum Tory adviser who has always rubbed leftists up the wrong way, the New Statesman’s deputy editor dispensed with the ethics of journalism, wilfully distorted a quotation, and inferred racism where, to the best of our knowledge, none exists. Scruton’s comments were not particularly shocking, but the New Statesman’s behaviour was.

Scruton had been a housing adviser to the Conservative government. Yesterday he was sacked for his ‘unacceptable comments’ in the New Statesman interview, as the minister of housing put it. Reading the general media coverage of the scandal, and the New Statesman’s promotion of the interview online, you could be forgiven for thinking that these ‘unacceptable comments’ from Scruton included anti-Chinese racism and anti-Semitism. But they didn’t; it only looks that way because of the New Statesman’s unethical sleight of hand and virtual misquotation – usually a huge no-no in the world of respectable journalism.

All those who think Scruton expressed racial hatred against Chinese people and Jews really should read the interview. They might find that they have more questions for the New Statesman’s deputy editor, George Eaton, who conducted the interview, than they do for Scruton. Take the claims of anti-Chinese racism. In his Twitter-summary of Scruton’s comments, Mr Eaton has the philosopher saying the following: ‘Each Chinese person is a kind of replica of the next one and that is a very frightening thing.’ That would indeed be a racist thing to say, playing on the stereotype that all Chinese people look and behave the same. But that isn’t what Scruton said. He said: ‘They’re creating robots out of their own people… each Chinese person is a kind of replica of the next one and that is a very frightening thing.’

So Scruton, it seems, was talking about the Chinese Communist Party and its expectation of conformism from the populace, not the Chinese people. By taking his comments out of context, Mr Eaton, quite wilfully it seems, turned criticism of a tyrannical government into a racist slur against a whole people. But it’s even worse than that. Mr Eaton did not only take the comments out of context – he also changed them, in a small but nonetheless important way. In his tweet, his use of a capital ‘E’ on ‘Each’ – in order to make the sentence ‘Each Chinese person is a kind of replica of the next one and that is a very frightening thing’ look like a standalone comment – is, to all intents and purposes, a misquotation. In the actual interview article, the ‘each’ has a small ‘e’, and is preceded by ellipsis, because it was clearly part of a broader comment by Scruton on the authoritarian nature of contemporary China. A journalist has misrepresented the views of a public figure to make him seem racist – isn’t that more scandalous than Scruton’s strong-worded critique of what he views as Chinese conformism?

What about anti-Semitism? Again, Scruton says nothing in the interview that could be construed as anti-Jewish hatred, and yet the New Statesman infers that he did. Scruton made critical comments about the ‘Soros empire’ in Hungary. He was referring to George Soros, the Hungarian-American philanthropist who funds many so-called ‘progressive’ think-tanks and institutions. Soros is Jewish, and according to some liberal observers, this means any criticism of him is by definition anti-Semitic. This is a perverse idea. Is there a ‘Soros empire’ in Hungary? That’s certainly not a phrase I would use, but it is an indisputable fact that Soros funds various groups inside Hungary and across Europe. The depiction of all anti-Soros criticism as anti-Semitic is dodgy on two levels in particular. First, it demonises and seeks to silence all public discussion of a billionaire and his political interests. And secondly, it seriously harms the crucial struggle against resurgent anti-Semitism by weaponising accusations of anti-Semitism to the cynical end of silencing dissent on Soros and his political role – and this can only deepen the depressing cynicism that already exists towards the seriousness of anti-Semitism.

Let’s put it like this. If someone were to say that Ed Miliband is a wily, puppeteering political figure who uses his North London connections to do down ordinary people, that would clearly be anti-Semitic. But if someone said Mr Miliband was a piss-poor leader of the Labour Party who hasn’t got two ideas to rub together, that is not anti-Semitic. Do you see? Likewise, if a Hungarian hard-right agitator says Soros is a sinister, octopus-style figure puppeteering the Western world, that is anti-Semitic. But if someone – Scruton, say – says Soros funds various campaign groups that have a detrimental impact on conservative values, that is not anti-Semitic.

In order to fortify the smear that Scruton is anti-Semitic – despite the fact that he said nothing about Jews in the interview – Mr Eaton refers to an old speech Scruton made in which he seemed to suggest that Hungarian Jews are part of the ‘Soros empire’. Gross, right? Only, once again, his comments are taken out of context. He said, in the speech titled ‘The Need for Nations’, delivered in Hungary a few years ago, that ‘many of the Budapest intelligentsia are Jewish, and form part of the extensive networks around the Soros Empire’. Why did he make this claim? He said many of these Jewish intellectuals are ‘rightly suspicious of nationalism’, because of the anti-Semitic horrors of the 1930s and 40s, and they are also confronted with the ‘indigenous anti-Semitism [that] still plays a part in Hungarian society and politics’. These past and present experiences are an ‘obstacle to the emergence of a shared national loyalty among ethnic Hungarians and Jews’, he said. So he was sympathising with the plight of Hungary’s Jews. Did Mr Eaton not have space to point this out?

Scruton’s other ‘unacceptable comments’ include saying that Hungarians in recent years have been ‘alarmed’ by ‘the sudden invasion of huge tribes of Muslims from the Middle East’. This is indeed very worrying language. It is the one part of the interview that feels ugly. So why not challenge it? Why simply cite it as evidence for why Scruton is unfit for public life? For a public role that has precisely nothing to do with immigration or Islam?

Scruton also said that Islamophobia is a word ‘invented by the Muslim Brotherhood in order to stop discussion of a major issue’. What’s wrong with that? I would dispute that the Muslim Brotherhood invented the word. There are so many competing claims as to who invented it. And in the UK context, it was the Runnymede Trust that popularised it. But it strikes many of us as utterly uncontroversial to suggest that accusations of Islamophobia are used to close down discussion about Islam, Islamist extremism, social and cultural tensions, and so on. Because Scruton thinks Islamophobia is a phrase used to chill public debate, he deserves to be sacked? That’s crazy.

Here’s the truth of it: most of Scruton’s comments were not particularly alarming or surprising. He criticised China’s enforcement of conformism, repeated his concerns about George Soros’s growing influence, and called for a more open debate about issues relating to Islam. Demanding someone’s scalp because you disagree with their views is one of the most depressing features of our age. In the interview, Scruton was doing what Scruton has always done – provoke and challenge and irritate. It is the New Statesman that has changed. A once prestigious magazine now distorts and virtually misquotes as part of a transparent hit job against a philosopher whose views it doesn’t like. In this scandal, it is the dishonesty and anti-intellectualism of the New Statesman that should concern those who care for the state of public life.


Pastors and children thrown in jail

The terrifying reality that persecuted Christians in India face  ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
What should’ve been a time of fun, fellowship, and prayer at a Christian summer camp in India turned into the worst kind of nightmare.

A mob of Hindu extremists stormed the train before the kids—most of whom were no older than nine—could reach their destination. The mob yanked the Christians off the train—marching all 60 children and the pastors who were chaperoning them to the local police station.

The pastors and other adults were arrested and charged with kidnapping, cruelty, and forceful conversion.

The children were placed in juvenile facilities designed for young law breakers. The police called it “protective custody.”

It took three days, countless pleas by the kids’ parents, and intervention by ADF allies in India for the kids to be released.

The adults and pastors weren’t so lucky. They were jailed for 100 days without bail.

While they were eventually released, the charges against them remain. Their trial is expected to drag out for many more months.

If convicted, the pastors and other adults face prison sentences of up to seven years—all for merely organizing a Christian church camp.

John, this is no isolated incident. This is the reality that persecuted Christians in India face on a daily basis.

One of the adults who was jailed lost his job—his family’s only source of income. Another had been married only a month before he spent 100 days in prison for false charges.

When a father of one of the children testified in support of the pastors and adults in court, the police got upset. The father was quickly accused of a serious unsolved crime because of his testimony. His wife and three kids are now without support because of his imprisonment.

No job. No money. No father.

This is not justice. This targeted, religious persecution of Christians knows no mercy.

In America, we are used to legal battles playing out in court. But Christians in many Indian provinces face torture, violence, and oppression at the hands of their fellow countrymen. They are often brought to trial in the lower courts—prosecutions that would never be commenced if the rule of law was being honored. And all of this is aimed at destroying individuals, families, and livelihoods because they dare to follow Jesus Christ.

Christians in India need our prayers. But they also need a strong legal defense that stays in the fight for the long term.

That’s what ADF allies in India are working to do—and by God’s grace our allies have secured acquittals in every case litigated to conclusion.

We will continue to fight to secure justice for these men in India—and others like them. But we can’t do it alone.

Email from Alliance Defending Freedom

Is the recent Australian Budget really sexist?

Apparently, the women of Australia were short-changed by the federal budget last week — as it contained “no strategy or vision” for the advancement of Australian women.

Indeed, one article even claimed the budget process is clearly “failing” Australian women and lacks a ‘gender lens’ — and what Australia needs is a ‘women’s budget’.
But these assertions are ridiculous for two reasons.

First, women are stakeholders in the economy just as much as men. Women work hard, pay their taxes, run their own businesses, and invest in assets. Women are also consumers in the economy just like men: they are affected by house prices, power bills and transport congestion.

So it seems bizarre, if not downright condescending, to pretend that women don’t care — or have no reason to care — about a healthy economy, more efficient taxes, better infrastructure, or good fiscal management.

After all, millions of women will benefit significantly from the government’s tax cuts announced in the budget (if the tax cuts are ever legislated, that is) – including more than two million women who earn above the median income. Why do women’s advocates ignore or downplay this?

Secondly, using a ‘gender lens’ is a reductionist way to evaluate the Budget. We should be cognisant of the impact of government policies on women. But equally, that should apply to policies that are more likely to affect men, children, the elderly, disabled — or any other demographic group.

Regardless, public calls for the budget to focus more on women often prove to be a thinly disguised call for more government spending. This not only undermines the credibility of the idea but sits at direct odds with many Australian women who believe in responsible government.

And that relates to a further point: women are not a homogenous group when it comes to their views on policies. They are free-thinking individuals. Women have different values, political opinions and priorities, which will inform their opinions on the budget.

Clearly, the budget isn’t sexist. But suggesting that women should only care about a pre-defined set of ‘women’s issues’ certainly is.



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


18 April, 2019

Cher’s Moment Of Enlightenment: Los Angeles ‘Can’t Take Care of Its Own, How Can It Take Care of’ More Immigrants

She's getting conservative with age. About time

Pop icon Cher said Sunday that Los Angeles, California, “can’t take care of its own” residents, much less newly arrived illegal and legal immigrants.

Cher said she failed to understand how the city of Los Angeles in the sanctuary state of California could afford to admit and take care of any more immigrants when city officials have failed to care for homeless, veterans, and poverty-stricken Americans.
Breitbart Reports:

“I Understand Helping struggling Immigrants,but MY CITY (Los Angeles) ISNT TAKING CARE OF ITS OWN.WHAT ABOUT THE 50,000+Citizens WHO LIVE ON THE STREETS.PPL WHO LIVE BELOW POVERTY LINE,& HUNGRY? If My State Can’t Take Care of Its Own(Many Are VETS)How Can it Take Care Of More,” Cher said.

The post came after President Trump threatened to bus border crossers and illegal aliens into sanctuary cities and states, like California, if the country’s asylum laws were not changed. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that the White House is considering the plan.

In response, Democrat mayors across the country — like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Oakland, California Mayor Libby Schaaf — have welcomed bringing illegal aliens and border crossers to their cities.

While left-wing mayors say they will continue to admit any and all illegal and legal immigrants, Los Angeles is home to the second largest homeless population in the country, second to only New York City. About 50,000 residents of Los Angeles are homeless and about 7.5 percent of California’s American Veteran population is homeless.

As the city remains crippled by homelessness and skyrocketing housing costs, Los Angeles metro area is also home to the second largest illegal alien population — with nearly a million illegal aliens living in the region, according to Pew Research Center.

Last year, economists at Deakin University found that immigration — both illegal and legal — drives up housing prices


The Plague of Radical Feminism Descends upon the Nation

Despite its many falterings and regressions, the Judeo-Hellenic-Christian West over the long and tortuous course of its evolution has produced the most advanced civilization known to history. Characterized by the rule of law, scientific discovery, technological invention, educational opportunity for the masses, economic prosperity, individual autonomy and relative freedom from the harsh exactions of nature, it is now collapsing under the attack of forces rising from within its own existential frontiers.

Its internal assailants are myriad: domestic Marxism, “social justice,” global warming, Islam in its various avatars, anti-Semitism and hatred of Christianity, anti-white bigotry, educational decline, media malfeasance, and economic illiteracy leading to the willful accumulation of unpayable debt. But perhaps the most sinister and destructive of its homegrown adversaries is radical feminism, which seeks the ruin of motherhood and the breakdown of the relation between the sexes. It is a plague the Pharaoh was fortunately spared.

“Almost overnight,” writes Carrie Gress in The Anti-Mary Exposed: Rescuing the Culture from Toxic Femininity, “our once pro-life culture became pro-lifestyle, returning to an epicurean paganism that embraces everything that feels good.” How is it, she asks, that the women’s liberation movement “has demolished so decisively the moral and social structures of American society?” “There must be something more,” she answers, “than simple human vice behind the fact that millions of women have betrayed the most sacred and fundamental of relationships, that of mother and child,” leaving “husbands wondering what happened to their wives, fathers wondering what happened to their daughters, and children wondering what happened to their mothers.”

Never in history, she continues, “have mothers been so willing to kill their children”—3000 per day in the U.S. in an abortion frenzy of more than Herodian proportions. The biblical template of Mother and Son, subsumed in the sacred nexus of Mary and Jesus, has been shattered. Gress concludes that a demonic force—the anti-Mary—is at work, sundering women from their God-given roles as mothers and caregivers. Evil is neither a construct nor a concept; it is real, according to Gress, and the Prince of Darkness is among us.

Her central focus is Marian, the Catholic emphasis on hyperdulia (veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary) and the sacrament of motherhood. Gress sees the moral and social chasm between life and lifestyle in the feminist West as precisely an aspect of the conflict between good and evil. On the one side, there are the “marks of anti-Mary—rage, indignation, vulgarity, and pride”; on the other, the true female gifts of “wisdom, prudence [and the] ability to weave together the fabric of society,” associated with the Virgin.

We recall in this connection that the poetic kenning for “woman” in the Anglo-Saxon literature was “peace weaver” and the word “lady” derives from the Old English hläefdige, or “loaf, bread”—a metaphor for nourishment. The cognate word for the opposite gender is hläford, or “lord.” One provides sustenance, the other prepares it; one is, so to speak, the breadwinner, the other the bread baker. Men kill for the larder and women cook for the family. Custom and culture from time immemorial, with few exceptions, establish the distinction between distaff and spear—a distinction that is now being erased and overthrown. Feminism represents the very antithesis of both history and reality. Coventry Patmore’s famous, albeit somewhat treacly, poem about wifely devotion The Angel in the House was savaged by Virginia Woolf, a feminist and lesbian, who wrote in The Death of the Moth that “Killing the Angel in the House was part of the occupation of a woman writer.” This is, in effect, feminism’s default position.

Gress’ Catholic conviction about womanly nature may not persuade all readers. How is it, after all, that millions of women in the civilized West were so dramatically susceptible to the feminist message if they belonged to the caring and nurturing half of mankind? Not all women make good mothers—indeed, many do not. The Medea complex in its various forms is by no means anomalous—a bitter woman who has been wronged can kill her father, poison her lover’s wife and slaughter her children.

In today’s feminist world, however, a woman need not be wronged to create havoc; she has merely to nurse not a child but a grievance, whether legitimate or not, and act as she chooses to rectify what she conceives as a collective right. She can cut off her husband’s penis, with little punishment and full legal and societal support, can justify the killing of allegedly abusive male partners, can put out a contract on her husband, and can bankrupt her spouse and deprive him of child custody—all within the purview of the law.

Moreover, it is not only strident and embittered women responsible for the calamity we are witnessing, but the vast sodality of compliant men, aka beta males and “white knights,” who have surrendered their manhood and paved the way for the feminist takeover in government, in the media, in schools and universities, in the military, in corporate culture and in the legal system, at the expense of both their well-being and the nation’s political and economic vigor. Relying on both masculine chivalry and culturally induced guilt, feminists have conscripted their enemies into an army that would destroy them, attesting to the infusorial virulence of the feminist campaign. The spear has been duly blunted.

Further, one need not adopt a Catholic or Marian perspective to acknowledge the multifarious ways in which feminism is devastating the civic culture of the West. From a traditionally conservative point of view, the abandonment of the feminine for the feminist with its visceral hatred of the male, its penchant for aberrant sexuality, and its passionate advocacy for abortion carries out the Marxist agenda for the destruction of the family, the linchpin of civil society. It leads inexorably to social upheaval and cultural decay. It is no accident that many feminists are Marxists, whether professedly or as “social justice warriors.” Very few seem even remotely familiar with the virtues of kindness and charity, and very few seem capable, obviously, of celebrating the love between a man and a woman. They are, in the words of novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans, “Against Nature.” They are also, in the estimation of most people of traditional faith, against God.

And yet, despite countervailing instances and skeptical arguments, the traditional relation between mother and child, wife and husband, holds for the most part in the human imagination and the historical register and remains firmly in place as a biological imperative. Biology determines that men inseminate and women give birth, that in the normal course of events men hunt and women breast-feed, and that men remain potent far longer than women remain fertile. It is foolish to resist the hegemony of genetics. But there is more to it than that. There is something called love, a spiritual reality that cannot be refuted—except perhaps by those who have not experienced it.

The belief in the sacrificial divinity of love between the sexes is accepted literally by votaries like Gress, for whom the anti-Marian spirit unleashed by the Father of Lies has corrupted the human spirit as well as the culture of the West, with feminism clearly a demonic force eviscerating the vitals of romantic and sexual reciprocity—the modern expression of expulsion from the garden. The Devil is indefatigably at work and Moloch is back in business. The “woman clothed with the sun” whom we read of in the Book of Revelation is now quailing before the “great red dragon” that would devour her child. For my part, I recognize a powerful metaphor, and while I do not consider myself a believing member of any faith or communion, I cannot deny the human truth of love as an amalgam of caritas and eros between a man and a woman, the obligations it entails, and its bedrock necessity for human flourishing and social continuity.

I acknowledge Gress’ concern not merely with the social and economic aspects of marriage and the intact family, but with the mysterious and sacramental nature of love itself. One thinks of the ancient Jewish saying that from the loving union of a man and a woman an angel is born in heaven.

There are no prenups in the genuine marriage bond; the man trusts his wife, the woman honors her husband. It is a vow between a man and a woman that survives in the face of all the odds, threats, disruptions, frustrations and political forces ranged against it. Admittedly, such commitment is at a premium in today’s feminist climate of suspicion, cynicism and outright hate, but that does not alter the nature of love, only the difficulty of finding it.

The love of a man and a woman, blessed in the marital union, despite the rigors of life, the distractions of the commonplace and the tragic circumstances of existence, can be said to have something of the divine in it. In the words of poet William Blake, love “builds a Heaven in Hell’s despair.” Anyone who has experienced true love can attest to both its power and its necessity.

Of course, love can take many different forms, but it is the bond between a man and a woman solemnized in a viable marriage that is productive, ensuring posterity, preserving the social order, and in Augustinian terms rendering the City of Man, however imperfect, a simulacrum of the City of God. Harmony between the sexes is what guarantees a measure of happiness in a troubled world and fosters a sense of fulfillment that keeps life livable and culture vibrant.

In this respect, feminism is, as Gress writes, the promoter of “confusion, twisted thinking, decadence, sacrilege and viciousness descend[ing] ever deeper with every passing day.” An agent of anti-love, social disorder and, ultimately, of human misery, it will most likely run its course until the inevitable social and cultural collapse. Meanwhile, hope against hope, it must be fought with every resource at our disposal.


Italian restaurants in Britain should only employ Italians in the kitchen, says chef Aldo Zilli

Italian restaurants in Britain should only employ Italian cooks, chef Aldo Zilli has said as critics say this would be discrimination.

The leading restaurateur has waded into the debate over Gordon Ramsay's "cultural appropriation" row, during which the celebrity chef was accused of disrespecting East Asian culture with his new restaurant, Lucky Cat.

Ramsay defended his new venture, saying that head chef Ben Orpwood has spent several months in south Asia studying the region’s cooking.

However, Mr Zilli has said that it is usually better for the chef to have been brought up in the country where the food is from.

"I'm involved in a restaurant chain that is called San Carlo and we employ just Italian chefs for example," he told Good Morning Britain.

"You grow up in Italy, you grow up with your parents, you grow up with those flavours and I don't think anyone else from outside that country is going to understand that food.

"If you want to serve what people in this country want to eat, that's up to you, but if you open an Italian restaurant it's got to be an Italian restaurant. If you go to China town no restaurants have an Italian chef, they all have Chinese chefs. If you go to Brick Lane, you have Indian chefs everywhere."

Employment Solicitor James Watkins from Slater and Gordon said that advertising for roles that only accepted Italians would be against the law.

He told The Telegraph: "That's direct discrimination, if the advert says they only want Italian people then that means that people who are of some other nationality are being treated less favourably on the basis they are on a different nationality."

However, there is a loophole. Mr Watkins explained: "Something that might discriminate against those with certain protected characteristics on its face can be justified if it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

"So for example, it would be a legitimate aim for the Italian restaurant to want to serve authentic, traditional Italian food and proportionate to include this in a job advert. This sort of requirement is perfectly acceptable, even though it’s likely to attract more applications from Italian chefs, giving rise to a higher chance of an Italian being hired."

When approached by The Telegraph about his comments, Mr Zilli said that if he found a British chef who was good enough at cooking Italian food, he would be happy to hire them, and said he employs English staff across his five restaurants.

He added: "Anyone can apply for a job in our restaurants.

"It is usually better when someone is from the culture and they cook the food but in this country it is  hard to find people from the culture so we have to find other people. We train them up to cook the food. It is better to go to Italy first to learn the food. I have been in England 42 years so if I went to cook in an English restaurant and cook fish and chips that would be fine."

British chef Ben Tish, the culinary director at The Stafford London, who are soon to be opening Sicilian restaurant Norma, has rubbished Mr Zilli's comments.

He said: "The bonus of not being Italian is that you can generally have a different take on the food. Italians generally keep to what they know and what their mamma taught them. On the flip side, some of the best 'authentic' Italian food I've had has been by non-Italians! River Cafe anyone? Theo Randall? I think the point is that the argument doesn't stand up."

Italian chef Francesco Mazzei, proprietor of Sartoria, Fiume & Radici, said: "Anyone is welcome to cook Italian food but it must be treated with respect, especially if you’re serving traditional dishes like Bolognese, carbonara or cacio e pepe. There are some excellent Italian restaurants in London not owned by Italians, and we’ve recently seen a huge influx of pasta bars opening up which I think are doing good things. However do they serve authentic Italian food? Just as I wouldn’t dare mess with La Boheme or Tosca by Puccini, I don’t think the classics of Italian cookery should be messed with and served up with the same name."


Australia: Militant vegans are charged with trespassing and drug offences after they 'stormed an abattoir and a feedlot' on a national day of action

A group of militant vegans have been charged with trespassing and drug offences after they allegedly stormed an abattoir and a feedlot on a national day of action. 

A total of 11 animal rights campaigners have been accused of staging protests at the Yangan abattoir and a Millmerran feedlot in Queensland in March and early April.

The activists, who were arrested on Tuesday, are facing 18 charges.

Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker said the charges followed formal complaints from the owners of properties targeted by unauthorised protests.

'The Queensland Police Service respects the right of people to protest in a peaceful manner, however we have a duty to ensure the safety of protesters, farm workers and property owners,' he said.

'Unauthorised protests in and around farmlands and industrial areas create significant personal and workplace safety risks.'

'We will take enforcement action whenever necessary to ensure the safety of the community and to protect the rights of people to feel safe in their homes and at their place of work.'

The protests were part of a national campaign by vegans against the treatment of animals.

In March, about 150 activists stormed the Millmerran Lemontree Feedlot in March as a distressed farmer looked on. Lot feeder David McNamee later told Daily Mail Australia the vegans were threatening the safety of his livestock and family. 

About 20 animal activists allegedly chained themselves at the Yangan abattoir in early April. 



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


17 April, 2019

Candace Owens: ‘White Nationalism’ Didn’t Do This Damage to Blacks, ‘Democrat Policies Did’

Candace Owens, 29, the spokesperson for the conservative group Turning Point USA, testified before Congress on Tuesday about hate crimes and white nationalism, where she stressed that “white nationalism” did not cause the major problems affecting blacks today but liberal progressivism and “Democrat policies did.”

The House Judiciary Committee held the hearing on Tuesday, the subject “Hate Crimes and the Rise of White Nationalism.” The committee is headed by Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.)

Below is Candace Owens’ opening statement to the committee:

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Mr. Collins thank you for having me here today. I received word on my way in that many of the journalists were confused as to why I was invited and none of them knew that I myself was a victim of a hate crime when I was in high school.

That is something that very few people know about me because the media and the journalists on the left are not interested in telling the truth about me because I don't fit the stereotype of what they like to see in black people.

I am a Democrat. I support the president of the United States and I advocate for things that are actually affecting the black community.

I am honored to be here today in front of you all because the person sitting behind me is my 75-year-old grandfather. I have always considered myself to be my grandfather's child and I mean to say that my sense of humor, my passion, and my work ethic all comes from the man that is sitting behind me.

My grandfather grew up on a sharecropping farm in the segregated South. He grew up in an America where words like racism and white nationalism held real meaning under the Democratic Party's Jim Crow laws.

My grandfather's first job was given to him at the age of five years old and his job was to lay tobacco out to dry in an attic in the South. My grandfather has picked cotton and he has also had experiences with the Democrat terrorist organization of that time, the Ku Klux Klan. They would regularly visit his home and they would shoot bullets into it. They had an issue with his father, my great-grandfather.

During my formative years I had the privilege of growing up in my grandfather's home. It is going to shock the committee but not once, not in a single breath of a conversation did my grandfather tell me that I could not do something because of my skin color.

Not once did my grandfather hold a gripe against the white man. I was simply never taught to view myself as a victim because of my heritage. I learned about faith in God, family and hard work. Those were the only lessons of my childhood.

There isn't a single adult today that in good conscience would make the argument that America is a more racist, more white nationalist society than it was when my grandfather was growing up and yet we are hearing these terms center around today because what they want to say is that brown people need to be scared which seems to be the narrative that we hear every four years right ahead of a presidential election.

Here are some things we never hear. Seventy-five percent of the black boys in California don't meet state reading standards. In inner cities like Baltimore within five high schools and one middle school not a single student was found to be proficient in math or reading in 2016. The singlehood--the single motherhood rate in the black community, which is at 23 percent in the 1960s when my grandfather was coming out, is at a staggering 74 percent today. I am guessing there will be no committee hearings about that.

There are more black babies aborted than born alive in cities like New York and you have Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo lighting up buildings to celebrate late-term abortions. I could go on and on.

My point is that white nationalist--white nationalism did not do any of those things that I just brought up. Democrat policies did.

Let me be clear: the hearing today is not about white nationalism or hate crimes, it is about fear mongering, power and control. It is a preview of a Democrat 2020 election strategy -- the same as the Democrat 2016 election strategy.

They blame Facebook. They blame Google. They blame Twitter. Really, they blame the birth of social media, which has disrupted their monopoly on old media. They called this hearing because they believe that if it wasn't for social media, voices like mine would never exist, then my movement Blexit which is inspiring black Americans to leave the Democrat Party, would have never come about and they certainly believe that Donald Trump would not be in office today.

The goal here is to scare Blacks, Hispanics, gays and Muslims into helping them censor dissenting opinions, ultimately to help them regain control of our country’s narrative, which they feel that they lost.

They feel that President Donald Trump should not have beat Hillary. If they actually were concerned about white nationalism, they would be holding hearings on Antifa, a far left, violent white gang who determined one day in Philadelphia in August that I, a black woman, was not fit to sit in a restaurant.

They chased me out, they yelled race traitor to a group of black and Hispanic police officers who formed a line to protect me from their ongoing assaults. They threw water at me. They threw eggs at me. And the leftist media remain silent on it.

If they were serious about the rise of hate crimes they may perhaps examinine themselves and the hate they have drummed up in this country. Bottom line is that white supremacy, racism, national--white nationalism, words that once held real meaning have now become nothing more than election strategies.

Every four years the black communities are offered handouts and fear, handouts and fear, reparations and white nationalism. This is the Democrat preview.

