The creeping dictatorship of the Left...

The primary version of "Political Correctness Watch" is HERE The Blogroll; John Ray's Home Page; Email John Ray here. Other mirror sites: Greenie Watch, Dissecting Leftism. The mirror sites are updated several times a month but are no longer updated daily. (Click "Refresh" on your browser if background colour is missing). See here or here for the archives of this site.

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

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


28 February, 2014

But they still won't say sorry: Labour's Harman and Dromey finally break their silence over links to paedophile group

Harman is one of the British Left's prime haters

Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman finally broke her silence yesterday over her links with a paedophile group.

Miss Harman, her MP husband Jack Dromey, and former Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt have been under mounting pressure to explain the connections to the Paedophile Information Exchange while holding key roles in the National Council for Civil Liberties.

The pressure group granted ‘affiliate’ status to PIE, a notorious group of predatory paedophiles.
The BBC was accused yesterday of keeping the growing paedophilia scandal from the airwaves in order to protect the Labour Party

The BBC was accused yesterday of keeping the growing paedophilia scandal from the airwaves in order to protect the Labour Party

Last night Miss Harman dismissed the revelations as a ‘politically-motivated smear campaign’ and offered no apology over the NCCL’s extraordinary relationship with the PIE.

That is despite the fact that Shami Chakrabarti, current director of Liberty – the new name for NCCL – has previously issued an apology for the links with PIE.

In a statement Miss Harman said: ‘They have accused me of being an apologist for child sex abuse, of supporting a vile paedophile organisation, of having a relaxed attitude to paedophilia and of watering down child pornography laws.

‘These are horrific allegations and I strongly deny all of them.’

The Mail discovered that during the 1970s and 80s, Miss Hewitt described PIE – granted formal ‘affiliate’ status from 1975 to the mid-Eighties – in glowing terms as ‘a campaigning/counselling group for adults attracted to children’.

NCCL archives showed how the pressure group lobbied Parliament for the age of sexual consent to be cut to ten if the child consented and ‘understood the nature of the act’. It also called for incest to be legalised in what one MP called a ‘Lolita’s charter’.

The NCCL – now the respected Liberty – filed a submission to Parliament claiming that ‘childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in, with an adult, result in no identifiable damage’.

Miss Harman, as NCCL legal officer, tried to water down child pornography laws. NCCL lawyers acted for PIE members who were questioned by police over their disgusting behaviour.

Miss Hewitt was general secretary of the NCCL from 1974-83, Miss Harman was a newly qualified solicitor when she became its legal officer in 1978 until 1982, when she entered Parliament. Mr Dromey sat on the NCCL executive committee for almost a decade from 1970 to 1979.

Police are investigating PIE as part of Operation Fernbridge, launched after the Jimmy Savile affair, with one source saying there is evidence that PIE members were abusing children ‘on an industrial scale’.

The Home Office is also carrying out a ‘thorough, independent investigation’ into shocking claims that the Labour government of the 1970s may have helped finance the notorious group.

Ever since December, when The Mail first investigated the NCCL’s links to the paedophile lobby, we have been sending detailed questions to Miss Harman, Miss Hewitt and Mr Dromey about their links to PIE and whether they now regret supporting such a group. Miss Hewitt has still to respond but Miss Harman – after initially dismissing the story as ‘untrue and ridiculous’ – and her husband finally issued a statement via the Labour Party yesterday.

Miss Harman denied allegations that she supported lowering the age of consent to ten or opposed the law on incest – despite the Mail investigation never having made such a claim. Instead this newspaper stated that the NCCL, which she joined in 1978, had controversially lobbied on these issues two years earlier.

She also said that an allegation that she sought in 1978 to water down a proposed ban on child pornography was untrue.

Responding to the NCCL’s decision to grant ‘affiliate’s status to the notorious paedophile group, Miss Harman said: ‘The Mail have tried to make me guilty by way of guilt by association.

‘When I was at NCCL there were around 6,000 members and nearly 1,000 affiliated organisations of which PIE was one.

‘I was aware that because NCCL opposed censorship and supported gay rights, paedophiles had sought to exploit that and use NCCL as a vehicle to make their arguments. But by the time I came to work for NCCL this vile organisation had already been vigorously challenged within the organisation.’

She added: ‘The reason I decided to go to work for NCCL was because I actively supported the work they had done and in particular the work of their women’s rights committee on the Equal Pay Act, on the introduction of the Sex Discrimination Act and for greater protection of victims of domestic violence and against race discrimination.’

Mr Dromey said: ‘During my time on the NCCL executive, I was at the forefront of repeated public condemnations of PIE and their despicable views. ‘The accusations of the Daily Mail are untrue and beneath contempt.’

Labour leader Ed Miliband defended his deputy. He said: ‘Harriet Harman is somebody of huge decency and integrity. I know she has a long and proud record of being on the right side of all of these issues.’

Last night the Mail said: ‘For ten weeks now the Mail has repeatedly asked three leading Labour figures to answer questions about the involvement of the NCCL, a body in which they played leading roles, with a vile paedophile group whose actions are currently being investigated by the police.

‘The belated statements today of Miss Harman and her husband – full of pedantry and obfuscation – failed to answer the Mail’s central points and deny allegations the Mail has not made.

‘More pertinently they have failed to utter a word of contrition or sorrow about the NCCL’s closeness to the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange, an organisation that validated the activities of a monster like Jimmy Savile. Nor do they utter a word of apology to the victims of PIE.

‘In stark contrast, Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, which took over the NCCL’s mantle, has condemned the historic links with PIE as a “source of continuing disgust and horror”.

‘As for smears, it is a newspaper’s job to ask awkward and controversial questions – questions that in this instance are still awaiting a satisfactory answer.’


Labour's paedophile problem is more about press regulation

If the Roman Catholic Church had forged links - even as far back as the 1970s - with something called the Paedophile Information Exchange, the political outrage and media onslaught would have been monumental. Certainly, there have been many thousands of appalling cases and a chronic culture of cover-up, but no one can pretend that this was countenanced by canon lawyers or advocated by the Magisterium. Similarly, if the BBC were found to have proven historic (= Savile-era) connections with a group which favoured easing restrictions on child pornography; advocated a more relaxed attitude to paedophilia; proposed the legalisation of incest; and wanted to lower the age of consent to 10, there would be urgent demands for a public inquiry, with immediate suspensions and assurances in Parliament that heads will roll.

But when three current Labour politicians - former officers of National Council for Civil Liberties - are confronted with documented links to something that really was called the Paedophile Information Exchange, and when it is set down in black and white that this group really did agitate for all of the aforementioned 'progressive' policies, you have to wonder why Ed Miliband has not at least instigated an internal inquiry and done a few background checks on Harriet Harman, Jack Dromey and (former MP) Patricia Hewitt. Instead, he declared that he doesn't "set any store by these allegations", and that Harriet Harman in particular is a person of "huge decency and integrity".

The evidence (if it be) has been set out in the Daily Mail, even alleging that "the Labour government of the time may have helped finance the organisation". Unsurprisingly, Ms Harman has dismissed this as a politically motivated campaign - a smear, indeed, of the most despicable Dacre sort, to which depths of journalism neither she nor Labour would ever stoop.

The thing is, Pope Benedict XVI spent much of his pontificate issuing profuse expressions of remorse and repentance on behalf of his church for the heinous acts of paedophile priests and the post-conciliar hierarchical conspiracy of cover-up. And the BBC is still apologising over its 1970s "groupie" culture of misogynistic permissiveness and predatory paedophilia. Both institutions are horrified and appalled - 40 years on - that they did nothing to protect so many vulnerable victims over such a long period. But at least the perpetrators are now being held to account - one of them even post mortem.

But last night Harriet Harman refused eight times to accept that her connection with the Paedophile Information Exchange was a mistake. This is not just any Labour politician: it is the party's Deputy Leader. She didn't just deflect the question once: she side-stepped it eight times. She has 'clarified' her position this morning in a hastily-penned statement of 'regret', but that doesn't quite explain her cagey obfuscation last night on Newsnight.

It is curious how Mr & Mrs Jack Dromey are more concerned with rubbishing Dacre and berating the Mail than they are with repudiating a group which sought to take advantage of children. If it is moral and just to arrest aging entertainers and prosecute abusive priests in their 70s and 80s, how can it not be right to investigate the alleged links between Labour, the NCCL and PIE? Is the Mail's political smear agenda really more repugnant than historic matters of child abuse, rape and torture?

Or is Harriet Harman's real objective here to situate herself and her husband as latter-day Dowlers - the latest victims of vile press abuse - and thereby reinforce the need for a Leveson framework of press control to protect the poor and vulnerable (and the rich and powerful)?


Maybe the young are not so bad

America's most popular cable news host is upset. "Marijuana use, video games and texting (are) creating major social problems," says Bill O'Reilly. "This is an epidemic that will lead to a weaker nation!"

Give me a break.

Crotchety old geezers always complain about "the kids." The Boston Globe frets about "Idle Trophy Kids." The New York Post asks if millennials are "The Worst Generation?" Older folks (my age) complain that young people spend so much time texting each other that they can't communicate. And because they spend hours playing violent video games, violence is up.


It's true that kids today play incredibly violent games like "Halo" and "Grand Theft Auto," but as the games' popularity increased (over the past 20 years), youth violence dropped 55 percent. In Japan, kids spend more time playing violent games, and there's even less violence. And in America, despite media hype, there are fewer school shootings now, not more.

Kids "can't communicate" because they text all the time? Recently, kids invented Facebook, YouTube, Firefox, Groupon, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and so on. They communicate something .

Inevitably, we older people misunderstand new ways young people do things -- we are frightened by the risks and oblivious to the benefits.

If O'Reilly had been on TV in the '50s, he would have ranted about comic books causing juvenile delinquency. The Senate actually held hearings in which the public was instructed that Superman "embodied sadistic fantasies ... injurious to children ... "

Today O'Reilly opines, "The cyberspace addiction rate among American children is off the charts ... they don't learn coping skills! ... In China, young people are encouraged to compete, be disciplined, live in the real world. Not here."

Even if that were true, what have Chinese young people invented lately? Any companies? What music and art did they compose?

O'Reilly worries about "America going to pot ... If you use any intoxicating agent, your goal is to leave reality. You're not satisfied with your current state of mind, you want to get high, buzzed, blasted, whatever."

I say, so what?

Some people like the sensation of getting "buzzed." Some are not satisfied with their current state of mind. Good. That's what gets people to learn new things.

Altering our minds is a most basic right. We alter our minds -- often for the better -- every time we read a book, fall in love or watch a TV show, including O'Reilly's.

But old people worry that young people are exposed to sexual imagery. It's true the Web brings pornography to children's computers, and that culture is often coarse. When Miley twerks, I cringe.

But again, where's the harm? As reporter Michael Moynihan will point out on my TV show this week, "Over the past 20 or so years, sex has been in everyone's face, yet teen pregnancy dropped by 50 percent."

I wish outraged oldsters remembered how we once laughed at those who were frightened by Elvis Presley.

In 1956, The New York Times said Elvis had "no discernable singing ability." The New York Daily News called his act "animalism that should be confined to dives and bordellos." Even Frank Sinatra said his kind of music is "deplorable, a rancid, smelling aphrodisiac (that) fosters destructive relations in young people."

Somehow, America survived Elvis.

"Moral panics are one of our favorite things," says Moynihan. "If there's nothing to be panicked about, what do you write about?" Being outraged is part of the media circus.

The danger is that the outrage undermines perspective. It creates a false impression of how risky the present is, and it fuels unnecessary, freedom-killing regulations.

Old people always talk about the good old days. But the good old days were not so good. When I was young, more kids were intolerant, racist, sexist and homophobic. They had little knowledge of life beyond their neighborhoods. Today, thanks to the Web and other innovations, life is better, not worse.


Gay activists have met their match with Muslim barbers

So a lesbian walks into a Muslim barbershop, and asks for a “businessmen’s haircut”.

It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it really happened, and now a government agency called the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario will hear her complaint.

Faith McGregor is the lesbian who doesn’t like the girly cuts that they do at a salon. She wants the boy’s hairdo.

Omar Mahrouk is the owner of the Terminal Barber Shop in Toronto. He follows Shariah law, so he thinks women have cooties. As Mahrouk and the other barbers there say, they don’t believe in touching women other than their own wives.

But that’s what multiculturalism and unlimited immigration from illiberal countries means. A central pillar of many immigrant cultures is the second-class citizenship of women and gays.

