The creeping dictatorship of the Left...

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

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


31 December, 2014

2014’s mantra: ‘I feel hurt, therefore I censor’

The new censorship is even more insidious than the old

In August this year, the Dominican Republic’s government banned long-tongued twerker Miley Cyrus from performing her latest sausage-related show, ‘Bangerz’, within its territory. It explained its decision as follows: ‘[Miley Cyrus] undertakes acts that go against morals and customs, which are punishable by Dominican law.’

Amid the countless instances of free-speech infringing catalogued by spiked’s Free Speech Now! campaign this year, this one stood out. Not because of its target - after all, Cyrus’s porny aesthetic and subtle-as-crotchless-knickers innuendo frequently prompts outpourings of ‘down with this sort of thing’. No, it stood out because it was so old-fashioned. The Dominican Republic didn’t ban Cyrus on grounds of offence or harm; it banned her on the basis that her act was immoral.

It was a decision redolent of the state censorship of old, of the type of decision-making that used to prevail across the West. It harked back to a time when the state intervened to ‘protect’ its citizens from a form of expression it deemed morally corrupting - decisions made, in short, for people’s own moral good, to preserve their virtue. Such censoring logic recalls, for instance, the classic definition in English law of criminal obscenity - things that ‘tend to deprave and corrupt’, as John Duke Coleridge put it in 1868. Or even more famously, it reminds us of the sentiments of Mervyn Griffith-Jones QC, who, during the Lady Chatterley’s Lover obscenity trial in 1960, tried to justify the continued ban on DH Lawrence’s piece of wheelbarrow erotica by asking the jurors: ‘Would you approve of your young sons, young daughters – because girls can read as well as boys – reading this book? Is it a book that you would have lying around in your own house? Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read?’

But by the 1960s, as the result of that obscenity trial showed, the state’s ability to tell citizens, especially the lower orders, what they should or shouldn’t be able to read or see or listen to had been thoroughly eroded. For a combination of profound historical reasons, from the rise of mass democracy and the collapse of Empire to the broader secularisation of everyday life, the moral authority Britain’s rulers once wielded with such draconian confidence appeared increasingly groundless. Censorship no longer solved problems for ruling elites; it asked questions of them. On what grounds was a judge to say that this or that was morally corrupting? Why should they be telling us what will deprave and debase?

Increasingly, the state lacked the moral resources to say what was corrupting and what was not, what ‘goes against morals and customs’, and what adheres to them. Be it divine reason or religion-drenched tradition, the sources of the ruling elite’s moral authority had run dry. Little wonder that, in the UK at least, the old institutions of state censorship withered at this point, too, from the abolition of the 1737 Licensing Act in 1968, which deprived the Lord Chamberlain of his role as theatre’s censor, to the transformation 15 years later of the old British Board of Film Censors into the British Board of Film Classification. State censorship, grounded on a sense that the state knew what was morally best for its citizens, seemed increasingly anachronistic.

But as the past couple of decades have demonstrated, there has been a twist to this tale of liberal progress. Censorship, far from disappearing, has changed form. What was once the prerogative of the state has become the prerogative of the individual. What was once grounded on morality, on what the state decreed to be right or wrong, moral or corrupting, is now grounded on emotions, on what the self decrees is hurtful or hateful.

Speech no longer corrupts, or causes the will to deviate from the path of virtue; speech now upsets feelings, and causes people emotional harm. It is not the old-fashioned rational self that’s deemed at risk here; it’s the new-fangled emotivist self. This is now the source of authority in the public (and increasingly the private) sphere, the new ground from which de facto censorship draws its authority, the new basis upon which individuals, and small groups, can legitimately claim that that public figure should be sacked, that TV show should be de-commissioned, that film should be withdrawn. Hurt feelings, harmed emotions and triggered trauma now provide the fuel for contemporary censorship - not morality.

Incredibly, as Free Speech Now! has reported, this historically new form of individuated, ‘I feel, therefore I am’, citizen censorship has become even more widespread during the course of 2014. Think of the way in which comedian Daniel O’Reilly’s comic persona, Dapper Laughs, was forced into retirement in November because, as one censor-campaigner put it, ‘he indirectly harmed others with sexism, casual misogyny and bullying’. The ‘harm’ here is neither physical nor moral - he was not punching people, or turning people away from the path of virtue. No, the harm is emotional; he is accused of making people feel bad.

Or think of the case of TV presenter Judy Finnigan in October. On lunchtime chat show Loose Women, Finnigan said that the rape for which footballer Ched Evans was imprisoned in 2012 ‘was not violent’ and that, following his release, we should ‘let him do his job’. The instantly tweeted response to Finnigan’s perfectly legitimate argument was neither reasoned, nor moralising. No, the mode of address was hyper-emotional: it was outrage. ‘How dare she?’; ‘Her comments make me feel sick’; ‘How could she say that?’. As women’s rights campaigner Jean Hatchet – who set up a petition calling for Evans to be banned – put it: ‘[Finnigan] is guilty of such internalised misogyny that I don’t think she was even aware of how hurtful and damaging her comments were.’ Finnigan was forced into making a public apology, not because a state censor decreed her comments corrupting, but because a group of fellow citizens claimed her words were ‘hurtful and damaging’. And that was enough to force her into effectively recanting in public.

In the US, we’ve seen numerous similar instances of public figures saying something other individuals claim to find offensive, and then either being pressured into contrition, or, if the apology doesn’t come, hounded into ignominy. Think, for example, of Kiss frontman Gene Simmons, who, having suggested that a lot of people claiming to be depressed today know nothing of real misery - ‘My mother was in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. I don’t want to hear fuck-all about “the world is a harsh place”’ - was urged to issue a public apology. As one Australian radio-station producer said of his subsequent decision to remove Kiss’s songs from his station’s playlists: ‘I put the challenge out to other stations across Australia and North America to also drop any of this nudnik’s songs until such time as he reconsiders his thoughtless and insensitive position.’ Again, note the language: Simmons’ argument wasn’t deemed immoral - Simmons wasn’t even said to be wrong. No, it was said to be ‘insensitive’; that is, it was said adversely to affect people’s feelings. Simmons, as is usually the way, apologised.

More striking still was the campaign to force Washington’s American football team, the Redskins, to change their name - a name they’ve had for over 80 years. Such was the clamour that in August the Washington Post editorial board announced that it will no longer use the word ‘Redskins’ in its sports coverage. And the basis for such an incredible move, the reasoning behind attempting to overturn decades of sporting tradition against the wishes of the vast majority of the American public: certain individuals and advocacy groups claim the use of Redskins, a name given to Native Americans by the European settlers, exacerbates, to use the words of one Republican Senator, ‘the pain of [the] brutal and shameful history’ of America’s treatment of its native population. As John Warren, chairman of the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi in Michigan and Indiana, put it: ‘The “R” word is… offensive. Athletes of colour should be very, very offended when they hear that word.’ The basis, then, for trying to force an American football team to change its name, the ground on which the claim is made, is the emotional power of the word, its ability supposedly to pique the feelings of native Americans. So far the Redskins have refused to back down.

On and on this merry-go-round of emotionally grounded censorship goes. The grievances are countless. It could be a comedian claiming Spurs fans’ self-identification as ‘Yids’ makes him feel bad; it could be US comedian-cum-presenter Bill Maher being disinvited from American colleges because a joke he made about Hamas was judged hurtful; it could even be the right-wing crackpots of the BNP claiming to have been emotionally wounded by an Islamist preacher - incredible but true. There is something infernal about this endless harm-crying, this perpetual round of ‘I feel hurt, therefore I censor’. And no wonder: there are as many potential sources of censorship as there are individuals with feelings.

So in 2015, we need to continue defending freedom of speech. But we also need to re-conceive what it means to be a citizen. We need to go beyond the emotionally dominated self, ever ready to publicise his or her hurt in the interests of shutting another up, and reclaim something of the robust, reasoning self of more enlightened times.


The ‘I believers’: a law unto themselves

In 2014, an official willingness to believe complainants damaged key legal principles

I can sum up the legal world of 2014 in two words. Many lawyers would understandably tell you, given all the talk of efficiency and cuts, that those words should be ‘legal aid’ - that is, the provision of legal assistance to those who can’t afford it. The endless consultations, judicial reviews, quashed decisions, court walkouts and furrowed legal brows showed that the impending cuts to legal aid carried out by Chris Grayling, the UK secretary of state for justice, were at the forefront of many legal minds. It was also a year in which the practical impact of these cuts began to be felt, with high-profile cases being stopped – albeit temporarily – because of a lack of any proper representation.

But I would choose two different words, two words that I think capture the ethos behind many of the most significant legal developments this year. These words also dominated the public discussion of crime,  particularly serious and high-profile allegations, and arguably established certain boundaries for the public discussion of the law in general. I think the two words that capture the dangerous direction in which our legal system is heading are: ‘I believe.’

That’s right, 2014 was a year in which more and more prosecutorial reform was geared towards ‘believing’ complainants rather than investigating allegations with objectivity. In the wider world, publicly proclaiming your belief in the veracity of particularly high-profile allegations around rape and sexual violence became a hallmark of progressive thinking. So it became all the rage in the US to declare ‘I believe Jackie’ when a rape complaint was made – by a woman known as ‘Jackie’ – against a group of students at the University of Virginia. Even when it transpired that the allegation was nonsense, the Washington Post said we should still believe ‘victims’, who are ‘hurt by incredulity’.

In the UK, 2014 was the year in which police officers began publicly declaring their ‘belief’ in allegations before any investigation had even begun. In December, the Metropolitan Police publicly declared that they ‘believed’ the allegation made by a complainant that three young boys had been murdered by a paedophile ring in Westminster. The fact that the police now feel able to declare their ‘belief’ in a complainant making the most serious of allegations, before the complainant’s evidence has been investigated, shows that the mantra of ‘I believe’ is becoming central to the mindset of prosecutors and how they see their own role in the justice system. Why investigate when it is so much easier just to believe?

The mantra of ‘I believe’ also perfectly captures the motivation behind the UK government’s Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which was established this summer in response to allegations of a paedophile ring at the heart of the British establishment. Never before has objectivity and judicial rigour been so readily shoved aside in deference to the need to believe child-abuse allegations. By November, two prospective chairs for the inquiry had been ditched because of revelations about their associations with the state. In other words, there was a danger the chairs might not say what the ‘survivors’ wanted them to say. The home secretary Theresa May, who has now disbanded the entire inquiry panel following further criticism from the ‘survivors’, constantly reiterated the need to believe, saying that the ‘confidence’ of these self-proclaimed survivors was ‘paramount’. Public inquiries used to be held to restore the confidence of the public in the workings of the state; in 2014 they became a forum for the state to express publicly its ‘belief’ in those it is accused of failing.

The Court of Appeal even adopted the mantra of ‘I believe’ when it ruled in December that vulnerable complainants should be made aware of cross-examination questions in advance, ostensibly to help remove the stress of giving evidence. It seems that even the second highest court in the land is keen to show its belief in a complainant’s evidence without the need to subject it to analysis and interrogation. Cross-examination exposes a complainant to the most rigorous scepticism that logic and common courtesy permit. It is the antithesis of blind belief,and rightly so.

Sadly, the trend towards believing allegations over investigating them is set to continue into 2015. Alongside the ongoing farce of May’s child-abuse inquiry, ex-director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer is set to make an appearance in parliament, having won a Labour Party candidacy in 2014. This was the same Starmer who, as DPP, said he would do away with the ‘combative, adversarial’ nature of our justice system to make the experience easier for victims. Given his recent departure from the Crown Prosecution Service, he is likely to be influential even in a shadow-cabinet position. In an interview this month, he said he had ‘unfinished business’ in the justice department. Expect further reforms to encourage the ‘belief’ in complainants at the expense of traditional safeguards against wrongful prosecution.

2014 was a bad year for the justice system because it was a bad year for truth. In 2015 we should strike back against the drive simply to ‘believe’ at all costs. We should refuse to accept the nonsensical and patronising deference that the police, prosecutorial authorities and even elected politicians have shown towards some complainants. And we should reaffirm the impartial but compassionate search for the truth as a fundamental value of our justice system.


Great-Grandma Florist Could Lose Livelihood for Saying No to This Wedding

A florist in Washington state is being sued for adhering to her Christian beliefs in declining to make flower arrangements for one couple’s wedding.

Before the lawsuit, Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Wash., had employed workers who identify as homosexual and sold floral arrangements to gay and lesbian customers.

One such customer turned out to be one of the men who would sue her for not being willing to be hired for their same-sex wedding.

Unlike businesses that face similar lawsuits for refusing to provide specific wedding-related services to gay and lesbian couples on religious grounds—among them bakers in Oregon and farmers in New York—Stutzman is being sued in both a professional and personal capacity.  That means she could lose everything she owns.

Here’s the Backstory

Barronelle Stutzman is a great-grandmother who has been in the floral industry for more than 40 years.

When Washington state legalized same-sex marriage in 2012, she decided that as a matter of conscience she could not participate in or further same-sex ceremonies by using her creative skills in connection with them.

So when two men, Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed, asked her to design flower arrangements for their wedding, Stutzman politely declined and referred them to other vendors in the area. Ingersoll had been a valued customer, she says, so it was difficult.

The state’s attorney general said Stutzman’s decision to stand by her Christian faith was in direct conflict with a state law ensuring freedom from discrimination.

The measure prohibits places of public accommodation–which officials say include Arlene’s Flowers–from discriminating on grounds of race, creed, sexual orientation, physical disability and so forth.

In April 2013, two months after Washington redefined marriage to include same-sex couples, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against Arlene’s Flowers and its owner.

Stutzman is represented by Kristen Waggoner, a lawyer at Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization dedicated to defending religious liberty.

But a few days later, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington filed a civil suit against Stutzman on behalf of Ingersoll and Freed.

The suits, since consolidated into Arlene’s Flowers v. Ferguson, were filed in Washington’s Benton County Superior Court.

Waggoner says it is unprecedented for the Washington attorney general’s office to sue a family business owner in a personal capacity unless that owner has committed acts of fraud or misrepresentation.

“They’re trying to set an example of her and punish her,” says Waggoner, noting the suit has the potential to cripple Stutzman’s livelihood. “She’s not wealthy, so common sense would tell you that it’s going to hurt pretty bad.”


A Hopelessly Biased Screed Against Alleged Bias

Newsweek has outdone itself in its pre-Christmas issue with a vitriolic assassination of the Bible, under the title "The Bible: So Misunderstood It's a Sin," by Kurt Eichenwald.

This isn't, by any measure, a balanced piece. It doesn't approach fairness. Eichenwald doesn't even attempt to hide his bias, though he seems oblivious to how it compromises his own fairness and objectivity and how hypocritical he is in condemning Bible believers for allegedly allowing their biases to influence them.

It is an unusually long article, by which one might infer that Eichenwald and the magazine consider the subject a matter of major importance that must be addressed.

The piece contains far too many misguided assertions to attempt to refute in a short column. For the opposite viewpoint about the integrity and authority of the Bible, I shamelessly refer you to my book "Jesus on Trial," wherein I cover, in detail, a great percentage of the arguments he makes. My limited purpose here is to illustrate that Eichenwald is woefully guilty of that for which he condemns us Bible thumpers.

The thrust of Eichenwald's screed seems to be that many Christians are an evil and ignorant lot who distort the Bible to justify their alleged hatred and bigotry. He's bothered by Christians cherry-picking Scripture, yet his entire diatribe is a barely disguised clinic in cherry-picking.

Read the article for yourself and see whether you come away with the impression that Eichenwald has much firsthand familiarity with actual Christians -- as opposed to the knuckle-dragging caricature he obviously envisions.

He tells us that Christians "wave their Bibles at passersby, screaming their condemnations of homosexuals."

Let me ask you fellow Christians: How many Christians have you ever seen engaging in such behavior, other than, say, those in a rerun of an old television series, such as "Kojak" or "Starsky & Hutch," shot in New York City?

He says, "They are God's frauds, cafeteria Christians who pick and choose which Bible verses they heed with less care than they exercise in selecting side orders for lunch."

I have attended many church services over the years, and I can attest that the more the church respects the Bible as the word of God the less it chooses passages selectively to support messages. Pastors at my church and countless others often preach on passages that might seem problematic at first glance. They don't cherry-pick Scripture. They tackle it and do their very best to explain it to their engaged congregations.

It seems Eichenwald's real beef is with political conservatives, who he apparently believes put too much stock in certain passages to justify their barbarian beliefs and practices. They are people who "fall on their knees, worshipping at the base of granite monuments to the Ten Commandments while demanding prayer in school. They appeal to God to save America from their political opponents, mostly Democrats. They gather in football stadiums by the thousands to pray for the country's salvation." Horrors! They believe "creationism should be taught in schools."

He insists that Newsweek's purpose is not to advance a certain theology but "to shine a light on a book that has been abused by people who claim to revere it but don't read it, in the process creating misery for others."

What does he mean by this, you ask?

He writes, "When the illiteracy of self-proclaimed Biblical literalists leads parents to banish children from their homes, when it sets neighbor against neighbor, when it engenders hate and condemnation, when it impedes science and undermines intellectual advancement, the topic has become too important for Americans to ignore."

Talk about unsubstantiated smears -- the very kind Eichenwald seems to be indicting. Where do Christians banish children from their homes for any reason, much less based on Bible verses? How does so-called biblical illiteracy turn neighbors against each other? If people are following Scripture, they will behave precisely the opposite of this description, and I know of no serious Christian who will argue otherwise.

Neither the Bible nor any authentic Christians I know use Scripture to engender hate and condemnation. Christians are admonished to hate sins, not sinners -- and we are all sinners. Every last one of us.

And the glib slander that we employ Scripture to impede science and undermine intellectual advancement is as fraudulent as it is outrageous.

Perhaps some Christians advocate that public schools teach biblical creationism. But it is obvious to me that Eichenwald is deliberately conflating them with those of us who believe that public schools should teach information about scientific discoveries that point to intelligent design and that we ought to let the science and facts speak for themselves, not selectively exclude scientific information if it happens to coincide with the biblical worldview.

Eichenwald really ought to get out more if he believes that Christians have a desire to undermine intellectual advancement. The Bible -- the actual Bible, not the mythical one to which Eichenwald alludes -- exhorts us to love the Lord with all of our minds. It emphasizes the importance of our acquiring wisdom. It teaches that we are created in the image of an infinitely intelligent God, whose wisdom we are to endeavor to plumb.

I hope that readers of this article will see through Eichenwald's bias and agenda and discover for themselves the abundant information that flatly contradicts or strongly refutes most of the assertions he makes and conclusions he draws.

It is most ironic that Eichenwald's own biases irredeemably blur the lens through which he seeks to expose the biases of others.



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

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

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


30 December, 2014

Beware Britain's new relationship police

If ‘controlling behaviour’ is made a criminal offence, no relationship is safe

I have always thought that otherwise sensible people can turn into complete nutcases around their partners. Relatively mellow people can become obsessed with the most insignificant nonsense when it involves their other half. This is because relationships involve the development of a peculiar, often pretty weird dynamic, which often only makes sense to those involved. I thought this was all pretty normal and had been part and parcel of relationships since the dawn of time. Last week, the UK government made it clear that it thinks I am wrong.

UK home secretary Theresa May announced that a new offence of ‘controlling and coercive behaviour’ is to be introduced to combat the threat of ‘extreme psychological and emotional abuse’ within relationships. Examples of this so-called abuse include: ‘preventing the victim from having friendships or hobbies; refusing them access to money; and determining many aspects of their everyday life.’ The new offence follows the government’s expansion of the official definition of domestic violence in 2013 to include emotional and psychological harm (under the new category of ‘domestic abuse’).

The latest move was justified on the basis of a consultation over the summer. The government said that 85 per cent of those consulted were in favour of reforming the law on domestic violence. But reading the consultation paper presents a different story. Firstly, only around 750 people responded. And the headline 85 per cent who responded positively did so to the absurdly broad question, ‘Does the law do enough to protect the victims of domestic violence?’. Responses to this question could just as easily reflect public dissatisfaction with the justice system and the way the law is enacted in general, rather than dissatisfaction with the specific law relating to domestic violence. When asked whether a new offence of ‘controlling or coercive behaviour’ would help protect potential victims, only 55 per cent of respondents said ‘yes’. So this new offence is in fact being introduced because around 330 people thought it would be a good idea.

But those 330 people are in the minority. Reaction to domestic-violence law reform has been almost exclusively negative. Women’s charity Refuge said the new offence would do little to assist victims, and further expanding the definition of domestic violence could detract attention from securing prosecutions on the basis of the law that already exists. Given that the offence would not be a serious one, it would necessarily be a short-term fix, meaning that a court would have limited powers to deal with a genuine perpetrator of domestic violence.

Many also pointed out that the new offence does little to change the law as it exists at the moment. The law can already prosecute individuals where their behaviour causes emotional or psychological harm. The statute books already prohibit ‘harassment’, which requires only that behaviour causes alarm or distress. And the offence of ‘stalking’ can lead to the prosecution of individuals for repeat attempts to monitor and control people. It is not at all clear what new forms of behaviour would be caught under the new law that could not have been prosecuted under the old law.

What the reform does is focus official attention on what are often normal aspects of people’s relationships. A relationship, by its very nature, involves ‘coercive and controlling behaviour’. After all, if your partner said he or she wanted to get involved in bare-knuckle boxing, it may not be objectionable to try to dissuade them against doing so, particularly if you like the shape of his or her face. I often control when and where my partner eats – partly because we sometimes like to eat together. It would be extremely hard to arrange a meal if both of us simply ate whenever we felt like it.

Of course, advocates of the new offence will dismiss the above examples as making light of the seriously controlling dynamics that they say exist within ‘problematic’ relationships. But is the line ever crystal clear? While the government might say that the dividing line between the normal to and fro of a relationship and criminal ‘control’ will be clear, it is likely that the reality will be far more blurred. In fact, it will fall to police officers and the Crown Prosecution Service to decide what is normal relationship behaviour and what is not. Absurdly, it will be prosecutors, no doubt fixated on hitting the numerous conviction targets which govern domestic-violence policing, who will decide what is okay within a particular relationship.

The new offence is part of a dangerous trend. The government thinks it can use the law to legislate domestic violence out of existence. By criminalising more and more aspects of people’s relationships, it shows that it thinks the justice system can magically intervene to prevent even the possibility of violence within relationships. This is fantastical and dangerous. We have to accept that with the free and intimate act of entering into a relationship comes some responsibility for deciding what constitutes the boundaries of mutually acceptable behaviour. The new law does little to protect real victims, but a lot to invite the police to regulate one of the most intimate areas of our private lives.


250,000 people turn out to support Boxing Day hunts

Renewed calls for fox hunting ban to be repealed 

More than a quarter of a million people are believed to have turned out to support the traditional Boxing Day Hunt, amid renewed calls for the fox hunting ban to be lifted.

Hunt members and countryside groups welcomed the Conservative Party’s plans, disclosed by the Telegraph, to include a manifesto pledge promising to offer MPs a free vote on repealing the hunting ban if it wins the general election.

Prince Charles’s favourite hunt, the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt, reported thousands more supporters than usual attending and in defiant mood, 10 years on since the ban was imposed.

Jo Aldridge, spokesman for the hunt, said: “We normally get a crowd of maybe 5,000 people but this year it’s extraordinary; we reckon somewhere in excess of 7,000 people.”

She said she believed momentum was building to push for a repeal of the Act. “It’s 10 years since the ban, there’s an election coming up and people are being defiant and determined,” she said.

“We have got to get a change of law and a government that can produce a change of law. If it’s a Conservative manifesto pledge that would be a very good thing.”

She claimed the ban was “nothing to do with animal welfare and hasn’t saved the life of a single fox.”

Close to 300 hunts are thought to have taken place around the country on Boxing Day, using trail hunting – where a trail is laid, often using fox urine, to create a scent for the hounds to follow.

Charlotte Cooper, spokesman for the Countryside Alliance, said there would have been about 250,000 people out to support the hunts, boosted by “lovely weather” in parts of the country.

She welcomed the Conservatives’ manifesto plans. “We want to open up a dialogue about how the Hunting Act can be repealed or improved,” she said. “A first step would be a free vote to see whether there is appetite.

“We think the whole law needs to be thrown out. We are happy for hunting to be regulated but we feel the Hunting Act as it’s written has a lot of inconsistencies, is very difficult for even judges to fathom.”

The Hunting Act prevents chasing or killing foxes with packs of hounds. A maximum of two hounds may be used to flush out a fox ahead of shooting it.

“In places like the uplands of Wales where you’ve got a lot of forest and enormous spaces in which you’re trying to track a fox it’s just impossible – there’s no way you can do it with just two hounds,” Ms Cooper said.

The Conservatives pledged in their 2005 and 2010 manifestos to offer a free vote on a repeal. While the Coalition agreement indicated it would do so, no vote has been forthcoming.

Ms Cooper said this was “disappointing but understandable”. “If we had had a Tory government it is likely we would have had a vote but it’s difficult working in a Coalition. We understand we are not the top of the priority list, but we still think we are an important part of the countryside and this a problem.”

In Thornbury, south Glos., hundreds of people turned out to watch the pre-hunt parade by an estimated 50 riders or more from the Berkeley Hunt, the oldest pack of foxhounds in the country.

Sue Ravenhill-Handley, 47, a hunt subscriber from Charfield, said the Tory pledge would “absolutely be a vote winner”. "It has been a let-down, with it not already been done, but you have to negotiate. That is the nature of coalitions," she said.

Haydn Jones, 50, treasurer of the hunt, said: “Hunting is very important, not just to rural people - it's about liberty. There were more important issues before; I understand that hunting had to wait.

"They have got the economy back in shape, so now they can look at other issues."

But Lorraine Fox of the “Blue Fox” group of Conservatives Against Fox Hunting warned that the repeal campaign was “toxic to the perception of the Conservative Party”.

“For too long, the party leadership has appeared to be swayed by the hunting lobby rather than representing the majority of the public’s support for the ban on hunting with dogs,” she said.

The RSPCA said that chasing and killing live animals with dogs was “a barbaric and outdated pastime and has no place in modern Britain”.

A spokesman said: “The fact remains that it is only a tiny minority of people who, seek a return to cruelty.”

Polling carried out by IPSOS Mori for the RSPCA, League Against Cruel Sports and IFAW late in 2013 found that 80 per cent of people in Britain believe fox hunting should remain illegal.


Immigration beats economy as number one worry for UK voters

Pollsters say Britain is more concerned about migrants than money for the first time since 2010

Immigration is now consistently the most important political issue of concern to voters, pollsters have revealed.

Over the past year it has moved ahead of the economy as the British public’s top priority, according to YouGov.

Since May, voters have put it above or tied with the economy in every survey conducted by the organisation.

At one point, in September, it was selected by 58 per cent of voters as one of the three most important issues for the country while only 48 per cent had the economy in their top three.

YouGov chose ‘Immigration becoming the public’s most important issue’ as one of its top five public opinion trends of 2014.

Will Dahlgreen, from YouGov, said: ‘From May to December immigration was seen as the most important issue facing the country, except for on three occasions when it was tied with the economy.

‘Although immigration began to narrow the gap at the end of 2013, 2014 is the first year since 2010 when the economy has not been the top issue.

‘Immigration had an average lead of one point over the whole year, compared to a deficit of 18 in 2013 and 32 in 2012.’

Polling data also showed Europe has increased hugely as an issue of concern over recent years, from just 7 per cent of voters choosing it as an issue in June 2010 to 25 per cent in October this year.

In recent months, as both immigration and Europe have soared as issues of concern, Ukip has moved up in the polls. In May it triumphed in the European elections, winning 4.3million votes and beating Labour into second place and the Tories into third.

Ukip has also won two House of Commons by-elections in Rochester and Clacton after MPs Mark Reckless and Douglas Carswell defected from the Conservatives.

David Cameron has responded to the rise of Ukip by promising to stop EU migrants from claiming a raft of in-work benefits, including tax credits, until they have paid into the system for four years.

Both David Cameron and Ed Miliband have responded to the rise of Ukip by strengthening their positions on immigration
David Cameron takes tough stance on immigration

Ed Miliband has also attempted to toughen Labour’s line. But the party was embarrassed recently when an internal party document emerged which told activists to ‘move the conversation on’ when voters ask them about immigration.

Crossbench peer Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of the MigrationWatch think tank, said: ‘These are remarkable findings. It’s simply not possible for the political class to remain in denial any longer.

‘Suggestions that those who are canvassing should simply change the subject are now clearly absurd. The public want effective answers on immigration and will see through attempts to dodge the issue.’

Labour MP for Rochdale Simon Danczuk said politicians have been too slow to recognise immigration as an issue. He said he would like to see a stronger line from Labour on border controls and lowering migrant numbers.

He said: ‘People have been mentioning immigration to me a lot on the doorstep, people from all different backgrounds including ethnic minorities, working class and middle class people. People feel strongly about it.’

The polling data shows how other issues have risen up the polls in the past four years. Welfare did not feature as a significant issue in 2010, but by October this year was chosen by 25 per cent of voters.

Health has increased significantly as a concern to voters, while crime has declined sharply. Other trends highlighted by the pollster were the rising support for the Greens who finished the year tied with the Lib Dems on 7 per cent.

It also pointed to Ed Miliband’s falling support, with one poll at the end of October registering him as less popular than Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg.

YouGov also found that voters’ perceptions of how well the economy is doing peaked in August.


Is science showing there really is a God?

IN 1966 Time magazine ran a cover story asking: Is God Dead? Many have accepted the cultural narrative that he’s obsolete — that as science progresses, there is less need for a “God” to explain the universe. Yet it turns out that the rumours of God’s death were premature. More amazing is that the relatively recent case for his existence comes from a surprising place — science itself.

Here’s the story: The same year Time featured the now-famous headline, the astronomer Carl Sagan announced that there were two important criteria for a planet to support life: The right kind of star, and a planet the right distance from that star. Given the roughly octillion — 1 followed by 24 zeros — planets in the universe, there should have been about septillion — 1 followed by 21 zeros — planets capable of supporting life.

With such spectacular odds, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, a large, expensive collection of private and publicly funded projects launched in the 1960s, was sure to turn up something soon. Scientists listened with a vast radio telescopic network for signals that resembled coded intelligence and were not merely random. But as years passed, the silence from the rest of the universe was deafening. Congress defunded SETI in 1993, but the search continues with private funds. As of 2014, researches have discovered precisely bubkis — 0 followed by nothing.

What happened? As our knowledge of the universe increased, it became clear that there were far more factors necessary for life than Sagan supposed. His two parameters grew to 10 and then 20 and then 50, and so the number of potentially life-supporting planets decreased accordingly. The number dropped to a few thousand planets and kept on plummeting.

Even SETI proponents acknowledged the problem. Peter Schenkel wrote in a 2006 piece for Skeptical Inquirer magazine: “In light of new findings and insights, it seems appropriate to put excessive euphoria to rest ... We should quietly admit that the early estimates ... may no longer be tenable.”

As factors continued to be discovered, the number of possible planets hit zero, and kept going. In other words, the odds turned against any planet in the universe supporting life, including this one. Probability said that even we shouldn’t be here.

Today there are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life — every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart. Without a massive planet like Jupiter nearby, whose gravity will draw away asteroids, a thousand times as many would hit Earth’s surface. The odds against life in the universe are simply astonishing.

Yet here we are, not only existing, but talking about existing. What can account for it? Can every one of those many parameters have been perfect by accident? At what point is it fair to admit that science suggests that we cannot be the result of random forces? Doesn’t assuming that an intelligence created these perfect conditions require far less faith than believing that a life-sustaining Earth just happened to beat the inconceivable odds to come into being?

There’s more. The finetuning necessary for life to exist on a planet is nothing compared with the finetuning required for the universe to exist at all. For example, astrophysicists now know that the values of the four fundamental forces — gravity, the electromagnetic force, and the “strong” and “weak” nuclear forces — were determined less than one millionth of a second after the big bang. Alter any one value and the universe could not exist. For instance, if the ratio between the nuclear strong force and the electromagnetic force had been off by the tiniest fraction of the tiniest fraction — by even one part in 100,000,000,000,000,000 — then no stars could have ever formed at all. Feel free to gulp.

Multiply that single parameter by all the other necessary conditions, and the odds against the universe existing are so heart-stoppingly astronomical that the notion that it all “just happened” defies common sense. It would be like tossing a coin and having it come up heads 10 quintillion times in a row. Really?

Fred Hoyle, the astronomer who coined the term “big bang,” said that his atheism was “greatly shaken” at these developments. He later wrote that “a commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology ... The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

Theoretical physicist Paul Davies has said that “the appearance of design is overwhelming” and Oxford professor Dr. John Lennox has said “the more we get to know about our universe, the more the hypothesis that there is a Creator ... gains in credibility as the best explanation of why we are here.”

The greatest miracle of all time, without any close seconds, is the universe. It is the miracle of all miracles, one that ineluctably points with the combined brightness of every star to something — or Someone — beyond itself



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

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

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


29 December, 2014

Black fabulist ‘Trolls Christians’ On Christmas Day — But He Got His Facts Wrong  -- again

In the second article below, Tracinski summarizes Tyson: "The shallow guru of fake geek culture who has a habit of playing fast and loose with the facts".  See also here

De Grassy Knoll Tyson is more showman than scientist, and pretty shallow as either.  He has some minor erudition but because he is black, that makes him a great scientist, according to liberals. His popularity depends on his Leftist and Warmist lean, however.  If he leant Right, he'd be an "Uncle Tom".

Leave it to famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson to gleefully troll Christians, via Twitter, on Christmas. But for once, one of the smartest men alive actually got his facts wrong.

On Christmas morning, Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is the director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium and the host of Cosmos, tweeted something intended to rile up believers who were celebrating the holiday.

“On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642.”

Predictably, Tyson’s tweet set off an internet firestorm, as some of his more controversial tweets are apt to do. It was retweeted close to 15,000 times in less than an hour, and has been retweeted a total of nearly 60,000 times. His original tweet, however, elicited plenty of negative reaction.

“Hi @neiltyson, trolling Christians on Dec 25 is so EDGY. Please let me know when you troll Muslims on Ramadan. Merry Christmas!” wrote one Twitter user.

Another wrote, “Looking fwd to witty jabs during the spiritual days of Islam, Buddhism, Judaism etc. Or is it reserved for the easiest target?”

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s tweet was intended to play on the fact that famed physicist Newton is believed to have been born on December 25, while Jesus Christ, whose birth is celebrated worldwide by Christians on December 25, was almost certainly not born on that particular date. In fact, most early theologians believe that Jesus was actually born in the spring, but that the December 25 date may have been adopted by early Christians to coincide with the existing pagan festivals such as the Winter Solstice in order to convert people.

And although Tyson probably cares very little that he upset many Christians — as that was probably his actual intent — the truth is, his own tweet was factually incorrect.

It turns out that Newton was born during a period in which England used a different calendar from the rest of Europe. For around 150 years, England used the Julian calendar, a less accurate calendar version that lagged behind the much more accurate (and still used today) Gregorian calendar. The Julian calendar lags ten days behind the Gregorian calendar, because unlike its more accurate counterpart, the Julian calendar used a faulty method for accounting for leap years.

What this means is that, while in England, Newton was said to be born on December 25, 1642, in the rest of the world, using the accurate dating method, he was actually born on January 4, 1643.


Ironically, although Neil deGrasse Tyson has long been open about his attitude towards organized religion, Isaac Newton devoted a great deal of his later life to theology and the interpretation of biblical prophecies. So it seems as though Tyson cannot possibly think that all Christians are clueless.


Confessions Of A Reluctant Culture Warrior

By Robert Tracinski

I’ve recently been working on a review of the top stories of 2014, which gives me a chance to look back at everything I’ve written and get a sense of what was really important this year, and also of how good a job I did of responding to those big stories.

What surprised me this year was seeing what took one of the top spots—right in there between the ugly return of racial politics and the rise of the Islamic State (amidst the collapse of President Obama’s foreign policy). It was: the “culture wars,” the running battles over issues like abortion, religious freedom, and radical feminism.

For most of my career as a writer, I have been reluctant to join in the “culture wars,” mostly because I don’t fit into either of the two opposing camps. As an atheist, I’m not longing for a return to traditional religious morality, but as an individualist, I’ve never supported the weird victim-group crusades of the left.

I have mostly dedicated myself to making the case for smaller government, pointing out the failure of the welfare state, and keeping the environmentalists from shutting down industrial civilization—little things like that. Oh, and also war—not the “culture war,” but war war, the kind where people are actually trying to kill us.

So for the most part, my position on an issue like gay marriage could be summed up as: “Can we please talk about something else now?”

Partly, this comes from my small-government outlook, which holds that some things—indeed, most things, and virtually all of the really important things—should be outside the realm of politics. That definitely includes other people’s sex lives, about which I would like to know a good deal less than is fashionable at the moment.

But this year, I discovered that while I might not be interested in the culture war, the culture war is interested in me. It’s interested in all of us.

This is the year when we were served noticed that we won’t be allowed to stand on the sidelines, because we will not be allowed to think differently from the left.

How did we find this out? First, they came for the Christians, in legal cases meant to force conservative believers to provide funding for abortifacient contraceptives and to participate in gay marriage ceremonies.

I laid out the argument for why an atheist would fight to the death for the religious freedom of Christians.

History shows that the only way to fight for freedom of thought is to defend it early, when it comes under threat for others—even people you strongly disagree with, even people you despise. So I’m willing to fight for it for people who are much worse, by my standards, than your average Christian.

It’s like the old poem from Pastor Niemoller, except this time it’s: “First they came for the Christians.” I don’t see the threat of coercion as something being done to those backward Christians over there. I see it as something that could just as easily be done to me.

And it will be, judging from the principles that have been laid down in the campaign against Arizona’s religious liberty law and in the Supreme Court hearings in the Hobby Lobby case.
In the one real comment I had been prevailed upon to make about gay marriage in the past—so long ago that I can’t even give you a Web link for it—I explained my ambivalence by citing my concern that the left was using the issue to secure the imprimatur of the state for homosexual relationships so they could then use anti-discrimination laws as a bludgeon against religious holdouts.

That is exactly what has happened this year with the launch of a new secular inquisition that would even require conservative Christian ministers to officiate gay weddings.

It may be hard to remember now, but not very long ago there were compromise proposals for same-sex “civil unions” that were legally equivalent to marriage but under a different name. Gay rights activists consciously rejected these unions in order to specifically demand the use of the term “marriage,” insisting that the state legally recognize and enforce the equality of these marriages with old-fashioned, outmoded heterosexual ones….

The theory behind gay marriage, in short, was the theory behind the entire secular left: society and the state are the all-powerful forces on which the life of the individual depends, and the most important political task—indeed, the most important task in life—is getting this irresistible power on your side. Once you gain social and political power, you hold on to it by making your preferred views mandatory, a catechism everyone must affirm, while suppressing all heretical views. In this case, to gain social acceptance of homosexuality, you make the affirmation of gay marriages mandatory while officially suppressing any dissenting religious views.

The basic problem with the left’s conception of freedom is that it doesn’t really have one.

The left’s operational concept of freedom is that you are allowed to do and say what you like—so long as you stay within a certain proscribed window of socially acceptable deviation. The purpose of the gay marriage campaign is simply to change the parameters of that window, extending it to include the gay, the queer, the transgendered—and to exclude anyone who thinks that homosexuality is a sin or who wants to preserve the traditional concept of marriage. Those people are declared outside the protection of the law and in fact will have the full weight of the law bear down upon them until they recant their socially unacceptable views.

The point is not whether you agree about which views are or should be socially acceptable. The point is that this is not a concept of freedom. It’s a regime of state-controlled ideas, softened by an amorphous zone of official tolerance.

That’s the only reason I’m interested in this controversy. My own stance on gay marriage can be summed as: “whatever.” I would feel no need to say anything about it, if not for the insistence on the part of gay marriage advocates that any dissenters must be forced to submit.

It turns out we were right to be concerned. This year saw the launch of a whole new wave of “political correctness,” heralded by a bizarre little incident known as “ShirtStorm.” This was the brief controversy over a British scientist who was harangued for his “misogyny” because he supervised the landing of a space probe on a comet—a huge scientific achievement—while wearing a shirt that was considered offensive to feminists.

I drew a few important lessons from this case, including the fact that “They’re not just going after the frat boys.”

To be targeted by accusations of misogyny, you don’t have to be a beer-chugging “bro” who spends his Spring break judging wet T-shirt contests. Now they’re coming after the geeks and yes, even the hipsters.

So first they came for the Christians, then they came for the geeks, then for the hipsters. Moreover, “The new orthodoxy is total.”

This is “political correctness” in its purest, original form: “the personal is the political.” There is no area of life where proper behavior and even esthetic taste cannot be dictated by political concerns. You need to be told what you can wear, what songs you can listen to, what video games you can play (which, so far as I can tell, is one of the issues in GamerGate), what you are allowed to say to a woman as she walks down the street (if you are allowed to say anything at all), and so on.

GamerGate, by the way, is one story I have not commented on this year, since I am not a “gamer” and haven’t been since the days when you downloaded “Doom” from a 3.5-inch floppy disc, so I’ve been looking in as an outsider, trying to get a handle on what’s going on in the subculture of video games. From what I’ve been able to piece together, GamerGate is a consumer revolt against game journalists and reviewers who keep trying to foist the agenda of “social justice warriors” onto their readers.

I suppose I had better familiarize myself with the finer points, because next up we have “MetalGate“—an attempt to domesticate Heavy Metal music under the politically correct yoke.

And they’re going after your kids, too, complaining about “gendered toys.” Which brings us to the crazy new frontier of modern feminism, including a prudish new code of sexual conduct for University of California campuses which seems “as if it were drafted by celibate monks,” as I wrote.

It all smacks of a prudish neo-Victorianism, in which sexual desire is viewed as suspect and dangerous—but with a modern feminist twist: male sexual desire is suspect and dangerous.

The Sexual Revolution has turned out to be a weird reverse image of Puritanism. The counterculture retained all the same basic premises—that sex is dirty, disgusting, a purely materialistic act with no psychological or spiritual meaning—except that they were for it. So they swept away the old-fashioned codes of chivalry, eliminated the role of the university as a chaperone in loco parentis, and created a campus culture of drunken one-night stands. Now they have discovered that this culture has a dangerous dark side, particularly for young women, and they’re scrambling to create a new, modernized system of prudery.

It’s not just me who has noticed the trend this year. Feminists are hailing this as “the year women got even,” which gives you a sense for the kind of power-play going on here.

If this was also the year that journalism was completely overtaken by the mania to preserve a “narrative” at the expense of the facts—most notoriously, in the University of Virginia rape hoax—feminism often provided the narrative they were trying to preserve.

So this was the year when we learned that we can’t sit out the “culture war,” because they’re bringing it to us, and every niggling little aspect of our lives will now be redesigned to make us more tractable.

But it’s also the year that I realized there is a good reason to jump into the culture war with both feet. The very thing that makes many of us reluctant to join the battle—the fact that we don’t fit in neatly with either side—is the reason we’re desperately needed.

In laying out the ideas that I would most like readers on the right to learn from Ayn Rand, I realized one of the most important items was “a third alternative in the culture wars.”

The biggest thing that prevents people from giving a fair reading to Ayn Rand’s books is the fact that she doesn’t cooperate with a lot of the standard categories we’re usually offered… Probably the most important category she defied is captured in the expression, “If God is dead, all things are permitted.” Which means: if there is no religious basis for morality, then everything is subjective.

The cultural left basically accepts this alternative and sides with subjectivism (when they’re not overcompensating by careening back toward their own neo-Puritan code of political correctness). Then the religious right responds by saying that the only way to stem the tide of “anything goes” is to return to that old time religion.

This leaves a lot of people looking for a third alternative. As an advocate of a secular morality, that’s precisely what Ayn Rand offered.

This is why I have focused a lot of effort specifically on trying to reclaim the cultural high ground of science, which has been thoroughly and undeservedly claimed by the left. Hence my contributions to The Federalist‘s campaign to expose Neil deGrasse Tyson, the shallow guru of fake geek culture who has a habit of playing fast and loose with the facts.

To talk loudly about fidelity to facts, while borrowing the journalists’ mantra of “fake but accurate,” sends the message that facts don’t really matter. What matters is the theater of being pro-evidence and pro-science and of looking down on your opponents as ignorant, anti-science dolts.

If Tyson seems bemused about criticism of his fabrications and doesn’t take it seriously, he’s telling us that he sees himself as a showman. We’re not supposed to ask whether the events he talks about are real, fictional, or embellished, we’re just supposed to enjoy the show.

It’s that crucial scientific principle of suspension of disbelief.
The goal here is to reclaim science and the code of rationality on behalf of freedom and individualism, which is the only true creed of the “geeks.”

Geeks—the real ones, not the hipster wannabes—have spent a lot of their lives marginalized and ignored. They don’t fit in. They like different things, they think and talk in different ways, they look at the world differently. And precisely because of this, they come up with new ideas that nobody else comes up with.

The eccentric inventor and offbeat thinker is one of the archetypes of American individualism. We’re outsiders, we don’t follow the usual rules, and we aim to misbehave. So why shouldn’t we be skeptical of a paternalistic state?

Many of us are, of course. Given my own interests, at least half of my friends with solid geek credentials are also Objectivists. After all, Atlas Shrugged is another book that appeals to intelligent young nonconformists. But we’re hoping for the day when the rest of our friends finally realize where they really belong.

This is why I’ve written far more about the culture war this year than I ever expected (and the excerpts above are just a sampling). It has become an urgent necessity to push back against the resurgence of totalizing political correctness, to carve out room for the freedom to disagree—and to lay down the outlines of what a third alternative in the culture war looks like.

Because after 2014, nobody gets to sit this one out.


The year of the cultural colonialist

In 2014, forcing artists to be politically obedient was all the rage

Videogames are too violent! Pop music is degrading to women! Filmmakers are pushing ‘the wrong kind of message’! Over the past 12 months these have been the rallying cries of the cultural elite. And it’s shocking how seriously this spew has been taken. Hadn’t we settled all this? People aren’t stupid. Art isn’t ‘corrupting’. We can handle it, thanks. But now it seems the cultural sphere has been flux-capacitored back to the 1980s. Sex-and-violence panics about film, TV, pop music and videogames – dolled up in modern ‘progressive’ moralism – were all the rage in 2014.

We saw this when Gone Girl, a star-studded crime-thriller movie, was spat on by the great and good for having the temerity to feature a female character who framed another character for rape. This pulpy (and actually pretty decent) thriller was ‘recycling…rape myths’, said one commentator. More recently, it was the turn of that master of corridor dialogue, Aaron Sorkin. Sorkin’s TV show, The Newsroom, was pilloried for featuring a scene in which one character admitted that he believed the male defendant in a rape case. This, too, was slammed as a step too far - ‘the Hollywood screenwriter appears to be telling victims not to pursue their allegations’, claimed one writer, in something of an Olympian logical jump. And, at the greasier end of the cultural spectrum, there was #GamerGate, a still-rumbling gamer rebellion against accusations that the games industry is misogynistic, sparked by some blogposts about foul play in games journalism.

There’s nothing more annoying than having the same argument over and over again. Just when you thought artistic freedom had won out over the kneejerk blue-rinse brigade, we’ve been plunged back into discussions about age classifications for pop music and tighter classification of films.

If the Parents’ Music Resource Center (PMRC), the 1980s think-of-the-children outfit for whom we have to thank for ‘Parental Advisory’ stickers, was about today it would be a trendy, feminist-hued political organisation chaired by Jessica Valenti. The patronising and angst-ridden logic of old conservatives has become mainstream, leftish and ‘radical’.

But there is something about 2014’s cultural moralists that sets them apart. Because while the Mary Whitehouses of the past shouted ‘ban this filth’, the Mary Whitehouses of today want to take culture and shape it for their own purposes. They don’t bother with outright censorship – that’s still, just about, a dirty word. They want to straighten culture’s act up. They want to nag it and finger-wag it into a nice, socially acceptable form. They want to stake their flag in the savage world of culture and give the natives a lesson in piety. This was not the year of the cultural censor. This was the year of the cultural colonialist.

This trend was best summed up by Brianna Wu, a games developer and one of the leading anti-#GamerGate missionaries. When asked by the BBC what ‘something’ she was insisting must be done, she said: ‘It’s not like I’m advocating that we ban Call of Duty or anything silly like that. [What] I’m asking is for companies to… make sure they portray women in their games in a socially responsible way.’ It’s a seemingly well-meaning but actually quite chilling sentiment. And it feeds into an unedifying process by which artists are being elevated and trashed purely on the basis of how ‘responsible’ their work is.

This year’s turning on Eminem, the loveable psychopath of the rap world, has been a case in point. Once cherished by left-leaning commentators for his shock-tactic irreverence, rapping about killing his wife and stashing her body in the trunk and, in the process, sticking a much-needed two fingers up at buttoned-up ‘white America’, he’s now become a pariah. Recent battle raps, in which he’s talked about punching purry popster Lana Del Rey in the face and forcing himself on Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, have been slammed as misogynistic and dangerous. The license he was once given to say the unsayable and dramatise the darkest, most disturbing sides of his psyche has been revoked.

Then there’s the lame celebration of Beyoncé. After years of dodging the tag ‘feminist’, she recently grabbed it with both hands, sampling an excerpt from a TED talk given by Nigerian feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on a new track and performing the song at the VMAs with the word ‘FEMINIST’ lit up behind her. After years of brow-furrowing about whether Bey’s ‘jelly’ was helping or hindering the feminist cause, feminist observers now lionised her. Well, for a bit, at least…

This new trend stems from a wider culture of philistinism. The logic of arts funding applications seems to have permeated cultural life. Art is no longer judged on its own terms. Instead it is an artist’s social responsibility, the pertinence of their work to the political and cultural concerns of the day, that matters. It’s what the novelist Howard Jacobson warned of in 2005, when, in the wake of 9/11, he was perturbed by the shallow art that was celebrated for, in some way, ‘dealing with’ the ‘war on terror’. ‘We are in a new dark age of the imagination’, he wrote. ‘Either we refuse the idea of art altogether… or we confer integrity on it from outside, allowing it to be art only by virtue of the pre-determined importance of the subject matter, or the acceptability of its attitudes. This is a species of censorship to which we have all acceded.’

In 2014, the philistinism Jacobson warned of has gone a step further. Not only is socially irresponsible work ‘bad’ - apparently it’s dangerous. Fuelled by a growing contempt for the audience – a refusal to believe in their ability to grapple with nuanced, subversive or even exploitative subject matter – these cultural colonialists have decided to weaponise culture. If all people are blank slates, if we are so easily programmed by the ‘messages’ we receive, then someone should at least make sure we are getting the right kind of messages, or so the logic goes.

While the cultural colonialists may insist that what they are calling for is simply better art – for art that is free from tired, easy stereotypes and sexist myths – the opposite is true. Art needs freedom to flourish. It’s a space in which mindless fantasies can be indulged, or moral ambiguities prodded and explored, sometimes for no clear reason. Art, as Oscar Wilde famously said, is ‘quite useless’. The moment you try to make it useful, to hector it, straitjacket it and put it to work, its potency withers.

This is something great artists have always recognised. For the 1979 edition of his dystopian, anti-censorship classic, Fahrenheit 451, the late, great Ray Bradbury offered an instructive anecdote:

‘About two years ago, a letter arrived from a solemn young lady telling me how much she enjoyed reading my experiment in space mythology, The Martian Chronicles. But, she added, wouldn’t it be a good idea, this late in time, to rewrite the book inserting more women’s characters and roles… The point is obvious. There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist / Unitarian / Irish / Italian / Octogenarian / Zen Buddhist / Zionist / Seventh-day Adventist / Women’s Lib / Republican / Mattachine / Four Square Gospel, feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse… The real world is the playing ground for each and every group, to make or unmake laws. But the tip of the nose of my book or stories or poems is where their rights end and my territorial imperatives begin, run and rule.’