Of course, society is not perfectible. We have heard testimony of that today. There are pockets of evil that exist and those things are horrible and they should be condemned. But I believe the legacy of the ancestry of black Americans is being insulted every single day.

I will not pretend to be a victim in this country. I know that that makes many people on the left uncomfortable. I want to talk about real issues in black America. I want to talk about real issues in this country, real concerns.

The biggest scandal--this is my last sentence--in American politics is that Democrats have been conning minorities into the belief that we are perpetual victims, all but ensuring our failure. Racial division and class warfare are central to the Democrat Party platform. They need blacks to hate whites, the rich to hate the poor. Soon enough it will be the tall hating the short.

In other remarks to the committee, Owens said, "My biography, which I submitted, you reduced it to one sentence, calling me just a 'conservative activist' -- and it wasn't what I said or what I submitted to your office last night. I just think that you opened with anti-black bias and I see it coming from the chairman today.”


Democrat racism at work

Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) asked seven of the nation’s leading bankers on Wednesday to confirm their race.

“As I look at the panel, and I'm grateful for your attendance, the--the eye would perceive that the seven of you have something in common. You appear to be white men. I may be mistaken,” Green said at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.

“If one among you happens to be something other than a white male, would you kindly extend a hand into the air? Kindly let the record reflect that there are no hands in the air and that the panel is made up of white men,” Green continued.

“This is not a pejorative,” Green said. “You've all sermonized to a certain extent about diversity. If you believe that your likely successor will be a woman or a person of color, would you kindly extend a hand into the air?” [No hands raised.]

Then Green told the bank executives, “For fear that you may not hear me, just raise your hand now so that I'll know you're there. Raise your hand, please. All of you. Sir, apparently you don't hear me over on the end. Would you kindly extend a hand into the air if you can hear me?”

Green prodded all of them to raise their hands, which the bankers did -- reluctantly.

Green continued:

I know it's difficult to go on the record sometimes, but the record has to be made. All white men, and none of you, not one, appears to believe that your successor will be a female or a person of color.

Is it your bank likely to have a female or person of color within the next decade? Kindly extend a hand into the air -- two, three, four, five. All right, five. Without giving the commentary that I would dearly like to give, I'll move on.

You know, I'm sitting next to a reverend, and I've heard him say that he'd rather see a sermon then hear a sermon. Let us have an opportunity to see a sermon when you return.

Next question has to do with something near and dear to my heart. My ancestors were slaves. In 2005, is it true that J.P. Morgan released information directly indicating that it directly benefited from slavery? Would the representative from J.P. Morgan respond?

James Dimon, the chairman and CEO of JP Morgan, Chase & Co., said, “I do believe that in 2005 we made a report about potential transactions that involve slavery between J.P. Morgan or its heritage companies back in the 1800s.”

Green asked Dimon if his bank “accepted loans against slaves as collateral.”

“I believe that to be true, yes,” Dimon responded.

Green asked if any of the other banks have produced a study on whether they benefited from slavery. “If so, raise your hand, please. Let the record reflect that none have raised a hand, not one has raised a hand.”

Green then asked, “Do you believe that your bank benefited from slavery in some way in terms of its business practices? If so, raise your hand. (No hands raised.)

“If you do not believe that it benefited, raise your hand. Let the record reflect that all but Mr. Dimon raised a hand. Thank you.

When his time was up, Green told the seven bankers: “I do want you to know that we believe you can do better.”

Later, Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) said she found the lack of diversity in banking boardrooms and corporate suites “unacceptable.”

She told the bankers to either hire someone, or give a current employee the title of “Director of the Office of Minority Inclusion in Banks.”

“Will you authorize this person to then have a meeting with me so I can do a follow-up, that we can be more than aspiration?” Beatty asked the bankers, most of whom agreed.


Devout Catholic Farmers Barred From Farmer's Market In Michigan

Barred because they wouldn't host same-sex wedding

In 2016, a devoutly Catholic couple in East Lansing, Michigan, who are both military veterans and own their own organic farm, were kicked out of the local farmer’s market after they refused to host a same-sex wedding on their farm. In 2017, a court issued a preliminary order to permit Steve and Bridget Tennes, owners of Country Mill Farms, to return to the farmer’s market; on Friday, Steve Tennes will join the Alliance Defending Freedom in federal court to request a permanent order forcing the city of East Lansing to allow them to participate in the farmer’s market.

ADF Senior Counsel and Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John Bursch, former solicitor general of Michigan, asserted, “Courts have rightfully and repeatedly rejected this type of religious hostility, as recently as the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. That is why we are asking the district court to issue an order that permanently prevents East Lansing from unconstitutionally targeting Steve on the basis of his beliefs. The city’s response to Steve’s beliefs reeks of anti-religious discrimination.”

The sequence of events went like this: prior to 2016, the Tennes family, which employs a diversified group of people including some who are LGBT, had attended the farmer’s market for seven years. But in 2016, the couple was asked on Facebook if they would host a same-sex wedding. Tennes said on Facebook that he believed in biblical marriage between one man and one woman, precipitating the city's action. Yet the Tennes farm is 22 miles from East Lansing, outside the city’s boundaries and beyond its jurisdiction.

ADF noted that during a public debate, a city council member said Tennes’ Catholic beliefs were “ridiculous, horrible, [and] hateful things.” ADF added that the mayor of East Lansing criticized Tennes for translating his “Catholic view on marriage” into a business practice.

ADF pointed out that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in Obergefell and again in Masterpiece that the government must respect the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.

ADF also noted that only weeks prior to the city’s efforts to ban the Tennes family farm from the farmer’s market, the city publicly praised Country Mill Farms, posting, “We love The Country Mill!” on its farmer’s market Facebook page.


Texas Non-Discrimination Bills Would Effectively 'Ban the Bible,' Faith Leaders Warn

On Wednesday, Texas Values Action warned Texans about eight different non-discrimination bills that would codify sexual orientation and gender identity in state law, effectively outlawing traditional Christian views on sexuality. Texas Values Action argued that these bills would effectively ban the Bible because they stigmatize Christian views based on clear Bible teaching.

"These 'Ban the Bible' bills at the Texas Legislature shock the conscience and must be stopped. Creating more government control and threatening Christians with jail time or fines does not create a tolerant society," Nicole Hudgens, senior policy analyst for Texas Values, said in a statement.

"Any inclusion of men in women’s private spaces is a gross violation of their privacy and safety. It is the job of every legislator to protect Texas women and we strongly oppose these 'Ban the Bible' bills," Ann Hettinger, Texas state director for Concerned Women for America's Legislative Action Committee, added.

The bills "allow the government to criminalize people of faith and effectively ban the Bible," Texas Values Action argued. "These bills highlight a growing national trend to punish people of faith by forcing them to celebrate LGBT viewpoints or values and reject their own sincerely held religious beliefs on marriage, human sexuality, and life."

LGBT activists claim that laws against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI) are essential to protect an embattled minority, but these laws penalize dissent on sexual issues. Texas Values warned that such laws "create new government power and protections which ban the free expression of Biblical beliefs, especially its teaching on marriage and sexuality." Those who refuse to follow and celebrate LGBT identities "will face fines, possible jail time, or other criminal charges."

Texas Values pointed out eight different pieces of legislation that were filed between November 12, 2018, and January 23, 2019.

A trio of very similar bills — H.B. 244, H.B. 254, and S.B. 151 — would issue broad SOGI protections. The bills would amend the Civil Practices and Remedies Code, the Labor Code, and the Property Code, to add three new protected classes involving "sexual orientation," "gender identity," and "gender expression." Any violations of these laws would be a Class A misdemeanor and result in a $100 penalty per day.

These bill would also force people to "support" someone undergoing a gender transition, force businesses and owners who believe marriage is between one man and one woman to participate in and celebrate same-sex weddings (as in the case of Jack Phillips), force government contractors to endorse LGBT stances that may violate their consciences, force religious shelters, colleges, and universities to allow biological men in women's shelters or dorms, and force people to give biological men access to women's showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms, and vice versa.

Each of these provisions is made to sound inclusive — "welcoming transgender people," not "discriminating against gay people" — but they amount to enforcing an LGBT ideology that overrides the religious beliefs of citizens. Furthermore, there are many lesbians and radical feminists who oppose transgender identity and warn against the dangers of transgender activism.

Yet there are more bills where those three came from. H.B. 188 would amend the Property Code to add protected classes based on "sexual orientation," "gender identity," and "gender expression," which would force homeless shelters, colleges, universities, and property owners to stop segregating shelters, dorms, showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms on the basis of sex.

H.B. 517 would allow the government to punish counselors, marriage and family therapists, or psychologists who work from a Christian perspective. If these mental health providers discourage homosexual behavior or transgender identity — even if at the request of the client — they would face disciplinary action. This bill would also force a therapist to disclose private counseling details in the name of opposing "conversion therapy."

H.B. 850 would make "sexual orientation," "gender identity," and "gender expression" protected classes under the Labor Code, forcing Christian businesses to pay for same-sex benefits and forcing Christian business owners to allow biological men in women's private facilities.

S.B. 154 would force doctors to pledge their support for issuing new birth certificates and official documents based on gender identity, even if it violates the doctor's conscience and religious beliefs. The bill would also open up other legal issues regarding fraud, escaping criminal prosecution, disruption of records, proof of identity, and obtaining of licenses, passports, and Social Security numbers.

S.J.R. 9 would repeal the Texas Marriage Amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman under the Texas Constitution, an amendment for which over 75 percent of Texans voted.

Last year, California very nearly outlawed anti-LGBT books on the basis that advertising stories of freedom from unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion constituted fraud. That law could have even banned the Bible, because the Bible promises the ability to overcome sin in Jesus Christ and defines same-sex sexual activity as sinful.

LGBT activists market these bills as "accepting," "progressive," and open-minded, but in reality they enshrine LGBT identity in law, rendering opposition to such identities illegal, even when it's based on Bible teaching and should be protected by the First Amendment's protection for religious freedom. In a way, these bills really do "Ban the Bible," and Texans should oppose them.



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

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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


16 April, 2019

Men Work, Women Complain

By Bettina Arndt

Pretty cheeky title for my new YouTube video today: Men Work, Women Complain. Of course, I am not suggesting women are a bunch of slackers. I’m just letting off steam about a topic that has driven me crazy for decades – the constant whining about the unfair burden of women’s second shift. How often do you see media stories talking about exhausted women carrying an unfair load of housework and childcare whilst lazy men benefit from their labours?

This is one of the favoured themes of modern feminism but like most of their complaints, it’s a load of hogwash. The true picture is very different. In Australia, the US and many European countries, research clearly shows that overall men and women contribute equally to households, if you add together paid plus unpaid work.

My little video gives you all the data to prove it. This is the first of what I plan as an occasional shorter video – a quickie for those of you who prefer things short and sweet.

Here’s the video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjd4opwZ-qI

Please help me promote it. I’d love more subscribers if you haven’t yet signed up. It really helps me get better promotion from YouTube where I am really up against it with constant bans on advertising and hiding of my videos. Telling the truth about feminist lies makes me very unpopular with the PC folk who run the site.

Email from bettina@bettinaarndt.com.au

Quebec Moves to Ban the Burka and Hijab for Government Employees

It has been 10 years since Quebec's Bouchard – Taylor Commission recommended that all public officials who embody the authority and the neutrality of the state and its institutions, such as judges, Crown prosecutors, police officers, prison guards and the president and vice-president of the National Assembly of Québec be prohibited from wearing any visible religious symbols such as the hijab, turbans, yarmulkes and the crucifix.

Four consecutive governments have attempted to implement a law on separation of church and state, but have failed. This time the likelihood of success is certain.

The fact is that while the Sikh turban, Jewish yarmulkes and the Catholic crucifix are definitely religious symbols, the hijab is not. Rather it is a political symbol that until the late 1970s was unheard of in Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Turkey, Somalia and Nigeria. It was the uniform of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world.

Let's hear from the world's most prominent exponent of the hijab, newly-elected member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Somalia-born hijabi Ilhan Omar. Speaking to Vogue, Ms. Omar said: "To me, the hijab means power, liberation, beauty, and resistance."

She admitted that "wearing her hijab allows her to be a walking billboard." For Ilhan Omar the hijab is an Islamist flag just as Che Guevara's beret was to wannabe revolutionaries or the KKK conehead is to White Supremacist ideology.

Closer to home, the charm offensive by Islamists trying to invoke White guilt and positioning themselves as 'victims' drew the support of most commentators. One self-declared feminist wrote in the Toronto Star: "Burqas offer Muslim newcomers a feeling of safety and comfort ... As for hijabs, despite their religious purpose, they're attractive as well as practical." As a Muslim immigrant to Canada, I almost threw up.

Such ridiculous observations from Western Feminists, including the New Zealand Prime Minister, whose obsession with wearing the hijab as a fashion statement has drawn sharp criticism from Muslims within Quebec.

Muslim activist Ferid Chikhi reacting to the Quebec hijab debate wrote: "Whether we like it or not, what is most disturbing in Quebec is what I call malignant entryism by Islamists who want to impose their ideology on the host society at all costs while refusing to respect its laws."

He and 23 other Quebec Muslims, including political scientist Djemila Benhabib, not only support the new CAQ bill for secularism in Quebec, they wrote to New Zealand's prime minister protesting what they called her "banalisation of the veiling of women and girls" calling her "consent to become a living advertisement for this symbol of political Islam ... unconscionable in the face of the Islamist agenda."

The province's most prominent Muslim politician, Moroccan-born Fatima Houda-Pepin, a former Deputy Speaker of the Quebec National Assembly has been at the forefront of the struggle against the hijab and burka for the better part of ten years.

In 2013 she said: "I refuse any drift toward cultural relativism under the guise of religion, to legitimize a symbol like the chador [Iranian Hijab], which is the ultimate expression of oppression of women, in addition to being the symbol of radical fundamentalism."

Fortunately for us Muslims who are fighting the blight of political Islamism that threatens to eliminate us all, Quebec is standing on our side even as the rest of Canada's intelligentsia, feminists, the Left and the trade union movement has abandoned us to the wolves.

From all of us victims of Islamism: Thank you Quebec. Vive le Québec!


Italy’s highest court overturns decision that woman was too masculine to be raped

Italy’s highest court overturned a decision that a woman was too ‘‘masculine’’ to be raped, in a turn of events that activists hope will bring about a change in attitudes toward sexual violence and its victims in Italy.

Last month, protesters took to the streets outside the appeals court in Ancona, a city on Italy’s Adriatic Coast, after it was revealed why a panel of three female judges had acquitted two men accused of rape in 2017. The protesters took issue with the jurists’ reasoning: The judges reached their decision to acquit in part because they agreed with the defense’s argument that the victim looked too masculine for the men to have been attracted to her.

The woman reported that she was attacked in 2015. Doctors said her injuries were consistent with rape, and her lawyer’s claim that her drinks had been spiked at a bar after an evening class was seemingly supported by the fact that her blood showed a high level of benzodiazepines, a type of tranquilizer. The men were convicted in 2016.

But the appeals court in 2017 overturned that conviction, arguing that it was possible that the woman had ‘‘organized’’ the gathering in which she said she was drugged and raped.

The woman returned to her native Peru, but her lawyer, Cinzia Molinaro, who called the judges’ reasoning ‘‘disgusting,’’ filed an appeal.

On Tuesday, Italy’s Supreme Court overturned the acquittals, noting that the appearance of a rape victim is ‘‘wholly irrelevant’’ and a ‘‘nondecisive’’ factor in assessing a rape allegation.


European and English-speaking migrants back immigration cuts and fear Australia is losing its identity

European and English-speaking migrants are more likely to back immigration cuts as they fear Australia is losing its cultural identity.

Migrants from these nations are less likely to support those born in other countries, with 58 per cent agreeing immigration should be cut, a survey by the Australian Population Research Institute has found.

However, two-thirds of Asian migrants favour an increase in migrant numbers and disagree with the idea that Australia's identity is disappearing.

Report authors Dr Bob Birrell and Dr Katharine Betts also found non-graduates are more likely to support the cuts compared to university graduates.

There were 67 per cent of graduates who supported an increase in immigration.

Dr Birrell and Dr Betts told the Herald Sun that second-generation migrants are more skeptical about immigration. 'These migrants have become an important part of a voter base worried about immigration,' they said.

However the survey also found that 58 per cent of Australian-born individuals agreed Australia was in danger of losing its identity and 47 per cent of voters supported 'a partial ban' on Muslim immigration.



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


15 April, 2019

The Bible and vegans

Australia is having a lot of troubles with militant vegans lately, Leftist ones presumably. So what should conservatives think about veganism and vegans?

I cannot improve on the wisdom of our culture's holy book, the Bible. Yes.  The Bible even tells us about vegans.  Vegans might not like to hear it but veganism was also a religious discipline among holy men in Biblical times. In Romans chapter 14 we read:

For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.  Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him

Short and to the point. Going vegan is a personal matter and we should be tolerant of that weakness.  BUT they should be tolerant of us too -- which they certainly are NOT at the moment.  So it's the best advice for all of us.  But Leftist arrogance is not much prone to seeking advice and even less prone to taking it.

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot Announces He Won’t Prosecute ‘Low-Level’ Crimes

He seems to think he is a one-man legislature.  He should be fired if he is not prepred to do his job of enforcing the law

Dallas County Criminal District Attorney John Creuzot, who campaigned on criminal justice reform, announced he no longer plans to prosecute certain low-level crimes.

His office is in the process of dropping many of those cases.

He’s already dismissed more than 1,000 drug possession cases during his first three months in office.

Shortly after being elected in November 2018, Creuzot said, “On my agenda is to not ask judges to send people to the penitentiary for technical violations of their probation – for instance not doing community service, not paying fines and fees.”

In a letter to the people of Dallas County, Creuzot said his office will no longer prosecute many first-time marijuana offenses or any drug possession cases involving less than .01 grams of a drug.

Former Dallas County Prosecutor, Judge Mike Snipes said, “I think it’s forward looking. I think it’s pioneering… People who have minor offenses have a better chance of rehabilitating their life and getting back on track.”

Creuzot said he’ll dismiss many criminal trespass cases as well, charges he says are most often brought against the mentally ill and homeless.

He also said his office will no longer prosecute theft cases involving personal items worth less than $750, unless evidence shows it was for economic gain.

But Andrew Arterburn, the owner of One Stop Express in Uptown said a shoplifter just stole $120 worth of laundry detergent on Thursday and he’s not happy to find out cases like this could be dismissed.

“It’s a slap on the wrist. They go to jail, get a meal, get let go. And they’re not going to be prosecuted at all for it,” said Arterburn.

The President of the National Black Police Association, Sgt. Sheldon Smith, said he worries it will lead to more crime.

“It opens the door for some people to think they can commit crimes,” Sgt. Smith said.

Dallas County Sheriff Marian Brown told CBS 11, her office will continue to enforce the laws as mandate by state legislation.

Creuzot has also pledged to push for shorter probation sentences and recommend lower bond amounts as part of his reform.


UK: Feminist bigotry infects the law

A serial drunk driver who ploughed into three cars after drinking a bottle of wine was spared jail by a judge who said she should not be behind bars because she is a woman. Victoria Parry, 30, was told that if she had been a man "it would have been straight down the stairs" to prison.

But Judge Sarah Buckingham said she should be given another chance to give up drinking and get her life in order.

Parry was driving her Fiat Stilo when she hit three vehicles  on the A46 near Stratford-upon-Avon before crashing into a ditch, where her car burst into flames, on May 23 last year.

The shop manager from Stratford-upon-Avon, who has two previous convictions for drunk driving, admitted dangerous driving and was given a three month deferred sentence when she appeared at Warwick Crown Court yesterday.

Judge Buckingham told the court: "If Miss Parry was a man, there is no question it would have been straight down the stairs, because this is a shocking case of dangerous driving against a background of two previous convictions for excess alcohol.

"But this offence was committed in May 2018 and she has not been in trouble since. She has clearly got an alcohol problem. She is, whether she admits it or not, an alcoholic."

Addressing Parry, the judge added: "You richly deserve an immediate custodial sentence of 18 months. "I want to see whether you can really address the issues rather than paying lip service. If you succeed, I will not make the custody immediate. If you don't comply, I will conclude that you are not worthy of the chance."

The court heard Parry almost caused a major crash when she overtook into oncoming traffic, ploughing into a van before hitting the wing mirror of a Vauxhall Insignia and the side of a BMW.

Prosecutor Tim Sapwell said: "She hit it with such force that the BMW's rear wheel was knocked off and the car was written off. It caused her Fiat to spin in the road and go down the embankment into a wooded area where it caught fire."

Other drivers rushed to Parry’s aid, including an off-duty police inspector who pulled her out of the burning car. Parry told him that she had drunk a bottle of wine, saying: "I shouldn't be driving."

When Parry was arrested she took a breath test at the police station almost two hours later, the reading was only just under three times the legal limit of 35mcg per 100ml of breath.

The court heard that in July 2015 she had been banned from driving for three years for her second excess alcohol offence.

Lucy Tapper, defending, said Parry started drinking up to two bottles of wine a day after being caught up in an abusive relationship. She said: "There is deep and genuine regret on her part. Having a crash presents its own consequences in terms of what you've done, and to have your car burst into flames is quite terrifying. "She says she thought she was going to die. This has been a very salutary lesson to her."

Miss Tapper added that Parry had now got her drinking under control, was out of the relationship and had stepped down from a management role but was now working her way back up.


Pelosi Is Hijacking the Civil Rights Movement to Force LGBT Ideology on Kids

Along the way to full desegregation, civil rights leaders carefully constructed their legal strategy to prove first that black students needed to be offered the same educational opportunities as white students, even if in separate schools and programs.

Next, they were able to prove that it is very difficult for separate schools to be considered equal if black students do not get to interact and share ideas with white students, especially when the white students would be the majority of the population in their future career fields.

Finally, they proved that even when black students were admitted to the same schools, doctoral programs, and classrooms as white students—yet still subject to segregation—there was in fact no equality.

At the University of Oklahoma in 1950, for instance, black students attended the doctoral education program with white students, but they were forced to sit in designated rows in class or designated tables in the cafeteria.

Declaring that this treatment could never be equal, the Supreme Court stated that “[t]here is a vast difference—a constitutional difference—between restrictions imposed by the state which prohibit the intellectual commingling of students, and the refusal of individuals to commingle where the state presents no such bar. The removal of the state restrictions will not necessarily abate individual and group predilections, prejudices, and choices. But at the very least, the state will not be depriving appellant of the opportunity to secure acceptance by his fellow students on his own merits.”

In other words, the state cannot stop people from separating into their own groups, but neither can it require them to be separate.

This case was a critical turning point for black civil rights, and four years later, Brown turned the tide for K-12 schools—and the country.

Hijacking the Civil Rights Legacy

Flash forward several decades to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Top 5 priority bill, H.R. 5—the so-called Equality Act. Now, the left, with Pelosi at the helm in the House, wants to use the blueprint that helped our nation desegregate schools to manipulate schoolchildren to carry water for the LGBT political agenda—whether their parents like it or not.

Their argument is that just as black children were literally and forcefully segregated from white children, so are LGBT children segregated from all other children in schools—creating an oppressed, unequal class of American children.

The left wants to use the blueprint that helped our nation desegregate schools to manipulate schoolchildren to carry water for the LGBT political agenda—whether their parents like it or not.

There are two obvious problems for these activists.

First, they claim to be advancing civil rights for LGBT-identifying individuals—who constantly change their own personal identities, with new categories constantly being added to the group as a whole. This makes it extremely difficult to advance civil rights, as the public can’t accurately identify the group that is receiving protection, and what type of protection is needed on a given day.

Second, unlike the days of racial segregation, LGBT-identifying children are not in fact being forced by the government to attend segregated schools or sit in separate sections of class.

LGBT activists are ignoring the first problem, and they attempt to fix the second problem by claiming something oddly similar to the 1950 University of Oklahoma case.

They claim that LGBT-identifying students are treated unequally in schools not because they are forced to sit in different areas, but because the nation as a whole does not permit transgender students to use the restrooms and locker rooms of the opposite sex, does not require featuring LGBT people and ideas in school, and doesn’t teach children about the social and experimental medical ways to “transition” to another sex.

In other words, they believe the state is complicit in “separating” LGBT students from the student body by not reinforcing their ideology in the classroom.

The racial desegregation of America’s schools was about upholding the truth: that all men are created equal and deserve to be treated equally.

H.R. 5 by its very nature is not about achieving equal educational opportunities for all. It’s about forcing every administrator, teacher, child, and parent involved in schools to give any person who identifies as LGBT a platform in our schools, and special rights above and beyond everyone else.

H.R. 5 isn’t about actual equality. It picks “equality” winners and losers.

Serious Consequences

So if Pelosi succeeded in getting H.R. 5 through Congress (which recently held a hearing on the bill), and if the president were somehow to sign it, what would be the practical implications for public schools?

For starters, major changes in your child’s curriculum. Pelosi and the LGBT activists who fund her campaign want to ensure “equality” by requiring “LGBTQ sexual experiences” to be included in schools. Sex education class can’t truly be equal unless all types of sexual experiences are taught, so leftist groups say.

Colorado already requires that children as young as 9 years old learn about “LGBTQ sexual experiences.” And California sex ed guidelines even require teaching children about having multiple sexual partners, and warning children about “religion abuse” that would include “forcing others to adhere to rigid gender roles [or n]ot allowing a partner to do things they enjoy.”

Both of these states’ curricula came from policies requiring LGBT inclusion in sexual education.

Sex ed class used to be for the purpose of helping students understand human biology and reproduction, which by nature includes everyone. H.R. 5 elevates LGBT sexuality and gives it special emphasis in the classroom.

H.R. 5 elevates LGBT sexuality and gives it special emphasis in the classroom.

And the “equality losers”? Parents and teachers who don’t believe the material is appropriate for their children for health, moral, religious, or other reasons.

All-Pervasive Indoctrination

But the changes envisioned in H.R. 5 don’t stop at sex ed class. The idea is to weave LGBT-centric themes throughoutthe school’s entire curriculum.

Take, for example, New Jersey’s new “LGBT curriculum” policy. Imagine a literature or history class where students are not just taught the historic contributions of literary giants like Emily Dickinson or former U.S. presidents, but the curriculum also questions the sexual preferences of our historic figures.

One textbook example ponders the fact that President James Buchanan “never married and had a very good friend who was living with him. He may have been gay.” A former American president is reduced to the sort of suspect commentary found in newspaper tabloids and gossip magazines.

What’s worse, parents really would have no opportunity to opt-out their children from exposure to this type of teaching or the topic of gender transition, since it is woven into every aspect of the curriculum.

The “equality losers” are, once again, teachers and parents who object—but especially children whose precious academic time will be consumed by nonsense speculation over what kind of sexual exploits any given historical figure was having.

The Death of Equality

H.R. 5 is vying for a spot in our nation’s Equality Hall of Fame, comparing a sexualized political agenda to the brave students who endured segregation and then crossed town, under great hardship, to achieve racial desegregation.

If “all men are created equal” now means ensuring young children are informed that “little boys can become little girls,” then the centuries of power contained in those words ends with H.R. 5.



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


14 April, 2019

Ohio Governor Signs Historical Pro-Life Bill

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) gave a victory to the pro-life movement Thursday by signing one of the strictest pro-life bills in the nation.

“The essential function of government is to protect the most vulnerable among us,” DeWine said before signing the bill. “Those who do not have a voice. Government’s role should be to protect life from the beginning to the end. To protect those who cannot protect themselves, such as the elderly, the unborn, those who are sick, those who have a disability, those who have a mental illness or an addiction. The signing of this bill today is consistent with that respect for life and the imperative to protect those who cannot protect themselves.”

The Human Rights and Heartbeat Protection Act makes it illegal for women to receive abortions after the first heartbeat is detected. According to The Hill, a fetal heartbeat can occur between eight and ten weeks. The bill was able to pass in the state’s House and Senate. Both have GOP control.

The bill was sent to the governor’s office twice before, but former Gov. John Kasich vetoed the measure both times.


Pentagon's transgender policy for military service to take effect, nearly two years after Trump tweeted about the ban

The Pentagon's new policy that places limits on the military service of transgender individuals goes into effect on Friday, nearly two years after President Donald Trump tweeted that he wanted to ban transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military.

The new policy largely requires service members and those wishing to join the military to adhere to the standards associated with their biological sex.

Service members diagnosed with gender dysphoria, defined as "a marked incongruence between one's experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender ... associated with clinically significant distress and impairment of functioning," will no longer be allowed medical surgeries for gender transition unless they are currently in the process of receiving medical treatment. And transgender individuals who have received hormones or medical surgery related to their transition are now barred from joining the military, even if they can prove stability in their preferred gender.