So if we now believe in multiculturalism, and that our Canadian culture of tolerance isn’t any better than the Shariah culture of sex crimes and gender apartheid, who are we to complain when Omar Mahrouk takes us up on our promise that he can continue to practise his culture — lesbian haircuts be damned?

He’s not the one who passed the Multiculturalism Act, and invited in hundreds of thousands of immigrants with medieval attitudes towards women and gays and Jews, etc. We did.

Mahrouk’s view is illiberal. But in Canada we believe in property rights and freedom of association — and in this case, freedom of religion, too.

But McGregor ran to the Human Rights Tribunal and demanded that Mahrouk give her a haircut.

In the past, human rights commissions have been a great ally to gay activists. Because, traditionally, gay activists have complained against Christians. And white Christians are the one ethnic identity group that human rights commissions don’t value, and that multiculturalism doesn’t include.

In recent years, Canadian human rights commissions have weighed a complaint about a women’s-only health club that refused a pre-operative transsexual male who wanted to change in the locker rooms.

They’ve ordered bed and breakfasts owned by Christian families to take in gay couples. They’ve censored pastors and priests who have criticized gay marriage. Gays win, because it’s a test of who is most outraged and offended.

But in the case of the Muslim barbers, the gay activists have met their match. If the test is who can be the most offended or most politically correct, a lesbian’s just not going to cut it.

Oh, McGregor is politically correct. But just not politically correct enough. It’s like poker.

A white, Christian male has the lowest hand — it’s like he’s got just one high card, maybe an ace. So almost everyone trumps him.

A white woman is just a bit higher — like a pair of twos. Enough to beat a white man, but not much more.

A gay man is like having two pairs in poker.

A gay woman — a lesbian like McGregor — is like having three of a kind.

A black lesbian is a full house — pretty tough to beat.

Unless she’s also in a wheelchair, which means she’s pretty much a straight flush.

The only person who could trump that would be a royal flush. If the late Sammy Davis Jr. — who was black, Jewish and half-blind — were to convert to Islam and discover he was 1/64th Aboriginal.

So which is a better hand: A lesbian who wants a haircut or a Muslim who doesn’t want to give it to her?

I’m betting on Mahrouk. And I predict that Muslim activists — not quiet barbers like Mahrouk, but professional Muslim busybodies — will start using human rights commissions more and more to push their way into places where they have no legal right, but where the human rights commissions are more than happy to engineer things for them, if they complain loud enough.

If I were a gay activist, I’d probably want to declare victory and shut down these human rights commissions right now.

In five years time, it won’t be gay activists forcing themselves into Christian B&Bs. It’ll be Muslim activists vetoing the gay pride parade.



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

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

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


27 February, 2014

Multicultural manslaughter in Britain


With a single, vicious and unprovoked punch, a life is tragically ended. Andrew Young, 40, paid an appalling price for his good citizen act of challenging a cyclist who was riding on the pavement.

The cyclist’s friend, a convicted robber, delivered the killer blow – yet could spend just two years behind bars. Mr Young’s mother yesterday described the sentence as an ‘absolute joke’.

Mr Young was attacked by Gill after the 40-year-old became involved in an argument with his friend

The shocking incident took place on a busy street in Bournemouth when Mr Young warned Victor Ibitoye that riding on the pavement was dangerous. When the conversation ended Lewis Gill, who was with Mr Ibitoye, punched Mr Young, taking him by surprise.

Distressing CCTV footage shows the Asperger’s sufferer toppling back on to the road, violently striking his head.

Gill, who has a conviction for handling stolen goods as well as robbery, then walks away, with a glance back at his motionless victim.

Passers-by came to Mr Young’s aid but he died the following day in hospital. His mother Pamela was at his bedside.

Yesterday Gill, 20, pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter for which he was jailed for just four years.

He was sentenced by Judge Keith Cutler, who was criticised for his handling of the inquest into the gangster Mark Duggan, whose shooting by police sparked the riots of 2011.

Mrs Young said: ‘You can see Andrew didn’t cause Lewis Gill any harm. ‘I wish that awful man who took my son away had pleaded not guilty so he would have got a longer sentence. The sentence is an absolute joke.

‘I’m a committed Christian but I think that if someone takes a life they should be prepared to forfeit their own.’ She said that too few killers served full sentences.

Tory MP David Davies said of Gill’s punishment: ‘That’s an outrageously lean sentence. In two years he will be out walking the streets after taking somebody’s life.

‘He has attacked someone unprovoked and should be properly punished. People need to realise if you punch someone like that, and they fall backward, they can die.’

The judge told the hearing at Salisbury Crown Court on Friday that the case lay somewhere between murder and manslaughter.

‘I bear in mind your early guilty plea. I accept there is no pre-meditated element and provocation does exist,’ he told Gill.

The maximum sentence for manslaughter is life, but the term can be shorter, at the discretion of the judge. With half his sentence served on licence, and allowing for time already served, Gill could be out of jail in under two years.

The judge told Gill, from Sutton, Surrey, that Mr Young was no threat: ‘You are a powerfully built young man. You must have known that [the punch] was going to cause a significant injury and, very sadly, it did.’

Gill was also sentenced to two three-month terms to run consecutively with the manslaughter sentence.

This was for committing the crime while on a suspended sentence for the robbery and handling offences. In mitigation, Steven Perian said: ‘He wishes he could turn back the clock and not react in the way he did.’

Mr Young, a former grammar school pupil, regular church-goer and speaker of several languages, was said to have the social skills of a 14-year-old due to his Asperger’s.

Taxi driver Simon Scott said of him: ‘Andrew was always friendly and polite and often struck up conversations with strangers. He was gentle and wouldn’t hurt a fly.’


Millionaire Gay Couple Sues to Force Church Wedding in Britain

Millionaire gay couple the Drewitt-Barlows have confirmed they have launched a legal challenge to the right of churches to opt out of gay weddings.

In fresh comments published by the Chelmsford Weekly News in the U.K. today, Barrie Drewitt-Barlow said legal action had started. “We’ve launched a challenge to the government’s decision to allow some religious groups to opt out of marrying same-sex couples," he said. “We feel we have the right as parishioners in our village to utilize the church we attend to get married.

“It is no reflection on our local church, who have been nothing but supportive towards us. We understand their hands are tied by a higher group of people within the church.”

Earlier this month, Drewitt-Barlow said he and his civil partner, Tony, would go to court to force gay weddings on churches. He said at the time, “The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the church. “It is a shame that we are forced to take Christians into a court to get them to recognize us.”

He added, “It upsets me because I want it so much—a big lavish ceremony, the whole works. I just don’t think it is going to happen straight away. “As much as people are saying this is a good thing, I am still not getting what I want.”

A government bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the U.K. cleared Parliament earlier this year, and the first same-sex weddings are expected in 2014.

The legislation allows churches to opt out of performing gay weddings, and it specifically protects the Church of England.

However, top human rights lawyer Aidan O’Neill says protection for the Anglican Church is “eminently challengeable” in court.

A copy of O’Neill’s legal advice was sent to the prime minister in January, but Mr. Cameron nevertheless proceeded with the legislation.


On the run, the foreign killers and rapists that Britain can't throw out: 750 criminals simply disappear after being set free

More than 750 foreign criminals – including killers, rapists and paedophiles – are walking the streets after jumping bail.

They should have been deported after completing their sentences, but instead have been released from detention under human rights laws and then gone on the run.

Among those at large are serious violent criminals, including 11 rapists, at least two killers and several child abusers and arsonists.

The previously unseen figures show the total also includes six burglars, 26 robbers, dozens of violent thugs and 76 drug dealers.

The Home Office is refusing to identify the criminals by name because to do so would breach their ‘right’ to privacy.

The figures were released to the Daily Mail after a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Home Office revealed that 752 foreign offenders who have committed crimes in Britain have absconded after they were released on bail from prison or immigration detention and have never been found. Of those, 16 have been on the run for more than ten years, and 158 for between five and ten years.

Another 310 have been on the run for between two and five years, while 191 have been at large for between one and two years, and 77 for less than a year.

Human rights rulings mean foreign criminals who the Home Office is struggling to remove from Britain cannot be kept behind bars indefinitely.

They can only remain in custody as long as there is a reasonable prospect of officials being able to remove them in the near future.

But in many cases, human rights laws block their return. Other barriers can include difficulties in obtaining a passport for offenders who destroyed their travel documents on their arrival.

As a result, even the most dangerous offenders can be let out on bail by a judge.

Tory MP Nick de Bois said: ‘It is deeply worrying that so many dangerous foreign criminals are walking the streets and urgent action must be taken to find them.

‘The British public are losing patience with so-called human rights claims putting them at risk. These criminals should by rights have been thrown out of this country and put back in jail in their country of origin.’

The new scandal is the latest blow to the reputation of the beleaguered immigration service, and is a serious blow to David Cameron, who has made personal pledges to deport more foreign offenders.

The freedom of information request was made in March last year, but despite a legal requirement to release the information after 21 days, no response was received until last month.

The Home Office refused to say which countries the offenders are from. It claimed releasing that information could undermine its ability to negotiate deportation agreements with foreign governments.

Officials also refused to say exactly how many criminals had committed particular offences – if the total was fewer than five – in case it could aid public identification.

But they said there were fewer than five criminals guilty of manslaughter, and at least one guilty of conspiracy to murder.

They admitted they did not classify the criminals according to how much of a risk they pose to the public.

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘We believe foreign nationals who break our rules should be removed from the UK at the earliest opportunity.

‘Last year we removed more than 4,500 foreign national offenders. Where individuals abscond from our controls, we work closely with the police and probation services and employ specialist trace teams to return these individuals to prison.

‘Absconders are circulated on the Police National Computer and are added to our watch lists in case those who have left the country seek to re-enter.’


Did social workers take this middle class family's adored child to meet adoption targets? Four-year-old boy was torn from loving mother at hospital even though no one had hurt him

You could be forgiven for thinking Wendy Tricker has the perfect life. A five-bedroom house in Shropshire; a good career as a management accountant; a supportive and successful husband; two BMWs, a Mercedes and three acres of land filled with a menagerie of animals.

It’s a lifestyle their little grandson adored; running around the grounds, feeding the ducks and chickens, helping Granny walk her beloved eight-year-old German Shepherd, Rupert, whenever he visited.

But the four-year-old boy hasn’t been to see her for nearly 18 months. And Wendy hasn’t seen him at all since last May. Nor has her daughter Charlotte, 21, the youngster’s mother.

There’s been no family rift. Instead, the Trickers insist they are the victims of a social services department hell-bent on taking a child away from his perfectly safe, loving home.

And, short of a miracle tomorrow — when the young boy’s adoption case will be finally rubber-stamped by the courts — those social services will be successful.

It’s impossible to overstate the heartache wreaked on this respectable family. ‘It mostly hits me in supermarkets,’ says Wendy, 52. ‘Charlotte and I were walking down the aisle of one recently and saw a display of nappies. We just held each other, and cried and cried.

‘Once, Charlotte saw a pushchair from behind, with a child’s foot sticking out. It was the same shoe as his. She raced round to see. But, of course, it wasn’t him. I’ve done the same. You find yourself staring at children. But he could be anywhere.’

Wendy is among a growing number of grandparents who maintain their families are being taken from them for the most insubstantial of reasons.

Last month, this paper reported on the case of Graham and Gail Curlew, from Sheringham, Norfolk, whose grandchildren were removed from them with no reason ever given.

Then there were Lee and Katrina Parker, from Colchester, Essex, who very nearly lost their grand-daughter simply because social services thought their family, with seven children, was too large.

It is hard to think of a worse wrong the state could sanction. And yet, partly because of the ongoing privacy of the family courts, the outcry doesn’t seem to be forthcoming.

Maybe it’s because most of us simply don’t believe it could happen to us; that only dysfunctional, neglectful families have children who are taken into care.

It’s obvious when I meet them that Wendy and Charlotte Tricker are both capable, hard-working and loving. And as Wendy warns: ‘We loved him so much and cared for him so well. It’s proof that if it can happen to us, it really can happen to absolutely anyone.

‘How many more grandparents like me have to lose their beloved grandchildren before someone stands up to the family courts?’

Their problems began in 2007 when Wendy, who was divorced from Charlotte’s father, remarried and moved the family from Norfolk to Shropshire.