In 2015, let’s drive out the cultural colonialists. The world of art is the artist’s tyranny. Long may they reign.


When Child Protective Services becomes Child Abductive Services

It’s generally agreed that playing outside is good for kids. Fresh air, sunlight, exercise, social interaction are all vital for proper childhood development. However, a growing herd of nanny-statists within the government, specifically state Child Protective Services agencies, have decided that playing outside without direct supervision is so dangerous that it would be better if children weren’t raised by their own parents. They risk turning our children into a generation of physically stunted, psychologically addled wards of the state. But for their own good!

The latest example of this trend is a case out of Maryland. The only report of it is a first-hand email from the parents, so the usual caveats apply, but given the many, many other examples of similar government threats, we’ll assume it to be true for now. In November a neighborhood busybody called authorities ahbout two kids, ages 10 and 6, at a park (which happened to be two blocks from their home) alone. The local Child Welfare Services office cited the parents for leaving them unattended outside, using a statute that actually prohibits the opposite, leaving a child “locked or confined” inside unattended.

After the mother smartly researched the statute and protested the absurd interpretation, CWS dropped the case. However, someone again reported the horrifying scenario of children walking outside, and a police officer picked up the kids on their way home from a different park about a mile away. After threatening to shoot him in front of his children if he didn’t produce identification, the officer left. CWS agents arrived two hours later and threatened to take the children immediately if he didn’t sign a document agreeing not to leave them unsupervised until the next week when another CWS agent would return.

To be clear, the government says they will take your children from you so that you don’t put them in a situation where there is a remote possibility that someone might…take your children from you. Cunning plan!

And make no mistake, that possibility is indeed extremely remote. From the most recent data, out of the 797,500 children reported missing in 2002, only 115 were taken by strangers. The vast majority of abductions are by parents, other relatives, or acquaintances. You know, the people government agents mandate be watching them to keep them safe.

Crime in general has decreased even since then, so even though we have no specific data, it’s almost certain that stranger kidnapping has too. Child abduction is a horrific crime and should be punished severely. However, we should not take children away from their actual loving parents because they might be at risk for something that is quite literally a statistical anomaly.

Child Protective Service agencies perform valiant work across the country every day, protecting children from abuse, neglect, and crime, but they have no business protecting children from loving parents who let them play outside. A government who can take your kids for this can take them for anything they want and has no real limits on its power. Laws must be changed, judicial opinions clarified, and departments staffed with people who value liberty and family over the smothering paternal hand of government.


Sorry history of tolerating the intolerant

Comment from Australia by Janet Albrechtson

AT first glance the connection between Sony last week pulling the comedy The Interview from our screens and the murders in Martin Place is not obvious. Yet both are explained by tolerating the intolerant, a deadly virus that has long infected the West.

Last Tuesday, when Australians woke to news that a gunman had murdered two innocent Australians in the name of Islam during a 16-hour hostage siege, we also woke to the lethal, horrifying cost of tolerating the intolerant. As much as we would prefer to put this behind us and get on with Christmas and a brand-new year, it pays to remember just how tolerant we are.

We allowed Iranian Man Haron Monis into our country on a business visa and then welcomed him as a political refugee. Charged with fraud at home, the Iranian government asked for him back. But we said no to the Iranians. When Monis wrote inexcusable letters to the families of soldiers who died in Afghanistan, describing them as pigs and Nazis, we excused that — delivering only a slap on the wrist of 300 hours of community service. Some called for his Australian citizenship to be revoked. We said no to that, too. We allowed Monis to remain an Australian citizen, a gift sought out by millions of refugees who are keen to embrace and respect Australia as an open, generous and free country.

When Monis asked his local MP and ex-NSW Labor leader John Robertson for a letter asking the state government to consider granting Monis access to his children — despite an appre­hended violence order that prevented such meetings — the former opposition leader agreed.

When Monis was charged with being an accessory before and after the fact to the vicious murder of his former wife — she was stabbed multiple times and then set alight — we allowed him bail. When Monis was charged with 50 acts of sexual assault, again we gave the man bail. When Monis sought to overturn a criminal conviction about the letters sent to the families of soldiers last week in the High Court, we provided taxpayer-funded legal aid for him to engage one of the nation’s most expensive barristers.

This man was known for his anti-West hatred. He told us about it. He was on our radar. He was known to our security ser­vices, federal police and NSW police. On November 17, less than a month before he took 17 innocent people hostage, he posted online his hatred of the West, he wrote about his allegiance to ­Islamic State. Still, we allowed Monis to roam free among us.

Tony Abbott is right to call Islamic State a death cult, but the question must be asked: is the West’s tolerance of the intolerant a death wish? And when many on the Left blindly refuse to identify terrorism, isn’t that furthering the death wish?

When a killer slaughters ­people in the name of Islam, we should take him at his word. Monis is the newest form of terrorist. There is no Islamic State membership card, no initiation ceremony, no formal welcoming morning tea.

Moreover, terrorism is not a numbers game. It’s not about the number of perpetrators who org­anise an attack. It’s about the motivation of the attacker. It’s done to instil fear, to attack our values, to undermine our confidence in our own culture.

The Interview, starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, is a spoof about the assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. When North Korean-backed hackers recently threatened harm — “remember the 11th of September”, they said — if Sony released the movie this month, Sony capitulated. Giving the anti-free speech terrorists what they wanted, Sony pulled the movie from theatres.

We shouldn’t be surprised. The West has a sorry history of tolerating the intolerant here too. Think of the Danish cartoons. Too few media outlets decided to defend our right to free speech in 2005. Instead they caved in to the demands of Islamofascists by not publishing the silly cartoons of Mohammed.

Remember too when Random House, in 2008, pulled the publication of The Jewel of Medina, a book by Sherry Jones that told the tale of Aisha, the child bride of Mohammed. The publisher had received no threats, just “cautionary advice” that publishing the book “might cause offence to some in the community (and) incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment”. Random House chose anticipatory surrender.

Following the Danish cartoons controversy, a South Park episode featured Mohammed behind a black “CENSORED” box. It was a pointed joke by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Carrying on with the joke, the 200th episode of South Park reintroduced Mohammed in a bear suit. Soon enough, a Muslim website warned Stone and Parker would end up like filmmaker Theo van Gogh — the Dutchman slain by a Muslim extremist in 2004 for his film Submission, which explored Islam’s treatment of women. And in another case of depressing anticipatory surrender, the bosses at Comedy Central inserted audio beeps and “CENSORED” block outs into the episode. That wasn’t a joke.

Neither is it a joke that many vocal Muslims claim special treatment. They don’t want an equal playing field. Those who want Mohammed fenced off have no qualms about attacking Christianity or other religions. Our reaction? We tolerate that too. A few years ago, Mark Thompson, director-general of the BBC, announced that Islam deserved different coverage in the media compared to other religions because Muslims were an ethnic minority.

Human rights commissions in Canada have been used to stifle free speech about Islam. Muslim-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a convert to rationalism, a believer in Enlightenment values and a critic of Islam, has been forced to live with 24-hour protection — in countries such as The Netherlands, the US and Australia. As Hirsi Ali said a few years ago, when more of us defend Western values, “there will be too many people to threaten and at that time I won’t need protection”.

Last week the ABC’s Chris Uhlmann staked a claim, too, for Western values when he said during an interview with the PM, “in a truly tolerant Western society … we would hope for a day when Islam is so integrated that it can be criticised in the way that Catholicism is criticised”. That kind of tolerance is also my hope for 2015.



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

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

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


28 December, 2014

The Race Card Can Ruin Us All

The cold-blooded murder of two New York City policemen as they sat in their car is not only an outrage but also a wake-up call. It shows, in the most painful way, the high cost of having demagogues, politicians, mobs and the media constantly taking cheap shots at the police.

Those cheap shots are in fact very expensive shots, not only to the police themselves but to the whole society. Someone once said that civilization is a thin crust over a volcano. The police are part of that thin crust. We have seen before our own eyes, first in Ferguson, Missouri and then in other communities, what happens when there is just a small crack in that crust, and barbarism and arson burst out.

That can happen anywhere. So can what happened in New York. “Send not to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.”

It is a painful irony that, on the eve of the murders of these two police officers in New York, some of the city’s police were already saying that, in the event of their deaths, they did not want Mayor Bill de Blasio to attend their funerals.

We can only hope that Mayor de Blasio has some residual decency, so that he will not defile these two officers' memorial services with his presence. No politician in the country has done more to play the race card against the police and spread the notion that cops are the big problem in minority communities.

It so happens that the police officers killed were both members of minority groups – Officer Rafael Ramos, Hispanic, and Officer Wenjian Liu, Asian. It so happens that a substantial part of the New York City police force are members of minority groups.

But you might never know that from the story told by demagogues who depict the black community as a “colonial” society being “occupied” by white policemen who target young blacks. Mayor de Blasio joined the chorus of those saying that they have to warn their black sons how to cope with this situation.

“What can we say to our sons?” some demagogues ask. They can say, “Don’t go around punching strangers, because it is only a matter of time before you punch the wrong stranger.”

Mayor de Blasio has made anti-police comments with Al Sharpton seated at his side. This is the same Al Sharpton with a trail of slime going back more than a quarter of a century, during which he has whipped up mobs and fomented race hatred from the days of the Tawana Brawley “rape” hoax of 1987 to the Duke University “rape” hoax of 2006 and the Ferguson riots of 2014.

Make no mistake about it. There is political mileage to be made siding with demagogues like Al Sharpton who, as demagogue-in-chief, has been invited to the White House dozens of times by its commander-in-chief.

Many in the media and among the intelligentsia cherish the romantic tale of an “us” against “them” struggle of beleaguered ghetto blacks defending themselves against the aggression of white policemen. The gullible include both whites who don’t know what they are talking about and blacks who don’t know what they are talking about either, because they never grew up in a ghetto. Among the latter are the President of the United States and his Attorney General.

Such people readily buy the story that ghetto social problems today – from children being raised without a father to runaway rates of murder – are “a legacy of slavery,” even though such social problems were nowhere near as severe in the first half of the 20th century as they became in the second half.

You would be hard pressed to name just five examples from the first half of the 20th century of the kinds of ghetto riots that have raged in more than a hundred cities during the second half. Such riots are a legacy of the social degeneracy of our times.

Calling this social degeneracy “a legacy of slavery” is not just an excuse for those who engage in it, it is an excuse for the ideology of the intelligentsia behind the social policies that promoted this degeneracy.

Let those who have laid a guilt trip on people in our times, for evils done by other people in past centuries, at least face their own responsibility for the evil consequences of their own notions and policies. If they won’t do it, then the rest of us need to stop listening gullibly to what they are saying.

The race card is nothing to play with. It can ruin us all.


Religious people much happier and have more 'life satisfaction' than others, according to a new study

Does religious affiliation contribute to happiness?  A recent study by the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture found that a strong correlation exists between religious affiliation and personal happiness.

The institute surveyed a sample of 15,738 Americans between the ages of 18 and 60, according to the Breitbart News Network.

Of the more than 15,000 sampled, 45 percent of those who attend a religious service on a weekly basis described themselves as 'very happy,' while only 28 percent of those who said they 'never' attend said the same.

Those who said they never attend religious services are twice as likely to say they are 'very unhappy' as those who attend services weekly.

According to the study, this connection between religion and happiness stems from social support within the religious communities.  Being surrounded by friends and a congregation who share common beliefs and motivations is reportedly a key way in which faith and happiness connect.

Though many other factors play a role, the study found that the sense of community among those who attend and engage in religious services is the most plausible theory to explain the connection.

The link between faith and happiness is nothing new.

Past studies -- both in America and overseas-- have found that, generally, those with a faith have higher levels of 'life satisfaction' than those without, BBC News reports.

Along with generally higher levels of happiness, BBC reports that studies find that religious people are better able to cope with difficult situations, such as losing a job or a divorce.

The Austin Institute study included controlled variables such as self-reported physical health, marital status, age, educational attainment, race/ethnicity, gender, and marital happiness.

But the end results proved that the statistics tying religious affiliation to happiness have held and are continuing to hold true. 


US may lift lifetime ban on homosexual blood donations

US Federal health officials are recommending an end to the nation’s lifetime ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, a 31-year-old policy that many medical groups and gay activists say is no longer justified.

The US Food and Drug Administration said today it favours replacing the blanket ban with a new policy barring donations from men who have had gay sex in the previous year.

FDA officials said that policy is supported by research and would put the US in-line with other countries including Australia, Japan and the UK.

The lifetime ban dates from the early years of the AIDS crisis and was intended to protect the blood supply from what was a then little-understood disease.

But many medical groups, including the American Medical Association, say the policy is no longer supported by science, given advances in HIV testing.

Gay activists say the lifetime ban is discriminatory and perpetuates negative stereotypes of homosexual men.

The agency will recommend the switch in draft guidelines early next year and move to finalise them after taking comments from the public, FDA officials.

FDA Deputy Director Dr. Peter Parks declined to give a time frame for completing the process but said, “we commit to working as quickly as possible on this issue.”

All blood donations are screened for HIV, however, the test only detects the virus after it’s been in the bloodstream about 10 days. That allows a brief window when the virus that causes AIDS can go undetected.

According to government figures, men who have had sex with other men represent about 2 per cent of the U.S. population, yet account for at least 62 per cent of all new HIV infections in the US.

Tuesday’s announcement is the culmination of years of government discussions re-examining the ban.

Last month a panel of blood safety experts convened by Department of Health and Human Services voted 16-2 in favour of doing away with the lifetime ban.

The panel recommended moving to a one-year ban, which bars donors who have had male-on-male sex during the previous 12 months.

Some gay activists said Tuesday that policy remains unrealistic and will still stigmatise gay and bisexual men.

“Some may believe this is a step forward, but in reality, requiring celibacy for a year is a de facto lifetime ban,” the organisation Gay Men’s Health Crisis, a New York-based non-profit that supports AIDS prevention and care, said after the announcement.

The FDA implemented the ban in 1983, when health officials were first recognising the risk of contracting AIDS via blood transfusions.

Under the policy, blood donations are barred from any man who has had sex with another man at any time since 1977 — the start of the AIDS epidemic in the US.

The push for a new policy gained momentum in 2006, when the Red Cross, the American Association of Blood Banks, and America’s Blood Centers called the ban “medically and scientifically unwarranted.”

Last year the American Medical Association voted to oppose the policy.

Patient groups that rely on a safe blood supply, including the National Hemophilia Foundation, have also voiced support for dropping the ban.


The year the Culture Wars went global

Turning geopolitics into a battlefield over values is a really bad idea

A century after the outbreak of the First World War, it seems humanity is confronted with new cultural disputes that have the potential to mutate into violent conflicts.

The experience of the past century has demonstrated that the politicisation of culture always ends badly. And little wonder: cultural crusaders create a climate of intolerance towards the norms and values of their cultural targets. They are often censorious and seek to devalue their opponents. In its more extreme forms, cultural politics leads to the mutual dehumanisation of the antagonists.

Such dehumanising sentiments were far too evident a century ago. The Armenian genocide of 1915 represented the most extreme and destructive manifestation of this lethal synthesis of culture and militarism. Tragically, almost a century later, the spectre of culturally motivated violence haunts that region once more. Until recently, the great Armenian church in Deir el-Zour in Syria served as a memorial to the mass killings that occurred during the Great War. Earlier this year, however, in a savage act of vandalism, a group of Islamists blew the church up. They destroyed its archives, and the bones of hundreds of victims of the 1915 massacre were left strewn in the streets.

Today, the most extreme exponents of the politicisation of culture are the jihadist zealots who regard the lives of those who do not share their faith as unworthy of moral value. But the depravity and barbarism of a movement such as the Islamic State can obscure the disturbing reality: namely, that the politicisation of culture, and its intolerant consequences, is gaining strength across the world. It has certainly contributed to the hardening of the rivalry between the West and Russia. And it is this, the emergence of a caricature of the Cold War, that is arguably the most significant international development of 2014.

It seems that disputes about lifestyle, family life, sexual orientation and the nature of community life are no longer confined to the domestic sphere. The Culture Wars have gone global. Muslim jihadists are not just fighting with bombs; they are directly assaulting Western liberal values and denouncing them as immoral. For his part, Russian president Vladimir Putin has sought to present himself as fighting for traditionalism and the Christian way of life. In turn, Western diplomats have criticised Russia for its patriarchal and sexist culture.
Global crusaders

There is little doubt that the Russian government is a willing participant in what it regards as a war over moral values and beliefs. In September 2012, Putin stated that ‘cultural self-awareness, spiritual and moral values [and] codes of values are an area of intense competition’. He said that to ‘influence the worldviews of entire ethnic groups, the desire to subject them to one’s will, to force one’s system of values and beliefs upon them, is an absolute reality, just like the fight for mineral resources that many nations, ours included, experience’.

In recent years, the Putin regime has claimed that the Russian way of life and its values have been the target of hostile foreign interests. The Russian government has expressed concern about the influence of the Western media over its national life. It regards Western NGOs operating in Russia as agents of alien interests, which is why in June 2012 it passed a law that requires any Russian NGO funded from abroad to register itself as a ‘foreign agent’.

Putin self-consciously cultivates the image of Russia as a moral crusader fighting for the survival of human civilisation. Last December, in his annual state-of-the-nation speech, he responded to Western criticisms of Russia’s attitude to homosexuality by lamenting the decline of morality in the West. He drew attention to what he perceived as the morally disorienting consequences of Western social engineering: ‘This destruction of traditional values from above not only entails negative consequences for society, but is also inherently anti-democratic because it is based on an abstract notion and runs counter to the will of the majority of people.’ He claimed that traditional family values were the only effective defence against ‘genderless and infertile… so-called tolerance’.

Although ostensibly directed at the Russian public, Putin’s denunciation of the ‘genderless and infertile’ lifestyles of Westerners was also directed at a global audience. Just a few days before the delivery of this speech, an influential Kremlin-linked think-tank published a report titled Putin: World Conservatism’s New Leader. The report sought to present Putin as the global saviour of traditional values. The report claimed that ordinary people throughout the world yearn for the stability and security offered by traditional values. It argued that people believe in the traditional family and regard multiculturalism with suspicion. Dmitry Abzalov, a spokesman for the think-tank, told the press that ‘it is important for most people to preserve their way of life, their lifestyle, their traditions’, and, because of that, they ‘tend toward conservatism’.

Western commentators frequently claim that Russia is waging a cultural conflict against tolerant, liberal and democratic values. It is certainly the case that of all the protagonists, Russia is the most self-conscious exponent of a values-based public narrative. But Moscow’s use of a moralistic discourse of tradition and Russian nationalism should be seen as a variant of the values-driven ideology of Western governments themselves.

Western institutions and governments are hardly shy when it comes to demanding that their values and lifestyles be adhered to by all societies. In fact, societies and cultures that do not adhere to Western values face pressure to fall into line. Take the case of Japan. During the summer, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination exhorted the Japanese government to pass an American-style law that would criminalise certain forms of speech as hate speech. What is remarkable about this intervention is that it was not confined to calling on the Japanese to deal with racial discrimination; it actually prescribed an Anglo-American legal innovation for the policing of free speech in Japan. It is entirely legitimate to criticise a nation’s government for failing to deal with racial discrimination. However, the demand that a sovereign nation regulate public speech in accordance with the values and methods of Western societies is a form of cultural colonialism.

The problem with international cultural crusades is not the actual values – many of the sentiments promoted by Western institutions are worthy and enlightened ones. No, the problem is that such crusades assume that Western states possess the moral authority to question, undermine and change the laws and values of communities throughout the world. When diplomacy and geopolitics become entwined with the attempt to affirm the moral superiority of a way of life, the outcome is always unpredictable.

The real danger with the globalisation of the Culture Wars is that it threatens to confuse diplomatic problems with existential questions that touch on a people’s way of life. Take the case of US president Barack Obama’s high-profile address to European youth. In this speech, he linked his criticism of Russia’s behaviour in the Crimea with criticism of those who oppose his political agenda in the US. He celebrated the politics of identity and permissiveness, and denounced the ‘older, more traditional view of power’. He added that ‘instead of targeting our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, we can use our laws to protect their rights’. In all but name, Russia served as a proxy for Obama’s desire to attack his traditionalist foes back in the US.

When domestic cultural conflicts in the US are recast on the global stage, diplomacy may become hostage to them. Diplomacy could become, in short, an extension of a domestic moralistic crusade. Such international values conflicts may appear relatively benign compared to those that led to the outbreak of the First World War. But do not be fooled. Cultural rivalries, and disputes over lifestyles and values, are extremely difficult to resolve because they are intimately linked to basic moral questions, even to the meaning of good and evil. As a result, these disputes are rarely susceptible to pragmatic solutions and can easily escalate into dangerous rivalries. Let 1914 be a warning to all those who presume to lecture other nations’ inhabitants about 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, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


26 December, 2014

Cohabiting couples should not be given 'married' rights as it sends out the wrong message, says top British family court judge

Cohabiting couples should never be allowed legal rights over each other’s money and property, one of Britain’s most senior family law experts said yesterday.  Giving them the same rights as married couples would be naive and send out the wrong message, said retired High Court judge Sir Paul Coleridge.

His intervention comes amid fresh attempts – backed by many judges and lawyers – to push a law through Parliament setting out legal entitlements for those in live-in relationships.

He said any law designed to give special rights to just one section of the population would be a mistake. And he criticised politicians – including Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg – who support a new law for ‘giving the impression that marriage doesn’t matter’.

Sir Paul, who heads the Marriage Foundation think-tank, is the first senior judge to come out strongly against any cohabitation law.  He had once supported such a move, he said, as it would protect women left penniless after the breakdown of a long live-in relationship.

But yesterday he told the Daily Mail: ‘I have had a Damascene conversion. I used to be quite in favour of some form of legal protection.  ‘But I have drawn away from a cohabitation law. It is a naive, lawyer-driven idea, and some leadership is needed.’

Sir Paul, who retired in April but still presides in the occasional family case, said that giving legal rights to cohabitees would be a signal of official approval of such relationships.  ‘You have to look at the bigger picture,’ he said.

‘There are nearly two million children of these relationships and they are at a disadvantage because of that. I think that is fully established now. The Government should be unequivocal in its support for marriage. Half of all family litigation is a matter of family breakdown among the unmarried.  ‘That means 20 per cent of the population but 50 per cent of family court workload. Can you imagine the effect on the courts if there is legislation to give rights to cohabitees?’

Sir Paul said the debate on changing the law had overshadowed arguments about the need to strengthen marriage and called for more attention to be paid to ‘the terrible problem of family breakdown and the divisions it is creating in society’.

‘People think marriage is for the likes of them, it’s not for us. This is not helped by people like Nick Clegg and others who give the impression that marriage doesn’t matter and all relationships are the same.’

Sir Paul’s intervention comes as much of the legal profession and many politicians have been trying to build support for a cohabitation law.  The most senior family law judge, President of the Family Division Sir James Munby, said in October that the lack of legal protection for cohabitees ‘is an injustice which has been recognised as long as I have been in the law’.  He said: ‘Reform is desperately needed. Reform is inevitable. How many more women are to be condemned to injustice in the meantime?’

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Marks has tabled a Bill in the Lords that would give cohabiting partners rights after they had lived together for two years or after they have had children. That would see a cohabitee entitled to a share of the money, property and pension of their former partner in the event of a break-up.

Lawyers have been calling for such a law for of years.  However, critics point out that it would provide a new source of lucrative earnings for the legal profession.

David Cameron rejected the idea of a cohabitation law shortly after the Coalition took power in 2010.

There are nearly three million cohabiting couples in the country, with numbers rising.  However, such relationships typically last only a third as long as the average marriage.

And evidence also shows that children of cohabitees are less wealthy, less healthy and less likely to do well at school.

Critics blame the rise of cohabitation for the increasing number of children in one-parent families.


France prepares to quietly say 'au revoir' to its 75% super-tax on the rich after struggling to attract top international staff

When President Francois Hollande unveiled a 'super-tax' on the rich in 2012, some feared an exodus of business, sporting and artistic talent. One adviser warned it was a Socialist step too far that would turn France into 'Cuba without sun'.

Two years on, with the tax due to expire at the end of this month, the mass emigration has not happened. But the damage to France's appeal as a home for top earners has been great, and the pickings from the levy paltry.

'The reform clearly damaged France's reputation and competitiveness,' said Jorg Stegemann, head of Kennedy Executive, an executive search firm based in France and Germany.

He added: 'It clearly has become harder to attract international senior managers to come to France than it was.'

Hollande first floated the 75-per cent super-tax on earnings over £784,000 a year in his 2012 campaign to oust his conservative rival Nicolas Sarkozy. It fired up left-wing voters and helped him unseat the incumbent.

Yet ever since, it has been a thorn in his side, helping little in France's effort to bring its public deficit within European Union limits and mixing the message just as Hollande sought to promote a more pro-business image. The adviser who made the 'Cuba' gag was Emmanuel Macron, the ex-banker who is now his economy minister.

The Finance Ministry estimates the proceeds from the tax amounted to £200 million in its first year and £125 million in the second. That's broadly in line with expectations, but tiny compared with a budget deficit which had reached £65 billion by the end of October.

A first version of the tax payable by the earners themselves was thrown out by the Constitutional Court as punitive. A final version obliged companies to pay the levy instead.

French soccer clubs briefly threatened to go on strike, and actor Gerard Depardieu took up Russian residency in a one-man protest against the French tax burden, among the highest in the world. Others were making more discreet arrangements.

'A few went abroad -- to Luxembourg, the UK,' said tax lawyer Jean-Philippe Delsol, author on a book on tax exiles called 'Why I Am Going To Leave France'.  'But in most cases, it was discussed with their company and agreed to limit salaries during the two years and come to an arrangement afterwards,' he told Reuters by telephone.

Hollande and his government have since sought to relieve business of around £31 billion of taxes and other charges, as unemployment at over 10 per cent drives home the urgent need to attract investment to the sickly French economy.

It was no accident that Prime Minister Manuel Valls - alongside Macron the main reformer in Hollande's cabinet - chose a visit to London in October to confirm that the super tax would not be renewed: his British counterpart David Cameron famously offered to 'roll out the red carpet' to French tax exiles.

But Delsol said the saga had made his clients more nervous about investing their time and money in France and had only added to mistrust of a complex tax system which successive governments have failed to reform.


Another evil British social worker

A social worker who falsely accused an innocent father of abusing his six-year-old daughter was allowed to continue working with vulnerable children, it has emerged.

Suzi Smith alleged during a custody battle that she had seen Jonathan Coupland, 53, attack his child.

The accusation – made while she was ‘really, really angry’ – led to him being handcuffed in front of neighbours, thrown into a cell and banned from seeing his daughter. The Daily Mail revealed the case in April, and since then a disciplinary hearing has found Mrs Smith guilty of misconduct and ruled that her fitness to practise is impaired.

But she was not struck off or suspended. Instead, she was given a three-year caution order, which means she can continue to work with the most vulnerable children.

It has also emerged that she was allowed to continue working as a social worker after making the false accusation.

Last night, Mr Coupland told of his anger that Mrs Smith was permitted to carry on working with children. ‘I am shaking with rage,’ he said. ‘I feel disgusted. It is unbelievable. I was arrested for sexually assaulting the most precious thing in my life. Once you are tarred with that brush, that is it. People where I live think I am a paedophile.

‘But she was working with children again – the one place I would never want her to work again. She even got a promotion. What has she got now? Just a slap on the wrist. No parent or child should go through what my family has gone through. No sanction will ever be strong enough for her.’

Mrs Smith, 53, admitted making the ‘horrific mistake’ and was sacked early last year from her job with Cafcass, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, which represents children in the family courts.

She was jobless between February and June 2013, but from July 2013 until January 2014, was employed by an agency to work with children for Southampton City Council, where she dealt with issues of child protection and adoption.

The disciplinary hearing at the Health and Care Professions Council, in Kennington, South London, was told she was even given a promotion and did three other stints of agency work as a social worker for local councils until January, when she had to stop working in the run-up to her disciplinary case.

Mr Coupland, from Spalding, Lincolnshire, raised his daughter alone after splitting from her mother. The former painter and decorator has fought a lengthy custody battle.

In January 2012, Mrs Smith made a home visit and apparently clashed with Mr Coupland. Subsequently, she wrote the damning case note while she was ‘really, really angry’.  She claimed she had witnessed Mr Coupland stroking his daughter inappropriately – which he has always denied and she now admits did not happen.

Later, Mr Coupland was arrested at home on suspicion of sexual assault and questioned for about ten hours. He claims officers threatened to put his daughter in temporary care before he begged them to place her with his mother.

The following day, Mr Coupland was told there would be no further action. Mrs Smith had been interviewed by officers and retracted what she had previously claimed.

Cafcass, which is funded by the Department of Justice, sacked Mrs Smith and paid Mr Coupland £86,000 in damages.

Mrs Smith’s husband Tim, who represented her at the hearing, said she was overworked when she made her initial record about Mr Coupland touching his daughter.  ‘She immediately retracted that with the police,’ he said. ‘At the time of making that record Mrs Smith was in a mood. She was working 14 hours a day and had something like 40 cases on the go. There is no other explanation apart from it was just a horrific mistake.’

Mrs Smith said she had learned from what happened. ‘I have tried to establish a better work-life balance to make sure I am not overworked and that each of my cases get the attention they deserve,’ she told the hearing. She said she was ‘taking time to do less work but more accurate work’.

Mrs Smith has previously apologised to Mr Coupland and said she was put under pressure by police to stick to what she initially wrote that he had done. Panel chairman Stephen Fash said Mrs Smith had ‘overstated’ what she thought she had observed. The panel found she made the false allegation, but did not do so dishonestly.

Lincolnshire Police said officers were ‘duty bound to investigate’ Mrs Smith’s allegation, adding: ‘It transpired that the allegation was not as originally reported to us. The male was released without charge.’


The sleepy old Church of England still has magic for some

Daughters have secrets from their mothers — the unsuitable man, the vodka habit, the misspent night, the bedside copy of Fifty Shades. At a push, I could have made such confessions to my mother.

But what I really did not want her to find out, what I could never bring myself to tell her, was that I go to church — and not just at Christmas.

My mother, Marion, was an atheist — a genuine one with no hedging of bets at the last minute when she died, no keeping her options open just in case. For her, it was ashes to ashes. And that was that.

To admit to her that, as an adult, I had been baptised and confirmed would have seemed a betrayal. Not because it was a rejection of what she thought — she would have accepted my right to my own beliefs. But because she spent far too much of her life in a wheelchair.

She had multiple sclerosis, the cruellest of diseases, and I would look at her wasting away, her power and beauty destroyed, and ask myself how can I possibly put my faith in a God so callously careless with those He is supposed to love?

It’s all right for me, I would think. I can go along with some smug message of life after death because in the meantime I can saunter out of the room and enjoy all the world has to offer — something she could not do for decades.

So I never told her about my church-going. Though she knew about the man who introduced me to it.

When we met, he seemed the wittiest and most attractive man on earth. And the deepest. He was on his own frantic search, his home packed with spiritual guide books of all varieties, be it texts on Sufism, the way of the Tao, Judaism, or bestsellers by modern mystics. And I began reading.

I did not stay with the man, but I did with the books, and a few years later I threw in my lot with the Church of England, thanks to an Anglican priest. He believed that different faiths were just different ways of reaching the same end.

Background, education and culture meant certain routes worked better than others. For him, like me, growing up in England, saying the Lord’s Prayer at school, Anglicanism felt the closest to home.

Faith can then feel like something you turn to out of weakness: a fairytale concocted to make the sickness of the world bearable.

Worrying whether you are taking up religion because you can’t face reality is, at least, a private conflict you can keep to yourself.

But religion sits unhappily with us in the 21st century and this year its consequences seem particularly dreadful when, all in the name of God, heads are severed and wars fought with merciless brutality.

Yet, last Sunday, at eight o’clock in the morning, I found myself in church again.

Like every adult I know, I complain of being tired all the time. But on the one day of the week I can have a lie-in — no school run, no football matches to support — I go to early Communion. Why I hope to find some sort of comfort in a quiet country church I’m not sure.

I certainly don’t have any childhood nostalgia about the familiar cadences of the prayers, as I sit under the eye of marble statues, an embroidered kneeler at my feet.

Undoubtedly, the building is lovely, with a sense of communities meeting and singing here for almost 1,000 years to defy the darkness outside and within. But I’m more likely to find a split-second of spiritual clarity when traipsing out on my own in the dawn light across the muddy sugar beet fields around my home. Not in a consecrated building.

And yet, still, I go. There are so few of us, we sit in a tiny side chapel. Even on a good day numbers rarely exceed 20. The faces are nearly always the same. And though I won’t see 50 again, I am invariably the youngest, sometimes by a decade or two.

Who will sit with me when I am the age of my fellow communicants, I have no idea. None of my contemporaries join me. Nor anyone in my family, who are at home on the sofa, making their devotions to the repeat of Match Of The Day.

When I lived in London, I would often go to the main 11 o’clock service at a rather fashionable Georgian church, connected to a very good Anglican primary school.

The pews were pretty full with screaming babies, fidgeting children and parents trying to keep them under some sort of control, in order to better their chances of a coveted place.

But out here on the East coast of England where I now live, with that small band of elderly believers, it is hard not to think I am at the end of the Christian era and that the church, as pretty as a Christmas card with sheep grazing around the gravestones, may one day end up a museum or a splendid family home rather than a house of God.

Yes, at this time of year, many churches are busy enough. Apparently, about a third of the population will attend some sort of service this Christmas time, be it a carol concert, a nativity play or on Christmas Day itself.

But come January, and for much of the year, attendance slumps below a million — barely two per cent of the population.

The most devout friend of mine is a Muslim and many of my contemporaries who are interested in this sort of thing tend to take up meditation and yoga. They wear crosses, Buddhas and Stars of David round their necks. And I can understand their rejection of traditional Christianity.

On Sunday mornings we say the ancient creed — that we ‘believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth… and look for the Resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come’.

But I look around at my fellow communicants, highly intelligent people, men and women of the world, and I’m wondering, do you truly believe in just the one God and that there really is life after this one?

Do I, for that matter? Do I believe my mother lives on, somewhere, free of the pain that darkened her life? Or is it just mumbo-jumbo with no relevance in the slightest to the 21st century?

Yet, however much I question my faith, if I don’t get to church, I miss it. The format never changes. Every week the text is from the Book of Common Prayer and (a relief to me) there is no singing. The glorious poetry of the language never fails to touch me.

We are out by 8.30am. And I wish I could say that I return home counting my blessings and remembering those less fortunate than me, or prepared to follow a slightly more grateful and graceful path. But such humility eludes me.

More often than not I set one foot in the door and I’m resenting the fact that no one has bothered to empty the dishwasher and that, ‘because it’s Sunday’, I’m being asked to cook a ‘full English’ for breakfast.

And yet, as I’m frying up, part of me is still clinging on to that half an hour of peace. Despite the yells from the sitting room for mushrooms as well as bacon, I feel I have at least had a brief retreat from the mundane, a glimpse of how life might be if I could only really believe.

And if I was told I could not go to church again, I fear something in me would completely wither and that despair would then set in. At Christmas, the most ardent unbelievers can find tears in their eyes as they listen to Silent Night or sing of ‘the hopes and fears of all the years’ amid flickering candles, the smell of fresh-cut evergreens and images of trumpeting angels.

You do not need a Christian faith to take heart from the idea of light in the darkness and reminders that the world will swing again from winter into spring.

But I seek that reminder more than once a year — even though, intellectually, I can demolish my church-going in seconds, having no rational explanation for it.

So this Sunday, like every Sunday, I will get up early and put my head down against the wind blowing in off the North Sea and trudge up the muddy track to church.

I’ll think of my mother, immobile in her chair, and how much she would have loved to be out walking by my side, even though she would not have joined me for the service. And I can’t help wondering which one of us is right.

But for now, for me, it is a choice. It comes down to the fact that I simply cannot bear to think that this life is all there is. I desperately want to believe that there is a peace beyond my understanding, a place of infinite tenderness, that, in the end, I am — that we all are — always loved.

So I will be on the side of the angels — and not just at Christmas — in the hope that they are not just a figment of my imagination and yearning, but genuine tidings of comfort and joy.



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

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

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


25 December, 2014

Black Progression and Retrogression

By Walter E. Williams

There is no question, though it's not acknowledged enough, that black Americans have made greater gains, over some of the highest hurdles and in a very short span of time, than any other racial group in mankind's history.

What's the evidence? If black Americans were thought of as a nation with their own gross domestic product, they'd rank among the 20 wealthiest nations. It was a black American, Gen. Colin Powell, who headed the mightiest military in mankind's history. A few black Americans are among the world's wealthiest. Many black Americans are among the world's most famous personalities.

The significance of all this is that in 1865, neither an ex-slave nor an ex-slave owner would have believed that such progress would be possible in less than a century and a half. As such, it speaks to the intestinal fortitude of a people. Just as importantly, it speaks to the greatness of a nation within which such progress was possible. That progress would have been impossible anywhere except in the United States of America. The challenge that lies before us is how those gains can be extended to a large percentage of black people for whom they appear elusive.

A good start to meeting that challenge is to recognize that much of the pathology seen in many black communities is entirely new in black history. Let's look at some of that history. In the late 1800s, depending on the city, 70 to 80 percent of black households were two-parent. In 1925 New York City, 85 percent of black households were two-parent. As late as 1950, only 18 percent of black households were single-parent. From 1890 to 1940, a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults. In 1940, black illegitimacy was about 14 percent.

Today it's an entirely different story. Black illegitimacy is 75 percent. Close to 50 percent of marriage-age blacks never marry. Close to 70 percent of black households are female-headed. If one thinks family structure doesn't matter, consider that the poverty rate among black female-headed families is about 47 percent but among married families it has been in the single digits for more than two decades. It's not just poverty. Children raised by single parents are likelier to be physically abused; use drugs; engage in violent, delinquent and criminal behavior; have emotional and behavioral problems; and drop out of school.

What about employment? Every census from 1890 to 1950 showed that black labor force participation rates were higher than those of whites. Today it's a mere fraction. Prior to the mid-'50s, the unemployment rate for black 16- and 17-year-olds was under 10 percent and less than that of whites. Who would argue that this more favorable employment picture was because there was less racial discrimination in the job market in earlier times? Labor laws such as the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 — a federal minimum wage law for construction workers — and the 1938 federal minimum wage law for all workers reduced work opportunities for blacks.

Then there's the high crime rate. Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person. Though blacks are 13 percent of the nation's population, they are more than 50 percent of homicide victims. Nationally, the black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities, it's 22 times that of whites. Along with being most of the nation's homicide victims, blacks are most of the victims of violent personal crimes, such as assault and robbery.

Older black people, who were raised in an era when there was far greater discrimination and who faced far fewer opportunities, need to speak out against behavior and excuses that their parents would have never accepted. Otherwise, the race hustlers, poverty pimps and white liberals will continue with the narrative that black problems are a result of racism and racist cops and condemn future generations of blacks to a lifetime of mediocrity.


How Western Media Enable Islamic Terrorism

As the West experiences a rise in the sort of terror attacks that are endemic to the Islamic world-church attacks, sex-slavery and beheadings-it is only natural that the same mainstream media that habitually conceals such atrocities "over there," especially against Christians and other minorities under Islam, would also conceal the reality of jihadi aspirations "over here."

As The Commentator reports:

    [T]he level of the [media] grovelling after the tragic and deadly saga in Sydney Australia over the last 24 hours has been astounding.

    At the time of writing, the lead story on the BBC website is of course about that very tragedy, in which an Islamist fanatic took a random group hostage in a cafe, ultimately killing two of them.

    He did this in the name of Islam. But you wouldn't get that impression if you started to read the BBC's lead story, which astoundingly managed to avoid mentioning the words Islam, Islamic, Islamist, Muslim, or any derivations thereof for a full 16 paragraphs. The New York Times, which led by calling the terrorist, Man Haron Monis an "armed man", waited until paragraph 11.

    In the Guardian's main story - whose lead paragraph simply referred to a "gunman" - you had to wait until paragraph 24.     If you'd have blinked, you'd have missed it. [...]

    In the wider media, reports about Muslim fears of a "backlash" have been all but ubiquitous.

If these are the lengths that Western mainstream media go to dissemble about the Islamic-inspired slaughter of Western peoples, it should now be clear why the ubiquitous Muslim persecution of those unfashionable Christian minorities is also practically unknown by those who follow Western mainstream media.

As with the Sydney attack, media headlines say it all. The 2011 New Year's Eve Coptic church attack that left 28 dead appeared under vague headlines: "Clashes grow as Egyptians remain angry after attack," was the New York Times' headline; and "Christians clash with police in Egypt after attack on churchgoers kills 21" was the Washington Post's-as if frustrated and harried Christians lashing out against their oppressors is the "big news," not the unprovoked atrocity itself; as if their angry reaction "evens" everything up.

Similarly, the Los Angeles Times partially told the story of an Egyptian off-duty police officer who, after identifying Copts by their crosses on a train, opened fire on them, killing one, while screaming "Allahu Akbar"-but to exonerate the persecution, as caught by the report's headline: "Eyewitness claims train attacker did not target Copts, state media say."

A February 2012 NPR report titled "In Egypt, Christian-Muslim Tension is on the Rise," while meant to familiarize readers with the situation of Egypt's Christians, prompts more questions than answers them:  "In Egypt, growing tensions between Muslims and Christians have led to sporadic violence [initiated by whom?]. Many Egyptians blame the interreligious strife on hooligans [who?] taking advantage of absent or weak security forces. Others believe it's because of a deep-seated mistrust between Muslims and the minority Christian community [what are the sources of this "mistrust"?]."

The photo accompanying the story is of angry Christians holding a cross aloft-not Muslims destroying crosses, which is what prompted the former to this display of Christian solidarity.

Blurring the line between victim and oppressor-recall the fear of "anti-Muslim backlash" whenever a Muslim terrorizes "infidels" in the West-also applies to the media's reporting on Muslim persecution of Christians.

A February 2012 BBC report on a church attack in Nigeria that left three Christians dead, including a toddler, objectively states the bare bone facts in one sentence.  Then it jumps to apparently thereally big news: that "the bombing sparked a riot by Christian youths, with reports that at least two Muslims were killed in the violence. The two men were dragged off their bikes after being stopped at a roadblock set up by the rioters, police said. A row of Muslim-owned shops was also burned..."

The report goes on and on, with an entire section about "very angry" Christians till one confuses victims with persecutors, forgetting what the Christians are "very angry" about in the first place: nonstop terror attacks on their churches and the slaughter of their women and children.

A New York Times report that appeared on December 25, 2011-the day after Boko Haram bombed several churches during Christmas Eve services, leaving some 40 dead-said that such church bombings threaten "to exploit the already frayed relations between Nigeria's nearly evenly split populations of Christians and Muslims..."  Such an assertion suggests that both Christians and Muslims are equally motivated by religious hostility-even as one seeks in vain for Christian terror organizations that bomb mosques in Nigeria to screams of "Christ is Great!"

Meanwhile, Boko Haram has torched 185 churches-to say nothing of the countless Christians beheaded-in just the last few months alone.

Continuing to grasp for straws, the same NYT report suggests that the Nigerian government's "heavy-handed" response to Boko Haram is responsible for its terror, and even manages to invoke another mainstream media favorite: the poverty-causes-terrorism myth.

Whether Muslim mayhem is taking place in the Islamic or Western worlds, the mainstream media shows remarkable consistency in employing an arsenal of semantic games, key phrases, convenient omissions, and moral relativism to portray such violence as a product of anything and everything-political and historical grievances, "Islamophobia," individual insanity, poverty and ignorance, territorial disputes-not Islam.

As such, Western media keep Western majorities in the dark about the Islamic threat, here and abroad.  In short, the "MSM" protects and enables the Islamic agenda-irrespective of whether its distortions are a product of intent, political correctness, or sheer stupidity.


‘Palestinian Rights Activism’ Panel Turns Perpetrators into Victims

Israel is a twenty-first century "litmus test of a real commitment to justice," the "Vietnam," the "South Africa," and "moral issue of our time" according to leftwing icon Angela Davis, quoted approvingly by Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi on November 21 before an audience of about fifty. Khalidi's panel discussion of "The Legal Assault on Palestinian Rights Activism" over a lunch of sandwiches and drinks at the Service Employees International Union's (SEIU) Washington, DC, headquarters twisted anti-Israel hatred and criminality into Israeli persecution of Palestinians.

Khalidi opened the panel by condemning a "sort of advocacy that dare not speak its name" for "unequal and inferior rights for Palestinians." "Who wants to identify with forty-seven years of colonial occupation?" he asked, referring to territories Israel won in self-defense during the 1967 war. In facing ostensibly honest Palestinian organizations, Israel's supporters thus resort to "underhanded means" of "disinformation" or "outright vilification," such as "anti-Semitism" charges, "something that cheapens a very serious issue." Nonetheless, he continued, "Palestinian rights activism in the United States has taken on a remarkable vitality" concerning a "very straightforward" conflict he portrayed in stark Israel-black/Palestinian-white terms.

Andrew Daleck from the National Lawyers Guild, a leftwing organization with Communist roots, described his involvement defending Rasmeah Odeh, who was convicted on November 10 of immigration fraud. Among other facts, Odeh had concealed from American immigration authorities in 1995 and 2004 her Israeli conviction and ten-year imprisonment for killing two in a 1969 Jerusalem terrorist bombing. Daleck reiterated Odeh's unsubstantiated story that her "sexual assault and torture" by Israeli officials had procured a "spurious conviction."

Daleck preposterously decried Odeh's American prosecution as an "indictment of Rasmeah's activism" and "identity" as a "Palestinian woman . . . committed to her people's self-determination." He baselessly asserted in the subsequent question period that "orientalism and racism" often motivate American prosecutions of individuals like Odeh, while "some of these prosecutors are Zionists themselves," as if support for an American ally proved courtroom bias. "I have grown to love and adore her," Daleck gushed, while praising the terrorist Odeh's "unparalleled" strength. His misplaced compassion mourned an Odeh who "will languish" in a "dingy, disgusting county jail" in a "very poor and awful situation."

In her remarks, Rashid Khalidi's daughter Dima, a lawyer with Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, denounced the overlooked "repression . . . in Palestine activism." Suggesting nefarious Jewish foreign influence, Dima asserted that "relentless attacks" on "speech activities . . . protected by the First Amendment" come from pro-Israel groups "at the behest of the Israeli government." Dima, meanwhile, expressed concern that universities burden pro-Palestinian groups with demands that they provide security for events. Rather than recognize documented increases in on-campus anti-Semitism, she complained that Jewish students report harassment "at such a rate it really is astonishing."

She misleadingly labeled as a mere "popcorn demonstration" the repeated disruptions by Muslim students of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren's 2010 "speech activities" at the University of California-Irvine. Using faulty reasoning, Dima condemned the subsequent misdemeanor conviction of Muslim Student Union members for their attempt to silence the lecture as "really chilling" for free speech. Daleck, speaking later during the question period, conceded only that "some people may have been unsettled" by this "in your face" protest.

Yaman Salahi, a lawyer with Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus and a member of the violent, anti-Semitic, and Hamas-supporting Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) during college, outlandishly claimed that "anyone venturing into" Palestinian issues "is worried about government investigation." He also warned that graduate students are "not viable" professionally if they study pro-Palestinian themes, as if academia were somehow hostile to the views of people like Rashid Khalidi, which in fact dominate Middle East studies.

Salahi focused on charges of creating a "hostile environment" under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He discussed an SJP-sponsored mock Israeli checkpoint at his alma mater, the University of California-Berkeley, where, as an undergraduate, he was convicted of defamation. Salahi deemed "ludicrous" analogies of this protest "to passion plays in Europe," yet failed to mention a campus environment at Berkeley so hostile a Jewish student was assaulted by an SJP leader.

Former Virginia Tech professor Steven Salaita concluded the presentation by discussing how the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign rescinded an offered professorship due, in part, to vile anti-Semitic/Israeli tweets that called his civility into question. Rashid Khalidi, who earlier had denounced this as an "outrageous maneuver," charged that Salaita "was indicted and convicted . . . in the court of tenure" for personal political speech, though his scholarship supposedly "was never in question." (Israeli journalist Liel Leibovitz has written that "hyperbolic fits of hatred" mark Salaita's "stupidly dogmatic" work, which "should not qualify as scholarship.")

Salaita explained that Illinois's American Indian Studies program took an interest in his work "conceptualizing Palestine as an indigenous space . . . in conversation with other colonized communities around the world." The "specific framework of American oppression" informed Salaita's anti-American/Israel study of "Zionist tactics" that merely "seem new-fangled" but were in fact centuries old. In his view, blaming Arabs in Gaza for children supposedly "killed by the dozen" during Israeli defensive military operations is an "old colonial trope," a "terrible argument, morally and intellectually," and an "outsourcing of responsibility." Salaita sneered in a "rant" directed at Jews, "you're the ones who told us that you are a light unto the nations."

Rashid Khalidi and audience member Yousef Munayyer, director of Washington, DC's anti-Israel Jerusalem Fund, both praised a "most wonderful" and "fantastic panel." Israel's supporters in the debate, an ideologically-blinded Munayyer claimed, "can't win it; they'd rather shut it down." This hate-filled event, though, revealed precisely the opposite: anti-Israel ideologues like Munayyer cannot convince others of their moral and historical correctness. As the panelists demonstrated, vitriol, not logic, often motivates Israel's political enemies.


No fun for kids in NYC parks any more

The city is putting the brakes on spinning playground equipment following reports of injuries, a Parks Department spokeswoman said.

Rotating metal saucers that kids ride at two Park Slope playgrounds were recently welded into place so they can't move, and the city has made similar modifications or removed a total of seven disks citywide "in the interest of public safety," the spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman declined to discuss how many injuries had been reported or other specifics.

Turning the spinning disks into statues angered Park Slope parents, who said the city was going too far to protect kids.

“I think it sucks,” said dad David Friedlander, whose 2-year-old was disappointed to find the the spinning disk at Vanderbilt Playground in Prospect Park suddenly stuck in place in late November. “I think it's a sad commentary on how litigious and afraid we've become of having our children get a few boo-boos."

Friedlander said his son had tumbled off the disk — which is about 4 feet wide and stands about 2 feet off the ground — onto the rubberized ground below, but he doesn't consider the equipment a safety hazard. Friedlander said it should be up to parents to decide if their children can handle playing on the saucer, not the city.

"This makes me completely insane. What's the point of even going to the playground? Better lock up the swings, too," wrote one frustrated mom of a 3-year-old on a South Slope email list.

Parents in that neighborhood said they're bummed a similar rotating saucer at Slope Park on Sixth Avenue and 18th Street was also recently welded so that it can't move.

The city removed a swing at Slope Park last year after several kids broke their legs while playing on it, but parents said the spinning metal disk didn't seem to present nearly the same risk. Parents who visit Slope Park frequently said they've never seen kids injured while playing at the saucer.

Though several families filed claims against the city regarding the Slope Park swing, no claims have been filed regarding the spinning disks there, according to the City Comptroller's Office.

A spokesman for City Councilman Carlos Menchaca, who represents the South Slope, said his office hadn't received any complaints about the rotating saucer at Slope Park, and a spokesman for City Councilman Brad Lander said no one complained about the metal disk at Vanderbilt Playground until after it was welded into a stationary position.

Mom Rebecca Stein said both her daughters, who are 5 and nearly 2, love to play on the rotating saucers at Vanderbilt Playground and Slope Park. The equipment lets her kids test boundaries and get a feel for how their little bodies balance and move, Stein said.

"They think it’s fantastic," Stein said. “They love the thrill of balancing and sort of playing risky. It’s being close to danger, but without any real danger.”

Stein said both her children had slipped off the saucers, but the worst that ever befell them was an extreme case of dizziness. She lamented the loss of the disks as part of a larger trend away from letting children play freely.

"Playgrounds are so sanitized now," Stein said. "There’s no thrill. In the playgrounds of our youth you could climb and feel like you were above things and use more of your imagination. I don’t think that happens anymore."