The Pentagon asserts that the new policy is not a ban on transgender individuals, saying "all persons will continue to be treated with dignity and respect."

A string of lawsuits were filed after Trump called for the ban in July 2017. He has not tweeted about the issue since.

A federal judge lifted the final injunction of the ban last month, allowing the Pentagon to proceed with its implementation of the new policy. In the meantime, four outstanding lawsuits will proceed in courts across the country with the plaintiffs arguing the ban is unconstitutional.

In preparation for the policy to take effect on Friday, a Pentagon spokesperson told ABC News that fact sheets have been provided to military medical providers, service members, applicants, commanders, recruiters and to those in the human resources field.

Transgender service members who were serving in their preferred gender prior to Friday will be grandfathered in under the Obama administration policy, which allowed transgender individuals to serve openly.

"There's transgender people who have been scrambling to try to hurry up, come out and begin the transition process so that they can be included in this so-called grandfathered group," said Shannon Minter, one of the lead attorneys for two of the lawsuits filed against the policy. "So that has been a source of enormous stress and anxiety."

Minter, a transgender man and the Legal Director for NCLR, described transgender service members as in a "state of despair" and fear as the new policy is implemented. He said the military will lose skilled, highly qualified individuals from service because of their gender identity and that the new policy could "encourage bias and discrimination."

"This is absolutely 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' for transgender people," Minter told ABC News, referring to the Pentagon's policy in the 1990s and early 2000s that banned gay and lesbian service members from serving openly in uniform.

In a message to sailors in advance of the new policy, the Navy said people were permitted to "live socially" in their preferred gender while not on duty, as long as they conform to the standards associated with their biological sex while in uniform.

"There is no policy that prohibits the ability of a service member to express themselves off-duty in their preferred gender," officials said in a recently released Navy administrative message, according to Military.com which obtained the guidance. "Appropriate civilian attire, as outlined in the uniform regulations, will not be determined based on gender."

Yet the Pentagon has said the policy doesn't require transgender service members to conceal their gender identity. "Gender is a fundamental aspect of a person's identity," Minter said. "It cannot be turned on and off like a switch, and the very notion of requiring a non-transgender person to do so would immediately be recognized as cruel and unworkable. It is equally cruel and unworkable for transgender people."

The Pentagon asserts that about 9,000 service members self-identify as transgender.


234 House Democrats, Two Republicans Co-Sponsor Bill Forcing Schools To Let Male Athletes Compete On Girls’ Sports Teams

Every House Democrat but one has co-sponsored a bill requiring schools to allow male athletes who identify as transgender girls to compete on female sports teams.

Democrats’ Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to make “sexual orientation and gender identity” protected characteristics under federal anti-discrimination law. Among other things, the bill would force public schools to expand female athletic teams to include biological males who identify as transgender girls.

Sarah Warbelow, director of the left-wing Human Rights Campaign, praised the bill’s impact on high school sports in written testimony submitted to a House subcommittee on Tuesday.

“Opponents of equality in athletics for transgender athletes have argued that girls who are transgender have unfair physiological advantages over cisgender girls and as a result, will dominate women’s competitive sports,” Warbelow wrote, calling it not “rooted in fact” that biologically male athletes will outperform their female counterparts.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York, made a similar argument during an April 2 hearing his committee held on the legislation. (RELATED: Biological Male Is Top-Ranked NCAA Track Star)

“Many states have sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination laws, and all of them still have women’s sports. Arguments about transgender athletes participating in sports in accordance with their gender identity having competitive advantages have not been borne out,” Nadler said in his opening statement.

In Connecticut, one of the states to which Nadler was referring, two male runners have dominated girls’ high school track. A female competitor called the male runners’ advantage “demoralizing.”

Julia Beck, the head of a self-described radical feminist organization, testified against the bill.

The Democrats’ bill would lead to a male invasion of female spaces, including on the athletic field, Beck said in her April 2 testimony. “Men will dominate female sports,” she warned.

Of the 235 Democrats in the House, 234 have co-sponsored the legislation. (That’s not counting Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico’s non-voting representatives, who also signed on as co-sponsors.)

Reps. John Katko of New York and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania are the only House Republicans to co-sponsor the bill.

Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski, the only pro-life Democrat left in the House, is also the only one in his party not co-sponsoring the Equality Act.


The McCarthyite, Anti-Christian Campaign Against Chick-fil-A
The fast-food chain Chick-fil-A is wanted on suspicion of aiding and abetting Christian organizations.

The home of the “original chicken sandwich” was banned from its second airport in two weeks for the offense of contributing to Christian groups deemed anti-gay by its critics.

The San Antonio City Council voted to exclude the restaurant from its airport, and Buffalo, New York, soon followed suit, thus denying travelers the option of juicy chicken sandwiches and waffle fries in the cause of social justice.

This is about punishing the Georgia-based company for the faith of its leadership. The official bans are anti-Christian, unconstitutional and a harbinger of a larger effort to hunt down and punish any organization that has uncongenial views on sexual morality.

In San Antonio, the leader of the anti-Chick-fil-A effort, City Councilman Roberto Trevino, explained that, “Everyone has a place here, and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport.” The irony of discriminating against Chick-fil-A in order to demonstrate the city’s famous open-ness was, of course, lost on him.

As for everyone feeling welcome, it’s not as though Chick-fil-A refuses to serve or hire anyone. It didn’t become the fastest-growing restaurant chain in America, projected to take third place in sales after McDonald’s and Starbucks, by putting obstacles between hungry patrons and its sandwiches (except for on Sundays, when it is closed).

The hostility to Chick-fil-A stems from a controversy back in 2012 when its CEO, Dan Cathy, made statements opposing gay marriage, and the foundation established by the company’s founder contributed to politically engaged social-conservative groups. There was nothing wrong with this, but since most profit-seeking enterprises don’t like controversy, Cathy said the company would back off the gay-marriage debate and focus on the chicken.

It has, but its critics still detect a lingering stench of Christianity.

The left-wing outfit ThinkProgress issued a report cited widely in the press and among Chick-fil-A opponents accusing the company’s foundation of “anti-equality” giving. By which it means it donated to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (and a small Christian home for troubled young men in Vidalia, Georgia).

Needless to say, a lot of other people are guilty of the same offense, given that the Salvation Army raises about $2 billion a year. To consider all that the Salvation Army does — its thrift shops, aid for the homeless, disaster relief, anti-trafficking programs, Christmas gifts to needy children and much, much more — and reduce the organization to an allegedly anti-LGBT group is perverse.

For its part, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes stands accused of seeking “to spread an anti-LGBTQ message to college athletes.” It’s true that FCA asks its leaders to forswear homosexual acts, but it also wants them to pledge not to engage in heterosexual acts outside of marriage and, for that matter, refuse to use drugs, alcohol or tobacco.

According to Chick-fil-A, its donation to FCA supported sports camps and school programs for inner-city kids — not exactly controversial causes. And its gift to the Salvation Army went to youth camps and Christmas presents for thousands of Atlanta kids.

The latest campaign against Chick-fil-A is based on the idea that it is impermissible for it to associate with any group with a traditional Christian understanding of sex and marriage, for any purpose whatsoever, no matter how unobjectionable or noble.

Any public official joining the punitive campaign against Chick-fil-A needs a remedial lesson in the Constitution, which forbids discrimination against private companies on the basis of political or religious viewpoint. It is the enemies of Chick-fil-A who are intolerant and out-of-the-mainstream. They desperately need to abandon their tawdry McCarthyite crusade and “Eat Mor Chikin.”



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


12 April, 2019

Bureaucracy in Massachusetts

Typical Leftist contempt for the little guy.  It took a newspaper approach to awaken them

In 1982, Michael Coomey paid $1,100 for a Triumph sports car, knowing it needed a lot of work. In fact, it was more a pile of parts than a motor vehicle.

Coomey did not pay sales tax on his new sort-of car. It was a private sale, with no dealer involved, and he believed you didn’t pay sales tax on a car until you registered it.

Coomey didn’t get his Triumph close to being ready for 37 years. And finally, when he did, last month, he got hit with an $11,232 bump in the road.

With work on his car advancing quickly, Coomey recently began making inquiries at the state Registry of Motor Vehicles.

A half dozen trips later, he had established ownership (no easy feat) and completed an application for title to his vehicle.

Coomey dreamed of being on the road by summer.

But the clerk reviewing his application at the RMV in Worcester pointed out to him that he owed sales tax, dating back to 1982, plus a penalty and interest.

The sales tax was $617.50, she said. He winced. It didn’t sound right. But he said nothing. And the penalty and interest?

That would be $11,232, she said.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Coomey blurted out.

“You are supposed to pay the sales taxes within 10 days of your purchase,” she said matter-of-factly.

The clerk slid a one-page document itemizing what he owed across the counter to him.

Coomey staggered out of the office. “I was dumbfounded,” he said last week while showing me his Triumph, which is still in pieces, though much larger ones than before, in the garage of his home in Paxton.

Coomey, 60, had been too stunned to ask for a breakdown of the penalty and interest. But he was convinced it was a mistake. So he returned to the RMV the next day.

“You have to contact the state Department of Revenue,” the RMV told him, referring to the state agency that oversees tax collection.

When Coomey was a kid, his father taught him auto mechanics (and some other valuable lessons) as they spent long hours together restoring a 1930 Ford Model A in the family garage.

Almost 50 years later, restoring the Triumph became a similarly personal endeavor, and not only because it stirred good memories of his father.

In 2016, Coomey’s world was turned upside down when his wife, Susan, died of ovarian cancer. “It was devastating,” he said, his eyes tearing up.

At a group bereavement meeting shortly after her death, one piece of advice that clicked with Coomey was to get busy with something, maybe a hobby that has long been on the back burner.

It was time to whip that pile of parts into something he could be proud of.

After being turned away by the RMV, Coomey went to the Department of Revenue in Worcester. Sorry, he was told, there was nobody available. Instead, they gave him a telephone number to call.

When he did, it was another dead end. Coomey attempted to explain his situation. But he was cut off. “You can appeal online or on paper,” he was told (repeatedly).

Coomey tried a couple of times to elicit more information on the phone but got nowhere. So he read up on the Department of Revenue’s website about tax abatements, which seemed like the only thing even remotely related to his dilemma. It occurred to him the only way for him to dispute the $11,232 penalty and interest was to pay it and then apply for an abatement. Not a good plan.

“I can’t pay out that kind of money and just hope I’ll get it back someday,” he told me.

I e-mailed Coomey’s one-page document — the one from the RMV clerk — to the Department of Revenue. Two days later, Coomey got an apologetic call from the agency.

One of the managers told Coomey that a review of his case showed the agency had incorrectly calculated Coomey’s sales tax by grossly inflating the sale price for the Triumph. When it calculates taxes on the sales of motor vehicles, the state uses as a sale price the higher of two numbers: the actual amount paid for the vehicle or its “book value.” (It guards against unscrupulously low values being claimed).

The state used the book value of the Triumph. But it used the wrong one. Why? Because there is no book value for that vehicle in 1982, when Coomey bought it. It apparently was never computed. So instead, the state used the 2019 book value of Coomey’s Triumph: $12,350. That’s a lot more than it was worth in 1982.

What the state should have done is use the actual sale value. After all, Coomey had the bill of sale showing he paid $1,100 (“I’m an engineer; I save things”).

It was a foolish and lazy way for the state to deal with Coomey’s missed taxes. And just as bad was the way the state mindlessly fended off Coomey’s every polite request for an explanation.

With that crucial adjustment in the sale price, the sales tax Coomey owed plummeted from $617 to $55 (note: the sales tax in 1982 was 5 percent; it is now 6.25 percent).

And the penalty and interest plunged from $11,232 to $980.

So until my involvement, the state was prepared to overcharge Coomey by $10,814. It doesn’t inspire great confidence in our state tax collection agency.

But Coomey said he’s appreciative of a fair resolution.

And now he’s back to dreaming of getting behind the wheel of his Triumph by summer.


How Professional Merit and Scientific Objectivity Became Casualties of Social Justice Insanity

The idea of merit has fallen on evil times, as has its corollary concept, objectivity. These principles have now been breached by a consortium of the ideologically minded, who resemble a gang of robbers tunneling under a bank vault. The masterminds planning and executing this operation are a class of “treasonous” intellectuals as Julien Benda defined them, primarily academics, along with members of the political left.

In the interests of creating a society based on the axioms of “social justice”—which is really socialist justice—the principles of professional merit and scientific objectivity are dismissed by our mandarin class as forms of bigotry. As the professions, the educational institution, the political arena, and the scientific establishment engage in a process of diversification, accommodating claimants who trade on race and gender rather than ability and native endowment, merit is in the process of being replaced by outright mediocrity.

In the university, for example, no department is safe from the “inclusion and diversity” mania that is bringing higher education into the slough of disrepute—not law, not medicine, not business, not even the STEM subjects. As is, or should be, common knowledge, literature and the social sciences have long succumbed to the social justice, disparate impact, and feminist miasma that has clouded the atmosphere of thought, paving the way for pervasive academic decadence.

When even classics programs are contaminated by race and gender issues, we know the end is nigh. In the "Notes & Comments" to the recent issue of The New Criterion, Roger Kimball documents the shameful degradation of this once elite, non-politicized academic study. “Classics has fallen under the spell of grievance warriors,” he writes, “who have injected an obsession with race and sexual exoticism into a discipline that, until recently, was mostly innocent of such politicized deformations.” Unlike the plethora of “cultural studies” programs that now command the academic landscape—Women’s Studies, Black Studies, Queer Studies, Chicano Studies, Peace Studies, Fat Studies, etc.—in classics, after all, “You actually have to know something.” The challenging nature of the subject, as well as the fact that most of its representative scholars and students appear to be white males, have rendered it suspect and ripe for demolition.

Kimball cites the fate of the classics journal Eidolon, now a travesty of its original purpose, which was to foreground the relevance of classics. It has fallen to the progressivist tampering of Donna Zuckerberg (the sister of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg) whose mandate, as she declares on her Patreon site, is to make “the classics political and personal, feminist and fun.” (I always found Latin and Greek, though difficult to master, plenty fun just as they were.) Zuckerberg requires that “at least 70 percent of our contributors be women and 20 percent POC.” White males beware! “I have no interest,” she pontificates, “in providing bland and false reassurances that we only care about good ideas and good writing and not who our authors are.”

For Zuckerberg, as for most of our cultural and political power brokers, “appeals to merit” are merely “white supremacist dog-whistles.” Eidolon will enlighten us all, not only shedding “new light on the works of Alcaeus, Vergil, Horace, and Cato,” the ineffable Zuckerberg assures us in the journal Society for Classical Studies, but also commentary on “Sports Illustrated Magazine, the conflict between Israel and Palestine, contemporary poets’ responses to the sinking of the Titanic, and the hipster obsession with kale.” The entire spectrum of a once pure and arduous discipline has been thrown under the progressivist bus and reduced to triviality and partisan hype. What goes for classics goes for the rest of the culture—a deracination of the sources of the civilized West.

Who you are, what you feel, your race, your gender, your presumptive marginal status—these attributes now constitute your primary qualifications for preference and advancement. White heterosexual males, regardless of talent, aptitude and intellectual distinction, are naturally excluded from the new imperium. Thus, in her 2008 edited volume Gendered Innovations in Science and Engineering, Stanford University scholar Londa Schiebinger argued that knowledge and technics had to be opened to “new perspectives, new questions, and new missions,” thus opposing “codes governing language, styles of interactions, modes of dress [and] hierarchies of values and practices” inherent in the male-dominated science and engineering faculties. She had nothing to say about levels of motivation and discipline-specific intelligence parameters. No matter. “We need to be open to the possibility that human knowledge—what we know, what we value, what we consider important—may change dramatically as women become full partners.”

That is the “mission.” It does not acknowledge that the vaunted “opening” feminists like to speak of has been in place for decades. Women now outnumber men in the university by a factor of 3 to 2 and the ratio is far higher in K-12 pedagogy. Women also predominate in the medical and legal professions, with no end in sight to their burgeoning numbers.

Nor does the sacred “mission” entail the obvious, namely, that anyone with the intellectual wherewithal and passionate commitment to long hours and unbroken personal discipline demanded by the subject is entitled to become a “full partner.” Schiebinger’s efforts to erase so-called gender bias in hiring practices by “restructuring the academic work/life balance, offering parental leave, stopping the tenure clock, and the like” are precisely what militate against laborious and dedicated high achievement. The ancillary perks, compromises, and forfeitures that many women and certainly feminists seem to require effectively detract from the relentless pursuit of complex scientific knowledge in the most taxing and formidable of disciplines. Rather, whoever has the smarts and is willing to commit to the grueling lifelong schedule necessary for the advancement of top-tier science should be welcomed into the scientific community. But race, marginality, and gender are, in themselves, utterly irrelevant.

Tomas Brage, director of the undergraduate program of studies in physics at Lund University in Sweden, has recently published an essay circulating in the scientific community titled "What Does Gender Have to Do with Physics?" which articulates the same premises as Schiebinger’s. It is an exemplary document, worth considering not only as a screen grab of the current state of affairs but as a harbinger of worse to come. Science, like classics, the last bastion of cognitive purity, is on the way out the door. Clinical and professional debasement is now the rule in order to foster a social justice agenda.

Brage is worried about horizontal and vertical segregation, the former showing that “women and men gravitate to different fields” and the latter indicating that in academia and in physics “men are promoted at the expense of women.” Brage will not countenance the idea that men and women are different, that they tend to make different choices in careers and professions, and that while men and women perform equally well under the umbrella of the Bell curve, male nerds tend to preponderate in the mathematical and scientific standard deviation territory. For Brage, this is the result of a “strongly ‘Herculean’ institutional character”—in other words, it’s the patriarchy at work again, privileging its own, wielding the weapons of merit and objectivity to subjugate the marginal, especially women. Brage will have none of it. “Meritocracy is a myth,” he avers; “the more convinced a group is that it follows meritocratic principles, the more it is affected by bias.”

Consequently, the system must be changed. Institutional culture must admit “bias-awareness training, support... teamwork over a ‘Herculean’ culture’” that favors the individual researcher or genius, create gender diversity programs, “introduce ‘counter-spaces’ such as conferences and networks, where minorities can become the norm,” and “counteract horizontal segregation in STEM, but avoid approaches that aim to ‘change the women.’” In other words, women’s needs come first, the requisites of science toggle a distant second. “Changing the women” is code for making them more competitive, work-dedicated, intensely focused-on-task at personal cost, less susceptible to the claims of biology and leisure, more willing to sacrifice personal time and resist the appeal of Zuckerbergian “fun,” more “Herculean,” that is, more like men. This cannot be tolerated.

Brage seems blissfully unaware that, aside from unadulterated brilliance, meritocratic traits and criteria are precisely those that STEM demands if it is to prosper. He concludes: “Clearly, the subject of all physics is affected by the background of the researcher, teacher and student, and it follows that a gender perspective is needed.” No, it manifestly does not follow. The individual’s practice of physics may indeed be affected by “the background of the researcher,” but the subject of physics is not. The laws of nature are the laws of nature and must be dealt with on their own terms. Physics is physics—nature’s handmaiden, not feminism’s. Mathematics is mathematics irrespective of whether you are white, black, brown, male, female or marginal. Engineering relies on the grammar of reality, not on the rhetoric of politics or the shibboleths and fashions of the day. Rocket science is, in fact, rocket science. The only question is: how adept are you, in the light of aptitude, desire, and intelligence, at mastering the discipline.

The issue at stake is a perennial one. The Greek comic playwright Aristophanes in a late play (392 B.C.) Assembly of Women (Ecclesiazusae) humorously pilloried the female takeover of the Athenian Assembly and dominion over the wider cultural practice. Its instigator, the early feminist firebrand Praxagora, manages to persuade her beta-male husband Blepyrus of the virtues of female control and convinces the male Assembly to hand over the reins of power to their women. The results are as hilarious in context as they are predictable in the larger world, a society descending into mayhem, pagan ritual, lack of distinction and ruthless feuding for freebies, including sexual favors for unattractive hags at the expense of their more beautiful rivals—an apposite metaphor for the war between mediocrity and merit. As scholar and translator Robert Mayhew summarizes, “Misery is not abolished, it is merely redistributed.”

What does gender have to do with physics? Brage, our contemporary Blepyrus advocating for his Praxagora, asks. The question is fraudulent, a category mistake at best. The question is not a question but a commutational statement, to wit: women should be programmatically advanced regardless of aptitude, strict and undeviating devotion to the particular job at hand, examination results, and credentials in the field. It is rhetorical sleight of hand. Of course gender has something to do with physics, as it does with innumerable other aspects of life and work and preference—but gender in this sense is not exclusionary. There is always crossover, always women in fields where men tend to excel and men in fields where women reign. This is as it should be.

The same caveat applies to all the other strata of politically correct discrimination favoring race, ethnicity, caste, marginal, and identity status. Claims of “oppression” should not be permitted to dilute and bypass norms of accomplishment that govern the properties and exactions of any discipline or profession, whether it be physics, engineering, technology, law, medicine, business and economics, English literature, classics, or any other trade, craft, function or vocation one can think of. Neither from the moral, epistemological nor economic point of view can “outcomes,” ideological “inclusion,” or the phantom of “diversity” be legitimately compelled or manufactured. Indeed, it is why “diversity is our strength,” as the slogan has it, has never been adequately explained. It is just as likely, as we have seen, to generate conflict and disunity, disparities of talent and motivation, the tendency to ghettoize and the weakening of common standards. That way lies societal perdition. No culture or nation can long survive collectively enforced mediocrity.

In short, all should enjoy the opportunity to compete and perform to prove they satisfy the conditions of a particular field of endeavor, to demonstrate excellence, merit and respect for truth and objectivity. No concessions should be made that adulterate the principles of the discipline, trade, service or profession under the loupe—unless we are willing to allow discovery and inventiveness to flag, analytical and conceptual quality to decline across the board to everyone’s disadvantage, and “misery to be redistributed.” Plainly, no one should be prevented from lining up at the starting gate, but the race must not be fixed. To cite the poet John Keats, that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know.


‘Blame Whitey Movement’ — Former ACLU Exec Slams Reparations ‘Buffoonery’

Former ACLU Executive Committee member Michael Meyers criticized the slavery reparations movement as “sheer racial rhetoric” and “buffoonery.”

Appearing on Friday night’s edition of “The Ingraham Angle,” Meyers also slammed civil rights leader Al Sharpton, who last week made it a point to directly ask Democratic presidential candidates who appeared at his National Action Network conference whether or not they would support a bill to study the issue.

“Of course, it is,” Meyers said, responding to Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s request to explain why he thinks the movement is a “scam.” “It is more of the blame Whitey movement mania and madness. Sheer racial rhetoric, and that’s what you get with Al Sharpton’s so-called house of justice.”

The former ACLU executive and current New York Civil Rights Coalition executive director then had a few words for the goings-on at Sharton’s NAN conference:

At that house of so-called justice, you have either a horror picture show showing or you have a farce. Either way it is not to be taken seriously. I can’t understand how serious presidential contenders can give legitimacy to a racial blowhard and I think it is outrageous and silly on the part of the presidential candidates. Anybody who thinks that white Americans are going to take the blame or going to feel guilty or give their land and their property away in some sort of reparations pot because they feel responsibility for the sins of their forebears. They are not.

“I cannot take Al Sharpton seriously,” he continued. “The whole racial movement is anti-intellectual. It is unintelligent. I can’t take buffoonery seriously …” (RELATED: Here’s Where Each 2020 Democratic Candidate Stands On Slavery Reparations)

Ingraham and Meyers later discussed how such a policy would be implemented, where the money would come from, and how it would eventually go to the “hustlers” instead of those who need it.

“The guy that came here from Serbia six months ago is going to have to write a check for a Somali refugee that came here 20 years ago,” Ingraham noted.

“That’s why I say it is unintelligent,” responded Meyers. “Nobody is giving up their house. Nobody is giving up their land. Nobody is giving away acres. The 40 acres are gone. Not even a building is going into the reparations pot. So what are they talking about? These people they are chasing thoughts.”

“It is a campaign issue,” said Ingraham. “This is all a power grab. It’s a total distraction.”


Rugby Australia slams Israel Folau for his controversial post declaring homosexuals will go to hell – as his career hangs in the balance

What he says is straight from Romans chapter 1 so maybe they should ban the Bible too?  And it's another wimpy woman crying over it.  Why can't they have a man in charge of a man's game?

Rugby Australia have slammed Israel Folau for his latest homophobic social media post - as the scandal threatens to derail the star player's career.

Folau, 30, shared a 'warning' to 'drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters' to Instagram on Wednesday, saying 'hell awaits' them.

The devout Christian has shared similar sentiments in the past and was previously warned by Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle.

A Rugby Australia spokesman said Folau's post was 'unacceptable' and that the organisation's integrity unit was 'engaged on the matter'.

'Rugby Australia is aware of a post made by Israel on his Instagram account this afternoon,' the spokesman said. 'The content within the post is unacceptable. It does not represent the values of the sport and is disrespectful to members of the Rugby community. 'The Rugby Australia integrity unit has been engaged on the matter tonight.'

In February, Folau signed a multi-million dollar contract extension with the New South Wales Waratahs and Rugby Australia until the end of 2022.

Widely considered as one of the game's best players, Folau became Super Rugby's all-time leading try scorer on Saturday.

His post on Wednesday warned that those 'living in sin will end up in Hell unless you repent'. 'Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him,' Folau posted alongside two bible verses.

The star fullback also retweeted a story about Tasmania allowing gender to be optional on birth certificates.

'The devil has blinded so many people in this world, REPENT and turn away from your evil ways. Turn to Jesus Christ who will set you free,' Folau tweeted.

In April 2018, Folau said gay people deserved to go to 'HELL... unless they repent of their sins and turn to God'.

Folau made the comment on Instagram in reply to a question about God's plan for gay people.

His comments forced a meeting with Ms Castle and Waratahs chief executive Andrew Hore, after major Wallabies sponsor Qantas said Folau's statements were 'very disappointing'.

Ms Castle acknowledged Folau had caused 'grief to some people'. 'Israel has presented his situation to us, where his views are, where his beliefs are,' Ms Castle said.

'But at the same time Rugby Australia has also got a policy and a position of inclusion and using social media with respect.

'Now both of us are going to go away and continue that dialogue, and work through how we continue to use how our social media platforms in a way that can ensure that all of our stakeholders are respected in the use of social media.'

During 2017's same sex-marriage vote, Folau tweeted that he would not be supporting any change to the existing law.

'I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions, but personally, I will not support gay marriage,' he said.

Folau married New Zealand netball star Maria Tutaia in 2017. He was raised as a Mormon and switched to the Australian Christian Churches with his family in 2011.



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


11 April, 2019

Nutritional supplements 'don't work' and taking certain ones even increases the risk of dying from cancer, professor warns

They are typically taken by the health conscious with the hope of adding years to life. But a study found taking supplements has little effect and only nutrients found in foods can lower your chances of death.

In fact, some supplements - such as calcium and vitamin D - were actually associated with a higher risk of cancer.

Experts suggest the findings add to growing evidence that supplements cannot be used as ‘insurance’, and that diet and lifestyle are key to health.

The study, which focused on data from more than 27,000 US adults, found certain nutrients in food - but not supplements - were generally linked to a lower risk of both all-cause and cancer death.

Researchers from Tufts University compared the intake of a range of nutrients with rates of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

They showed that adequate consumption of vitamins A and K, as well as magnesium and zinc, reduced the risk of death.

But this finding only applied to nutrients in food, not supplements.

Scientists said people could unwittingly be putting themselves in greater danger by taking calcium supplement doses higher than 1,000 milligrams per day.

This was associated with a 53 per cent greater risk of death from cancer, although the relative risk remained small.

They found no evidence of an association between calcium in food and cancer death.

Lead scientist Dr Fang Fang Zhang, said: ‘It is important to understand the role that the nutrient and its source might play in health outcomes, particularly if the effect might not be beneficial.

‘Our results support the idea that, while supplement use contributes to an increased level of total nutrient intake, there are beneficial associations with nutrients from foods that aren’t seen with supplements.

‘This study also confirms the importance of identifying the nutrient source when evaluating mortality outcomes.’

Sales of supplements have grown by six per cent in five years, with Britons spending an estimated £442million on them in 2018, according to market research group Mintel. Roughly 34 per cent of British people take health supplements daily, while the figure in the US is closer to the 50 per cent mark.

Debate as to their effectiveness has raged for years with many studies showing a supplement does not mirror the effects of when taken naturally.