Charlotte, then 14, started at a new school. However, she was soon targeted by a 31-year-old man who police and social services suspected of being a paedophile. He and Charlotte began a relationship without her parents’ knowledge and she fell pregnant soon after turning 16.

‘Of course, I was disappointed,’ says Wendy. ‘I wanted her to have a career first and children later, when she was in a settled relationship.

‘As she was barely two weeks into the pregnancy when I found out, I admit that, yes, we did talk about abortion, but Charlotte was very committed to having the baby.’

Besides, Shropshire Social Services, who were involved because of their fears about the father, insisted Charlotte had ‘a human right’ to have her baby. How ironic, given what later happened.

Charlotte was provided with a flat and benefits by the state, and Wendy and her husband furnished it for her.

In February 2010, just short of her 17th birthday, Charlotte went into labour. Wendy was her birthing partner. ‘I will remember it till the day I die. The moment I saw my grandson, it changed everything — I was elated beyond words.’

In the weeks that followed, Charlotte proved to be a good mother, making ends meet and keeping her adored and thriving son clean and well-fed.

A year later, having split from the boy’s father during her pregnancy, Charlotte met a new boyfriend. Nearly ten years older and a bit of a drifter, he was far from the partner Wendy had dreamed of for her daughter — but he adored Charlotte. He regularly showered her with flowers and was devoted to her son, and the three were happy together. All seemed calm.

Then came the events of September 19, 2012. Wendy and her husband were in Madeira to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Charlotte’s boyfriend and her son were having a bath together, as they often did, while Charlotte caught up with bills and paperwork in the next room. The toddler had recently started potty training, so after his bath he was allowed to play naked from the waist down.

It was then he went up to his mother and said: ‘Mummy, willy sore.’ Charlotte examined him and noticed some discolouration and swelling. After texting her mum for advice, she decided to see if it was better the next day.

It wasn’t. Fatefully, Wendy suggested Charlotte take him to her GP — advice she says she will regret giving till her dying day.

Despite examining the boy, the doctor was baffled and so sent the family to the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

Several junior doctors looked at the child, and all were puzzled. Eventually, a consultant paediatrician examined him. In his notes, he put forward two hypotheses: that the penis was swollen due to a naturally occurring condition, or that it could have been caused by a wound deliberately inflicted. Both comments were accompanied by question marks. In other words, he didn’t know either.

Police were called to the hospital, where they interviewed Charlotte, her partner and the paediatrician. There was, they said, no case to answer: as far as the police were concerned, no crime had been committed.

The hospital decided to keep her son in overnight, so Charlotte and her boyfriend slept in chairs near his bed. The next day, however, they were told to go home without him.

They were distressed beyond measure, says Wendy, and Charlotte ‘went berserk’ with worry and anger.

When they arrived home, the couple started a desperate hunt for clues, photographing anything in the flat on which the boy could have hurt himself.

But knowing they had done nothing wrong, they reassured themselves that the matter would be cleared up within days.

Instead, to their shock, they were told there would be a hearing at Telford County Court on September 25 to decide what action to take. Wendy and her husband found an expert in family law to represent Charlotte and her partner.

It was only after a meeting with him that they discovered what a serious predicament they were in. When they asked if they’d be able to take the little boy home, the solicitor replied: ‘I don’t think so.’

‘We were in shock,’ Wendy explains. ‘If you are innocent, you assume everything will be all right. I believed in British justice. Even at this stage we all thought it was just a matter of time before he would be home.’

At the hearing, it was decided that the boy would be placed with foster parents, who turned out to be older than his grandparents. Charlotte was allowed just an hour-and-a-half of supervised contact, eventually with her mother in attendance, twice a week.

‘He was distraught,’ says Wendy. ‘Every time he saw Charlotte, he ran to her, threw his arms around her and said: “Don’t go, Mummy; don’t go!”

‘Putting him in the car and seeing him sobbing as he waved goodbye was awful every time. And Charlotte wasn’t allowed to tell him that the separation was involuntary, so what was going through his little mind? I dread to think of the long-term effects.’

Charlotte launched her own legal battle but when her solicitor suggested she blame her boyfriend for the injury as it was her best chance of recovering her son, she refused point blank — after all, he hadn’t done anything.

Eventually, though, despite believing in his innocence, she ended the relationship and broke off all contact with him in a bid to get her son back. The endless stress took a toll on Charlotte’s health: her weight plummeted from ten to just six-and-a-half stone — dangerous for her 5ft 9in height — and she stopped sleeping.

A further court date for February 2013 was set and the family held their breath, praying that their beloved boy would be returned to them. ‘Because we all knew no one had hurt him, we had every confidence the expert witnesses would exonerate the family,’ says Wendy. ‘Sooner or later, everyone would see sense.’

Despite their hopes, the boy was taken away from them, even though no definitive medical diagnosis had been made of his condition and its cause. Then, on May 17 last year, another court ratified his adoption.

The next day, Charlotte received an official letter saying her contact with her son was at an end. She would have to say goodbye to her little boy for ever on May 24, 2013.

‘How do you say goodbye to someone you love?’ asks Wendy, sobbing so much she can barely speak. ‘You can’t. It’s like murder.

‘As we left him, I told him that Charlotte was his mummy. I said: “Never forget that: she’s your real, your only mummy.”

‘And then [the social worker] lied to him: they told him he just needed to go to the toilet .?.?. but instead they took him away for ever.

‘What happened next is a bit of a blur. We were screaming, hysterical with grief. I told a social worker: “If you hadn’t lied in court, this would never have happened.” We were beside ourselves.

The foster mother even asked us for some mementos, his first rattle for example. It was as though they wanted to take everything — it was sick.’

In October 2013, Wendy went to court herself to request contact with her grandson. Social Services opposed her application, saying she was unstable and citing her grief-stricken reaction as her grandson was torn from their arms. The court found against her.

Tomorrow, the adoption will be final. After that, no court in the land can give him back to his family. ‘One day,’ Wendy says, ‘we hope that he will go on the internet, read stories about us, and learn that we fought tooth and nail for him, and we love him to bits. Perhaps his adoptive family will read our story, know we love him, and be kind and take pity on us.’

‘They decided to take him from us the moment we set foot in the hospital,’ Charlotte says. ‘They didn’t want me to be a good mum: they wanted adoption. Lovely children are in demand for adoption. He’s been so loved, he’ll be easy to love. If he’d really been abused, he’d be difficult, and who wants “damaged goods”?’

The government target is to increase adoptions of children in care. Children who go back to their parents — or to loving grandparents — do not meet the target. Thus, in 1995 the number of children under five adopted in England was a mere 560, while children under five whose care ceased (a term that includes those who go back to live with their families) was double this.

By 2012, the number whose care ceased was much the same, while adoptions had more than quadrupled: of these a staggering 1,100 were ominously described as ‘consent dispensed with’.

‘The obsession with adoption is splitting up many families merely because of government diktat,’ says John Hemming MP, chairman of Families for Justice which fights for those who suffer at the courts’ hands.

‘I expect in years to come the then government will apologise to the children for what has been done to them today. What matters now, however, is to change the system so the needs of children come to the fore rather than government policy.

‘In particular, the system ignores grandparents. For children to be taken into care is often a traumatic step, whereas staying with grandparents is normal life and a far better option than foster care. However, grandparents, uncles and aunts have no right to be heard by the court.’

Wendy agrees: ‘The impact this has had on my grandson will never heal. Any physical trauma he suffered was gone within days. Losing his birth family will haunt him for ever.

‘And that’s not even thinking of the rest of us. I’ll be 65 before I see him again [when he turns 18 and is allowed to search for his biological family], if I ever do. He gave my 82-year-old mother reason to go on living after she suffered a stroke. Yesterday, she pointed at his toy in her house — she won’t let us remove it — and the tears were streaming down her face. She will never see him again.’



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 February, 2014

BBC's censorship of paedophilia scandal 'reveals its left-wing bias': Corporation accused of refusing to report story to protect the Labour party

The BBC was accused yesterday of keeping the growing paedophilia scandal from the airwaves in order to protect the Labour Party.

Until yesterday afternoon, the corporation had refused to report that three Labour figures had leading positions in a human rights group that backed the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange.

The story has been on the Mail’s front page three times but the BBC cut all reference to it from its press reviews yesterday.

Philip Davies, a Tory MP on the Commons culture, media and sport committee, said the reason for the BBC’s continued silence was institutional left-wing bias.

‘It is a scandal that the Daily Mail is one of the most read papers in the country but is ignored by the national broadcaster,’ he said.

‘The BBC is interested only in stories that favour the Labour party or that appear in the Guardian. If this were about Conservative MPs the Labour party would be up in arms and the story would have been leading Newsnight five days running.’

A BBC spokesman said: ‘BBC News is an impartial, independent news organisation and decides its editorial priorities based on merit alone and without external help.’

Adding to the mounting confusion, its own journalists have provided contradictory excuses for why the story has been ignored.

While some claimed they were given ‘legal advice’ to drop it, an official spokesman insisted news bosses simply decided the story was ‘not new’.

Since it published the results of its PIE investigation last Wednesday, the Daily Mail has run a series of articles – including two further front page splashes - calling for the Labour trio to answer key questions about their time at the National Council For Civil Liberties (NCCL) in the 1970s.

But yesterday’s front page story was still ignored by the BBC in its daily newspaper round ups on TV and radio.

Late on Sunday night, the BBC News Channel was the first to preview the next day’s front pages.

It found time to discuss the front pages of the The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Times, The Independent, The Daily Express and The Sun, but made no mention of the Mail’s main story.

On Radio 4, the Today programme yesterday summarised a string of articles – from the situation in Ukraine to the news Piers Morgan has quit his CNN talk show – in its two newspaper reviews at 6.38am and 7.35am. Once again, there was no mention of the PIE.

Radio Five Live also omitted the Daily Mail story from its 5.15am newspaper summary, and an online article about the day’s front pages made no mention of the PIE story.

The striking gap in the BBC’s coverage was not missed by its viewers and listeners, many of whom took to Twitter to voice their frustration that the story had not been given airtime.

But the corporation gave conflicting justifications for the continued omission.

Last Wednesday, Five Live broadcaster Nicky Campbell blamed ‘legal advice’ for his failure to mention the Mail’s original splash in his newspaper review, saying there was a ‘lack of sources’ and adding it ‘would have been one to go big on if we could stand up.’

But when MailOnline published copies of all the key documents in the investigation later the same day, the BBC quickly changed its stance.

An official spokesman claimed the affair was in fact being ignored for editorial reasons, adding: ‘The story in question is not new, and instead, we have followed several big, breaking news story.’

The BBC’s first mention of the story was in an online article yesterday afternoon that repeated Miss Harman’s allegation she was the victim of a ‘politically motivated smear campaign.’

Its reticence was in marked contrast to its commercial rival Sky News.

The channel aired a lengthy discussion about yesterday’s Daily Mail front page on its Sunday night press preview programme.

Presenter Eamonn Holmes again mentioned the story in his round-up of the day’s papers in his early morning show Sunrise.

And yesterday afternoon Sky journalist Jon Craig confronted Labour leader Ed Miliband about the affair and reported on the affair during the evening news bulletin.


Hillary’s Sugar Daddy Socialism Is Fair Game

It’s now officially sexist to hold someone accountable for her legacy of failure – as long as she is a liberal. Nonsense. Rand Paul was absolutely right to declare open season on Hillary’s track record of actively enabling Bubba’s grotesque satyrism.

Naturally, her mainstream media cover-up crew swung into action, decreeing that examining her record is verboten. It’s adorable how, in the age of the internet, these has-beens still think they get to decide what we can and can’t discuss. Give it another year or so until these dinosaur hacks are at the bottom of off-ramps with signs reading, “Will gatekeep for food.”

Hillary proves the old adage that a liberal feminist needs a man like a fish needs water. We just aren’t supposed to say that either.

Ah, the wonders of liberal feminism. What can’t it do – besides actually improve the lives of women who don’t manage to hook up with a powerful man who will hand them a career? Here’s the cold, hard truth: If Hillary hadn’t kept her part of the bargain with Bill Clinton by putting up with his serial abuse, she’d be just another grim liberal matron scowling at the thought that somewhere, out there, a man isn’t apologizing.

Liberal feminism was always about the liberalism, never about the female. Like every liberal pose, it is based upon a lie. Women, to liberal feminists like Hillary, are simply a means to an end. Hillary’s end was personal power, and all she had to do was destroy the occasional Paula Jones or Kathleen Willey if they protested being her hubby’s glorified sex toys.