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

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

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


24 December, 2014

British soldier investigated for war crimes after touching Taliban terror suspect on nose with piece of paper

A British soldier was investigated for possible war crimes for thrusting a piece of paper at a Taliban fighter, it has emerged.

He was accused of abuse for touching the terror suspect on the nose with the sheet during a routine interrogation in Afghanistan.

The enemy fighter had been captured and detained as a potential ringleader in the murder and mutilation of four French soldiers in 2008.

But it was the military intelligence officer, who had an exemplary record, who was investigated for possible war crimes amid claims he had broken rules banning the touching of prisoners during interrogation.

On another occasion an interrogator was probed for shouting in a suspect’s ear in case he burst an ear drum, it was claimed.

The investigation is said to have taken place four years after the alleged offence.

The incidents came to light after the Ministry of Defence tightened the rules governing tactical questioning in the wake of several highly-damaging allegations that UK troops abused captives in their custody.

The changes have led to considerable disquiet in the military that soldiers are being hampered in their ability to extract information from insurgents that could potentially save lives.

Last week, the Al Sweady Inquiry report into the fallout from a firefight in Iraq in 2004 which became known as the Battle of Danny Boy concluded that insurgents and their families had used ‘deliberate lies’ to smear British troops.

Sir Thayne Forbes, who led the £31million inquiry, found that claims soldiers murdered, mutilated and tortured detainees were ‘wholly and entirely without merit’.

But while blasting the Iraqis and their legal aid-funded British lawyers, the 1,250-page report also turned the spotlight on nine examples of military intelligence officers abusing Iraqi detainees during questioning, although these instances were found to be ‘relatively minor’.

One soldier was criticised for walking around a captured and blindfolded Iraqi insurgent and blowing gently on his neck, which Sir Thayne said ‘amounted to a form of ill-treatment’.

The soldier was also castigated for banging a metal tent peg on a table to startle the prisoner, shouting in the man’s ear and warning him he would never see his wife if he refused to co-operate.

Following the revelations, a former senior Army interrogator, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘There was an incident in 2008 when French soldiers were massacred and the bodies of four of them were mutilated.

‘We had two of the suspects in detention and they were brought in for questioning.  ‘One of the interrogators touched one of the suspects on the nose with an A4 piece of paper and he was investigated by the special investigation branch for abuse.

‘Just for touching a detainee on the nose. The fact somebody could be investigated for that is to my mind incredible. It was ridiculous. These French soldiers had been horribly mutilated and yet it was the interrogator who was investigated.’

Blaming MoD lawyers, the former soldier said: ‘We once had in for questioning a well-known Taliban fighter.  ‘He didn’t say a word; he wouldn’t speak to us and when he eventually did all he would say through the translator was: “Your detention policy is toothless”.

‘We would have these suspects in and there we are worried about what the lawyers in Britain are going to say. These are really bad people. They mutilate their victims.  ‘They murder women and children and all we can think about is did we shout in their ear and will we get investigated for that? That’s how ridiculous it got.’

Colonel Tim Collins, who made a celebrated eve-of-battle speech during the Iraq war, said he blamed ‘ambulance-chasing lawyers’ and ‘play-it-safe judges’ for the new rules on interrogation. He said: ‘We are no longer able to carry out tactical questioning. That in itself brings risks to the lives of the people we deploy.

‘These insurgents are not nice people. These are criminals. They behead people; they keep sex slaves. They are not normal people.’


Atheist Group's Complaint Backfires, Lands Nativity In Full Public View

When the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) went after a city council in Jay, Fla., for displaying a nativity set on public property, the atheist group might have won a battle, but seems to have lost the war.

The FFRF, known for protesting any and all religious displays in public places, sent a complaint letter recently to local officials in the 526-person city of Jay, arguing against the life-sized nativity that had been set up on the site every Christmas for nearly 40 years, the group said in a press release.

In a letter sent to the city’s mayor, FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel alleged, "It is unlawful for the town to maintain, erect, or host a holiday display that consists solely of a nativity scene, thus singling out, showing preference for, and endorsing one religion.” He added there are "ample private and church grounds where religious displays may be freely placed.”

In response to the group’s complaints, the city council declared the nativity set surplus property and sold it to the Santa Rosa County Ministerial Association, thus removing it from public property.

The FFRF’s co-president, Dan Barker, praised the city council’s decision as “divesting the town of a divisive display.”

But the town has not been deprived of the nativity, reports the American Pastors Network. In fact, after the ministerial association purchased the nativity, they then placed the huge Christian display on private property near one of the busiest parts of the small town, reports the American Pastors Network.

“It now stands at a busy corner at the town’s main stop light—ironic, say nativity supporters, because many more people will see it there,” the APN said in a news release, adding that the more prominent display shows the citizens of Jay “have no intention of removing the real meaning of Christmas from public display.”

The APN said the complaint was just the latest in a continued attack on religious freedom by groups like the FFRF.

“Anyone who actually takes time to study our nation’s history and read the writings of our founders—not the interpretations of those writings written two hundred years later—knows that religious liberty and the acknowledgement of Almighty God as the source of that liberty are the bulwark of our nation,” said APN President Sam Rohrer in the release. “Threats like these against towns that want to display nativities are a blatant attack on our God-given and constitutionally protected freedoms.”

“The truth remains that public displays of the nativity scene on government property in no way violate the Constitution. FFRF’s attempts to stifle religious liberty, however, do,” he added.

According to the APN, a similar nativity placed by a local government in the nearby town of Century, Fla., also came under attack from the FFRF. That nativity was also bought by a church and placed on private property.

A third nativity display in Brookville, Ind., is still standing despite the FFRF’s attempts to force the local government to remove it, the group added.

“Brookville is going a step further and ignoring FFRF’s letters and instead rallying around its nativity,” APN reported in the press release, adding the town held a candlelight walk last weekend to show support for the nativity scene.


Nobody Has a Right to an Anti-Gay Wedding Cake, Either

Theodore Shoebat is the answer to the question, "Why should anybody care so much about freedom of association, anyway?" Shoebat and his father, Walid, have a Christian conservative site that features stories with headlines like "The Homosexual Empire," "America Is Becoming an Agent of Satan (We Are Now Living in Sodom and Gomorrah)," and "America's Most Embarrassing Muslim Spy and His Terrorist Connections Have Been COVERED UP and are NOW EXPOSED."

So probably not the site for me, and a lot of folks, and that's fine. The Internet is a big and wonderful place. Shoebat recently, though, performed an experiment some fans of freedom of association simply ponder. He called a bunch of gay or gay-friendly bakeries to see if they would make a cake for him that says "Gay marriage is wrong." He has posted videos of his conversations on YouTube and you can watch them here. 

Shoebat is kind of his own worst enemy in trying to perform this experiment. He can't keep from referring to the homosexual agenda "in California" and trying to argue with the folks in the other end of the call rather than simply asking if they'd sell him the cakes he wants. And his claim that they all rejected him isn't exactly true. His first call is to a cookie place, not a bakery. After arguing with the woman and saying that she'd be discriminating against him if she refused to make his cookie, she finally says she'll do it, though sarcastically says she'd add a big penis to the cookie. When a baker says they won't make him the cake because "They don't support that," he doesn't respond by saying that he's not asking them to support his position, just make a cake. Instead he asks them why they don't support his statement, which is missing his own point. Shoebat needed to be making the argument that it shouldn't matter whether they agree, because they're just providing a service.

But while it would have been better for a more articulate person to have performed this experiment, it's instructive nevertheless. If bakers are a "public accommodation" as is argued, there's no reason for them to refuse to make these cakes or cookies or what have you. The bakeries would not be saying "Gay marriage is wrong." They're just selling a cake to somebody who believes that. Just as making a gay wedding cake is not an endorsement of gay marriage. It's just fulfilling a customer's orders.

But it's wrong on both counts. Nobody should, by order of the government, have to make Shoebat's stupid cakes. And nobody should be forced to make gay wedding cakes either. Ethical and moral consistency requires demanding both or neither, not one or the other. Somehow some people see that it's obviously wrong for anybody to be forced to make Shoebat's cakes, but not gay wedding cakes.


Anti-Semitism Rising in the EU

The ongoing capitulation by Europe to radical Islam continues apace. The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg annulled a 13-year-old decision made by the Council of the European Union to maintain Hamas on the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations. The court explained that, while the “Council of the European Union adopted a common position and a regulation to combat terrorism” beginning Dec. 27, 2001, that decision was based “not on acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities but on factual imputations derived from the press and the internet.”

The Court further explained such decisions may not be made in that fashion but must rather rely on “elements which have been concretely examined and confirmed in decisions of national competent authorities within the meaning of the Common Position.”

When the Council established the list of terrorist organizations in 2001, Hamas' military wing, the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, was placed on the list. It took another two years before the political wing of the organization was added to it.

Hamas had contested the part of the common position that included “freezing of the funds of those people and entities included on a list adopted and regularly updated by Council decisions.” And while the Court annulled that position, it maintained that freeze for a period of three months, or “if an appeal is brought before the Court of Justice, until this appeal is closed.”

The Court stressed that the annulments made on “fundamental procedural grounds do not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of Hamas as a terrorist group within the meaning of the Common Position.”

Perhaps the most burning question is what have the so-called national competent authorities been doing for the last 13 years? Besides its bloody track record of terrorist attacks and the indiscriminate firing of thousands of missiles into Israel, Hamas' founding charter, “The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement,” calls for the annihilation of the Jewish State. A statement from the Prophet Mohammed provides the rationale:

“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”

One suspects far too many Europeans are more than willing to ignore such evidence in an effort to be “even-handed.” The leftist BBC implies as much, noting that the terror group’s “supporters see it as a legitimate resistance movement against Israel, with whom it has fought for years.” And only hours after that ruling, the European Parliament (EP) voted overwhelmingly to recognize a Palestinian state “in principle” by a margin of 498 to 88, with 111 abstentions. The vote is the culmination of a trend that began with similar recognition by the Swedish Parliament in October, followed by similar non-binding votes in Britain, Ireland, Spain, France and Portugal, with the latter two countries passing those resolutions last week.

All of the votes passed by large margins.

The EP’s vote reeks of an illegal double-standard exposed by the United Kingdom Independence Party’s (UKIP) Member of the European Parliament (MEP), James Carver. In September, he asked the EP to recognize the Islamic State of Somaliland. In October, they replied that only individual member states of the EU can act in that capacity. Even more transparently, they insisted that the status of Somaliland should be determined via “negotiations between the authorities of Somaliland and the Federal Government of Somalia” absent any effort by the EU to “influence the outcome of the process.”

Putting their collective fingers on the scale in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, even as decades of those negotiations have never held the Palestinians to remotely the same standards of compromise as Israel? Perfectly acceptable.

A survey conducted by the Anti-Defamation League reveals the impetus behind that effort. It reveals nearly one-in-four Western Europeans and more than one-in-three Eastern Europeans harbor anti-Semitic feelings.

Virulent expressions of those feelings were chronicled by the Guardian last August. They reported on a series of attacks and fire-bombings of synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses throughout Europe. Dieter Graumann, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, illuminated the feelings of his co-religionists. “These are the worst times since the Nazi era,” he explained. “On the streets, you hear things like ‘the Jews should be gassed’, ‘the Jews should be burned’ – we haven’t had that in Germany for decades. Anyone saying those slogans isn’t criticizing Israeli politics, it’s just pure hatred against Jews: nothing else. And it’s not just a German phenomenon. It’s an outbreak of hatred against Jews so intense that it’s very clear indeed.”

Hamas was pleased with the Court’s decision. Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk characterized it as “a correction of a historical mistake.” He added, “Hamas is a resistance movement and it has a natural right according to all international laws and standards to resist the occupation.” That would be the same Hamas reportedly repairing the “terror tunnels” used to infiltrate Israel for the sole purpose of killing as many Jews as possible. Increasingly and most ominously, it appears the EU is on board with the utterly bankrupt moral equivocation known as “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”

Israeli economy minister Naftali Bennett called the Court’s annulment “immoral.” But he also offered the EU a warning. “Israel is strong and can defend itself against its enemies, but those who will suffer from strengthening terrorist groups will be the Europeans themselves,” he said. Suffer may be an understatement. Abject surrender to Islamic totalitarianism, one anti-Semitic-driven decision after another, is more like it.



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

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

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


23 December, 2014

Ignorant Muslim taxi driver fined £1,000 and loses his job  after refusing to pick up blind woman in pouring rain because she had a guide dog

A taxi driver has been fined £1,000 after he refused to pick up a blind woman who was standing in the pouring rain because she had a guide dog.

Shahzad Ahmad, 32, told Sue Smith that he could not accept her fare because his vehicle wasn't big enough to fit five-year-old Labrador Sonny - even though he was driving a six-seater people carrier.

Ms Smith left feeling 'scared' and 'embarrassed' when Ahmad drove away, leaving her and Sonny to be soaked on the street, Birmingham Magistrates Court heard.

The 50-year-old had phoned taxi firm T.C. Cars after visiting the headquarters of Action for Blind People in Birmingham on March 27.  But she was stunned when Mr Ahmad arrived and told her that he could not take her with Sonny.

She was left 'embarrassed' and 'disorientated' in the street for 20 minutes as she tried to find her way back into the building she had just left.

Ms Smith said that the incident has 'dented her confidence' and has left her scared to get into a taxi.

It is an offence for a taxi driver not to take a blind person and their guide dog unless they have a medical exemption certificate for an allergy.

Ahmad was found guilty in his absence of breaching the Equality Act 2010 at Birmingham Magistrates Court on Wednesday. He was fined £1,000, ordered to pay court costs of £1,000 and a victim surcharge of £100. 

On Thursday, Ms Smith, who lives with long term partner, Colin, 50, said: 'I was so angry and scared. It was horrible.

'It was pouring with rain and if I hadn't been going to the Action for the Blind building I would have just been stranded in the city centre. God knows what I would have done.

'I have been on antidepressants since and I'm scared to get a taxi now. It has really dented my confidence.  'He just kept saying "no, no, no" even though I told him it was illegal. He was very rude and just drove off.'

Ahmad, from Birmingham, has since been sacked by taxi firm and now faces losing his license.

John Kington, promotions manager at T.C. Cars, said: 'We acted swiftly and sharply as we do not tolerate this kind of behaviour at all.  'He was sacked straight away. Accommodating guide dogs is a requirement we are happy to meet and will continue to meet in future.'

Sue Bushell, from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, added: 'Some drivers may have a fear of dogs but it is a legal requirement.'


The war on rape: the logic of the lynch mob returns

Five ways in which today’s feminist war on rape echoes the KKK’s war on rape

We are in the midst of a war on rape. From American campuses to British courthouses, from newspaper op-ed pages to the weird world of online petitions, ‘zero tolerance’ of rape has been declared. And who could possibly be against it? No one is ‘pro-rape’. So surely everyone will cheer a war on rape. Not so fast. Wars on rape have been declared before, and often for deeply reactionary reasons, having the effect of harming society rather than helping women. Consider the ‘war on rape’ declared in America’s Deep South in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the KKK and other racists likewise declared zero tolerance of rape – rape committed by black men, that is – and signalled their determination to wipe out this ‘ultimate transgression’. There was little positive in that crusade. And here are five ways in which today’s non-racist feministic ‘war on rape’ echoes the lynch-mob logic of yesteryear’s racist ‘war on rape’.

1) Always believe the accuser

The rallying cry of today’s apparently liberal crusaders against rape is: ‘Believe.’ They always believe the accuser. To doubt the accuser is to risk being branded a rape apologist. Campaign groups with names like We Believe You and I Believe You, It’s Not Your Fault speak to the readiness of campaigners to accept every accusation of rape as good coin. Even in the wake of the Rolling Stone scandal, where an allegation of gang rape at the University of Virginia has been exposed as a tissue of lies, a writer for the Washington Post insisted we must ‘automatically believe rape allegations’, because ‘incredulity hurts victims’. From Dylan Farrow’s accusations against Woody Allen to various women’s accusations against Bill Cosby, the cry ‘I believe!’ has rung out, as activists have rushed to declare, without the benefit of a court case, that these women were raped.

Automatic belief of rape accusations was a central principle of the KKK’s war on rape, too. This was one of the things that most shocked Ida B Wells, the early twentieth-century African-American journalist and civil-rights activist. ‘The word of the accuser is held to be true’, she said, which means that ‘the rule of law [is] reversed, and instead of proving the accused to be guilty, the [accused] must prove himself innocent’. Wells and others were startled by the level of belief in the accusers of black men, and by the damning of anyone who dared to question such accusations, which was taken as an attack on the accuser’s ‘virtue’.

The great nineteenth-century African-American reformer Frederick Douglass was disturbed by the mob’s instant acceptance of accusations of rape against black men, where ‘the charge once fairly stated, no matter by whom or in what manner, whether well or ill-founded’, was automatically believed. Wells said she was praying that ‘the time may speedily come when no human being shall be condemned without due process of law’.

No, rape suspects aren’t lynched today. But, as we can see in everything from the destruction of Bill Cosby’s career to the demand to banish from campus students accused of but not charged with rape, they are often condemned on ‘the word of the accuser’ and ‘without due process of law’. Now, as then, ‘I believe’ is the rallying cry of crusaders against rape, and now, as then, such ‘automatic belief’ reverses the rule of law.

2) Saving women from cross-examination

One of the key claims of today’s non-racist crusaders against rape is that the cross-examination of rape claimants is too tough and we need softer, less combative ways to establish the guilt of rape suspects. The Guardian says rape claimants who are subjected to a rigorous trial process feel like they have been ‘raped all over again’; cross-examination is ‘humiliating and needlessly gruelling’. The UK Labour Party says ‘cross-examination is too harsh for rape victims’ and has promised to change the law to restrict cross-examination in such cases.

There are already special measures in place to protect rape claimants. In the UK, rape claimants enjoy anonymity, and a recent Court of Appeal ruling said courts must rethink how they question ‘vulnerable’ people.

On campuses in the US, special academic courts with a single investigator rule on allegations of student rape: the aim of such extrajudicial, unfair courts is to avoid the ‘adversarial, evidence-gathering criminal-justice model’ and ‘spare complainants from cross-examination’.

The KKK was likewise obsessed with sparing women from cross-examination. It also justified its extrajudicial activities — in its case, mob-delivered capital punishment of suspected black rapists — as a way of saving rape claimants from being publicly questioned. As Crystal Nicole Feimster says in her book Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching, lynchings of rape suspects were justified as a way of ‘spar[ing] the female victim the humiliation of having to appear in court to testify before her alleged assailant, an all-male jury, and an audience of courthouse rowdies’.

Deep South racists depicted women as too fragile to cope with cross-examination in court. In 1899, a racist correspondent for the Atlanta Constitution said he was repelled by ‘the very thought of a delicate woman being forced to go into the publicity of a court and there detail her awful wrongs in the presence of the brute who had inflicted [them]’, arguing that lynching was a better form of justice for the woman.

Also in the 1890s, a Southern newspaper singled out rape as a special crime that should not be tested in court in the same way as all other crimes. It is wrong, it said, to force a ‘delicate woman’ to ‘[testify against] her ravisher’. ’Let every other crime be dealt with by law’, it went on, ‘but do you see now why lynchings are the only way to deal with this [crime]?’. A Southern editor said it was wicked to make a rape claimant ‘face a staring public’.

So the arguments of today’s crusaders against rape – about women being too delicate to cope with cross-examination and society therefore needing less rigorous procedures to rule on this crime – are not new. Their effectively extrajudicial measures might only be special campus courts or restrictions on cross-examination, rather than the lynchings preferred by the similarly women-pitying KKK, but in both cases the logic is the same: women are vulnerable, rape is a special crime, and thus we need parallel systems of ‘justice’ to deal with it.

3) Spreading panic about a ‘rape culture’

The buzzphrase of our age is ‘rape culture’. Fearmongering feminists claim women are surrounded by the threat of rape, as evidenced in everything from the Sun’s Page 3 to the continued existence of raunchy rock music, and are drowning in what one melodramatic columnist calls ‘a sea of misogyny’. Activists make videos of themselves being catcalled in the street to demonstrate that a ‘culture of rape’ is all around.

Even as the statistics suggest that actual incidents of rape are declining — the US National Crime Victimization Survey records an 85 per cent decline in the per-capita victimisation rate of rape over the past 35 years — still the panic about rape is stoked up. Magazines like Rolling Stone run graphic stories about grotesque rapes, publishing houses churn out rape memoirs, and online forums are set up for women to tell, in as much detail as possible, their stories of being raped – all contributing to a feeling, however unfounded, that women are at risk from lustful men.

So it was in the Deep South, too. One of the main ways in which racists there maintained social divisions and social order was through the spectre of rape. They promoted the idea that white women were under constant threat from ‘lustful black men’. Even though the black rape of white women was not a major problem, still the idea that there was a menacing culture of rape was indulged. As one historian of the South put it, crimes of black-on-white rape ‘gripped the white imagination far out of proportion to their statistical significance’.

Such was the fear of a black culture of rape that ‘rape and rumours of rape became the folk pornography of the Bible Belt’ — just as they have today, in the ‘folk pornography’ published by Rolling Stone and memoir houses, in these often unhinged, rumour-fuelled rape stories designed to shock and titillate readers.

Some will say that today’s ‘awareness raising’ — modern parlance for fearmongering — about a culture of rape is at least not racist. It is true that modern feminists are anti-racist, but sometimes they rehabilitate old prejudices. The New York City catcalling video that went insanely viral two months ago, and reignited the debate about ‘rape culture’, featured what Slate called ‘a young white women [being] harassed by mostly black and Latino men’. The notion that white women are at risk from ‘lustful black men’ survives.

4) No redemption for rapists

Deep South racists lynched black men for all sorts of crimes, including the ‘crime’ of disrespecting a white person. But they peddled the myth that most lynchings were for rape because rape was seen, in their words, as the ‘ultimate transgression’ and thus they knew there’d be little blowback for lynchings that punished this crime. The finality of death was justified for the black rapist of a white woman because there could never be any earthly redemption for such a heinous crime, they argued. They depicted their lynchings of suspected rapists, their destruction of a rapist’s life, as a means of cleansing society of evil. In 1909, one pro-lynching newspaper described the destruction of a black rapist in the following terms: ‘Almost like the lifting of a fog when the morning sun bursts forth was the change in spirit in the city today after vengeance had been claimed and justice meted out to the negro.’

Today, too, feministic crusaders against rape claim there can never be redemption for rapists. Of all crimes, the committers of this one alone apparently can never be rehabilitated and returned to normal life. The online campaign to stop footballer Ched Evans from getting his old job back shows that rapists are once again considered beyond redemption. At the weekend, The Times’ resident feminist Caitlin Moran, a square person’s idea of a cool person, explicitly insisted that rapists can never be redeemed. In a chilling piece headlined ‘The limits of redemption’, she said even rapists who have served their time should have their lives made ‘publicly, endlessly awful, unrelentingly humiliating, without prospect of absolution’. Perhaps ‘men who have raped do need to see their lives reduced to ash’, she said — the use of the word ash speaking to the stake-preparing, fire-wielding sentiment behind much of the modern crusade against rape. Moran says ‘perhaps the only way society can be good… is to stop believing in redemption for a while’.

Moran is not a racist. Yet there is a striking similarity between her demand that rapists’ lives be made ‘unrelentingly humiliating’ as a way of renewing society and that old racist’s justification of the humiliating public destruction of a rapist as a way of ‘lifting the fog’ and ‘changing the spirit’ of society. In both cases, punishing rape becomes less about justice and democracy and more about vengeance, humiliation, spectacle, the destruction of a man’s life, either through death or permanent exile from normal life, for committing the ‘ultimate transgression’.

At least the KKK had the courage of its convictions — if Moran really believes there can be no ‘prospect of absolution’ for rapists, then she will surely want to kill them, too.

5) Infantilising women

In the old Deep South, there were some brave female voices, including white ones, which challenged the panic about a black rape culture on the grounds that it both victimised black men and patronised white women. Jessie Daniel Ames was a Texas-born well-off white woman, a Suffragette and an anti-racist, who in 1930 founded the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching. She argued that the lynching of rape suspects was fuelled by ‘assumptions as degrading to white women as they were oppressive to blacks’. She believed that the hysteria over rape and the war on rape were carried out under the ‘guise of chivalric protection of white females’, which ‘actually demeans women and reinforces the myth of female vulnerability’. She called on women to throw off ‘the crown of chivalry which has been pressed like a crown of thorns on our head[s]’.

So it is today. Today’s war on rape also heightens the myth of female vulnerability, depicting women as incapable of negotiating work life, university life and street life without assistance or special rules and regulations to protect them from men. Ames launched what one historian calls a ‘revolt against chivalry’. Where are today’s female revolters against chivalry, challenging the myth of a ‘rape culture’, a myth that simultaneously demonises men and infantilises women?

Mercifully, no one is lynched in the modern West, for rape or any other crime. But the logic of those old lynch mobs is making a comeback. From the instant acceptance of the word of rape accusers to the demonisation of fair and rigorous criminal-justice procedures, from the spreading of panic about a ‘rape culture’ to the depiction of women as vulnerable creatures at permanent risk from ‘lustful men’, all the prejudices that fuelled the old racist war on rape are being rehabilitated on the back of the new non-racist feministic war on rape. Both men and women should fight back against this new poisoning of the relations between the sexes and stand up to the fear, hysteria and elevation of vengeance over justice that lie at the heart of the modern public debate on rape.


What Americans Really Think About Relationships, Cohabitation and Marriage

What do Americans think about marriage and relationships? And do these attitudes line up with what research shows is best for relationships?

A new, nationally representative survey of Americans ages 18-60 by the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture helps answer this question.

What Americans Say about Cohabitation

The Austin Institute survey revealed that 44 percent of Americans believe it is a good idea for couples to live together before marriage, with another 30 percent remaining neutral on the matter. Only 25 percent disagreed that cohabitation is a good idea.

What the Research Says

Researchers find time and again that cohabitation is on average connected to increased risk of divorce. The connection between cohabitation and poorer relationship quality is likely partly due to selection: those who cohabit are those who would be more prone to divorce anyway.

But research also suggests that cohabitation itself appears to contribute to lower marital quality. Part of the reason is that cohabiting couples may be more likely to “slide” into marriage since they are already living together, even when the relationship isn’t necessarily the most suitable for marriage.

What Americans Say about Sexual Relationships

Respondents reported an average of between 4 and 6 lifetime sexual partners.

What the Research Shows

The number of sexual partners a person has matters when it comes to marital happiness down the road. Men and women who only have sex with the person they marry report higher marital quality. Furthermore, the timing of sex in a relationship makes a difference: couples who wait until they are married to have sex also report better marital quality.

What Americans Say About Marriage 

Most Americans, even younger Americans, disagreed that marriage is an outdated institution. Overall, 66 percent disagreed that marriage is an outdated institution, with only 10 percent agreeing that it is. Furthermore, most couples in cohabiting relationships said they wanted to get married. The large majority–74 percent– of Americans also said infidelity is unacceptable

What the Research Shows

The survey results coincided with what other research finds: a majority of young Americans say getting married is important to them. Additionally, marriage is connected with better outcomes for adults, children and society. Married individuals are, on average, happier, healthier and wealthier, and children do best when raised by their married mother and father.

Yet, there has been a significant decline in marriage rates. What’s more, there is a growing marriage divide today: marriage seems to be turning into an elite institution with marriage becoming less common in lower-income and working-class communities. This is alarming considering marriage provides economic stability and promotes social mobility. As marriage rates have declined, unwed childbearing has increased, putting children at greater risk for poverty and other negative outcomes.

Strong marriages and families are foundational to a thriving and stable society. Perhaps more importantly, successful marriage and family relationships are tied to the happiness of adults and children. Unfortunately, cultural norms today often promote practices–such as cohabitation and sexual experimentation–that can hinder successful marriage relationships.

Helping people better understand what will give them the greatest likelihood of achieving a healthy and stable marriage is much needed, particularly in communities where marriage has declined most. There are some efforts taking place–such as First Things First in Chattanooga, Tennessee that provides marriage education, or the Love & Fidelity Network that seeks to help college students counteract the hookup culture–but more effort is needed at every level to help restore a culture of marriage.


Here’s How the Media Got the Latest Religious Liberty Bill Wrong

Finishing off a week that was pretty bad for the media, CBS News is now spinning a story about a Michigan religious freedom bill. Their headline reads: “Bill would let Michigan doctors, EMTs refuse to treat gay patients.” But the bill does nothing of the sort.

The bill, passed by the Michigan House last week, is the Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act. And, as the legal scholar Ed Whelan points out, “the bill is modeled on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, [and] at least 19 other states have enacted laws modeled on the federal RFRA, and nothing remotely like what CBS News alleges has ever happened anywhere.”

The federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed unanimously in the House, got 97 votes in the Senate and was signed into law in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. And the sky hasn’t fallen since then.

The reason why the sky hasn’t fallen is that federal and state RFRAs entail a balancing test protecting both religious liberty and peace, justice and the common good. These laws prevent the imposition of substantial burdens on sincere religious beliefs unless the government proves that such a burden advances a compelling government interest that has been pursued through the least restrictive means possible.

So, CBS News is simply wrong when it claims that the Michigan law “essentially states that people do not have to perform an act that would violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.” No. That’s not right. Religious liberty is balanced by compelling government interests.

Time magazine also gets it wrong. It ran a piece attacking the Michigan law by Rabbi Jason Miller, with the headline “Freedom of Religion Shouldn’t be Unconditional.” That’s right, it shouldn’t be unconditional. And RFRAs do not make it unconditional. Again, they entail a balancing test.

One way to see this is to take the test case that CBS (wrongly) used, that of doctors and EMTs. The first prong of RFRA requires that a sincere religious belief be substantially burdened. I haven’t heard of any sincere religious beliefs that would prevent EMTs from treating gay people—which religion requires that? But for the sake of argument, let’s suppose one did.

The next prong of RFRA asks if there is a compelling state interest being pursued in the least restrictive way possible. Obviously providing essential medical care to all citizens is a compelling interest. (It is so compelling that in 1986 Congress passed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, which requires Medicare-participating hospitals to provide emergency medical care to all patients, irrespective of ability to pay.) Thus, preventing EMTs from picking and choosing which patients they will treat may very well be the least restrictive means possible of ensuring emergency care to all patients.

So, no, the Michigan bill isn’t about giving medical professionals a right to refuse to fix the broken bones of gay people or to refuse to prescribe antibiotics to lesbians.

Protecting religious liberty is good public policy. Religious liberty isn’t a blank check to do whatever you want. So, while religious liberty shouldn’t always prevail, the government should have to meet a high burden of proof before it burdens religious exercise. RFRA provides just this balance.



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

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

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


22 December, 2014

Controversial Dutch far-Right politician Geert Wilders to face trial for inciting racial hatred after vowing to make sure there were 'fewer Moroccans' in Holland

They are going to try him AGAIN?

Dutch far-right populist lawmaker Geert Wilders is be tried for inciting racial hatred after pledging in March to ensure there were 'fewer Moroccans' in the Netherlands, prosecutors said Thursday.

'The public prosecutor in The Hague is to prosecute Geert Wilders on charges of insulting a group of people based on race and incitement to discrimination and hatred,' prosecutors said in a statement.

'Politicians may go far in their statements, that's part of freedom of expression, but this freedom is limited by the prohibition of discrimination,' it said, adding that no date had yet been set for the trial.

The case centres on comments Wilders made at a March 19 rally after local elections.

He asked his followers whether they wanted 'fewer or more Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands?'

When the crowd shouted 'Fewer! Fewer!' a smiling Wilders answered: 'We're going to organise that.' In a later TV interview, he referred to 'Moroccan scum'.

The remark led to 6,400 legal complaints being lodged across the Netherlands, and criticism was even voiced within Wilders's own Party for Freedom.

In a written statement, Wilders says he 'said what millions of people think and believe.'  Wilders says authorities 'should concentrate on prosecuting jihadis instead of me.'

'I do not retract anything I have said,' Wilders, whose Party for Freedom (PVV) is leading opinion polls.  'In my fight for freedom and against the Islamisation of the Netherlands, I will never let anyone silence me. No matter the cost, no matter by whom, whatever the consequences may be,' he said.

Wilders is often reviled in Dutch immigrant communities for his fiery anti-Islam rhetoric.  In the past the flamboyant politician has compared the Koran to Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' and has called Islam a fascist religion.

He has become the target of death threats and who lives under 24-hour police protection. He has said he expects prosecutors to drop the charges.

A court in 2011 acquitted Wilders on hate-speech charges, ruling that he had targeted a religion, which is permitted under Dutch freedom of speech laws, rather than a specific ethnic group.

The far-right is on the rise across Europe, fed by disillusionment with the establishment, economic hardship and worries over immigration.


Big British charity rapped for political bias

Oxfam has been rapped by the charity watchdog for not taking sufficient steps to avoid appearing politically biassed in a social media campaign which criticised the Government’s austerity programme earlier this year.

In a posting on Twitter in the summer, Oxfam published a faux film poster, showing picture of a broiling sea, under dark storm clouds, under the words in red: “The Perfect Storm” adding that it was “starring zero hours contracts, high prices, benefit cuts, unemployment, childcare costs”.

A Twitter message above the image said: “Lifting the lid on austerity Britain reveals a perfect storm - and it’s forcing more and more people into poverty.”

The Tweet was part of a bigger campaign on poverty in the UK earlier this year by Oxfam, and prompted complaints to the Charity Commission from Conservative MPs.

Under charity law, charities have to remain above political campaigning and have to “remain neutral and should consider working with other parties to help ensure public perceptions of neutrality”.

In a three page report published on Friday, the Commission concluded: “The charity should have done more to avoid any misperception of political bias by providing greater clarity”.

The Commission added that Oxfam should have linked to research which set out its concerns about poverty in the UK.

It said: “We appreciate that tweets by nature are short. Nevertheless, consideration must always be given as to how they might be perceived when received in isolation.”

Oxfam said it had “recognised the need to review the oversight of their social media work, particularly in the run-up to the election”.

The Commission said that Oxfam had now looked again at its “governance framework for campaigning activity” including bringing all of its campaigning work into one place.

Tory MPs welcomed the ruling.  Conor Burns MP who brought the original complaint, said: “I am very pleased that after a very considerable period of time and very careful consideration that the Charity Commission has reached the decision that it has.

“While not calling for any further action, this judgement should make all charities think very carefully about how the use the very generous donations by people when they are in 'campaign mode', rather than 'poverty alleviation mode'.”

Rob Wilson MP, the Charities minister, said: "Remaining above the party political fray in all forms of communication is vital to maintaining the high levels of trust the public has for charities and the important work they do.”

Charlie Elphicke MP, who has campaigned on charity issues, said: “The Charity Commission’s ruling is welcome. Charities must be independent and not party political. I welcome Oxfam’s commitment not to act in a party political way again.

“It is a shame that the regulator needed to remind Oxfam of their duties under charity law, and as we go in to an election campaign it is to be hoped other charities take heed and act accordingly.”

Mark Goldring, Oxfam’s chief executive, said: “The Commission found that in relation to this tweet we did not do enough to avoid people misunderstanding our intentions and we accept that.

“We have reviewed our social media procedures to reduce the risk of tweets being misconstrued in future.”

The tweet was “motivated by the desire to draw attention to the problems facing poor people in Britain today and was not party political”, he said.

He added: "At a time when increasing numbers of British people are surviving on food hand-outs, we have a responsibility to draw attention to their plight and challenge the politicians who have the power to help them.”


Gen. Boykin: Army Violated Its Own Regulations in Punishing Chaplain for Using Scripture

Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (U.S. Army-Ret.) says the Army violated its own regulations by punishing Chaplain Joseph Lawhorn for “using Christian scripture and solutions” in a mandatory suicide prevention training session.

Boykin, chair of the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition (RMRFC), also said that the treatment of Lawhorn violated the chaplain’s constitutional rights.

“First of all, his case is important because it is an infringement on his First Amendment rights,” Boykin told CNSNews.com.

“Secondly he is a chaplain. By definition, chaplains deal with spiritual issues, and all he was doing was explaining how his faith helped him.

“The third thing, though, is that this colonel that issued him a reprimand was in violation of the Army regulation.”

Lawhorn received a “Letter of Concern” from his commandering officer after the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF) posted a photo of a double-sided handout from his session, which they received from a member of the 5th Ranger Training Battalion who was in attendance.

The MAAF complained that Lawhorn used the example of the adversity suffered by the Old Testament King David on the front of the hand-out for advice on overcoming distress. The back offered both Christian and secular counseling resources.

“You provided a two-sided handout that listed Army resources on one side and a biblical approach to handling depression on the other side,” Col. David Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Ft. Benning, Georgia wrote following Lawhorn’s Nov. 20th training session. “This made it impossible for those in attendance to receive the resource information without also receiving the biblical information.”

Lawhorn was cautioned to be “careful to avoid any perception you are advocating one system of beliefs over another.”

Boykin explained that by issuing the Letter of Concern to Lawhorn, Col. Fivecoat was himself in violation of an Army regulation that “you cannot either force a chaplain to do something that violates their conscience or prohibit them from following their faith.”

This is an apparent reference to Section 533 of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), also known as the “conscience clause,” which protects the “rights of conscience of members of the Armed Forces and chaplains of such members.”

“He was reprimanded for simply doing what he is permitted to do by not only our Constitution, but by Army regulation,” Boykin emphasized. “So there are three very important reasons why we felt that we could not let this stand.”

The RMRFC sent a letter to Secretary of the Army John McHugh Wednesday to express its alarm over the reprimand. The coalition is asking that the Army withdraw the Letter of Concern, which would otherwise remain in Lawhorn’s file for up to three years.

“An Army chaplain is not required by the Constitution, any statute, or any regulation to behave like a secular counselor. The chaplain’s perspective is spiritual and religious,” the RMRFC points out in the letter.

“As a chaplain, Captain Lawhorn certainly pointed to his Christian faith and reliance on reading the Bible as key weapons in his fight against depression. At no time did he indicate that his solution was the superior way or the only way to handle depression,” the coalition noted.

“In fact, Chaplain Lawhorn provided a two-sided handout that included Scriptures dealing with depression and hope on one side, and secular resources on the other.”

The letter concludes with a request that “assurances be provided that Colonel Fivecoat’s actions will not adversely affect Chaplain Lawhorn’s Army career and reputation.”

“What our coalition is asking for: rescind that letter and in doing so what you’re saying is that this was done in error and we are rescinding it as a result of that error,” Boykin explained, adding: “I want this colonel who did this, I want somebody in the chain of command to sit him down and explain to him what the Constitution provides for in terms of freedom of religion as well as freedom of speech.”

Boykin also told CNSNews.com that this incident “is another example of the persecution, particularly of Christians” in the U.S. military, which he says is “becoming more and more of a problem over the last couple of years.”

“We just simply cannot ignore this nor let it stand,” he said. “Even if there’s no long-term impact on the chaplain professionally, it can’t stand because commanders cannot abuse their power by abusing their subordinates over their conscience and their faith.”

The Family Research Council (FRC), of which Boykin is executive vice president, also sent a petition to Secretary McHugh asking him “to rescind the Letter of Concern and to reprimand Col. Fivecoat for violating protections afforded to all military personnel enacted into law in the National Defense Authorization Act.”

The petition currently has over 20,000 signatures.


Brutal British social work bureaucrats again

Falling into the grip of a Leftist bureaucracy is bad news indeed

A distraught elderly couple are facing Christmas apart because ‘box-ticking’ social workers refuse to let them spend it in the same nursing home.  Raffaello Gerra, 84, and his wife Isabel, 70, have been told they must be separated after more than 50 years of marriage because of council protocol.

Mr Gerra, a retired hotelier, had been living in sheltered housing next to the nursing home that looks after his wife, who suffers from dementia. But after a stroke in October, he now needs round-the-clock care and cannot leave his hospital bed to visit her.

Doctors recommend that Mr Gerra join his wife in her home – but social workers say he must go to an ‘assessment centre’ for around six weeks instead.

Despite the fact that he cannot walk, dress himself or visit the bathroom, Milton Keynes Council maintain that his ‘needs’ may not meet the correct criteria for a place.

The Gerras’ 49-year-old daughter Stephanie, a psychotherapist, said: ‘Mum and Dad desperately want to be together. They’ve been soulmates all their lives. I don’t know how long either of them have left so every week that passes is precious. Dad has become very depressed. Mum is missing him and has even asked if he was dead. It’s heart-breaking.  ‘Keeping them apart is nothing but a box-ticking exercise.’

The couple met in London more than 50 years ago, and have worked all their lives without claiming benefits. Mr Gerra, an Italian, fell in love with his Spanish wife ‘at first sight’ when she came to work in the same hotel as him.

They married in 1964 and raised two children – Stephanie and her brother Alex, now 44 – while running the family hotel in Bloomsbury, central London. They have four grandchildren.

But after the couple retired to Milton Keynes, Mrs Gerra was last year diagnosed with late stage dementia, and was forced to move into Ashby House Care Home.

She took comfort from the presence of her husband, who visited every day, made friends with staff and came to view it as a second home. But following his stroke two months ago, the medical team at Milton Keynes Hospital say he can no longer live alone and recommend that he joins his wife.

As well as mobility issues, Mr Gerra has poor eyesight, poor hearing, failing kidney function, diabetes and high blood pressure.

In a letter to social workers, a hospital consultant said: ‘In my opinion, Mr Gerra would greatly benefit from a place at Ashby House. This would enhance his well-being and reunite him with his wife, which would help support his emotional needs.’

But despite pleas from Mr Gerra’s family, the council said he must go to another institution, Orchard House, for ‘assessment’ instead. And after an examination period likely to last at least six weeks, there is no guarantee he will be allowed the funding for a £650-a-week place with his wife.

A letter from social services said the process ‘is used to assess all service users where it is not clear what support they will need upon discharge’, adding that ‘the hospital is not a natural environment to establish someone’s needs’.

It means the couple could be forced to live in separate care homes for the rest of their lives, as Mr Gerra does not have the means to fund his own place at Ashby House.

Their daughter added: ‘My parents have been hard-working taxpayers all their lives and never asked for anything. My mother actually didn’t claim her pension for some years.

‘They wouldn’t dream of claiming benefits and have always been self-reliant. I feel they’ve earned this care in their hour of need. All my dad can say is that he hopes God lets him live long enough to look after Mum. It breaks his heart that she’s slowly disappearing without him there.’

A spokesman for the council said they ‘are very sympathetic to the circumstances of Mr and Mrs Gerra. We are working closely with the family to ensure they are provided with the appropriate support when he is well enough to leave hospital.’



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

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

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


21 December, 2014

Once in royal David's city...

Once in royal David's city,
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her Baby,
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ, her little Child.

I expect that all reading here know the beautiful Christmas carol excerpted above.  But was there ever a royal David?  And if so, did he rule anything? Learned historians dispute it.  There was no civilization in Israel at that time, they say  -- only primitive farms.

"Die Bibel hat doch Recht" ("The Bible is right after all") was a German book written about 50 years ago which used then-recent archaeological findings to show that the Bible was historically correct. As time has gone by, more findings to that effect have emerged. The report below now reveals some unusually strong confirmation of Bible chronology.  It seems that recently discovered clay seals show  that biblical accounts of King David and Solomon are probably correct

For centuries, scholars have either dismissed King David and King Solomon as mythological figures, or disputed the era in which they ruled over the Israelites, as told in the Bible.

But the discovery of six official clay seals may finally prove that there was a ruler in the region during the 9th and 10th century BC.

Although the bullae don't directly reference David or Solomon, they do suggest the presence of a government and political activity during their respective supposed reigns.

The clay seals were found at Khirbet Summeily, an archaeological site in Tell-el Hesi to the east of Gaza in southern Israel, by Jimmy Hardin, associate professor in the Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures at Mississippi State University.

He said the clay bullae were used to seal official correspondence in much the same way wax seals were used on official documents in later periods.

'We are very positive that these bullae are associated with the Iron Age IIA, which we date to the 10th century BC, and which lends general support to the historical veracity of David and Solomon as recorded in the Hebrew biblical texts.

'These appear to be the only known examples of bullae from the 10th century, making this discovery unique.'

The finds contribute to an ongoing debate about whether governments or states existed in the early Iron Ages.

Professor Hardin said that the artefacts hold far-reaching implications for the growing number of scholars who maintain such political organisation occurred much later than biblical texts suggest.

The discovery adds to a growing body of evidence that points to the rule of the House of David in the region.

A large rock, known as the Tel Dan Stele, was discovered in the early 1990s and inscriptions on its surface reference a King of Israel and the House of David.

Although the translation isn't complete, in particular, the eighth and ninth lines have been translated as: 'The king of Israel, and I killed [...]yahu son of [... the ki]/ng of the House of David. And I made [their towns into ruins].

The broken stele is currently on display at the at Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of its Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age exhibit.

The museum calls its inscription: 'the earliest extra-biblical reference to the House of David.'

Epigraphers and biblical historians are said to be in agreement that the letters 'bytdvd' on the stone refer to the House of King David. 

'Some text scholars and archaeologists have dismissed the historic reliability of the biblical text surrounding kings David and Solomon, such as recorded in the Bible in the books of Kings and Second Samuel, which scholars often date to the Iron Age IIA or 10th century BC,' Professor Hardin said.

'The fact that these bullae came off of sealed written documents shows that this site - located out on the periphery of pretty much everything - is integrated at a level far beyond subsistence.

'You have either political or administrative activities going on at a level well beyond those typical of a rural farmstead.'

The Bible claims David ruled the Kingdom of Israel and later Judah between 1010 BC until his death in 970BC.

He is referenced in the Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles.

Professor Hardin's findings are published in the journal Near Eastern Archaeology.

The journal article describes the dig site as a borderland area between what would have been the centre of Judah and Philistia.

It was originally assumed to be a small Iron Age farmstead.   However, the excavation of the bullae and other recent archaeological finds indicate a level of political organisation previously thought not to exist at that time.

'We believe that the aggregate material culture remains that have been discovered at Summeily demonstrate a level of political-economic activity that has not been suspected recently for the late Iron Age I and early Iron Age IIA,' the researchers wrote in the journal.

Two of the bullae Professor Hardin's team excavated have complete seal impressions, two have partial seal impressions, and two others have none.

Two of them were blackened by fire, but one bulla has a well-preserved hole where the string used to seal the document passed through the clay.

The impressions in the bullae do not contain writing.

The bullae the team found were in the layer of material tested by the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Rock Magnetism at the University of Minnesota.

The markings were examined and dated by Christopher Rollston, an epigrapher in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilisations at George Washington University.

Jeff Blakely from the University of Wisconsin-Madison said: 'Our dates for the bullae are based on multiple types of evidence we combined to determine a general 10th century BC date.'

'The style of the bullae, the types of ancient pottery found in the same contexts as the bullae, the types of Egyptian scarabs found, the style of an Egyptian amulet, and the overall stratigraphy or layering of the site each suggested a 10th century date.

'In addition, archaeomagnetism dating, which is based on the strength and direction of the earth's magnetic fields in the past, also suggested the layers in which the bullae were found must be 10th century.

'Further research and analysis should refine our dating to decades rather than a century,' he said


Enoch Powell's monstrous reputation hides the real man

What remains of his legacy is a name with which to, if not quite frighten children, at least bludgeon opponents
When Enoch Powell died in 1998, Tony Blair praised him as “one of the great figures of twentieth century British politics” – which, at that time, was an unremarkable thing to say. Powell, after all, was still a familiar figure in the 1990s, appearing on BBC Question Time, speaking at public meetings, contributing to newspapers. His last major foray, in 1994, had been typically idiosyncratic: an attempt to show, by textual exegesis, that Jesus was more likely to have been stoned to death than crucified.

A curious thing happened, though, over the next two decades. As memories of the living, breathing Enoch faded, he ceased, for most people, to be a human being and became instead a symbol – a symbol of irrational hostility to immigrants. By 2007, a Conservative parliamentary candidate in the West Midlands was forced to stand down after asserting, in a newspaper, that Enoch “was right”.

The odd thing was that the man’s posthumous reputation declined at precisely the moment that the multiculti groupthink was fracturing. In 1998, when Tony Blair spoke his panegyric, to call for stricter immigration controls was to place yourself beyond polite society.

During the 2001 general election campaign, William Hague was howled down for voicing far milder opinions than we now hear daily from Labour frontbenchers. It is these days accepted, in a way that it wasn’t then, that decent people might have respectable concerns about pressure on space and services.

Unable to call for unrestricted inward migration any more, a few politicians and commentators have had to adopt alternative ways of brandishing their cosmopolitan credentials. Savaging a man who is no longer here to gainsay them is one way to do so.

So, was Enoch right? Well, on the issue which we’re all now supposed to judge him by, no. He feared, as others did during the 1960s, that mass immigration would lead to social breakdown; and his fears were, I’m glad to say, never realised. The River Tiber did not foam with much blood. Neither, closer to home, did the Rivers Tame or Trent. Britain succeeded in integrating an unprecedented number of settlers without major unrest.

That’s not to say that there were no problems but, by and large, the country was able to enlarge its sense of what national identity meant. To this day, foreign visitors remark on how well Britain functions as a multiracial society. We don’t have to look far abroad for less happy examples.

On the two big issues of his day, though, he was dead right. First, he grasped, long before other politicians, that the post-war corporatist consensus was unsustainable, and that Britain was on the road to inflation, stagnation and debt. The Thatcherism that was seen as almost impossibly bold and radical in the late 1970s had been on his agenda since the late 1950s. He, as much as anyone, taught that creed to the rest of his party.

Second – again, decades ahead of his time – he saw that what is now the European Union was not a trade arrangement but a political project incompatible with full parliamentary democracy.

Of course, these causes are still not universally popular; but they are now close to the consensus whereas, when he first took them up, they were so eccentric as to appear deranged.

The constant of Enoch Powell’s career was precisely his constancy. A master logician, he sometimes followed the arrow-flight of his logic to implausible places. Yet there is no doubting his brilliance. This is the man who, as a 17-year-old translating a passage from Bede into classical Greek for his Cambridge scholarship exam, found the task so easy that, to fill the allotted time, he translated it into Platonic, then Herodotean, then Ionic Greek, and then annotated it. This was the youngest professor in the Empire, the youngest Brigadier in the British Army, a master of several ancient and modern languages, the greatest parliamentary orator of his age.

Fewer and fewer people remember any of these things. Hardly anyone now recalls the issue where he first made his name as an MP, namely his championing of the right of Kenyan insurgents to the full protection of the British laws that they were fighting to throw off. Fifty-five years on, his speech about the Mau Mau terrorists who had been tortured seems uncannily apt to our present discontents:

"It has been said – and it is a fact – that these 11 men were the lowest of the low; subhuman was the word which one of my honourable Friends used. So be it. But that cannot be relevant to the acceptance of responsibility for their death. In general, I would say that it is a fearful doctrine, which must recoil upon the heads of those who pronounce it, to stand in judgment on a fellow human being and to say, ‘Because he was such-and-such, therefore the consequences which would otherwise flow from his death shall not flow.’

"Nor can we ourselves pick and choose where and in what parts of the world we shall use this or that kind of standard. We cannot say, ‘We will have African standards in Africa, Asian standards in Asia and perhaps British standards here at home.’ We have not that choice to make. We must be consistent with ourselves everywhere."

All this is gone now, lost in time like tears in rain. What remains is a name with which to, if not quite frighten children, at least bludgeon opponents.

Yet, oddly enough, Enoch Powell was keenly interested in turning theories into policy. His close friend and executor, Richard Ritchie, wrote yesterday that Enoch Powell would not have backed Ukip because he would have seen that party as, paradoxically, an obstacle in the path of securing a parliamentary majority for a referendum on leaving the EU. On that matter too, tragically, I suspect Enoch was right.


Christophobes March On

America's Christophobes have been plenty busy lately. Maybe the Christmas season makes them especially nervous.