In this study, participants were asked whether they had used any dietary supplements in the previous 30 days.

Those who reported supplement use were asked the product name, frequency and duration for each nutrient.

Nutrient intake from foods was also assessed using 24-hour diet recalls conducted by trained interviewers.

In addition, the researchers found dietary supplements had no effect on the risk of death in individuals with low nutrient intake.

Unnecessary consumption of vitamin D supplements by individuals who were not deficient in the vitamin might increase the risk of death from any cause, the researchers found.

Professor Judy Buttriss, of the British Nutrition Foundation, said the findings added to a growing body of evidence that micronutrient supplements do not reduce the risk of death.

She said: ‘Research on diet is increasingly looking at the effects on health of dietary patterns, rather than isolated nutrients, and it’s clear that it’s the diet as a whole and not single nutrients in isolation that can have the greatest beneficial impact on health.’

Professor Tom Sanders, of King’s College London, said: ‘People who self-medicate with supplements are often the “worried well” or those who have health problems.

‘Furthermore, there are those who eat poor quality diets but take a supplement as an insurance policy. 'You can’t turn a bad diet into a good diet with handful of pills.’

Professor Hugh Montgomery, of UCL Institute Human Health and Performance, said: ‘The growing message is routine vitamin supplementation offers little if any benefit to health and may cause harm.

‘Meanwhile, it is clear diets high in these components are healthy.

'Supplementing some vitamins and/or minerals can benefit those at risk (e.g. folic acid in pregnancy) or who may benefit for specific medical reasons (such as osteoporosis).

'However, in general terms, those otherwise healthy may do better overall to concentrate on consuming a healthy diet rich in vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grain and fruit than to spend money on supplements.

'The latter are not generally an effective substitute for, or supplement to, the former.’


Vaccines, fevers, and gender dysphoria. What are parents supposed to do?

Three recent stories highlight the way the rights of parents to determine the physical and emotional health and well-being of their children have changed in the 21st century. Looking at all three at once provides an interesting analytical exercise.

First, we have the ongoing measles outbreaks around the country in areas with a higher number of so-called “anti-vaxxers” — people who reject vaccines of various diseases for their children. Without rehashing the debate here, those who oppose vaccinations, or even merely advocate the freedom of parents to choose, are encountering vigorous challenges from others who believe vaccines are a responsibility of being a good citizen — never mind those (sometimes in authority) who argue that vaccines should be mandatory. Parents are faced with a choice, and sometimes it’s a costly one.

Second, in Chandler, Arizona, a mom took her feverish two-year-old son to an alternative medical practice. The doctor noted that the boy was unvaccinated and recommended the mother take him to the hospital. She said she would, but as he improved that day, she decided against it. The doctor followed up, and she gave the same promise, but again, ultimately declined to take her son to the hospital. Eventually, the cops showed up, burst through the door, arrested the father, and sent the couple’s three children to foster care with their grandparents. Both parents were charged with one count of child abuse. The case is ongoing, but it hinges on whether the mother had the right to do what she deemed best for her child, or whether the doctor had the right to alert the cops to “a possibly life-threatening situation.”

And third is the heart-wrenching story of a mother who was rendered powerless to prevent doctors from shepherding her daughter through a sex “transition.” Here’s how she explained the process: “If you take your child to a clinic to seek help, affirmative care means the therapist must follow the child’s lead. The professionals must accept a child’s professed gender identity. In fact, this is the law in many states. Under ‘conversion therapy’ bans, questioning a child’s professed gender identity is now illegal. So, if a little boy is 5 years old and believes he is the opposite sex, affirmative care means going along with his beliefs.”

She and her daughter found themselves in that situation, and now doctors and authorities are preventing the mother from doing anything to stop what we believe is child abuse. Similar stories have played out in other parts of the U.S. and Canada.

There are indeed parental choices that are patently wrong and do harm to children. But the same is true for certain institutional and medical decisions. And parents have little reason to trust those authorities in the face of so much demonstrably false information and coercive force. Thus, legitimate scientific advancement is sometimes rejected because there is no trust basis. Meanwhile, authorities and medical experts no longer trust parents to see through all the harmful misinformation out there. It’s a vicious cycle.

Often lost in this destructive debate is what’s actually best for kids. Parents are supposed to be the best determiners of that, and they should endeavor to make informed decisions that protect their kids from harm. This includes taking action again preventable communicable diseases and refusing to contribute to a vulnerable child’s gender dysphoria. Yet advocating smart decisions is a far cry from allowing the state to impose its will on parents and their children.


Hip-Hop: The Cancer of American Culture

It's reached a level of moral rot that Americans have not seen in any subculture or genre of music.

Let me be clear: I am in no way diminishing cancer and the effect it has on American families. I simply want to draw attention to the similarities of how cancer cells destroy their host and how hip-hop culture is destroying America. Since its inception, America has been the birthplace of many subcultures, industries, and genres of music. Americans have always believed in freedom of expression and free markets, so long as it is not antithetical to American values.

Hip-hop culture and its music has reached a level of moral rot that Americans have not seen in any subculture or genre of music in a long time. Some may claim that it’s just art no different than a painting. I would argue that even art begins with drawing a line. Those lines represents boundaries. When we examine hip-hop today, we can observe that it has no boundaries or lines of morality. Hip-hop culture and music over the years has become more aggressively violent, misogynistic toward women, and now anti-American. Hip-hop artists like KRS-ONE, who is considered a religious teacher and author of The Gospel of HipHop, declares, “Hip-Hop culture is a rebellious response to white American capitalism.” Africa Bambaataa, the godfather of hip-hop, teaches that the black man is “God” and the white man is “the devil." How are these statements art?

In America, we measure the benefit of subcultures by how they add value to the dominant American culture. Hip-hop at every turn attempts to diminish American culture with the promotion of rebellion, rants against police, racist overtones, and radical religious ideology. This type of behavior and rhetoric by hip-hop artists is why I consider hip-hop to be a cancer to America.

Cancer changes the way our cells function. Normal cells divide and grow to form new cells. When older cells die, new cells are formed to replace the dying cells. This process enables the body to continue to grow and function in a healthy capacity. Cancer is a breakdown of this orderly process. As cells become abnormal or damaged, instead of dying, they continue to survive. They will divide and continue to grow rapidly and form tumors. Those malignant tumors then aggressively spread into nearby tissues and organs and become invasive. Cancer cells ignore signals to stop dividing and even attempt to change how normal cells function — they convince normal cells to feed them oxygen to grow the tumor.

This is exactly how hip-hop is functioning in American culture. Hip-hop culture has invaded every walk of life posing as a genre of music when it is, at its core, a radical religious subculture that is designed to destroy the host. When we look at hip-hop "cells” that we call artists, they have called for the death of America and its institutions that make us great. In the ‘90s you had gangster rappers like N.W.A. (N*&&@$ With Attitudes) that had songs entitled “F—k the police,” that inspired the L.A. riots. In the 2000s you had rappers like Jay-Z rapping, “Jesus can’t save you. Life begins when the Church ends.”

In 2018, Snoop Dog recently created a video where he depicted President Trump being assassinated and the album cover had the president dead in a morgue with a toe tag labeled “Trump.” In the same year, he released a Christian gospel album. Just this month, rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was featured in a song called “F—k Trump,” was killed violently in LA by an associate gang member of the Rollin 60’s Neighborhood Crips. Nipsey’s influence even reached NBA player Russell Westbrook, who after scoring 20 points, 20 rebounds, and 20 assists against the Los Angeles Lakers, told the interviewer, “This was for Nipsey! 20-20-20 they know what this means!” The player was referring to a shout to the Rollin 60’s Neighborhood Crips gang that Nipsey Hussle was affiliated with. In plain sight, an NBA player was able to use his NBA platform to support gang activity. This proves how the cancer can spread from industry to industry or organ to organ.

The hip-hop cancer has invaded almost every aspect of American culture. It has metastasized in a generation and promotes everything from gang violence and selling drugs to killing police officers and calling for the end of the Christian church. My hope is that Americans will begin to wake up and seek aggressive treatment against this cancerous culture, or better than that, have it removed from their family and life in hopes of saving future American generations.


Australia: Vegan activists who target the homes of farmers could face a year behind bars

Vegan protesters who target farmers’ homes could face a year in jail under new laws proposed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
If re-elected in May, Mr Morrison plans to change the laws to prevent vegan activists from using private information about farmers to harass them.

“They are being targeted in the most mercenary way by an organisation that can only think of itself and not think of the real damage that is being done to the livelihoods of these hardworking Australians,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Launceston on Wednesday.

He promised to introduce laws banning people from inciting criminal activity against farmers, with jail terms up to 12 months.

The Aussie Farms website publishes an interactive map of farms across the country, which the organisation says exposes animal exploitation in a secretive industry.

Vegan protesters on Monday launched a cross-border campaign targeting a busy Melbourne street, plus abattoirs and farms in Victoria, NSW and Queensland. It resulted in scores of arrests, criminal charges and a renewed call for farmers to take action, with the federal government committing to underwrite legal claims.

Privacy laws were changed last Friday to potentially expose Aussie Farms’ website to significant penalties for publishing farmers’ addresses and contact details.



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


10 April, 2019

The haphazard care offered by Britain's NHS can kill

Below is just the beginning of a HUGE BBC report on the avoidable death of a Downs syndrome little boy.  It is some tribute to Britain's legal system that the death was taken very seriously and extensively  investigated.

When I saw that the doctor convicted of "manslaughter by negligence" was of Nigerian Muslim origins, I thought I knew the beginning and ending of the story.  I was wrong.  Doctors of African ancestry are often pushed through medical school on the basis of the color of their skin rather than how much they have learnt. But there was no sign of that in the case of this doctor.

It is certainly true that she was part of a system that gave the boy insufficient care but the system was in chaos on the day.  Even the computers weren't working and key staff were simply missing, just not there in the ward.  And the doctor who was there had been given the job with no warning and had never been trained to work in that ward.  Understaffed is hardly the word for it.  It was a caricature of a medical service.  In the circumstance the doctor was run off her feet and could not be expected to think of everything and do everything.

Her conviction was indeed a sham and a coverup.  There was only one defendant who should have been in the dock -- the NHS.  The NHS simply has neither the money nor the staff to provide even a safe service, let alone a curative one.  With most illnesses people do after a while get better of their own accord and that is the only reason for a majority of the successful discharges from NHS hospitals. 

The whole idea of the NHS is faulty.  Governments are not fit to run hospitals.  In the case of the NHS there is a vast  bureaucracy that never has a shortage of clerks and administrators --  while the service has a gross shortage of doctors and nurses.  Firing the bureaucrats would instantly free up enough money to hire the most desperately needed medical staff.

I can't help comparing what I read about the NHS with the care that I receive in the private hospital I go to.  In that hospital there are always plenty of nurses around and a call button gets a 5 minute response.  I am rarely admitted for anything too serious but I still get my BP taken every hour during the day and am given all sorts of small attentions. And any scans I might need are done and interprerted within an hour of my arrival.  Anything that might help me is done promptly.

So why the difference?  I have private health insurance.  And that is not unusual in Australia,  Where only 7% of Britons have private health insurance, 40% of Australians do -- which shows a high level of affordability.  I am not remotely unique in being able to receive hospital care of the highest international standard

Given the differences I have just outlined, I cannot see any case for such a thing as a government hospital to exist.  All that is needed to provide for the poor is for the government to foot the bill for their private care

When a junior doctor was convicted of manslaughter and
struck off the medical register for her role in the death of
six-year-old Jack Adcock, shockwaves reverberated
through the medical profession.

Many doctors have argued that Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba was
unfairly punished for mistakes she made while working in
an overstretched and under-resourced NHS - and on
Monday the Court of Appeal ruled she should not have
been struck off.

With access to full trial transcripts, witness statements
and internal hospital inquiries, Panorama talks to
Dr Bawa-Garba and to the parents of Jack Adcock
in order to tell the story in detail.

Jack Adcock wasn’t himself when he returned from school.

He later started vomiting and had diarrhoea, which continued through the night.

In the morning Jack was taken to the GP by his mother, Nicola, and referred directly to Leicester Royal Infirmary’s children’s assessment unit (CAU).

Less than 12 hours later he was dead.

“Losing a child is the most horrendous thing ever. But to lose a child in the way we lost Jack – we should never have lost him,” Mrs Adcock says.

Trainee doctor Hadiza Bawa-Garba arrived at work expecting to be on the general paediatrics ward - the ward she’d been on all week.

She had only recently returned to work after having her first baby. Before her 13 months’ maternity leave, she had been working in community paediatrics, treating children with chronic illnesses and behavioural problems.

But when medical staff gathered to discuss the day’s work, they were told someone was needed to cover the CAU – the doctor supposed to be doing it was on a course. And Dr Bawa-Garba volunteered to step in.

She also carried the bleep – which alerts the doctor that a patient needs seeing urgently on the wards or in the Accident and Emergency unit, across four floors of the busy Leicester Royal Infirmary – and was required to respond to calls from midwives, other doctors or parents.

Soon after Dr Bawa-Garba took over, the bleep went off – a child down in the accident and emergency unit, several floors below, needed urgent attention and she missed the rest of the morning handover.

Back in the CAU, Dr Bawa-Garba was asked to see Jack Adcock by the nurse in charge, Sister Theresa Taylor, who was worried he had looked very sick when he had been admitted.

She was the only staff nurse that day. Because of staff shortages, two of the three CAU nurses were from an agency and not allowed to perform many nursing procedures.

“Jack was really lethargic, very sleepy. He wasn’t really very with it,” says Mrs Adcock. She told medical staff he had been up all night with diarrhoea and sickness.

The boy’s hands and feet were cold and had a blue-grey tinge. He also had a cough.

“I knew that I had to get a line in him quickly to get some bloods and also give him some fluids to rehydrate him,” says Dr Bawa-Garba. He didn’t flinch when she put his cannula in.

Because of a pre-existing heart condition, Jack had been taking enalapril – a drug to control his blood pressure and help pump blood around his body – twice a day.

But Dr Bawa-Garba says she didn’t want him to have the enalapril, because he was dehydrated and it might have made his blood pressure drop too much.

Because of this, she says, she left it off his drug chart.

She then asked for an X-ray to check Jack’s chest. Blood was taken – some was sent down to the labs, while a quicker test was done to measure his blood acidity and lactate levels – the latter being a measure of how much oxygen is reaching the tissues. The tests revealed his blood was too acidic.

“A normal pH is 7.34 – but Jack’s was seven and his lactate was also very high. A normal is about two and his was 11, so I knew then he was very unwell,” Dr Bawa-Garba says. She gave him a large boost of fluid – a bolus – to resuscitate him.

Her working diagnosis was gastroenteritis and dehydration.

But she didn’t consider that Jack might have had a more serious condition. It was a mistake she regrets to this day.

Jack had been admitted under the care of Dr Stephen O’Riordan, the consultant who was supposed to be in charge that day – but he hadn’t realised he was on call and had double-booked himself with teaching commitments in Warwick and hadn’t arrived at work.

Another consultant based elsewhere in the hospital had said she was available to help and cover him if needed – although she had her own duties.

After an hour of being on fluids to rehydrate him, Jack seemed to be responding well.

“He was a little more alert and we thought he was getting better,” Mrs Adcock says.

Dr Bawa-Garba thought that too.

One of the less experienced doctors in the unit had been unable to do Jack’s next blood tests. They had tried but couldn’t get blood, so Dr Bawa-Garba went to do it herself.

This time, when Dr Bawa-Garba went to take blood from his finger, Jack resisted, pulling away.

“That kind of response, to me, said that he was responding to the bolus,” she says. “Also, the result I got showed that the pH had gone from seven to 7.24. In my mind I’m thinking this is going the right way.”

However, not enough blood had been taken to get another lactate measurement.

Dr Bawa-Garba looked for Jack’s blood results from the lab. She had fast-tracked them an hour-and-a-half earlier. But when she went to view them on the computer system, it had gone down.

The whole hospital was affected. This meant not only that blood test results were delayed, but also that the alert system designed to flag up abnormal results on computer screens was out of action.

She asked one of the doctors in her team to chase up the results for her patients, and took on some of that doctor’s tasks.

Those tests would have indicated that Jack may have had kidney failure and that he needed antibiotics.


Mayor Under Fire for ‘Confederate Memorial Day’ Proclamation

The mayor of one Florida community is now the focus of attacks after he signed a proclamation to add his community to those that celebrate Confederate Memorial Day.

On Tuesday, Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn signed the proclamation, which was requested by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, according to WINK, based in Fort Meyers, Florida.  Florida marks the day as a paid holiday for state employees, as do Mississippi and Alabama.

The proclamation designates April 26 as “a time in which to honor the memories of those who sacrificed their lives in the War Between States.”

Guinn, who is white, was immediately criticized by Council President Mary Sue Rich, who is black, for honoring the Confederacy.

“I’m not proud of you doing a Confederacy proclamation standing up here in front of all these people in the city of Ocala. That turns my stomach. I don’t think you deserve to be the mayor of Ocala. I hope somebody runs against you,” she said.

“When people say you are a member of the Ku Klux Klan, I’m beginning to believe them,” she added, referencing Guinn’s inclusion on a 2015 list of politicians that the hackivist group Anonymous said were Klan members. Guinn has long denied the assertion, Anonymous never provided proof.

Guinn was so stung by the comments he held a news conference the next day to forcefully deny the accusation.

“I am not — repeat, not — in the KKK,” Guinn said, according to WFTY.  “I never have been. I never will be, and I despise and hate everything that organization stands for.”

Although his action came at a time when many states and communities are re-evaluating symbols and celebrations linked to the Confederacy, Guinn also noted that he had issued similar proclamations in the past with no complaints.

Echoes of the fuss reached The Washington Post, which interviewed Guinn. During the interview, he called the resolution “simply a memorial for Confederate soldiers who were veterans.”

Guinn told the Post that in terms of the Civil War and slavery, “It was about more than just slavery.”

The Post report on Guinn then noted that he offered “an assertion that has been debunked by many historians.”

Guinn noted that a local group asked for the proclamation, which meant he either offended someone by signing it or offending someone else by not signing it.

“That’s the problem with our country. We worry about offending people too much. I haven’t done anything wrong by doing this proclamation, and I stand by it,” he said, adding that he and Rich have been at odds since he would not issue a proclamation in February declaring Ocala a “City of Peace,” as part of an effort promoted by the group Ollin Women International.

According to the Post, Guinn maintained that the founder of Ollin Women International, Manal Fakhoury, was a terrorism sympathizer.

According to a March 5 report in the Ocala Star-Banner, Guinn said Fakhoury believes in Sharia law and had demonstrated on behalf of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

On Tuesday night, Nancy Bowden and Judy Delk of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, accepted the proclamation.

“We would just like to thank you for the recognition of our Southern heritage and history and to honor those that so valiantly fought to protect their homeland, their South, our Dixie,” Bowden said, according to the Ocala Star-Banner.


UK: How motorway lights have actually made journeys slower

Traffic lights introduced on motorways have made congestion worse despite Highways England spending £317m on schemes, a government report has revealed.

The report by Highways England showed that a pinch point programme to tackle particularly congested areas of road often resulted in faster rush hour journeys, but slower journeys at other times of the day.

Overall, journey times were slower than before the money was spent to try and ease congestion, improve safety and boost growth in local economies.

Highways England believed the slower overall journey times were mainly caused by the introduction of traffic lights, with 44% of the schemes introducing the new signalling.

The RAC described the findings as "very disappointing".

There were 119 congested areas of road that received a share of the £317m funding, announced in the 2011 Budget.

The report looked at the first-year impact of 54 of the 119 schemes carried out on England's motorways and major A roads. Nearly half of the schemes with an aim to cut journey times failed to achieve that goal.

The report concluded that it must consider the impact of projects "across all 168 hours of the week, not just the 10-30 peak hours".

Future schemes must "better consider how to mitigate the downsides while maintaining the upsides", the document added.

The pinch point programme was established in 2011 to relieve congestion, stimulate growth in local economies and improve safety. Small-scale projects generally costing up to £10 million were chosen, with work often involving changes to junctions, adding traffic lights, widening slip roads and new signage. The programme was largely delivered by Highways England's predecessor, the Highways Agency, and was completed by March 2016.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes told the Press Association: "It's very disappointing that Highways England's work to tackle pinch points on its road network has not been as successful as had been hoped.

"While congestion has been reduced at peak times of the day, unfortunately many schemes have seen increased traffic at off-peak periods, mostly due to traffic lights being introduced.

"Luckily, it seems as though there are some simple steps that can be taken to improve the worst of these new off-peak traffic flow issues, such as changing signals to work part-time instead of full-time.

"It is also important to realise that this work was not just about reducing congestion and that many schemes have seen small reductions in the number of road casualties."

A spokesman for Highways England said: "This report shows that overall, these schemes... were successful at tackling congestion at the busiest times and improving safety.

"This useful insight is helping us develop improved appraisal methods for small-scale schemes, which in turn help us deliver improved benefits to people using our motorways and major A roads.

"Meanwhile, we are considering a range of options to improve journeys by using traffic signals which respond to traffic flows."


Australia: Vegan protests block busy Melbourne intersection, target Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart

Militant vegan protesters have been dragged kicking and screaming from the Melbourne CBD by police in heated scenes.

Melbourne’s busiest intersection has been completely blocked off by vegans conducting a “peaceful” peak-hour protest.

Hundreds of animal activists from all over Victoria gathered at 5.30am outside Flinders St station holding signs and blocking cars and trams from passing through.

Animal rights protesters are slowly being arrested and dragged into police vans after blocking a major Melbourne CBD intersection.

More than 100 activists are chanting “What do we want? Animal liberation — now!” with some sitting on tram tracks near the Flinders-Swanston street intersection.

Protesters are holding signs that say “This is a peaceful protest” and “SOS animal emergency climate emergency”.

One man started jumping up and down before being detained by five police officers.

At the scene, news.com.au saw protesters sitting in a tight circle in the intersection as police officers physically lifted them and carried them away.

Cops arrested one woman in her 40s and another woman aged in her 70s.

A large crowd cheered as the pair were handcuffed and led into the back of a waiting police van.

More than 10 protesters were lifted from the intersection by Victoria Police’s Public Order Response Team. Others, who were not willing to face arrest for their cause, quietly took their signs and walked away.

Four rental vans, covered with signage for a documentary, were parked at all four corners of the intersection before tow trucks were called in to move them.

As the intersection cleared, protesters moved to Melbourne’s Sea Life Aquarium, where they chained themselves together in front of the doors, blocking entry to parents and children on day one of school holidays.

The protests are part of a wave of action that includes activists blocking the entrance to the MC Herd abattoir in Geelong and chaining themselves to a truck in Pakenham, southeast of Melbourne.

Protests are also being planned for Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart, but the exact locations are closely guarded secrets.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison admonished the animal activists as “un-Australian” on 2GB radio this morning.

“It is shameful, it is un-Australian,” he said. “This is just another form of activism that I think runs against the national interest, and the national interest is being able to farm their own land.”

The PM isn’t the only one frustrated. Commuters were turned away from tram stops and told to find alternative options. Traffic was diverted around the CBD.

One man, with a toddler in a pram, confronted the protesters and called them “absolutely pathetic” for blocking the Melbourne CBD.

Angry tradesmen were also seen yelling at the vegans.

Victorian Liberal MP Tim Smith tweeted that the “militant vegans” should be “arrested or moved on”. Then he blamed the Daniel Andrews-led government for watering down laws “for these types of self-indulgent nutters”.

However, vegans on the ground say their aims are “hard to argue with”.

Paediatric neuropsychology doctor Helen Jeges held a sign above her head at this morning’s protest on Flinders St. It read: “I am a doctor. Vegan: 5 years.”

“We want to open people’s eyes to what they’re really paying for,” Dr Jeges told news.com.au.

She said many Aussies weren’t aware that male chicks were killed in farms because they do not lay eggs.

They are killed via a process known as “quick maceration” — where chicks are dropped into a grinding machine alive. The RSPCA considers this the “more humane” option because chicks are killed within a second.

“A lot of people don’t know that if you buy eggs, male chicks are ground up alive. It’s to raise awareness,” Dr Jeges said.

She said the protests had not been met by hostility, but commuters were frustrated this morning when trying to catch trams through the CBD.

“The response has been really great,” Dr Jeges said. “We don’t expect any antagonism. We represent kindness, equality, nonviolence, and so it’s hard to argue against that.”

The activists are trying to bring attention to the documentary Dominion on the one-year anniversary of the film’s release. It shows footage inside Australia’s abattoirs.

Farmers across NSW and Queensland have also been placed on high alert as a number of groups plan to carry out a series of co-ordinated raids, which they say is “the biggest animal rights direct action the world has ever seen”.

In Goulburn, in the NSW Southern Tablelands, nine people were arrested after chaining themselves to a conveyor and refusing to move on, police say.

“Three women refused to walk from the abattoir and had to be carried to the police vehicle,” a police spokesman said.

This morning, police also broke up a protest at a Queensland abattoir.

About 20 animal rights campaigners descended on the Warwick abattoir and chained themselves to equipment before police were called to remove them.

The Queensland Government is increasing powers to stop animal rights protesters invading farms for protests that are putting stress on farmers already struggling after floods and drought.

New laws are being drafted to allow police and agricultural officers to fine vegan activists whose activities risk the lives of farmers, workers and animals, says Mark Furner, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries.

“Everyone has the right to protest, but nobody has the right to break the law,” Mr Furner said in a statement yesterday.

Queensland farmers deserved respect and needed to be protected, he said.

“Many of our farmers are already under great stress following years of drought and more recently the floods, and we are standing side-by-side with them,” Mr Furner 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.  Email me (John Ray) here


9 April, 2019

How dissing the sisterhood became 2019's new taboo. And, says a very brave KATE SPICER why it's time we broke it

I'll tell this story again:  When Mrs Thatcher was in office I read a story about her that slammed her from her hair to her shoes.  I was savagely and totally negative.  I remarked on that to my wife at the time, a wise woman.  She said: "Probably written by a woman".  I checked the byline and it was.

I have now seen so many instances of subtle female bitchiness to one another that I know Kate Spicer is exactly right.  A woman's worst enemy will always be another woman.  Female competitiveness far outstretches male competitiveness.  It is relentless

Writing my memoir, Lost Dog, I knew I had to be brutally honest. There are enough books celebrating women being amazing, or getting angry and righteous about women as victims.

How could I dare admit I have trouble trusting women, especially the powerful alpha females who are the loudest mouthpieces for feminism today?

While what they are fighting for is good, that doesn’t negate the fact that, in my experience, they can sometimes be . . . mmmmm, what’s the phrase? Right cows.

There’s a specific incident, burnt like a scar on my memory, when just such a woman shot me down after I’d told her I fancied getting married one day.

Ouch! It was humiliating. She floored me with her disgust, as she outlined why I was a pathetic failure at feminism.

Should I admit to this and the subsequent dislike I have always harboured for this well-known feminist figure (who, for the record, went on to get married several times)? Or would I be seen as a traitor to the cause?

I said it anyway.

Today, feminism is no longer an academic pursuit, explored in dense books that most of us only ever got a few pages into.

You don’t need to read all 900 pages of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex; there’s a zippy short read called We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Or, even easier, watch Beyoncé dancing in front of a 10 ft neon ‘Feminist’ sign, singing about being an Independent Woman.

Feminism is truly mass market now. No one needs to read Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ Women Who Run With Wolves; they can just knit themselves a pink hat.

Of course, an ability to digest dense essays on feminism doesn’t make one ‘better’ at it. It’s simply that everyone talks about being a feminist these days, but doesn’t necessarily follow through with the sisterly behaviour that today’s feminists love to shout about.

A few years ago, I watched as a dear friend was professionally stabbed in the back at work by a colleague she considered her best friend. I can’t talk to her about it because that woman is still her best friend!

This is not an isolated incident. I’ve seen this happen so many times, it’s practically an algorithm for success.

Perhaps it’s time to separate feminism from the concept of sisterhood. Fight for equal rights and equal pay, but stop pretending you’ve got every woman’s back.

There may not be a better time for a girl to be born in Britain, but if you hold up your hand and go, ‘Actually, I’ve been treated badly by a woman and I think women can be monsters too’, then you are betraying the sisterhood.

34 per cent of British women call themselves a feminist
Which is why the thing I was most afraid to do in my book was question why I found certain women so terrifying. Why don’t I trust them?

Why do they leave me skittering nervously like a cat on a hot tin roof? Why do I feel like real feminism is a club I’m not allowed to be a member of?

Nothing makes me more anxious than the thought of a female networking event. Every month I think about going to one — then look at a number of its leading lights and decide to stay in and wash out my bins instead.