We aren’t supposed to talk about how liberal feminism messed up our culture for women who aren’t married to a rich former president, and we aren’t supposed to mention that Hillary embodies liberal feminism better than almost anything except Ted Kennedy’s Oldsmobile.

Real feminism should be concerned with women having the same opportunities as men. But liberal feminism is only concerned with turning women into a perpetual left wing voting block. The left doesn’t woo them by promising to build a society without arbitrary discrimination where, with hard work, they can realize their ambitions. Instead, liberals promise to hook them up with Uncle Sam – he’s older and not so hot, but he’s got a lot of dough and will take care of all you helpless Julias!

That’s Hillary in a nutshell, the poster gal for Sugar Daddy Socialism.

Lisa De Pasquale of Townhall illustrates the collateral damage in her new book Finding Mr. Righteous. Lisa (a friend who shares my agent and publisher) writes about her life as a single women in modern America with agonizing honesty. As she goes from guy to guy, we see that women today have career opportunities but not the traditional structures that create opportunities for personal happiness.

But hey, ask liberal feminists, who needs traditional structures? Well, we do – something else we’re not supposed to say. Where is the social structure that protected and enabled women – and that gave purpose to men? In its place, as Lisa shows us, is a world of young people who spend an extraordinary amount of time alienated and alone. Much of her human interaction is actually electronic, even her intimate interaction. If Helen Reddy wrote her big hit today, it would be called “I Am Women, Hear Me Sext.”

Helen Smith’s Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream - and Why It Matters showed us the cultural forces – many of them spurred on by liberal feminists like Hillary – that incentivize males to remain man-children. The men in Lisa’s world (at least until the end of the book) seem largely beaten and weak, drained of confidence and ambition – in other words, they turned out exactly as feminists hoped. Lisa shows us how this impacts women. The gallant Knight in Shining Armor is now a patriarchal relic; here comes the broke Dude in Torn Cargo Shorts asking if his date can spot him $25 for dinner because his mom finally started making him pay rent.

And when they try to act like men, it’s often only a parody of masculinity that confuses the kind of seedy priapism exemplified by Bill Clinton with true manhood. After all, Hillary and her fellow feminist enablers gave such cheesy sexual aggression a big thumbs up, and Lisa demonstrates that young men were watching. There are no cigar antics, thankfully, but Lisa’s no-holds-barred peek into reality is quite terrifying. And I know terrifying – I watch Girls.

Maybe Lisa should have done what Hillary and her pal Wendy Davis did – latch onto a successful guy and had him create a career for her. It’s totally empowering.

No, we’re not supposed to comment on how Hillary has accomplished absolutely nothing by herself, except Benghazi.

Wanna see a liberal squirm? Ask him to name Hillary’s greatest success as Secretary of State. You’ll get: “Uh, she raised awareness of women’s issues around the world.” Apparently, until she dumped a zillion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere jetting around from “Reset” fiasco to Arab Spring disaster, the world was unaware of women.

As Secretary of State, foreign potentates understood her as a mere flunky. But if the American people elect this empty pantsuit president, how will they treat her? They know Bill used her like a doormat. They will too. Why would anyone have any respect for her – or fear of her?

You won’t hear that from the slobbering sycophants of solidarity in the mainstream media. After all, when it comes to protecting Hillary’s façade of accomplishment, it takes a Potemkin Village.

Wait, can we say that?


Sex-Obsessed Lefty Horrified by ‘Toxic Purity Culture’

Hey, gals, want to avoid being raped? Put away that Lady Smith 38. No need for pepper spray. Self-defense classes? Not necessary. The solution is simple. The best defense against rape is to just cast away your “deeply troubling” Christianity and become a secularist slut.

So goes the advice of one Katie McDonough, Salon.com assistant editor, fertile fount of millennial wisdom and – well – and whatever else.

In an article published at Salon Feb. 20 titled, “The right’s warped ‘purity’ culture: 4 ways evangelical views of sex took over America,” Ms. McDonough provides an unvarnished glimpse into the profligate mind of the postmodern “progressive.” (Yes, you read that right. Purity is warped and biblical sexual morality has taken over America.)

In what amounts to little more than an anti-Christian hit piece on Patrick Henry College – or “God’s Harvard” as the evidently prone-position-prone journo pejoratively pokes – Ms. McDonough says that it’s time for American women to reject all those biblically imposed “gender complementarian” norms and do away with our “toxic purity culture” once and for all. (Because, just look around. That dang ol’ toxic purity is everywhere. What America really needs is more debauchery.)

It gets better.

Christianity causes rape, McDonough asserts, warning us that we suffer a “convergence of rape culture (whatever that is) and evangelical culture.”

Get that? In this woman’s “progressive” mind, when the lady says, “I’m saving myself for marriage,” the bad guy hears, “Come and get it!” Still, Ms. McDonough does have this much right: It can’t be rape if you’re giving it away like peanuts on the plane.

She goes on: “While it may be tempting to draw a red line around Christian fundamentalist views on gender and sexuality to distinguish them from supposedly evolved ‘secular’ culture, there is considerable, uncomfortable overlap between the two.” (The cognitive dissonance: It hurts!)

So, if I’m understanding her right – and, admittedly, Ms. McDonough’s screed is borderline coherent – what she’s essentially claiming is that, when it comes to sex, both secular America and Christian America are really just one big ball of puritanical prudery.

In fairness, I suppose she could actually believe this. It’s all relative with the relativist. For the “anything goes”-type, Miley Cyrus may well be indistinguishable from the Virgin Mary. When you’re colorblind, everything looks kinda gray.

She continues: “Evangelical Christianity makes visible – through purity pledges and doctrine assigning women the role of man’s ‘helpmate’ – the norms and expectations about female virginity and subservience that so often remain hidden in the secular world.” (Ooh. Loves me some man-hate.)

So, get it? Purity and virginity bad. Impurity and promiscuity good. I’ll give Ms. McDonough this: She calls it like she sees it.

She goes on to make the same tired “war on women” claim we’ve heard so much of lately, warning the would-be chaste that biblical sexual morality is really “only about reproduction and male entitlement.”

She then mocks columnist Susan Patton as “a joke” for “arguing in mainstream publications that women who have sex outside of marriage are setting themselves up for disaster and heartbreak.” (Yeah, and?) This is in response to Patton’s observation in a recent Wall Street Journal column that, “The grandmotherly message of yesterday is still true today: Men won’t buy the cow if the milk is free.” To which, with indignation, McDonough sneers: “This is purity culture passed off as ‘common-sense’ wisdom, which was published in a ‘serious’ and secular paper. In 2014.” (So now “secular” is synonymous with slutty?)

McDonough’s advice? Girls, give away that milk now, ya hear! (To which the frisky-frat-boy “bro-choice” choir sings: “Amen!” Hey, “pro-choice” gals, you do know that most “pro-choice” guys only support your so-called “abortion rights” so that you’ll put out, right?)

Secular-”progressives” like McDonough have been working to deconstruct traditional sexual morality for generations. And today – more than at any point in history – they’re having success in spades. Despite her wincey whines to the contrary, Ms. McDonough knows this to be true.

And so do you.

The goal is to impose – under penalty of law – the left’s own moral relativist, sexual anarchist worldview. Hence, we see a flood of unelected liberal judges, for instance, arbitrarily ramming counterfeit “gay marriage” down the throats of millions of Americans, complete with the threat that Christians either join the delusion – and pretend that sin-centered “same-sex marriage” is real and right – or suffer the consequences.

Another example is Obamacare’s despotic HHS abortion mandate that unconstitutionally requires Christian organizations to cast aside millennia-old church doctrine and get with the postmodern, pro-abort program.

The list goes on.

All of which makes McDonough’s central declaration her most ludicrous: “[O]ne point remains clear,” she proclaims. “Conservatives want to enshrine religiously defined norms about sexuality into law.”

No, Ms. McDonough. The only people “enshrining sexuality” into law are “progressive” social engineers like Barack Obama, Justice Anthony Kennedy and the rest of you godless lefties – hell-bent on taking the screws to America.

Now that is “rape culture.”


On White Liberal Hypocrisy: Smug Diversity Pushers And The Safe White Neighborhoods They Live In

By Frank Borzellieri (I have Frank's 2004 book on my desk as I write this. You can get Don't take it personally here. That's one way to help him. He comments on ethnic matters with rare frankness --JR

The hypocrisy of white liberals over integration and the wonderful enrichment that mass immigration is supposed to bring is the gift that never stops giving. If there is one thing you can be absolutely sure of whenever you hear a white liberal espousing the vital importance of diversity, it is that the same person lives in a safe, lily-white community.

What was termed “white flight” in the 1950s and 1960s is a demographic fact of life and everyone knows it. No less an unwilling witness than the U.S. government has reported what everyone knows: when the non-white population of a community reaches between 10 and 20 percent, whites simply leave. Whites will not live in non-white neighborhoods in any meaningful percentage.[The Residential Preferences of Blacks and Whites: A Four-Metropolis Analysis, Housing Policy Debate, January 1997(PDF)]

I personally, as a libertarian, think all people—black, white, Hispanic, or Asian—should be allowed to live anywhere they want without being browbeaten or forced to live where they don’t want to. My problem is with white liberals who claim that “diversity is strength” but whose actions are very different when it comes to their own lives, their own homes, their own children and their own neighborhoods.

All of this brings me to the particular white liberal hypocrites who have caused me to be fired as a Catholic school principal, not once but twice, for political writings that were never secret and which Monsignor Michael Hull, the “Censor Librorum” of the New York Archdiocese, had already approved as not in violation of Catholic teaching. (See Jared Taylor’s article on the incident [PDF] and this video interview.)

Corinne Lestch, (email her )the New York Daily News reporter who wrote the defamatory 2011 article that threw the New York Archdiocese into panic, is a left-wing activist and who prides herself on destroying people who don’t toe the Politically Correct line on race.

Surely, if there is one white person who must absolutely certainly practice what she so devotedly preaches, it must be Corinne Lestch. But where does Corinne Lestch live? Well, in Bronxville, New York, a town that is 92 percent white and just one percent black! No integration or diversity for Corinne Lestch and her family—just for everyone else!

Fran Davies, [Email her] the public relations director for the Archdiocese of New York, who was instrumental in getting me fired from Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in 2011. Davies is another blowhard when it comes to the great wonders and benefits of racial integration and diversity.

Any diversity for her? Yeah, right. Davies lives in the exclusive town of Bedford, New York, a place that is 88 percent white and 1 percent Hispanic. I guess diversity is only a strength for other people, not for your family, right, Fran?

New York Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling [Email him] said in an official statement my views were incompatible with Catholic teaching, contrary to what I had been told four years earlier.

Zwilling is nevertheless living more in accordance with my “incompatible” views than with those he claims for the Church—in Franklin Square, New York, which is 92 percent white and less than one percent black! Oh my, Joe, how can you deprive your family of the joyous benefits of multi-racialism that you claim to believe in so much?

Timothy McNiff, [Email him] the school superintendent who answers only to the Cardinal himself. McNiff in a meeting impressed upon me the need to embrace multiculturalism, and actually said “diversity is our strength.” But he lives in the lily-white town of Fairfax Station, Virginia, which is 84 percent white and three percent black!

In a hilarious irony, McNiff and his family live in the same neighborhood as Jared Taylor, the editor of American Renaissance—whom McNiff thinks is a “white supremacist.” But when it comes to his own home and his own family, McNiff prefers the choices and lifestyle of Jared Taylor than the lifestyle he claims to believe in.

Even in the home he has taken in New York, McNiff has chosen a spot on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, which is described by a city website as follows: "For many class-conscious residents, there's simply no other place to live. Since the late 1800s, it has been the place for Manhattanites who value the cachet of their address, as well as for those who truly appreciate the serenity, charm and rich architecture inherent in the neighborhood's personality.
Maybe they have a diverse doorman..."

Well, well. “Class-conscious”; “cachet”; “serenity, charm and rich architecture.” Isn’t that nice? By the way, the Upper East Side is also 89 percent white and only 2 percent black.

Why not live in the black section of Harlem, Tim, which is only a few miles away? What about the south Bronx or Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, Tim, if diversity is such a strength? Why are you assiduously avoiding this great strength for yourself and your family?