A few weeks ago, Atlanta Fire Rescue Department Chief Kelvin Cochran was suspended for a month without pay for the unforgivable sin of self-publishing a Christian book in which he expressed his disapproving views about homosexual behavior, among other things.

City spokeswoman Anne Torres said: "We understand that (Cochran) was distributing the book to other employees. We are still not sure yet what the circumstances surrounding that are. ... The bottom line is that the (Mayor Kasim) Reed administration does not tolerate discrimination of any kind."

Now that's an Orwellian assertion if I've ever heard one, for I suppose Torres meant that Reed does not tolerate discrimination of any kind except the kinds he deems worthy, such as his fascist suspension of Chief Cochran.

The city's action against Cochran is, in fact, discrimination, and the entity doing the discrimination is the city itself. So Reed condemns himself with his own statements. His hypocrisy is further illuminated by his characterizing Cochran's mere personal publication of a book as prohibited discriminatory behavior when Cochran took no discriminatory actions against anyone, let alone in his official capacity.

Yes, Cochran reportedly distributed his book to some of his employees. But there is apparently no indication that he followed up with a department pop quiz.

According to news reports, the city is now investigating whether Cochran broke any city laws or discriminated against some employees in the city's fire department. Really? If they don't know whether he broke any laws or committed acts of discrimination, then why did they say he did and suspend him?

I'll tell you why: No one dare utter opinions that conflict with the politically correct dictate that homosexual behavior is above criticism. Thought police act first and then investigate later.

But the city is talking out of both sides of its mouth. While peremptorily suspending Cochran and then saying it's investigating whether discrimination occurred, it's also saying, through its spokeswoman, that "a number of passages in the book ... directly conflict with the city's nondiscrimination policies."

One wonders what passages could conflict with such policies? As long as we still have free speech in this nation — and in the city of Atlanta — how can a passage conflict with such policies? Does she mean that passages advocate prohibited actions or that they express views that the city doesn't allow to be thought, much less expressed? Does it matter at all that these passages are based on protected religious beliefs, which makes the city's action all the more outrageous?

Mayor Reed said, "I am deeply disturbed by the sentiments expressed in the paperback regarding the LGBT community." Well, good for him, but is that legal justification for him to discriminate against his fire chief, hitting him in his pocketbook? Is that what it has come to?

Yes, this is indeed what it has come to. Henceforth, Cochran will be prohibited from distributing the book on city property and will be required to undergo sensitivity training. If a city employee, especially one in a leadership position, publicly expresses opinions that offend the sensibilities of the Minister of Truth, he will be forced to submit to re-education camp as a condition to retaining his job.

More recently, the U.S. Army disciplined a military chaplain for making references to the Bible during a suicide prevention seminar Nov. 20 at the University of North Georgia as he shared his personal experiences with depression while an Army Ranger.

Joseph Lawhorn referred to Israel's King David of Old Testament renown. This brought a "letter of concern" from Col. David Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia. "During this training," wrote Fivecoat, "you advocated, or were perceived to advocate, for Christianity and used Christian scripture and solutions." Fivecoat warned Lawhorn to be "cognizant of the various beliefs held by diverse Soldiers" and "create an environment of tolerance and understanding."

This letter will be in Lawhorn's file for up to three years.

To show just how paranoid some of our government institutions have become about Christianity, Lawhorn only used his own example of dealing with depression as one of many, and at no time did he suggest that a Christian solution is the only or even the preferred way of dealing with depression. He supposedly never challenged the validity of other methods. Moreover, no one at the session filed a formal complaint.

So as we've seen in other areas of our society, Christianity is so toxic to many in the militant secular culture that its ideas can't even be presented among many others, much less in a stand-alone context, by government personnel — at any level.

In today's America, even a Christian chaplain — is that redundant anymore? — can't invoke Christian ideas, even if he's not evangelizing.

If things keep going this way in America, we'll all eventually have to keep our disfavored opinions to ourselves, inside our own homes — assuming the government hasn't installed monitors in our homes to ensure that we don't share such forbidden ideas with our children.


Australia: Online appeal calls for boycott of stores which 'objectify women' in adverts and products

Online campaigners Collective Shout has released their annual 'Cross 'em off your list' candidates, revealing the retailers they claim objectified women and used sexual exploitation to sell products throughout the past year.

The grassroots campaign movement is calling for shoppers to boycott the stores when purchasing gifts for Christmas, sending a clear message to the companies they allege used marketing which glorifies violence against women, rape, and pornography.

The list includes retail giants Myer, Bonds, Ultra Tune, General Pants Co, American Apparel, Schick, and Priceline, some of whom Collective Shout spokesperson Melinda Liszewski said are repeat offenders.

'Many companies are more than wiling to engage in dialogue about how they are being ethical towards the environment, but seem disinterested in talking about how they are contributing to a toxic cultural environment,' Ms Liszewski told Daily Mail Australia. 

'What we’re wanting to do is shine a spotlight on things that might seem fairly benign, so that people will begin to discuss what it is that they are really buying,' she said.

'Collective Shout has a role in bringing forward the public impact of these campaigns on women and girls, to make people more conscious and to motivate people to speak out and challenge the marketing practices of companies who exploit women for their own profits.'

One of the companies Collective Shout has identified is 'repeat offender' Cafe Press, who came under fire earlier in the year for selling baby clothes with pornographic content and merchandise which activists say promote rape.

The online retailer, which specialises in user-customised products and gifts, had items for sale on their website printed with the slogans, 'You Smell Like Porn,' 'F**k me like a porn star,' 'Awesome butt sex,' and 'Retired XXL porn star,' among many other similar products.

132 items were available in a category labelled 'Adult Sex XXX Porn Baby Clothing', including baby and toddler onesies, shirts, bibs, and blankets.

City Beach was also selling belts with explicit images printed on them.  The site has also been accused of promoting rape culture and trivialising sexual assault, by selling a shirt with the slogan, 'No Means Yes, Yes Means Anal'.

'Café Press has a long history of this kind of behaviour. Many designs are porn inspired, and despite persistent communication the company has continued on with same behaviour,' said Ms Liszewski.

A spokesperson for Cafe Press released a statement which said that the company was an automated design community, and that the user-designed products varied in topic, taste and opinion.

'At times, users may upload designs that others find distasteful or offensive. It has been recently brought to our attention certain content on our site that may be considered offensive,' the statement said.

'We have taken action to extensively remove the offensive content and will to continue to review for other designs that do not meet our content usage policy.'

Recently added to the list is retailer Big W, which Collective Shout has condemned for continuing to sell the controversial Grand Theft Auto V, which depicts women being brutally murdered as part of the game.



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

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

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


19 December, 2014

'Monstrous' multicultural murderer in Britain

A killer faces spending the rest of his life behind bars for battering his ex-partner to death with a sickening array of weapons and slashing his baby daughter's throat.

Roland McKoy inflicted horrific injuries on Valerie Forde with a hammer, machete and screwdriver before killing 22-month-old Real Jahzara out of 'spite and resentment' at being told to leave the family home in Hackney, east London.

There were cheers from family and friends at the Old Bailey after a jury took just two and a half hours to find McKoy guilty of the two murders.

Jailing him for life with a minimum of 35 years, Judge Charles Wide said he had not shown 'one iota of regret' for what he had done.  He told him: 'You have been convicted of the deliberate, horrific killing of Valerie and your 22-month-old child, Jahzara.

'You did it out of spite and resentment that Valerie at long last had the strength and resolve to say that enough is enough and you had to go.  'You thought she was going to back down but she didn't and that was an affront to your monstrous egotism.'

Mrs Forde had suffered 33 separate blows to her head and body from McKoy, who wielded the hammer, screwdriver and machete in turn in a sustained attack, the judge said.

He told McKoy that his actions had caused 'grievous loss and distress to a close and loving family and community'. Members of Mrs Forde's family wept as victim impact statements were read out in court.

Mrs Forde's 28-year-old daughter Carrise - who overheard the murders on a phone - said they had been in a living nightmare since the murders.  She wrote: 'Time will never heal the hurt the loss, the pain, the betrayal and the yearning to hear their voices and laughter.'

The court had heard that 54-year-old handyman McKoy attacked Mrs Forde as she got ready to leave for work on March 31 this year - the deadline she had set for him to move out of the three-bedroom terrace house.

Afterwards, he drank bleach and left a perverse note on Mrs Forde's face which was stained with Jahzara's blood, blaming her for what happened.

It read: 'Valerie Forde you never stop playing derty ticks (sic) for many years on all people places and things you targets. Now the world must see the sudden destru..tions you creates in our families, our home and on yourself. Our fame in history. Roland.'

During the trial, McKoy carried on blaming the 45-year-old community project manager despite the overwhelming weight of evidence against him.

He claimed that she was 'jealous' of his close relationship with Jahzara and she killed her own child while in the grip of a demonic 'trance' - thinking that he was about to take her away with him.

After finding the baby dead on the landing, he said he went to confront Mrs Forde in the bathroom and hit her with a hammer in 'self-defence'.

He said: 'Maybe I just felt like I was floating. I could not get away even though I wanted to get away. I just couldn't control myself. When I saw the baby dead, I just did not know.'

But prosecutor Ed Brown QC said McKoy had concocted a fictitious version of events.  He said: 'It is plain that the defendant had attacked Valerie Forde with the hammer, slashed her face and neck with the machete and stabbed her multiple times with the screwdriver.

'It is equally clear from the evidence that the defendant used that same machete to cut Jahzara's neck from one side to the other. Each attack was a brutal one.'

The court was told Carrise listened on an open phone line in horror to the screams of her half-sister while McKoy was attacking their mother.

She called the police, who went to the house in Oswald's Meade and found Mrs Forde and Jahzara dead.

McKoy was curled up in a foetal position beside them, surrounded by weapons. When he was roused, he was sick and his vomit smelled of bleach, the court heard.

The prosecution said McKoy, who emigrated from Jamaica in the 1980s, had made a series of threats against his family before the murders.

In January this year, Mrs Forde texted her sister saying: 'I have to be very very careful and pray for my safety each day and night.'

The following month, she reported him to police after he told a neighbour that he was going to burn the house down with everyone including himself inside.

McKoy said a neighbour had informed him that police followed up the report and went round to the house - but they left after finding that neither he nor Mrs Forde was at home.

Emotions ran high during the trial, which was attended by some of Mrs Forde's friends and family.

Jurors were reduced to tears as the victim's text messages were read out and a man in the public gallery stormed out while McKoy was in the witness box.

Investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Charles King said: 'Research has shown that women are at greatest risk of homicide at the point of separation or after leaving a violent partner.

'What Roland McKoy did on that day in March almost defies belief, but it is a stark warning that extreme violence within such relationships is a very real possibility.

'McKoy lost control as the reality hit home that Valerie was adamant he must leave and carried out a horrific attack with a variety of weapons. Not only did he vent his fury at his partner but he also killed his baby daughter.'


Al-Sweady lawyers 'should now face disciplinary action'

The Al-Sweady probe was named for Hamid A-Sweady  one of the Iraqi men who died.  He was an insurgent killed during a ferocious firefight with an ambushed patrol of the  the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.  A total of 28 insurgents were killed and nine militants were taken to the Camp Abu Naji military base where they were questioned. The detainees claimed they were subjected to torture and witnessed executions and the mutilation of bodies

Lawyers who wasted millions of public money pursuing false claims that British troops murdered and tortured Iraqi detainees should now face disciplinary action, senior Government figures have suggested.

Ministers condemned the “shameful” conduct of solicitors who brought the claims, which were yesterday dismissed as “deliberate lies” by a £31million, five year inquiry.

Last night the Ministry of Defence said it was looking at recouping part of the legal aid fees which were paid to the lawyers who represented the now discredited ‘victims’.

Sources close to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, said the sums paid to the lawyers were "shocking".

The defence secretary Michael Fallon said the lawyers should make an “unequivocal apology” to the soldiers whose reputations “they attempted to traduce’’.

Mr Fallon said the claims put forward by the legal teams representing the Iraqi complainants were a “shameful attempt to use the legal system to attack and falsely impugn our Armed Forces.”

He said delaying tactics by the solicitors - who pursued the most serious accusations of murder until the final days of the inquiry before accepting they could not be proven - had unnecessarily saddled taxpayers with extra costs.

The Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said he was concerned that “the actions of a minority of lawyers could bring the profession as a whole into disrepute” after a “very unhappy episode in the history of our legal system”.

The two legal firms involved, Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) and Leigh Day & Co, both denied any wrong doing. Last night spokesman for the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA) said it was investigating both firms.

Politicians across the political divide rounded on the lawyers after the Al-Sweady public inquiry ruled claims that British troops murdered, mutilated and tortured Iraqi detainees in their custody were “wholly and entirely without merit or justification”.

The exhaustive investigation found the serious allegations were based on “deliberate lies and reckless speculation” from witnesses and detainees who were often determined to smear the British forces.

Failure to disclose a document that showed detainees had been members of an Iraqi militia had also extended the inquiry, the Government said. Legal teams had claimed the ‘victims’ were innocent farmers despite some of the legal teams having a document showing otherwise.

A senior ministerial source said: “The SRA will now be able to look into any of the allegations of misconduct and if there has been sharp practice by lawyers then the SRA should deal with it firmly.

“I would have thought that it was important for the reputation of the legal profession that the sharp activities of some lawyers don’t discredit what otherwise is a hardworking and honourable profession that is trying to do the right thing for their clients.”

Vernon Coaker, shadow defence secretary, said: “The SRA should fully investigate these possible breaches of professional standards

“Service personnel have faced a lengthy inquiry in to their conduct, after being accused of the most awful crimes. They have been completely exonerated.

“There must now be accountability for those who made these scurrilous allegations and who failed to disclose key evidence that would have shown them to be completely baseless.”

Mr Fallon said MoD officials were investigating whether they could now recoup some of the money from the earlier stages of the investigation.

The inquiry included nearly £6 million of legal fees for lawyers. PIL earned nearly £1m in fees during the inquiry on top of an estimated £2 million during a earlier judicial review.

The Iraqi detainees, their accomplices and their lawyers must “now bear the brunt of the criticism” for the protracted nature and cost of the “unnecessary” public inquiry, he said.

Dominic Grieve, former attorney general, said: “The conclusion must raise issues as to how this case was handled by the representatives of the claimants. The background clearly raises important issues of professional conduct which need to be investigated.”

Christopher Chope, a Conservative member of the House of Commons Justice select committee, told The Telegraph: “The reputations of the soldiers have been besmirched , and their families and friends have been put under immense pressure.”

Lord Dannatt, a former head of the Army, said he was delighted that soldiers have been unequivocally cleared of the major charges and said they should never have been brought.. He said: “The lawyers and the professional bodies need to look very closely at the conduct of the companies involved.”

John Dickinson, of Public Interest Lawyers, refused to apologise and said the MoD was to blame for the delay and cost of the investigation because it had refused to hold its own transparent inquiry earlier.

He said it was not up to him to apologise to troops. He said: “I regret the anxiety caused to those soldiers by the delay in the same way I regret the anxiety caused to the families of the deceased.”

It had been impossible to withdraw the murder and torture allegations earlier because not enough evidence had been heard until this year, he said.

He said: “We don’t accept we did anything wrong.”  “Had there been any criticism of this firm then the inquiry would have mentioned it,” he added.

A spokesman for Leigh Day said: “We were not responsible for representing the Iraqis at the Inquiry and were not asked by the Inquiry to disclose all relevant documents in our possession until August 2013."

The Arabic document detailing the detainees association with the militia “remained in our files until it was handed to the inquiry in September 2013 following a request from the team".  “On this occasion we did not get things right. We have apologised to the Inquiry for not realising the significance of this document sooner."

The spokesman said the firm had been "working with the SRA to ensure that in all areas, especially the demanding foreign work of the firm, we have training and structures in place to prevent any similar mistakes in the future.”


Al Sweady inquiry: The British Army deserves a full apology from the BBC

Looking back, it is amazing just how many people were prepared to believe the accusations that the British Army routinely tortured detainees.

Of course it was the BBC and its fellow travellers on the Left who made the most of accusations that British soldiers had committed what amounted to war crimes following a three-hour battle with Iranian-backed insurgents in Iraq in May 2004. Rather than praising the British soldiers for their undoubted heroism in tackling the Shia-dominated Mehdi Army in a fierce battle that could have gone either way, the BBC preferred to concentrate its considerable resources on Iraqi claims that some of the captured insurgents had been killed in cold blood, while others had been subjected to torture.

Coming in the wake of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, where American service personnel certainly were guilty of mistreating their Iraqi captives, it was easy for some to believe that British forces had engaged in similar acts of mistreatment, even though the evidence was murky, to say the least.

But rather than conducting a proper journalistic investigation into the incident, the BBC’s flagship Panorama programme, in its edition broadcast in February 2008 entitled “On Whose Orders”, instead preferred to rely on the testimony of former Iraqi combatants and their Legal Aid-funded lawyers to make unsubstantiated allegations against the integrity and professionalism of the British Army.

It has taken nearly six years for the truth to come out, but the conclusions of the al-Sweady inquiry published today makes for some uncomfortable reading for the BBC’s current affairs production team, as well as the teams of lawyers who forced the Government to conduct an inquiry into the allegations, earning themselves handsome legal fees in the process.

For the inquiry, which cost a staggering £31 million, has ruled unequivocally that the claims that British troops murdered, mutilated and tortured Iraqi detainees were “wholly and entirely without merit or justification”, and that the baseless allegations contained in the Panorama programme were the product of “deliberate and calculated lies”.

So much for the standards of the BBC's so-called investigative journalists.

It is hard to imagine a more damning indictment of the Army’s accusers, and all those at the BBC and elsewhere who were credulous, or naive, enough to believe them. But now that the truth is out, perhaps those responsible for making this programme, and who gave an air of credibility to the claims, would now like to issue a fulsome apology to the British Armed Forces for their own grave errors of judgment.

They could even make a new programme explaining why they got the story so horribly wrong in the first place. Now, that really would be a first.

More seriously, though, Tony Hall, who as the BBC’s director-general has overall responsibility for the corporation’s current affairs output (in a previous life he was in charge of BBC news and current affairs), should undertake an urgent investigation of his own to find out how Panorama got it so badly wrong.


After Ferguson: who’s really racialising America?

Progressives are now the most fervent promoters of racialised thinking.

In the political and media tumult that followed the recent American police killings of two black men, one thing has been very striking: the most rigid racialised commentary has come, not from the police or the state, but from the protesting liberals and radicals. In the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the strangling of Eric Garner in New York City, it hasn’t been American officialdom that has explicitly played the race card, talking about whole sections of society as homogenous entities with particular characteristics that need to be closely monitored and possibly corrected. No, it’s the supposedly progressive side in the debate that has done this, which has indulged in highly racialised political commentary and action. This tells us a great deal about where the racialising dynamic is really coming from today.

The clearest sign that a rigid racial consciousness is now at least as strong, if not stronger, among the supposed opponents of police brutality as it is among the police themselves came during the big Ottawa protest over the grand jury’s decision not to indict the cop who killed Brown in Ferguson. The protest was, in essence, segregated. The radical organisers of the demo paid lip service to the ideal of solidarity, saying ‘we appreciate the solidarity shown by White and Non-Black People of Colour’, but then suggested whites should march separately from blacks. ‘Please refrain from taking up space in all ways possible’, they told white attendees, before cautioning against white people speaking to the media, because ‘you should never be at the centre of anything’. The protest was slammed by critics for being not so much ‘anti-racist’ as ‘pro-segregation’.

Imagine if, post-Ferguson, the police in Missouri had issued instructions that effectively segregated political marches. There would, rightly, have been outrage. But among the apparently more progressive sections of public life, racial thinking now comes naturally and causes little controversy. Beyond Ottawa, liberal media outlets around the world were packed with commentary that reduced both America’s black and white communities to their homogenous essence, to their most basic, and in some cases base, shared characteristics. This could be seen in the headlines splashed across some of the globe’s most respectable publications. ‘White people are finally starting to get it’, said Time. ‘Dear white people: your discomfort is progress’, said the Guardian. ‘What white people need to know, and do, after Ferguson’, instructed the Washington Post (in a piece written, of course, by a white person).

And what must this mythically monolithic horde of exactly similar white people do after Ferguson? For a start, whites must more self-consciously conceive of themselves as a race — ‘you’re mistaken if you don’t think white is a race, [and] you’re mistaken if you think you can remain neutral’, says the Post writer. Once we think more racially, apparently us whites will be able to see that we often adopt an ‘inherent superiority’ to other races and we often ‘reinforce white privilege’, sometimes ‘unintentionally’. In short, white people – all white people – are inherently racist, even if they think they aren’t, and the only way for them to overcome their racism is to become more racially aware and more sensitive to the needs and struggles of other races (or ‘black folks’, as the Post’s racially conscious white writer quaintly calls them).

This incitement to racialised thinking from the Washington Post speaks to the general tone of liberal public debate post-Ferguson: the focus has been less on the structural and economic failings of post-civil rights America, and more on the problematic attitudes of ‘the races’ that inhabit America and the question of how those attitudes might be improved and corrected in the name of social peace. Even the now omnipresent term ‘white privilege’ is not used to denote economic, social and legal structures that make life harder for blacks than for whites (and even here, of course, ‘white privilege’ would be a crude, unsatisfactory term) – rather, it refers to the problematic, sometimes unwitting attitudes of white people, the characteristics of one of the races, which must apparently be kept in check and ideally educated out of existence.

The hardening of racial consciousness was most clearly expressed in an exchange published in the UK Observer. Featuring a white and black writer performing their racial roles to perfection – the white writer expressing guilt and self-disgust, the black writer talking about herself and her entire race as perennial victims – the exchange provided a disturbing glimpse into how the old prejudices about there being natural differences between the races have been replaced by a new prejudice about there being rigid, ossified cultural differences between the races. The black writer, Rebecca Carroll, selected by the Observer as representative of all black people, everywhere, across all time, said blacks are still reeling from a ‘legacy… of pain and strife’, while whites are still benefiting from a ‘legacy… of cultural decimation, violence and human ownership’.

Racialised thinkers once claimed that biology determined the mental and moral make-up of blacks and whites; the new racialised thinkers claim history is the deterministic power, making all black people feel weak and all white people feel inherently privileged. The solution? White people – all white people – must ‘check your tone, your tenor and your composure’ in order to avoid making black people – all black people – feel ‘pretty awful’, said Carroll. The white writer, the Guardian columnist Jess Zimmerman, responded to this demand for heightened racial sensitivity in all interactions between white and black people by promising to become more ‘racially conscious’ and to try to educate white people who ‘aren’t racially conscious’. The take-home message: we all need to recognise that we are racial creatures and we all need to think more racially.

Zimmerman’s distinction between white people who are racially conscious and white people who aren’t is also striking. It explains much of the dynamic behind the protesting over Ferguson and Garner by white liberals everywhere from Ottawa, Canada to the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush, London. At these protests, the highly racialised narrative of the new politics of identity has been much in evidence, with white protesters holding up placards saying things like ‘My white privilege keeps me safe’ and ‘I won’t get shot’. These protests are not about offering solidarity to blacks who suffer from police brutality – they’re about white liberals advertising to the watching world their moral sensitivities, their white sensitivities, the fact that they have escaped, at least partially, the privilege trap of their race and have become aware of how their attitudes, and their ‘tone, tenor and composure’, might harm other races. It’s a display of a superior form of white racial consciousness, an attempt by white liberals to distinguish themselves from the white mob, which, as everyone from the Washington Post to Time is keen to tell us, has in-built, historically determined racial flaws which must be condemned and somehow fixed.

This is why liberal Londoners last night took the bizarre decision to host an Eric Garner-sympathising die-in at Westfield shopping centre, which is Australian-owned and has nothing to do with the American state — it’s because they wanted to contrast themselves to the white mob, in this case Christmas shoppers, and demonstrate their racial superiority, their ability to be ‘racially conscious’, over the unwitting white privilege and inherent racism of all other white people. The irony is almost unbearable: there’s a powerful strain of racial superiority to these supposedly anti-racist protests; the white liberals are effectively saying: ‘By dint of our racial consciousness, we are superior to the less well-educated, less aware members of our race.’ This echoes the biological politics of race of the Victorian period, which was frequently aimed at exposing the moral inferiorities of the white underclass, as well as being devoted to exposing the savagery of foreign blacks.

The liberal set’s post-Ferguson incitement to heightened racial consciousness shows how the definition of both racism and anti-racism has changed in recent years. Racism was once understood to be an ideology cultivated by the rulers of society for certain political or economic ends. Now it is seen as an inherent trait in the populace, a problematic attitude that lurks in everyone’s soul, whether they know it or not. Anti-racism once meant battling against the laws and structures that hampered certain peoples’ freedoms, fortunes and opportunities. Now it means policing the minutiae of individuals’ speech and behaviour, down to educating them about their ‘tone, tenor and composure’ when they engage with anyone of a different race. How tragic: it is now so-called ‘anti-racists’ who most explicitly divide the races, through presenting them as deeply divergent peoples, determined by profoundly different histories, whose every interaction must be implicitly policed by the racially aware.

Post-Ferguson, we’re witnessing the hardening of a new racial set-up. One of the great tragedies of the twentieth century was that the demise of the aggressive biological racism of much of the Western world’s political and intellectual classes did not lead to the creation of a post-race world; on the contrary, the old racism was superseded by different forms of racial thinking, in the guise first of a new race-relations industry, then of the politics of racial identity, and more recently of an official ‘anti-racism’ that is in fact an incitement to constant and myopic racial thinking. So entrenched is the new racialised thinking that many people now think it perfectly normal, and even good, to define themselves by their racial make-up and to engage with other people from a highly racialised standpoint.

The mid-twentieth-century crisis of racial politics, particularly following the horrors of Nazi Germany, opened up the possibility of a world free of the curse of racial thinking. But it was never realised. Instead, the new politics of identity and racial sensitivity is shoving people back into highly distinctive black and white boxes that earlier progressives longed to free us from.

 Where the old racists defined people by their biological make-up, the new racially aware rulers and thinkers define people by their apparently inherent moral characteristics or their historically determined sense of privilege or shame. The end result is the same in both cases: people are judged by their race, and separated by race. The brutal physical segregation of the past has been replaced by a new moral segregation, by a segregative mindset that encourages cautiousness and awkwardness between ‘the races’.

What the new racialised thinking and activism ultimately speak to is a crisis of universalism. Today, tragically, there is no powerful universalistic, democratic movement or impulse that might successfully negate the return to racial thinking among vast sections of Western public life. The current weakness of the promise of universalism, the weakness of the ideal of a common humanity that might strive to create a more modern, progressive, wealthy world, has made true solidarity next to impossible and has allowed racial thinking and racial identity to flourish. To break free of the depressing prison of identity, of defining ourselves by our natural characteristics or our race’s historical experiences or by anything else over which we have no control, we need to breathe life back into the universalist project.



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

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

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


18 December, 2014

A multicultural 'octopus' in Britain

Sex pest

An anaesthetist who was branded 'the octopus' for his wandering hands and lewd comments could be jailed for groping nurses at the hospital where he worked.

Dr Niaz Ahmed passed off his behaviour as innocent banter and was referred to as a 'sex pest' by prosecutors at Newcastle Crown Court.

The skilled doctor, who had received numerous warnings from hospital bosses to tone down his behaviour, was convicted of sexually assaulting two of his colleagues more than a decade ago and must now sign the sex offenders register.

Ahmed, who was suspended from medical practice at a tribunal earlier this year for groping a nurse who was treating him after an accident in 2010, was cleared of three similar charges.

Michael Hodson, prosecuting, said: 'Imagine what it was like going to work with a sex pest, always the octopus, hands all over the place, underlined by innuendo.'

Mr Hodson said one nurse victim was targeted in the scrub room at the hospital, where Ahmed squeezed her bottom and asked her 'do you fancy it'.

Another had her breasts prodded by the medic while she was at work and said he had told her 'put them away'.

The 55-year-old doctor had previously told bosses at South Tyneside Hospital that his behaviour was in keeping with 'the culture' at the hospital.

The court heard during a meeting with hospital bosses in 2000 Ahmed accepted it was inappropriate to touch nurses and said any offence caused by him was entirely innocent and accidental. During a later meeting with management he said his behaviour continued to be innocent.

Ahmed, of Cleadon, had claimed he was the victim of a 'witch hunt' in 2012 after he was cleared of sexually assaulting two teenage girls at a fireworks display in South Shields in 2011.

The youngsters claimed Ahmed had groped them after boasting about the size of his manhood and complaining about his sex life with his wife.  He had reportedly said he was 'looking for women the day after he got married.'

He will be sentenced next month and Judge Simon Hickey warned him that 'all options remained open', including a jail sentence.


#Gamergate: we must fight for the right to fantasise

The war on violent videogames is a war on the freedom of thought itself

Not content with curbing our speech and monitoring our thoughts, the self-elected morality police now want to colonise our fantasy lives. That deepest part of an individual’s mind – the bit where he lets his thoughts run riot, fantasising about saying and doing things he would never say or do in real life – is being encroached upon. Having cleansed the public realm of offensive ideas, the speech-watchers and image-policers now want to cleanse men’s very souls, removing from them any twisted or warped or simply daft fantasy that doesn’t pass muster with those of a PC bent. Just look at the #Gamergate controversy.

#Gamergate is the name given to a furious online battle that has been raging since August 2014 and which, like most internet spats, is too complicated and too depressing to describe in great detail. In a nutshell, some people, including a new breed of socially aware female gamer-cum-commentator, feel that videogames are misogynistic and hateful, while others, including slightly nerdish male gamers whose joysticks are like a fifth limb, think videogames are fine and dandy and shouldn’t be socially-critiqued out of existence by feminists, broadsheet handwringers, or anyone else.

This latter group has surprised everyone by refusing to cave in to the Culture War being waged against them and their favourite pastime – as everyone from Dapper Laughs to the Barbican has recently done in response to loud but unrepresentative cries of ‘You can’t say that!’ – and instead standing up for their right to shoot and beat up anyone they damn well please in the recesses of their own minds and the privacy of their own bedrooms. The gamers are, in essence, fighting for the right to fantasise, to think about doing things that they would never actually do.

To see how much the censorious anti-gamer side is attempting to conquer and remake fantasy life itself, consider last week’s successful campaign to have Grand Theft Auto V withdrawn from sale in certain shops in Australia. Alarmed that players of GTA can, if they wish, attack and kill prostitutes – as well as rob banks, steal cars, kill police officers, take drugs, and do lots of other fun stuff – the new videogame moralists have slammed it as ‘violently misogynistic’.

They petitioned Aussie branches of Target, the department store, to take GTA off their shelves on the basis that it’s a ‘sickening game’ that ‘encourages players to commit sexual violence and kill women’. Outrageously, Target kowtowed, and now Oz patrons of that store won’t have the option to put what is by all accounts a brilliant game into a loved one’s Christmas stocking. But what is most striking about this outburst of moralistic censorship is the way the shrill opponents of GTA have described the game’s entirely fantasy world – as an unacceptable place that must be policed by outsiders.

So one of the organisers of the petition, which got nearly 50,000 signatures, says she used to work in the sex trade, and therefore ‘in Grand Theft Auto…I would have been the character who gets left by the sidewalk, bleeding and unconscious’. She talks about the characters in GTA as if they were real people suffering real violence, claiming that she suffered abuse while working in prostitution though it was ‘not as extreme as [that suffered by] those in the game’.

What is she talking about? There are no people in this game, and no one is being abused. No human beings are being harmed in the world of Grand Theft Auto because that world does not exist. She says that if she was in GTA’s fantasy world, she would be abused – well, if I was in Middle Earth I might be attacked by Orcs; if any of us human beings had the misfortune to live on the Planet of the Apes, we’d be screwed; if we lived in Oceania, we wouldn’t be able to think and say and fantasise as we saw fit in our own homes because of the Telescreen on the wall watching our every word… oh wait, that’s a bad example – that world does increasingly exist.

But we really don’t have to worry about Middle Earth or the Planet of the Apes or the world of GTA because we can never go to these places on account of the fact that they exist only in words and images and people’s minds. To talk about the risks one would face in such worlds is a kind of madness, a failure to make that most basic of distinctions between reality and fantasy, between that which exists and that which does not.

It is bad enough when Victim Feminist campaigners depict the streets of London or New York City as terribly scary places for women – but to bemoan the abuse of women on the streets of GTA is just surreal, given that those streets are mere pixels, the women are just graphics, and the abuse is entirely imagined. This complaint that the fantasyland of GTA is insufficiently safe for, and too disrespectful of, prostitutes and other female characters shows how far the policing of fantasy has gone. That a game has been withdrawn from sale in an Australian department store on the grounds that its fantasy world does not adhere to the rules and laws of the real world shows that even our imaginings, our psychic lives, are no longer safe from the morality cops of the concrete worlds of intolerance, censorship and law.

The withdrawal of GTA from Australian Target stores, and the broader, thankfully struggling Culture War against misogynistic and violent videogames, is revealing for many reasons. First, it shows how seamlessly the prejudices of the right-wing, reactionary, often Christian-leaning lobbies of the 1970s and 80s have now passed on to the apparently radical feminist campaigners of today. All the same prejudices the blue-rinse brigade once came out with – that video nasties and violent videogames would transform people into hateful, marauding sociopaths – have been given a lick of feministic paint and a new lease of life.

One of the first public speeches I ever gave, in 1998, was in defence of a videogame called Carmageddon, in which you were encouraged to win races through reckless, violent driving. The people complaining about that game were conservatives and right-wingers. Today, the censorious, media-effects baton has been passed from the right to those who consider themselves left, from middle-aged Home Counties women to young media feminists, but the argument has remained strikingly similar: videogames can warp minds and cause actual real-world crime.

And the second striking thing about the war on GTA and the bigger #Gamergate scandal is its intolerance of fantasy, the naked desire to stamp out, not simply words and ideas, which is terrible enough, but also, in essence, dreams. The world of fantasy is being invaded, tut-tutted over and in some cases cordoned off by the new moralists who don’t only say ‘You can’t say that!’ but also ‘You can’t imagine that!’.

It isn’t only in videogames. The moral policing of culture, especially pop culture, has become weirdly and wildly fashionable in recent years. Where once it was only the most tyrannical of regimes – think the GDR’s Stasi – that monitored culture for political wrongness and rightness, now a whole new generation of activist and journalist devotes its moral energy to assessing whether culture is ‘problematic’ (their favourite word) or okay. In the blunt but apt words of the American journalist Drew Magary, there is now ‘a whole black hole of the internet that spends all day up its own ass, endlessly worried about approving of pop culture rather than actually fucking enjoying it’.

And they’re having an impact, these policers of culture and ultimately of fantasy. They’ve got GTA de-shelved in Australian shops; they’ve chilled the videogame world, no doubt encouraging games-makers to water down their fantasies; they’ve contributed to the banning of ‘problematic’ pop songs on British university campuses; they got Dapper Laughs pulled from ITV, and got comedian Daniel O’Reilly to kill off that character forever; they’ve encouraged Sweden to start rating films by whether they are gender-balanced; and they’ve kickstarted a serious debate in Europe about introducing what Nick Gillespie calls ‘an insane plan to rate video games for sexism’.

Both formally and informally, using both law and threats, both demands for new legislation and mob-style uprisings, they have depicted fantasylands as places that must conform to the morals and outlook of the real world. This is a disaster. Taken seriously, it represents the death not just of gaming but of culture itself, and of freedom of thought.

This is the bottom line: we must be free to fantasise, about anything we like. It is rightly forbidden for anyone to hit a woman – but it should never be forbidden to fantasise about hitting a woman, or to write about it, or to enact it through pixels pretending to be people. Why? Because in free and democratic societies, in civilisations, we punish people for certain actions but we never punish them for their thoughts or dreams or mind experiments. This is a key Enlightenment ideal.

As the great seventeenth-century English jurist Edward Coke said, in the aftermath of the soul-policing, thought-punishing Inquisition, ‘No man shall be examined upon the secret thoughts of his heart, or his secret opinion’. Well, today he is. Today, a new Inquisition is emerging, and it is examining men upon their secret thoughts, their secret opinions, their fantasies, their gaming, their very psychic existences. Don’t laugh at the so-called ‘nerds’ fighting for the right to play what you might consider to be silly or outrageous videogames, for they are instinctively defending the freedom to fantasise, which is a central part of the freedom of the mind, which is the very backbone of freedom itself.


Anarchist attacks in Bristol: crusty misanthropy

In recent months, police in Bristol have dealt with over 100 related acts of vandalism to police stations, military bases, banks, multinational companies, railways and churches. The police are in little doubt as to who is responsible – anarchists and animal-liberation activists – and have put up a £10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of even one suspected offender. But, despite the attention, the activists have vowed to continue their campaign of vandalism. So what is fuelling this spate of property attacks in the West Country?

One anarchist, allegedly behind several of the attacks, says that the vandalism is the product of a general rage against mainstream society, its failure to live up to green ideals and its ‘unimaginative dreams’. Broadsheet sympathisers tend to agree, portraying the attacks as part of Bristol’s political subculture, in which anti-modern environmentalism and an attachment to alternative lifestyles have flourished.

Yet although Bristol’s anarchists dismiss officialdom’s environmentalism as ‘green washing’, green thinking is in fact central to policymaking today. In fact, the only people who are not interested in consuming less in order to save the planet are the working masses. For all their anti-establishment rage, many anarchists’ concerns about the environment and animal rights are actually shared by the political class.

Bristol’s anarchists also have something else in common with the political class: a refusal to engage politically with ordinary citizens. Rather than convincing people to oppose British militarism abroad, for example, Bristol’s anarchists torch a few cars and damage army property. Their actions might appear impressively militant, but at no point do the activists seek to win the support of other people.

It shows that Bristol’s green and crusty brigade prefer acts of vandalism and direct action to having to discuss political ideas with the great unwashed, especially those who disagree with them. And, as the protests against the opening of a Tesco store a few years ago demonstrated, Bristol’s alternative types are sometimes hostile to ordinary people’s need for jobs and cheap food stores. There is no political uprising in the West Country seeking to change society for the better; it is just a mirror image of the political class’s own misanthropy and anti-masses instincts, albeit with a few nose studs and an appalling dress sense


Australia:  Whining kid wins anti-discrimination case

Yet more evidence that such laws are too sweeping

In a David and Goliath-esque battle in Queensland's Civil and Administrative Tribunal, a jobseeker has taken on supermarket giant Woolworths alleging discrimination – and won.

In December 2013, then-unemployed Steven Willmott, of the Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Beerwah, applied for an advertised job as a console operator at a Woolworths-operated service station in the town.

He commenced his application through the company's online application portal but did not complete it, unable to continue unless he submitted mandatory fields demanding his date-of-birth, his gender and proof of his right to work in Australia.

The required information was, QCAT senior member Richard Oliver ruled, both offensive and humiliating to Mr Wilmott, who described himself as "sickened beyond belief" at Woolworths disregard for Australian anti-discrimination laws.

"I infer from this statement that he was embarrassed and humiliated in being compelled to provide the offending information before his application could progress," Mr Oliver ruled.

"Because of this he did not proceed with the application and therefore was not considered for the position.

"He is a local resident of the community in which the position of console operator was advertised and he believes he would have had prospects of being successful."

The ruling, made in Brisbane last month after a hearing in September, ordered Woolworths pay $5000 in compensation to Mr Willmott by December 19.

In its defence, Woolworths said it asked for the details partly to comply with Commonwealth legislation, in regards to the right to work in Australia requirement.

It also argued differing rates of pay for employees under and over the age of 21, the potential to work in its BWS liquor outlets and differentiating between its 190,000 employees Australia-wide justified the date of birth requirement.

The company argued the mandatory gender information was a simple way for it to comply with the Federal Government's Workplace Gender Equality Instrument. 

However, Mr Oliver noted that since Mr Wilmott had taken discrimination action, all three requirements had been removed from the Wooloworths online application process, prior to the September hearing.

He rejected their defence of all three elements.

"Despite the sophisticated argument mounted by Woolworths counsel, I have found in the pertaining circumstances, the information sought by Woolworths was not reasonably necessary," he said.

However, in determining the amount to award Mr Wilmott, Mr Oliver said he had not produced any evidence of other positions for which he had applied to which any claim for loss of income could be determined.

"At best, and putting the claim for loss of income at its highest, his claim for compensation is limited to the loss of a chance that he may have been successful in his application, if Woolworths had not engaged in the conduct he complained of," he ruled.

He said the $5000 figure he determined took into account embarrassment, humiliation and some notional amount for loss of a chance.



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

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

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


17 December, 2014

Christmas justice

Somalian multiculturalist in Britain turned woman into a human fireball

A Somalian man who doused a woman in petrol after she rejected his advances and left her to burn in a fireball has been jailed for 16 years.

Mohammed Kosar, 28, led Lithuanian Dovile Krivickaite down an alley in Forest Gate, East London, saying he want to speak to her before he threw petrol over her and set her alight.  Kosar then walked away leaving the then 23-year-old to turn into a human fireball and burn, the Old Bailey heard.

She was helped by rescuers who heard her screams and took a nearby house where they poured water over her before calling an ambulance.

Rebecca Poulet QC jailed Kosar for 32 years and said he had shown no remorse. She said:  'This appalling attack was premeditated and in my opinion you intended to kill.'  Ms Krivickaite suffered burns to 24 per cent of her body in the attack and said her injuries had 'changed her life forever.' 

The Old Bailey previously heard Ms Krivickaite came to the UK in September 2012 and knew Kosar as 'Rocky.'  She saw him regularly but turned him down when he asked her for sex, it was suggested.

On October 19 last year she was picked up by Kosar and a friend on Rosedale Road, Forest Gate and taken to an alley off the road.

But once she got there without warning Kosar doused her in petrol with a five-litre can and set her on fire.

She was so badly burnt the skin was falling off her body and she has had to undergo several graft operations. She spent six weeks in hospital and had to be intubated because her burns affected her ability to breathe.

Ms Krivickaite suffered severe burns to the face, neck and left side of her body, and is still badly scarred after the attack. The Lithuanian said she constantly receives sympathy because of her appalling injuries. 

Kosar was arrested in February 2014 in connection with attempted murder and was convicted earlier this year. Judge Poulet QC said: 'You had very regular contact with Ms Krivickaite, seeing her almost daily and sometimes several times a day.

'Ms Krivickaite has said she has no idea why you attacked her - she suggested it was maybe because she rejected your sexual advances.

'I have reason to believe you certainly had some attachment to her, asking her repeatedly before she got into the car why she had not telephoned you all day.  'In my view it was not just chance that the car you were in had stopped in front of the alley - this was your chosen spot for the attack.

'You showed no regrets or change of heart when faced with the horrific consequences of your actions.'  'This appalling attack was premeditated and in my opinion you intended to kill.

'You have shown no remorse, although on the day of your sentencing before me you have said this should not have happened to her. Indeed it should not.'

Speaking after the case a Met Police spokeswoman said that Kosar was a drug dealer and the woman had been a customer of his. The pair are believed to have argued before the vicious attack.

Kosar was arrested as he left his home address in West Ham in east London and police found heroin and crack cocaine at his house.

On arrival at the police station Kosar admitted he had a cocked 9mm PAK blank pistol stuffed down his pants.

He has a series previous convictions - including armed robbery - since he was 15.

Kosar was sentenced to 16 years in prison for the attempted murder.

He was also convicted of one count of possession of a firearm and sentenced to five years, one of intent to endanger life and sentenced to a further 10 years in prison. He was given three years in prison for four charges of possessing ammunition, and seven years for three charges of possession of class A drugs. The judge said all the sentences were to run concurrently with each other and the life sentence.

Detective Inspector John Reynolds of Newham Police who led the investigation said: 'Kosar is a dangerous individual who callously poured petrol over the female and set her on fire.

'She has suffered terribly as a result and I must pay tribute to her bravery in giving evidence against her attacker. I hope that his conviction will give her some closure.'


Did you mention immigration to the Labour Party candidate?

Labour leader Ed Miliband has publicly criticised his own party's advice on how Labour MPs should talk about immigration with voters.

The Labour leader said a leaked internal strategy document published by The Telegraph urging MPs not to campaign on immigration was "not very well drafted".

Mr Miliband suggested voters should ignore what his party says in private and listen to the message given in public speeches.

He said Labour's decision to put a promise to clamp down on employers undercutting wages with migrant labour on the party's election pledge card showed it would act on the issue.

Mr Miliband told a crowd of activists and locals in Great Yarmouth that the public should be in "no doubt" how serious the party takes voters' immigration concerns.

His public refusal to endorse a document circulated by Labour Party HQ comes amid a fierce backlash to the advice that MPs should focus on "moving the conversation on" if voters mention the issue on the doorstep.

The secret document, revealed by this newspaper, tells MPs writing to all voters about immigration could be "unhelpful" and "risks" undermining Labour's chances of winning election.


U.S. Military Chaplain Punished For Teaching God’s Word!

Thank God it is Friday!  If I was in the military and I said that, there’d be hell to pay right now… But what is even more confusing is that not only are regular soldiers being punished for expressing their faiths, but ordained Chaplains are being censored as well.

The United States Military has a long history of using Chaplains to help soldiers cope with the realities of war. A Military Chaplain does not have to be Christian. While many are, there are plenty of Jewish Chaplains that meet the spiritual needs of Jewish soldiers.

The point is that Chaplains are in the military to help our men and women in uniform.

So why is the Army censoring Chaplain Joseph Lawhorn? Because he explained the Biblical approach for dealing with depression at a suicide prevention session.

Chaplains are in the military to tend to the spiritual needs of soldiers and here the Army is punishing a Chaplain for using faith to preach against suicide. This is absolutely ridiculous!

During the suicide prevention session, Chaplain Lawhorn laid out the biblical approach to dealing with suicide along with a secular approach to fighting depression and suicidal thoughts.

One student complained. A single soldier reached out to the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and complained that the Chaplain was preaching the Gospel.

How despicable is that? Here we have an ordained Chaplain trying to help soldiers battle depression and the only thing the left cares about is that he used Jesus’ message to do it.

Word of Chaplain Lawhorn’s actions began to make its way up the chain of command, prompting Colonel David Fivecoat to write a letter demanding that Lawhorn cease using God’s word to help soldiers fight depression. No, I am not making this up…

“During this training, you were perceived to advocate Christianity and used Christian scripture and solutions,” the letter explains, “As the battalion chaplain, you are entrusted to care for the emotional wellbeing of all soldiers in the battalion. You, above all others, must be cognizant of the various beliefs held by diverse soldiers. During mandatory training briefings, it is imperative you are careful to avoid any perception you are advocating one system of beliefs over another.”

Yes, that is the actual letter that was sent reprimanding Chaplain Lawhorn. First of all, since when did it become a crime for a CHAPLAIN to be perceived to advocate Christianity or to use Christian scripture to teach life lessons?

If the Military is so concerned with Chaplains preaching during suicide prevention sessions, why are they even put in charge of running these sessions???

Truth be told, a mental health professional would be a much better fit in this environment. The truth is that Chaplains run these sessions because the Army believes that spiritual wellness is an important component of a soldier’s mental health.

In fact, the Chaplain’s actions should be covered by Section 533 of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act which has a “right of conscience” clause and protects soldiers who profess deeply held religious beliefs during their service.

But, the Military is still going after Chaplain Lawhorn. This is how far we have fallen under Obama. If the Democrats had their way, all chaplains would be secular (whatever that means).

The Army has a long history of using Chaplains to care for soldiers and these Chaplains span multiple faiths. This is as much an attack on faith itself as it is on Christianity.

One person complained… Just one person complained that this Chaplain used the Gospel to help people overcome depression and suicidal thoughts.

This country is so backwards and it all started going down hill during the Obama presidency. Chaplains have been under constant assault, as if they should just abandon their faith and become secular counselors.

Our men and women in uniform need spiritual guidance and these leftist atheists CANNOT be allowed to dilute faith in the military!


Bonfire of the bureaucracies in Australia

ALMOST 200 government agencies will be scrapped in a new search for budget savings, as the Abbott government lights a “bonfire of the quangos” to eliminate waste and help deal with deepening deficits that will be revealed on Monday.

Working groups will be shut down and expensive agencies dismantled in a bid to streamline the public service, saving more than $500 million over four years and taking staff numbers back to the levels of seven years ago.

Health and education will be next in the hunt for redundant agencies when the government sends experts into both major federal departments to find potential savings.

The Weekend Australian can ­reveal the 175 agencies to be cut ­include the Australian Government Solicitor as well as obscure committees such as a “governance board” on computer systems and a “partnership group” on student services. While the AGS had been seen as a potential asset sale, the government will instead close it down and transfer some of its staff to the Attorney-General’s Department in order to scale back overall spending.

Some agencies will be forced to share their “back-office” functions while the government will consider outsourcing a huge communications network that links 400 sites and more than 80 agencies.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann will announce the cuts alongside new rules to try to stop the creation of new agencies that clog the bureaucracy and slow down decisions.

“This will ensure that taxpayer funds are spent wisely and efficiently and not wasted inside departments,” Senator Cormann told The Weekend Australian.

Admitting the growing pressure on the nation’s finances, Joe Hockey conceded yesterday the government could not produce a budget surplus by 2018 as hoped, the result of a shortfall in tax revenue as iron ore prices tumble.

“The challenge has been that we have seen our export prices come off dramatically,” the Treasurer said.

“Now, we rely more on iron ore export income than Australia ever has before. It is about a fifth of our exports. So when you see a dramatic price fall in commodities, it now hits our bottom line harder than previously. We have got to deal with that.”

Bill Shorten hit back at Mr Hockey’s admission yesterday that the government “could have done more marketing” to explain the budget. “Families are suffering from cuts of $6000 to their budget, millions of sick Australians are being forced to pay a GP tax, students face $100,000 degrees and every motorist is paying more in petrol tax — and Joe Hockey is worried about marketing?” the Opposition Leader said.

“This explains the government’s plans for a big expensive advertising campaign on their new GP tax and their $100,000 degrees. No amount of slick marketing will convince Australians that this budget is fair or delivering on the promises Tony Abbott made at the last election.”

Economists expect the mid-year budget update on Monday to ­reveal a deficit this year of about $40 billion, up from $29.8bn forecast in the May budget.

Senator Cormann launched the first stages of a “smaller government program” in the May budget, closing down 76 agencies and starting the sale of Defence Housing Australia, the Royal Australian Mint and Australian Hearing.

The sale of Medibank Private recouped $5.7bn, about $1bn more than expected, and the health insurance company is now listed on the sharemarket.

Senator Cormann will announce the next phase of the program on Monday with the closure of 175 agencies, taking the total number of entities abolished to 251. The savings from the overall effort will reach $539.5m over four years.

“Our focus is on ensuring that the administration of government is as efficient and as effective as possible,” Senator Cormann said.

“This means a more streamlined, accountable and responsive public service, without unnecessary overlaps and duplication.”

The AGS has 590 lawyers and other staff and charges departments for its services, producing revenue of $112.7m and income of $3.9m last year.

The decision will come as a shock to the legal community but could be a taste of things to come, with Monday’s announcement also including a new approach to using private services to replace public agencies.

A “contestability program” will assess whether some government functions should be open to competition so that private providers are encouraged to offer services.

“Alternative delivery approaches will continue to be explored,” says one of the documents to accompany the announcement.

The departments of health and education are named as two of the priorities for further work on “streamlining” the bureaucracy, amid a growing furore over job cuts and strike action in pay disputes.

Mr Abbott and his colleagues have come under fire for refusing to offer more than a 1.5 per cent pay rise to Defence Force personnel, setting this as a benchmark for the entire public sector. Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood called the government’s negotiating position on wage claims a “train wreck” on Wednesday as union members took industrial action to seek higher pay.

“It’s a little rich for politicians to preach restraint to Medicare mums on $55,000 a year, when pollies’ pay rises have run 41 per cent above inflation over the last decade,” Ms Flood told the ABC.

“The key issue here is in fact not pay; it is the attack on the conditions and rights of these workers.”