The sisterhood doesn’t exist in a lot of workplaces. For some of my generation of 40-plus women who have been in the workplace for decades, dealing with a creepy male boss who makes you feel slightly uncomfortable is less stressful than a manipulative, bullying female boss.

Some female bosses of mine have been easy to deal with and supported me in incredible ways; others have left me feeling sabotaged and insecure.

On the night of my book launch, an older editor — a feminist whom I had always looked up to — came over and muttered in my ear: ‘I liked what you said about the sisterhood.’ The next morning I emailed to ask what she meant.

‘For all the talk about how having a female boss is so much better than a male boss,’ she said, ‘if your experience is the opposite, you dare not express this as it would be seen as unsisterly.’

It’s not just my generation. Millennials are extremely critical of their ‘sisters’, while shouting loudly about feminism.

Someone needs to explain to the younger generation that sisterliness is about a great deal more than writing ‘Feminist’ on your social media profile.

Sometimes the women who talk the most about sisterhood are the least trustworthy of all. It can feel like feminism is entirely about attacking other women who don’t agree with you or reflect your own idea of what is right.

I interviewed the former leader of the Women’s Equality Party a few years ago. From the get-go the interview went badly. She criticised me for not watching her on a Sunday politics show. The story I was writing was for a women’s magazine: politics wasn’t my goal.

In the end, the piece never ran. I’d tried too hard to write a smart political story to please her — a cardinal sin as a journalist. I crumpled under my interviewee’s pious and angry gaze. I self-censored myself.

I think that was the one that did for me. If I couldn’t feel sisterly with the head of a party for women, then truly I was a feminist doomed.

Yes, I actively mentor young women into work and love it. I want women to feel strong and confident. My heart breaks to see women in abusive, controlling relationships and I will speak out.

But let me be very clear. I would never hold myself up as a glowing example of female saintliness. I can be a right cow. I can be as unsisterly as the next sister. At nearly 50, I have a good bank of girlfriends. I just struggle to trust a lot of women.

The truth is the sisterhood is about as real as the brotherhood. Women are primarily human beings, and human beings can be nice, they can be nasty, they can be bitches, and they can be the most heartfelt, supportive, loving friends you ever had.

Some women will take a bullet for you and some will stab you in the back. And sometimes those women can be one and the same person.

Is it possible to separate the goal of feminism, equality, from the concept of sisterhood? I believe in a feminism without the lie of the sisterhood. How’s that? It takes the stress off us all.


A Papal ignoramus

“I appeal not to create walls but to build bridges” has long been Pope Francis’s mantra.

Most recently, when asked last Sunday “a question about migration in general and about U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to shut down the southern border with Mexico,” the pope pontificated in platitudes: “Builders of walls,” he said, “be they made of razor wire or bricks, will end up becoming prisoners of the walls they build….  With fear, we will not move forward, with walls, we will remain closed within these walls.”

Less than a week earlier, Pope Francis lectured the mayor of Rome about the need to be more welcoming to Muslim migrants. “Rome,” he declared, “a hospitable city, is called to face this epochal challenge [Muslim migrants demanding entry] in the wake of its noble history; to use its energies to welcome and integrate, to transform tensions and problems into opportunities for meeting and growth.”

“Rome,” he exulted, “city of bridges, never walls!”

The grand irony of all this is that Pope Francis lives in the only state to be surrounded by walls—Vatican City—and most of these bastions were erected to ward off centuries of Islamic invasions.

Most notably, in 846, a Muslim fleet from North Africa consisting of 73 ships and 11,000 Muslims, landed in Ostia near Rome.  Muslim merchants who frequently visited Italy had provided them with precise intelligence that made the raid a success.  Although they were unable to breach the preexisting walls of the Eternal City, they sacked and despoiled the surrounding countryside, including—to the consternation of Christendom—the venerated and centuries-old basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul.  The Muslim invaders desecrated the tombs of the revered apostles and stripped them of all their treasures.

Pope Leo IV (847-855) responded by building many more walls, including fifteen bastions along the right bank of the Tiber River, the mouth of which was forthwith closed with a chain to protect the sacred sites from further Muslim raids and desecrations.  Completed by 852, the walls were in places 40 feet high and 12 feet thick.

Further anticipating the crusades against Islam by over two centuries—and thus showing how they were a long time coming—Pope Leo (and after him Pope John VIII) offered the remission of sins for those Christians who died fighting Islamic invaders.

Such was the existential and ongoing danger Muslims, referred to in contemporary sources as “Sons of Satan,” caused for Europe—more than two centuries before the First Crusade was launched in 1095.

Indeed, just three years after the initial Muslim invasion of Rome, “in 849 the Muslims attempted a new landing at Ostia; then, every year from around 857 on, they threatened the Roman seaboard,” explains French medieval historian C. E. Dufourcq:

In order to get rid of them, Pope John VIII  decided in 878 to promise them an annual payment [or jizya] of several thousand gold pieces; but this tribute of the Holy See to Islam seems to have been paid for only two years; and from time to time until the beginning of the tenth century, the Muslims reappeared at the mouth of the Tiber or along the coast nearby.

Today, many Muslims, not just of the ISIS-variety, continue to boast that Islam will conquer Rome, the only of five apostolic sees never to have been subjugated by jihad (unlike Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Constantinople).  Similarly, Muslims all throughout Europe continue exhibiting the same hostility and contempt for all things and persons non-Islamic, whether by vandalizing churches and breaking crosses, or by raping “infidel” women as theirs by right.  As for Italy, click here, here, and/or here for an idea of how Muslim migrants behave.

And that is the point Pope Francis misses: walls should only go down and bridges should only be extended when both parties are willing to live in amicable peace—as opposed to making the destructive work of those who have been trying to subjugate Europe in the name of Islam that much easier.

Note: For more on how walls saved Western civilization against Islam, see Ibrahim’s recent book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West.


Banning Chick-fil-A is not only bigoted -- it’s illegal

Neither Texans nor Chick-fil-A should stand for such intolerance and bigotry by the government, the First Liberty Institute's Keisha Russell says.

Last week, the San Antonio City Council voted to ban the popular restaurant chain Chick-fil-A from the San Antonio International Airport. Six members of the council voted to approve a new concession space contract on the express condition Chick-fil-A be excluded.

Chick-fil-A’s sin? A history of religious activity that the city council found offensive. A Chick-fil-A has now been yanked from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York as well.

In response, First Liberty Institute has asked United States Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, to investigate the Texas city’s council for religious discrimination. The religious liberty law firm asked Secretary Chao to determine whether city officials failed to comply with the assurances of nondiscrimination required as a federal grant recipient. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has also called for an investigation.

The hostile message sent by San Antonio is clear: any business that does not agree with a local government’s – or any government’s, for that matter – preferred opinions is not welcome to do business in that city.  The problem is, of course, that the council’s action is blatantly illegal.  Indeed, San Antonio’s unconstitutional and discriminatory position should alarm everyone, no matter their religious beliefs.

Councilman Roberto Treviño, who made the motion to exclude Chick-fil-A, said of the vote, “San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior . . . Everyone has a place here, and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport."

Neither Texans nor Chick-fil-A should stand for such intolerance and bigotry by the government.

Everyone, it would seem, except those who hold views contrary to his and who donate to religious nonprofits. The City Council’s allegations stemmed from a report attacking the charitable giving of the privately-owned restaurant. Yet the officials certainly cannot criticize the restaurant’s customer service or business practices. Chick-fil-A’s renowned service and hospitality (which it extends to everyone with a smile) have paid off—Chick-fil-A is currently more profitable per restaurant than McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Subway combined.  And they have reached the top despite being closed on Sundays.

Ironically, the City Council members are brazenly breaking the very principle of nondiscrimination they claim to value. While Chick-fil-A happily serves anyone its delectable chicken sandwiches, the San Antonio City Council has discriminated against the restaurant because of religion.

Sadly, this is not the first time government officials have been hostile to businesses that operate according to religious views.  In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court in its decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case found that the state of Colorado had violated the religious liberty rights of cake designer Jack Phillips.  Currently, First Liberty Institute represents Aaron and Melissa Klein, who were fined $135,000 by the state of Oregon and forced to close their businesses because they refuse to express a message regarding same-sex marriage that contradicts their religious beliefs. First Liberty has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Oregon’s unconstitutional actions.

Indeed, in San Antonio’s case, federal taxpayers should not be required to subsidize religious bigotry. The city council cannot operate in a way that brazenly violates the Constitution and federal law, but if it chooses to, then the federal government should pull its grant.

Americans agree that tolerance and inclusion are necessary in our diverse and pluralistic society. The government sends a dangerous message when it threatens businesses owned by religious people because they (or the organizations to which they donate) may not hold the opinions that the government prefers.

Neither Texans nor Chick-fil-a should stand for such intolerance and bigotry by the government. Anyone who stands for tolerance and equality should actively oppose the discriminatory action manifested by San Antonio City Council officials. Frankly, standing up for Chick-fil-A and any other religious organization subject to such outright discrimination would be my pleasure.


Australia: Family-friendly goat café is forced to close its doors after it's subjected to 'four months' worth of constant harassment, vile statements and threats from abusive vegan activists'

The Left have found a new excuse to harass ordinary people

A family-owned cafe has been forced to close its doors and leave staff jobless after they were relentlessly abused by vegan animal activists for months on end.

The Gippy Goat Café in the small Victorian town of Yarragon, about 110km south-east of Melbourne, closed its doors for the final time on Sunday, claiming they could no longer stand the abuse.

Owners John and Penny Gommans said they have been targeted for months.

They claim tensions have only gotten worse since activists broke into their farm and stole three goats last December.

'For the sake of our health and safety and that of our families and staff we feel that [closing] is regrettably the best option,' they said in a statement on Sunday.

'Our staff and customers have been subjected to nearly four months of constant harassment, vile statements and threats from the abusive vegan activists.

'We have personally been subjected to an appalling stream of threats of extreme violence against ourselves, our family, our staff and even their families.

'Our staff have been subjected to daily threats and harassment by phone, and we cannot in good conscience ask them to continue working under such a condition.'

The cafe offered a full menu and encouraged customers to feed the on-site goats and watch them get milked.

They prided themselves on being a local, family-friendly venue with a great relationship with many of their patrons.

Those patrons have expressed outrage over Mr and Mrs Gommans' experience. Many described the activists involved - who have not been named - as 'utterly disgusting'.

'For a business to feel like they must close their doors because of harassment is unacceptable. This is where our police and justice system needs a review.'

The couple also noted their business' name had been dragged through the mud by the same activists, who falsified negative reviews on Facebook.

'The courts have proven to be ineffectual, the enforcement agencies declined to prosecute to the full extent, so, to the thieves, trespassers and activists; you have won,' they said.

Meanwhile, the Queensland government has recently announced they will be implementing a crackdown against activists of this nature.

Police and agricultural officers will be entitled to hand out 'hefty fines' to offenders who are caught.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander went a step further, stating they should be jailed, The Courier Mail reported. 

'These are well-organised, well-funded animal extremists who will stop at nothing to get their way,' Mr Mander said. 'These people need to be fined heavily if they break the law and they need to face the risk of jail as well.'     

'Please know that your ignorant indignation, lust for outrage and the false reality you inhabit through your social media streams will prevent you from effecting any positive societal change - only harm to real human beings - and you only have yourselves to thank.'

Nationals MP for the Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath said she would 'fight in parliament to stop this atrocious behaviour.  

'Good people, innocent people working lawfully targeted in such a way is totally unacceptable and unAustralian. 'I and my Nationals colleges will work to strengthen penalties, create real deterrents and stop this type of harassment.'



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


8 April, 2019

The origins of child sex offenders

Child sex offenders are abhorrent criminals.  Australia is about to set up an offender register to keep track of them.  But is that the best we can do?  Can their offending not be prevented?  Maybe for some it can be but to have any hope of that, we have to understand where they are coming from, what makes them a sex offender. 

There seems to be very little public comment on that.  A prison psychologist I know, however, has spoken to many of them in prison and has studied their backgrounds.  Unfortunately, he has found that they are often as much sinned against as sinning.  Few people probably want to hear that but it must surely be brought into any debate focused on prevention.  He has sketched out a few of his very "incorrect" observations for me and I present them below:

There are Aborigines with brain damage from mothers putting petrol on their bedding when they were little children to keep them quiet and help them sleep.

Many adult male sex offenders were molested by their single mothers, were given drugs, oral sex to help them sleep, used for sex, or psychologically sexually interfered with by frequently being insulted, ridiculed or teased about their sexuality, or their mother "playfully" chasing them around the house grabbing them sexually, or alternating or mixing up the "playfulness", the insults, and the physical abuse all together, or pitting her boyfriends against her son.

That sort of thing is not known by many. As we know, perverted sexual practices for prepubescent children when they don't yet know what is right or wrong can miss-wire their sexuality.

Having counselled in a protection prison where about 60% were sex offenders, heard their stories and read the sentencing Judge's summaries, it has caused me to realise that many sex offenders are awful criminals but some might not have been if not messed up by others.

I know one offender who was kept home from school by his single mother for most of his childhood, kept drugged on cannabis and LSD, and used as a sex toy. She was never charged. He became a rapist of underage girls.

And there are those who sell drugs to children and youths, who damage their brains and potential for life. The outlaw bikie gangs who make and sell to dealers, who sell to youths, who sell to younger youths, who sell to vulnerable poorly parented children. The bikie gangs know that, but they don't care. Its all money to them.

The brain damage from youthful drug taking frequently causes lifetime mental illness with loss of potential - - so many wasted lives.

And there are the extreme leftist youth workers who use malleable children and youths to turn them into agents of ruin against western society, encouraging drug use, seeding in them antisocial ideas and hatred.

And there are mothers who, believe it or not, actually train their little boys to grow up to hate others and to be criminals and to take what they want.

I do not believe that men have a monopoly on evil, as feminists so often claim. I believe female evil manifests differently, more subtly, by word, by manipulation and by proxy. So male evil is easier to see because it is more gross and female evil more subtle, but their are as many dark hearts among women as there are among men, and what comes from those dark hearts is just as destructive whether it comes from the dark hearts of men or women.

So when I ask myself, Who does more harm to the individual and who most deserves to be executed? the sex offender? the drug dealers? the sick mothers? the corrupt youth workers? the weak fathers?...

I don't know and I don't know what the answer is. Mostly I tend to think there is not an answer; that crime of all sorts is just part of human societies.

Here is an interesting question. Who does the most harm, the dumb sex offender, or the "respectable" smarter female prison psychologist who secretly gets her jollies from listening to offender's descriptions of their crimes and writes favourable reports to the parole board to obtain their release and so to offend again?

Who knowingly and deliberately causes more harm? Who is the more powerful psychopath? And who most, if either, deserves to die? Or put another way, Who deserves most to be swatted, the flies in the house or the person standing at the door letting them in?

The Leftist obsession with group identity is Dominating Lives and Causing Immeasurable Damage

I’m talking about labels—the words we use to think about ourselves and the power they have to shape our lives, especially our sexual identities.

Just ask Jamie Shupe, who recently told his story in The Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal. Shupe was America’s first legally-recognized “non-binary” person. In fact, his case opened up the non-binary status for people in eleven states and counting. His journey didn’t begin with reworking gender labels. Before he won the right to be known as non-binary, he claimed to be a transgender woman, writing about his experience in The New York Times and receiving rock-star treatment from the LGBT movement.

There was just one problem: Shupe wasn’t, in fact, a woman trapped in a man’s body or a genderless being. He was a victim of childhood sexual abuse and a veteran with PTSD. Now, after changing his mind and going back to living as a man, he admits that assuming new gender identities and fighting for their legal recognition was his way of trying to make a fresh start. The scary part is how, at every step, the medical community, state governments, and the news media legitimized his confusion.

As Shupe writes: “When a licensed medical doctor writes you a letter essentially stating that you were born in the wrong body and a government agency or court of law validates that delusion, you become damaged and confused … The truth is that my sex change to non-binary was a medical and scientific fraud.”

I hope you’ll read Jamie Shupe’s sad but revealing story. It’s heartbreaking. And the saddest part of his story is that it exposes the new gender identities embraced by so many as artificial, harmful, and dehumanizing.

Of course, there have always been those who have experienced gender confusion, and who have dealt with their sexual attraction in ways that are at odds with our God-given purpose. What’s new today is the set of scripts that’s currently imposing these confusions on individuals: If you’re a little girl who plays with trucks, one script goes, you must really, deep down, be a boy. If you’re a young man who has trouble relating to others of your sex, you must really, on the inside, be a woman. And if you have a mix of both traits or just can’t decide, well then, there’s a new script for you, too. You’re “non-binary.”

In all of these cases, it is the words—the categories that our culture has made up and imposed on real people—that carry all the power. In the long run, the mismatch between these categories and the people on whom they’re imposed becomes painfully obvious.

Last year on BreakPoint, we highlighted a study that called transgender identification a “social contagion” among teenagers—in other words, it’s something many adopt because it’s what all the cool kids are doing. We also know that between 63 and 94 percent of minors who identify as transgender will later change their minds, or “desist” as it’s medically termed.

This research, and stories like Shupe’s, show how easily the new gender labels can consume a person’s identity while burying real trauma that needs treatment. Young people especially need to know that turning words such as “transgender” and “non-binary,” and even “gay” and “lesbian” into categories of identity is a practice younger than I am. Seriously, this just started yesterday. But now, they’re so often assigned as identity labels to anyone who fits an arbitrary set of stereotypes. As a result, they dominate lives and cause immeasurable damage.

That’s why refusing to accept these labels isn’t an act of hate, as we are told, but rather it’s an act of love. As Christians called to this confused cultural moment, we should be sensitive to people’s experiences, recognizing that trauma often plays a major role in gender confusion. At the same time, we should be clear that trendy labels and identities aren’t the answer, and the best way to honor others’ humanity is to refuse to perpetrate this medical and scientific fraud against them.


Zuckerberg's Plan for the Internet Would Be a Disaster for Free Expression
In a recent op-ed, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg implored the state to get more involved in governing the internet. “Every day, we make decisions about what speech is harmful, what constitutes political advertising, and how to prevent sophisticated cyberattacks,” he said. “These are important for keeping our community safe. But if we were starting from scratch, we wouldn’t ask companies to make these judgments alone.”

For starters, there’s no such a thing as “harmful speech.” There might be speech that offends us. There might be speech we disagree with. There’s also speech that’s inarguably ugly, dishonest, pornographic or despicable. Yet, “we” allow these unpleasant words to go largely unregulated because we value the broader liberty of being able to offer opinions without government censors dictating which thoughts are acceptable.

Then again, if Zuckerberg wants to rid his platform of this “hate speech,” no one is stopping him. Facebook allegedly employs a number of new mechanisms to achieve this very task. Good luck.

But Zuckerberg claims that “we,” as society, have a special responsibility to facilitate his efforts to keep people “safe” from reprehensible rhetoric. We have no such obligation. Facebook already offers users the ability to block or ignore accounts they find distasteful. If they don’t like how Facebook is governing speech and interactions, they can quit.

What Zuckerberg’s plan does, however, is undermine competition. If a company like Facebook sets speech codes that are too stifling for users, another innovator will jump into the gap and create a platform that offers consumers what they seek. While I assume free political expression isn’t the predominate concern of most social media users, it does exist. When government sets a “baseline” for what’s acceptable, there’s no longer any competition for open debate.

Worse, deliberation over free expression would be moved to the political arena, where the influence of scaremongering officials, ideologues and rent-seeking tech corporations like Twitter, Facebook and Google would dominate decisions.

“Lawmakers often tell me we have too much power over speech, and frankly I agree,” Zuckerberg writes. It’s true that the skewed manner in which social media companies regulate political speech is already hurting them. Many conservatives have rightly grumbled about the double standards employed by social media giants. Yet, do they really believe handing over Facebook’s speech codes to censors is going to yield better results for open debate in the long run? Do they not remember that the Citizens United decision was the result of bureaucrats attempting to ban political speech? Do they not remember what how easy was for IRS officials tasked as arbiters of political speech to abuse their power? Have any of them seen a state’s civil rights commission in action?

Empowering political appointees to codify the meaning of “hate speech” on the internet would surely result in mission creep and a push to make unpopular topics off-limits — things like “transphobia” or “Islamophobia” come to mind, but there are an array of other topics on both sides of the ideological divide.

Moreover, Zuckerberg wants to institute these plans in “common global framework.” Well, Vladimir Putin recently signed a bill that makes it a crime to “disrespect” the state and spread “fake news.” France, who Zuckerberg says is already working with Facebook, has passed hate-speech laws that allow the banning of political content. The same is true for many other nations. And let’s not forget fully authoritarian nations like China. Are those the countries that Zuckerberg trusts to assist the United States in instituting a framework for acceptable internet speech?

Further, Zuckerberg contends that we need speech codes to protect our “elections.” There’s nothing wrong with our elections — other than Donald Trump’s victory rankling Democrats. There are, of course, already laws that make it illegal for Facebook to accept money from foreign nations attempting to inject themselves into U.S. elections.

In a disorderly and widely accessible internet, it is impossible to stop them every time. Any crackdown on alleged “fake news” — one of the evils of the internet, according to Zuckerberg — can easily be manipulated to target inconvenient speech. If the Russian collusion episode should teach us anything, it’s that fake news isn’t always what it seems to be. And liberals might note that Trump’s definition of “fake news” doesn’t mesh with their own, either.

In the end, having an occasional amateurish fake news piece drop into your social media feed is far preferable to having a censor deciding what constitutes appropriate news.

Like every crony capitalist who’s ever tried to get government to do his job for him, Zuckerberg is attempting to both extricate himself from the responsibility of running his site and attempting to hurt the competition. That’s not surprising. In this case, however, the consequences go beyond mere rent-seeking.


Netanyahu vows to start annexing the West Bank in a bid to rally supporters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that he would start to extend Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank if given a fourth consecutive term.

Such a move has been ardently sought by the settler movement but resisted until now by Netanyahu, and by more moderate Israelis, as a potentially fatal blow to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the eyes of most of the world, it would also be a violation of international law that bars the annexation of land seized in war.

But Netanyahu trailed his main challenger, Benny Gantz, a former army chief of staff, in final polls of the campaign published on Friday. And he has been frantically trying to mobilise conservative Israelis to vote for his Likud party rather than for other, more extremist parties whose leaders have joined his government but have often portrayed him as more of a brake on the settler movement than an accelerator.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump warned that a Democratic victory in 2020 could "leave Israel out there," as he highlighted his pro-Israel actions in an effort to make the case for Jewish voters to back his re-election.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Trump touted his precedent-shredding actions to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv and recognition last month of Israeli sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights, a strategic plateau that Israel seized from Syria in 1967.

"We got you something that you wanted," Trump said of the embassy move, adding, "Unlike other presidents, I keep my promises."

The group, backed by GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson, supported Trump's 2016 campaign and is preparing to spend millions on his 2020 effort.

"I know that the Republican Jewish Coalition will help lead our party to another historic victory," Trump said. "We need more Republicans. Let's go, so we can win everything."

Jewish voters in the US have traditionally sided heavily with Democrats - and are often ideologically liberal - but Republicans are hoping to narrow the gap next year, in part as Trump cites actions that he says demonstrate support for Israel.

Trump earned standing ovations for recounting both the embassy move and the Golan Heights recognition.

Netanyahu was pressed in a live television interview on Saturday night over why he had not already annexed settlement blocs like Maale Adumim and Gush Etzion, two large Jewish communities built on occupied territory on the outskirts of Jerusalem. He vowed to begin the effective annexation of those and other, more isolated areas under Jewish control.

"The question you're asking is an interesting one: will we move on now to the next stage?" he said. "And the answer is, yes. We will move on to the next stage."

Asked by his interviewer if that meant he would annex the settlement blocs, Netanyahu said yes, but that he would not stop there.

"I'm going to apply sovereignty, but I don't distinguish between settlement blocs and the isolated settlement points, because from my perspective every such point of settlement is Israeli," he said. "We have a responsibility as the Israeli government. I won't uproot anyone, and I won't place them under Palestinian sovereignty. I'll look out for everyone."

The West Bank is home to about 2.8 million Palestinians and more than 400,000 Jewish settlers.

Netanyahu did not say whether he would seek to annex areas now under Palestinian control under the Oslo Accords.

Applying sovereignty to Israeli settlements on West Bank land that the Palestinians demand for a future state, presumably along with the roads and infrastructure tethering those places to the rest of Israel, would leave the Palestinians at best with an archipelago of disconnected territory. The West Bank is under Israeli military jurisdiction, although settlers are subject to civilian law, as Israeli citizens.

The chief negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat, responded to Netanyahu's statements by attacking both him and the Trump administration. The White House has long promised a proposal for a "deal of the century" to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But in the meantime, it has showered Netanyahu with priceless political gifts — from the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2018 to the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights in March — while battering the Palestinians with aid cuts and public scoldings.

"Such a statement by Netanyahu is not surprising," Erekat said on Twitter. "Israel will continue to brazenly violate international law for as long as the international community will continue to reward Israel with impunity, particularly with the Trump administration's support and endorsement of Israel's violation of the national and human rights of the people of Palestine."

He added, "We'll continue to pursue our rights through international forums, including the International Criminal Court, until we achieve our long overdue justice."

Shalom Lipner, a former aide to Netanyahu and several other prime ministers and a current analyst at the Atlantic Council, said Netanyahu might well believe the Trump administration could allow him to proceed with annexation. But he called the promise "the ultimate Hail Mary pass," and one that came with little political risk. "The only reason it's even credible now is because of what he's been able to coordinate with Trump," said Lipner.

"Maybe he can actually get Trump to sign off on that as well. But if it became clear it's not in the cards right now, then he can just say, 'Sorry, I can't swing it. Conditions change.'"

In the television interview, Netanyahu vowed not to divide Jerusalem or "uproot any settlement" and said he would "ensure that we will control the territory west of the Jordan River," meaning the entire West Bank.

When asked if he would push through before Tuesday the much-delayed evacuation of Palestinians living in Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin village near the Maale Adumim settlement bloc, he reiterated his opposition to a Palestinian state on the West Bank.

"I don't know whether it will be before the elections," he said of the Khan al-Ahmar expulsion, which set off intense international criticism after the village was marked for demolition to make way for an expanded Jewish settlement.

But, he added: "We have to control our destiny, and that is going to be impossible if we place there an independent, Arab entity — an Arab state, for all intents and purposes. A Palestinian state. That will endanger our existence."



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


7 April, 2019

White fright: the future of the West’s white majorities

We need to talk about white identity. Not as a fabrication designed to maintain power, but as a set of myths and symbols to which people are attached: an ethnic identity like any other.

In the West, even without immigration, we’re becoming mixed race. This is not speculation but is virtually guaranteed by the rates of intermarriage occurring in many Western countries.

Projections reveal that faster immigration may slow the process by bringing in racially unmixed individuals, but in a century those of mixed race will be the largest group in countries such as Britain, America and Australia. In two centuries, few people living in urban areas of the West will have an unmixed racial background. Most who do will be immigrants or members of anti-modern religious groups like the ultra-Orthodox Jews. The reflex is to think of this futuristically, as bringing forth increased diversity, or the advent of a “new man”, but if history is our guide, things are likely to turn out quite differently.

Many people desire roots, value tradition and wish to maintain continuity with ancestors who have occupied a historic territory. This means we’re more likely to experience what I term whiteshift, a process by which white maj­orities absorb an admixture of different peoples through intermarriage but remain oriented around existing myths of descent, symbols and traditions. Naturally there will be contestation, with cosmopolitans lauding exotic origins, but most people will probably airbrush their polyglot lineage out of the story to focus on their European provenance.

Whiteshift has a second, more immediate, connotation: the declining white share of the population in Western countries. International migration has a long history: the share of the world’s people living in a different country from the one they were born in has risen only modestly since 1960. But there has been a big rise in the number of people leaving “global south” regions such as Africa, Latin America and developing Asia, including the Middle East.

This figure more than doubled between 1990 and 2015 as 54 million people immigrated to Western countries. While nearly 40 per cent of those moving to European countries came from within Europe, 60 per cent arrived from beyond it. Moreover, the vast majority of immigrants to North America came from the global south — a big change from the period before 1980.

Whites are already a minority in most major cities of North America. Together with New Zealand, North America is projected to be “majority minority” by 2050, with Western Europe and Australia following suit later in the century. This shift is replacing the self-confidence of white majorities with an existential insecurity channelled by the lightning rod of immigration. No one who has honestly analysed survey data on individuals — the gold standard for public opinion research — can deny that white majority concern over immigration is the main cause of the rise of the populist Right in the West. This is primarily explained by concern over identity, not economic threat. Not everyone seeks to maintain connections to ancestors, homeland and tradition, but many voters do.