Eric Rapaglia, the priest who fired me, after weeks of assuring me that he would stand by me (and who used my heterodox writings in a Sunday homily). Fr. Rapaglia does live in a largely non-white immigrant neighborhood in the Bronx, but because he is assigned there as a priest. His family on Long Island, Staten Island and Florida all live in white neighborhoods.

Is he going to fire them, too?

This hypocrisy on the part of white liberals who push racial integration on everyone else, yet avoid it in their own lives has become cliché. It’s right up there with death and taxes.

White liberal hypocrisy may be a cliché—but it’s not a joke. It destroys lives. I would end this article with a picture of my own residence, but having lost two jobs and exhausted my savings, I am now homeless.



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 February, 2014

Black instructor in Britain accused of £50,000 benefit fraud told he CAN keep claiming disability allowance - despite being filmed playing football

A man who was filmed playing football despite claiming he could often barely walk has been found not guilty of a £50,000 benefit fraud.

Rayan Wilson, 29, has the rare genetic blood condition sickle-cell anaemia. He was granted the top rate of disability living allowance in 2003 after telling Department for Work and Pensions officials he often had to crawl rather than walk.

However, assessors became suspicious in 2011 when he told them he was working in injury rehabilitation at Bristol Rovers Football Club for three to seven hours a week. Investigators then filmed him making slide-tackles as star midfielder for a pub team in a Sunday football league.

Mr Wilson told Bristol Crown Court that his condition fluctuates and on many days he can only walk six to eight yards.

Prosecuting, Francisca Da Costa said: ‘He was observed playing football, running, jumping, making sliding tackles.’

But Tom Wainwright, defending, gave evidence from sickle-cell doctors that Mr Wilson’s condition – in which the blood cannot carry enough oxygen – is variable.

His clinical coordinator Dr Mark Critchley said Mr Wilson was telling the truth, and had been admitted to hospital 19 times between 2003 and 2013.

Judge Michael Longman directed the jury to find him not guilty of three charges of dishonest representation from 2003 to 2011. Mr Wilson, of Bristol, said: ‘I’m relieved. I had no reason to lie. I hope the case raises the profile for people with sickle cell.’


Are Domestic Violence Statistics Bogus?

A dominant voice in victim-advocacy and research on domestic violence stands accused of flatly fabricating data.

Jacquelyn C. Campbell, a professor in the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, is accused of fabricating “key statements [about domestic violence] and then representing the statements as findings of a government survey.” On January 14, the victim-advocacy organization Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) filed a formal complaint with the Office of Research Integrity of the Department of Health and Human Services. SAVE wants the unit to “investigate these allegations of research misconduct by Dr. Campbell and colleagues, and take appropriate corrective action.” (As of January 31, the complaint has been rejected and the rejection is being appealed.)

In two highly respected journals, Campbell and various colleagues claimed that “the leading cause of death in the United States among African American women aged 15 to 45 years” was homicide. In the American Journal of Public Health Vol. 93, No. 7, 2003, page 1089, the deaths were described as “femicide, the homicide of women.” In the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Journal 2003, page 18, the deaths were ascribed to “intimate partner violence” or domestic violence homicide.

Attorney General Eric Holder repeated the domestic violence version of the statistic in a 2009 speech; he stated, “Disturbingly, intimate partner homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15 to 45.” The statistic was posted in at least two places at the Department of Justice (DOJ) website. The conservative feminist Christina Hoff Sommers took exception. In USA Today (Feb. 4, 2011), she wrote, “That's a horrifying statistic, and it would be a shocking reflection of the black family, and American society generally, if it were true. But it isn't true.”

Over two years later, the Washington Post fact checker, Glenn Kessler investigated Holder's statement and published his results. Kessler wrote that CDC “data show that, for the year 2008 (the year before Holder’s speeches), cancer, heart disease, unintentional injury and HIV/AIDS all topped homicide. Then if you break out intimate-partner homicide, that ends up being seventh or eighth on the list (depending on whether you also include all homicides.)” As a basis of comparison, in 2008, cancer killed 1,871 black females; heart disease, 1,629; all homicides, 326.

Kessler next ran a forensic investigation of the claim. “As best we [Washington Post] and the Justice Department can determine,” he stated, “this all started with a 1998 study by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), titled “Violence Against Intimates,” that examined the data concerning crimes committed by current and former spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends.” But that study did not find domestic-violence homicide to be the leading cause of death in black women aged 15 to 45 years. Indeed, the study even reported a marked decline in such homicides. “From 1976 to 1996, the number of murders of black spouses, ex-spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends decreased from 14 per 100,000 black age 20-44 to just under 4 per 100,000.” Meanwhile, the general murder rate declined only an average of six percent a year.

Where did Holder get such a dramatically inaccurate statistic? Kessler fast forwarded to the 2003 studies in which Campbell was the principal researcher. The American Journal of Public Health study was published earliest, and it referred to “femicide” as the leading cause of death for African-American women aged 15 to 45. The later NIJ study stated “intimate partner violence” was “the leading cause of death.” The 1998 BJS study was cited as a source in both cases but, as Kessler commented, “these facts cannot be found in the original BJS report.”

Campbell did not respond to his request for clarification.

Since 2003, the inexplicable and unexplained statistic has assumed a life of its own. The University of Minnesota’s Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American community Community reiterates it the claim on its website, citing the NIJ study as its source. Other journals, newspapers, and at least one book also use the statistic. According to Google, the American Journal of Public Health study has been referenced online 567 times as of January 13.

Kessler's Washington Post article was published on December 18, 2013. He noted that DOJ officials had assured him “that in coming days they planned to append a note to the Web pages in question making clear that the claim is not valid.” The outrageous inaccuracy remains in the text of material on DOJ site, as it has for over four years. On January 17, changes were made, however. The following statement appears at the bottom of the page:

“These remarks, as originally delivered in 2009, cited a statistic naming intimate partner homicide as the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15 to 45. This statistic was drawn from a range of reputable sources, including a 2003 study by the National Institute of Justice. However, recent figures indicate other causes of death—including cancer and heart disease—outrank intimate partner homicide for this age group.”

This “clarification” vindicates the statistic as being from reliable sources and implies that it was once correct.

Killing a False 'Fact' Can Be Almost Impossible

Mark Perry is not surprised at the DOJ's failure to make a genuine correction. Perry is an economics professor at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan and a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). The Washington Post fact checking occurred only because Perry pursued that avenue as a last resort. In an AEI article (Dec. 5, 2013), Perry stated that the false data was “being extensively quoted by universities, journalists, in books and YouTube videos, and by the American Bar Association.” Perry called the DOJ failure especially disturbing in light of Obama's 2009 declaration, “Under my administration, the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over... To undermine scientific integrity is to undermine our democracy.”

Christina Hoff Sommers is also unsurprised. For years, Sommers has been battling bad data produced by politically correct feminism. She is perhaps best known for constantly correcting statistics which exclude men and boys or inaccurately represent them.


Don’t you dare tell me to check my privilege

Today’s left is a competition in shouting one another down

JULIE BURCHILL, an old-fashioned socialist, hits back at the whining classes

While working-class left-wing political activism was always about fighting the powerful, treating people how you would wish to be treated and believing that we’re all basically the same, modern, non-working-class left-wing politics is about… other stuff. Class guilt, sexual kinks, personal prejudice and repressed lust for power. The trade union movement gave us brother Bill Morris and Mrs Desai; the diversity movement has given us a rainbow coalition of cranks and charlatans. Which has, in turn, has given us intersectionality.

Intersectionality may well sound like some unfortunate bowel complaint resulting in copious use of a colostomy bag, and indeed it does contain a large amount of ordure. Wikipedia defines it as ‘the study of intersections between different disenfranchised groups or groups of minorities; specifically, the study of the interactions of multiple systems of oppression or discrimination’, which seems rather mature and dignified. In reality, it seeks to make a manifesto out of the nastiest bits of Mean Girls, wherein non-white feminists especially are encouraged to bypass the obvious task of tackling the patriarchy’s power in favour of bitching about white women’s perceived privilege in terms of hair texture and body shape.

Think of all those episodes of Jerry Springer where two women who look like Victoria’s Secret models — one black, one white — bitch-fight over a man who resembles a Jerusalem artichoke, sitting smugly in the middle, and you have the end result of intersectionality made all too foul flesh. It may have been intended as a way for disabled women of colour to address such allegedly white-ableist-feminist-specific issues as equal pay, but it’s ended up as a screaming, squawking, grievance-hawking shambles.

The supreme irony of intersectionality is that it both barracks ‘traditional’ feminists for ignoring the issues of differently abled and differently ethnic women while at the same time telling them they have no right to discuss them because they don’t understand them — a veritable Pushmi-Pullyu of a political movement. Entering the crazy world of intersectionality is quite like being locked in a hall of mirrors with a borderline personality disorder coach party. ‘Stop looking at me funny! Why are you ignoring me? Go away, I hate you! Come back, how dare you reject me!’ It’s politics, Jim, but certainly not as my dear old dad knew it.

In-fighting and backbiting have been raised to the level of a very sad Olympic sport — that’ll be the Special Olympics, of course, the real ones being ‘able-ist’. Every thought is an ism and every person an ist in the insania of intersectionality, where it is always winter and never Christmas — sorry, ‘Winterval’. (Mustn’t be Islamophobic.) But sexism, interestingly, isn’t really the hot ticket there; women get picked on — or ‘called out’, to use the approved phrase — more than anyone. Natural-born women, that is. When it happened to one of my dearest friends last year, I became an unwitting participant in this modern danse macabre.

One Friday in January 2013, I was showing off on Facebook of an afternoon — as is my wont now my career’s gone up the Swannee — when it was drawn to my attention that my amica of several decades standing, Suzanne Moore, was being ‘monstered’, as modern parlance has it, on Twitter. She’d actually been driven off it for refusing to apologise for something she’d said, subsequently becoming the target for all sorts of vile threats, including having her face ripped off and fed to feral dogs. Always up for a fight, I hurried through cyberspace, only to find my homey the target of a thoroughly monstrous regiment of bellicose transsexuals and their bed-wetting ‘cheerleaders’. Both groups had taken exception to the following line by Suzanne from an essay on female anger: ‘We are angry with ourselves for not being happier, not being loved properly and not having the ideal body shape — that of a Brazilian transsexual.’

Repelled by the filthy threats which were flying fierce and fast at my friend, I began to talk trash on my Facebook page — though even my trash-talk, it must be said, has a vicious elegance that most people’s A-game lacks. I opined that a bunch of gender-benders trying to tell my mate how to write was akin to the Black and White Minstrels advising Usain Bolt on how to run. I stated that it was outrageous that a woman of style and substance should be driven from her chosen mode of time-wasting by a bunch of dicks in chicks’ clothing and their snivelling suck-ups. The usual cool, calm and collected sort of consideration I’m famous for.

It was interesting to me that, rather than join Miss Moore in decrying the notion that every broad should aim to look like an oven-ready porn star, the very cross cross-dressing lobby and their grim groupies had picked on the messenger instead — presumably in order to add to their already flourishing sense of grievance. Suzanne is a life-long left-winger and a feminist — why, I wondered, were fellow travellers threatening her in so rabid a manner? But this, I was to learn, was par for the crotchety course.

Suzanne’s crime, it transpired, was to be ‘cis-gendered’ as opposed to transgendered (that is, she was born female) and not to have ‘checked her privilege’ — what passes for a battle cry in certain ever-decreasing circles these dog days. It’s hardly ‘No pasarán!’ — rather, it declares an intention that it is better to be nagged to death on one’s knees rather than stand by one’s principles on one’s feet. Consider how lucky you are, born women, before you raise your voice above that of a trans-sister! — that veritable cornucopian horn of plenty which we lucky breed fortunate enough to be born to a sensory smorgasbord of periods, PMT, the menopause, HRT and being bothered ceaselessly for sex by random male strangers since puberty take such flagrant delight in revelling in, shameless hussies that we are.

Add to this that Suzanne was, like myself, born into the English working class, and therefore marginally less likely to have beaten the odds than a dancing dog or busker’s cat to have become a public figure, and I was buggered (not being homophobic, there) if I was going to put up with a bunch of middle-class seat-sniffers, educated beyond all instinct and honesty, laying into my girl.

But it wasn’t just that. It was an instinctive desire to defend the socialism of my dead father. Because intersectionality is actually the opposite of socialism! Intersectionality believes that there is ‘no such thing as society’ — just various special interests.