The government’s broader strategy is to scale back the public service so that total staff numbers return to the levels seen in 2007, when Kevin Rudd took power and launched dozens of inquiries and reviews that set up new agencies.

Monday’s announcement will note that salaries for public servants have grown 42 per cent over the past decade compared with inflation of 28 per cent.

There is no official estimate of the number of jobs to be cut by scrapping or merging agencies, but a “bonfire of the quangos” in Britain in recent years was estimated to save £2.5bn over five years.

Senator Cormann sees the Australian exercise as a similar way to eradicate “quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations”.

He said the reviews of the health and education departments would “identify any legacy programs that are no longer a high priority, identify barriers to performance and look for opportunities to reassign limited resources to better deliver on higher policy priorities”.



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

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

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


16 December, 2014

Multicultural rapist  had to have cold water poured over him by horrified passers-by to stop his broad daylight attack on drunk woman

A rapist who had to have cold water poured over him by strangers to stop him attacking a woman in broad daylight has been jailed for eight years.

Gerald Malcolm was attacking a woman so drunk she could not walk or talk on the side of the road when shocked motorists pulled over shortly after 4pm in April.

A couple poured water over the 48-year-old who had plied the woman with alcohol at a pub near his home in Halesowen, West Midlands, before launching the attack.

Malcolm, originally from Jamaica, was jailed for eight years at Wolverhampton Crown Court .

The court heard how he met his 28-year-old victim at a library before convincing her to join him in a pub.

He then took her back to his home where the woman drank more alcohol and became unwell. After offering to walk her home, he was walking by on the roadside when he launched his attack.

Speaking after his sentencing the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she was so drunk she could barely move or speak.

'The assault has had a lasting effect on me; I still cannot believe that this man attacked me and I don't know how I got so drunk.

'It is awful that I cannot remember what happened to me, this was in the street in broad daylight. I would never have done anything like this in the street.

'I keep blaming myself, I keep thinking that this is my own fault because I got so drunk, but he shouldn't have done this to me, he shouldn't have taken advantage of me.

'I couldn't move and I could barely speak let alone say no or fend off my attacker. I willingly went to his home for a drink but I did not at any point agree to sex, that prospect was not in my mind at all.'

West Midlands Police said it hoped Malcolm's sentencing would deter other attacks.

Dc Sarah West, from the force’s Public Protection Unit, said: 'Rape is rape and there are no excuses, there is no grey area.

'Men need to understand that if a woman says no or is incapable of consenting, for instance through drink or drugs, they are committing a criminal offence.

'I hope today’s sentence will help the woman move on with her life knowing the person responsible is behind bars.'


Radio 4's John Humphrys admits BBC ignored mass immigration fearing it would be branded racist by critics

One of the BBC’s top presenters has admitted that the corporation ignored mass immigration because it feared critics would say it was racist.

Radio 4’s Today interviewer John Humphrys accused his employer of being ‘soft’, ‘complacent’ and ‘institutionally nervous’ when it came to tackling the story or questioning multiculturalism.

And he said that BBC employees are unable to understand the concerns of ordinary people because they typically lead ‘sheltered’ middle-class lives and are overwhelmingly ‘liberal Oxbridge males’.

The criticism, which is the latest in a string of admissions of Left-wing bias by senior BBC figures, comes weeks after the Government accused the Today programme of misrepresenting its spending cuts.

George Osborne hit out at a one of its reports, which said his reforms were ‘utterly terrifying’. The Chancellor said the BBC coverage was ‘nonsense’ and had been ‘hyperbolic’.

Now Humphrys, 71, has told the Sunday Times Magazine that the corporation is facing an ‘existential crisis greater than it’s ever been’ because ‘people, serious, thoughtful people, talk seriously and thoughtfully about the future of the BBC in a way that they haven’t before’.

The veteran presenter admitted that the last Labour government’s controversial immigration policy was not sufficiently ‘interrogated’ by the BBC, saying: ‘The Labour government underestimated by a factor of ten the number of people who were going to move from Poland.’

He said the BBC was ‘frightened of appearing racist’, adding: ‘We were too institutionally nervous of saying, isn’t immigration getting a little bit out of hand? And can we be critical of multiculturalism?

‘We didn’t interrogate immigration rigorously enough. We failed to look at what our job was.’

Humphrys claimed he was partly responsible for the BBC’s ‘complacent’ approach towards immigration, because he failed to challenge Labour’s decision to allow migrants from Poland and Hungary to work in Britain from 2004, and the flawed prediction that only 13,000 would arrive.

After more than a million Eastern European immigrants moved to the UK, senior Labour figures eventually admitted the policy had been a huge mistake.

Humphrys said: ‘I do remember, vaguely, interviews with ministers at the time and saying, “Are you sure that’s all there’ll be?” And when they said “yeah”, accepting it.’

The star went on to say that too many BBC staff were ‘arrogant’ and thought they knew ‘what was best for the country’. He added: ‘It was and still is relentlessly middle class. Unfortunately. There was a predominant voice – the liberal Oxbridge male.’

Tory MP Conor Burns, who sits on the Commons culture, media and sport committee, said: ‘This is a refreshing outbreak of candour, honesty and rare insight from one of the big beasts of the BBC. Their bias has gone unchallenged for too long.’

We were too institutionally nervous of saying, isn't immigration getting out of hand? We didn't interrogate immigration rigorously enough

Humphrys is not the first senior BBC figure to criticise the corporation’s failure to challenge Left-wing assumptions.

This year former Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman accused the BBC of being ‘smug’. He has also said its coverage of climate change ‘abandoned the pretence of impartiality long ago’.

Last year the BBC’s former head of TV news, Roger Mosey, criticised the corporation for shutting out critics of the European Union, saying: ‘On the BBC’s own admission, it did not give enough space to anti-immigration views or EU-withdrawalists.’

And another senior executive, current radio chief Helen Boaden, claimed the BBC had a ‘deep liberal bias’ when she became head of news in 2004.

A BBC spokesman said: ‘John Humphrys was merely echoing other senior BBC figures who have acknowledged that we were slow to reflect changing opinions on immigration. This was a historical issue and we now believe our reporting is in the right place and we cover this complex issue in depth.’


UK: Outrage over taxi firm that sends a white driver out on a jobs if the customer requests it

A taxi company has come under fire for supplying white drivers on request. Privately-run 35 Taxis, based in Hull, claim they are simply responding to requests and are doing nothing wrong.

Hull City Council have agreed that the policy does not run contrary to the conditions of its licence - but a local councillor has slammed those people requesting white drivers, saying it sends out a 'very sad message'.

Taxi firm owner Gary Wilkinson said: 'You cannot stop customers making requests.  'We will try to send a white, British driver, if we are asked, but we do tell our customers we can't always guarantee it.'

Mr Wilkinson insisted his company was not discriminating and said he had 25 drivers of non-white, British origin who all did 'a fantastic job'.

He added: 'I am totally against racism of any kind. I am married to an Arabic woman and our children are mixed-race.

'A customer may have had a bad experience with a coloured driver in the past. 'Maybe they have felt a driver has ripped them off. Some people will then say, "I only want a white British driver".

'It's racist, because these people are not ringing up the next day saying don't send me a white driver if they happen to think a white driver has overcharged them.'

Wayne Harrison, owner of rival firm 50 Taxis, claimed up to one in five of all his customers also demand a white British driver - but he refuses to oblige them.

He said: 'Customers will ring you up and say "Don't send me a..." They'll then use a racist word.  'We don't give them a choice. We will send a car. It's up to them if they get in or not.'

He said he employs 50 drivers, including four or five who are not white British and added: 'They are super workers. 'They just want to earn a living.'

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against employees because of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin.

However, there is no suggestion private-hire companies who respond to customers' requests are breaking the law.

Councillor Rosie Nicola is the Hull City Council's cabinet member for equality and community cohesion.  She said: 'I find it really sad that people in Hull are ringing up our taxi companies making these kinds of demands.  'It's a really sad message to be sending out that people aren't happy with someone based simply on the colour of their skin.

'If someone doesn't want to get into a taxi driven by someone with a different skin colour, make them wait in the cold.'

One local lawyer, who did not wish to be named, said: 'This is a very thorny issue - a nest of vipers.  'There may be discriminatory issues under the Equality Act 2010 committed by call operators if they were to offer a job only to a white British driver.'

In October it was revealed that a taxi company in a town tainted by a child sex-grooming gang scandal offers customers white drivers on demand.

Rochdale minicab firm Car 2000 offers the choice after two taxi drivers of Pakistani origin were jailed for their part in the sex trafficking and rape of young white girls in the town.  The firm, which bought out Eagle Taxis - a company at the centre of the grooming scandal, has revealed that many customers were asking for white or ‘local’ drivers.

It came out amid rising tensions in Rochdale following revelations of gang rapes, grooming and trafficking of white girls at the hands of mainly Asian gangs.


France told to avoid 'secular war' after nativity scene ban sparks uproar

France faced calls to avoid a “war of secularism" after a court banned a nativity scene in a town hall, igniting a nationwide row yesterday.

The court in Nantes ordered regional authorities in the western town of La Roche-sur-Yon to remove the crib from the mayoral entrance hall, following a complaint from the secular campaign group Fédération Nationale de la Libre Pensée.

The council is appealing against the decision, and has received backing from far-Right Front National leader Marine Le Pen, who described it as “stupid and blinkered secularism”.

Bruno Retailleau, the local senator, exclaimed: “Next we’ll be banning epiphany cakes at the Élysée Palace.” He threatened to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

The Nantes court based its ruling on a 1905 law that enshrines the strict separation of church and state.

Other town halls around France are facing similar decisions. In Melun, south-east of Paris, a nativity scene that has been a regular fixture in the town hall gardens for the past 10 years, may be banned.

In the southwestern town of Béziers, Robert Ménard, the FN-backed mayor, has refused to take down a crib in the town hall in defiance of an order to do so from the local government prefect.

On Monday, he sarcastically remarked: “A Christmas miracle has occurred. I have reconciled the Right and Left as they are both against banning the nativity scene from public plays.”

Manuel Valls, the Socialist prime minister, issued a warning over fomenting religious tensions in the name of strict secularism, saying: “Let’s be careful not to be divided. Are we really going to be split over a nativity scene in public places? It’s not what the French are asking for.”

A poll published in Le Parisien newspaper suggested that 86 per cent of more than 12,000 readers surveyed want to keep nativity scenes in public places.

The controversy comes as the French government is treading carefully so as not to inflame tensions with French Muslims, who have been banned from wearing burqas in public. But critics warned that authorities must not go too far in upholding France’s secular traditions.

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, Nicolas Sarkozy’s deputy at the helm of the opposition centre-Right UMP party, said: “There’s no point following up on the wars of religion with the wars of secularism.”

“Ardent defenders of secularism mustn’t become sectarian,” she said, adding that: “The crib is a cultural phenomenon.”

Fellow UMP MP, Nadine Morano, warned: “Secularism must not kill our country, our roots and our traditions.”

France is having trouble keeping sectarian tensions in check.

On Sunday, Bernard Cazeneuve, the interior minister declared the fight against racism and anti-Semitism a “national cause” after the violent robbery of a Jewish couple in a Paris suburb last week.



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

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

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


15 December, 2014

Opening up family courts 'will cause child suicides': Fury at claim by children's tsar in secret justice battle

What else is the old bag trying to hide?  She is also known for denying that the systematic rape of young British girls by Muslims was a problem. She is Jewish. Would she have covered up child abuse by Muslims if it had been Jewish children being molested?

Children will be pushed into committing suicide if the secretive family courts are opened to public scrutiny, a senior government official has sensationally claimed.

Deputy Children's Commissioner Sue Berelowitz said children will kill themselves if they believe their names and their troubled lives will become known to the public.

In a controversial speech calling for the courts to stay closed, she said: 'I have worked closely with profoundly distressed and damaged and troubled children all my working life. I know and understand their minds; it is my job. I know how little it takes to tip a child over the edge.'

The remarks were greeted with astonishment and disbelief by campaigners for open justice.

One said: 'I don't know what planet this woman is on.' High Court judge Sir Roderick Newton, who spoke alongside Miss Berelowitz in a legal debate on whether the courts and their decisions should be reported in the media, said family courts should be open to scrutiny.

He said: 'To put it rather bluntly, if a judge can change the whole of someone's life by the stroke of a pen, then there is a pressing need, an overwhelming need, I would say, for openness.'

During her address, Miss Berelowitz broke a widely observed media rule and described a common means of suicide. She added: 'I genuinely fear that it is only a matter of time before this deeply misguided motion, which has at its heart, I believe, an utter disregard for the welfare and best interests of children, and is, in my view, therefore unlawful, will result in the death of a child.'

It is not the first time Miss Berelowitz has made controversial comments. During her career in child protection:

- She was a director of children's services for a local council rated 'inadequate' by inspectors;

- She produced a report on gang sex abuse of children which said there was no evidence that Asian men were responsible. One government figure said it was 'difficult to overstate the contempt' with which ministers viewed it;

- One of her first public statements as Deputy Children's Commissioner was to respond to the outcry over the death of Baby P. She said 'the safeguarding of children requires the implementation of basic good practice'.

Miss Berelowitz also warned that the Children's Commissioner would protest to the UN children's rights committee over the issue of openness in family courts.

Her intervention comes amid an ongoing dispute among judges, lawyers and social workers over how far the family courts should be opened.

A major push for openness has been launched by the chief family law judge, President of the Family Division Sir James Munby, who chaired last month's debate in London, at which Miss Berelowitz set down the first publicly acknowledged official opposition to allowing scrutiny of the family courts. The speeches were published yesterday.

Sir Roderick was at the centre of a scandal last year when courts secretly ordered that Italian woman Alessandra Pacchieri should undergo a forced caesarean after suffering a breakdown at Stansted Airport, and that her child should be adopted. Sir Roderick was the judge who ordered the adoption.

He said: 'In the Italian case . . . the reporting initially was pretty inaccurate. That wasn't necessarily the fault of the Press who had little or nothing to go on when the story was first sent to them. When I released my judgment on December 2, it led to a much better discussion.

'What the Italian case did was well and truly launch a comprehensive national discussion about how these sensitive issues can and should be addressed.

'If a system is constantly accused of being secret, biased and unaccountable, the children in whose name we try to make the best decisions are the ones that ultimately will feel undermined.'

Miss Berelowitz's suicide warning was greeted with amazement among campaigners for open justice and media figures.

Lib Dem MP John Hemming said: 'I don't know what planet this woman is on. If the media had not looked at the abuse of children in care, the events in Rotherham would never have been known.'

Bob Satchwell of the Society of Editors said: 'No-one in the media wants to expose details about children unless there are exceptional reasons to do so. It is strange that Miss Berelowitz uses emotional language when media organisations would be extremely careful in discussing matters like that to prevent copycat actions.'

Campaigners for greater openness are not calling for children to be identified in family proceedings. In cases in which proceedings can be reported, identifying children would be contempt of court, for which reporters or editors could go to jail.


Pastor: As Father of Four Adopted Children, Being Forced to Cover Abortions Is ‘Repulsive Beyond Words’

For 36 years, Jim Garlow didn’t know his first adopted child was the result of a rape.  But after his wife Carol lost a six-year battle with cancer last year, their daughter, Janie, went in search of her birth mother. In succeeding, Janie also discovered the horrific circumstances of her own conception.

The story spurs Jim Garlow, a pastor in California, to fight a state mandate that his church’s employee health plan pay for elective abortions.

When Janie’s birth mother was a freshman in high school, two senior boys asked her to go to the movies. Instead, they took her to an open field, where they raped her. She became pregnant.

Heroically, the teenage girl decided not to get an abortion but to keep the baby until birth, then give her up for adoption.

In an emotional interview with The Daily Signal, Garlow says the decision that spared his future daughter wasn’t the result of her birth mother’s “profound religious convictions” but because “she felt like it was the right thing to do.”

Janie, now 37, became the first of four children whom Jim and Carol Garlow would adopt. Those children — Josie Garlow Debus, Jake Garlow, Josh Garlow and Janie Garlow McGarity — are all grown today.

Garlow, 67, is senior pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego, founded in 1954 as part of the Wesleyan denomination. After the death of his first wife, he married Rosemary Schindler, an active advocate for Christians all over the world.

Their father regards the four Garlow children as the fruit of four women who made the “courageous” decision to go through with their pregnancies. The most courageous of all, he says, was Janie’s mother.

Garlow, who in 1995 became the third senior pastor in Skyline’s 60-year history, holds a doctorate in historical theology from Drew University. He received a master’s degree in theology from Princeton Theological Seminary and a master of divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary.

His religious beliefs, combined with a deep gratitude for the four mothers who chose to keep their unborn children, have anchored his pro-life views.

And then this fall, the unimaginable happened: Garlow discovered the state of California was forcing him and the staff of his church to pay for  health insurance plans that cover elective abortions.  They have no choice.

The state’s rule, the pastor says, defies every fiber of his being:  "I feel that not only [that] the killing of babies in the womb is wrong foundationally, but as a father who had the privilege of adopting four children … was repulsive beyond words".

Garlow didn’t know how to break the news to his tight-knit congregation. After he was asked to speak at a congressional briefing Dec. 1,  though, he sent an e-blast to parishioners, writing:

"I apologize for bringing bad news. This is shocking … and repulsive. As of last Aug. 22, our California state government (not Obamacare, this is the state) has required all insurance policies to cover elective abortions. This includes us as a church. We – along with other churches and Christian colleges – are protesting this coercive and intrusive action by filing formal protests against this abusive action. I will be speaking on this topic this week in Washington, D.C., at a special hearing at which we are strongly urging the federal government to step in immediately and pass the ‘Abortion Non-Discrimination Act.’ Pray for me as I speak. And pray for Congress to act – now".

Call it ironic: Churches in California are forced to pay for abortions through employee health insurance, but under Obamacare are supposed to be exempt from paying for contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs for their employees.

Since 2005, under a measure known as the Weldon Amendment, Congress has prohibited states that receive certain federal funds from discriminating against insurance plans that don’t provide abortion coverage. The Hyde Amendment, first passed in 1976, prohibits using federal tax money to pay for elective abortions.

So how did this happen in California?

The state’s abortion mandate didn’t go through the normal legislative process, says Casey Mattox, a senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, which champions religious liberty.

Mattox, who represents Garlow’s Skyline Church and seven other churches in California, recalls how the issue of contraceptives was debated as part of Obamacare:

Legislatures realized, ‘We can’t force churches to pay for contraceptives,’ that clearly you have to exempt churches from that mandate. [State lawmakers] were able to put in appropriate exemptions to make sure at least some aspect of religious liberty was protected, but this [California] abortion mandate just went through a bureaucratic process. It’s basically a sneak attack on religious liberty. It came out of nowhere.

The California Department of Managed Health Care mandated that, effective Aug. 22, almost all health insurance plans must cover elective abortions.

The rule came after the American Civil Liberties Union convinced state insurance officials that abortion is a “basic health service.” Siding with the ACLU, state bureaucrats decided the agency no longer would approve health plans that don’t cover the life-ending procedure.

“There was no opportunity for churches to weigh in on the process,” Mattox says.

In September, the lawyer filed an administrative complaint on behalf of Garlow and other California pastors with the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The pastors have yet to receive a response.

Sarah Torre, a policy analyst who follows religious liberty cases for The Heritage Foundation, says that in the current legal landscape, the decision before pastors such as Garlow is this: Continue offering health insurance covering procedures that end the life of unborn children, or drop insurance altogether.

“So Pastor Garlow and others can do nothing but wait on bureaucrats in HHS to enforce the law,” Torre says.

Churches and other religious organizations can avoid the mandate by self-insuring, but it’s a costly endeavor that could take months, even years.  “We can’t self-insure, Garlow says. “We’d need years of preparation to be in that kind of posture economically.”

Garlow and others appealed to Congress, hoping his story would spur legislation to protect the conscience rights of individuals and churches.

A total of 132 lawmakers, led by Reps. Diane Black, R-Tenn. and Rep. John Fleming, R-La., wrote Nov. 25 to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to express “deep concern” over the California abortion mandate.

“Forcing pastors, teachers, social service providers and Catholic institutions to pay for abortion should be unthinkable,” they wrote.

HHS has yet to respond to the lawmakers’ request to enforce the Weldon Amendment in California.  It is clear that Burwell “does not intend to enforce the law,” Fleming told The Daily Signal.

Conservative lawmakers are pushing for passage of the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act, part of H.R. 940, which would allow individuals to pursue legal action to protect their religious rights.

Pro-life members of the House and Senate will not back down, Fleming says, but their success depends upon the support from Republican leadership, which previously blamed inaction on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

In January, though, the Nevada Democrat will be succeeded by current Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., when Republicans claim their new nine-seat majority in the Senate as a result of the midterm elections.

“That excuse is getting very weak now that we have won a majority in the Senate and we have a resounding majority in the House,” Fleming says. “It’s time that our GOP leadership begins to get on board.” Until then, California churches are expected to pay for a life-ending procedure that contradicts the core of their beliefs.

“I can’t fathom us participating in something so horrific and sinful,” Garlow says.  Sadly, the pastor and his supporters believe, he already is.


Remove Muslim veil when giving evidence in court, says top woman judge in Britain

Britain's most senior woman judge has called for tougher rules on compelling women who wear the Muslim veil to show their faces when giving evidence in court.

Baroness Hale of Richmond, the deputy president of the Supreme Court, said “ways have got to be found” to ensure that the Islamic face coverings, such as the niqab, are removed for key parts of a court hearing.

Judges must be able to see a witness' face to gauge their truthfulness and it was also important to be able to identity the correct person on some occasions, the judge told the Evening Standard newspaper.

Lady Hale said the need for a "tougher" approach had been shown in one family law case in which she had detected that a mother - who had been asked to remove her face covering - was lying.

“We should devise ways of making it possible and “There must come a point where we can insist.

“We don’t object to allowing people to do things for sincerely held religious reasons if they don’t do any harm. If it does harm, we have to be a bit tougher.”

A judge ruled in September last year that a Muslim woman, Rebekah Dawson, would be allowed to stand trial on a charge of witness intimidation while wearing a full-face veil but that she must remove it while giving evidence.

Dawson, 22, initially refused to remove her niqab and was told she would be forced to take off the garment if she gave evidence, which she later declined to do.  She was convicted and jailed for six months after pleading guilty.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has previously both spoken out against women being allowed to wear veils while giving evidence in court.

Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, said in November last year that there was a need for "clear guidance on what is without doubt a problem that many people found divisive".

“I wouldn’t describe it as the elephant in the courtroom but it is an important issue that has to be addressed," Lord Thomas said.

“I regard it as the responsibility of the senior judiciary to give guidance, and it will be guidance that is not merely ‘well it all depends’ but starting from a clear starting point giving fairly reasonable guidance as to what should happen."

Last month Lord Thomas said the guidance had still not been completed.

Judges had been awaiting a decision from the European Court of Human Rights on the burka ban in France, which was delivered in July, and which backed the principle of prohibiting the garment in public.

Lord Thomas said he hoped the guidance for courts in England and Wales would be complete "as soon as is reasonably practicable".


Self-righteous feminists embarrassed into the sounds of silence for once

The feminist organisation behind controversial T-shirts made by women paid just 62p an hour is refusing to answer questions about its investigation into the workers’ conditions.

The factory where shirts bearing the slogan This Is What A Feminist Looks Like were made for The Fawcett Society was first exposed by The Mail on Sunday last month.

But six weeks after the ‘sweatshop’ conditions were first revealed, little progress appears to have been made in an ‘investigation’ into our report.

The Fawcett Society’s chairman, Belinda Phipps, admitted the regime at Compagnie Mauricienne de Textile was ‘in complete contradiction to our own ethical policy’

When The Mail on Sunday revealed last month that workers in the Mauritius textile factory were paid just 62p an hour and were sleeping 16 to a room in dormitories, Fawcett Society deputy CEO Eva Neitzert vowed the organisation would do its utmost to investigate the story.

Though the hourly rate is above the legal minimum wage in Mauritius, it is well short of the official government ‘living wage’ in the country. Three weeks ago, the society’s chairman, Belinda Phipps, admitted the regime at Compagnie Mauricienne de Textile (CMT) was ‘in complete contradiction to our own ethical policy’ but revealed the society was relying on Whistles and Made-By (a European not-for-profit ethical consultancy) to investigate CMT, and expecting the results within a fortnight.

Yet last week there was still no outward sign of any report and our numerous calls and emails to The Fawcett Society, Whistles and Elle produced no response. Called at home, Ms Phipps said: ‘There’s nothing to add. You should speak to our press spokesperson.’

The stonewalling came as two of our journalists involved in the exposé were banned from freely travelling to the Indian Ocean island.

Last week reporter Ben Ellery and photographer John McLellan received official letters from the Mauritius government imposing restrictions on their right to travel to the country.

The letters, sent from the Mauritius Passport and Immigration Office and bearing an official stamp, state: ‘I am directed to inform you that you should not undertake any travel to Mauritius without prior authority from this office.’

When the MoS contacted the office, a spokesman said: ‘It is because of the article. If you fly here without asking for permission first, then you will be sent back.’



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

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

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


14 December, 2014

A multicultural psychopathic liar Britain

It is quite rare for females to be psychopathic. All tell some lies but not on this foolish scale

Not long into his romantic liaison with Natasha Bolter, Roger Bird began to feel somewhat uneasy. Perhaps it was the sickly-sweet tone of her text messages, which became increasingly clingy after the pair began a relationship in September.

Or perhaps it was the fact that despite claiming to have five As at A-level and a First in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford — where Bird himself had read the same subject — Bolter spoke like a nervous teenager, often resorting to girlish giggles or lighting up a cigarette whenever she felt out of her depth. Ukip’s troubled General Secretary will not say exactly what gave him second thoughts.

Suspended by his party after accusations of sexual harassment by Bolter, with whom he says he had a consensual sexual relationship, Bird has remained tight-lipped about the most intimate details of his relationship with the 39-year-old former Labour Party activist who dramatically defected to Ukip in September. Bird, 41, is still waiting to hear the outcome of a Ukip disciplinary hearing held yesterday.

But while his political fate hangs in the balance, Bolter’s claims that he used his senior position within the party to press his attentions upon her began to unravel spectacularly this week after the emergence of dozens of romantic texts she sent him, not to mention a denial from Oxford University that she had ever studied there.

School contemporaries have also poured scorn on talk of five A grade A-levels, and painted a picture of a woman who, even as a schoolgirl, had a reputation for tall stories.

Having thrust herself into the limelight as a victim of sexism, Bolter now faces questions about the gargantuan cracks which have appeared in the story she has been telling.

When she’d first got in touch with the party back in August, officials no doubt thought all their Christmases had come at once. Forever keen to shake off accusations of racism and bigotry, a woman of mixed race who not only wanted to leave Labour and join Ukip but was also prepared to publicly condemn her former party for its misogyny, would be the perfect weapon in their armoury.

A fortnight later, Bolter was unveiled by Bird at the party conference in Doncaster as a fellow Oxford PPE graduate, a former East End comprehensive pupil with a remarkable five As at A-level who had returned to her roots after Oxford to teach.

Throughout the faltering, jittery speech she made, which had been edited by Bird, she was applauded heartily by delegates. She later went on to campaign alongside Nigel Farage for Mark Reckless, the Tory MP and defector to Ukip while he fought to retain his Rochester seat.

But in Ukip’s haste to embrace Bolter, they’d done very little in the way of checking her credentials.

Had anyone done so, a very different picture would have emerged of the woman born Natasha Ahmed, the daughter of a Colombian mother and an Indian father, who grew up in a council flat in Tower Hamlets.

She certainly did not go to Oxford, and the recollections of a former classmate cast doubt over her own claim to have five A-grade A-levels.

Contemporaries from her comprehensive, Bishop Challoner in Tower Hamlets, recall a rather chubby girl who was placed in the middle of five academically streamed classes.

Although she is believed to have stayed on to the school’s sixth form, the classmate said it was highly unlikely that anyone from this middle stream would go on to do five A-levels because they wouldn’t have had the academic ability.

Another recalls: ‘With Natasha, it was one thing after another. She once told us she was a keep-fit teacher, then that she was a paramedic, then that she was going to be a police officer. She was always an attention-seeker at school, so no one wanted anything to do with her.  ‘She is also an outrageous flirt.’


Why These Citizens Voted to Repeal a Bad ‘Civil Rights’ Law

One way to prevent the government from violating your rights is to stop bad legislation in its tracks. Citizens in Fayetteville, Ark., did just that Tuesday. After the city council of the college town passed a “civil rights” ordinance that undermined basic civil liberties back in August, voters took to the polls to repeal the law, ordinance 119.

Among other things, the law made it a crime for citizens to engage in what the government deemed to be “discrimination” based on real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. Concerns were raised about wedding vendors and “discrimination” based on sexual orientation, as well as bathroom policies and “discrimination” based on gender identity (particularly transgender individuals—which bathrooms must biological males who identify as women, and biological females who identify as men, be allowed to use).

As the organizer of the Repeal 119 campaign explained, this is bad public policy:

It was called the Civil Rights Ordinance, but it was misnamed. It was an ordinance that actually took away civil rights and freedom from people. It criminalized civil behavior. It didn’t accomplish the stated purpose of the ordinance, and it was crafted by an outside group. It wasn’t something Fayetteville residents put together.

That’s entirely right. Laws that create special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity are being used to trump fundamental civil liberties such as freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion. They tend to be vague and overly broad without clear definitions of what conduct can and cannot be penalized. And they create new, subjective protected classes that expose citizens to unimaginable liability.

Indeed, bad state and local SOGI laws are frequently the measures that allow the government to penalize and punish people for their beliefs about marriage. SOGI laws have been at the center of the cases involving photographers, bakers and florists, as well as farmers, and even ordained ministers.

Laws that create special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity are being used to trump fundamental civil liberties such as freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion.

Traditional civil rights include protections for the rights to free speech, religious liberty and free association, as well as the right to vote, own property and enter into contracts. All Americans stand equally before the law and have their civil rights equally protected.

But no one has the right to have the government force a particular minister to marry them, or a certain photographer to capture the first kiss, or a baker to bake the wedding cake. Declining to perform these services doesn’t violate anyone’s rights. Some citizens may conclude that they cannot in good conscience participate in a same-sex ceremony, from priests and pastors to bakers and florists. The government should not force them to choose between their religious beliefs and their livelihood.

Ordinary Americans—both those in favor of gay marriage and those who oppose gay marriage—agree the government should not penalize those who hold the historic view of marriage. So the citizens of Fayetteville were acting for social justice and the common good when they voted to repeal this onerous law. Citizens must work to prevent or repeal laws that create special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We also must insist on laws that protect religious freedom and the rights of conscience.

Citizens must do this because there are some ideologues who want SOGI laws to trump basic civil liberties. There are some activists who are working to pass laws that would allow the government to coerce individuals to violate their beliefs about marriage. And, as the organizer of Repeal 119 noted, they frequently are coming from out of town.

Indeed, SOGI laws are being pushed on unsuspecting citizens at the federal, state and local level by the Human Rights Campaign. HRC just launched a new project for 2015 it dubs “Beyond Marriage Equality.”

Not content merely to redefine marriage throughout America, the activists at HRC want to use government coercion to impose their agenda on Americans.

Citizens do two things to prevent government from violating basic civil liberties. First, citizens should argue against SOGI policies at the federal, state and local level.

Second, policy should prevent the government from violating the civil rights of citizens. At the federal level, Congress has an opportunity to protect religious liberty and the rights of conscience.

Not content merely to redefine marriage throughout America, the activists at HRC want to use government coercion to impose their agenda on Americans.

Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether nonprofit or for-profit, based on their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. The government should be prohibited from discriminating against such groups or individuals in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation or contracting.

The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act—sponsored by Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, in the House (H.R. 3133) with more than 100 co-sponsors of both parties, and sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, in the Senate (S. 1808) with 17 co-sponsors—would prevent the federal government from taking such adverse actions.

States need similar policy protections, including broad protections provided by state-level versions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and specific protections for beliefs and actions about marriage.

Protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience is the embodiment of a principled pluralism that fosters a more diverse civil sphere. Indeed, tolerance is essential to promoting peaceful coexistence even amid disagreement. In a nation founded on limited government and religious freedom, government should not attempt to coerce any citizen, association or business into celebrating same-sex relationships.


British social worker evil once again

A baby's first smile, their first Christmas, those unsteady first steps... these are precious moments every new parent cherishes.

But one couple missed nine months of their baby daughter's life after officials wrongly took her away – and initially offered them just £500 in compensation.

Their child was even put up for permanent adoption before the case was thrown out by a judge, who described it as a 'debacle'.

Cheryll Rich and Jack Barnes, who have now been reunited with their daughter Misty, told the Mail of their disgust last night at the 'insulting' compensation offer.

Miss Rich said: 'Those are months we will never get back. We read the log from when Misty was with the foster carer. When she rolled over for the first time. Her first teddy. Pictures from her first Christmas.

'She was toddling when we got her back. We had missed her first step. I'll never know if she called the foster carer mama before me.'

Misty was born in November 2012 and is the first child of 27-year-old Miss Rich, a retail assistant, and Mr Barnes, 40, a scaffolder, who have been together for nine years.

Miss Rich was attacked near her home in Grays, Essex, when she was six months pregnant, but fortunately her baby was not harmed. But in a seemingly heavy-handed decision after Misty's birth, social workers would not let the couple take her home in case they were targeted again and said she would be taken away if they did not find somewhere else to live.

Miss Rich and Mr Barnes struggled to find somewhere and over the following weeks, the council placed them in a refuge and B&Bs across the country.

'All we wanted to do was take her home,' Miss Rich said. 'It was ridiculous but at every stage we were told: 'Do this or we'll take her away'.' A month later, the couple were taken to court with just one day's notice, where they were told Misty would be taken into temporary care because of their chaotic lifestyle – which they say was caused entirely by social workers. The heartbroken parents fought through the courts to get her back, but social workers placed adverts for Misty to be adopted permanently.

In a disorderly case overseen at times by a student social worker, the couple was twice sent private details about other children in care by accident – a serious breach of data protection.

Their case was finally heard by judge Mrs Justice Jennifer Roberts, who said social services had 'completely mishandled the situation'. Describing the couple as 'loving parents', she reunited them with their daughter and – after a year of check-ups from social workers – they were told after Misty's second birthday last month that the case has finally been closed.

Thurrock Council, which oversaw the case, apologised in private but refused to do so publicly. They later raised the compensation offer to £5,000 but the couple saw it as an 'insult' and refused it.

Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price said: 'Nothing can replace the time they have lost. A major injustice has taken place here.'

A council spokesman said: 'The safety of the child is always of paramount importance.'


Mum bloggers show dark side of feminist parenting

Former Australian Labor Party leader Mark Latham is having a go at feminists again

When the Greens senator Larissa Waters publicly endorsed the No Gender December campaign last week, most people thought it was just another left-feminist brain-snap.  As if buying Barbies for young girls at Christmas condemns them to a lifetime of low self-esteem and repression.

My seven-year-old daughter has a room full of Barbies, yet she’s an incredibly independent, strong-willed and capable young lady.

Over the years, I’ve met prime ministers, presidents and billionaires, but none of them have overwhelmed me with their force of personality the way Siena Latham does.  I’ve always thought the manufacturer puts something in the Barbies to empower her and weaken me – like kryptonite on Superdad.

 Senator Waters and her Green mates are off with the pixies – a fantasy world in which all parts of life are inherently political.

You get up in the morning and go to the toilet: for the Greens, that’s an act of politics. By standing at the urinal, men exercise the power of patriarchy, while women are forced to sit – a vulnerable and submissive position.

You buy your son a Star Wars lightsaber and the dark side will convert him to a lifetime of misogyny. You buy your daughter a pink dress and automatically she’ll be barefoot and pregnant in a public housing estate, denied access to the Anne Summers texts that could set her free.

It’s easy to dismiss No Gender December for what it is: a political sect that extrapolates the simple, everyday parts of life into wacky sociological conspiracies. But it’s more than that.

In the inner suburbs of our major cities, a fascinating experiment is under way. Thousands of children have been locked in a gender-neutral bubble, growing up in households manipulated by their mothers to fit the left-feminist mould. How do we know this? Through the phenomenon of mummy bloggers.


Daily Life, for instance, describes itself as “a proudly female-biased website”. One of its feature writers is Sarah Macdonald, well known for her work on ABC radio.

Like most mummy bloggers, she’s youngish, hip and self-absorbed. Her parenting techniques provide a snapshot of left-feminism in action.

According to Macdonald, “all parents” try to “raise children in a new way, unencumbered by a long, rich history of gender stereotypes”. But then they slip back into old habits, such as when “a mother coos ‘you’re so pretty’ to her baby daughter” or “a father comes home and starts ‘fun time’?”. For any parent inclined to talk about their daughter’s appearance, the answer is clear: call her ugly.

The next MacParenting tip is for mothers to avoid being “the default parent” – the one “who has met the teacher and knows where the favourite T-shirt is buried”.

Macdonald, it seems, is unmoved by research showing parents actively involved in their children’s education help to improve their children’s academic results. If she sees a teacher walking towards her at school pick-up time, apparently she runs the other way. Her bare-chested children (having been unable to find their ­T-shirts that morning) are then forced to chase her down the street.

This prejudice against education is confirmed in other MacParenting recommendations. In trying to avoid the “dad is fun, mum is mean” stereotype, Macdonald admits to having “avoided homework [assistance] for years”, while her “kids have stopped learning their instruments”.

She’s also against participation on school P and Cs, given “it’s another area of unpaid work for women”.

MacParenting hates the idea of dads being seen as “the fun one”. So in divorced families, mothers are advised to “give their kids pizza every night”.

What’s the net outcome of this social experiment? In the name of gender equality, left-feminism is breeding a generation of shirtless, tone-deaf, overweight, pizza-eating dummies – the opposite of what progressive politics is supposed to achieve.

At the Macdonald laboratory, the results are clear: “My daughter is far more willing to whack [people] than my son and she is not a hugger”.

Here in outer-western Sydney, I couldn’t live without my daughter’s hugs. Thank goodness we’re the antithesis of nutty Green feminism.



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

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

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


12 December, 2014

UK: Government U-turn on school cadet force funding

MoD says cadet forces will keep their funding after warnings reforms would seen dozens of units close

The Government has abandoned plans to reform school cadet force funding after outcry from private schools that increased costs would shut long-standing units.

Headmasters earlier this year warned dozens of private school cadet forces could close because of a “disastrous” cut in funding aimed at boosting representation in the state system.

The funding shake-up had been proposed as part of plans to introduce 100 new cadet units in state schools by the end of 2015. Ministers said existing Combined Cadet Force (CCF) units would have to share their funding with the new state school units to meet the target. Pupils would be forced to pay £150 a year to join and units would have to contribute more to their running costs.

The cut in funding would mean individual schools having to find tens of thousands of pounds for costs including equipment and adult volunteers, it was claimed.

Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, has now decided to keep the current funding and keep paying for adult volunteers, he said.

He said: “Cadet Forces offer young people the chance to develop essential skills and CCF units play an important role in providing this experience in schools

“I’m pleased to announce that all school cadet units will receive the funding they need to make this opportunity available across the country.”

At present, 260 schools run cadet forces and receive more than £26 million a year to cover staff training, uniforms, rifles, facilities and volunteer expenses.

Around 200 units are in private schools. The units are seen by many in the military as vital links between the armed forces and young people, as well as allowing them to broaden their skills and outlook.

Paul Luker, Chief Executive of the Council of Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association, said the expansion plans were “greatly welcomed”.

He said: “It was therefore important for the Ministry of Defence to consult on the possible changes to CCF funding, and it is enormously reassuring that they have listened fully to the feedback received.”

The Ministry of Defence said plans were still on track to open 100 new cadet units in state schools by September 2015. They will be given an extra £2.3m of additional funding found from “efficiencies within the existing MOD cadet budget”.

A spokesman said: "All cadet units will have their infrastructure and running costs funded by the Government. Following a consultation into future funding of the Combined Cadet Forces, the Defence Secretary has decided to maintain the existing funding model and also to apply it to schools setting up new units under the cadet expansion programme."

Headmasters had been "very clear" about what they thought of the proposed changes, one Whitehall source said.

Thomas Garnier, head of the independent Pangbourne College, Reading, who represents the CCF for the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, said he was "delighted" with the about face.

He said many schools already made large sacrifices and commitments to keep their CCF units running.

He said: "We are really, really pleased that we were listened to and it reflects well on the MoD. I think there was a lack of understanding about the commitments that the schools with CCF units were making. I think they now have a clearer understanding."

Simon Davies, the head of Eastbourne College, which runs a 335-strong unit formed in 1895, said schools had been angered by a lack of Government consultation.

He said: "The key thing is that they need actually to ask people and to listen and not merely to tell people."


Using Allegations of Rape in a Grab for Power

Nine males were accused of being part of a heinous rape. The alleged injustice fomented a mob mentality. An enraged community wanted to skip any talk of a serious investigation, never mind a trial, and go straight to the punishment.

I’m not talking about the now-discredited allegations against fraternity members at the University of Virginia, but of the legendary case of the Scottsboro Boys, nine African-American teenagers falsely accused of rape in Alabama in 1931. Despite testimony from one of the women that she had made up the whole thing, the Scottsboro Boys were convicted in trial after trial. All served time either in jail or prison.

Scottsboro is a landmark case in the history of the civil rights movement and the American justice system. Sadly, it was hardly an outlier. There’s a long, tragic history of African-American men being wrongly accused and convicted of rape. The most notorious recent example is the 1989 case of the Central Park Five in which four African-American teens and one Latino were wrongly accused and convicted of brutally raping a white woman in New York.

Clearly, the injustices involved in these cases are far greater than what transpired at UVA. No one at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity faced the death penalty or went to jail. But the lessons learned and principles involved are timeless and universal; everyone deserves the presumption of innocence.

Apparently, Zerlina Maxwell disagrees. She writes in the Washington Post: “We should believe, as a matter of default, what an accuser says. Ultimately, the costs of wrongly disbelieving a survivor far outweigh the costs of calling someone a rapist.”

Let’s cut to the chase. Maybe I live in a cocoon of some kind, but it seems to me that as terrible and unjust as it surely can be, the stigma of having been raped is hardly as deleterious to one’s reputation as the stigma of being accused of being a rapist. I don’t think I know anyone who would discriminate against a rape victim. I’d like to think I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t discriminate against a rapist.

Back to Zerlina Maxwell. She is a lawyer openly advocating the defenestration of the bedrock of American law: the presumption of innocence. More amazing and sad, she’s not alone.

In the wake of revelations that Rolling Stone reported as fact an unsubstantiated story of institutionalized gang rape, many feminist activists have dug in, saying, in effect, the truth shouldn’t matter, or at least it shouldn’t matter very much – not when there’s a “rape epidemic” engulfing college campuses. I put the term in quotation marks because I believe this alleged epidemic is largely a deliberate political fabrication.

Obviously, rapes happen. But this “epidemic” would have to coincide with a decades-long decline in forcible rapes and a decades-long increase in public intolerance for sexual assault and harassment. Moreover, the primary evidence activists cite is a bogus statistic, based upon a Web survey of two universities.

So what’s going on here? Beyond the hysteria and legitimate concern, this is a power grab. It’s no coincidence that the Rolling Stone article spent a great deal of time advocating for the expansion of federal involvement in higher education via Title IX of the Civil Rights Act.

As chronicled by Jessica Gavora (my wife) in her book “Tilting the Playing Field,” feminist activists, with the aid of sympathetic journalists and allies in the judiciary and the federal bureaucracy, have used Title IX as a “far-reaching remedial tool,” in the words of the New York Times, to reorganize higher education to their ideological agenda.

They started with women’s sports, but the model remains the same: Interest groups foment outrage, then enlist sympathetic activist journalists who rely on the testimony of deeply invested “experts” while partisan politicians exploit the allegedly systemic problem to advance an ideological agenda and demonize opponents as sexist bigots or rape apologists.

The UVA story was the perfect – too perfect it turns out – outrage at the exact moment the Obama administration was pushing new Title IX regulations that would erode the presumption of innocence in rape cases on campus. There’s no reason to expect this fiasco will even slow that effort. So cheer up, Ms. Maxwell. You’re winning.


No, the rich don’t pay a ‘fair share’ of tax. They pay all of it

The Australian case.  You have to include what people get back from the government:

THE degree of ignorance about the distribution of tax across households is remarkable, especially given that the truth is so easily and freely accessible. For politicians perhaps it is wilful; the facts suit neither side.

The Left typically tries to create the impression the “rich” aren’t paying their “fair share”. Consider former treasurer Wayne Swan’s attacks on “mining billionaires” and welfare groups’ continual prattling about the financial benefit of concessional super taxation to high-income earners.

The Right, meanwhile, evokes the ordinary, “battling” taxpayer, whose hard-won earnings, so the argument goes, are siphoned off to pay for inefficient or ineffective government programs.

But the overwhelming bulk of people in Australia pay no net tax at all. High-income earners have become a giant pinata that the majority hit for extra money to pay for whatever new social spending programs the political class proposes to stay in office.

Our constitutional democracy, rather than safeguarding a set of inviolable tax rules applied under the rule of law, has become an elaborate mechanism for extracting resources from a small minority for the much larger majority. A crude summary might be “pay up or else”.

Only the top fifth of households ranked by their income - those with incomes of more than $200,000 a year in the financial year ending June 2012 - pay anything into the system net of the value of social security in cash and kind received, according to data from the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics survey of household income.

The distribution of personal income tax - the federal government’s biggest source of revenue, raising about 45 per cent of the total ($165 billion this year) - is far more progressive than headline marginal tax rates suggest. Including the 1.5 per cent Medicare levy, Australia’s income tax rates range from 19 per cent for every dollar of income above $18,200 to 46.5 per cent for every dollar above $180,000. Most taxpayers face a 34.5 per cent marginal rate.

But average income tax rates on households’ privately generated income (ordinarily wages and salaries, but dividends and rental income too) ranged from 1.5 per cent for the bottom fifth of households in 2012 to 22 per cent for the top fifth.

The 1.73 million households in the middle quintile paid an average tax rate of 12.3 per cent on average incomes of $88,900. But the ABS survey estimates these households received $31 a week in Age Pension payments, $13 in disability payments, $48 in child-related payments and $12 in unemployment benefits, along with a host of others that whittle their average net tax payments down to $84 a week.

This sort of analysis excludes the value of government benefits beyond cash: “free” schools, hospitals, public transport and the like, which the ABS estimated to be $413 a week for these middle-ranked households. Netting everything off shows even “average”, let alone lower-income, households got back $2.70 for every $1 they paid in tax. Households in the bottom quintile enjoyed benefits worth more than 320 times what they paid in tax compared with about 10 times for those in the second-lowest quintile.

Notwithstanding the enormous variation in the circumstances of individuals and households within each of these five buckets - for instance, childless, healthy workers will pay in much more than unemployed families with sick children - the disparities are as remarkable as they are little-known.

Factoring in payment of “regressive” taxes such as the GST and tobacco and alcohol excise doesn’t appear to alter the overall picture. Every six or so years the ABS painstakingly distributes the burden of these “taxes on production” across households, based on estimated consumption patterns.

In the financial year ending June 2010, what one might call “holistic average tax rates” (including indirect and direct taxes and net of social security in cash and kind) ranged from -64 per cent for the bottom quintile, to -22 per cent for median households and 13 per cent for the top fifth of households.

Put simply, only the top fifth of households paid any tax. The bottom 6.9 million households, while often incurring income tax liabilities and regularly paying GST, received more in cash welfare and services than they paid in.

The concentration of the tax burden on higher-income earners would be starker still if the many tens of thousands of senior local, state and federal public servants - whose salaries often exceed $200,000 a year - were considered a cost. One could argue that the taxes paid by workers whose jobs depend on taxing other workers are akin to a cash refund to everyone else, rather than an organic contribution.

It is absurd to claim the “rich” - assuming incomes rather than wealth are the defining criterion - aren’t paying their “fair share” of tax when they in fact pay all of it. Equally, to argue that the “average” worker is subsidising government folly is difficult given that their aggregate benefits exceed the tax they pay.

Without making any judgment about the merits or fairness of the status quo, the burden appears to be shifting further toward higher-income earners. Comparing the 2003-04 and 2009-10 financial years, holistic average tax rates fell on average 8.2 percentage points for the bottom three income quintiles, but only 4.6 per cent for the top two quintiles.

It is still difficult to explain why these rates fell because there are so many moving parts to the social security and income tax systems. Of course, lower tax rates do not imply that less tax is collected: the level and growth rates of income across income quintiles varies and a one-percentage-point drop in average tax rates for higher-income earners has far greater consequences for revenue than much bigger changes for others.

Separate data from the Australian Taxation Office confirm rising progressivity. Based on income tax returns from the 2010-11 financial year, the top 1 per cent of individual income earners - who in the 2010-11 tax year were those with taxable incomes of more than $281,800 a year - paid $23.55bn or 17.7 per cent of the total income tax haul, up from 17 per cent in 2009-10.

Meanwhile, the top 10 per cent of taxpayers - with taxable incomes of more than $105,500 - paid 46 per cent, up from 45.3 per cent a year earlier. The bottom third paid less than 5 per cent in both periods.

The highly and increasingly progressive nature of Australia’s tax burden is clear, but why?

First, income tax becomes more progressive every year without any deliberate change because of what economists call “fiscal drag”. Because the income tax thresholds are fixed in nominal terms and prices tend to rise, every year more taxpayers are pushed into ever-higher tax brackets and larger portions of their real incomes are taxed at higher rates.

Also, most people earn relatively little. While the ABS reports that average annual earnings for individuals were $74,000 a year last May, this figure doesn’t reflect typical circumstances because the “average” is an irrelevant socio-economic metric, increasingly undermined by rare but very large individual incomes. According to the 2011 census, the median household income, which is unaffected by outliers, was only $64,100.

Within advanced countries, the distribution of incomes has become more and more skewed since the 1980s, albeit less rapidly here than in the US and Britain. Economists debate vigorously whether this is because globalisation has boosted the financial returns to innovation, talent and skilled work, or whether the corporate (especially the finance) sector has become more skilled at extracting income at the expense of everyone else (”rent seeking”).

Regardless, burgeoning incomes at the top have given governments a lucrative and politically attractive revenue source. Both major political parties in Australia have been able to promise extra, vote-winning government spending that increasingly overwhelms growth in taxes paid by the vast bulk of the population.

The Labor government’s decision to lift the Medicare levy to 2 per cent from this July to partly pay for the forthcoming disability insurance scheme is a good recent example. For its part, the Coalition wants to impose a temporary “levy” on big companies’ profits (which will reduce dividend income flowing to upper-income earners) to pay for its paid parental leave scheme.

The massive disparity between gross and net payments of tax - 12.6 million people lodged income tax returns in 2010-11 - suggests “churn” is rampant and an immensely complex system is rife for rationalisation: we have more than 100 different taxes across three tiers of government interacting with a multitude of social security services in cash and kind.

The administrative costs of collecting taxes - especially income tax - are large, not to mention the damage they cause to enterprise and effort.

Cutting cash social security along with the first few marginal income tax rates, for instance, would create a more honest tax system and prompt a virtuous cycle of reducing welfare dependency, boosting employment to boot. By converting “in-kind” social security to cash, state governments could provide parents with a voucher to spend on schools administered in the private sector, would help to boost transparency.

Only a tiny share of the population were eligible for the very low rates of income tax that emerged in English-speaking countries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While the scope and size of governments have soared since then, the price of civilisation still, rightly, falls disproportionately on the richest.

The distribution of tax is not the problem but its growth as a share of national income is (along with undue focus on income rather than wealth as the determinant of someone’s capacity to pay).

Critics tend to argue that ever-greater taxes drive economic activity overseas and reduce the incentive to work, undermining growth. These are valid arguments but they do not answer the question of what is the most desirable “inequality-economic growth” trade-off.