Those with a conservative psychological make-up wish to maintain continuity with the past. For them, ethnic change is the irritant, not levels of diversity. Voters with an authoritarian profile, by contrast, seek order and security. Diversity, whether ethnic or ideological, however long its provenance, is problematic because it disrupts a sense of harmony and cohesion. Thus for authoritarians, high levels of ethnic diversity are as much the problem as ethnic change. Even if the rate of change stays constant, high diversity levels increase discontent among those who value existential security and stability.

As Western cities have been overwhelmingly white within living memory, today’s ethnic shifts are triggering both conservative and authoritarian responses. Many people have fond memories of youth, viewing this time as their halcyon days. Older conservatives look back on the way things were with profound nostalgia. Since Western populations are ageing, with the share over 60 projected to reach 30-45 per cent of various countries’ populations by 2050, the average voter is getting older.

The difference between nations’ current ethnic composition and their makeup at the time today’s median voter was 20 years old is widening. Given that old people vote at much higher rates than young adults, their nostalgia is an important ingredient in the rise of right-wing populism. On the other hand, today’s young ­people are growing up with greater diversity, so begin with more polyglot memories.

With some exceptions, they are less likely to support anti-immigration politics. If the rate of ethnic change slackens, the difference between the ethnic composition of “golden age” memories and current reality will narrow, which could weaken support for right-wing populism.

The loss of white ethno-cultural confidence manifests itself in other ways. Among the most important is a growing unwillingness to indulge the anti-white ideology of the cultural Left. When whites were an overwhelming majority, empirically unsupported generalisations about whites could be brushed off as amusing and mischievous but ultimately harmless. As whites decline, fewer are willing to abide such attacks.

At the same time, white decline emboldens the cultural Left, with its dream of radical social transformation. This anti-majority adversary culture operates on a large scale, permeates major institutions and is transmitted to conservatives through social and right-wing media. This produces a growing “culture wars” polarisation between increasingly insecure white conservatives and energised, white, small-l liberals.

In the 1960s, the countercultural movement that I term left-modernism developed a theory of white ethno-racial oppression. Its outlook superseded the logical, empirically grounded, left-liberal civil rights movement after 1965 to become a millenarian project sustained by the image of a retrograde white “other”.

Today, left-modernism’s most zealous exponents are those seeking to consecrate the university campus as a sacred space devoted to the mission of replacing “whiteness” with diversity.

In softer form, this ideology penetrated widely within the high culture and political institutions of Western society after the 60s. It produced norms that prevented democratic discussion of questions of national identity and immigra­tion.

Declaring these debates deviant in the name of anti-racism introduced a blockage in the democratic process, preventing the normal adjustment of political supply to political demand. Instead of reasonable trade-offs between those who, for example, wanted higher or lower levels of immigration, the subject was forced underground, building up pressure from those whose grievances were ignored by the main parties. This created an opportunity that populist right-wing entrepreneurs rushed in to fill.

Ethno-cultural change is occur­ring at a rapid rate at precisely the time the dominant ideology celebrates a multicultural vis­ion of ever-increasing diversity. To hanker after homogeneity and stab­ility is perceived as narrow-minded and racist by liberals. Yet diversity falls flat for many because we’re not all wired the same way. Right-wing populism, which champions the cultural interests of group-oriented whites, has halted and reversed the multicultural consensus that held sway between the 60s and late 90s. This is leading to a polarisation between those who accept and those who reject the ideology of diversity.

What’s needed is a new vision that gives conservative members of white majorities hope for their group’s future while permitting cosmopolitans the freedom to celebrate diversity. Cosmopolitanism and what I term ethno-traditional nationalism are both valid world views, but each suits a different psychological type. Imposing eith­er on an entire population is a rec­ipe for discontent because value orientations stem from heredity and early life experiences. Attempts to re-educate conservative and order-seeking people into cosmopolitanism will only generate resistance.

Differences need to be respected. My book White Shift is not just a prediction of how white identity will adapt to demographic change but a positive vision that can draw the sting of right-wing populism and begin to bridge the “nationalist-globalist” divide that is upending Western politics.

We are entering a period of cultural instability in the West attend­ant on our passage between two relatively stable equilibria. The first is based on white ethnic homogeneity, the second on what the prescient centrist writer Mich­ael Lind calls “beige” ethnicity, a racially mixed majority group. We in the West are becoming less like homogeneous Iceland and more like homogeneous mixed-race Turkmenistan. But to get there we’ll be passing through a phase where we’ll move closer to multicultural Guyana or Mauritius. The challenge is to enable conservative whites to see a future for themselves in whiteshift — the mixture of many non-whites into the white group through voluntary assimilation.

This is a process that is in its early stages and will take a century to complete. Until the mixed group emerges as a viable majority that identifies, and comes to be identified, as white, Western societies will experience considerable cultural turbulence.

American history offers a preview of what we’re in for. We should expect a civilisation-wide replay of the ethnic divisions that gripped the US between the late 1880s and 1960s, during which time the Anglo-Protestant majority declined to less than half the total but gradually absorbed Catholic and Jewish immigrants and their children into a reconstituted white majority oriented around a WASP archetype. This was achieved as immigration slowed and intermarriage overcame ethnic boundaries, a process that still has some way to run.

Notice that identifying with the white majority is not the same as being attached to a white Christian tradition of nationhood. Only those with at least some European ancestry can identify as members of the white majority. However, minorities may cherish the white majority as an important piece of their national identity: a tradition of nationhood. In the US, some 30 per cent of Latinos and Asians voted for Donald Trump and many lament the decline of white America.

In surveys taken soon after the August 2017 Charlottesville riots, 70 per cent of nearly 300 Latino and Asian Trump voters agreed that “whites are under attack in this country” and 53 per cent endorsed the idea that the country needed to “protect and preserve its white European heritage” — similar to white Trump voters.

Is a common national “we” not the solution to all this? I’m afraid not. Political scientists often differentiate “civic nations”, defined by loyalty to the state and its ideology, from “ethnic nations”, united by shared ancestry. All Western countries have been trying to promote civic conceptions of nationhood to include immigrants, but the populist Right shows that limiting nationhood to the American Creed, the French Republican tradition or “Australian values” doesn’t address the anxieties of conservative voters. These universalist, creedal conceptions of nationhood are necessary for unity but cannot provide deep identity in everyday life.

Ethnic nationhood, which restricts citizenship to members of the majority, is clearly a non-starter. But things aren’t so black and white. There is a third possibility — ethno-traditional nationhood, which values the ethnic majority as an important component of the nation alongside other groups. Ethno-traditional nationalists favour slower immigration to permit enough immigrants to voluntarily assimilate into the ethnic majority, maintaining the white ethno-tradition. The point is not to assimilate all diversity but to strike a balance between vibrant minorities and an enduring white Christian tradition.


Actor Issiah Washington: Thank You President Trump For Support Of Black Agenda: ‘Not once in 8 years’ did Obama Help

Actor Isaiah Washington tipped his hat to President Donald Trump in gratitude while slamming former President Obama for offering him no support in eight years “regarding Africa or the Black Agenda.”

Washington applauded Trump’s criminal justice reform efforts and the First Step Act, which was passed by Congress last year, in a tweet sharing that he was invited to the White House for the “First Step Act Celebration.”

Bizpac Review reports:

“I voted for 44 twice. I even checked my emails in his Senate Office while lobbying for Salone to be given another chance to rebrand,” the former “Grey’s Anatomy” star tweeted Monday. “Not once in 8 years was I given any support regarding Africa or the Black Agenda, but 45 invites me to the WH to celebrate the #FirstStepAct.”

The actor noted that the bill is the first step to “end mass incarceration” in follow up tweets thanking those who worked to get the First Step Act passed.

The bill, which passed with strong bipartisan support, allowed judges more discretion in sentencing drug offenders, increased opportunities for prison rehab programs and expanded early-release programs.

Trump spoke at the event from East Room on Monday hosting about 300 guests, including some convicted felons.

Prisoner freed by @realDonaldTrump via the First Step Act: “Two months ago I was in a prison cell. Now I’m in the White House. Let’s continue to Make America Great Again.”

You'd to have a heart of stone to not think this is a positively wonderful moment in White House history


I Survived Domestic Violence. Here’s Why I’m Voting No on Violence Against Women Act

I’m Arizona Congresswoman Debbie Lesko. I’m a survivor of domestic violence from my ex-husband, who I left over 25 years ago.

I am voting no on the Democrats’ version of the Violence Against Women Act because it is a radical bill that I believe will actually hurt women more.

This bill, under the weight of federal law, would force domestic violence shelters to take in biological males who identify as women.

This could be in showers. This could be in beds. Can you think of this? We have women that are placed in shelters that have already been abused, some of them sexually abused, but now the federal government is going to require these shelters to take in biological males and sometimes place them right next to these women?

The Violence Against Women Act also requires that prisons take in biological males who identify as women in women prisons.

In the United Kingdom, there’s already been a case where a man who identified as a woman raped two women in prison.

The Democrat version of the Violence Against Women Act takes away Second Amendment rights from people without due process.

When I got an order of protection against my ex-husband many years ago, I went to a justice of the peace and wrote down why I was threatened by him. The justice of the peace gave me an order of protection. My ex-husband was not there. But under this bill, it would have taken away his gun rights. In the case of my ex-husband, he really should have had his gun rights taken away because he was a threat. However, he did not have the ability of due process to defend himself. This is just wrong.

Please don’t be confused by the title of this bill, Violence Against Women Act.

This is nothing but a political strategy by the Democrat Party to put in things in this bill that aren’t bipartisan, that are totally partisan, knowing that Republicans will vote no so that the Democrats can say Republicans are against women.

I’m a survivor of domestic violence. I’m going to vote no against this domestic violence act because I don’t believe it will protect women and will actually hurt women more.


Tasmania set to be first State in Australia to allow birth certificate gender change

Your birth certificate should surely record what you were born as.  What happens later should be a separate matter

Tasmania is poised to become the first Australian jurisdiction to make gender optional on birth certificates after landmark legislation passed an upper-house milestone.

Amendments to the controversial bill were finalised after a marathon three-day debate concluded on Thursday night.

The legislation allows 16-year-olds to change their registered gender via a statutory declaration without permission of their parents.

It also removes the requirement for transgender people to have sexual reassignment surgery in order to have their new gender recognised. The reforms were attached to legislation bringing Tasmania into line with national same-sex laws.

“I congratulate those upper-house members who put people before politics and who stood up for equality and inclusion,” Tasmanian transgender rights activist Martine Delaney said.

“When historians come to write about how Tasmania adopted the best transgender laws in the nation, and the world, they will say the quietest voices spoke the loudest.” The legislation won’t become law until a third reading in the upper house next week.

The bill will then return to Tasmania’s lower house for the final tick of approval.

The reforms, brought forward by the state’s Labor opposition and Greens, passed the lower house late last year when rogue Liberal Speaker Sue Hickey crossed the floor.

The state government has labelled the legislation “deeply flawed” and lacking in consultation.

“(We) have strong concerns about the unintended legal consequences of the amendments,” Liberal MLC (Member of Legislative Council) Leonie Hiscutt said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison last year labelled the push to remove gender from birth certificates as “ridiculous”, while the Australian Christian Lobby has said the removal of gender on birth certificates was ignoring biological truths.



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


5 April, 2019

Do low-cal fizzy drinks give you stroke?

This should not be taken too seriously. The study discussed below DID show a greater frequency of stroke among women who were big drinkers of diet fizz -- but the difference may trace back not to the drink but to the sort of people who bought it -- e.g. poor people

Around 2 decades ago, researchers asked tens of thousands of participants in the Women’s Health Initiative study how often they consumed artificially sweetened beverages over the past 3 months. Recently, they looked at how the diet sodas and fruit drinks the women drank back then correlated with their risks of stroke, coronary heart disease, and death in the intervening years.

The results, recently published in Stroke, showed higher intakes of artificially sweetened beverages were associated with increased health risks. Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, PhD, RD, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of clinical epidemiology and population health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, emphasized that the work doesn’t prove cause and effect. But despite the study’s limitations, “[T]his is a time to pause and look into all these associations and maybe reconsider if we’re having excessive amounts of these drinks,” she told JAMA in a recent interview.

The following is an edited version of that conversation, in which the nutrition scientist said she hopes the public doesn’t walk away with the wrong message.

JAMA:Your study isn’t the first to look at associations with artificially sweetened beverages and cardiovascular disease. What did the previous studies show?

Dr Mossavar-Rahmani:There was another study from the Women’s Health Initiative in 2014. They looked at a composite of events: [incident coronary heart disease], heart failure, myocardial infarction, coronary revascularization procedures, ischemic stroke, peripheral artery disease, and cardiovascular death. They saw [an increased] risk with high consumption of diet drinks. Then, in 2017, there was research involving the Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort in men and women. They saw an increased risk again, specifically for stroke and Alzheimer disease. The results have been mixed in different studies. But there seems to be a certain pattern of association with cardiovascular disease.

JAMA:What’s different about your study?

Dr Mossavar-Rahmani:We followed 81?714 women over an average of 11.9 years. The previous study in the Women’s Health Initiative followed [59?614] women for about 8 years. We also looked separately at stroke and its subtypes.

JAMA:Tell us what you learned.

Dr Mossavar-Rahmani:We found that 5.1% of the women drank 2 or more artificially sweetened beverages per day. But most were infrequent drinkers. About 64.1% of the women drank artificially sweetened beverages never or less than once a week.

When we looked at this group of high vs low consumers of diet drinks, we found that women who had the higher level of consumption were 23% more likely to have a fatal or nonfatal stroke; 31% more likely to have the type of stroke from a clot in the brain or ischemic stroke; 29% more likely to develop fatal or nonfatal heart disease; and 16% more likely to die from any cause.

JAMA:The stroke risks were higher for certain women, correct?

Dr Mossavar-Rahmani:That’s right. The results I just quoted were for all women. We also looked at women without previous heart disease or diabetes. In that group, [high consumers] were 2.44 times more likely to have a common type of stroke that’s caused by the blockage of the very small arteries—small artery occlusion—than women with no or low levels of consumption. If you looked at all women, that risk was 1.81 times. These are small vessel strokes that, if you just have 1, it’s not a big deal. But if you have many of them over time, there’s an association with dementia.

Additionally, obese women without previous heart disease or diabetes were about twice as likely to have an ischemic stroke and African American women without previous history of heart disease or diabetes were about 4 times as likely.

These associations don’t imply causation. And while the risk of stroke is higher in high consumers of diet drinks, the actual absolute risk is small. The incidence rate is about 2 per 1000 people per year.

JAMA:As you say, because this is an observational study, we can’t know if artificial sweeteners caused the strokes and heart attacks or if they’re just correlated. And, in fact, the women who drank the most artificially sweetened beverages on average were heavier, exercised less, consumed more calories, had lower-quality diets, and were more likely to smoke and have a history of diabetes, heart attack, or stroke, correct?

Dr Mossavar-Rahmani:That’s correct, yes.

JAMA:To what extent were you able to control for these factors?

Dr Mossavar-Rahmani:We did control for all these factors. However, there could be residual confounding. The diet quality variable, for example, may not capture all the quality of the diet. The physical activity variable may not capture everything about someone’s physical activity.

We’re also limited by self-report. And we’re limited by the fact that we asked the question in 1996 to 2001. The diet drinks at that time were limited compared to what’s available now. The answer is also dependent on what the women perceived diet drinks to be. And, also, we asked the question one time. We didn’t continue to ask the question [over time].

So these are the limitations. The only way we can figure out if it’s the diet drink or something else that’s causing [the increased risks] is to do a randomized clinical trial.

JAMA:What about reverse causality? Isn’t it possible that women with obesity who already have a heightened stroke risk may be more likely to drink a lot of diet soda to try to control their weight?

Dr Mossavar-Rahmani:That’s one possibility. We tried to control for obesity and body mass index in the models, but there is a possibility for residual confounding. We didn’t, for example, know the prediabetic status of the women. If somebody was prediabetic and was trying to have artificially sweetened beverages [for that reason], we would not have been able to capture that. That data was not available.

JAMA:The women only reported their artificially sweetened beverage intake over one 3-month period, so you don’t know what they were drinking before or after. How can this limitation be addressed in the future?

Dr Mossavar-Rahmani:The only way to address it is to do more studies. Follow the women over time and assess their artificial sweetened beverage consumption periodically, maybe annually.

JAMA:Are there other ways to refine the study design in an observational study? For example, using objective measures?

Dr Mossavar-Rahmani:You’d need to look at biomarkers for different artificial sweeteners. Maybe with metabolomics we’ll get to that level at some point. A lot of these studies have specimens that have been collected, so future researchers can take a look at that. If we have the right biomarker for these beverages, we could.

JAMA:Say the artificial sweeteners were causative. What are some of the mechanisms that could explain that?

Dr Mossavar-Rahmani:There are different hypotheses. There’s some evidence that they may be changing the gut microbiome. That they may affect the way glucose is used. I’ve also read theories about how they might affect how the brain processes or understands the taste sensation for sugar. I think we just need more evidence.

JAMA:What does your gut tell you, so to speak? Do you think it’s correlation? Or causation? Or both?

Dr Mossavar-Rahmani:My job is just to report what I found, which was correlation. My gut is that we just need more research. And, again, this was done at a time where there was a limited amount of artificially sweetened beverages.

Now there are drinks made with stevia, the natural sweeteners. There are synthetic sweeteners. There are nutritive sweeteners like polyols and sugar alcohols. There are new items in the market that need to be tested, both in the microbiome and other parts of our physiology.

JAMA:Are you at all concerned that, based on studies like these, people might switch from drinking artificially sweetened beverages, which the jury is still out on, to drinking sugary beverages, which we know are unhealthy?

Dr Mossavar-Rahmani:I think the message is that artificially sweetened beverages should be an interim step [before switching] to water. I’m hoping that women don’t go back to having sugary beverages.


Police Aren't Enough

Walter E. Williams

Sometimes, during my drive to work, I listen to Clarence Maurice Mitchell IV, host of the Baltimore's WBAL C4 radio show. Mitchell was formerly a member of Maryland's House of Delegates and its Senate. In recent weeks, Mitchell has been talking about the terrible crime situation in Baltimore. In 2018, there were 308 homicides. So far this year, there have been 69. That's in a 2018 population of 611,648 — down from nearly a million in 1950. The city is pinning its hopes to reduce homicides and other crime on new Police Commissioner Michael Harrison.

Another hot news item in Baltimore is the fact that Johns Hopkins University wants to hire 100 armed police officers to patrol its campuses, hospital and surrounding neighborhoods. The hospital president, Dr. Redonda Miller testified in Annapolis hearings that patients and employees are "scared when they walk home, they're scared when they walk to their cars."

Philadelphia's Temple University police department is the largest university police force in the United States, with 130 campus police officers, including supervisors and detectives.

In 1957, I attended night school at Temple University. There was little or no campus police presence. I am sure that people who attended Johns Hopkins, University of Chicago, and other colleges in or adjacent to black neighborhoods during the '40s, '50s and earlier weren't in an armed camp. In the nation's largest school districts that serve predominantly black youngsters, school police outnumber, sometimes by large margins, school counseling staffs. Again, something entirely new. I attended predominantly black Philadelphia schools from 1942 to 1954. The only time we saw a policeman in school was during an assembly where we had to listen to a boring lecture on safety. Today, Philadelphia schools have hired more than 350 police officers. What has happened to get us to this point? Will hiring more police officers and new police chiefs have much of an impact on crime?

No doubt hiring more and better trained police officers will have some impact on criminal and disorderly behavior — but not much unless we create a police state. The root of the problem, particularly among black Americans, is the breakdown of the family unit where fathers are absent. In 1938, 11 percent of blacks were born to unmarried women. By 1965, that number had grown to 25 percent. Now it's about 75 percent. Even during slavery, when marriage between blacks was illegal, a higher percentage of black children were raised by their biological mothers and fathers than today. In 1940, 86 percent of black children were born inside marriage. Today, only 35 percent of black children are born inside marriage. Having no father in the home has a serious impact. Children with no father in the home are five times more likely to be poor and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of school and 20 times more likely to be in prison.

Our generous welfare system, in effect, allows women to marry the government. Plus, there is shortage of marriageable black men because they've dropped out of school, wound up in jail and haven't much of a future. Unfortunately, many blacks followed the advice of white liberal academics such as Johns Hopkins professor Andrew Cherlin who in the 1960s argued that "the most detrimental aspect of the absence of fathers from one-parent families is not the lack of a male presence but the lack of male income" Cherlin's vision suggested that fathers were unimportant and if black females "married the government"; black fathers would be redundant.

Most of today's major problems encountered by black people have little or nothing to do with racial discrimination and a legacy of slavery. People who make those excuses are doing a grave disservice to black people. The major problems black people face are not amenable to political solutions and government anti-poverty programs. If they were, then they'd be solved by the more than $20 trillion dollars nation has spent on poverty programs since 1965. As comic strip character Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and he is us."


In ‘White Man’s Culture’ Remarks, Biden Shows How Little He Knows About History

Last week, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke at the Biden Courage Awards ceremony in preparation for his presidential campaign launch. There, in an attempt to forestall claims that as a white man, he simply isn’t intersectional enough to compete in the Democratic primaries, he critiqued a central pillar of Western civilization as inherently racist.

“Back in the late 1300s, so many women were dying at the hands of their husbands because they were chattel, just like the cattle, or the sheep, that the court of common law decided they had to do something about the extent of the deaths,” Biden fibbed.

So you know what they said? No man has a right to chastise his woman with a rod thicker than the circumference of his thumb. This is English jurisprudential culture, a white man’s culture. It’s got to change. It’s got to change.

Biden’s take was, as always, historically illiterate. The “rule of thumb” story has been circulating for years—and it has been repeatedly debunked. There was no “rule of thumb,” as feminist scholar Christina Hoff Sommers points out.

“On the contrary,” she writes, “British law since the 1700s and our American laws predating the Revolution prohibit wife beating.” In actuality, the phrase originated in craftsmen so expert that they could perform tasks without precise measuring tools.

More importantly, however, Biden’s characterization of “English jurisprudential culture” as “white man’s culture” is profoundly disturbing.

English jurisprudential culture is rooted in the belief in the rule of law, due process of law, equal rights under law; English jurisprudential culture is responsible for preserving the natural rights we hold dear, rights which were imperfectly but increasingly extended over time to more and more human beings, particularly minorities.

No less a leftist figure than Barack Obama explained just that in 2009, saying he sought a system at Guantanamo Bay that “adheres to the rule of law, habeas corpus, basic principles of Anglo-American legal system.”

Protection of individual rights—and in particular, minority rights—lies at the heart of English jurisprudence. Yet Biden boiled down those rights to racial privilege.

And the attempt to reduce the fundamental principles of our civilization to a mask for racial hierarchical power is both false and frightening. It suggests that those principles ought to be undermined for purposes of disestablishing that supposed hierarchy. Get rid of English jurisprudential law, presumably, in order to fight racism.

Ironically, reduction of Western civilization to racial supremacy isn’t just a strategy of the intersectional left; it’s a strategy of the despicable alt-right, which champions Western civilization as white civilization and then seeks to rip away the universalism of its principles from nonwhite people.

Thus, the very term “Western civilization” is under assault by a variety of political forces seeking to tear out eternal truths and natural rights in the name of tribalism.

But that’s not what Western civilization is about at all. Western civilization was built on Judeo-Christian values and Greek reason, culminating in a perspective on natural rights that is preserved by institutions like English jurisprudence.

It is thanks to those philosophical principles that free markets, free speech, and free association have grown and flourished. Only if we re-enshrine those principles, rather than undermine them, will our prosperity and freedoms be preserved.


At least a MILLION Sub-Saharan Africans have moved to Europe since 2010, figures reveal - and up to 75% of people in some African nations want to move to another country

At least a million migrants from sub-Saharan Africa have moved to Europe since 2010, new data has revealed.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from Statista, Europe’s statistical agency, more and more migrants from Africa have sought entry to Europe over the past decade.

The Pew Research Centre noted around 970,000 sub-Saharan migrants legally moved to Europe between 2010 and 2017.

In fact, the number of migrants entering Europe has grown at such a rate that the figure is now estimated to be well in excess of one million arrivals since 2010.

The data shows that most years since 2010 have witnessed a rising inflow of sub-Saharan asylum applicants in Europe.

According to the Pew Research Centre, Sub-Saharan Africans also most commonly moved to Europe as international students and resettled refugees, through family reunification and by other means.

A poll carried out among several African nations showed that many more would move to another country if the means and opportunity arose.

And in Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria, more than a third say they actually plan to migrate in the next five years. 

In terms of destinations, as of 2017, nearly three-quarters (72%) of Europe’s sub-Saharan immigrant population was concentrated in just four countries: the UK (1.27 million), France (980,000), Italy (370,000) and Portugal (360,000).

Between 2010 and 2017, the total number of Somalians in Europe increased by 80,000 people. Over the same period, the total population of Eritreans living in Europe climbed by about 40,000, according to UN estimates.



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


4 April, 2019

Misgendering is not a crime

The British police have become the armed wing of trans activism.

Here is some free legal advice*: it is not a crime to misgender someone. I am providing this advice pro bono, as many members of the police force appear to be confused. Last week, journalist Caroline Farrow tweeted that she had been asked to attend an interview with Surrey Police following an appearance on Good Morning Britain, in which she debated the issue of sex education in schools. She tweeted that she had been reported by her opponent in the television debate, Susie Green, for referring on Twitter to Green’s daughter, who was born male, as ‘he’. Green is the head of the activist group Mermaids, which campaigns for trans rights for children.

This is not the first time Green has reported misgendering to the police. In 2018, she helped to report a schoolteacher to the police for misgendering a pupil in her class, on the basis that it was a hate crime. Trans activists have form for relying on the police in this way. In February, Kate Scottow was reportedly arrested and held for seven hours for ‘deadnaming’ transgender activist Stephanie Hayden during a debate on Twitter.

Let’s get one thing straight: there is no sensible argument that misgendering someone is actually a crime. Under Section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986 it is an offence to use insulting language against someone with the intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress. But it is not a crime in this country to say something someone simply doesn’t like. At least, not yet. The legislation is drafted widely, but not so wide as to catch opinions that some people simply find objectionable. Lots of people hold the honest and reasonable opinion that transgender women who were born biologically male should still be referred to as men. Misgendering can, and almost always is, an expression of someone’s honestly held belief. For them to use particular pronouns when referring to another person is not a crime.

These misgendering investigations have almost nothing to do with black letter law. However, there is now a legislative framework that allows the police to intervene to try to prevent any conduct, or speech, which has the potential to cause distress to anyone. By relying on the law around harassment, and the nebulous concept of ‘hate crime’, the police are becoming more involved in preventing even the possibility of offence. This is why ‘misgendering’ can lead to police intervention: because the police believe it has the potential to cause people distress. These new woke police forces are coming to see themselves as the protectors of a civilised public realm. This has translated into censorious interventions against people who may not agree with the current orthodoxy.

Trans activists appear to be using the police as the armed wing of their campaigning. The idea that activists can call on the state to enforce their particular dogma is deeply disturbing.

But this kind of censorship isn’t limited to trans issues. In February, the Christian preacher Oluwole Ilesanmi was arrested outside Southgate Tube station His arrest was captured on video and went viral. But he had committed no crime. The police drove him five miles away, before ‘de-arresting’ him and letting him go. The police said that ‘once it became apparent that he would not return… no further action was taken against him’. Acting superintendent Neil Billany later said of the arrest that Illesanmi’s preaching represented a ‘potential hate crime’. In other words, his preaching had the potential to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

Ilesanmi is just one of many Christian preachers who have had run-ins with the police for the words they use. David Lynn, a pastor from Canada, was detained outside Barking Tube station in March 2018 after a female passer-by told officers he had made homophobic comments.

This is terrifying. The new woke police forces of England and Wales are deeply authoritarian. They see it as their role to police people’s manners and opinions. They have opened up the concept of ‘potential hate crimes’ in order to stop people saying things that they find objectionable – even though the people involved have not actually broken the law. We must fight back against this draconian censorship, and limit the police’s job to actually investigating crime.