In my opinion, we only become truly brave, truly above self-interest, when fighting for people different from ourselves. My hero as a kid was Jack Ashley — a deaf MP who became the champion of rape victims. These days, the likes of those who went after Suzanne would probably dismiss him as a self-loathing cis-ableist. Intersectionality, like identity politics before it, is pure narcissism.

Though it reminds us ceaselessly to ‘check our privilege’, intersectionality is the silliest privilege of them all, a gang of tools and twats tiptoeing around others’ finer feelings rather than getting stuck in, mucking in, like proper mates — the ultimate privilege, which is to serve each other with collective love and action. The most recently inter-species ruckus happened when the Deirdre Spart impersonator Laurie Penny wrote a passionate defence of the pixie cut in the New Statesman, only to get it in the sleekly shaved neck from women who accused her of not taking the different behaviour of African hair into consideration. When I asked a supporter of this lunacy whether she thought that every subject of interest to women should have every type of woman weighing in with her written opinion, she answered that yes, she did. Seriously? I don’t think my heart can stand the excitement of a weekly Staggers the size of a telephone directory.

I personally can understand black women occasionally getting teed off with their apparently carefree Wash’n’Go white stepsisters. But the most recent and reactionary development within this hissy-fitting hothouse — the insistence of intersectional feminists on the right of transsexuals not to be offended — tells you all you need to know about the essential stupidity of the movement.

The idea that a person can chose their gender — in a world where millions of people, especially ‘cis-gendered’ women, are not free to choose who they marry, what they eat or whether or not their genitals are cut off and sewn up with barbed wire when they are still babies — and have their major beautification operations paid for by the National Health Service seems the ultimate privilege, so don’t tell me to check mine. Here’s hoping that the in-fighting in-crowd of intersectionality disappear up their own intersection really soon, so the rest of us can resume creating a tolerant and united socialism.


Former Tory MPs: ‘If these silly modern female MPs can’t cope, they shouldn’t be there’

The rowdy, aggressive atmosphere in the House of Commons has become so bad that even speaker John Bercow thinks it is a "testosterone-fulled place of yobbery" that is encouraging female MPs to leave.

Indeed four female Tory MPs elected in 2010 have announced they won't stand again in the next election, and there has been speculation that it is because of this male-dominated yobbishness.

But two veteran female politicians believe that the modern crop of female politicians merely need to grow a bit of backbone.

Edwina Currie, who served as a Conservative MP from 1983 to 1997, told Telegraph Wonder Women: “I think one or two current female MPs are fading flowers. “I’m sure there’s some putting their hand up and saying in a floaty soft voice 'I can’t cope'. They’re just feignons. It’s a French word for the women who carried salts and fainted at the first opportunity.”

She denounced Mr Bercow's comments and said: "I have no respect for [Mr Bercow]. He changes his views according to the world.

“Expressing how you feel about issues may require you to stand up and fight and yell at the Prime Minister. I fail to see that as a bad thing. These silly women should try being a teacher in a tough school in Bermondsey.”

Ann Widdecombe, former Conservative minister, followed Ms Currie's criticisms and said: “If John Bercow can patronisingly say it makes it hard for women, what’s different about us?

“I’m sick of being told that when Parliament gets heated that makes it difficult for women. Does it really mean we can’t hold our own?

“If women are struggling they shouldn’t be there. If you can’t cope with the place don’t be there. Stop thinking of yourself as a woman MP. I never did.”

Their comments come as female MPs have been speaking out against the "aggressive behaviour in the Commons."



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 February, 2014

NBC Depicts Married 23-Year-Old Olympian as Living an ‘Alternative Lifestyle’

Just read this and weep for our future.

David Wise is at the top of his sport. He’s always smiling among his friends and competitors, however, he’s not like the rest of the field. He is mature.

Not to say the rest of the freestyle skiers of halfpipe are not mature, but Wise is mature far beyond his years. At only twenty-three years old, he has a wife, Alexander, who was waiting patiently in the crowd, and together they have a two-year-old daughter waiting for them to return to their home in Reno, Nevada.

At such a young age, Wise has the lifestyle of an adult.

Well, at 23, he is an adult. He has been an adult for five years. He is old enough to have graduated from college, gotten married, started a family, become a world class skier — all kinds of adult things. Because he is an adult. He also sounds like a great guy.

He wears a Baby Bjorn baby carrier around the house. He also attends church regularly and says he could see himself becoming a pastor a little later down the road.

I’ll grant that in our day, when Christian business owners find their livelihoods threatened by Obamacare mandates and same-sex marriage proponents targeting them with lawsuits, being a Christian is a countercultural path. The culture and the media try their hand at tearing you apart, when they’re not mocking you.

But if being a married, responsible father at 23 is an “alternative lifestyle” then we are well and truly doomed.

Update: NBC has deep-sixed its own story. I’m sure they’re thrilled that we captured a screenshot of the original story.

Update: NBC aren’t the only ones who have gone after David Wise for being a married adult taking care of his family. Yahoo Sports says he is “wildy uncool.”


What’s the biggest problem with women artists? None of them can actually paint, says Georg Baselitz

Germany’s Georg Baselitz has dismissed centuries of female artists at a stroke – from Artemisia Gentileschi and Frida Kahlo to Bridget Riley and Paula Rego – in his claim that women lack the basic character to become great painters.

Baselitz, who was lauded by the Royal Academy five years ago as one of the greatest living artists, dismissed women painters, saying that they “simply don’t pass the market test, the value test”, adding: “As always, the market is right.”

His comments sparked a backlash, with one art historian calling them “nonsense”.

“Women don’t paint very well. It’s a fact,” the 75-year-old German artist told the German newspaper Der Spiegel. “And that despite the fact that they still constitute the majority of students in the art academies.”

Baselitz conceded there were exceptions, pointing to Agnes Martin, Cecily Brown and Rosemarie Trockel. After praising Paula Modersohn-Becker, however, he added that “she is no Picasso, no Modigliani and no Gauguin”.

Griselda Pollock, professor of the social and critical history of art at the University of Leeds, hit back: “The most boring of all arguments is that men are better than women. It’s self-evidently nonsense.”

Pollock, co-author of Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology, said: “Only few men paint brilliantly and it’s not their masculinity that makes them brilliant. It’s their individuality.”

She continued: “You have to change people’s perceptions. Baselitz says women don’t paint very well, with a few exceptions. Men don’t paint very well either, with a few exceptions.”

Baselitz is a divisive figure in the art world. Art critic Martin Gayford has called him a “walking monument of art history, one of the major figures of post-war art, and a point of reference for younger artists”. The Independent’s Michael Glover, meanwhile, has described him as “self-aggrandising and publicity-seeking”.

Sarah Thornton, who wrote Seven Days in the Art World, said: “I disagree with him; the market gets it wrong all the time. To see the market as a mark of quality is going down a delusional path. I’m shocked Baselitz does. His work doesn’t go for so much.”

The record for a work by Baselitz was £3.2m in 2011 for his work Spekulatius. The record for a painting by Yayoi Kusama, a female artist, is £3.8m. In the UK, Bridget Riley has sold for as much as £2.5m.

Pollock said women were held back by several factors but principally the “myth of the painter. The image in the West of a lonely, tortured white man. I could run rings around you with great women artists but there isn’t space in the cultural imagination.”

She added that 20th century art historians had edited out much of the contribution of women painters. “Women have also been put down, when they are good, as having talent and taste, but being too nice and not taking enough risks. It’s a sexist hierarchy.”

Baselitz is not alone in expressing such views about female artists. In 2008, Brian Sewell went further saying there has “never been a first-rank woman artist”. He referred to Bridget Riley and Louise Bourgeois as of the “second and third rank”.

Before the opening of Jenny Saville’s breakout show at the Saatchi Gallery, critic David Sylvester said he “always thought women couldn’t be painters” because “that’s just the way it’s always been”. In 1937, artist Hans Hofmann said Lee Krasner’s work was “so good, you would not know it was painted by a woman”.

Ivan Lindsay, an art dealer and writer, said: “This is a hugely contentious issue. Some people think women just generally aren’t as good, others believe they have been held back throughout history.”

He continued: “It is a fairly outrageous and provocative thing for Baselitz to say and we inevitably react against a comment like that. But he has got to an age where he doesn’t care. Others would probably agree but wouldn’t like to stick their head above the parapet.”


British court prefers political correctness rather than justice in case of a Muslim solicitor and a parking fine

Yesterday, solicitor Asha Khan was given a suspended prison sentence after being found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

The public interest in knowing that a member of the legal profession had herself tried to undermine the very integrity of the justice system is overwhelming.

Yet, disgracefully, the case was almost heard under a shroud of secrecy in the latest example of a court obsessing over political correctness.

Khan, a Muslim who was accused of helping her father dodge a speeding fine, had claimed that for ‘cultural reasons’ she could not speak freely in front of the Press – and, incredibly, Judge Peter Hughes agreed.

It was only after the intervention of this newspaper that the judge accepted he had made a mistake and reversed what risked setting a terrible precedent.

The Mail is glad that – belatedly – the sacred principle of open and transparent justice was upheld.

But doesn’t it speak volumes about how the insidious culture of political correctness has infected every limb of the justice system – from the police and Crown Prosecution Service to the judiciary – that a ban was ever considered acceptable in the first place?


AZ: Lawmakers pass bill to allow faith-based refusal of services

Arizona lawmakers gave final approval on Thursday to a bill that would allow businesses to refuse service to customers when such work would violate their religious beliefs, in a move critics describe as a license to discriminate against gays and others.

Under the bill, a business owner would have a defense against a discrimination lawsuit, provided a decision to deny service was motivated by a "sincerely held" religious belief and that giving such service would have substantially burdened the exercise of their religious beliefs.

"The Arizona legislature sent a clear message today: In our state everyone is free to live and work according to their faith," said Cathi Herrod, president of the conservative Center for Arizona Policy, which helped write the bill.

The bill passed the Republican-controlled state House of Representatives 33-27 on Thursday, a day after it won similar approval in the state Senate. It will go to Republican Governor Jan Brewer, who has not indicated whether she will sign it.

The American Civil Liberties Union branded the legislation as "unnecessary and discriminatory," saying it had nothing to do with God or faith.

"What today's bill does is allow private individuals and businesses to use religion to discriminate, sending a message that Arizona is intolerant and unwelcoming," said Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona.

The Arizona law is seen by critics as an attack on the rights of gays and lesbians to equality under the law at a time when same-sex marriage activists have notched several court victories in recent months.

Some 17 U.S. states and the District of Columbia now recognize gay marriage in a trend that has gained momentum since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that legally married same-sex couples nationwide are eligible for federal benefits.

Since mid-December, federal judges have ruled curbs on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia, although the decisions have been stayed pending appeal. The New Mexico Supreme Court has also legalized gay marriage.

But Arizona is among more than 30 states that still ban gay or lesbian couples from marrying, by constitutional amendment, statute or both.

House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, a Democrat who opposed the measure, called it "state-sanctioned discrimination" that clearly targets members of the gay community.

"We're telling them, 'We don't like you,'" Campbell said, during a heated floor debate. "'We don't want you here. We're not going to protect you, we don't want your business, we don't want your money and we don't want your kind around here.'"

State Representative Eddie Farnsworth said the bill was wrongly being portrayed as discriminatory and that it only made "minor tweaks" to current state law.

"This is simply protecting religious freedom that is recognized and defended and supported in the First Amendment that the founders wanted - nothing else," he said.



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

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

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


23 February, 2014

Protestant/Catholic rivalry

As the great steamroller of secularism rumbles towards them, Christians generally have become much less mindful of denominational differences between them. Unbelief and Leftist oppression have become the current enemies for all Christians. So true Protestants (NOT including Anglicans and other "social" churches, who are generally too "modern" to believe in anything much) appreciate the solid opposition to abortion and homosexuality from Catholics, for instance. And Christians do need to band together. The secular steamroller has largely crushed belief and church loyalty in Britain, Western Europe and Australia. Only in the USA, Russia, Poland and Latin America is belief in the risen Lord still strong.

Young people therefore may not know that Protestant/Catholic rivalry was once intense -- and not long ago at that. Within living memory we were all rather like Ulstermen.

When I was a kid I went to a State (government) school and the Catholic school was just down the road. And we all used to walk home in those days -- none of that namby-pamby nonsense of parents picking us up. So there was opportunity for us to get into mischief. And one sort of mischief was that the kids from the two schools used to chant sectarian rhymes at one another. I suppose it was better than coming to blows. I remember the rhymes very well but I am a bit embarassed about it all now so I will repeat only one of the rhymes: "Mary, Mary, mother of God, baked a cake and it was a sod". Apologies from my 70-year old self for my 10-year old self.