No number of studies showing that rising tax rates stifle growth, however statistically persuasive, will match glib, emotional arguments that the “rich” can “afford” to pay, so we should make them. The moral case for fixed, reasonable taxesmay resonate more than the pure economic one. Arbitrary increases in taxes to pay for services the market can and should provide offend the rule of law and erode individual property rights.


Lying for the Cause

If myths do more for social "progress" than facts — then why worry?

By Victor Davis Hanson

Well aside from “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor,” or blanket amnesty that is and is not lawful for a president to grant, there is a special category of progressive mythology. Or rather a particular cast of “truth tellers,” victims, supposed whistle blowers, and popular liberal icons who spin tales for a supposedly higher good, on the premise that untruth for a cause makes it sort of true.

From the details of Rigoberta Menchú’s memoir, to Tawana Brawley’s supposed rape, to the O. J. “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” myth, to the open-and-shut case of the hate-crime crucifixion of Matthew Shepard by savage homophobes, to Dan Rather’s fake but accurate National Guard memo, to the Duke lacrosse team’s supposed racist raping, to Barack Obama’s autobiographic interludes with his girlfriend, to Scott Beauchamp’s “true” stories of American military atrocities in Iraq, to Lena Dunham’s purported right-wing sexual assaulter at Oberlin College (home of the 2013 epidemic of pseudo-racist graffiti), to the pack of University of Virginia fraternity rapists on the loose, to “Hands up, don’t shoot,” we have come to appreciate that facts and truth are not that important, if myths can better serve social progress or the careers of those on the correct side of history.

The new generation of progressive mythmaking has taken up where prior generations left off. In the old progressive mythology, Alger Hiss never passed on U.S. secrets. Instead, he was a tortured idealist, intent on preventing the descent of America into dangerous know-nothing McCarthyism. The Rosenbergs really did not spy for the Soviet Union — or if they did, it was to help a wartime ally with a similar anti-fascist agenda. JFK and RFK were gunned down by right-wing conspirators, fueled by a larger culture of reactionary hatred. Rigoberta Menchú wrote her own factual autobiography — or at least wanted to.
Why is there this overarching need to fabricate iconic race, class, gender, and political victims when Western capitalist society supposedly should offer enough pathologies without having to invent any? Many reasons come to mind.


One, 21st-century America is not quite the racial cauldron of the 1960s. It is not the 1930s Depression-era world of Steinbeck. And it is not the 1950s straitjacket of housewives all but jailed in tiny suburban boxes. In 2014, the enemy is too much food, not too little, as obesity, not malnutrition and a dearth of calories, is the far more deadly killer of the underclass. More women now graduate from college than do men. Looting an Apple Store or stealing Air Jordans is more common during rioting than carrying off sacks of rice and beans from Costco.

Having an Hispanic last name or being half-African-American is valuable enough in terms of college admission for a middle-class suburbanite to outweigh the dangers of institutionalized racism. Mayor de Blasio’s son, as an African-American male youth, is, in statistical terms, 30 times more likely to die at the hands of an African-American male youth than at the hands of a trigger-happy racist law-enforcement officer. In terms of homicide rates, whites usually murder other whites, as blacks murder other blacks. But in the latter case, 13 percent of the population accounts for over 50 percent of both U.S. murder victims and murder offenders.

A so-called Obamaphone has more computing and entertainment power than the billionaire’s laptop of 20 years ago. In such a diverse, wealthy, and leisured society, it is harder now to find Oliver Twists, Joads, and Nat Turners. With material and social advancement, however, comes not greater appreciation of positive progress, but even more anger at its perceived slow pace, in the march from the desire for equality of opportunity to the demand for government-sanctioned equality of outcome. To paraphrase Tocqueville, most would prefer to be equal and unfree than to be free and unequal. In such a landscape, the perception of relative inequality is a far greater catalyst for anger than the former reality of abject poverty. In other words, the victim status of the past is harder to obtain and thus requires far more creative and fictive methods. What does not exist with enough frequency can at least be invented.


Two, in the most reductionist sense, there is no downside to lying, if the lie is considered useful for a noble liberal cause. It was the Duke lacrosse players whose lives were ruined, not the professors who wrote public letters condemning them as likely racist rapists. We should expect that if there is something like a Duke baseball scandal at some future date, the same professors would write the same false indictments for the same reasons as they did in the lacrosse case — because there is no liability in weaving a particular sort of tale.

Al Sharpton did not have his business burned down in Ferguson, so why should he worry that he simply turns myths into catalysts for violence? I doubt whether the president of the University of Virginia will be censured for all but equating campus fraternities with endemic rape. It is not as if she said something of the sort that cost Larry Summers his job.

Lena Dunham will probably not be sued, or at least sued in any manner that would deter her from future feminist mythographies. Indeed, she could easily write a sequel at 40 with the same sort of made-up stereotyped conservative villains. Who is going to indict Dorian Johnson for offering false testimony about the death of Michael Brown, or dare tell the Black Caucus that their “Hands up, don’t shoot” theatrics were based on lies? Massaging helpful facts pays; demanding proof for fantasies does not. We live in an age where plagiarism — ask Fareed Zakaria or Doris Kearns Goodwin — is of two sorts: the traditional deliberate theft of someone else’s work for one’s own aggrandizement, and the “problematic” sort, when progressives overwhelmed with data as they strive to give voice to the liberal cause make an inadvertent slip.


Three, postmodernism, the bastard child of modernism, attacks the entire idea of objective truth. We supposedly live in a relativist world cloaked by the lie of objective truth. Facts are merely the authoritative narratives of the powerful, who craft them to protect their own privilege. An establishment rigs up “rules of evidence,” and in that way declares its own stories “true” because they serve the larger power purposes of the elite. We should not necessarily be bound by forensic evidence or videos, nor should we check sources or ask the accused their version of the story or check footnotes — or much of anything else other than ascertaining the degree of privilege associated with any particular narrative.
What does it matter if there were not really identifiable University of Virginia fraternity rapists, as Rolling Stone swore? Does anyone doubt that fraternities have treated women poorly in the past? That is the real “truth,” which merely needs a particular “vehicle” to give it currency. Reactionaries call such narratives “fake,” but they are in fact “accurate” in suggesting scenarios of oppression that can in fact happen.

So “truth” is what is deemed socially useful. After the Rolling Stone essay, perhaps frat boys might not be so cavalier about their sexism in the future. The fact that Dan Rather fell for a fake memo is immaterial. If his purpose was to get a regressive like George W. Bush out of the White House, then the means necessary to do that are irrelevant. Maybe Michael Brown did not have his hands up in a gesture of surrender, or then again maybe he did. But who is to rule out that he could have had them up and that the cause of young black males can benefit from assuming that he did? Grand juries worry about irrelevancies like whether bullets hit Brown from the front or the back or whether a particular store owner caught him on tape supposedly stealing; the people, in contrast, deal with the greater “truth” that there are millions of Michael Browns who are victimized by a racist white police architecture.


Four, liberal lies are cheap. They by intent turn attention to easy icons rather than the more difficult and complex paradoxes of the human condition that defy easy sloganeering or cookie-cutter big-government solutions. By iconizing Michael Brown or Trayvon Martin, the black political elite avoids the intractable problem of the violent death of over 6,000 black youths per year, the vast majority killed by other blacks. Blaming stereotyped white racist cops for less than 200 deaths per year serves as an exculpatory salve for not having a clue how to stop the near-genocidal shooting of inner-city young black males. Rich white kids march and scream at police barricades about law enforcement’s supposed racism, but they do not march into the inner city to protest the mass killings of young blacks, or for that matter go into the inner city much at all. What could they do or say, within their own political world views, to help prevent the epidemic of violent death unleashed on young black males?

Al Sharpton can get rich shaking down the establishment with the always implied message that the alternative to his own de facto protection racket is burning stores in Ferguson. Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan have no clue how to restore the black family, create an urban entrepreneurial class, or reduce black illegitimacy and crime rates to the levels of other minority groups. In exasperation, it is simply far easier — and more lucrative — to scream about an impending race war or suggest the grand jury is little more than a Jim Crow–era lynch mob.

The same goes for members of the Obama administration. Eric Holder apparently surmises that if he goes after a local police department, he does not have to investigate the conditions under which Michael Brown thinks he has a right to strongarm a store, slug a policeman, or walk down the center of a highway while under the influence. If Holder went to St. Louis to investigate a spate of hate crimes against Bosnian immigrants, or to learn why youths of color are far more likely to commit than to suffer from interracial crime, he would face existential challenges. Not so if he flies in, cites police racism, and flies out. That gesture becomes penance for an impotence in dealing with the foundational causes of the black underclass — from inordinately high rates of unemployment and incarceration to dismally low rates of graduation and legitimacy.

For these reasons and more, either liberal mythography is not seen as lying, or it is at least more advantageous and more lucrative than the truth. And so we will see more of it.



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

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

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


11 December, 2014

Atheist Coffee and Feminist Envy

This post is originally by past-version John Wright of 2011. But see my note below.

“I would love to see your thoughts on the current dust-up the Atheist community is having (right now) over coffee.”

For those of you who have not heard of this case, the fact pattern is this:

The young lady in question objected to a man attempting to court her according to what the modern world holds as a perfectly acceptable method of courting: after talking with her until four in the morning at a bar, he asked her to go up to his room for a cup of coffee. She objected, not that his attentions were unflattering or ill timed, but that he was sexually attracted to her at all. In other words, it is the fact that mother nature made her female that the young lady find appalling. With the utter inability to restrict her comments to proportionality (or sanity) typical of the Left, she likened the awkward proposition to rape.

Richard Dawkins, in the scathing fashion typical of the Internet, left a message on her blog mocking her for complaining about what was at most an imposition on courtesy, hardly an act of oppression or male dominion.

Need anything be said? It is one of the few times I agree with Richard Dawkins, who otherwise is a disgrace to the cause of Atheism I once served. He is right to hold the belligerence of the feminista up to mockery, and to contrast it with the real oppression of women by the Mohammedans

If the young lady were sane, or sincere, or in other words not a Leftist, she would be agitating for the return of Victorian standards of modesty, such that men and women would have a set of unwritten rules, known to both beforehand, as guidelines for when a young lady can be courted, and by what means, and when not.

You see, the idea of leaving the rules up to the individuals to agree upon each man for himself contains an absurdity: you cannot court a woman, or even ask her to dance, if you are already in a relationship with her and know her well enough to negotiate your own rules. The rules of courtship are rules on how to approach a woman who is a partial or a total stranger. Strangers can only be bound by unwritten rules that bind the whole society, with few or no exceptions.

And, of course, the hypocrisy of a woman who has been out drinking until 4.00, without an escort, suddenly wanting the protect of Victorian rules of modesty, but without being willing to pay the price demanded, i.e. to act modestly, is rank. If you are in a bar without an escort, and you are young and female, expect to be hit on. You and yours helped make this society exactly what it is: you cannot expect men to act like gentlemen when every single damn word out of your collective mouth for the past three generations has been a denunciation, a mockery, an insult, and a discouragement to gentlemanly behaviors.

In morals as in economics, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Do you regard modesty and chastity to be mere patriarchal restrictions and oppression, O ye ladies of the Left? Then utter no complaint when immodesty and unchastity of yourself and your sisters is answered by immodesty and unchastity by your menfolk.

That all parties involved are atheists makes the situation deliciously ridiculous. So, you think you can create a rational set of moral and ethical guidelines to guide human behavior, based merely on human reason and human appetites? Go ahead.

Behold the result: once group of morality-hating zealot screaming in holier-than-thou perfection of hot temper at another group of morality-hating holier-than-thou zealots. The cool reasoning powers that atheists praise seems not much in evidence.

Current John Wright (AD 2014) makes his comment below:

I am recycling the above post so that the following proportion might exist in the reader’s mind:

As the young atheist lady’s outrage is to the young geek swain’s comment that provoked it, so is the outrage of the White Liberal segment of the Black Community over the cop in Ferguson who shot a huge, strong, violent and dangerous robber while the robber was charging him is to the event that provoked it.

In the same proportion is the outrage of the feminists over the designs on the shirt of a space scientist to the actual degree of degradation such a shirt would impose on the female half of the race, if women still adhered to Christian standards of modesty, rather than, say performing simulated acts of anal sex with crucifixes in front of the Pope in order to protest something or other.

In the inverse proportion is the outrage, or rather, lack of it, expressed in public over the rapes, stonings, honor killings, female genital mutilation, and dress code imposed by Shariah Law.

Now, please notice what is going on and what is at stake. In cases where there is real racism, such as, for example, the expressed desire of the Muslim world to wipe Israel off the map, the Left is deliberately silent, except when they break out with enthusiastic aid and applause for the Muslim ambition. In cases where there is real misogyny, rape, and abuse of women, the Left is deliberately silent, except when they break out with enthusiastic aid and applause for the Muslim ambition.

In cases where either (1) there is nothing even remotely offensive to any woman, not even accepting the fact pattern as stipulated by the screaming ninny girl as totally accurate and true or (2) there is something which might be mildly offensive to a Christian lady of good taste and refined upbringing, but the feminists who both dress as vaginas and put on plays where vaginas talk, are estopped from voicing any complaint against a lack of chivalry in gentlemanly behavior in their menfolk on the grounds that they themselves are the foremost perpetrators of the degradation of Christian standards of chivalry in men and modesty in women, which they reject utterly and entirely and thoroughly.

So: in these cases and countless others, not only is the outrage, which is absolute and infinite, disproportionate to the offense, which is either microscopic or nonexistent, the reverse is also true: namely, when real offenses arise where real people are really hurt, killed, enslaved, maimed or abused, the Left either holds their tongue with a silence that betrays their true intent, or they voice sympathy and solidarity with the perpetrators of the atrocities.

There is a consistent pattern here. It is not random. If the Left were stupid or insane, they would sometimes, by sheer statistical random chance, sometimes voice real outrage over a real injustice, or dismiss as unreal a complaint that actually was, for once, unreal. But they are always silent over real outrages and injustices, except when (“Little Eichmanns”) they applaud them, and always outraged over imaginary outrages.

The only way to get a nearly perfect score of absolute unreality and absolute injustice in each and every stance voiced by countless people over countless years is if three things are true:
1. They all share, openly or tacitly, the same assumption
2. That assumption influences, informs, or controls each and every stance
3. That assumption, either directly or indirectly, substitutes justice for injustice in their thinking, reality for unreality.

If this were true, then the Left would have for unreality the same longing, adoration, loyalty, and hunger for truth which philosophers, scientists, reporters, engineers, and all men of good will by rights should have, and the same longing, adoration, loyalty, and hunger for justice which both victims and those lawmen and law-abiding citizen eager to avenge them by rights should have.

I submit that the one assumption all Leftists share in order to be Leftists is that life is unfair, and the unfairness is manmade, springing from the laws and customs, institutions and habits of mankind, which exploited a unsuccessful victim to the benefit of the successful victor; ergo any man, church or nation who is successful won its success under the crooked rules and corrupt practices of these same unfair laws and practices; ergo the successful are in the wrong, and the more successful they are, the more wrong; ergo again the only way their victims can be made right is for the successful to give away the ill-gotten fruits of success to the victims, and the laws and practices of man shall and must change to prevent the unfairness from happening again.

That assumption controls their every stance. For the Marxist, the assumption is that wealthy classes or nations prosper due to an unfair set of laws and practices, namely, the institution of private property, which victimizes the impoverished class or impoverished nation for the benefit of the successful. For the feminist, the assumption is that men prosper at the expense of women, due to the unfair institution of marriage and romance, and the subtle influence of grammar and tee-shirts, and the ever present threat of rape; for the race-hustler, the assumption is that Caucasians prosper due to racism and exploitation of lesser races, due to the freedom of association and freedom of hiring practices, which must be abolished and replaced with quota systems.

Now, in any case where the successful are successful not for the reasons claimed by the Left, that is, the success is due to merit, their remedies of abolishing freedom, abolish marriage, and abolishing private property are counterproductive to the stated goal. Race-hustling and quotas create more friction between the races and less success for the unsuccessful; abolishing romance and marriage removed the traditional protections women enjoyed against cads and cuckoos who leave their eggs for other men to raise, or Uncle Sam; abolishing private property abolishes even the possibility of success for anyone except the Nomenklatura and other pirates, monsters, and wild beasts.

Please note that if there were cases where the successful were actually ‘the exploiters’ as the Left describes, let us say, the Stalinists in Russia or the Muslim slavers abducting nubile Christian girls in Africa, it is the Rightwing Americans and the Christian gentlemen of the Western World who take the steps needed to abolish the evil laws and practices which allow for the injustice to continue, as when, for example, the Republicans fought the Civil War at disastrous and heartbreaking costs to free the slaves from their Democrat masters, only to receive feckless ingratitude in return (which is, sadly, how it must be, whenever true evil is abolished).

In all such cases, the Left have nothing to do. The problem is either in battle and being fought by the Right, or is already solved by the Right, or the Left are fighting and screaming the throwing hysterical fits to prevent the problem from being solved, on the grounds that the Stalinists or Oil Sheiks are in the ‘oppressed victim’ category.

Even if they had something to do, they could not do it. If they could fight a real injustice, then they would be heroes, and that would put them in the category of the successful. But, then, by their primary and axiomatic assumption, anyone who is successful is a cheat and an exploiter and a villain. So they cannot fight any real injustices.

That leaves only the imaginary injustices, things that cannot be solved because they are not problems to begin with. You cannot change something that does not exist. You cannot abolish the institutional racism in modern America because there is none. You cannot halt the conspiracy of men to keep womenfolk from studying science and math because there is no conspiracy: whether women could perform at the same average level as men or not is not an issue here. The conspiracy is an article of faith the Leftists MUST believe, because the alternative, the fact that women by their nature will not or cannot perform in the field at the same average level, is a possibility that leads to the conclusion that the institutions are not corrupt, but fair.

But if the institutions are not corrupt, and life is fair, then the failure and low station of the Leftist is deserved and merited and earned. He is poorer than his neighbor because his neighbor works harder. He is dumber than his neighbor because he lost out on the Darwinian crapshoot when it came to genes, or perhaps the stars frowned on him in the hour he was born. Who cares what the answer is?

Any answer that does not blame THE ESTABLISHMENT is equally unpalatable and unacceptable to the Leftist, because it directly contradicts the one assumption he must make in order to be a Leftist.

Any man who does not blame his fellow man for the injustices of nature is not a Leftist. He lacks the proper level of resentment to qualify.

Leftism is politicized envy.

You see, the Left are losers. They are stupid people who want to be thought smart; people with no taste who want to be thought cultured and artistic; selfish cowards who want the palm leaf of martyrdom and the gold medal of heroism; but who, in no case, can actually perform.


Foolish male vanity

Australian Weetbix above. Known as Weetabix in UK, Canada and the USA

A girlfriend recently asked a waiter at a beachside cafe "what is your most delicious cake?" to which the waiter replied, absolutely straight-faced: "I don't know. I don't eat cake. Or bread. Or dairy. I train".

What he was training for save looking fabulous was not immediately evident but my friend said he was very symmetrical and neat, one of the growing cohort of exquisitely muscled, depilated young men who, a generation ago, may have been mistaken for homosexual porn stars.

Nowadays, I'm told the "aesthetic revolution" in fitness is all about getting "shredded" so other men are "jelly" (jealous) and the ladies be "mirin" (admiring).

While I'm sure these gentlemen have suitably impressive nicknames for themselves within their sub-culture, a younger female friend told me she and her gal pals call these beautiful creatures "crispy Weetbix" because they are yet to lose their shape in the warm milk of daily life.

"I know it's because of my insecurity that I'm too chubby for crispy guys, but I like my Weetbix soggy," she says.

"Sogs" are thus men with normal bodies, sporting a hint of paunch, the cuddly suggestion of a spare tyre. Blokes can be "semi-soggy" or "super-soggy", yet they all have one thing in common - their most attractive feature is not their body.

Another lady, who calls herself "The Sog Slayer" because of her success with these mishapen mortals, says there is an irony in so many Aussie men being obsessed with perfecting their bodies. Ostensibly it would seem to be to attract women, yet their dedication to their appearance actually scares off regular girls, themselves less than perfect and, perhaps, intimidated by men who spend more time in front of the mirror than they do.

These are women under the age of 30, who grew up as involuntary disciples in the global cult of youth and beauty. Systemic vanity has seemingly conjured a search for the genuine; "the gold on the inside" is their primary concern, rather than it being a checkbox down their list or something they hope might reveal itself months into a relationship.

"If the eyes are the windows to the soul," says the Sog Slayer, "etched abdominals are the doorway to years of boring conversation. If someone is so concentrated on their body, it makes you wonder how much they have left for bigger questions or their partner for that matter."

Some of us, she says, are not so much attracted to a man's body but the relationship he has with his body.

A third young woman, working in Sydney on a tourist visa, also recently bemoaned the dearth of "normal" men in her locale. When I questioned how this could be, one of the aforementioned "crispies" walked into her fish shop, bare chested, looking like he'd stepped off a niteclub podium in his hot pink, short shorts.

He frowned and sighed, absentmindedly cupping his gorgeously hewn pectorals and biceps as he sipped a protein shake and discounted each menu item as unsatisfactory.

Then he left, none the wiser about the attractive, single, French woman who'd been observing what she later described as his "hands of self-interest".

"Do you know what Weetbix are?" I asked her.


Catholic Bishops: Obama's 'Gender Identity' Regulation 'Serious Threat to Freedom of Conscience'

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) condemned new regulations to implement President Obama’s July 21 executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating "on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

These regulations were put in place by the Department of Labor last week in an update “to add gender identity and sexual orientation to the classes it protects” against discrimination.

"This rule will extend protections to millions of workers who are employed by or seek jobs with federal contractors and subcontractors, ensuring that sexual orientation and gender identity are never used as justification for workplace discrimination by those that profit from taxpayer dollars," said Patricia A. Shiu, director of the department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

However the bishops called these regulations “a serious threat to freedom of conscience and religious liberty.”

“Additionally, the regulations advance the false ideology of ‘gender identity,’ which ignores biological reality and harms the privacy and associational rights of both contractors and their employees,” the bishops noted.

“Our Church teaches that '[e]very sign of unjust discrimination' against those who experience same-sex attraction 'should be avoided' (Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC 2358)--but it appears on an initial reading that these regulations would prohibit far more than that ‘unjust discrimination,’” the bishops said in a statement on Friday.

“In particular, they appear also to prohibit employers’ religious and moral disapproval of same-sex sexual conduct, which creates a serious threat to freedom of conscience and religious liberty,” the bishops explain.

They point out that the regulations conflict with Church teaching against the approval of same-sex sexual conduct, quoting the Catechism, which says that “[u]nder no circumstances” may Catholics approve of such conduct (CCC 2357).”

The bishops also note that “very many other people over a broad spectrum of different religious faiths hold this same conviction.”

“In justice, the Administration should not exclude contractors from federal contracting simply because they have religious or moral convictions about human sexuality and sexual conduct that differ from the views of the current governmental authorities,” the bishops conclude.

Four USCCB committee chairmen signed the statement: Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty; Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, chairman of the Committee of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth; and Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

Earlier this year, Bishop Lori and Bishop Malone issued a statement saying that the July 21st executive order was "unprecedented and extreme" and in effect "implements discrimination."


The Australian Left loves Islam too

Socialist President of France, Francois Hollande claimed recently that, “Islam is perfectly compatible with the values of France". Labor Leader in Australia, Bill Shorten claimed recently that, “Labor stands shoulder to shoulder with Australia’s Islamic community”.

As ISIS prepares to publicly behead another Westerner, Shorten went on to say in an open letter to Islamic leaders, “ISIS has no right to use the name of Islam”.

He continued, “The Islamic story in Australia has a rich history and grows stronger each year. Australia’s Muslim community continues to do our nation a great service by fostering enduring cultural and religious harmony.

“Australian multiculturalism”, said Shorten, “is a story of cultural enrichment, social cohesion [!!!!] and economic growth and it is a story that the Labor Party is committed to and will always defend.

“Labor will continue to work with you to stop misinformation, bigotry and prejudice directed at the Australian Islamic community.”

France, which has had an enduring love affair with Socialism and a history of flirting with Communism, is now suffering under violent Islamic oppression and is increasingly reliant on vigilante groups to protect French nationals.

Swathes of major cities are under Shariah Law where no gendarme dares go as five million Muslims declare whole electorates as caliphates.

Hollande grabbed a surveyed 95% of Muslim votes in 2012 but has since sunk to his lowest popularity rating yet in the wake of his lack of support for Hamas in Gaza, his attempts to protect French Jews from Islamic gangs intent on murdering them, a burkah ban and some serious legislation against the more outrageous of Islamic excesses.

A serious lesson lies ahead for Shorten: “If you decide to support Islam, don’t ever turn your back on it.”

Shorten has ignored an evil Islamic agenda in his grovelling rush to gain its electoral support with stupid statements like, “ISIS has no right to use the name of Islam”. Muslims don’t really want to hear that Bill because, unlike you, they understand that ISIS is a proponent of, and is symbolic of, the purest form of Islam... the original hadith of Shariah law that every good Muslim aspires to... Wahhabism!

And Abbott’s pathetic attempt to substitute its correct name of the “Islamic State” with the “Death Cult” doesn’t alter its vile agenda one iota.

If what Bill Shorten says is true, where are the protesting “moderate” Muslims, where are the placards denouncing ISIS atrocities, where are the signs saying, “ISIS is not Us”, “Stop beheading innocent aid workers”, “Stop raping women and children”, “Stop the massacres”?

Nup, not one placard to be seen.

Perhaps Muslims are shy people, averse to overt political activism? Not really, because there are plenty of signs saying, “Behead all those who insult Islam”, “The Caliphate is coming”, “Democracy is evil” and “Islam will dominate the World”.

And where are Bill’s army of Labor feminists? Why haven’t they asked Muslim women to join them in marching with signs saying, “Stop female sexual disfigurement”, “Stop the paedophilia”, “Stop honour killings”, "Bigamy is illegal”, “Burkahs debase us”?

Nup, don’t see any of those placards around either.

What the world sees now from ISIS is the very essence of Islam and no Muslim will deny it without invoking the law of takiyya which legally condones the act lying if it furthers the cause of Islam.

The ISIS atrocities are the exact same atrocities committed in every single war in history, the only difference is that these atrocities are graphically documented and uploaded to Youtube to excite everyone everywhere to, “come join us”, and they do. But only Muslims do.

It’s amazing what is ignored by both sides of politics when it comes to an electoral advantage.

Pandering to, placating or appeasing Islam is a sign of weakness it welcomes.

Rather than politely ask serpents not to inject their lethal poison into you, you must either release them to where they can do no harm or sever their heads.

...and their heads are always found in mosques, on Fridays.



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

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

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


10 December, 2014

A third of UK children don't know Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, says survey

A third of children in the UK aged between ten and 13 do not know that Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, according to a survey.

What’s more, half the population considers Jesus’s birth irrelevant to their festive celebrations, while only one adult in ten can correctly state four facts about the Nativity.

Critics claim the research shows schools are becoming too politically correct and are not putting on Nativity plays for fear of offending people of different religions.

Francis Goodwin, of campaign group Christmas Starts With Christ, which commissioned the survey, said: ‘Britain is fast becoming one of the world’s most secular countries.

As nations get richer, they think they no longer need God and may only come back to him in a crisis.’  He added: ‘There is a problem with political correctness in schools. They think they should not focus on the Christian roots of Christmas because of inclusivity.  'But it is misguided. People of other faiths are not offended.

'In a multi-faith, inclusive society, children can learn about the Muslim festival Eid, for example, as well as Christmas.’


Black thugs make cops stop good blacks

Why do police officers stop innocent black men? Reputedly racist "killer cops" get all the blame for such confrontations. But black hoodlums are at least partially responsible for casting suspicion on black men who merely resemble those wanted in police manhunts.

Some of America's roughly 627,000 uniformed officers practice racial profiling and others may be black-hating bigots. Until mankind becomes perfect, the imperfection of prejudice will infect cops - as well as grocers, pilots, and, yes, even journalists.

Some cops stop black men who break the law. Former Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson might have instructed Michael Brown to stop walking in the street and then moved on. Unfortunately for Brown, a police dispatcher told officers to find "a black male . . . He's got a red Cardinals hat, white T-shirt, yellow socks, and khaki shorts." That suspect also carried stolen cigars. Wilson noticed that Brown matched that description. Moments earlier, in fact, Brown had robbed cigars from a convenience store and manhandled its clerk. So, Wilson stopped Brown. The rest is history.

Too often, though, cops stop good black men because bad ones place targets on their backs.

In his searing book Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed, the Wall Street Journal editorialist Jason L. Riley recalls driving home through Washington, D.C., after working late at USA Today back in 1993. "I was sitting at a red light when no fewer than four squad cars converged on me, lights flashing and sirens screaming." Gun-wielding cops rousted Riley from his Volkswagen, threw him on the ground, handcuffed him, and then searched his car.

"When the police were finished," Riley explains, "I was told that I fit the description of someone they were after, something about me having New York license plates and problems with gunrunners from up north." If those blacks had not run guns, Riley almost certainly would have reached home without incident.

Just last August, Beverly Hills cops stopped film producer Charles Belk before an Emmy Awards pre-party. They cuffed him, sat him on a sidewalk, and detained him for six hours. "I was on the brink of tears," Belk told NBC News.

Too bad for Belk, another black man allegedly was an accomplice of Brianna Clemons Kloutse, a black woman now charged with robbing nine banks - including a Citibank branch near Belk's arrest scene. Police said that Belk "matched the physical characteristics of the second suspect and was in the area of the bank shortly after the robbery."

If that black suspect had not knocked over banks, Belk almost surely would have celebrated the Emmys without distraction.

Black criminals even help harmless black men get killed.

On February 4, 1999, four undercover NYPD officers encountered a young, unarmed black man. In the confusion on a dark Bronx street, they shot him 19 times. Tragically, the late Amadou Diallo mirrored the police sketch of Isaac Jones, who lived a mile away and was sought by the cops who killed Diallo. That April, the so-called Bronx Rapist was arrested and charged with robbing and raping 29 women. His victims were primarily black and Hispanic females between the ages of 13 and 53, according to the New York Daily News. In August 2000, after sentencing Jones to 155 years in prison, Judge Joseph Fisch asked him: "Would Amadou Diallo be alive today if it were not for your activities here in the Bronx?"

"If you get pulled over for . . . Driving While Black, don't be mad at the cop," a young black man named Frederick Wilson II advises in a compelling video. "Be mad at the brothers who came before you who gave the reputation to the black man, so that a cop says, ‘Hey, look. There's a car full of brothers. They're probably up to no good.'"

"This is much less of a race issue than is widely reported in the media," City University of Seattle criminal-justice professor Vincenzo A. Sainato tells me. "For example, a significant majority of cops going through the New York police academy these days are black or Hispanic. While there are a lot of white cops, there are a lot of non-whites, too. Unequivocally, most negative interactions, especially in urban areas, between cops and citizens involve blacks, but that is because they are disproportionately the ones reported by victims as the offenders."

Yes, bad cops should be punished. Good cops should be promoted. And every officer should strive to serve even better. In that connection, body cameras look like a promising, high-tech way to bring sunshine to this entire sphere.

But those who have been screaming, rioting, and looting since the shooting in Ferguson should aim at least a smidgen of their rage at the black thugs who make cops stop good blacks.


EEOC Has Become the Problem, Not the Solution

One of President Ronald Reagan’s most famous quips was that the nine most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

It is indeed sad that America today is plagued, indeed threatened, by the very institution it invented to protect its own citizens. Government.

And there’s no better example of today’s distortions of what government is supposed to be about than the EEOC – The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The EEOC was established in the wave of idealism of the 1960s as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The agency was set up to enforce federal laws established to protect against discrimination in the workplace.

What’s discrimination? It started out to be discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, and genetic information.

In 2011 the EEOC included “sex stereotyping” of lesbian, gay, and bi-sexual individuals as a form of sex discrimination. In 2012, the definition of discrimination warranting protection was again expanded to include transgender status and gender identity.

Once we decide that right and wrong is a political problem rather than a religious/moral problem, our lives get turned over to politicians and bureaucrats who, with great relish and enthusiasm, exercise their power to control us and define right, wrong, and justice for us.

Two Obama nominees for the EEOC were just confirmed by the US Senate and both, warriors for the LGTB cause, are getting their due celebration from groups that support this agenda.

It’s worth recalling again the case of Crystal Dixon, a Christian black woman, who, in 2008, in the midst of a successful career at the University of Toledo, was fired from her job as Associate Vice President for Human Resources because of a politically incorrect op-ed piece she wrote, as a private citizen, in the local newspaper.

Dixon’s op-ed, published in the Toledo Free Press, challenged an earlier op-ed which equated the movement for gay rights to the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. Dixon’s op-ed included the fatal phrase “….I take great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are civil rights victims.”

Dixon was shown the door, informed that her career at the University of Toledo was over.

Moral relativism does not neutralize the moral marketplace. It replaces one set of values with another.

As Christians are forced to hide in the shadows of today’s America, it is clear which set of values now define the day.

Absurdities abound as we increasingly relinquish our lives, and our freedom, to Washington political power brokers.

Honeywell Corporation is now being sued by the EEOC because the firm insists that employees covered by the firm’s health insurance plan take a health survey as part of the corporate wellness program. According to the EEOC, requiring the survey, and penalizing those who don’t take it, violates the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

Maybe, as Americans enter this Advent season, approaching Christmas, we all should dedicate special thought time this year to what it means to be free and to live in a free country.

Perhaps a useful point of focus might be on the most famous antidiscrimination employment act in American history – the breaking of the racial barrier in major league baseball.

It didn’t happen because of a government dictate. It happened because of the free choice and courage of two deeply Christian men – Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson.

Maybe Christmas season 2015 will be the year Americans re-find their way and realize that a country controlled by politicians cannot be a country that is free.

The great invention of the American founders, becoming so lost today, was the idea that government protects its citizens so they can take personal responsibility for their own lives and make those moral choices.


Germans take to the streets to protest against 'Islamisation'

A new type of anti-immigration protest is sweeping across Germany, as thousands take to the streets against what they say is the growing “Islamisation” of the country.

The new protests, which began in the city of Dresden in the former East Germany, feature no neo-Nazi slogans and have nothing to do with the traditional far right.

Instead the demonstrators have adopted the old rallying call of the protests against the East German communist regime that brought down the Berlin Wall 25 years ago, “Wir sind das Volk”, or “We are the people”. They say they want to preserve Germany’s Judeo-Christian Western culture.

The protests come as Bavaria’s ruling Christian Social Union (CSU) is seeking to distance itself from a draft proposal for its party conference which said that immigrants should speak German not only in public, but at home as well.

Germany is now the second most popular destination in the world for migrants, after the US, and the country is struggling to cope with an unprecedented influx of asylum-seekers.

While Angela Merkel’s government has made clear it will block any attempt by David Cameron to curtail freedom of movement within the EU, the German debate over immigration has focused on those coming from outside the bloc, and on Muslims in particular.

Thousands have defied sub-zero temperatures to join weekly marches each Monday in Dresden under the banner of Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of Europe, or Pegida.

The protests were started by a local man, Lutz Bachmann, with no background in politics. When he called his first demonstration in October, only a few hundred turned up, but the movement has snowballed, and last week 7,500 came.

Pegida has inspired similar movements across Germany. Though the numbers have not been as high as in Dresden so far, marches have been called in cities from Düsseldorf to Munich.

Demonstrations against Muslim immigration in Cologne earlier this year turned violent, but unlike the far-right groups and self-proclaimed “hooligans” behind those protests, Pegida insists its movement is peaceful.

It has run into opposition, though: last week a counter-demonstration by around 1,000 people succeeded in blocking Pegida’s way through Dresden, and in the city of Kassel, counter-demonstrators actually outnumbered those who marched against immigrants.

Critics contend that known neo-Nazis have infiltrated the protests, while Mr Bachmann, who has called for “zero tolerance for criminal immigrants”, was forced to acknowledge he “has a past”, after a local newspaper reported he has a lengthy criminal record of his own, including convictions for burglary and drug-dealing.

He has been at pains to stress that he is not opposed to genuine political refugees, only to economic migrants who “take advantage” of the German system, and has no problem with Islam but is worried about erosion of German culture.

Concerns for the German culture plunged Bavaria’s ruling CSU into its own controversy, after a draft proposal for the opening motion at the party conference called for immigrants to speak German at home.

“Whoever wants to live here permanently should be encouraged to speak German in public and within the family,” the draft said.

After a storm of criticism, including the Twitter hashtag YallaCSU, Arabic for “Let’s go, CSU”, and questions over how such a policy could possibly be enforced, Andreas Scheuer, the party’s general secretary, sought to limit the damage.

The proposal was only ever intended as “encouragement”, he said. “Obligation, nannying or control are out of the question.”



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

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

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


9 December, 2014

Proud British soldiers are told not to wear their uniforms in public: Move to foil Woolwich repeat denounced as 'victory for terror'

British soldiers have been warned not to wear their uniform outside barracks amid fears of a Woolwich copycat attack. They have also been told not to let strangers know that they are serving in the British Army.

Whitehall officials are understood to have noticed increased ‘chatter’ among jihadists wanting to carry out a beheading or other high-profile attack on a serving soldier.

Fanatics have been carrying out internet searches for the location of army barracks across the country to identify targets, the Mail has learnt.  The threat level for the armed forces has been raised from ‘substantial’ to ‘severe’, meaning a terrorist attack on military personnel is highly likely.

But commanders have told soldiers to act as if the threat is ‘critical’ – the highest level of terrorism alert – and to be ready for an imminent attack.

Politicians said military personnel should not be forced to ‘hide away’ by not wearing their uniform proudly in public.  Labour MP John Woodcock said: ‘Our military personnel will understandably follow the immediate safety advice they are given but ministers must understand people want our brave troops to be loud and proud in their communities, not being forced to hide away.

‘It would be a stomach-churning victory for the terrorists if their cowardly attacks resulted in a permanent ban on our servicemen and women displaying their uniforms in public.’

Soldiers were warned it is ‘highly likely’ that terrorist groups will use the internet – and social media sites such as Facebook – to choose targets because of the ‘wealth of personal information available’.

One unit was even briefed by a commander that the internal threat had not been officially declared ‘critical’ for fear of panicking the public.  Raising it to that level would mean intelligence had emerged that a threat was imminent.

A military source told the Mail: ‘They are worried another Woolwich-style attack is imminent.  ‘The security services are terrified that soldiers are going to be targeted so soldiers have been warned not to wear their uniform outside military bases.

'We have been told it could be imminently stepped up to “critical”.’

A series of terror plots have been foiled by Scotland Yard and MI5 amid a marked increase in the number of threats from extremists over the past year.

Security chiefs have warned that a terrorist attack on British soil, linked to extremism, is ‘almost inevitable’ in the coming months.

The Ministry of Defence said there had been no central order but that individual units may have issued their own guidance. 


Like a slice of Rudolph for Christmas lunch? Animal rights campaigners are furious at supermarket chain for stocking reindeer meat

Normally, they are to be found pulling Santa’s sleigh over roof-tops to the delight of countless children. But this festive season, reindeer can be found in a much more mundane location — stacked in packs in the deli aisle of a budget High Street supermarket.

For Lidl, whose dramatic price-discounting has lured shoppers away from its rivals, is selling smoked reindeer meat this year among its Christmas delicacies. The packs are part of the German-owned chain’s ‘Deluxe’ range.

But are we British — brought up on stories of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer — too sentimental to want a slice of Dasher, Dancer or Prancer with our Christmas lunch? And in any case, what does it taste like?

According to Lidl bosses, ‘reindeer resembles antelope in flavour and texture.’ But since most Britons will never have tasted antelope, this isn’t the most useful recommendation.

So I decided to test it for myself and found some of this ‘tender and flavoursome’ Scandinavian delicacy sitting in the chiller cabinet in Lidl’s store in Wood Green, North London, alongside other cured meats.

It comes from a company in Finland, with the meat originally from Russia. The animals are not kept in farms but are herded in the wild. Not surprisingly, the company that produces the meat has been accused by animal welfare groups of delivering ‘sick novelty for profit’ and making a mockery of the festive season.

Justin Kerswell, of the animal welfare and vegetarian group Viva!, is also concerned that wild predators of reindeer, such as wolves and bears, are shot to protect supplies for retailers.

He says: ‘What Lidl aren’t telling their customers is that to put reindeer meat on British shelves, other large wild animals are systematically hunted or trapped and shot.’

Lidl denies this claim.  A spokesman says the animals are slaughtered under EU guidelines and meet the firm’s ‘high standards of food safety, hygiene and animal welfare’.

She adds: ‘The smoked reindeer that we sell is from the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region in Siberia. The reindeers pasture freely in the tundra year around, changing location on almost a weekly basis.’

In that area of Siberia, reindeer are vital to the livelihoods of tens of thousands of indigenous herders in Russia’s ‘High Latitudes’, where temperatures can drop to minus 50c.

The animals are used for meat, for skins to make clothes and tents, and to tow sledges.  According to the Russians, reindeer meat is ‘ecologically clean’.

Certainly, it is exceptionally lean — comparing favourably with fish for its high levels of health-boosting chemicals, such as omega-3 fatty acids, which protect against breast cancer and heart disease. Im a paper published last year, Ammar Eltayeb Ali Hassan, of the Arctic University of Norway said: ‘Reindeer meat is very healthy.

‘It contains more than double the values of some nutrients as other meats, and is comparable to chicken in fat. Reindeer meat also has more than twice as much vitamin B12 [which helps prevent anaemia] as veal or lamb.’

One of the reasons for its nutritious value is the animal’s diet, which, in the winter, is comprised mainly of lichens (which are rich in selenium, zinc and iron).

But reindeer meat is hardly known in the UK — and when Gordon Ramsay offered a recipe for reindeer stew on his TV series, Gordon Ramsay’s F Word, there was a strong reaction from viewers.

So what will consumers make of Lidl’s carpaccio-style 100g packs of Deluxe Smoked Cured Reindeer Steak?

The slices of meat are dark maroon in colour and smell overpoweringly smoky. My husband pronounced them ‘delicious’, but couldn’t resist asking: ‘Is this Donner, Blitzen, Prancer or Vixen?’

He said the steaks smelled ‘lovely, quite delicate . . . Like Italian salami, very smoky. A taste sensation, very salty. It’s less gamey tasting than venison. I definitely like it.’

However, food writer Rose Prince, who has a more professional palate, disagrees.

She agrees that reindeer meat, which is essentially venison, is a lean and healthy option, but says these cured slices have ‘a horrible strong flavour — salty and artificially smoky’.

She also points out that they are made from ‘reformed meat’, meaning they have been chopped to a mush then shaped into a salami.

When she tried them, she says: ‘They were sweaty when they came out of the pack, then began to dry out quickly.’

She concludes: ‘It is a very nasty product and a waste of good meat. I don’t think reindeer meat slices will find much of a market in Britain, not just because of the emotional reaction to them, but also because they taste disgusting.’


Archbishop calls for state war on hunger but MPs say feckless parents waste cash on cigarettes and drink

The Archbishop of Canterbury was warned not to become a ‘political pawn’ last night after calling for state-backed food banks.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby said he had been left more shocked by the plight of Britain’s hunger-stricken poor than those suffering in African refugee camps.

His comments came before the publication of a wide-ranging report, backed by the Archbishop, that calls for the Government to do more to eradicate hunger.

But yesterday senior Tories criticised the clergyman for supporting the ‘nationalisation’ of food banks. In addition, the MPs’ study found that families’ lack of money was not the only problem.

The all-party Commons group on hunger warned that some parents spend far too much money on cigarettes, alcohol, takeaways and other ‘non-essential items of expenditure’ because they lack basic budgeting skills. Many more cannot cook even the simplest meals for their children – leaving them to go hungry.

The MPs call upon teachers to do more to report parents from chaotic households so they can receive help from ‘troubled families’ units.

However, they conclude: ‘We should not leave the duty resting with schools. Parents have duties, and these duties are not abated by the chaos resulting from their lifestyle.’

The report, Feeding Britain, is released today. Chaired by Labour MP Frank Field, the all-party group calls for:

    A new publicly funded body, also to be called Feeding Britain, to work towards a ‘hunger-free’ UK with the help of eight Cabinet ministers;

    Bigger food banks to distribute more free food, and advise how to claim benefits and make ends meet;

    A rise in the minimum wage, and the provision of free school meals to children even during school holidays;

    New measures to make it harder to withhold benefits, including ‘yellow cards’ instead of outright bans; and

    A request from the Government for food bank funding from Brussels.

The Archbishop wrote in the Mail on Sunday how hunger ‘stalks large parts’ of the country.

He added that he found the plight of a British family who resorted to using a food bank ‘more shocking’ than terrible suffering in Africa because it was so unexpected.

Last night former Cabinet minister David Mellor said: ‘He’s fully entitled to make points about food banks. Where they get it wrong is talking about the Government having to do food banks.

‘My understanding of religion ... is it’s about religious responsibility. 'I don’t remember any part of the Gospel where people were told to queue up outside Pontius Pilate’s office and tell him to give more money to the poor. [The Archbishop] should allow himself to be aware that he shouldn’t be used as a pawn in a political game.’

Tory business minister Matt Hancock stressed that food bank dependency had risen under the Coalition in part due to greater awareness.

‘Before we came to power, food banks were not allowed to advertise their existence,’ he said. ‘One of the reasons for the increase in use is because more people know about them.’

Damian Green, the former immigration minister, said: ‘We have a welfare state now, but what they’re saying is the welfare state should take over food banks, should nationalise food banks.’

The all-party report also discloses the ‘unpleasant truth’ that some children are hungry when they get to school because of the ‘chaotic conditions in their homes’.

‘A large proportion of primary schools that submitted evidence to the inquiry said they had witnessed children arriving at school hungry because their parents could not, or would not, wake them up to make them breakfast, or bring them to the school breakfast club,’ the report says.

Another factor behind parental poverty is the addictions that many families face.

‘Budgeting support is terribly important, but ... is often not enough to equip families to kick their addictive habits when addiction is being fed and defended by some very powerful lobbies,’ it warns.

The report says some parents are so tempted by cheap alcohol in supermarkets, and the plethora of betting shops on high streets, that they spend money on these rather than food for their children.

‘A family earning £21,000 a year, for example, where both parents smoke 20 cigarettes a day will spend a quarter of their income on tobacco,’ it adds.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg backed the report, saying he agreed with introducing ‘yellow cards’ for benefit claimants.


Napoleon to meet his Waterloo again - but this time the biggest concern will be not upsetting the French

It may have been 200 years ago, but plans for a re-enactment of the Battle of Waterloo are reportedly being adjusted to avoid creating any tension between the British and French.

The re-enactment of the historic defeat of the French forces, led by Napoleon Bonaparte in the battle on June 18, 1815, is due to take place next year.

The battle was fought near Waterloo, which is now Belgium, and saw 25,000 French troops killed or wounded as the Duke of Wellington led Allied troops to victory, along with General Blücher from Prussia.

Wellington's victory over Napoleon's 72,000-strong army however was fairly close, as 15,000 of his own troops were left dead or wounded after the fighting. He acknowledged this when he described the Allied win as a 'near run-thing' when the battle ended almost 23 years of war.

And while the re-enactment will be kept historically accurate, it is claimed some adjustments have been made to ensure it is not too damaging to relations between the two countries, the Sunday Times reported.

Instead of being held on just one day the staged battle will take place over two days - with day one ending with a stronger French side. The next day 80,000 people will watch the Allied army - a coalition of British, Dutch, Belgian and German soldiers - counterattack and achieve victory. This will represent the end of hours of bloody fighting which took place in 1815.

Napoleon may be played by Mark Schneider, an American, and around a third of his troops are likely to be from the UK. Frank Samson, a Frenchman, is also reported to be in the running to play Napoleon.

Etienne Claude, director-general of Waterloo 200 - the group organising the re-enactment - said the battle was not a defeat of the French but 'a defeat of Napoleon.'

He said: 'The spectacle of the first day is not to win or lose by the French army. It's part of the historical reality.'

Mr Claude said there are also plans for a VIP battlefield ceremony, which will see President Francois Hollande invited along with descendants of the Duke of Wellington.

Other proposals thought to be under consideration include head of government marking the occasion during a routine meeting of EU leaders due to be held a week later.

However some believe the re-enactment should not be a 'watered down' version of history. Vince Law, whose great-great-great grandfather served as one of Wellington's foot soldiers said he thought the bicentary of Tralfalgar 'took political correctness too far.' 

The adjustments will not be the first time Britain has avoided damaging French pride through staging historical events. In 2005 a re-enactment of the Battle of Trafalgar saw a sea battle between red and blue teams take place, representing the French and Spanish navies and the Royal Navy. The battle was one of the most decisive naval victories, with 22 ships lost by the Franco-Spanish fleet, and none by the British.



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

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

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


8 December, 2014

Tories at war with 'biased BBC'

David Cameron and George Osborne furious over Autumn Statement coverage which they claim contained 'systematic exaggeration'

The Conservatives have accused the BBC of “bias” and “systematic exaggeration” after David Cameron and George Osborne launched an unprecedented attack on the corporation’s coverage of the Autumn Statement.

The row threatens to cause tensions between the Tories and the BBC five months from what is shaping up to be one of the most unpredictable general elections in decades.

One senior Tory MP suggested there was a risk that unless the BBC was scrupulously fair in its reporting it could drive voters “into the arms of Labour”, and even find its future funding arrangements affected.

The news came as it emerged that:

* Britain faces public spending cuts on a “colossal scale” after the election, which will lead to a “fundamental reimagining” of the role of the state, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, with an estimated £55?billion worth of cuts still to come by 2020;

* Green levies on household energy bills are to triple over the next five years to nearly £10?billion, due to an increase in wind farms, said the Government’s independent Office for Budgetary Responsibility;

* The state pension will rise by 2.5 per cent to £115.95 a week, up from £113.10 next year. Experts said it would have risen by more if the Coalition had not changed the way the rise is calculated.

Mr Cameron, Mr Osborne and other senior Conservative figures criticised two separate television and radio reports broadcast by the BBC within hours of the Autumn Statement on Wednesday.

BBC Radio 4’s Today programme compared forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility to “a book of doom” and said that Britain was heading back to the time of George Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier.

That came hours after BBC Two’s Newsnight broadcast black and white footage of rioting workers over a commentary by its presenter, Evan Davis, comparing the UK’s prospects to the depression of the 1930s. Mr Davis told viewers: “You have to go back to the depression of the 1930s to find a crisis comparable to the one we are in — it is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences.”

The Prime Minister and the Chancellor both said that the coverage on the Today programme was “hyperbolic” because it exaggerated the economic threat to the UK.

Mr Osborne said the comparison with Orwell’s Britain was “nonsense”, adding: “I would have thought the BBC would have learnt from the last four years that its totally hyperbolic coverage of spending cuts has not been matched by what has actually happened.”

Mr Cameron’s spokesman said that the reporting impeded a “clear and sensible and measured debate about the decisions that are being taken and that need to be taken in the future”.

A senior government source added: “There have been examples in the past of bias from the BBC. But it’s when it slips into references to George Orwell and the idea of people living in penury that it becomes a real issue.

“The BBC needs to address subjects like this in a serious way. Their approach was so wildly inaccurate that we had to challenge it.”

Grant Shapps, the Conservative Party chairman, added: “With an election approaching, it is vitally important that the BBC adheres to the highest standard of editorial impartiality.” Conor Burns, a Tory member of the culture, media and sport committee which scrutinises the BBC’s work, said it was “patently absurd” for Newsnight to suggest “either political party will be intent on taking Britain back to a pre-welfare state, pre-health service Britain”.

Being overly critical of the Coalition’s attempts to find efficiency savings could swing votes to Labour, he said.

He added: “Any ideas that a future Conservative government would undo the National Health Service or undo the welfare state could have consequences of sending voters into the arms of Labour and that would be more than unfortunate, it would be deeply unprofessional for our national broadcaster.”

The row could have a bearing on the corporation’s attempts to renegotiate its Royal Charter which set its budget for the next 10 years.