West World: How Hollywood Misrepresents the Old West to Make Money & Advance Gun Control

Hollywood has a clever way of distorting our perspective on history, and a great example of this is Western film – a movie genre we've all come to love. Cattle rustlers, guns blazing, outlaws running loose, and vigilantes dishing out vengeance indiscriminately. These scenes have become more synonymous with the American Frontier than Winchester and their "Cartridge That Won the West." But these fictional tales have produced more than entertainment for over a century; they've also contributed to an ongoing, subtle push for gun control, all while making Hollywood millions.

Revisionist history books tell us that the “Wild West” was an anarchic period of time that was not conducive to human prosperity. Images of a Hobbesian nightmare – a life that is brutish and short – are ingrained in our consciousness thanks to decades of public schooling and violent images on the silver screen which are light on actual history and heavy on creative license.

However, individuals who believe in liberty and developing their critical thinking faculties should be skeptical of most mainstream narratives regarding history, especially American history. After all, these narratives by and large have been created by Hollywood, a legacy institution that has historically advanced politically correct content with the support of Washington in order to perpetuate the cultural status quo.

When the curtain of political correctness that's been draped over this particular period of history is pulled back, we see a much more nuanced picture of the American Frontier. In fact, research by historians such as Peter J. Hill, Richard Shenkman, Roger D. McGrath, Terry Anderson, and W. Eugene Holland shows that this period was rather indicative of a “not so wild, Wild West.”

For the purposes of this article, the Wild West will now be referred to as the Old West. This is by no means a pedantic distinction, but rather an acknowledgment of the fact that this time period was not “wild” by any stretch of the imagination when compared to other chaotic periods in human history. Indeed, the Old West had its fair share of challenges for American settlers. But as we’ll see below, crafty settlers found ways through ingenuity and mutual cooperation - all done with very limited state interference - to create a stable order for generations to come.

So let us delve into the “not so wild, Wild West.”

The Not-So-Violent West

West World: How Hollywood Misrepresents the Old West to Make Money & Advance Gun ControlThe Old West was not a paradise by any stretch of the imagination. There existed conflict between groups, such as American settlers and Native American tribes, once they came in contact in the Great Plains and other parts of the frontier. This was natural due to the cultural differences that existed between these groups and the lack of defined property rights in those regions.

However, in more settled towns on the frontier, there was not as much violence as the Hollywood flicks would like you to believe. One of the most important texts disrupting this depiction of the Old West was W. Eugene Hollon’s Frontier Violence: Another Look. Hollon argued that “the Western frontier was a far more civilized, more peaceful, and safer place than American society is today.” Additionally, historian Richard Shenkman makes the case that the popular depictions of the Old West belong more in a movie script rather than a real-life historical account.

Shenkman noted:

“Many more people have died in Hollywood Westerns than ever died on the real Frontier.”

Dodge City has become a landmark for Western movies, but its portrayal is more fiction than reality. Shenkman also dismantled the Dodge City myth:

“In the real Dodge City, for example, there were just five killings in 1878, the most homicidal year in the little town’s Frontier history: scarcely enough to sustain a typical two-hour movie.”

Larry Schweikart of the University of Dayton also pointed out that the infamous bank robberies that captivate movie audiences were not very frequent. His research uncovered that there were fewer than a dozen bank robberies in the frontier West from 1859 to 1900. In essence, Schweikart argues that there are “more bank robberies in modern-day Dayton, Ohio, in a year than there were in the entire Old West in a decade, perhaps in the entire frontier period.”


Tucker Carlson Slams Ungrateful Ilhan Omar: ‘Repays Her Adopted Country’ by Attacking It as ‘Hateful and Racist’

Tonight Carlson said, “She does not like Israel, but you’ve heard next to nothing about how Omar doesn’t like this country.”

In a recent Vogue Arabia interview, Omar said of living in Trump’s America, “It’s challenging. It’s an everyday assault. Every day, a part of your identity is threatened, demonized, and vilified. Trump is tapping into an ugly part of our society and freeing its ugliness.”

She also said in the interview, “When you’re a kid and you’re raised in an all-black, all- Muslim environment, nobody really talks to you about your identity. You just are. There is freedom in knowing that you are accepted as your full self. So the notion that there is a conflict with your identity in society was hard at the age of 12.”

Carlson said the following in response:

“Ilhan Omar’s country collapsed as a child. She lived for years in Kenya in that refugee camp. She may have died there without outside help. But help came, from where? From here, America. And this country didn’t just welcome Ilhan Omar to America, we paid to relocate her family and many others from a foreign continent purely for the sake of being good people, for altruism.

Because no country in history has been as generous as we are. To places we have no ties to and no obligation to, we have been kind anyway because that’s who we are. Despite her humble and foreign birth, Omar has been elected to our national law-making body. And good for her. So how does she repay her adopted country, the one that may literally have saved her life? She attacks it as hateful and racist, and for that she is applauded by the Democratic Party because they view this country as hateful and racist too.”

He added, “Maybe our immigration system should prioritize people who actually like this country and are grateful to be here. Why wouldn’t we do that?”


Exclusive interview with senior Australian ex-cop about the misuse of Domestic Violence restraining orders

Bettina Arndt

Last October, Augusto Zimmermann, a law professor and former WA law reform commissioner, was asked to speak to the Police Union about his concerns about the misuse of domestic violence restraining orders. Augusto has been a brave campaigner against West Australia’s greatly expanded domestic violence laws which give enormous power to women to ruin men’s lives with false accusations.

But when the time came to give the speech, the organisers had lost courage and he was slated to talk about free speech. He still took the opportunity to talk to the police officers about domestic violence, explaining how free speech on this topic is being muzzled. Having had prior experience teaching police officers in Rio de Janeiro, Augusto was well-equipped to speak about the role of police as enforcers of rights in a community. He explained our police are currently being placed in an invidious position, denied their rightful role as protectors of the innocent and punishers of the guilty and instead, used as instruments of oppression in a corrupt system.

Tough words which clearly resonated with the boys in blue, who are doing the dirty work for the feminist-led campaign using domestic violence laws to empower women and demonise men.

I’ve made a number of videos about the abuse of domestic violence restraining orders, including an interview with Augusto last year. I’ve heard from police across the country who are uncomfortable with what is happening but are not able to speak out because they are fearful of losing their jobs.

But now, finally, we have a terrific interview with a retired NSW chief inspector who contacted me because he is horrified by where this is all heading. We have kept his identity hidden and disguised his voice to protect this brave man who is blowing the lid on this huge scandal corrupting our legal system.

Please help me promote it as widely as possible. Here’s the actual video:

And here’s a short version you can use for promotion on social media:


Email from Bettina: bettina@bettinaarndt.com.au


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.  Email me (John Ray) here


3 April, 2019

Is fast food bad for you?

A big study in France set out to answer that and did find a slightly higher rate of death among enthusiastic fast food eaters.  It did however also find that fast food eaters were younger, poorer, less educated etc.  Even after controlling for such factors, however, some effect of fast food itself remained.

There were however two problems with the study.  The first is easy.  The subjects were food freaks. As the study says:  "the participants are more health conscious than the general population". So how well the findings would generalize to the overall population is unknown.  Food freaks may be generally less healthy. I rather wonder why the study was done  with such a severe sampling problem but I guess some information was better than none

The second problem was "when excluding prevalent CVDs and cancer cases, the associations were no longer statistically significant".  Deleting the two main causes of death from the analysis seems wildly hilarious to me.  The "bad" effects of fast food were only shown if you didn't have heart disease and cancer. Remove the heart and cancer patients and you remove a lot of the deaths. 

I am struggling with the logic of that but it seems to me that you are "fiddling" your sample and that it is only in your fiddled sample that bad effects are found.  Putting it another way, it looks like heart disease and cancer had a protective effect -- protecting you from death due to bad food.  Which is surely borderline insane.  Or maybe not.  Maybe fast food is good for you.

However you look at it, however, the problem is the non-representativeess of the sample.  You take a population of health nuts (at least some of whom may be health nuts because of health problems) and then make the sample even less reprsentative by subtracting from it the more ill component (people with heart and cancer symptoms) and then use that as your study sample. It's a parody of good survey research that may tell you nothing about the whole national population.

Poor sampling is endemic throughout the social science and medical literature but that does not mean that we should treat it as better than it is

Anyway, it seems that the bad effects of fast food are still at this stage "not proven', to use the old Scottish verdict. Journal abstract below.

Association Between Ultraprocessed Food Consumption and Risk of Mortality Among Middle-aged Adults in France

Laure Schnabel et al.


Importance  Growing evidence indicates that higher intake of ultraprocessed foods is associated with higher incidence of noncommunicable diseases. However, to date, the association between ultraprocessed foods consumption and mortality risk has never been investigated.

Objective  To assess the association between ultraprocessed foods consumption and all-cause mortality risk.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This observational prospective cohort study selected adults, 45 years or older, from the French NutriNet-Santé Study, an ongoing cohort study that launched on May 11, 2009, and performed a follow-up through December 15, 2017 (a median of 7.1 years). Participants were selected if they completed at least 1 set of 3 web-based 24-hour dietary records during their first 2 years of follow-up. Self-reported data were collected at baseline, including sociodemographic, lifestyle, physical activity, weight and height, and anthropometrics.

Exposures  The ultraprocessed foods group (from the NOVA food classification system), characterized as ready-to-eat or -heat formulations made mostly from ingredients usually combined with additives. Proportion (in weight) of ultraprocessed foods in the diet was computed for each participant.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The association between proportion of ultraprocessed foods and overall mortality was the main outcome. Mean dietary intakes from all of the 24-hour dietary records available during the first 2 years of follow-up were calculated and considered as the baseline usual food-and-drink intakes. Mortality was assessed using CépiDC, the French national registry of specific mortality causes. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs were determined for all-cause mortality, using multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models, with age as the underlying time metric.

Results  A total of 44?551 participants were included, of whom 32?549 (73.1%) were women, with a mean (SD) age at baseline of 56.7 (7.5) years. Ultraprocessed foods accounted for a mean (SD) proportion of 14.4% (7.6%) of the weight of total food consumed, corresponding to a mean (SD) proportion of 29.1% (10.9%) of total energy intake. Ultraprocessed foods consumption was associated with younger age (45-64 years, mean [SE] proportion of food in weight, 14.50% [0.04%]; P?<?.001), lower income (<€1200/mo, 15.58% [0.11%]; P?<?.001), lower educational level (no diploma or primary school, 15.50% [0.16%]; P?<?.001), living alone (15.02% [0.07%]; P?<?.001), higher body mass index (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared; ?30, 15.98% [0.11%]; P?<?.001), and lower physical activity level (15.56% [0.08%]; P?<?.001). A total of 602 deaths (1.4%) occurred during follow-up. After adjustment for a range of confounding factors, an increase in the proportion of ultraprocessed foods consumed was associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality (HR per 10% increment, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.04-1.27; P?=?.008).

Conclusions and Relevance  An increase in ultraprocessed foods consumption appears to be associated with an overall higher mortality risk among this adult population; further prospective studies are needed to confirm these findings and to disentangle the various mechanisms by which ultraprocessed foods may affect health.

JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(4):490-498. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.7289  

It’s the British establishment who are the extremists

The casualness with which they threaten to override democracy is alarming.

In the nearly three years since 17.4million of us voted to leave the EU, we’ve been told that extremism is on the march in the UK. That the Brexit referendum unleashed an ugly, alien and liberty-threatening worldview. That a section of British society wishes to do away with the social order as we have known it and propel Britain into a reactionary, even far-right future. All of this feels increasingly true. But not in the way suggested by the predominantly Remainer establishment that has been raising these extremist fears. They think it’s us, we Leave voters, who are the extremists ripping up the political and democratic fabric. It isn’t. It’s them.

This is perhaps the greatest trick that has been played since the referendum: under the guise of standing up to ‘extremism’, the establishment and its cheerleaders have mainstreamed genuine extremism. They have made it normal to be anti-democratic. They have made it not only acceptable but also celebrated to talk openly about disenfranchising the public. They have injected into the heart of British politics the kind of worldview that rightly horrifies us when it is propagated by a Pinochet or a Kim – a worldview that says the masses cannot really be trusted with making major political decisions and therefore politics should once again become the purview of small numbers of experts and the educated. This is the extremist idea doing most harm to the UK right now.

In recent weeks, the mask has fallen from the reactionary Remainer establishment. There have been three stages to elite Remainerism since the referendum in June 2016. First there was shock. The vote to leave the EU was a thunderbolt to technocrats and mandarins who are so used to getting their own political way. They responded by paying lip service to the democratic ideal. The result cannot be overturned, they said. We must vote to invoke Article 50, they insisted. Then came the second stage: the invention of new terms and a slippery, borderline Orwellian political language to justify the slow-motion undoing of the Brexit vote. We need a Soft Brexit, they said, using a phrase not one single person used during the referendum campaign. We cannot let the ‘extremists’ win, they argued. And so they established the idea that Brexit was too firm and dangerous an idea – you stupid voters – and that it fell to them to temper and soften it.

And now we are in the third stage. The stage where much of the camouflage of the Soft Brexit language has been dispensed with in favour of a more honest statement of the Remainer establishment’s worldview: that the public made a grave error and that error must now be corrected. This idea – this extremist, pre-20th-century idea – is now loose in the political and public realm. You hear it in MPs’ casual conversations about revoking Article 50 and opting for ‘No Brexit’. We saw it on the middle-class march in London on Saturday where people openly boasted of their intellectual superiority to the masses – we have degrees and can spell correctly, placards declared – and demanded that Brexit simply be halted. ‘Revoke this shit’, one banner said. ‘Shit’ – they mean democracy.

What is even more alarming than the elites’ explicit antipathy to making Brexit happen – Brexit having been voted for by the largest number of voters in UK history, remember – is the underlying belief that motors this antipathy: the belief that democracy is a mistake. This, arguably for the first time since all adults were enfranchised in 1928, is now an utterable and even cheered sentiment in Britain’s political and chattering circles.

In some ways, this isn’t surprising. The establishment knows full well what Brexit represents – a clear challenge by a massive section of the public to the idea that politics is better done by them, the experts, than by us, the plebs. And if the establishment lets this idea pass, lets it become established in law via a clean break from the EU, then it will be denuding itself of its presumed moral and political authority; it will be abandoning its own claim to have better, keener insights than the uneducated, unhealthy, un-PC public; it will be undercutting the very basis upon which its political rule has been based for three or four decades now. Its explicit and extremist turn against the democratic ideal is a desperate survival mechanism: in order to save their political style, they’re willing to destroy the promise of democracy.

The extremists aren’t the people who are saying, ‘Let’s leave the EU’. They’re the people saying, ‘I’m cleverer than you and therefore I should have more say’. They’re the people saying, ‘Let’s just cancel the largest democratic vote in UK history’. They’re the people who have backtracked on centuries of bloody struggle by stamping all over the principles of democracy. It is true that there was latent prejudice and hatred lurking in British society and that the vote for Brexit unleashed them into the world. And those prejudices and hatreds were among the ruling sections of society. And how they have been unleashed! Everywhere one turns, a deceptively polite and twee politician or commentator is expressing the deeply prejudicial and extremist idea that the little people, the moronic masses, must have their votes overruled and their rights curtailed. This is the dangerous idea stalking Brexit Britain. This is the true prejudice. This is the ugly face of extremism. And we mustn’t stand for it anymore.


The ACLU’s shameful role in promoting antisemitism

There is perhaps no more guilty party in the current wave of antisemitic attacks on pro-Israel Americans than the American Civil Liberties Union.

By falsely portraying state anti-BDS laws as requiring "loyalty oaths," the ACLU is appealing to latent and blatant antisemitism.
To understand why, one first has to understand that the essence of modern antisemitism is not so much hostility to Jews as individuals, but a conspiracy theory in which Jews, collectively, exercise hidden power over events for the benefit of Jews at the expense of everyone else.

Given this essence of antisemitism, people and organizations who make false or wildly exaggerated statements about the doings of the "Israel Lobby" are contributing to antisemitism, regardless of whether they have any personal animus toward Jews. Consider, for example, those who have made the not-just-wrong-but-utterly-wacky claim that the lobby (a) somehow managed to persuade George Bush, Dick Cheney, 3/4 of the Senate, most of the House of Representatives, and so on, against their better judgement that going to war with Iraq was a good idea, and (b) that the lobby did so on behalf of Israel's interests. These folks are giving aid and comfort to antisemites, regardless of their feelings about Jews. Indeed, but for the latent idea that Jews are disloyal to the U.S. and have special power to pervert national agendas to their own agenda, no one would take this conspiracy theory seriously.

Let's turn to the ACLU. Various states have passed legislation that bans their state governments from contracting with businesses that refuse to do business with Israeli-affiliated institutions and individuals. This could be anyone from the Israeli government itself to American students who study in Israel, and everything in between. These laws are controversial as many people think that political boycotts of this sort shouldn't be penalized in any way by the government. The other side argues that first of all it's quite rich for boycotters to complain about being boycotted, and second that the boycott movement against Israel is both in its origins and in its practical effects antisemitic, making them in effect an adjunct of antidiscrimination laws. We need not resolve that debate here, but simply to note that the ACLU takes the side of the laws' opponents, and has launched both a litigation and public relations campaign against the laws. (I've explained why the ACLU's legal arguments are wrong here.)

There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but there is something wrong with the ACLU publicly arguing that when states require contractors to sign a certification that they do not boycott Israel-related entities, that the contractors are being forced to sign a "loyalty oath" to Israel.

Here are just a few examples:

ACLU political director Faiz Shakir: "And if a state is going to say that we're not going to do business with an American citizen because they refuse to take a loyalty oath, for example, the courts have struck that down."

The ACLU blog reprinting an article stating that the law requires "a loyalty oath to the state of Israel before he can be paid."

An ACLU blog entry: "That means [the government] cannot impose ideological litmus tests or loyalty oaths as a condition on hiring or contracting. This principle was famously tested in the McCarthy era, when many state laws required government employees to declare they were not members of the Communist Party or other "subversive groups" in order to keep their jobs. The ACLU successfully challenged many of those laws on constitutional grounds, and anti-Communist loyalty tests have been mostly relegated to the dustbin of history. The same rule applies when the government asks someone to certify that they are not engaged in a boycott of Israel."

ACLU brief in Koontz v. Waston: "There is no plausible justification for ... the loyalty oath."

This is complete nonsense. Contractors certifying that their businesses don't boycott Israel-related entities is no more a "loyalty oath" to Israel than certifying that they don't refuse to deal with black or gay or women-owned business, or or that they will deal only with unionized businesses, is a "loyalty oath" to blacks, gays, women, or unions. Contractors who sign anti-boycott certifications are free to boycott Israel and related entities in their personal lives, and they and their businesses are free to donate to anti-Israel candidates and causes, and even to publicly advocate for BDS.

To further illustrate, let's compare a typical McCarthy-era loyalty oath to the certification contractors are being asked to sign.

Here's California 1950s loyalty oath for state employees:

I further swear (or affirm) that I do not advise, advocate or teach, and have not within the period beginning five (5) years prior to the effective date of the ordinance requiring the making of this oath or affirmation, advised, advocated or taught, the overthrow by force, violence or other unlawful means, of the Government of the United States of America or of the State of California and that I am not now and have not, within said period, been or become a member of or affiliated with any group, society, association, organization or party which advises, advocates or teaches, or has, within said period, advised, advocated or taught, the overthrow by force, violence or other unlawful means of the Government of the United States of America, or of the State of California. I further swear (or affirm) that I will not, while I am in the service of the City of Los Angeles, advise, advocate or teach, or be or become a member of or affiliated with any group, association, society, organization or party which advises, advocates or teaches, or has within said period, advised, advocated or taught, the overthrow by force, violence or other unlawful means, of the Government of the United States of America or of the State of California . . .

This is nothing like merely signing a certification that your business does not boycott those doing business with or in Israel. It's also worth noting that while the anti-boycott legislation applies only to businesses contracting with the state, "loyalty oaths" were imposed on individual employees.

By spreading the false meme that no-boycott certifications amount to not just loyalty oaths, but loyalty oaths to a foreign government the ACLU has spread the canard that the pro-Israel (read, overwhelmingly Jewish) organizations and their members want to use the force of the state to require everyone to be "loyal" to Israel.

And this has indeed fueled antisemitic fires, and given credence to antisemitic statements like those Rep. Ilhan Omar regarding how Congress has been bought off to be loyal to Israel. I can't tell you how many times I've read in response to criticism of Omar's claim that American Jews are buying the government's loyalty to Israel, "she's right, what about the anti-BDS loyalty oaths?" For example, here is Paul Waldman in the Washington Post arguing that Omar has been "unfairly smeared," and pointing to imaginary state laws that "literally" require contractors to "pledge [their] loyalty to Israel."

Some commentators, meanwhile, have taken the ACLU's exaggerations and upped the ante. Andrew Sullivan, for example, recently portrayed a federal bill permitting states to refuse to deal with contractors who boycott those doing business with or in Israel entities as a bill that would have "made it illegal for any American to boycott goods from the West Bank, without suffering real economic consequences from their own government."

I understand that ACLU lawyers have a responsibility to their clients to win the p.r. war to help with its legal battle, but the organization has disgraced itself by using the "loyalty oath" canard that it had to know would play on latent and blatant antisemitic sentiment. The real shame is that I don't think that the poobahs at the ACLU care.


Unassimilated Islamic Enclaves and 'No-Go' Zones: Ticking Time Bombs Proliferating in the West

“The operation to take Islamic State’s last enclave in eastern Syria looked close to an end,” Reuters recently reported, “as U.S.-backed fighters said they were combing the area for hidden jihadists…  Its enclave at Baghouz was the last part of the massive territory it suddenly seized in 2014, straddling swathes of Iraq and Syria, where its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a new caliphate.”

While this is welcome news, it also prompts one to wonder: what of all those other Islamic enclaves, those unassimilated ticking time bombs that proliferate throughout the West, which are packed with ISIS-sympathizers, not to mention ISIS members, and which the West largely fails to recognize as such? I am referring to those many so-called “no-go" zones: Western cities and regions that have effectively become Islamic ghettoes. There, Sharia is the de facto law; Muslims are openly radicalized to hate infidels; non-Muslims, even police, are afraid to enter lest they get mugged, raped, or killed.

In short, the ISIS worldview dominates—not in some distant theater of war, but right smack in the West itself (an internet search for terms such as “no-go" zones and “Muslim enclaves” demonstrates how prevalent and problematic this phenomenon is).

Although these Muslim enclaves are recent and unique phenomena, they have precedents in history and even a nomenclature in the Islamic consciousness.

Wherever the jihad was stopped, there, on the border with their infidel neighbors, jihadis formed strongholds, hotbeds of jihadi activities.  These became known as the rib?t (????), an Arabic word etymologically rooted to the idea of a tight fastening or joining and found in Koran 3:200: “O you who have believed, persevere and endure and remain stationed [??????] and fear Allah that you may be successful.” In Islamic history, the rib?t referred to the chains of jihadi fortresses erected along and dedicated to raiding the borders of non-Muslims.

The word rib?t lives on, though few recognize it. For example, Rabat, the capital of Morocco, is so named because in origin it was a rib?t, whence centuries of Barbary/pirate raids on the Christian Mediterranean were launched.  Similarly, Almoravids—the name of an important eleventh-century North African based jihadi group—is simply a transliteration of the Arabic al-mur?bitun, which means they who fight along the rib?t (not unlike muj?hidun, they who wage jihad). In 1086 these “Almoravids” invaded Spain and crushed the Castilians at the battle of Sagrajas (or Zallaqa); afterward they erected a mountain consisting of 2,400 Christian heads to triumphant cries of “Allahu Akbar.”

From the start of the Islamic conquests in the seventh century till the mid-eleventh century, the quintessential rib?t existed along the Muslim/Byzantine border in Anatolia (modern day Turkey). There the oldest extant Arabic manual on jihad, Kitab al-Jihad (“Book of Jihad”), was compiled by Abdullah bin Mubarak. Born less than a century after Islamic prophet Muhammad’s death in 632, Mubarak committed his life to studying and waging jihad on the Anatolian rib?t until his death in 797. According to a modern historian, Mubarak was a paradigmatic mur?bit: he “served as a model of zeal in volunteering. His piety and asceticism gave him enormous strength”—he was known to “bellow like a bull or cow being slaughtered” when warring on infidels—and “his fellows continued to be drawn to his power after his death.” His Book of Jihad remains a classic among militant Muslims around the world.

With the coming and military successes of the Ottoman Turks, the Anatolian rib?t continued edging westward, until it finally consumed Constantinople, the last bastion of the Byzantine empire, and most of the Balkans, reaching Vienna twice (in 1529 and 1683).

Another important frontier formed along the Duoro River in Spain, separating the Christian North from the Islamic South. For centuries, it too became “a territory where one fights for the faith and a permanent place of the rib?t,” to quote another historian. As in other borders where Muslims abutted against non-Muslims, a scorched no-man’s land policy prevailed in the rib?t of Spain. Ibn Hudhayl of Granada (d.812) once explained the logic:

It is permissible to set fire to the lands of the enemy, his stores of grain, his beasts of burden—if it is not possible for the Muslims to take possession of them—as well as to cut down his trees, to raze his cities, in a word, to do everything that might ruin and discourage him, provided that the imam deems these measures appropriate, suited to hastening the Islamization of that enemy or to weakening him. Indeed, all this contributes to a military triumph over him or to forcing him to capitulate.
After explaining how the Muslims intentionally devastated the Duero region—they later named it “the Great Desert”—French historian Louis Bertrand (b. 1866) elaborates:

To keep the [northern] Christians in their place it did not suffice to surround them with a zone of famine and destruction. It was necessary also to go and sow terror and massacre among them. . . . If one bears in mind that this brigandage was almost continual, and that this fury of destruction and extermination was regarded as a work of piety—it was a holy war [jihad] against infidels—it is not surprising that whole regions of Spain should have been made irremediably sterile. This was one of the capital causes of the deforestation from which the Peninsula still suffers. With what savage satisfaction and in what pious accents do the Arab annalists tell us of those at least bi-annual raids [across the rib?t]. A typical phrase for praising the devotion of a Caliph is this: “he penetrated into Christian territory, where he wrought devastation, devoted himself to pillage, and took prisoners”. . . . At the same time as they were devastated, whole regions were depopulated. . . . The prolonged presence of the Musulmans, therefore, was a calamity for this unhappy country of Spain. By their system of continual raids they kept her for centuries in a condition of brigandage and devastation.
Why does this history lesson matter?  Because in many respects, the Muslim enclaves and “no-go" zones that proliferate throughout the West function as the historic rib?ts: hotbeds of radicalization and jihadi activities targeting their immediate infidel neighbors—or in this case, their non-Muslim hosts.

From here one understands why two Muslim men from “a hardline Islamic enclave in Dewsbury, one of the UK’s most religiously segregated areas, ”were “arrested by armed police on suspicion of a terror plot.” Or why “the largest Muslim sect in the UK, controlling half of Britain’s Mosques [most of which are in enclaves], hosted an Al-Qaeda associate of Osama bin Laden who spoke to numerous future terrorists as he toured their mosques across the country.” Even in the U.S., “Muslim children attending mosques and Islamic schools are being taught to hate America, our government, our military personnel and its non-Muslim population.”

There is, of course, one crucial difference between history’s rib?ts and today’s Muslim enclaves. Rib?ts traditionally formed wherever Muslims could not, by force, go any further, thereby becoming frontier zones whence the jihad resumed. Conversely, today’s quasi-rib?ts—AKA “enclaves,” “no-go" zones, etc.—are not located on the borders of non-Muslim regions but rather in the middle of European nations; moreover, those entering in and turning these Western regions into Islamic enclaves did not do so by force of arms but rather because they were welcomed in with open arms.

If Islam continues to grow in the West and if Western peoples continue to retreat (in a myriad of ways), it is only a matter of time before the West’s many Muslim enclaves evolve into their most natural forms: rib?ts dedicated to waging full-blown jihad on their infidel neighbors—a scenario that makes the fall of the Islamic State’s last rib?t in Baghouz pale in significance.



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


2 April, 2019

Methodists veer toward schism over LGBTQ divide

A great idea.  Let those so inclined depart to set up a queer Methodist church.  The rest of the church will flourish without them. Churches which adhere to the scriptures are the ones that have growing congregations. 

Their lack of enthusiasm for the scriptures is what lies behind the steady loss of members of the present church.  Who wants to join  a church with no fixed beliefs? Religion is about delivering certainty, not waffle. 