And at that time Protestants and Catholics even tended to go to different shops. Two big Department stores in Brisbane exemplified that: McWhirter's and T.C. Beirne's. Protestants shopped at McWhirter's and Catholics shopped at T.C. Beirne's. It actually felt weird to go into the "wrong" one of those.

And the thought of a Catholic marrying a Protestant was quite rage-provoking. A Protestant father contemplating one of his children marrying a Catholic would utter the most dire warnings against it and back up the warming with threats of disinheritance etc. Catholics were equally vehemently against "intermarriage" but would acquiesce in it as long as the children of the marriage were brought up Catholic.

Now here is the amusing thing: Despite all the rage and heartburn, young Catholic and young Protestant people still married one-another at a great rate. I take some interest in genealogy and when you look at genealogical records in Australia, the number of intermarriages is astounding. It is true of my own relatives and forebears, of course. I have both Irish and English ancestry. Young Catholics and Protestants clearly found one-another fascinating. Forbidden fruit? That could be part of it.

There is a rather good novel by Ruth Park called "Harp in the South" about a Catholic family in Australia about 100 years ago which captures it all rather well. There are two friends -- one Catholic and one Protestant -- who get on very well with one-another -- except on one day of the year -- the day when the Orange order marches and they sing of how "King Billy slew the Papish crew at the battle of Boyne water" etc.

So even in the old days there was goodwill lurking, despite different traditions -- JR

Survey: Christians Have Lost the Culture War

The culture war may be lost and religious liberty might not be that far behind, according to a new survey from LifeWay Research.

Seventy percent of senior pastors at Protestant churches say religious liberty is on the decline in the United States and 59 percent of Christians believe they are losing the culture war. Eleven percent considers that war already lost.

The survey results are staggering– indicating grave concerns about the moral direction of the nation from both the pulpit and the pew.

“Ten years ago we were talking about who would win the culture war and now we’re talking about how will Christian rights be protected after the culture war,” Ed Stetzer, the president of LifeWay Research told me. “We’ve lost our home field advantage. There are going to be some things that are different.”

Stetzer said it’s a big shift. “And it’s a shift I would not have guessed,” he told me.

Over the past few years, I’ve documented hundreds of instances of religious persecution in the United States. And the targets have been exclusively Christians.

The military labeled evangelical Christians and Catholics as religious extremists. Christian organizations like Family Research Council and American Family Association were labeled by the military as domestic hate groups. Bibles were briefly banned from Walter Reed Medical Center.

The Internal Revenue Service targeted Christian ministries engaged in pro-life activities. The government demanded to know the content of one group’s prayers. A Wyoming church was ordered by government officials to turn over their membership rolls. A Baptist newspaper in North Carolina was audited – as was America’s evangelist – Billy Graham.

The list of attacks on Christians goes on and on – from students ordered to stop praying in front of the Supreme Court to chaplains being told the could no longer pray in the name of Jesus.

In recent days, the battleground has pitted gay rights groups against Christian-owned businesses who cater to the wedding industry. Christian bakers, florists and photographers have been hauled into court and brought up on state discrimination charges for declining to participate in same-sex weddings.

And in every single instance – lower courts have ruled that gay rights trump religious rights. So perhaps it should not be a surprise that 70 percent of pastors and 54 percent of Americans believe religious liberty is on the decline.

Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research, said the concern is widespread. “Half of Americans say that religious liberty is on the decline,” he said. “That’s a lot of people.”

Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Tex., conceded that Christians are losing the culture war and they are losing ground every day. “The primary reason Christians are losing the culture wars is that pastors are AWOL when it comes to informing and energizing their congregations,” Jeffress told me.

Unless Christians stand up and engage the political process, Jeffress said he fears there may come a day when religious liberty is extremely curtailed. “A religious leader once said, ‘my successor will see the tax exempt status removed from churches and his successor will go to jail,” Jeffress said. “That is probably on the horizon.”

But there are some pockets of resistance – like the town of Greenwood in the Mississippi Delta. Jim Phillips is the senior pastor of North Greenwood Baptist Church. He told me that Greenwood still has a “very high respect for the historical Judeo-Christian ethic.” “Every one of my son’s community college football games around the state last season began with a prayer on the loud speaker – in Jesus’ name,” he told me. “Will that eventually be challenged? I suspect so at some point.” But right now he said “pockets of religious boldness still exist.”

Phillips said national trends, though, are disturbing. “Christians have slowly given away their impact on culture by becoming more and worldlier instead of confronting the culture to become more and more godly,” he said.

So who is to blame for the loss? Phillips blames Christians. “Sadly, Christians have often wimped out and grown silent instead of being bolder for the Gospel,” he said. “Christians get subdued into thinking they’re not supposed to rise up.”

Jeffress agreed with that assessment and said the church must involve itself in the political process. “There are 50 to 80 million evangelicals in America,” he said. “Only half are registered to vote and only half of those voted in the last election.”

Jeffress said it’s imperative for people of faith to engage the culture. “Every time we go to the voting booth we are casting a vote for righteousness or unrighteousness,” he said.

Pastor Phillips also urged his fellow pastors to step up to the plate. “My calling is to keep leading the charge,” he said. “As a local pastor, my goal is to keep encouraging my church to seek to raise the bar and not lower it when it comes to confronting culture.”

Stetzer said he hopes the survey will spark a “fruitful national conversation about religious liberty concerns.” “The perception was that the culture war was once a winnable war,” Stetzer said. “But it’s switched from an offensive battle to a defensive battle.”

Pastor Jeffress urged Christians to stand their ground. “We ought to do everything we can to push back against this encroachment on religious liberty and protect our right to spread the Gospel,” he said.

I write about this very issue in my new book, “God Less America.” It will be published in May. But I’m reminded of a quote by President Ronald Reagan. “If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under,” Reagan once said.

A few years ago, A New York public school teacher was ordered to remove that quote from her classroom wall. She was told that it violated the U.S. Constitution. I’m afraid we may be “gone under.”


The Church of England has become an outpost of the Labour Party

Earlier today on Twitter, Tim Montgomerie expressed amazement that 26 Anglican Archbishops had chosen to write to the Mirror, of all papers, to express their discomfort over the government's welfare reforms:

In fact, the Archbishops' decision to air their grievances in a Labour paper should come as no surprise. The Church of England is no longer the Conservative Party at prayer. To all intents and purposes, it is an outpost of the Labour Party.

Let's begin with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Just because Justin Welby is an Old Etonian friend of the Prime Minister's, do not assume he supports his policies. On the contrary, he's repeatedly made his sympathies for Ed Miliband clear. Last October, he joined the Labour leader in attacking the Big Six energy companies and let's not forget that in his first significant political intervention since taking office Welby attacked Iain Duncan Smith for capping increases in welfare payments at 1 per cent a year. "These changes will mean it is children and families who will pay the price for high inflation, rather than the government," he said.

In taking up the cudgels against the Coalition's welfare polices, Welby was following in the footsteps of his predecessor Rowan Williams, who made little attempt to conceal his own support for the Labour Party.

In what was described as the most overtly political intervention by an Archbishop of Canterbury in a generation, Williams wrote a leader for the New Statesman in 2011 in which he dismissed the Prime Minister's "Big Society" rhetoric as a smokescreen for enacting "radical policies for which no oen voted". “The Government needs to know how afraid people are," wrote the Archbishop.

It won't surprise anyone to learn that Tim Livesey, Rowan Williams's Head of Current Affairs, is now Ed Miliband's Chief of Staff or that the Rev Arun Arora, the Church of England's Director of Communications, is a Labour Party supporter. You only have to follow him on Twitter to realise this.


Heart attack patient and lifelong Catholic outraged after claiming priest refused to read him last rites because he is GAY

If he is not true to what the church requires, how can he expect the church to treat him as eligible for what the church has to offer? Receiving extreme unction presupposes repentance for sin but this guy is obviously not repentant of his sinful behaviour -- JR

A heart attack patient has claimed a Roman Catholic priest refused to read him his last rites because he is gay.

Lifelong Catholic Ronald Plishka is reported to have asked a nurse at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, in Washington D.C., to send a priest to him the day after he was admitted.

But he said the priest that arrived at his bedside would not administer the last rites or communion, after he had told him he was gay.

Mr Plishka told the Washington Blade, Father Brian Coelho never specifically said he was refusing to administer the last rites.

But he said: 'He would not do it. By him not doing it I assumed he would not do it because why was he getting ready to do it and all of a sudden when I say I'm gay he stops?'

The retired travel agent said the priest offered no explanation for refusing to offer the sacraments but did say he would pray with him.

In a statement to the Washington Post, the hospital said officials had taken the 'patient's concerns very seriously'.

The statement said: 'While the priest is not an employee but rather is assigned by the Archdiocese to provide spiritual care at our hospital, it is our expectation that all who support our patients adhere to our values.

'This includes offering pastoral and spiritual support to all patients, regardless of their faith traditions.'

The hospital said it was last year recognised as a 'Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality' by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, adding it wanted to 'hold true' to this commitment to the LGBT community and all of its patients.

The statement said: 'Our Department of Spiritual Care has reinforced our expectations with this particular priest and his superiors.'

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Washington told the Blade it would not be making a comment at this time. Father Coelho has also not responded to requests to comment by the media.

But a retired Catholic priest, who is now chairman of Dignity Washington's Pastoral Ministry, a Catholic LGBT organisation, said 'any baptised Christian ought not to be denied the sacraments at his or her request'.

Mr Plishka, who was discharged three days later, was given communion after the hospital sent a Methodist pastor to him.

In December Pope Francis was chosen by The Advocate, America's oldest gay rights magazine, as the 'single most influential person of 2013 on the lives of LGBT people.'

'While 2013 will be remembered for the work of hundreds in advancing marriage equality, it will also be remembered for the example of one man,' wrote the online magazine in announcing its choice.

The pontiff famously said earlier that summer he would not 'judge' homosexuals. Those remarks, the Advocate said, 'became a signal to Catholics and the world that the new pope is not like the old pope.'



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 February, 2014

Media is desperate to censor horrific hate crime torture murder of twelve year old Texas boy

The trial is underway right now for Mona Yevette Nelson. She is a black woman who allegedly kidnapped a white child and tortured him to death with a blowtorch in Houston. There has never been any serious media coverage of this case.

The trial started this week, and it has only registered a tiny blip in the local news. Only one local media affiliate, KTRK Houston Channel 13, even appears to be covering the trial. Other Houston media outlets only published tiny blurbs that the trial has started, but none of them even mentioned how the boy died.

If the races had been reversed, this would be the biggest media event in the Western world. People in Finland would be hearing about the “racially motivated torture murder” in every gruesome detail. Scores of media vans would be lined up and down the street in front of the courthouse.

If you follow this website, you know that hundreds of media outlets now openly admit to having a policy of censoring black crime. The media bosses no longer deny that they manipulate the news to promote a political agenda. They are desperate to keep this crime a secret. It has received about one millionth of one percent of the coverage that Trayvon Martin received. If you think America should know what happened to Jonathon Foster on Christmas Eve 2010, then you need to help us get the word out.


Kind women fatally misled by media coverup

Every day the liberal Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times) reports on black dysfunction.

Often it is stories about white women dating or married to black men but ending up dead as a result. On January 21, for example, a mother reflects on the pattern of abuse suffered by her daughter Ashley, age 28, who feared for her life as the wife of Edly Atherly, a possessive, violent man.

Ashley texted her Mom with this message: "Mom, I'm an Idiot, I need to come home." [Mom hopes Ashley Atherley's story will warn others of domestic abuse, By Dan Sullivan, January 21, 2014]

On Thanksgiving weekend she was stabbed to death by her husband. Ashley was known to be pretty, kind, and very open to the clarion call of diversity.

As usual all reporting by the Times-as well as its editorials, omits race but includes photos that allow readers to ascertain the race reality.

Ashley Atherly (Deceased) and Edly Atherly (Arrested)

James Fulford writes: The late Lawrence Auster used to refer to women who put themselves in this position as "eloi" (an H. G. Wells reference, it refers to a race of victims) and I can't help thinking how much angrier they'd have been at John Derbyshire if his Talk had been a warning to young women to avoid the fate of Nicole Brown Simpson, (1959 – 1994)


Beyond Affirmative Action

Ben Carson

As a child growing up in Detroit and Boston, I had many opportunities to experience the ugly face of racism and witnessed the devastating toll exacted by its mean-spirited nature.