Mr Burns added: “Our national broadcaster that wanted its charter renewed in 2016 will be under even more scrutiny than normal.”

Andrew Bridgen, the Conservative MP, on Thursday wrote to Rona Fairhead, the BBC Trust’s chairman, to complain “about a pattern of systematic exaggeration in the BBC’s reporting of the Autumn Statement”.

Mr Bridgen said he wanted “to seek assurances that in the remaining six months until the general election your coverage will demonstrate the impartiality and balance that the public, and indeed the BBC charter, demand”.

He went on: “Over the last four years the entire nation has pulled together to achieve something many said could not be done: we are now the fastest growing advanced economy in the developed world. The sacrifices and hard work of the British people are ill-served by pessimistic reporting which obscures our economic success with the language of fear and doom.”

A BBC spokesman said that it was satisfied that the Today programme’s coverage had been “fair and balanced and we gave the Chancellor plenty of opportunity to respond on the programme”.

The comments on Newsnight were justified because the Office for Budget Responsibility had itself said that nominal government consumption will fall to its lowest level since 1938, the BBC said.

The spokesman added: “The BBC takes its responsibility for impartial coverage very seriously. It is the duty of all journalists to ask politicians difficult questions. We will keep asking them.

“We’ll undoubtedly get more criticism from across the political spectrum as the election gets closer, but we’ll keep doing our job.”


UK's view of migrants is bull****, says UN official: Fury after French Canadian claims British see immigrants as 'barbarians' who threaten culture

A United Nations official has sparked fury after claiming the public see immigrants as ‘barbarians’ who threaten British culture.

Francois Crepeau, the UN Special Rapporteur for Migrants Rights, said hostile attitudes towards migrants in Britain were ‘utter bull****’ - and based on ‘fantasy’ of preserving a 2,000 year-old culture.

The Canadian was accused of ‘offensive bigotry’ and political bias over his remarks comments, which also included an attack on Ukip and an apparent endorsement of New Labour’s mass migration policies.

And he even appeared to accuse ministers of letting migrants die by not supporting search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

His comments are only the latest in a string of attacks on the government from United Nations officials on Government policy over welfare reform, human rights and policy towards women in recent years.

One Whitehall source said: ‘The UN stands for unelected, unrepresentative and unrealistic when it comes to immigration. 'The government will do what the public expects which is control immigration, not what some unelected bureaucrat says.’

Tory MP Dominic Raab said: ‘To claim the British public sees immigrants as ‘barbarians’ because it is gripped by a 2,000 year old cultural ‘fantasy’ is offensive bigotry.

'Monsieur Crepeau is aping the very prejudice he is supposed to be fighting.’

Mr Crepeau made the comments in an interview with the i newspaper, in which he was quoted as criticising the attitudes towards immigration in the UK.

‘The fantasy is that there is a core British culture that was created probably 2,000 years ago and carried on,’ he said.

‘And now it’s being threatened by all those barbarians that are coming to our gate. This is utter bull****, but who is going to say this?’

He also criticised the Government’s decision not to join in further search and rescue operations.

Ministers withdrew support in late October amid reports people traffickers were using it as a ‘taxi service’ and encouraging more migrants to attempt the hazardous crossing from North Africa in ramshackle boats.

Traffickers were said to be setting off with satellite phones and then calling the Italian coastguard to come and pick them up, it emerged.

‘When politicians are saying, “We should not do search and rescue because it encourages other people to come’, to me this is an extremely cynical way of putting it,” said Mr Crépeau.

He added: ‘Not supporting search and rescue operations means letting them die. This is what happens, if you don’t search and rescue them; they die.  ‘If we accept that, I think we go well beyond the moral boundaries of our political system.’

He was speaking ahead of a ‘fact-finding’ mission to Italy, where 150,000 migrants were picked up from the sea in the past year

In apparent praise for Tony Blair’s government, he said it was a ‘multicultural, diverse, open society’ which created Cool Britannia in the 1990s.  On Ukip he added: ‘If Britannia is ruled by the Ukip, or with Ukip-type policies, it is not going to be cool.’

Ukip leader Nigel Farage told the Telegraph: ‘More people came to Britain in 2013 than came between 1066 and 1950. 'That gives you a sense of perspective of where we are with this, so he is talking utter baloney.

‘He is just not living in the real world. Britain is one of the most relaxed countries in the whole of Europe on immigration, but not with numbers like this.’

In 2012, Britain faced a review of its human rights record by countries including Iran, Russia and Cuba.

British human rights protection was criticised in the report by countries notorious for their wholesale denial of human rights - among them Pakistan, Belarus and the Sudan.


Polish toy manufacturer refuses to pull Nazi-themed toys from shelves... claiming they educate children on history

A Polish toy manufacturer has declared that it will continue to sell its line of Nazi-themed toys despite public backlash. Speaking from Warsaw, Cobi Toys CEO Robert Podles insisted that keeping such dolls and games on shelves offered a 'fun' way for children to be taught history.

'We believe that through good fun we can teach history and we will continue this line in the future, Podles says in the video. 'We cannot separate this from history,' he continued.

'Our history, our whole European history, unfortunately has imbibed this Nazism from the Second World War and we cannot escape from that.’

The toys sold by the company involved Nazi tanks, soldiers and other military items, as well as Soviet, American and British toys.

The statement from Cobi comes on the heels of a recent decision from Swedish department store, Gekås in Ullared, to cease stocking the Nazi-inspired toys.  Gekås CEO Boris Lennerhov explained: 'This is not something we want to promote as form of ideal.'


Lord Mayor walks out of Islamic charity lunch after his lady consort was told she had to sit downstairs at the event

A Lord Mayor walked out of an Islamic charity lunch after discovering that he would have to be segregated from his female consort.  Labour councillor John Thomas, 70, arrived at the function last Sunday with consort Margaret Corley, 72.

But Councillor Thomas, the Lord Mayor of Leicester, was said to be upset at being told he would have to dine in an upstairs function room with male guests, while his consort would be seated downstairs with the other women.

The lunch was held to mark the end of Charity Week – an annual fundraising event supported by around 20 university Islamic societies in the UK, and others in Canada and Qatar. It took place at a wedding and conference venue near Leicester railway station.

Guests at the event, who paid £6 a ticket, were told that the week of fundraising to help orphaned and disadvantaged children raised £730,000. But Councillor Thomas seemed to be in no mood for celebrating and left early. It is understood Mrs Corley left with him.

A source at the event said the Mayor had ‘insulted’ other guests by walking out, adding: ‘Students from universities, colleges and schools raised over £732,000 in just one week.

‘They contributed their time and efforts to raise money. The Lord Mayor should have respected this work.’

Councillor Thomas, who lives with his disabled wife Irene, 59, in Hamilton, Leicester, declined to comment on the matter.

But another source with knowledge of the incident said the Mayor’s office had previously been sent some information outlining what he could expect at the function. ‘The Mayor says no such information [about sitting separately] was passed to him, so the arrangement seems to have taken him by surprise’, they said.

Mrs Corley, who lives in a bungalow in the nearby village of Scraptoft, also declined to comment. She is understood to be a widow, and it is not known how she came to be selected as the Lord Mayor’s consort.

Councillor Thomas was elected to Leicester City Council in 1995 and currently represents Belgrave ward, a largely ethnic Indian district in a city where more than half of the population is non-white.

A spokesman for Islamic Relief, Charity Week’s partner organisation, said Councillor Thomas ‘arrived at the venue but left before the event started’. He added: ‘What happened was an unfortunate misunderstanding for which I want to apologise to the Lord Mayor on behalf of Islamic Relief and Charity Week.

‘None of the Charity Week organisers told the Lord Mayor he could not sit with his partner, and if anyone else at the event did then they were mistaken. The Lord Mayor and his partner would have been more than welcome to enjoy this event together.’



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

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

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


7 December, 2014

Multicultural swindler in Britain

A lonely hearts conman who scammed four women out of almost £100,000 by posing as a Royal Marine on dating website Match.com has been jailed for four years

Adewale Adewole, 31, a Nigerian immigrant, wooed his victims after falsely claiming to be an army captain who ran an orphanage in Africa.

Adopting the name Timmy Francis, he claimed he was looking for romance on the site with two profiles: 'Charismatic Brit' and 'To live and love'.

But the pictures he used to create an appealing profile were actually of a Royal Marine Commando called Joshua McGowan who was unaware his images were being used by Adewole.

The unnamed women who replied to his seemingly perfect profile fell for his charms but were then duped out of their money when Adewole claimed he was robbed at his 'orphanage'.

The women sent him cash and paid his hotel bills thinking they were bailing out their suitor - only for him to divert the money into the bank account of his wife who shared his home with their two children in Eccles, Greater Manchester.

Manchester Crown Court heard yesterday that Adewole, a father of three, also splashed out on iPads, TVs and designer clothes.

Police who investigated the scam discovered the women had tried to meet up with him but he always stood them up.

He now faces jail after admitting four charges of fraud but is disputing some of the facts and is running a 'trial of issue.'

Prosecutor Charlotte Brandon told the court the four victims were registered with Match.com and did not know each other.

She added: 'They were all contacted on the dating site by a man called Timmy Francis who had two profiles under the mottos 'To Live and Love' and 'Charismatic Brit'. 'They had contact with him during the period the fraud took place via text message, phone and email.

'He told them he had been a captain in the army. He also said he ran an orphanage in Africa called the Hope House Foundation, for which he set up a website with his own mobile phone number on.

'There was a profile picture on his Match accounts and he sent some of the women photographs of himself - all of these pictures were actually of a Royal Marine Commander called Joshua McGowan who knew nothing of what was going on.

'Although they arranged to meet, he never kept to the arrangements and never did meet any of the victims.'

Miss Brandon added: 'He told the women that on a trip to Africa he was the victim of a crime and needed money. The crime meant he could not access his own funds.

'He said they would get their money back and would be sent letters from the World Health Organisation to show that he would be able to pay them.

'These letters were sent, but from an M30 Manchester postmark. He also sent them links to websites which, when logging in with details he gave them, appeared to show that he had a huge bank balance and would eventually be able to pay them back.

'One woman was asked to pay for a hotel for him. When she rang the number he gave her for the hotel, they also confirmed the information and she agreed to pay it. 'She later received a cheque addressed to him for £35,000 to prove he had money, but this was later discovered to be a stolen cheque forged in his own handwriting.

'Over a number of months each woman transferred significant sums of money via bank accounts and Western Union moneygrams and sent items to the defendant's home address. They bought electronic items, took out credit cards and loans and bought clothes from Next.

'Many of the goods were sent to his home address in Eccles from where the victims believed they would be forwarded on to the defendant in Nigeria.  'When the women stopped sending money, they never heard from him again.'

The court heard the total amount stolen including the value of the household goods and Western Union transfers was £98,140.

Adewole was arrested in October 2012 at his flat and £4,500 in cash was found under his bed.

A digital camera was found purchased by one of the victims, but containing pictures of the defendant and his wife and children. Designer clothes and shoes were also found worth £2,000.

Adewole's wallet was also seized and contained several SIM cards, some of which contained the phone numbers of the victims.

His two Blackberry phones were also seized - on these three different email accounts were in use which were linked to the two Match.com accounts.

He was bailed and later tried to call one of the woman again under the name Timmy Francis and was arrested again.

When questioned he claimed to know nothing of the orphanage but that the £4,500 was his and claimed the majority of the items found in his flat were to go to his mother in Nigeria.

He added all he knew of the bank transfers was that his flatmate Samson Ajayi had asked him to have some money transferred to a relative - and claimed Mr Ajayi was responsible.

He admitted he had used Match.com between 2010 and 2012 but could not remember when exactly.

Detective Constable Sean Nicholls, from Greater Manchester Police, told the hearing: 'There has never been any evidence to prove there was someone else involved.

'There was possibly some help involved somewhere in Nigeria. There may well have been more than one person assisting him, male and female. 'But I believe any phone calls made to the victims were from the defendant himself.  'I believe Timmy Francis is a made-up name. I have made enquiries in our systems but there is nothing to suggest he exists.'

Adewole, who arrived in UK in 2009 on a visa to study, said: 'The fraud was Samson's idea. I got involved because I had a few financial difficulties at the time.   'I did not speak with the complainants. I did not know money was being sent to Nigeria but I knew it was being sent to my bank account and my wife's bank account.

'I do not know where Samson is at the moment. He travels a lot. I have no idea about the details of this fraud. I didn't even know how many victims there were.

'But I pleaded guilty because if I had not let my bank account or flat be used, these women would not have suffered in the way that they did.

'Samson said he was expecting some money. He said he had no bank accounts to receive the money so I wanted to help him. He was owing me rent at the time and this was the only way he could pay me. '

Sentencing Adewole today, Judge David Stockdale said: 'The evidence against the defendant is, in my judgement, overwhelming.

'I am satisfied on the evidence I have heard of the facts that the defendant's role in the enterprise in which these four women were defrauded was a leading role.

'He was not working alone and others were involved but the use of his bank account and phones and the items found at his flat all indicate overwhelmingly that the defendant was a principal player.

'The man called Samson has not been traced. He may have been an accomplice.. If Samson was an accomplice and took part in this operation, that does not undermine my conclusion. That is my ruling on the issue.'


Hobbit Author J.R.R. Tolkien's Anti-Socialist, Pro-Liberty Message

J.R.R. Tolkien, the British author best known for The Hobbit and his epic trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, was an astute critic of socialism and utopianism and a passionate defender of liberty, says Jay Richards, co-author of The Hobbit Party, which he calls “a study of the political and economic implications of Tolkien’s thought.”

“Certainly anyone that’s seen The Lord of the Rings, for instance, at the movies knows that he was deeply concerned about the dangers and the temptations of absolute power.

"The symbol of the one ring, of course. It’s not just a symbol of the sort of corrupting possibilities of power, but the especially corrupting possibilities of power to dominate the wills of others,” Richards, who is also an assistant professor at Catholic University’s School of Business and Economics, told CNSNews.com.

“His book and the ring are not a critique of all uses of power. In fact, the good guys fight in wars and battles, and so obviously you use force. But it’s rather a critique of the perennial human temptation to acquire power to dominate others.

"And so this is what gives his books, especially The Lord of the Rings, a kind of a deeply political character and we think makes him a strong advocate both for small and limited government, but also a strong defender of freedom.”

Sifting through hundreds of Tolkien’s private letters as well as his works of fiction, Richards and co-author Jonathan Witt found many examples in which he criticized “both the kind of hard socialism that he had witnessed in the Soviet Union, but also the sort of post-World War II soft democratic socialism he saw in Great Britain, which was very much in the ascendancy” when The Hobbit was published in 1937.

“And so it shouldn’t be a surprise that a lot of the kind of official literati and literary critics panned the books. They thought they were just absolutely terrible. One critic we quote in the book says: ‘These are not the sorts of books a person will read more than once,’ which of course is exactly the opposite of the case. These are books people read throughout their lives.

“But what’s interesting about Tolkien, one sign that’s there more economic message to these texts than people realize, is that the Soviet Union banned all of Tolkien’s writings. It’s not often known, but we tell the story at the end of the book about those great days during the collapse of the Soviet Union when thousands of civilians poured into Red Square and there was this question about what the tanks were going to do. And in the middle of those crowds a sign popped up that said: ‘Frodo is with us’.

“And that’s when a lot of Americans found out that in fact, the Soviets had been passing around this sort of contraband, mimeographed version, bad translation of The Lord of the Rings for decades.”

Although both the Russian dissidents and the Soviet Politburo clearly understood the underlying political and economic message in Tolkien’s trilogy, “ordinary English readers often don’t get it because we don’t suffer in the way that they did,” Richards said.

“Contrary to what a lot of people think about Tolkien, he wasn’t a Luddite,” he noted. “He wasn’t opposed to economic trade, and in fact he used widening circles of trade as an example of human flourishing. That’s something I think a lot of people don’t notice unless they’re looking for it.

“As far as we know, he never studied economics,” Richards continued. “It was just the result of having a very good theology and a rich anthropology, and so managing to intuitively come to some very sound economic conclusions. That was surprising. We knew he would be interesting and insightful, but I didn’t really expect him to be quite as acutely understanding of economic topics, far more so than his critics and many of his fans [are aware].”

“We know he was a Tory, and so he was essentially a political conservative, and was very skeptical of state power, especially the centralization of power even to his own party. But he was also a monarchist. That’s something that makes him challenging, I think, to modern Americans.

“And so I would just call him a small government conservative who didn’t like concentrations of power and had a genuinely benign view of human creativity and trade. He would probably be a curmudgeonly conservative in the United States today, but he doesn’t fit so neatly into American political categories.”

However, the underlying economic and political theme of Tolkien’s work “taps into these universal realities of life and death, love and sacrifice, good and evil,” Richards told CNSNews.com.                         

“On the first page of The Lord of the Rings he starts with the Shire. He says at that time, the Shire had hardly any government. In fact, the only government is the sheriffs who walk around without uniforms, and all they really do is protect people’s property. So if some sheep wander into another farmer’s field, the sheriff moves the sheep over.

“And then you come to the end of The Lord of the Rings in the book (not the movie), and there’s a chapter called ‘The Scouring of the Shire,’ which every interpreter recognizes as an obvious critique of socialism. The fallen wizard Saruman gets some of his toadies and some other Hobbits, and they essentially take control of the shire. They take down the Party Tree, tear down buildings and centralize the means of production.

“In the beginning, there’s this beautiful, bucolic, very small government image, and then at the end you have the Hobbits having to retake the Shire after it’s been overrun by these planners and controllers.”

Because Tolkien, a Catholic, had an “essentially Christian worldview,” Richards pointed out that he did not sugar-coat the realities of life on Earth, including Middle Earth. ”He believed in the goodness of creation, but he also believed in the Fall and didn’t think utopias were possible. So he didn’t want to have these overly saccharine happy endings in which everything just got put back into place.”

Tolkien was “bemused” when hippies in America discovered him during the 1960s. CNSNews.com asked Richards why he was so popular with the far-left crowd.

“It’s hard to say what is interesting to people who are dropping acid and smoking pot, but [Tolkien’s creation] is just so mind-blowing. It’s a fascinating, complete world. It’s ironic, because the drug culture was about an escape psychologically into Middle Earth and the literature is not escapist. In fact, it explores all the perennial difficult questions of life.

“But I do honestly think it was such a complete and mystifying world that a lot of people took a liking to it just for the greatness of it. It does Tolkien a disservice not to recognize that he’s such a great artist, such a great creator of an imaginary world that all sorts of people were drawn to him.”

“The sign of a classic is precisely that it stands the test of time. Tolkien’s work already stood that test because tens of millions of people are still reading his books,” he noted.

Cultural forces similar to those at work in Tolkien’s time and the popularity of Academy Award-winning director Peter Jackson’s cinematic tribute both play a part in the recent upsurge of interest in the “moral traditionalist’s” work, he added. Jackson’s latest film, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, will be released in theaters Dec. 17.

“The kind of apocalyptic dystopian novel and movie is really popular right now, and you do get that feeling in The Lord of the Rings, which is sort of the ultimate cataclysmic battle between good and evil. And with Saruman and the Orcs, you get a really unambiguous picture. Yes, he believed even the good guys are flawed and fallen, but there are good guys and bad guys. That’s the traditional view that is supposedly out of vogue.

“But the popularity of these books has actually grown. In fact, in many polls taken right around the turn of the [21st] century, The Lord of the Rings came in only second behind A Tale of Two Cities in terms of the most widely-read English books. And after the slow-growing, cultish fascination with Tolkien, the movies brought him to a whole new generation, and not just in the English-speaking world.”

However, in making films of such complex works of fiction, a lot of things necessarily got left out, Richards said. “My hope is that lots of people who otherwise would not have read Tolkien will eventually go back and read the books and discover things they wouldn’t have expected.”


Rev. Franklin Graham: ‘The War on Christmas’ in America is ‘A War on Christ’

Rev. Franklin Graham, son of world renowned evangelist Billy Graham, said the last few decades in America have witnessed an increased hostility towards “the sacred nature of Christmas,” a stripping away of religious references in the public square that is “at its root and core” a “war on Christ and His Followers.”

“The war on Christmas is a war on Christ,” said Rev. Graham, a “hatred” against a culture that celebrates the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh as a baby 2,000 years ago, and anticipates his second coming when, as a “conquering King,” He will “cast Satan and unbelievers into an eternal lake of fire.”

Analyzing the war on Christmas, Rev. Graham in his December commentary in Decision magazine, published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said, “Stores, schools and communities across America continue to find new and intolerant reasons to remove any religious references to Christmas, stripping it of any holy or historical significance. Christian songs, prayers and other spiritually vital connections to the Lord Jesus Christ are deleted or diminished.”

For example, in Ramsey County, Minn., he said, a courthouse “banned red poinsettias because someone deemed them a ‘Christian symbol,’” and in Pittsburgh the Christmas holidays are referred to “as ‘Sparkle Days,’ in an ironic attempt at avoiding offense.” Also, a VA hospital in Georgia banned “religious Christmas songs in public areas.”

Between the time that Jesus came as a baby and His second coming are “the last days,” said Rev. Graham, adding that, as the Apostle Paul wrote, the last days will be marked by “pride, brutality, treachery and heartlessness.”

“We should not be taken aback, then, when a day that should be devoted to meditating upon the marvelous, virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ is instead treated in a scandalously secular way that denies His deity and saving work,” said the reverend, who is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA).

“The Name of Christ is an offense to the unbelieving world,” he said.  “The mention of His birth, or life, or death and resurrection, is an insult. The world, the flesh and the Devil all hate the mere mention of His glorious Name. They are mortal enemies of the Savior.”

That “world system,” said Rev. Graham,  “is enthralled with power and greed, and it wants no part of the Messiah’s absolute authority.”

That rebellion against God is animated by the Devil, said Rev. Graham, the demon who, “knowing that his time to roam on Earth is short and that he will one day be cast into the lake of fire, he opposes Christ at every turn. He and his demons will help gather all the nations into a great last-ditch rebellion against the King of kings before he is defeated.”

Until that happens, however, “we should expect stiff, relentless opposition to the Gospel message from our culture,” said Rev. Graham.

He added that the brutal persecution of Christians in other countries may be “far into the future for us” in the United States, but we cannot expect “that it will not intensify and heighten.”


Black People the Media Hate (And Rand Paul Isn't Wild About)

By Ann Coulter

Now that the Ferguson grand jury documents have been made public, even MSNBC has had to quietly drop its fantasy of Michael Brown being gunned down like a dog in the street by Officer Darren Wilson. Instead, MSNBC is defending the looters.

On Monday night, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes objected to anyone referring to the people who “set fires or looted as ‘thugs.’”

His guest, former Seattle chief of police Norm Stamper, said, “I could not agree more.” (Stamper did such a bang-up job dealing with the World Trade Organization riots in 1999 that he was forced to resign – which may explain why he is the left’s favorite police chief.)

Hardworking black people in Ferguson poured their lives into their stores, depended on them to support their families and shopped at them to improve their quality of life. I wonder if they appreciated Hayes' principled opposition to calling the arsonists “thugs.”

Instead of exquisite sensitivity to the feelings of black thugs, how about considering the feelings of black citizens who want to live in safe neighborhoods?

There’s a reason so many black people supported Officer Wilson’s account and that a black woman walked into a burning convenience store in the middle of the riot to extinguish the fire with gallons of milk.

In “Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama,” I told the true stories of dozens of allegedly racist crimes sensationalized by the media. In almost all of them, there were unheralded black heroes who stood up for law and order against “the community.”

When Exeter student Edmund Perry got himself killed by mugging a cop, at least a half-dozen black witnesses supported the cop’s version. While The New York Times was droning on about Perry as “a prized symbol of hope,” Perry’s black neighbors were testifying to the grand jury that his brother admitted they had mugged a cop.

At least three black friends of the Central Park rapists told the police that the defendants had confessed to attacking the jogger. (In what must have been an oversight, those witnesses didn’t make it into Ken Burns' movie.)

A young black woman, who was in Bernie Goetz’s subway car with her husband and child when Goetz shot four black muggers, told the jury, “Those punks got what they deserved.”

Goetz’s lawyer Barry Slotnick made no effort to keep blacks off the jury. His faith was rewarded: Goetz’s biggest defender on the jury was a black bus driver from Harlem. It is well known by prosecutors that working and married blacks make great jurors.

But we never hear about those black people. Why, that would spoil everything!

There are loads of movies about black criminals – rewritten the way the media were hoping the story would come out, but didn’t. (Movie: “Murder Without Motive: The Edmund Perry Story.” Spoiler alert! The tale of a racist white cop who shot an innocent black honor student for no discernible reason.)

How about a movie paying tribute to the African-American eyewitnesses in Ferguson who told the truth to the grand jury?

Who speaks for them?  It’s sure not Sen. Rand Paul.

We need video footage of blacks burning other blacks' stores down juxtaposed with clips of Sen. Paul saying that the reason “three out of four people in prison are black or brown” may be “because of the color of their skin or their economic status.” Another possibility – I’m just throwing it out there – is that the reason black, brown or white people are in prison is because they’ve committed crimes.

Improving their “economic status” doesn’t seem to help. The two men arrested for trying to buy bombs in Ferguson in order to blow up the Gateway Arch and kill the prosecutor and chief of police were prevented from buying as many bombs as they had hoped because they needed to wait for more money to be transferred onto a girlfriend’s EBT card (Electronic Benefits Card – food stamps).

For claiming the drug laws are racist, Sen. Paul seems to imagine his portrait is being hung in black homes across America, between pictures of Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy. “White people do drugs too,” Paul tells admiring white liberals in the media, “but either they don’t get caught or they have better attorneys or they don’t live in poverty.”

If Rand Paul thinks black people are rooting for black crack dealers to go free, he’s even crazier than his old man.

It was African-Americans, exploding in rage at the devastation crack was inflicting on their neighborhoods in the 1980s, who demanded severe penalties for crack cocaine. In a typical news story from 1986, Julius Lee, the black city commissioner in Fort Pierce, Florida, said, “Drugs are terrible things, but these cocaine rocks are the terriblest of the terrible.” Black grocer Eugene Gibson sadly remarked, while sweeping the sidewalk in front of his store, “We’re in a world of trouble here. … It’s these cocaine rocks.”

A few years later, in 1989, black columnist Dorothy Gaiter perfectly expressed the feelings of the (non-crack dealing) black community in The Miami Herald: “Crack sellers should be locked up and their bounty taken away from them. The jails are crowded with murderers and others who deserve to be there, but the crack seller is a murderer too. He’s a lethal seducer of our young, a destroyer of our neighborhoods. Being poor is no crime and should not result in a sentence to live among the lawless.”

But now Sen. Paul is pushing the idea that the drug laws black people begged for were actually part of a racist plot to lock up African-Americans. It’s like something out of Maxine Waters' dream journal.

The only people impressed with Rand Paul’s defense of black criminals are the ones who will never be victimized by them.



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

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

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


5 December, 2014

A corrupt and vicious health bureaucracy in Britain

A renowned heart specialist who raised the alarm over a hospital's failings was unfairly dismissed in a calculated attempt to damage his reputation, a tribunal has ruled.

Consultant cardiologist Dr Kevin Beatt has won a two-year legal battle with Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, which sacked him in September 2012 after he raised the alarm about staffing shortages, 'appalling' equipment and workplace bullying.

He voiced his concerns following the death of heart patient Gerald Storey, 63, at Croydon University Hospital in June 2011.

It was a routine angioplasty, an inquest heard in 2013, but a senior nurse had been suspended hours earlier - without Dr Beatt's knowledge - and her absence contributed to the patient's death.

Dr Beatt, a renowned specialist who led the hospital's well-regarded department for interventional heart procedures from 2007, should have been afforded protected whistleblower status but instead lost his job in a case he claimed provided a damning demonstration of the trust's attempts to cover up failings.

The trust argued it dismissed him 'for making unsubstantiated and unproven allegations of an unsafe service', but the employment tribunal ruled there was 'no consistent evidence' of gross misconduct and chief executive John Goulston, whose evidence it criticised as inconsistent, had 'failed to carry out a fair process'.

Between 2008 and his dismissal, Dr Beatt raised a catalogue of concerns about inadequate equipment, bullying and harassment of junior employees, removal of key staff, a lack of competent nurses and the failure to properly investigate serious incidents.

In January 2010 he voiced serious fears to medical director Tony Newman-Sanders that the cardiology unit's radiation equipment, then the oldest in use in the country, was putting patients and staff at risk.

He was accused of fabricating his concerns so he could treat patients elsewhere, but six months later the machinery was condemned and replaced after breaking down during an operation.

The friction came to a head in July the next year, when a 63-year-old patient died during a routine procedure after a senior nurse was suspended without Dr Beatt's knowledge.

Dr Beatt, who was left for 20 minutes without a nurse with even basic familiarity with the operation, described the suspension as 'the most overtly reckless act' he had witnessed in his career.

The trust claimed Dr Beatt's criticisms were 'vexatious' and calculated to ensure Sister Jones's restoration, and in September 2011 began disciplinary proceedings that culminated in his sacking.

The tribunal found there was 'no evidence' Dr Beatt had an ulterior motive and that 'extremely damaging' and 'entirely false' allegations were levelled at him during an investigation into Mr Storey's death.

Those included claims by Dr Asif Qasim, the hospital's clinical lead for medical specialities that Mr Beatt was mentally unstable.

Employment judge Gill Sage, who chaired the tribunal, added she believed a 'misleading' press statement about Mr Beatt's dismissal, issued following the inquest 10 months later, had been 'calculated and was likely to cause damage to his reputation'.

Speaking after the tribunal's ruling, Dr Beatt said: 'Essentially they ignored some of the statements made to the serious untoward incident report and submitted their own version.  'There's no doubt in my mind that, if things have gone badly wrong, instead of saying things have gone badly wrong, they try to cover it up.

'At the end of the day it is in order to misrepresent events to the patient and their relatives.'

He added the legal battle and the trust's decision to refer him to the General Medical Council had taken 'a very considerable toll' on him and left him unable to find work within the NHS.

He said: 'That's why they do it. They do it because it will prevent me from getting a job and that will prevent me from pursuing them in court because I won't be able to afford the costs.'

Dr Beatt said he believed the trust had spent 'more than £100,000' fighting his case, which he was only able to pursue because his lawyers Linklaters agreed to work pro bono.

A spokesman for Croydon Health Services NHS Trust said it would appeal the ruling.  He added: 'We are clearly very disappointed with the tribunal's decision. 'We take all concerns about patient safety extremely seriously, as well as allegations of bullying against any of our employees.

'It is everyone's responsibility at CHS to uphold great care for patients, and for our staff to know that they will be listened to and supported.'


European court: asking asylum seekers to prove sexuality is breach of human rights

Gay and lesbian asylum seekers must not be asked to prove they are homosexual in order to stay in Britain, following a judgement by a European court yesterday.

Asking refugees detailed questions about their sexual habits in order to establish whether they are at risk of persecution at home is a breach of their fundamental human right to a private life, the European Court of Justice ruled.

In a decision that may force the Home Office to tighten up its interview rules, the court ruled that immigration officials must not accept explicit photographs or videos submitted by asylum seekers to prove their sexuality.

Home Office guidelines say that asylum officials must not request such images, but material that is volunteered is examined as part of a claim and stored.

In a ruling that may have implications on British cases, the court said an asylum seeker's failure to answer questions about their personal circumstances was not sufficient reason to reject their credibility.

Nor was an applicant's failure to declare his homosexuality from the start grounds to reject a claim, the judges said.

In 2013 some 283 people claimed asylum in Britain on the grounds that they were at risk overseas because they are gay or lesbian. Many cases come from African states whether homosexuality is subject to the death penalty.

Home Office guidelines say that claimants should “establish to a reasonable degree of likelihood” their sexuality, and that a person’s declared sexuality should be taken as a “starting point” in a case.

The guidelines tell interviewers to avoid asking “prurient questions” about sexual preferences or physical attractiveness.

However, a recent official investigation found that these rules have been flouted by immigration officials. John Vine, the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, found border officials had broken the rules by asking claimants about the frequency and number of sexual partners.

Officials had also asked about the differences between gay and straight relationships, asking one man what he could find in a relationship with a man that was absent from a heterosexual arrangement.

The report also found that officials frequently examine footage or photographs submitted prove a claimant's sexuality, and it criticised the lax privacy controls on retained material.

The report followed a case, highlighted in the Observer newspaper, where interviewing officers had asked graphic and sexually explicit questions in order to test an asylum seeker’s claim.

Such questioning would likely fall foul of human rights laws, following yesterday’s ruling which applies in all EU states.

The court ruled in the case of three men, including a Ugandan, who failed in a bid for asylum after a Dutch court said they had not proved their sexuality.

The court ruled that evidence of homosexual acts submitted on film infringed human digity, even if it was proposed by the asylum applicant. It warned that by accepting such material, asylum seekers would be “incited” to do the same and it would become a de facto requirement of a successful claim.

The judgement said: "While the national authorities are entitled to carry out, where appropriate, interviews in order to determine the facts and circumstances as regards the declared sexual orientation of an applicant for asylum, questions concerning details of the sexual practices of that applicant are contrary to the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Charter and, in particular, to the right to respect for private and family life."

It also ruled that asking claimants to submit to “tests” over their sexuality are a breach of human rights.

Futhermore, applicants cannot be asked questions that are based on “stereotyped notions” of gay behaviour.

Ruling that failure to disclose their sexuality at the outset does not undermine a plea for asylum, the judgement of the Luxembourg court said: "Having regard to the sensitive nature of questions relating to a person’s personal identity and, in particular, his sexuality, it cannot be concluded that the declared sexuality lacks credibility simply because, due to his reticence in revealing intimate aspects of his life, that person did not declare his homosexuality at the outset."

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who seek refuge by establishing a genuine need for our protection.

“We have never required asylum seekers to undergo tests to prove their sexuality. Our guidance and training on handling claims based on sexual orientation was developed in conjunction with Stonewall, the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.”


Pregnant women who drink will NOT be criminalised after child left brain damaged when her mother drank half a bottle of vodka and eight cans of lager a day loses test case for compensation

A very dubious verdict -- based on the unborn child not being a person

Women who drink alcohol while pregnant will not be criminalised after a landmark ruling today.

It comes after a test case held at the Court of Appeal ruled that a young child is not entitled to criminal injuries compensation after her mother drank half a bottle of vodka and eight cans of lager a day while she was pregnant with her.

The girl, now six, was born with foetal alcohol syndrome and suffered growth retardation as a result of her mother's drinking.

Lawyers for child 'CP', who cannot be named for legal reasons, had asked three judges to rule in a test case that the girl is entitled to compensation.

But the appeal judges unanimously ruled: 'The central reason is that we have held that a mother who is pregnant and who drinks to excess despite knowledge of the potential harmful consequence to the child of doing so is not guilty of a criminal offence under our law if her child is subsequently born damaged as a result.'

If the appeal had succeeded it could have paved the way for pregnant women's behaviour to be criminalised, according to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (Bpas) and Birthrights.

Lawyers for the child say that view was 'misplaced speculation'.

Ann Furedi, chief executive of the Bpas, and Rebecca Schiller, co-chair of Birthrights, welcomed the court's unanimous decision, saying: 'This is an extremely important ruling for women everywhere.  'The UK's highest courts have recognised that women must be able to make their own decisions about their pregnancies.'

The appeal judges heard that a large number of similar claims for compensation by children allegedly harmed by alcohol in the womb were awaiting the outcome of CP's appeal, with solicitors already instructed in around 80 cases.

Lord Dyson, the Master of the Rolls, sitting with Lord Justice Treacy and Lady Justice King, considered the case recently at a one-day hearing.

The judges were told that the mother was drinking 'an enormous amount' while pregnant with CP, including a half-bottle of vodka and eight cans of strong lager a day, and the child was born with an alcohol-related disease.

John Foy QC, appearing for CP, said that was the equivalent of 40-57 units of alcohol a day. Guidelines issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) were that 7.5 units might damage a foetus.

Mr Foy was representing a council in the North West of England which now has responsibility for CP and was seeking an award on her behalf under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.

He said the mother 'was aware of the dangers to her baby of her excessive consumption during pregnancy'.  He added: 'She was reckless as to whether there would be harm to the foetus. She foresaw that harm might be caused but went on to take the risk.'

CP was born in June 2007 with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), also referred to as foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). It can cause retarded growth, facial abnormalities and intellectual impairment.

Her compensation claim was based on the assertion that her mother had committed an offence against her as defined under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 by drinking excessively during pregnancy.

Ben Collins, appearing for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), asked the court to reject CP's legal challenge.

He told the judges: 'There is a conflict of ideas about what is or is not dangerous, not only in terms of drink but also in terms of smoking and food.'

Mr Collins asked whether 'a pregnant mother who eats unpasteurised cheese or a soft boiled egg knowing there is a risk that it could give rise to a risk of harm to the foetus' might also find herself accused of a crime.

CP's compensation application was initially rejected by the CICA in November 2009 on the grounds that she had not sustained an injury 'directly attributable to a crime of violence', as required by the Offences Against the Person Act.

A first-tier tribunal allowed her initial appeal but the Upper Tribunal of the Administrative Appeals Chamber ruled last December that the law required a crime to be committed against an individual 'person' - and a child did not become a person until birth.

The Upper Tribunal concluded: 'If (the girl) was not a person while her mother was engaging in the relevant actions then, as a matter of law, her mother could not have committed a criminal offence.'

Asking the appeal judges to quash the Upper Tribunal decision, Mr Foy argued CP had been a person entitled to compensation while still a foetus and the crime committed against had similar ingredients to manslaughter.

Alternatively, she became entitled to an award when she was born and was suffering the continuing consequences of her alcoholic mother's drinking.

Dismissing CP's appeal, Lord Justice Treacy said an 'essential ingredient' for a crime to be committed 'is the infliction of grievous bodily harm on a person - grievous bodily harm on a foetus will not suffice'.


Australian wine called "72 Virgins" sold as fundraiser for anti-Islamic organisation, Q Society

A BAROSSA wine called Hal & Al’s 72 Virgins is being sold as a fundraiser for an anti-Islamic movement that is worried about a “culture war”.  The virgins are a reference to the rewards jihadis believe they will receive in Paradise once they kill others and themselves.

Profits from the “fine Australian sparkling wine” will go to the Q Society, which bills itself as “Australia’s Leading Islam-critical Movement”.

The Q Society warns that Islam is linked to discrimination and violence and run lectures teaching about “the true nature of this totalitarian theocratic ideology”.

They could not tell The Advertiser which winery produced the 72 Virgins, but said they put the labels on themselves.

“With our own special label … this is a guaranteed conversation starter and lighthearted take on an otherwise serious subject,” the advertisement reads.  “Satire and a good laugh are valuable weapons in this culture war.”

Q Society President Debbie Robinson said sales were going well and people were stocking up for Christmas.  “I think it’s a little bit tongue in cheek … not something that’s meant to be taken too seriously,” she said.

Asked whether she thought people might find it offensive she said people were “offended by all sorts of things”.  “I don’t find it offensive. Everyone’s an individual,” she said.

Ms Robinson said the funds would help them bring in overseas speakers.  “We are involved with educating Australians about the Islamisation of the country,” she said.

One of the controversial speakers the Q Society has brought to Australia is Dutch MP Geert Wilders, who has called for a ban on building mosques and an end to Muslim immigration. He has referred to Islam as a “great sickness”.



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

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

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


4 December, 2014

Another female false acuser in Britain

It's hard to see why this case made its way into court

A pupil who has accused a married RE teacher of having sex with her is a self-confessed 'liar' who pretended she was in a car accident, a court today heard.

Stuart Kerner, 44, is accused of having sex with the teenager in empty classrooms and cleaning cupboards all over their school during an 18 month affair.

His alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is a former student at Bexleyheath Academy in south east London.

She was 15 when the affair is said to have begun. But today teachers at the school said the pupil was a 'proven liar'.

Librarian Marion King told Inner London Crown Court: 'As she got older she got very cocky and thought everybody fancied her. 'She went around saying "I can do what I like, I'm special".'

Mrs King told jurors the schoolgirl had pretended to be involved in a car accident to get out of PE classes.  She turned up to school with a bandage around her chest in the elaborate charade, the court heard. Teachers eventually discovered from her mother that there had been no accident.

Mrs King said: 'She said doctors found a problem with her heart. I said "Oh my God are you OK?"  'She said she couldn't do PE anymore. She had bandages all around her chest and said she had a tube put inside. She unwrapped her bandage and had a bloody line around three inches long.'

Mrs King said she was moved to tears by the story, but later discovered it was a lie.

She said: 'She came into my office and I said "What is going on?".  'She said: "I lie - that's what I do".  'She couldn't seem to grasp what she had done. It was shocking to me.'

Mrs King said other pupils joked that the schoolgirl 'stalked' Kerner.

She said: 'I thought Mr Kerner ought to be very wary of her. I think she had a crush on him and I said he needed to be careful because I think she has a massive crush on you.

'A couple of students commented on it. They said she is stalking him. I think she is very manipulative. She lied to me.'

When she was contacted by police, Mrs King said she thought the allegations were 'rubbish' and branded the pupil a 'psychopathic liar'.

She said: 'You have got a girl who is a proven liar saying unbelievable lies.  'I think she's a very sick girl. I think there is something wrong with her.'

PE teacher Les Ainsworth said the schoolgirl showed 'no remorse' when she was caught out lying.  He said: 'She was an attention seeker. Not only from her peers but from her teachers as well.'

He added: 'When she came into the office I found her manipulative and quite tactile.'

The PE teacher said he was told by two pupils in around May 2012 that the schoolgirl had told people she was having a relationship with Kerner.  He chose to have a word with Kerner about the claims, but did not report it higher, jurors heard. Pressed on why he did not take the matter higher, he said: 'My decision at that time was to have a word with Stuart.'

Kerner denies the allegations.


It was a shopping spree, not a zombie apocalypse

The snobs freaking out about Black Friday need to calm down

I wish Britain’s bien pensant press would make its bloody mind up when it comes to the nation’s poor. At the moment, the great and good of the comment pages seem caught between two competing moralisms. In one vision, Britain’s lower orders are foraging for grains in the crags of ‘late capitalism’, struggling to make ends meet and lining up outside food banks in the hope of feeding their malnourished young. In the other, they’re all obese shut-ins, sat in the glow of their flat-screens with discarded Greggs bags stuck to their trackies. So what are they? The pitied or the pitiable? The blessed meek or the brainwashed fat?

Well, this past week, it seemed to be the latter. Black Friday, a discount retail promotion imported from America, set tills ringing and the ground rumbling as Brits jostled for bargains in retail-park superstores across the nation. Worth an estimated £500million in UK sales, Black Friday – and its attendant online version, Cyber Monday – is the perfect marketing combination: a big, attention-grabbing gimmick along with a genuinely good deal. Retailers including Tesco, Asda, Amazon and John Lewis reduced big-ticket items by as much as 40 per cent and – surprise, surprise – people turned out in droves to get in on the action. Simple as.

But if you read the coverage, you’d have got a very different picture. Footage of skirmishes in Glasgow, London and Manchester were plastered over the news. There were reports of biting, punching and kicking and one poor woman having a TV dropped on her head in the mêlée. Then there was the inevitable brow-furrowing. It was ‘a national embarrassment, akin to a retail feeding frenzy’, said Barbara Ellen in the Observer; it was a metaphor for ‘the greedy capitalism that is making us so fat’, said Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in the Independent; it was the ‘dystopian conclusion of a hyper-consumerist pathology’, said James Dyke in the Conversation.

It seems the desire of normal British people to save some cash in the run-up to the festive season has been imbued with a quasi-religious significance. It was, in Ellen’s words, ‘shaming’ – a sign of the shallow, step-over-your-own-grandmother selfishness of our age. But when you look beyond the headlines it all becomes a lot more innocent. Aside from the scarce and unconfirmed reports of violence, it all looked like, well, a bit of fun. People were smiling – enjoying the rough and tumble. It was a Tesco-set mosh pit with the added bonus of a bargain at the end of it.

What these commentators were objecting to was hoi polloi consumer culture itself. For these people, the desire of ordinary Brits to own nice things and make life just that little bit more plush sticks in the craw. It’s soulless, it’s not eco-friendly and it’s shallow, they say. This is anti-‘Essex man’ snobbery taken to grotesque extremes and it’s all too common – especially around Christmas. The Roses tins, the mass-produced presents, the Christmas-themed Stella cans – these are the tacky signs of a slovenly society, apparently. Rather than celebrate the fact that most people no longer wake up on Christmas morning to find a lone orange in their stocking, observers seek political justifications for turning their noses up.

There’s a debate to be had about consumerism. The fact that today people increasingly define themselves by what they buy rather than what they do speaks to an absence of political and moral purpose in society. But Black Friday patrons are hardly the worst offenders. They want to buy nice things, while the well-fed columnists castigating them sing the praises of buying the right kind of things – things that are secondhand, ethical and good for the planet. Since when has the contents of your shopping trolley become a window into the soul? How shallow.


You cannot ‘have it all’ – British government tells women

Women should not believe it is possible to “have it all” combining a successful career, motherhood and beauty, a report published by the Coalition’s Minister for Women and Equalities insists.

Many mothers are also actively damaging their daughters by “foisting” their own thwarted and “entirely unrealistic” ambitions on them, the study commissioned by the Liberal Democrat minister Jo Swinson claims.

It also argues that women unwittingly “transmit” potentially crippling anxieties about their appearance and weight to their own daughters from birth, stunting their career prospects in the process.

In many cases this is done through subtle signals about their bodies which the women “sensed” from their own mothers as babies, it claims.

Parenting groups voiced dismay at the characterisation of young mothers as dangerously “pushy” and bitter.  But Ms Swinson, who wrote the foreword to the report, insisted it “shines a welcome light”on the pressures girls face.

The controversy centres on a study drawing together evidence about the effects of body anxiety on girls commissioned by Ms Swinson and compiled by the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England (UWE)  [Wot dat??].

It cites a series of polls suggesting that around one in five girls deliberately avoid putting their hand up to speak in class because they are afraid of drawing attention to their appearance and that one in seven would even avoid school for the same reason.

The report argues that body image and self-esteem are serious barriers to success for many would-be high achieving girls and estimates that Britain’s economy is being deprived of the contributions of an estimated about 200,000 more businesswomen.

It goes on to claim that mothers are subconsciously passing on their own body issues to their daughters in a seemingly endless “circle of appearance anxiety and body distress”.

And it adds: “Today there is a cultural rhetoric of girls and women ‘having it all’ and ‘going out there’. “These exhortations impinge on girls and on mothers in ways that create excitement and anxiety.  “They make it sound as though women can have it all at all times.  “This is entirely unrealistic and sets up expectations in complex ways within the mother daughter relationship and in women in general.

“It may include a mother’s inadvertent foisting on a daughter, ambitions that, for the mother, remains personally unfulfilled.

“Such ambitions may not sufficiently arm the next generation for the realities of the world and so when young women fail to meet the ambition they can feel shame and confusion, which in turn inhibits their economic activity.”

Siobhan Freegard, co-founder of the parenting website Netmums said: “I honestly don’t recognise that – it is very strong language, it’s not helpful and it’s not realistic.

“All I can say is that I have not seen that - we all know the odd pushy parent, the tiger mother, but the vast majority seem relaxed and do not want to put pressure on their children.

“Of course you want your child to achieve their full potential but nobody wants to push their child beyond – that’s the beauty of being a parent, that you see your child blossom into this individual.”

She added: “If anything this is a generation too late and it is not borne out.  “What I’m seeing is that it is today’s mums who were told they could 'have it all' have already realised that they have been fed a lie.

“Femminism was about how you could have it all and we are discovering that we are doing it all instead.”

Ms Swinson said: “This report shines a welcome light on what happens to girls’ aspirations and confidence when they are constantly distracted by how they appear to others.

“There is a lot of focus on the anxiety poor body image causes to young people, but much less attention on how its effects can spill out across all areas of life.

“This report forces us to consider how much creativity, energy and ambition would be unlocked if we could relieve girls from the unwavering, critical scrutiny of a society obsessed with a narrow and unrealistic ideal of beauty.”

The lead author, Dr Emma Halliwell, senior lecturer in psychology at UWE, said: “By ignoring this issue, we all become complicit in reinforcing these damaging messages.  “By actively challenging this overemphasis on appearance we can improve the lives of both women and men.”


Christmas shoppers should not buy gender based toys for kids, Australian Greens say

GREENS Senator Larissa Waters has urged Christmas shoppers to rethink buying bright pink jewellery or dolls for little girls, linking gender-stereotyped toys to domestic violence and pay inequality.

The minor party’s gender spokeswoman has endorsed the ‘No Gender December’ campaign, set up by grassroots group Play Unlimited, which calls on retailers to stop using old-fashioned gender stereotypes as marketing ploys this Christmas.

It warns aisles of pink and blue merchandise, while seemingly harmless, can lead to serious social problems including violence against women and children.

The campaign has already come under fire from leading child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg, who labelled it “a nail in the coffin of common sense” and said there was no research to indicate ‘gender-stereotyped’ toys were unhealthy for children.

But Senator Waters said shoppers should stop and think about how toys are being marketed to children this Christmas.

“While the starkly separate aisles of pink and blue might seem harmless, especially to well-meaning rellies and friends, setting such strong gender stereotypes at early ages can have long-term impacts, including influencing self-perception and career aspirations,” Senator Waters said.

“Out-dated stereotypes about girls and boys and men and women, perpetuate gender inequality, which feeds into very serious problems such as domestic violence and the gender pay gap,” she said.

“While such serious problems seem so far removed from choosing children’s toys, it’s important that we think about this issue, especially when so many children’s toys are being bought.”

The web-based campaign is asking shoppers to sign an online pledge declaring their commitment to boycotting gifts that play to gender stereotypes — which could include Barbie dolls for girls, or monster trucks for boys.

It also wants federal parliamentarians to introduce legislation that would ban retailers from marketing toys to children along gender lines.

It is understood the Greens have not yet formed a position on whether the minor party would support any legislative changes.

One of the campaign’s organisers, Thea Hughes, said while there was nothing wrong with either girls or boys playing with dolls, parents needed to be aware of the dangers of indoctrinating children into thinking about gender in a certain way.

“If you are talking about adults, gender stereotyping is completely unacceptable, it should be the same for kids,” Ms Hughes, a mother of two boys, said.

Play Unlimited has seized on research from Purdue University in the American state of Indiana which found strongly gender-stereotyped toys did not support children’s development as much as gender-neutral toys.

But Dr Carr-Gregg said parents should not start fretting if their son wants a remote control car or their daughter wants a doll.

“These gender differences are hard wired, and while I’m sure socialisation plays a role, to argue that toys in any way relate to domestic violence is, I think, too far a stretch,” he said.

“It’s a nail in the coffin of common sense.”



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

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

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


3 December, 2014

Good riddance to bad rubbish

She was in charge of the "totally chaotic" operation which led to British police shooting dead an innocent electrician who was just minding his own business but looked "woggy".  Anyone else who goofed so badly would have been at least demoted.  Why did she skate free?  For the same reason she got such a responsible job in the first place:  Because she is an open Lesbian.  And homosexuals are a privileged class.  Pity about the man her bungling caused to be shot, though!  I have observed that masculine-appearing women are often over-confident of their abilities so putting her in charge of anything was a risk.  Reading between the lines below, however, she has now been eased out -- probably for other incidents of incompetence

Cressida Dick,? ?the senior police officer? ?who headed the operation ?which led to the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, is quitting Scotland Yard after 31 years.

Her departure for? ?an undisclosed security role at the? ?Foreign and Commonwealth Office comes just months after she was moved from a key counter-terror role at the Metropolitan? ?Police.

As the? ?assistant commissioner in charge of specialist operations, including counter-terrorism, between 2011 and this summer,? ?Miss Dick? is? ?one of? ? Britain's? ?most senior? ?female police officers.

However,? ?a reorganisation saw her? ?put in charge of specialist crime?, including overseeing investigations into murder and sexual offences.