The larger society at the moment is very authoritarian about the rightness of homosexuality but that is a chance to display your faith.  Christ commanded you to resist and reject "the world". So  how about doing that? "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life"

How can you even call yourself Christians while defying the extremely clear and repeated commands of the Bible?  Romans 1:27; Jude 1:7; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Mark 10:6-9; Matthew 19: 4-16; 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11; 1 Corinthians 7:2; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Genesis 19:4-8. Set up a Pastorate  called the "Post-Christian congregation" and you will at least have honesty to recommend you, if not the blessing of God or the hope of salvation

Anyone can start a church. As Christ said, "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am." He also advised to pray in solitude, and your Father will hear you and reward you. And He advised not to look for the Kingdom of God over there or over there, because "The kingdom of God is in your midst." So why do homosexuals have to white-ant real Christian churches?  If they have confidence in their own exegesis and theology let them promote their own revelation in their own way in their own "churches"

When Pastor Ross Johnson preached from the Book of Exodus last Sunday, he wasn’t just delivering a standard sermon. He was risking his livelihood.

It was a risk he was willing to take, as he spoke at “Queer Resistance,” a service he and other LGBTQ clergy organized in defiance of the United Methodist Church’s recent vote to reinforce its ban on gay clergy and same-sex marriage.

“Oh, Lord, hear me when I cry out in anger — angry that others may believe that I, a queer minister, am anathema,” Johnson told about 200 congregants seated in a circle inside Old West Church near the base of Beacon Hill. “Oh, Lord, hear me when I cry out in fear, fearing the loss of my career and my first parish, the loss of my church, of all that I hold dear, and all that we know. Oh, Lord, hear me when I scream that I cannot take it anymore.”

Such anguish has been pouring forth from churches in the Boston area since the United Methodist Church’s General Conference voted last month to reaffirm its 1972 policy that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Delegates to the conference also voted to more strictly enforce the penalties for clergy who perform same-sex marriages or who are “self-avowed practicing homosexuals.” First-time offenders would be subjected to a year’s suspension without pay. Second offenses would result in expulsion from the ministry.

The decision could split the United Methodist Church, the nation’s largest mainline Protestant denomination, between its conservative and liberal factions, which have long been at odds over the role of sexuality in the church.

Methodist leaders in New England have indicated they will not stop ordaining LGBTQ clergy or performing same-sex marriages in response to the General Conference vote. And many say they are devastated by the policy and are questioning whether they should remain in the church or part ways and form their own independent churches.

“It’s very hard to be in a relationship with people who say you are ‘incompatible with Scripture,’ ” said Sara Garrard, the 30-year-old pastor of Old West Church, who identifies as queer and comes from a long line of Methodist pastors in the Deep South. “What they’re saying in those words is, you are less than, you are not worthy, you are not compatible with the teachings of Christ. You are subhuman, and you are not good enough.”

Hysterical rubbish. All that anybody is saying is to use your genitals more appropriately.  That's the beginning and the end of it

The vote was propelled by a coalition of evangelical Methodists from the United States who joined with delegates from Africa and Asia, where homosexuality is frequently condemned or criminalized.

Together, they marshaled enough support to pass the policy, called the Traditional Plan, by a narrow 54-vote margin, over a competing plan backed by Methodist bishops that would have allowed local and regional church leaders to decide whether to ordain or marry LGBTQ members.

The Rev. Thomas A. Lambrecht, who helped draft the Traditional Plan and submitted it to the General Conference, said it was important to stop bishops who had been routinely defying church teaching by allowing the ordination of gay clergy and the sanctioning of same-sex marriages.

“It’s important to maintain our church’s stance in [agreement] with Scripture,” said Lambrecht, the vice president and general manager of Good News, an evangelical Methodist organization in Texas. “The Bible consistently defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and for us to accept the practice of homosexuality as something that’s blessed by God would be contrary to Scripture.”

He said for those churches that disagree with the policy, the Traditional Plan creates an exit pathway for them to leave the United Methodist Church and form their own independent congregations.

Lambrecht said such a schism could benefit both sides. “In fact, for a number of years we’ve seen it’s not possible for us to continue living together in one church body,” Lambrecht said. “Our theological perspectives are so opposite that living together just creates conflict that distracts us from the mission of our church.”

The Rev. We Hyun Chang, superintendent of the Metro Boston Hope District, which represents 47 churches in the area, agreed the denomination may be at a breaking point, divided between growing congregations in Africa and Asia and churches in the United States, where gay marriage is widely accepted.

“I don’t know how we can hold together those two growing Methodist movements, which happen to be in contradiction,” Chang said. “I think there are going to be some forms of new expression, one way or the other. The question is how we get there.”

Progressive Methodist leaders in the United States worry the policy will make it harder for the church to survive and grow when its members are still fighting over gay rights four years after the Supreme Court established a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

As with other mainline Protestant denominations, the United Methodist Church has been shrinking as a share of the US population, falling from 5.1 percent in 2007 to 3.6 percent, according to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center. The church is also older, whiter, and less racially diverse than many other denominations, Pew said.

Although the role of gender and sexuality in ordination and marriage remain deeply divisive issues in other mainline churches, the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the United Church of Christ, and others have embraced same-sex marriage in recent years.

That trend could make it all the more difficult for the United Methodist Church to broaden its membership, said the Rev. Dr. Jay Williams, pastor of Union Church in Boston’s South End, who attended the General Conference in St. Louis and said he found the policy particularly painful as a gay black man.

“We live in a world where people are not knocking down the doors of the church,” Williams said. “And as the country goes more theologically left, and increasingly not religious at all, to go in the direction of exclusion is really a death knell.”

Sudarshana Devadhar, bishop of the New England Conference of Methodists, wrote in a letter to church members earlier this month that he and his Cabinet were “heartbroken” by the vote and remain committed “to lead a church that does not discriminate in membership, ordination, or service in ministry based upon any person’s gender or sexual identity.”

That full embrace of LGBTQ people was echoed in the songs and sermons shared during last Sunday’s “Queer Resistance” service.

“We resist,” the congregants sang, voices rising inside the 213-year-old brick church. “We refuse to let hatred in. We rise up. We won’t back down. We’re in this till the end.”


Second Airport Bans Chick-fil-A for ‘Discrimination’

That sounds very discriminatory

After a Democratic New York State assemblyman said that a plan allowing a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Buffalo’s airport was tantamount to sanctioning discrimination against the LGBTQ population, officials backed down and said the restaurant will not be at the airport after all.

As Chick-fil-A spreads across the Northeast, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority had already approved plans from Delaware North, which oversees the food vendors at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, to add the popular restaurant to their airport.

But Assemblyman Sean Ryan, who according to the Buffalo News is working to get the airport $100 million in the state budget for capital projects, objected.

“I don’t believe the leadership of the NFTA intends to help spread hate and discrimination, but allowing a corporation like Chick-fil-A to do business at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport will help to fund continued divisive anti-LGBTQ rhetoric,” Ryan said in a statement on Thursday. “New York is a welcoming state that celebrates diversity.” [But not Christian businesses?]

“The views of Chick-fil-A do not represent our state or the Western New York community, and businesses that support discrimination have no place operating in taxpayer-funded public facilities. Once again, I urge you to reverse this decision and identify a different restaurant to operate at the airport,” Ryan said.

By Friday, the chicken deal was dead, according to New York Upstate.

“A publicly financed facility like the Buffalo Niagara International Airport is not the appropriate venue for a Chick-fil-A restaurant,” Ryan said in his Friday statement.

“I applaud the decision that has been made to remove Chick-fil-A from the plans for this project. We hope in the future the NFTA will make every effort to contract with businesses that adhere to anti-discrimination policies, and we’re confident another vendor who better represents the values of the Western New York community will replace Chick-fil-A as a part of this project in the very near future,” he wrote.

Not everyone agreed with the decision.

"NY is a welcoming state.  In fact Albany Airport welcomed a Chick-fil-A to serve their travelers.  31 airports across the US welcomed a Chick-fil-A. Once again Buffalo is screwed over by a self serving politician pandering for votes"

A Chick-fil-A statement said some media coverage “drives an inaccurate narrative” about it.

“We do not have a political or social agenda or discriminate against any group,” the statement said. “More than 145,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs represent the Chick-fil-A brand. We embrace all people, regardless of religion, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.“

Although airport travelers will be denied Chick-fil-A’s brand of chicken, the chain operates a restaurant in the Buffalo suburb of Cheektowaga. That venue, according to the Buffalo News, “still draws overflow crowds and long lines at its drive-thru.”

The airport controversy is much like one in San Antonio, where politicians barred Chick-fil-A from the city’s airport. That decision drew a sharp response from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.


The New York Times – Kudos to Disloyalty, Anti-Semitism, and Obscenity

Bill Donohue

A good index of how sick our culture has become can be found in a New York Times editorial on March 22.

It hails the three most radical members of Congress, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Ilhan Omar, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib for “dismantl[ing] one of the most tiresome and inaccurate stereotypes in politics: that women lawmakers are inherently more civil, more collaborative, less power-hungry and less personally ambitious than men.” It would be great to know how many Americans think this development is a good thing.

What is most striking about the editorial are the three examples it chose to prove its point.

It cited Ocasio-Cortez's plea for more primary challenges against moderate Democrats: “Long story short, I need you to run for office.”

It cited Omar's tweet saying American foreign policy is bought by Jews: “It's all about the Benjamins, baby.”

It (partially) cited Tlaib's comment about the president: “We're gonna impeach the [expletive]!” Note: she called Trump a “motherf*****.”

By celebrating disloyalty, anti-Semitism, and obscenity, The New York Times lost whatever moral credibility it had left. We certainly don't want to read any more of its editorials lecturing the Catholic Church.


Australia’s approach to indigenous communities is making their lives worse, expert claims

She's right.  Conditions for Aborigines have deteriorated steadily since the missionaries left. Putting Aborigines into the hands of bureaucrats was laughably inept. She seems unaware however that governments have tried just about everything since.  Her idea of Aboriginal self-management is really old hat.  It was tried years ago in the Lake Tyers experiment, with woeful results.  I agree however that Aborigines should be left strictly alone by governments.  That way they alone will be responsible for however they end up.

Australia is living in a “colonial fantasy” — and unless we radically change our path, the plethora of problems plaguing indigenous communities will worsen.

That’s the powerful message put forward by Sarah Maddison, a Professor of Politics at the University of Melbourne, has a game-changing idea which she believes will drastically reshape our nation for the better.

Speaking to news.com.au off the back of her new book, The Colonial Fantasy, Why White Australia Can’t Solve Black Problems, Prof Maddison said efforts from both political parties to bridge the gap over the years have just made life worse in indigenous communities.

“It’s hard to imagine that the situation can get any worse than it is now,” she said grimly, pointing to catastrophic suicide rates and an alarming level of youth incarceration for indigenous people.

“No approach that any government has taken has made any difference, so we need to try something radically different.”

In her book, Prof Maddison puts forward this bold new rethinking of Australian society and the solution, she says, is very simple — to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities the power to control and manage their own lives.

“There is now a wealth of evidence from overseas that's shows when you give indigenous communities the power to control their own affairs in areas like health, education and economic development, it makes a huge difference to their lives,” she said.

She argues that abolishing Australia’s current top-down approach and allowing indigenous communities to control their affairs, they can focus on the things that are important to them — rather being told what is important by the government.

In the USA, Native American communities are being empowered in a similar way, and decades of research from self-determination organisations, such as the Native Nations Institute, shows that the approach is working.

The argument is, that once power is handed back, decisions start to reflect local concerns and, perhaps more importantly, indigenous communities are accountable for their own lives — meaning they reap the benefit of good decisions and learn from the bad ones.

“Australia, however, is relentlessly going in the opposite direction by continuing to implement policies that are interventionist and paternalistic,” Prof Maddison said.

In the title of her book, she describes the current attitude and methods used to try to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as a “colonial fantasy”.

In her book, she also argues that this heavy-handed approach — whereby increasing amounts of public money is thrown at indigenous communities to no avail — is a continuation of the colonial attitude that has persisted since Captain James Cook first landed here in 1770.

“I’m not saying that the current government is trying to kill all indigenous people, but the aim has always been the same, which is to eliminate indigenous difference and identity because the idea of them living independently of the state is threatening,” she said. “And, for indigenous people, this infects everything.”

She said evidence of this in the way Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people often place much greater importance on their clan name or regional identity rather than describing themselves as “Australian”.

But a much more glaring example of this disconnect rears its ugly head every January.

This year’s Australia Day debate played out on our television screens in spectacular fashion, when Kerri-Anne Kennerley made a point about there bigger fish to fry than changing the date of a symbolic national holiday.

But, while Prof Maddison said debates about statues of controversial historical settler figures and changing or abolishing Australia Day are a distraction on one level — they also matter on another.

“They matter because they become a deeply symbolic of the colonial relationship, and it shows that just can’t face up to the reality of what’s happened in our history,” she said.

She argues that if “psychological roadblocks” like this had been resolved years ago, Australia would be a lot further down the line in terms handing back power to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

However, she added that communities around Australia are not waiting around and they are starting to take matters into their own hands — such as the Yawuru people who are the native title holders of the Western Australian town of Broome and are organising their own affairs independently of the government.

“They are the now the authors of their own destiny and that’s what needs to happen right across Australia,” Prof Maddison said.

“The government needs to get out of the way and stop telling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people how to live their lives.”



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

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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


1 April, 2019

Georgia House passes ban on ‘fetal heartbeat’ abortions

Georgia state legislators passed one of the nation’s most divisive abortion bans on Friday, which would prohibit the termination of a pregnancy after a fetal heatbeat is detected — as early as six weeks, before many women know they’re pregnant.

The vote came shortly after Republican Representative Ed Setzler, who sponsored the legislation, called it an effort to establish full legal protections for fetuses and said it was an attempt to outlaw abortion, ‘‘in the highest courts of the land.’’

Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, is expected to sign the bill into law, and he released a statement praising its passage.

The bill attracted national attention and prompted fierce protests from abortion rights advocates as Setzler called for Republicans to pass the measure so that Kemp can ‘‘recruit the best legal team in the nation’’ to gut Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide.

The legislation narrowly made it through the House on Friday, receiving 92 votes, just one more than the necessary to pass. Seventy-eight representatives opposed the measure. The Georgia Senate passed the bill earlier this month in a party-line vote.

Setzler said ‘‘common-sense Georgians’’ prevailed. ‘‘This bill recognizes the fundamental life of the child in the womb is worthy of legal protection,’’ he said.

Activists have rallied at the state house to protest the legislation, chanting ‘‘shame’’ and ‘‘dissent’’ while clad in the red cloaks and white bonnets of characters from ‘‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’’ a book and TV series that depicts a dystopian future where women are enslaved to rear children. The protestors have been an almost daily presence, along with heavy security.

On the other side, some antiabortion advocates have said the bill isn’t strict enough. Georgia Right To Life executive director Zemmie Fleck sent a letter to the group’s supporters Tuesday asking them to urge lawmakers to oppose the measure, arguing that the bill’s exceptions for medical emergencies, rape, and incest, when reported to police, are discriminatory toward the unborn.

‘‘Georgia Right to Life was hopeful,’’ Fleck wrote. ‘‘We are saddened that the bill discriminates against classes of innocent human beings.’’

The day before the vote, US Representative Lucy McBath, Democrat of Georgia, who was part of the historic wave of Democratic women elected to Congress in 2018, called on state leaders to oppose the bill.

Other prominent advocates — from Stacey Abrams, a rising star on the left who unsuccessfully ran for Georgia governor in 2018, to Hollywood activists like Alyssa Milano — took to social media throughout the week, asking legislators to reject the restrictions in Georgia.

They both signed a letter opposing the bill, joining the labor organizer Aij-en Poo, executives from Coca-Cola and Amazon and 90 other Georgia business leaders who said the measure would ‘‘take the state in the wrong direction.’’

Georgia is one of at least 11 states to introduce so-called heartbeat bills this year.


Christchurch – and saying goodbye to so much

It’s not only its innocence that NZ has lost

Our saddest times are when those we love leave us. When there is not even time to say goodbye, the pain and confusion is even worse.

Everywhere the hearts and minds of New Zealanders – irrespective of their personal faiths – have reached out to the victims of the appalling massacre in Christchurch of Muslims; family people attending a mosque murdered in an act which few would have credited happening in this country.

There are undoubtedly lessons to be learned from this. What we should worry about is that some of these lessons may well be the wrong ones, and may be used to advantage those whom no country ever lacks; the few, very determined, radicalised individuals anxious to undermine the country, aided by history’s ‘useful idiots’ who, as always, are happy to play their part. Among those most likely to produce overreaching, knee-jerk regulation in response will be our politicians.

Ironically, what the media are avoiding mentioning is how very rare in the West is such an assault on a Muslim community – contrasted with the sustained attack upon Western democracies long mounted by Islamic fanaticism.

The latter is rejected by moderate Muslims in the West, who are in fact very often themselves targets, but, like all so called ‘ordinary people’ worldwide, basically just as conservative and motivated by love for their families and friends as those from all other countries.

Ordinary people? I recall once stopping at a Muslim coffee shop near Wellington. I’ll never forget the sheer kindness of its owner, Abdel, who insisted, without payment, on giving my sister and me a special cup of coffee and an almond biscuit when he found we had just left from farewelling my mother.

I recall, too, years ago, the young Chinese university student from a sheltered building in almost torrential rain at Canterbury University. With the tarmac virtually a flooded lake, she saw me trying to juggle an umbrella and saturated map, and came to help me locate the building I needed – ending up equally saturated.

And strikingly, Cliff Emeny, the New Zealand fighter pilot to whom I dedicated my book The 100 days – Claiming back New Zealand – what has gone wrong and how we can control our politicians, who contacted me when I was a Dominion columnist, raising questions about what was happening to our democracy.

It was Cliff who sent me to check out the only genuine democracy in the world, Switzerland, whose people control their politicians – not vice versa. Shot down in Burma in World War II, tortured by brutal Japanese military to reveal the whereabouts of his squadron, Cliff was tied each day to a stake in the burning sun. However, Japanese night guards crept out to untie him, lying him down to sleep, giving him food and drink – retying him in the morning before the day shift took over.

What happened in Christchurch is an appalling, shocking reminder of the reality of evil. The alleged gunman’s actions, incomprehensible to us all, have brought home to New Zealanders the outreach of terrorism worldwide. Throughout Western countries there has been rising concern that Islamic fanaticism, even turning upon its own people, was reaching even further. That a terrorist act against moderate, family-minded Muslims could occur in NZ has been a wake-up call.

People worldwide have been deeply worried that Islamic fanaticism might achieve damaging mileage through the emotional pressures of the refugee movement. The consequences for societies such as Angela Merkel’s in Germany, where Isis members have openly boasted of successful infiltration – while posing as genuine refugees  –  have included the marked rise of terrorism, leaps in both violent crimes and attacks on Western women.

New Zealanders have only gradually become aware of the very real threat posed by transnational terrorism, which the Australian government identified in 2004 as a threat to Australia and its citizens. From 2000 onwards, tensions rose between Muslim immigrants and the wider [Australian] community, particularly given the convictions of a gang of Lebanese men sexually assaulting non-Muslim Australian women .

Reflecting on the humanity of people worldwide being used as political tools and cannon fodder by ambitious leaders, one can see the commonality between those who are now saying they have had enough, New Zealanders among them – albeit rather late in the day. Being somewhat over-sheltered, with no historically aggressive foreign countries pressing on our borders,  has led to our present, incredibly naive PM even dismissing the possibility of Russian spies in our country. And now, with Communist Chinese funding being questioned in relation to political donations, that our equally challenged National opposition contains an alleged former Communist Chinese spy trainer beggars belief.

Change has been so incremental that it is very late for non-politicised individuals to realise how much has regressed since we were regarded as ‘God’s own country’ and ‘the best place in the world to bring up children’. Contrast this with the Left’s now domination of the teacher unions; the dumbing down, quite shocking propagandising of the schools curricula replacing valuable, worthwhile content; and the abuse of children by its progressively worse ‘liberalising’ – to the extent where it is now proposed that destructive transgender indoctrination be forced on schoolchildren – irrespective of the objection of parents. The American College of Pediatricians’ warning – that ‘conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse’ – cuts no ice with our neo-Marxist infiltrators long gaining control of the directions of education, and of mainstream media in this country.

The result? The pernicious attack on free speech – the essential component of a genuine democracy – by those bludgeoning us with name-calling and labels such as ‘hate speech’, ‘racism’, ‘homophobia’, and so on. And foremost among New Zealanders’ concerns has been the fact that the unctuous calling for ‘diversity’ by virtue-signallers evades the fact divisiveness and division are wedges used to destroy the essential cohesiveness of a stable society.

A huge challenge lies ahead, to prevent the excuse of the dreadful event in Christchurch being used as a tool to further target those raising genuine concerns  about so much of the decision-making from which recent governments have very much excluded ordinary New Zealanders.


Thierry Baudet: not your typical populist

His insurgent Dutch party cannot be so easily dismissed by the elite.

The latest challenge to the European Union political oligarchy comes from the Netherlands, where Thierry Baudet and his Forum voor Democratie emerged as the main winner in last week’s provincial elections. What is remarkable about the FvD’s success is that this is the first time it ran in these elections. It was launched in 2016 and won two seats in the parliamentary elections in 2017. It has made remarkable progress since then. The elections last week determined the composition of the senate, and the FvD won 13 seats.

The FvD is often described by its enemies as a far-right, xenophobic populist party. But in a different era its politics would have been characterised as socially conservative with a dash of classical liberalism. It is critical of the EU and opposed to inflicting the costs of environmentalist measures on the people of the Netherlands. It argues for the adoption of the Australian system of immigration control. Its leaders argue for cultural policies that support and defend what they perceive to be the foundational values of Western civilisation.

The reaction to the leadership of the Forum – Henk Otten, Theo Hiddema and especially Thierry Baudet – is almost as interesting as the meteoric rise of the party itself. Opponents of the FvD resent the fact that its leaders are intelligent and highly educated people. They cannot be dismissed as populist simpletons or trashy deplorables.

Commentaries on Baudet often say that he is obsessed with drawing attention to his intellectual accomplishments. Commentators frequently make fun of his so-called highbrow cultural pursuits. The reaction of The Times to last week’s vote is typical in this respect: ‘Baudet, who has a law doctorate, typically showed off his learning in his victory speech on Wednesday, declaring that the “owl of Minerva has descended”, referring to the Roman god of wisdom.’

It is a symptom of the philistinism of the official media that it considers references to classical culture by public figures as weird and likely to be a symptom of an inferiority complex. These journalists are obviously ignorant of the rhetoric used by serious politicians in the 19th and most of the 20th century. Unlike the technocratic and intellectually empty rhetoric used by mainstream politicians today, their forebears made constant allusions to Greek and Roman culture.

In the Netherlands, the mainstream media has attempted to construct a cordon sanitaire around the FvD and its leaders. The attitude of the Dutch media to the FvD makes the orientation of the British media towards Brexiteers seem positively neutral and fair in comparison. As one commentator acknowledged, programmes such as De Wereld Draait Door continually transmitted a sense of contempt towards Baudet during the weeks leading up to the election. One commentator acknowledged that the broadcast on 19 March ‘was almost an orgy of Forum aversion’. Baudet was described as a ‘rat catcher’ and his colleague, Hiddema, was castigated as a ‘louche lawyer’.

Judging by the FvD’s electoral success, the media hysteria against the party clearly didn’t work. Typically, many commentators claimed that the success of the FvD was due to the proximity of the elections to the recent shootings in Utrecht, which led to the deaths of three people. This explanation overlooks the fact that, for many weeks, pollsters had predicted that prime minister Mark Rutte’s governing centre-right coalition would lose its senate majority.

What is particularly interesting about the success of the FvD is that it took votes from three of the four parties of the ruling coalition, as well as from the left-wing Socialist Party and Geert Wilders’ right-wing Party for Freedom. The FvD’s capacity to attract voters across the political divide indicates that it has the potential to become a serious electoral force.

Unlike most of the new so-called populist parties in Europe, the FvD has made a serious attempt to develop and find a new political language through which to critique and offer an alternative to what it calls the existing political cartel. It is still early days, and it has some way to go before it succeeds in developing the intellectual and cultural resources necessary to force the Dutch political establishment on the defensive. However, its success demonstrates that the contemporary political terrain is hospitable to movements that can appeal to people’s aspiration for solidarity and for a culture that is positive about national sovereignty.


Australian man wrongly jailed for 32 days after wife’s fake rape claim sues government

"Believe the woman" bias in action, most probably

A man who spent 32 days in jail after his paediatrician wife faked a rape claim against him is suing the NSW Government.

A Sydney man is seeking more than half a million dollars in damages from the NSW Government for maliciously prosecuting a false rape claim made against him by his North Shore paediatrician wife.

A jury acquitted the man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, of rape, domestic violence, assault and other charges in 2017 after Sydney District Court Judge Mark Williams issued a rare Prasad direction.

A Prasad direction allows a jury to find a defendant not guilty any time after the close of the Crown in cases where there is insufficient evidence to justify a conviction.

On legal advice, the man had pleaded guilty to two counts of domestic violence — relating to an email and damage to his then-wife’s mobile phone (after discovering explicit text messages between her and another man) but the judge dismissed those charges without recording a conviction.

The man spent 32 days in jail on remand, an “extraordinarily difficult” experience given he had no criminal record and one that continues to haunt him to this day.

“I was never far from ending it all after my release from prison,” he told news.com.au yesterday. “The actions of police were so deliberate and savage that it made me doubt everything.”

The judge slammed the case against the man as “most unsatisfactory” and said prosecutors had failed to take into account “cogent and consistent objective evidence” that backed up the man’s claim that the sexual encounter at the heart of the rape charge was in fact consensual.

Defence lawyer Greg Walsh told the court the man and his legal team took photographic evidence that corroborated his story and discredited hers to the police, but it was ignored. “Was it ideological, was it wilful blindness? I don’t know,” Mr Walsh said. “All the evidence pointed to the fact that this was an innocent man who should not have been charged.”

“Cops worked on this case for two years,” the man told news.com.au.

“Judges, courts and jurors were used. It probably cost the tax payers over a million dollars in man hours alone. What a huge waste of time and money.”

She claimed she was raped another two times shortly afterwards. But it was all an elaborate lie and the defence proved it by tendering photographic evidence from a security camera in the home which showed the sex to be consensual.

“I had installed cameras in the house a day earlier but she didn’t know that when she went to police,” the man told news.com.au.

A text message exchange between the pair the following night in which she wished her husband a “safe flight” hours before he flew to Europe on a work trip was produced in court.

Four days after he left the country, the former wife walked into Gordon Police Station on Sydney’s North Shore and made claims of rape, assault and domestic violence that would ultimately be dismissed by a judge.

When he returned, police were waiting for him at Sydney Airport, arresting him in a dramatic swoop in full view of fellow travellers.

The basis of the man’s legal claim is that police and the DPP went ahead with the charges against him despite having been alerted to evidence that proved the so-called victim was lying.

That included video footage of the sexual encounters on June 15, 2015 which proved they were consensual.

In issuing a Prasad direction and dismissing proceedings against the man, Judge Williams acknowledged the case should never have gone to trial.

The man’s statement of claim, obtained by news.com.au, lists the defendants as the State of NSW (Commissioner of Police), the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions and his ex-wife, who remains employed as a paediatrician at a Sydney hospital.

The man told news.com.au that his legal team have yet to put a final figure on the compensation he will be seeking but estimated it would be in excess of $500,000.

That included an estimated $200,000 in lost income, $110,000 in legal fees plus damages stemming from his horror month in jail.

While Judge Williams awarded the man court costs following his acquittal, he was only able to recoup just over half of his mammoth $270,000 legal bill.

“They accepted $260,000 of that and then they applied the government cap which meant I received $160,000, leaving a $110,000 shortfall,” the man told news.com.au.

The statement of claim describes the man’s dramatic arrest at Sydney Airport on August 20, 2015, which saw police seize his laptop, iPod and hard drive.

“The Plaintiff was refused bail at Mascot Police Station (and) remained in custody for thirty two days until he was granted conditional bail,” the document states.

Under his bail conditions, he was required to surrender his passport and report daily to police, making it impossible to travel overseas for work commitments, resulting in a significant loss of income.

“The arrest and imprisonment of the Plaintiff was wrongful, whereupon the Plaintiff has suffered loss and damages and is entitled to damages, aggravated damages and exemplary damages,” the document states.

“The arrest and imprisonment of the Plaintiff caused him severe mental anguish and distress.”



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.  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

Islamic terrorism isn’t a perversion of Islam. It’s the implementation of Islam. It is not a religion of the persecuted, but the persecutors. Its theology is violent supremacism.

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.

Bible references on homosexuality: Jude 1:7; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Mark 10:6-9; 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11; 1 Corinthians 7:2; Leviticus 18:32; Leviticus 20:13

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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