M?is?s Dick, ?54, was ?in charge of a surveillance operation which led to the ? fatal police ?shooting of? ?Mr de Menezes?, a Brazilian electrician, when he was mistaken for a suicide bomber? ?in the wake of the failed July 21 bomb attacks on London's transport network?.

Miss Dick g?ave evidence at a trial ?connected with the shooting and at ?an inquest ?in 2008, when she came close to tears as she described the "horrible'' and "terrible'' tragedy.

The?? control room ?of which she was in charge was said to be "very noisy and quite chaotic" by one witness.

She denied that she gave an order that Mr de Menezes must be stopped from getting on to a train at Stockwell "at all costs" and also denied instructing the firearms teams to use lethal force to stop him.


As two-parent families decline, income inequality grows

by Jeff Jacoby

FEW POLITICAL debates in this country are as freighted with emotional, cultural, and ideological baggage as those that touch on the choices people make in forming families. When public discourse turns to decisions about wedlock and child-rearing — think of Daniel Patrick Moynihan's 1965 report on "the breakdown of the Negro family," or the uproar over Murphy Brown during the 1992 presidential race, or the modern push for same-sex marriage — civility is too often swept away amid a storm of hurt feelings and self-righteousness.

All the more reason, then, to welcome two recent studies — one national in scope, one focused on Massachusetts — on the effects of single parenthood and the decline in marriage. Both lay out the data with clarity, while avoiding moralizing or disapproval.

One report, aptly titled "For Richer, For Poorer," is by sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox of the American Enterprise Institute and economist Robert I. Lerman of the Urban Institute. It documents the profound links that connect family structure and financial well-being, and underscores what decades of empirical data have shown: Families headed by married couples tend to be much stronger economically than those headed by unwed single parents.

"Anyone concerned about family inequality, men's declining labor-force participation, and the vitality of the American dream should worry about the nation's retreat from marriage," the authors write. The steady fall in the percentage of married two-parent households — from 78 percent in 1980 to 66 percent in 2012 — goes a long way toward explaining why so many ordinary families have trouble climbing beyond the lower rungs on the economic ladder. Correlation isn't proof of causation, of course. But there is no refuting the strong association between growing up with both parents in an intact family and achieving higher levels of education, work, and income as young adults.

Wilcox and Lerman put dollar amounts to the "intact-family premium" reaped by those who are raised by their own biological or adoptive parents. By age 28 to 30, for example, men from such backgrounds are earning on average $6,500 more per year in personal income than their peers from single-parent homes. And since growing up with both parents increases one's likelihood of marrying as an adult, men and women who were raised by married parents tend to enjoy much higher family incomes as well — in the case of that 28- to 30-year-old male, more than $16,000 higher, on average. (Among all married adults who were raised in a two-parent home, the annual average "family premium" is higher still: $42,000 more when compared to their counterparts from single-parent families.)

To be sure, not all families headed by married parents are stable or successful, and not all children raised by single parents struggle economically or professionally. Barack Obama, who was two years old when he was abandoned by his father, is dramatic evidence of that.

But as Obama himself says, the data aren't in question. "Children who grow up without a father are more likely to live in poverty. They're more likely to drop out of school. They're more likely to wind up in prison. They're more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol."

As the second study documents, these unhappy trends haven't bypassed Massachusetts.

In recent decades, the fraction of Bay State children in single-parent homes has risen to more than one in three. While the state's marriage rate has plummeted — there were 49,000 Bay State marriages in 1980 vs. fewer than 36,000 in 2011 — the rate of out-of-wedlock births has soared. The Massachusetts Family Institute, in a report replete with just-the-facts-ma'am statistics, lays out the economic and social costs.

"The increase in fatherless families is a significant contributor to income inequality," it notes. In 2013, the median Massachusetts income for married-couple households with children was $114,376. For households headed by single mothers, it was just $26,999. Citing data from the National Survey of Children's Health, the report observes that only 6 percent of children in married-couple homes have no parent who works full-time. For kids being raised by never-married single mothers, the comparable figure is 46 percent.

There is no finger-wagging or blame in these reports, just the numbers — and compassion. The child poverty rate is so much steeper in single-parent homes than in two-parent homes, and it is heartbreaking that so many young people raised in fatherless families will have such trouble climbing out of poverty as they grow older.

Income inequality may or may not be "the defining challenge of our time," as Obama and others have proclaimed. But the most significant driver of that inequality — the biggest impediment to upward economic mobility — isn't hard to identify. The higher the fraction of children not being raised by their married parents, the more of our fellow citizens for whom the American Dream is likely to remain beyond reach.


Quite an eye opener about Muslim influence
Here is a perspective by Dr Peter Hammond. Dr Hammond's doctorate is in Theology.  He was born in Cape Town in 1960, grew up in Rhodesia and converted to Christianity in 1977.
Islam is not a religion, nor is it a cult. In its fullest form, it is a complete, total, 100% system of life.

Islam has religious, legal, political, economic, social, and military components. The religious component is a beard for all of the other components.

Islamisation begins when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their religious privileges.

When politically correct, tolerant, and culturally diverse societies agree to Muslim demands for their religious privileges, some of the other components tend to creep in as well.

Here's how it works:

As long as the Muslim population remains around or under 2% in any given country, they will be for the most part be regarded as a peace-loving minority, and not as a threat to other citizens. This is the case in:

United States -- Muslim 0.6%
Australia -- Muslim 1.5%
Canada -- Muslim 1.9%
China -- Muslim 1.8%
Italy -- Muslim 1.5%
Norway -- Muslim 1.8%

At 2% to 5%, they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs.

This is happening in:

Denmark -- Muslim 2%
Germany -- Muslim 3.7%
United Kingdom -- Muslim 2.7%
Spain -- Muslim 4%
Thailand -- Muslim 4.6%

From 5% on, they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population.

For example, they will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims.

They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature halal on their shelves -- along with threats for failure to comply.

This is occurring in:

France -- Muslim 8%
Philippines -- 5%
Sweden -- Muslim 5%
Switzerland -- Muslim 4.3%
The Netherlands -- Muslim 5.5%
Trinidad & Tobago -- Muslim 5.8%

At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves (within their ghettos) under Sharia, the Islamic Law.

The ultimate goal of Islamists is to establish Sharia law over the entire world.

When Muslims approach 10% of the population, they tend to increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions.

In Paris, we are already seeing car-burnings.
Any non Muslim action offends Islam, and results in uprisings and threats, such as in Amsterdam, with opposition to Mohammed cartoons and films about Islam.

Such tensions are seen daily, particularly in Muslim sections, in:

Guyana -- Muslim 10%
India -- Muslim 13.4%
Israel -- Muslim 16%
Kenya -- Muslim 10%
Russia -- Muslim 15%

After reaching 20%, nations can expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings, and the burnings of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues, such as in:

Ethiopia -- Muslim 32.8%

At 40%, nations experience widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks, and on-going militia warfare, such as in:
Bosnia -- Muslim 40%
Chad -- Muslim 53.1%
Lebanon -- Muslim 59.7%

From 60%, nations experience unfettered persecution of non-believers of all other religions "(including non-conforming Muslims), sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon, and Jizya, "the tax placed on infidels, such as in:
Albania -- Muslim 70%
Malaysia -- Muslim 60.4%
Qatar -- Muslim 77.5%
Sudan -- Muslim 70%

After 80%, expect daily intimidation and violent jihad, some State-run ethnic cleansing, and even some genocide, as these nations drive out the infidels, and move toward 100% Muslim, such as has been experienced and in some ways is on-going in:
Bangladesh -- Muslim 83%
Egypt -- Muslim 90%
Gaza -- Muslim 98.7%
Indonesia -- Muslim 86.1%
Iran -- Muslim 98%
Iraq -- Muslim 97%
Jordan -- Muslim 92%
Morocco -- Muslim 98.7%
Pakistan -- Muslim 97%
Palestine -- Muslim 99%
Syria -- Muslim 90%
Tajikistan -- Muslim 90%
Turkey -- Muslim 99.8%
United Arab Emirates -- Muslim 96%

100% will usher in the peace of 'Dar-es-Salaam' -- the Islamic House of Peace.

Here there's supposed to be peace, because everybody is a Muslim, the Madrassas are the only schools, and the Koran is the only word, such as in:
Afghanistan -- Muslim 100%
Saudi Arabia -- Muslim 100%
Somalia -- Muslim 100%
Yemen -- Muslim 100%

Unfortunately, peace is never achieved, a s in these 100% states the most radical Muslims intimidate and spew hatred, and satisfy their blood lust by killing less radical Muslims, for a variety of reasons.

'Before I was nine I had learned the basic canon of Arab life.
It was me against my brother; me and my brother against our father; my family against my cousins and the clan; the clan against the tribe; the tribe against the world, and all of us against the infidel. -- Leon Uris, 'The Haj'

It is important to understand that in some countries, with well under 100% Muslim populations, such as France, the minority Muslim populations live in ghettos, within which they are 100% Muslim,
and within which they live by Sharia Law.

The national police do not even enter these ghettos.

There are no national courts, nor schools, nor non-Muslim religious facilities. In such situations, Muslims do not integrate into the community at large.

The children attend madrassas. They learn only the Koran.
To even associate with an infidel is a crime punishable with death.

Therefore, in some areas of certain nations, Muslim Imams and extremists exercise more power  than the national average would indicate.

Today's 1.5 billion Muslims make up 22% of the world's population.
But their birth rates dwarf the birth rates of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, and all other believers.

Muslims will exceed 50% of the world's population by the end of this century.

Adapted from Dr Peter Hammond's book: Slavery, Terrorism and Islam:  The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat

Australia: Major faiths oppose policies of new Leftist government in the State of Victoria

The release below went out before the election but the Labor party won the election by a big margin so the churches now have a real worry about the matters below

The Labor and Greens proposal to change Equal Opportunity laws to allow judges to decide fundamental religious doctrines, beliefs and principles of faith, in order to promote equal opportunity, has created an unprecedented alliance. The policies of the Labor Party on this issue are highlighted in the recently released  Christian Values Checklist for the Victorian election on Saturday 29th November 2014.

The Catholic, Anglican, Coptic Orthodox, Lutheran, Baptist and Presbyterian churches have all joined together to call upon the parties contesting the Victorian elections to maintain the current fair and balanced Equal Opportunity laws. Jewish Rabbis and Muslim Imams have also publicly expressed their concern.

1.  Rabbi Mark Shimon + Catholic and Islamic Leaders speak out:

2.  YouTube Rev Mark Durie:

3.   Combined Church Statement:   

"The right to religious freedom of faith-based organisations, such as schools, hospitals, charities, welfare agencies, counselling and support services to employ those who share their beliefs and values, is embedded in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Labor and Greens proposal to amend the state law is a way of avoiding the intention of this important International Covenant," John Miller, spokesman for the Australian Christian Values Institute said in an issued media release.

"At the heart of the issue is the freedom of religious faiths to employ staff who affirm their beliefs. They have an internationally established right to do this. It is more than the right that the Labor and Greens parties claim for themselves when they select staff who share their ethos and values. The Labor and Greens parties would object if they were forced to employ Liberal party members in their offices".

"If the Labor, Greens and the Sex party, who also back the proposal, want to change the law then they should be prepared to apply it to themselves, and the trade unions, in the interests of a level playing field."



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

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

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


2 December, 2014

Another multicultural killer in Britain

A dancer and her unborn baby were killed when a drug-fuelled driver mounted a kerb in his car, flew through the air and ploughed into them at more than 70mph.

Paige Jackson, 22, who was seven months pregnant with her first child, died instantly after being hit by the Volkswagen, which took off and spun 360 degrees after crashing into a sign in a 30mph zone.

Floyd Mangove – who had been drinking and smoking cannabis – has now been jailed for seven-and-a-half years, with victims’ relatives applauding the judge as he said: ‘I’m treating it as the death of more than one person.’

But they later said the punishment would never make up for the ‘life sentence of grief’ they had been left with.

Leicester Crown Court heard Miss Jackson had already named her son, Rueben, who died despite doctors carrying out an emergency Caesarean.

The 22-year-old, who had danced professionally and aspired to be a model, was killed shortly after setting off from home to walk to McDonald’s, where she was working extra shifts to earn cash in preparation for the birth.

Care worker Mangove, 22, who had climbed behind the wheel that February morning after a ‘rough night’, failed to negotiate a gentle right-hand bend before ploughing into the road sign.Martin Hurst, prosecuting, said: ‘His wheels locked and he mounted the pavement, demolishing a road sign with two upright posts which acted as a ramp, causing the car to take off and rotate 360 degrees, landing on its wheels.

‘In the course of the flight he struck Paige from behind, causing massive injuries to her head, abdomen and leg.’

He said the baby, who would otherwise have been born normally, died despite doctors’ best efforts. Mangove was arrested at the scene and found to have 142 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80 micrograms.

He had been smoking cannabis. CCTV showed Mangove, from Leicester, was driving at between 71mph and 88mph in the build-up to the crash in the suburb of Aylestone.

He admitted causing death by dangerous driving. Sentencing him on Friday, Judge Nicholas Dean QC said: ‘You were responsible for those deaths by the way you drove your car.’

Mangove would have faced a sentence of around 12 years had he been convicted after a trial. But he received a discount because he did not flee the scene and had pleaded guilty.

After the hearing, the victim’s fiancé Kane Johnson, 23, said: ‘What he has done has devastated so many lives, not just the two that were lost. Paige was the most beautiful and kind woman – she was loved by everyone.’

Her mother Vanessa Freeman, 43, said in a victim impact statement read in court: ‘My grandson never even had a chance of life. The baby would have been loved so dearly by all the family.’


Band Aid Baloney

OK, another crisis, another token gesture by the West’s super rich elites. But hey, at least it makes ‘em feel good. While it might assuage their guilt feeling about living like kings while so much of the world is in abject poverty, I for one am not all that impressed.

Band Aid 2I refer of course to the latest shindig, Band Aid 30, put together by Bob Geldof and Co. Another gathering of uber-rich pop stars who want the world to think they are real humanitarians. I have often written about these sorts of efforts, and have pointed out the double standards, the ego-tripping, and so on.

And I am not alone in my concerns. Quite a few folks have blasted this latest effort, and for various reasons. And many of these critics come from the continent Geldof is claiming to help. So I will let them speak here. One article begins this way:

"A growing number of Africans are uncomfortable with what some call “the white saviour complex”. Bob Geldof may well be the only writer of one of the best-known songs of all time to admit that his multi-million selling anthem is truly awful and that he now finds himself irritated when he hears it on the radio. “I am responsible for two of the worst songs in history,” the shouty Irish singer and activist said in 2010. “One is ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ and the other one is ‘We Are The World’.”

But that hasn’t stopped him re-recording the former, originally released in 1984 to raise funds to fight to the Ethiopia famine, and now incongruously synonymous with Christmas in Britain. The problem is that a lot of people agree with his assessment, and many of them are from countries on the very continent he is trying to help.

Various voices are heard in this article. Abdullahi Halakhe, a policy analyst in Kenya says:

"Do you know it’s Christmas? According to some estimates, the Christian population in Nigeria alone is almost three times the number of Christians in England and Wales. How couldn’t they know it’s Christmas? Bishop Arinze from Nigeria was at one point even in the running to be the next Pope.

Just sample the grotesque tone of the lyrics, dripping with the “White Man’s Burden.” It was awful 30 years ago, and it’s awful today. If they wanted a spike in record sales because we are nearing Christmas, this was not a great move.

What do you think of Western charity songs like this as a response to African emergencies? I think the fundamental problem with the “saving” Africa posture is that it is predicated on the notion that Africa/Africans are agency-less, which for me is problematic because it is the continuation of never-ending paternalistic tendencies towards Africa."

Robtel Neajai Pailey, a PhD researcher from Liberia is more blunt:

"In May, Liberian musicians Samuel ‘Shadow’ Morgan and Edwin ‘D-12? Tweh wrote and produced ‘Ebola in Town’. The lyrics were informative and the percussive beats so hot that it became an immediate hit. And just last month, the song ‘Africa Stop Ebola’ was produced by Malian, Ivorian, Congolese, and Guinean musicians.

We got this, Geldof, so back off. If you really want to help, buy a gazillion CDs of the two songs and send them to your friends as stocking stuffers with a note that says: “African solutions to African problems”. Instead of trying to remain relevant, Geldof and co. would do well to acknowledge the ingenuity of local artists and stop trying to steal the limelight!"

Ethiopian financial analyst Dawit Gebreselassie says:

"I think such celebrity-led initiatives have come to do more harm than the “good” they were intended for. And, even worse, is that it’s hard to imagine that the people behind it do not see the harm they are doing. Ethiopia has for the last few years been trying extremely hard to change its image as a poster child for poverty. It has been trying to depict a new bright image to the world so as to attract tourists and foreign direct investment. But this uphill battle is always hindered when such reminders of the past appear again on the screens of the people that are trying to be persuaded."

Africa’s only hope of success against poverty is through sustained, structured and equitable economic growth brought about through things such as investment and tourism. It’s hard to imagine how a few dollars raised every so often can possibly outweigh the damage it does by blemishing the continent’s image.

Nigerian human rights activist Chitra Nagarajan nails it:

"If the purpose of Bob Geldof and others is really to help the Ebola response rather than burnish their own profiles as modern day saints, they would donate money behind the scenes. The money that will be raised through this Ebola single could easily be raised by these rich musicians having a whip round among themselves and their friends."

Columnist Bryony Gordon is also scathing (and rightly so):

"Geldof is here to save West Africa from Ebola…. In the shallow, self-promoting world of celebrity, the simple and silent act of handing over money to charity is not the done thing – that’s what we impoverished plebs do. Instead, the rich and famous donate their precious time, and for this they expect to be celebrated and congratulated, as if before they flashed their expensively whitened teeth in the video for a song, we had no idea that Ebola was a problem, or that thousands of Africans were spending their last days on this earth in unimaginable horror, bleeding from every orifice, unable even to be comforted by their family and loved ones.

“Give us your f***ing money,” was Geldof’s message way back when, and it is his message now – you all dig deep and give up your hard earned cash because these famous people who make millions singing songs have deigned to give up a few hours of their time on a weekend. “We really can stop this… foul little plague,” said Geldof when he appeared on BBC Breakfast yesterday morning, with no mention of the Disasters Emergency Committee, which has raised £20 million for the region, or Medecins sans Fronteries, who have been out there since March."

She concludes:

"Nobody wants a world full of Ebola, but nor do I want a world full of Malaria and HIV and Tuberculosis and numerous other diseases – not to mention conditions such as hunger and poverty – that are destroying the lives of many millions of Africans every day. Certainly, I don’t want to be told how to behave philanthropically by a man worth an estimated £32 million, a man who is said to use tax avoidance schemes (it is telling that when a journalist asked him two years ago how much tax he paid, Geldof exploded at her, saying: ‘My time? Is that not a tax?’ Well, no, Bob, it isn’t).

I don’t want to be implored to give charitably by a band that travels in separate private jets because they don’t get on (One Direction), or by a man who avoids Irish taxes while simultaneously telling the Irish government to help developing countries (Bono). “It really doesn’t matter if you don’t like this song,” said Geldof as he launched it, “what you have to do is buy this thing.”

But do we? Really? If we don’t, does this make us unfeeling and uncaring, or does it mean that we have already donated money to the cause, or a different cause, even?

This, I think, is my main objection to Band Aid 30: it is all predicated on a belief that the British public are mean-spirited and uncharitable, when in actual fact nothing could be further from the truth. It’s time the likes of Geldof stopped asking us to give money."

Pity Sir Bob is being rather clueless here. But his ignorance seems proportionate to his arrogance.


85-year-old French doctor fined over $6,000 for urging woman not to have abortion

85-year-old French pro-lifer Xavier Dor was fined 5,000 euro ($6,350) Monday by the Appeals Court of Paris for having exerted “moral and psychological pressure” to dissuade a woman from having an abortion.

In 2012, the frail, almost blind, medical doctor, pediatrician, and researcher had given tiny knitted baby shoes to a woman who was approaching a Planned Parenthood center in central Paris.

The court also imposed a suspended fine of 5,000 euro, payable in case of a repeated offense, and awarded 750 euro damages to each of the three pro-abortion associations that had introduced the judiciary proceedings against Dor.

The Appeals Court was less severe than the criminal chamber of the Paris tribunal, whose judges went beyond the public prosecution’s demands, ordering a 10,000 euro fine in September last year as well as 2,000 euro damages for the young woman Dor met on the stairs leading to the Planned Parenthood center.

Dor is a veteran pro-lifer who, at the head of the association SOS Tout-petits, has led many protests and prayerful demonstrations near abortion facilities.

He told LifeSiteNews he was “surprised” by the reduced sentence, given the present context in which abortion has become a fully-fledged right in France, and is 100 percent refunded by the state-run Social Security.

Nevertheless, Dor has decided to take the affair to the Court of cassation, which is in charge of verifying the correct interpretation of the law. This case is actually one of the very first judgments regarding “moral and psychological pressure” with the intent of “hindering abortion.” This offense is of relatively recent invention: it qualifies strictly non-violent actions that can take place in any location, not necessarily close to a hospital or clinic where abortions are performed.

In this case, Dor twice entered the Planned Parenthood center. At this center, information can be obtained about contraception and abortion – including advice for women who are beyond legal term of abortion – but, contrary to the US, no abortions are performed there.

On the first occasion, on June 25, 2012, he entered the offices with another person and was able to speak with the person in charge, explaining why he was against abortion. Next day he returned alone: this time, a staff meeting was under way and he was brusquely expelled from the premises. It was while he was going down the common staircase of the building where Planned Parenthood has its offices on the first floor that he met a woman going up. He stopped her and offered her a Miraculous Medal of the Virgin Mary and knitted baby shoes, which she accepted.

The woman told the story at the Planned Parenthood offices and together with that association, as well as several professional pro-abortion and contraception unions, sued Dor because of the “extreme violence” of his words. As a Catholic and mother of three, she said, she had been “deeply shaken.”

During the appeals hearing, the public prosecutor supported her claim for damages and demanded that the first judges’ harsh sentence be confirmed: “He should realize the moral harm he’s been doing. It’s about time for him to stop. As a pensioner, he should find other occupations and let these women settle their own difficult questions of conscience, with all the heavy suffering they entail and that should not be increased,” he said.

As for the Planned Parenthood association and CADAC (National Coordination of Associations for Abortion Rights), they both asked for heavy damages, because, they said, sending Dor to prison would not help nor induce him to stop his fight against abortion. The offense of hindering an abortion carries maximum penalties of 2 years imprisonment and a 30,000-euro fine, as well as possible civil damages for the plaintiffs.

Both associations underscored that a fine would hurt Dor more than a prison sentence – he has already spent several months in prison for having prayed near abortion mills – and added that in these times of budget cuts their public funding is going down: why shouldn’t Dor help them get back some of the money they are no longer receiving from the State?

Both the local and national Planned Parenthood association as well as the CADAC were awarded 750 euro each. On the other hand, the woman in the case gained no damages at all, where the first judges had awarded her 2,000 euro for “moral harm” in September last year. Strangely enough, it was never made clear whether or not she was contemplating abortion on that day in June 2012, neither did she disclose whether she actually underwent an abortion then or at any other time. During the appeals hearing last month, she broke down during her testimony when her lawyer asked her to describe her feelings when Dor offered her the baby shoes.

It is therefore also unclear whether Dor can be understood, under the logic of the law, to have obstructed an abortion in a case where it is not even certain that there was a pregnancy.

This did not stop the judges from following the plaintiffs’ arguments. Claude Katz, representing Planned Parenthood, put it in portentous terms: “The right to abortion was obtained thanks to a long struggle. It is one of the most important advances of humanity. Your fight has already been lost. The Court’s decision cannot allow for the presence of a higher interest over and above the law.”

Another lawyer for the plaintiffs called Dor an “unworthy old gentleman” whose sole objective was to “hurt” and “cause suffering.”

Dor told LifeSiteNews: “The fine won’t stop me from defending life, there is more than one way to do so and we shall continue to demonstrate for the rights of the unborn.”

He added that while he was happy to note that the initial fine had been reduced by half, he considers “even a cent would be too much to pay for the right to defend innocent lives.” If necessary, he is prepared to take the affair before the European Court of Human Rights.


The three faces of censorship

Who do you want to ban or censor? The radical jihadist? The American ‘pick-up artist’? The offensive lyrics of a pop hit? The objectionable speaker who violates your sensibilities? The pro-life orator? The pro-choice orator? An art exhibition about slavery at the Barbican that makes people feel uncomfortable?

This week, it’s the turn of the terrorist agitator. The British government clearly views censorship as a vital weapon in its war against radical jihadists. Its proposed new laws, due to be unveiled by home secretary Theresa May today, threaten schools and universities with legal action if they fail to contain the threat of radicalisation or to ban extremists from speaking to students on campus.

Banning objectionable individuals from speaking on campuses or from entering the UK seems to have become the main vocation of the UK Home Office. Its new motto would appear to be ‘Si Movet Censor Eam — ‘If it moves, censor it!’. The other week it was Julien Blanc, the so-called pick-up artist accused of promoting sexual assault, who was banned from entering Britain. Today, the energy of the Home Office censor will be directed at eradicating jihadist ideas from university campuses.

Paradoxically, the government is a Johnny-Come-Lately to the ‘let’s ban something on campus’ crew. In the twenty-first century, university students are far more likely to demonstrate on behalf of censorship than they are to struggle for freedom of speech. In recent years, student-union meetings have only seemed to come alive when debating a motion that a certain society or meeting should be banned for failing to conform to official policy. Campus censorship has become a kind of competitive enterprise, where these unofficial advocates for censorship vie with officialdom to see who can demonstrate the most contempt for freedom and free speech.

The transformation of the academy from an institution that upheld the free circulation of ideas as one of its key virtues into an institution that sees censorship as an enlightened instrument for protecting individuals from offensive or dangerous ideas is one of the most remarkable developments in twenty-first-century Western society. It is a development informed by the zeitgeist of illiberalism that prevails in all sectors of society today. Tolerance is now increasingly regarded as a pragmatic principle that only applies to those who share the same outlook as you.

The ascendancy of the censor and the celebration of intolerance represent a reversion to the pre-modern view that it is morally justified to shut down and eliminate views perceived to be threatening. It is worth noting that until the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it was intolerance rather than tolerance that was considered to be morally correct. As late as 1691, the French theologian Jacques-Benigne Bossuet boasted that Catholicism was the least tolerant of the religions. He stated: ‘I have the right to persecute you because I am right and you are wrong.’ From this perspective, tolerating objectionable sentiments was seen as a form of moral cowardice. The embrace of intolerance represented a refusal to engage in a battle against evil. Tragically, this backward and illiberal sentiment now animates the behaviour of Home Office civil servants, many student-union operatives, and a variety of advocacy organisations devoted to the cause of protecting their worldview and their supporters from offensive words.

Censorship has a long history. Back in Roman times, two magistrates, or ‘censors’, were charged not only with counting the population but also with supervising public morals. Official censorship was historically about containing heresy. The Catholic Church’s publication in 1564 of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum – an index of prohibited books – was a key example of institutionalised or official censorship. The Index sought to prevent the influence of ‘evil’ by stopping the circulation of heretical and other dangerous ideas that might corrupt public morality. In subsequent centuries, official censorship expanded its focus, moving from the sphere of morality towards silencing supposedly threatening political ideals. The authoritarian regimes of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union represented extreme forms of such institutionalised censorship of political thought. In such societies, people had to watch their every word. The repression of objectionable views was held up as a fundamental task for these self-consciously intolerant regimes.

In the twenty-first century, official censorship is far more limited than it was in the past. It is often hesitant and it communicates a sense of bad faith – its practitioners claim that while they still formally uphold tolerance and freedom of speech, in this particular instance censorship of a dangerous or hateful idea is necessary. The UK government’s proposed ban on extremist speakers on campus expresses very well the double standards of the contemporary official censor. Unlike that of the sixteenth-century Catholic Church, today’s official censorship lacks conviction and passion. Initiatives like May’s proposed anti-terrorism bill or the new laws against hate speech are ultimately a form of impression management. Instead of challenging threatening ideas, officials wish the problem away by rendering certain ideas illegal.

Today, official censorship is far less significant than its freelance counterpart: unofficial censorship. As anyone who is familiar with current trends in political and cultural life will know, the promotion of censorship is no longer the preserve of state or religious authorities. Advocacy groups, educators, campaigners, media organisations and, most notably, university-based individuals are now all actively engaged in crusades to ban individuals and censor views. Indeed, recent expansions of official censorship have in part been a response to the pressure exerted by unofficial agitators for intolerance. These days, an online petition demanding the banning of this or that is sufficient to get a sympathetic reaction from an institution or a government agency.

Paradoxically, advocates of unofficial censorship do not see their actions for what they are – acts of intolerance – but rather claim merely to be affirming and protecting the individuals who might feel offended by the views they are censoring. This can be seen most clearly in universities, where many students and academics devote more energy to criticising the principle of freedom of speech than they do to upholding it. Consequently, many of the official laws that violate the freedoms of speech and expression – for example, so-called hate-speech laws – actually have their origins in the deliberations of unofficial campus censors. That so much of the government’s proposed new anti-terrorism law is directed at universities is probably informed by the calculation that the grounds for official censorship have been well prepared by unofficial campus censors.

But official censorship and its enabler, unofficial censorship, are not the only forms of censorship today. The main damage caused by unofficial censors is through the influence they exercise on culture and everyday life: they have helped to consolidate a climate of conformism that has led to the growth of a third type of censorship. And it is arguably the most insidious form of censorship: self-censorship. Historically, self-censorship has been associated with the media and the intelligentsia, who for both good and bad reasons drew the conclusion in certain situations that silence was the better part of valour. Such behaviour in a totalitarian society, for example, is entirely understandable and often essential for personal survival.

However, today self-censorship is an expression of a lack of integrity and courage. Just count the number of times that people who have been publicly criticised for making an offensive comment have rolled over and declared that they were utterly wrong or insensitive. ‘I apologise’, they say. Such public acts of self-censorship do great damage, for they discourage other people from voicing their sentiments in public. Official and unofficial censors are probably delighted by the flourishing of self-censorship, but what they overlook is that through their repressive behaviour, and their creation of a climate of conformism and self-silencing, they deprive society of the ability openly to confront and deal with the challenges it faces.

The three faces of censorship – official, unofficial, and self- – reinforce each other’s influence, to the point where the very idea of an open society is called into question. That is why, without a hint of irony, public figures can demand that intolerance should not be tolerated. Fighting intolerance with intolerance has the perverse effect of depriving tolerance of moral authority and rebranding the intolerance of the censor as a good thing, as virtuous. The twenty-first-century descendants of the heresy-hunting authors of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum are no less energetic than their moral predecessors. They are right now busy drafting laws for parliament or motions for student unions or online petitions to ban something. Those who love liberty and uphold freedom of speech face formidable opponents who are no less zealous than the authors of that Index.


Southampton’s Burger King revolt

Southampton General Hospital has recently announced that it will not be renewing its concession for Burger King at the hospital, which runs out in 2016. Apparently, if you’re a patient, visitor or member of staff, you will no longer be allowed to ‘have it your way’. Burger King does not, according to the hospital’s management, fit into a modern ‘healthcare environment’. The medical profession cracking down on food it deems unsuitable is not news – but the fact that there is a campaign to save the Burger King outlet certainly is.

According to the Southern Daily Echo, users of the hospital, past and present, are ready for a lightly toasted bun-fight over the decision. The petition, organised by Brett Phillips, the husband of a former patient, complains about the hospital’s own food, which Phillips says is poor quality and often cold by the time it turns up – if it turns up at all, that is. Being able to buy a Burger King meal, which is at least cooked on site, has been a lifeline. He concludes: ‘Burger King may not provide the healthiest of foods, but its quality is much higher than that of the hospital food. Southampton General will be making a big mistake if it doesn’t extend the lease beyond 2016.’

It would, of course, be good if the food provided by the hospital was of consistently good quality and was delivered to the wards when it was needed. But it would be better still if hospital managers left patients with a choice. Sometimes, the familiar and tasty is what people need when they’re ill. A burger and fries, if not exactly a lifesaver, can be a great comfort. A low-calorie salad just won’t cut the mustard.

There’s another problem, too: the idea that fast food is inherently unhealthy. This shows that what is driving Southampton General’s decision is not nutrition science but snobbery. A burger and chips is, in fact, packed with protein and vitamins, along with a nice big portion of calories – just what the doctor ordered for patients who need building up. To say a Burger King meal is bad for you is the biggest Whopper of them all.



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

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

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


1 December, 2014

Multicultural pedophiles in Britain

Seven Somali men who were part of a 13-strong sex gang involved in the abuse, rape and prostitution of British girls have been jailed for more than 40 years.

Victims aged between 13 and 17 were preyed upon, sexually abused and trafficked across Bristol where they were mercilessly passed around the men's friends for money.

Many of the girls were groomed to view the abuse as a normal part of being the 'girlfriend' of a Somali man, as it was said to be 'culture and tradition' to be raped by their 'boyfriend's' friends.

Of the four girls, three were white and one mixed race, with a fifth girl witnessing many of the sickening assaults.

The girls were in local authority care and fell into the evil clutches of the men who used the fear of rape to control them.

The victims, described as 'vulnerable' due to their age and circumstances, were paid as little as £30 or given drugs, alcohol and gifts to perform sex acts on older men.

On one occasion, a 13-year-old girl was trafficked across Bristol to a Premier Inn by one of the defendants, Said Zakaria, 22, where she was raped four times by three different men.

Another defendant, aspiring boxer Mohamed Jumale, 24, forced a victim to be raped by his brother, Omar Jumale, 20, to save him from hell as he 'wanted to turn gay'.

And police investigating the case rescued one 14-year-old victim - wearing only her underwear - from a cupboard in a flat, where she was found weeping 'they made me do stuff'.

The case, now the subject of serious case reviews, follows similar exploitation of young girls across English towns and cities such as Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford and Telford.

Two trials took place at Bristol Crown Court following an investigation, codenamed Operation Brooke, with 14 men convicted of child exploitation or drugs offences involving 10 victims.

Eight were jailed for a total of more than 70 years in June, while the remaining seven defendants - including one who featured in both trials - were sentenced today.

Judge Julian Lambert imposed sentences of between two and 11 years, with a combined total of 40 years and six months, describing some defendants as 'merciless'.

He said: 'You have all brought deep shame on your families, along with all the damage you have done. You were all brought up to know what proper standards of behaviour are.

'As well as deep, deep concerns for the victims of your crimes, I also have some concern for your families, who are not responsible for your actions. You are.'

The Operation Brooke defendants were convicted of charges including rape, sexual services of a child, facilitating child prostitution, trafficking, paying for the sexual services of a child and drug offences.

Mohamed Jumale was sentenced to 10 years after he was convicted of one count of rape against the second victim, known as Complainant 2. He was also found guilty of six counts of sexual activity with a child, against the first victim, known as Complainant 1, and one count of sexual activity with Complainant 2.

Jumale was also convicted of aiding and abetting his brother, Omar Jumale, in sexual activity with Complainant 1 - telling her to have sex with his brother to prevent him from turning gay.

Sentencing, the judge said: 'Love flowed only one way and was reciprocated only with lust on your part.

''You persuaded your girlfriend to have sex with three different men, including your brother.  'What you did was akin to causing a form of prostitution. To say you took advantage would be a significant understatement. You preyed on her affection for you in a highly cynical way.'

The judge, who imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO), described the rape on Complainant 2 as a product of Jumale's 'appalling lust'.

Jumale's brother Omar was sentenced to two years imprisonment, which he will serve in a Young Offenders Institution, for having sex with the 13-year-old girl.

Mohamed Dahir, 22, was jailed for two years for causing or inciting Complainant 1 into child prostitution.

Said Zakaria, 22, was also made the subject of a SOPO, and jailed for 11 years for two counts of rape and two counts of sexual activity with a child against Complainant 1.

He was also convicted of trafficking the girl, then aged 13, across Bristol to take part in a 'sex party' in a hotel room at a Premier Inn.

The judge said: 'While at the hotel you raped a 13-year-old girl twice, once in the bedroom and once in the bathroom.  'When you didn't get the sex you hoped for you took it by force. That force was significant.

'Your victim was injured as a consequence of your forceful lust. The repeated humiliation of a small 13-year-old girl was completed in a rough, callous and very nasty manner.  'You behaved without humanity and simply took what you wanted, leaving your victim totally humiliated and bleeding.'

The judge ordered Zakaria to serve the 11-year sentence alongside the five-year sentence for drugs offences he was handed in the first trial.

Jusuf Abdirizak, 20, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years for the rape of the 13-year-old girl, Complainant 1, at the Premier Inn.

Abdirizak was captured on CCTV booking the hotel room, using his driving licence as identification.

The judge said: 'I assess you as being responsible for an opportunistic rape which you perpetrated on a little girl of 13 who had been recruited for a sex party at a hotel.

Abdirashid Abdulahi, 21, was jailed for four years for the rape of a 16-year-old girl, known as Complainant 4.

Sakariah Sheikh, 21, was jailed for four years for raping a girl, aged 16 or 17 at the time, known as Complainant 5, and sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl, Complainant 1.


Why I Didn't Wear a White Ribbon

Malcolm Smith

 I see that another special day and another good cause has come and gone: the United Nations' White Ribbon Day, 25 November. People were encouraged to wear white ribbons to protest violence against women. T-shirts bearing slogans like "Stop Violence Against Women" were worn at demonstrations. Groups of men were encouraged to get up and swear never to offer violence to women, and to speak out if they ever heard of it from others. The statistics quoted were quite frightening: 52 women murdered per year - one a week - by a current or previous partner, amounting to three-quarters of those women who had died by homicide, with one in three women a victim of violence in their lifetimes. I myself know women close to me who have suffered horrifying violence from their husbands. This is obviously a very good cause. So why do I refuse to get involved?

     For a start, I don't like the coercive nature of such campaigns. It is drunks, not sober citizens, who take the pledge, but when a sporting club is called upon to swear not to offer violence to women, what sort of pressure does that put on the one who doesn't think it necessary? It also suggests that if you decline to wear a white ribbon, then you are condoning violence against women. As far as I am concerned, it should be taken for granted that I, like every other decent person, am against all antisocial behaviour without having to say so.

     Secondly, it is a waste of time. It is preaching to the choir. I don't hit women - or men, for that matter - and don't know anybody who does. (I know some victims, but not perpetrators.) Even if I did know any, what makes you think that these riff-raff would take any notice of a wowser [puritan] like me?

     This brings me to the third reason. There is a sinister unspoken undercurrent throughout this campaign. It carries the strong suggestion that this is widespread cultural phenomenon which needs to be changed when, in fact, it involves actions by a minority of deviates who know full well that they are violating community norms.

     Lets take a look at the homicide statistics. The most recent, detailed ones I was able to find were in the report by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) for the reporting years 2008-9 and 2009 -10. (There are later reports, but I couldn't find any so detailed). In that two year period there were 89 women killed by an intimate partner. That's 44½ per year; the figure of 52 is presumably later. In contrast, 33 men met their deaths at the hands of an intimate partner. However, if we look at the bigger picture, the total number of female homicides was 175 (that makes the proportion killed by an intimate partner 51%, not three-quarters), while male victims of homicide numbered 366 - 2.1 times as many!

     So why aren't we coming out into the streets demanding an end to violence against men? What's so special about women? Indeed, why are we concentrating on just one major aspect of violence against women: that committed by a partner? For that matter, instead of asking why 51% of murdered women are killed by partners, we might ask why there are not a whole lot more killed by other people.

     For the last question, the answer would appear to be the proportion of highly emotional interactions. 88% of the offenders were male. Now human beings are primates, and just like chimpanzees and baboons in this regard: not only is the male of the species more aggressive, he is more aggressive to his own kind than to the opposite sex. Men get aggressive in lots of situations: workplace disputes, fights over women, drunken brawls, gangland war, to name just some. Where would a woman fit into this scheme? To put it bluntly, for the average violent male, the only woman important enough to be worth killing is the one he is sleeping with.

     On the other hand, the strongest emotional interaction for a woman is likely to be with her husband or lover. 71 of the offenders were women. Since 33 men were killed by their intimate partner, that would amount to 46% of those killed by women.

     But there are a few elephants in the room. The first is the vast over-representation of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in the statistics. They represented 60 of the victims, or 11% of the total, including 25 intimate partners (the figures did not distinguish for sex in this case). If you remove them from the equation, the homicide rate for the rest of us is much lower. All right, these are victims, but for offenders it is even worse: 82 individuals, or 13% of the whole, were indigenous, and so were nearly 60% of those they killed. In fact, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, the rate of offending was more than five times the rate of the general population. Of course, I don't wish to minimise or disregard the terrible effects of violence on these dysfunctional indigenous communities. I merely wish to point out that it is not going to be changed by a lot of white men in white cities wearing white ribbons for a day.

     The second elephant is the ambiguity of the term, "intimate partner". Were these people actually married to their killers? I raise this issue because of the well established fact that domestic violence is more common in defacto relationships, and violence against children much more common. Yes, there are some particularly nasty husbands - I could give examples. Nevertheless, a woman is more likely to be bashed or raped if she is single, divorced, or living in sin than if she is married. Again, I don't wish to discount the violence in these relationships, but merely to point out that the solution is not to go around preaching about "violence against women", but to promote marriage - all the more so because of the well established greater propensity of divorce and unmarried parenting to produce violence and dysfunction in the next generation.

     Third, the really big elephant: the quoted figures are all very low. One woman murdered every week sounds terrible until you remember it comes from a population of 23 million. The overall homicide rate is just 1.2 per 100,000, which is among the lowest in the world. It is just a quarter of that of the United States, and on par with other First World Western countries. Not only that, it is the lowest recorded by the AIC. In the twenty years between 1989-90 and 2009-10, the rate had fallen 16%. If offenders, rather than victims, are considered, the male homicide rate fell from a 1992-3 high of 3.8 per 100,000 to 2.5, while the female rate remained more of less steady at 0.4 per 100,000. We are winning the war on homicide. Why hasn't this been publicised?

     What about the statistic of one in three women being victims of violence? Figures like this tend to be quoted and requoted without anyone knowing their origin. When the origin is known, often all that is cited is the summary, without any reference to the methodology. So even if we know the source, how can we be sure of its accuracy?

     In this case, it comes from the report on the 2005 Personal Safety Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), according to which 4.7% of women and 10.4% of men had suffered violence in the previous twelve months. You will notice, again, the much higher number of male victims, whom nobody worries about. However, on closer reading, you will also discoer that "violence" doesn't necessary mean violence. It also includes attempted and threatened violence. When only genuine "physical assault" is included, the figures are 3.1% and 6.5% respectively.

     Not only that, but the situation is improving. For women the level had dropped 60% from 1996 to 2005. More people was also saying they feel safer in more places more often. Again, we are winning the war on violence, but nobody seems to notice.

     The ABS also estimated that 39.9% of women and 50.1% of men had suffered violence at least once since the age of 15. Here, presumably, if the source of the much-quoted figure of one in three women - without, or course, mentioning the one in two men.

     But remember: violence is not necessarily violence. The figures for actual physical assault are 11% of women and 22% of men. However, to even it up, 17% of women but only 4.8% of men have experienced sexual assault. (The two categories cannot, of course, be added, because it is quite possible, and indeed probable, to be a victim of both types of assault.) The fact that the lifetime prevalence is not quite four times the twelve-month incidence suggests that a lot of victims are repeat customers, so to speak. This would appear to correspond to what we know intuitively. Many people will be assaulted only once, or never, but there are certain relationships which are habitually violent.

Also, there are some people who seem to court trouble by their lifestyle. When you hear about drunken brawls in the Valley or the Cross, you just know that it is not an isolated incident for many of the participants. Just the same, one of the statements by the ABS does not really harmonize with the rest of it: that since the age of 15, only 0.9% of men and 2.1% of women experienced current partner violence (in the broadest sense of the word).

     What you will not find in the report is any discussion of severity. Sexual assault is defined as an act of a sexual nature carried out against the person's will, but excludes mere unwanted sexual touching. Feel free to let you imagination wander over the range of behaviour this might include. However, the fact that almost one in twenty men claim to have been a victim would suggest that it is not limited to full penetrative rape. Physical assault is defined as the use of physical force with the intent to harm or frighten. It might be as severe as a beating to render the victim unconscious, or it might be a simple as a slap in the face.

     I am reminded of a site when a women told how her husband had spanked her after she threw a cup of hot coffee at him(!). Was this domestic violence? she asked. The answer, of course, is Yes. According to the definition, they were both guilty of physical assault, and they should get over it. This is not the way reasonable people handle their differences, but let's not pretend it is part of an invisible culture of brutality.


Former Tory chairman Lord Tebbit slams Government for helping women 'leave their children at home and go out to work'

Former Conservative Party chairman Norman Tebbit has demanded to know why the Government helps women to go out to work instead of to stay at home and look after their children.

The Tory former Cabinet minister also questioned why people never called for more women to become plumbers or electricians.

He spoke out as Government whip Baroness Garden was answering questions on the gender-pay gap in the House of Lords.

She had answered one question on the number of British women holding posts as ambassadors.

But Lord Tebbit asked her: ‘Do you not think it is strange that when these gender gap questions come up there is always a call for more women ambassadors, or generals or air marshals or something?

‘There is never a call for more women to be plumbers or electricians or jobs like that.'

He added: ‘Why does the Government do so much to give incentives to women to leave their children at home and go out to work rather than stay at home and look after their children?’

Lib Dem peer Lady Garden told him: ‘The Government is in fact giving incentives to women to be plumbers and engineers. We have only 7 per cent of engineers who are women in this country.'

She added: ‘There are a whole host of programmes to encourage girls and young women to go into Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects.

‘And plumbers too - we need more women plumbers. Those women who do go into being women plumbers find that they can be very successful because there are quite a lot of customers who rather like having a women coming to help them out with their plumbing.’


Scientist who discovered DNA forced to sell his Nobel prize after being shunned for inflammatory race comments

A scientist who was part of the team that discovered DNA has been forced to sell his Nobel Prize after he was shunned by the scientific community for comments that linked race and intelligence.

James Watson sparked an outcry in 2007 when he suggested in an interview with the Sunday Times that people of African descent were inherently less intelligent than white people.

The American scientist said he had become an 'unperson' since making the controversial remarks and is now selling his prize in a bid to 're-enter public life'.

The medal, the first to be auctioned by a living recipient, is expected to fetch as much as £2.5million when it goes under the hammer at Christie's in New York next week.

Dr Watson shared the 1962 Nobel Prize, awarded for uncovering the double helix structure of DNA, with British scientists Maurice Wilkins and Francis Crick. The discovery was made by Watson and Crick, who used experimental data that had been gathered by Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin.

Dr Watson, 86, said that he was fired from the boards of a number of companies after making the inflammatory race comments, adding that he has not given any public lectures since.  He told the Financial Times: 'No one really wants to admit I exist'.

He said he would use the money from the sale of the medal to supplement his income, which now comes solely from academic institutions.

Dr Watson added that he would use some of the proceeds to give back to institutions that have supported him, including the University of Chicago, where he was awarded his undergraduate degree, and Clare College, Cambridge.

He revealed that he would also like to buy an artwork, telling the newspaper that he would like to own a piece by David Hockney.

He admitted that the comments had been 'stupid' on his part, and insisted he is not racist 'in a conventional way'.

He said: 'I apologise ... (the journalist) somehow wrote that I worried about the people in Africa because of their low IQ - and you're not supposed to say that.'

Auctioneer Francis Wahlgren told the Financial Times he did not expect Dr Watson's previous remarks to affect the sale.

He said: 'There are a lot of personalities in history we'd find fault with - but their discoveries transcend human foibles.'

The auction includes papers belonging to Watson, including handwritten notes for his acceptance speech.



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

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

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


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(Isaiah 62:1)

Political correctness is Fascism pretending to be manners

Political Correctness is as big a threat to free speech as communism and fascism. All 3 were/are socialist.

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

Although I am an atheist, I have great respect for the wisdom of ancient times as collected in the Bible. And the command in Leviticus 20:13 that homosexuals should be put to death makes considerable sense to me. In an era when family values are under constant assault, such a return to the basics could be helpful. Nonetheless, I approve of St. Paul's advice in Romans chapter 1 that it is for God to punish them, not us. In secular terms, homosexuality between consenting adults in private should not be penalized but nor should it be promoted or praised. In Christian terms, "Gay pride" is of the Devil

The homosexuals of Gibeah set in train a series of events which brought down great wrath and destruction on their tribe. The tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out when it would not disown its homosexuals. Are we seeing a related process in the woes presently being experienced by the amoral Western world? Note that there was one Western country that was not affected by the global financial crisis and subsequently had no debt problems: Australia. In September 2012 the Australian federal parliament considered a bill to implement homosexual marriage. It was rejected by a large majority -- including members from both major political parties

Religion is deeply human. The recent discoveries at Gobekli Tepe suggert that it was religion not farming that gave birth to civilization. Early civilizations were at any rate all very religious. Atheism is mainly a very modern development and is even now very much a minority opinion

Gender is a property of words, not of people. Using it otherwise is just another politically correct distortion -- though not as pernicious as calling racial discrimination "Affirmative action"

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

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

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

So why do Leftists say "There is no such thing as right and wrong" when backed into a rhetorical corner? They say it because that is the predominant conclusion of analytic philosophers. And, as Keynes said: "Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”

Children are the best thing in life. See also here.

Juergen Habermas, a veteran leftist German philosopher stunned his admirers not long ago by proclaiming, "Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [than Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter."

Consider two "jokes" below:

Q. "Why are Leftists always standing up for blacks and homosexuals?

A. Because for all three groups their only God is their penis"

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

The latter "joke" is not a joke at all, of course. It is a comparison routinely touted by Leftists. Both "jokes" are greatly offensive and unfair to the parties targeted but one gets a pass without question while the other would bring great wrath on the head of anyone uttering it. Why? Because political correctness is in fact just Leftist bigotry. Bigotry is unfairly favouring one or more groups of people over others -- usually justified as "truth".

One of my more amusing memories is from the time when the Soviet Union still existed and I was teaching sociology in a major Australian university. On one memorable occasion, we had a representative of the Soviet Womens' organization visit us -- a stout and heavily made-up lady of mature years. When she was ushered into our conference room, she was greeted with something like adulation by the local Marxists. In question time after her talk, however, someone asked her how homosexuals were treated in the USSR. She replied: "We don't have any. That was before the revolution". The consternation and confusion that produced among my Leftist colleagues was hilarious to behold and still lives vividly in my memory. The more things change, the more they remain the same, however. In Sept. 2007 President Ahmadinejad told Columbia university that there are no homosexuals in Iran.

It is widely agreed (with mainly Lesbians dissenting) that boys need their fathers. What needs much wider recognition is that girls need their fathers too. The relationship between a "Daddy's girl" and her father is perhaps the most beautiful human relationship there is. It can help give the girl concerned inner strength for the rest of her life.

A modern feminist complains: "We are so far from “having it all” that “we barely even have a slice of the pie, which we probably baked ourselves while sobbing into the pastry at 4am”."

The love of bureaucracy is very Leftist and hence "correct". Who said this? "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything". It was V.I. Lenin

"An objection I hear frequently is: ‘Why should we tolerate intolerance?’ The assumption is that tolerating views that you don’t agree with is like a gift, an act of kindness. It suggests we’re doing people a favour by tolerating their view. My argument is that tolerance is vital to us, to you and I, because it’s actually the presupposition of all our freedoms.

You cannot be free in any meaningful sense unless there is a recognition that we are free to act on our beliefs, we’re free to think what we want and express ourselves freely. Unless we have that freedom, all those other freedoms that we have on paper mean nothing" -- SOURCE

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

Germaine Greer is a stupid old Harpy who is notable only for the depth and extent of her hatreds

Even Mahatma Gandhi was profoundly unimpressed by Africans

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