I was a victim of the racism of low expectations for black children, but in retrospect, I can see that many of those attitudes were based on ignorance. Large numbers of white people actually believed that blacks were intellectually inferior, and there was a host of other inaccurate beliefs that whites held about blacks and that blacks held about whites.

Many of those misperceptions probably would have persisted if measures had not been taken to abolish the separation of the races. One of those measures was affirmative action, which was based on the admirable concept that we should take into consideration inherent difficulties faced by minorities growing up in a racist society.

I believe that I benefited from affirmative action. When I applied to Yale University, I thought my chances of being accepted were favorable only because I was somewhat naive about admissions requirements for a high-powered Ivy League institution.

I graduated third in my high school class rather than at the top, largely because my sophomore year was a total waste after I got caught up in the negative aspects of peer pressure and abandoned my studies for the sake of social acceptance. I had a healthy grade-point average by the time I graduated, and one of the Detroit newspapers printed an article that stated I had the highest SAT scores of any student graduating from the Detroit public schools in 20 years. I was also the city executive officer for the ROTC program and had a long list of extracurricular activities.

In my mind, I was pretty hot stuff. Only after I got to Yale and became cognizant of my classmates' many accomplishments did I realize that the admissions committee had taken a substantial risk on me and that I had been extended special consideration. My early academic experiences were traumatic, and but for the grace of God, I would have flunked out.

Fortunately, I was able to adjust to the academic rigors necessary to qualify for medical school admission at the University of Michigan. Medical school was transformative, and I was subsequently accepted into the selective neurosurgical residency at Johns Hopkins. By that time, no special considerations were expected or needed.

Today, there are many young people from a variety of racial backgrounds who are severely deprived economically and could benefit from the extension of a helping hand in education, employment and other endeavors. Such extra consideration is actually helpful to all of us as a society. For each individual we prevent from going down the path of underachievement, there is one less person who will need support from governmental entitlement programs. More importantly, there is one more person who may make substantial contributions that benefit mankind.

The real question is this: Who should receive extra consideration from a nation that has a tradition of cheering for the underdog? My answer to that question may surprise many, but I don't believe race determines underdog status today. Rather, it is the circumstances of one's life that should be considered.

For example, let's take a child who is a member of a racial minority with parents who are successful professionals who have given their child every imaginable advantage. The child applies to a prestigious university with a 3.95 grade-point average, excellent SAT scores and a great record of community service. This child would obviously be an excellent candidate for admission.

Let's take another child who is white, but whose father is incarcerated and whose mother is an alcoholic. Despite these disadvantages, the child still has a 3.7 grade-point average, very good SAT scores and a resume that includes several low-paying jobs. Without taking any other factors into consideration, the choice is clear: The first student would be admitted over the second.

However, I think extra consideration should go to the second child, who has clearly demonstrated the tenacity and determination to succeed in the face of daunting odds. If that second child happens to be a member of a racial minority, obviously he would receive the extra consideration, as well.

I call this "compassionate action." Such a strategy demonstrates sensitivity and compassion, as well as recognition of substantial achievement in the face of difficult obstacles. The groups who benefit from compassionate action will probably change over time, depending on which ones have the greatest number of obstacles to overcome. The point is, it's time to be more concerned about the content of character than the color of skin when extending extra consideration.

Some people are still willfully ignorant and wish to look at external physical characteristics in determining a person's abilities. These people are unlikely to change even when equipped with information, because they already think they possess superior knowledge and wisdom. All we can do is pray that someday, they will have a change of heart


Snakes, guns and abortions

When Jamie Coots, the Pentecostal snake handler who rose to fame as the subject of National Geographic's “Snake Salvation,” died from an untreated rattlesnake bite, Slate's William Saletan took the opportunity to call for gun control. Apparently, any excuse will do. Saletan begins by asking, “How many people must die before the U.S. gives up this insane practice?”

He recounts story after story of accidental deaths caused by guns but replaces each instance of the word “gun” with the word “snake.” “I took these stories from Slate's archive of post-Newtown gun deaths,” he writes. “The archive captures a year's worth of reported fatalities, from December 2012 to December 2013. It includes more than 12,000 victims. We are killing one another, our children, and ourselves. We are a nation of gun handlers, as reckless as anyone who handles serpents.”

We note that Saletan doesn't mention gang-related murders, which account for a significant number of those 12,000 victims. And even using his number, more Americans are killed by cars and drug poisonings than guns.

“We need more than laws,” Saletan concludes. “We need to change our culture. We must ask ourselves whether the comforts and pleasures of owning a firearm are worth the risks. Having a gun in your home is far more dangerous than having a snake.”

To be sure, he recounts horrific incidents of negligent gun handling, and it's shameful that each death could and should have been prevented by simple respect for the tool being used. Every gun owner should have the sense to realize they're handling a deadly weapon and to act accordingly. The vast majority of gun owners do. But libeling all of them as irresponsible and likening them to snake handlers is inexcusable. Snake handlers deliberately play with a dangerous animal – one capable of acting on its own – practically asking to be bitten so they can display their great “faith.” Law-abiding gun owners, by contrast, handle and properly store an inanimate tool that secures their safety and, more important, their Liberty.

As a parting mental exercise, suppose we recounted story after story of children's deaths but replaced the word “shot” with “aborted.” How would Saletan respond to that? After all, he says, “We are killing … our children.” One million of them every year.



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

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

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


20 February, 2014

Teenager who blamed attacks on random strangers on being a 'young black male' spared jail

A teenager who attacked two strangers in just three days and blamed his behaviour on being a ‘young black male’ was spared jail today.

Shaqueil Samuels, 19, was one of three thugs who turned on night bus passenger Bronson Maisey, 39, after he told them to stop pressing the stop button.

The security officer was repeatedly punched and had to cling to a pole to prevent his assailants from dragging him onto the street.

Samuels, of Manor Park in East London, had jumped off the bus but got back on after seeing his friends Tesco employee Adebambo Karumwi, 18, and fitness instructor Roland Mubenga, 19, also from Manor Park, start the fight.

Mr Maisey lost a tooth and has had to have extensive dental work since the assault on the N25 night bus as it made its way towards Stratford, east London, in the early hours of December 30, 2012.

Just three days earlier Samuels repeatedly punched a passenger on a train going from Ilford to Liverpool Street just before it pulled in to Stratford, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

When he put his bag down next to 49-year-old Hamadi Nebili, the passenger looked up from his newspaper. Samuels stared at Mr Nebili and said: ‘Are you looking? Are you gay?’

He then unloaded a barrage of punches at the terrified passenger, leaving him with serious head wounds which required stitches.

In a letter to the court Mr Nebili said he now feels anxious every time he leaves his home while Mr Maisey said he has lost his confidence when out and about.

Judge Sarah Paneth said: ‘These were two serious assaults on public transport without provocation of justification.

‘I’ve been told and reject the notion that your actions (Samuels) were due to what you believed to be others’ perception of yourself as a young black male - you cannot be defended on circumstances that are habitual.

‘What you all did was conform to the stereotype you so despise and brought shame to the black community and to your families.

‘You all come from stable and supportive families but you do not deserve medals for travelling on public transport since the offence with no problems - millions of people do that every day.

‘It was a group attack on a lone person and you are all responsible. Look at it this way, I am sure the three of you would not have chosen to attack a young man with a group of friends. Mr Maisey was an easy target.

‘I had adjourned this sentencing to see your remorse and to see whether you were really willing to pay compensation.

‘I accept this was out of character as there is no evidence of this behaviour before or after these incidents. ‘All three of you have before and since been entirely law-abiding and a credit to your community and families.

‘I note that you are prepared to back that up by paying compensation and you are all still in your teens. The effect long term for you and for society are extremely important factors to consider.’

Judge Paneth sentenced Samuels to serve two years in prison, Mubenga to 12 months and Karumwi to 15 months.

All three sentences were suspended for two years with a condition of unpaid work. Samuels must do 200 hours while the other two defendants have to do 100 hours each.

Samuels must also pay Mr Nebili and Mr Maisey £500 each in compensation while Mubenga and Karumwi were ordered to pay Mr Maisey £500 each.

Judge Paneth added: ‘I make it clear the only reason you are all not going into custody today is that these incidents are extremely out of character and isolated.’

The three defendants were all friends and used to go to the same gym together, the court was told.

Samuels, who cares for his arthritis-suffering mother, is now said to feel ashamed by how he reacted to the situations.


Two 'petite' female police firearms officers set to receive £35,000 each because the guns were 'too big for their hands'

Pictured for the first time, Victoria Wheatley and Rachael Giles won a sex discrimination case on the grounds they could not reach the trigger.

Now the Mail can reveal the full extent of their claims, including how Miss Giles said she was ‘bullied, victimised and isolated’.

Both claimed their reputations were damaged because their unsuitable equipment - a Glock 17 - meant they received lower marks than men in firing range tests.

They also said protective gear was too big for their small heads and legs and they were too short for a wooden barricade used as a resting place for the firearms.

The barricade was built for an officer of average male height and only offered support for those much taller.

The Central London Employment Tribunal found the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) guilty of discrimination against the officers.

It is understood they are to receive £35,000 each, although the force plans to appeal.

The officers were based at different stations – Miss Wheatley, 39, with an armed unit which protects the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria, and Miss Giles, 32, at Chapelcross, Scotland.

They were described as being ‘petite in stature’ and with ‘small hands’, but were ignored when they repeatedly asked for a smaller grip on their weapons, the tribunal heard.

Miss Giles said in a witness statement: ‘All this has led to extreme distress. The stress has caused significant problems to my health.’

Their solicitor, Binder Bansel, of Pattinson & Brewer, said that every officer joining at the rank of constable or sergeant is required to train to recognised standards as an authorised firearms officer and maintain the standard.

A cycle of annual training shoots tests their ability which they must undertake as part of their job.

Mr Bansel said: ‘Continued failure at these shoot days results in an unsatisfactory assessment, which could lead to the officer being dismissed.’

The tribunal dismissed any claims of victimisation.

Yesterday, a CNC spokesman said the force was planning to appeal - saying: ‘The judgement has been passed and the CNC has lost on the grounds of indirect sex discrimination, however any claims of victimisation were unanimously dismissed.

‘As a result of what was discussed in this case, the CNC can also state it will be conducting an equality impact assessment.

‘This is to ensure that the CNC remains committed to providing the right training and equipment, together with a commitment to equal opportunities.’

Miss Wheatley and Miss Giles were members of the Civil Nuclear Police Federation, which supported the claim.

The tribunal decision came after a number of extraordinary cases where police forces across the country have had to pay out thousands in compensation to officers due to injuries at work.

In December last year it emerged a police community support officer who injured her knee while investigating a burglary was awarded £4,000 in compensation.

Pauline Harrison, 53, was responding to a 999 call reporting a break-in at a derelict school when she fell over a 3ft-high wooden fence.

And in April last year, a policeman was paid £8,000 compensation after being bitten by fleas while at work.

The extraordinary injury claim was made after colleagues complained that their police station in Birmingham had become infested with the insects.

It was one of a number of workplace injury claims paid by West Midlands Police which had spent £900,000 settling cases made by more than 50 policemen in three years.

And WPC Kelly Jones triggered public outrage and criticism from her own chief constable last year for suing a burglary victim for £50,000 after tripping over a kerb.

Other claims include a police officer awarded £16,610 in compensation after he fell over a pile of blankets while chasing a suspect.


Appeal judge slams 'cut and paste' decision in family court which led to social workers taking baby from parents unjustly

Judges and social workers have been conspiring to remove children unjustly from their parents, a scathing High Court ruling said today.

It condemned family court judges for a ‘clandestine arrangement’ which meant that they simply rubber-stamped the demands of social workers without giving a fair hearing to the pleas of parents. Rulings by family judges were ‘cut and pasted’ from recommendations emailed to the court by social workers, the High Court found.

The secret dealings between council officials and local judges were revealed in a High Court appeal in which Mrs Justice Pauffley ordered that a mother be re-united with her baby.

The baby was taken by social workers following a court case described by Mrs Justice Pauffley as ‘profoundly alarming’.

The High Court judge warned that ‘the practices I have described are not confined to this area but are widespread across the country'.

She said of the case, which involved judges at an unnamed family court and social workers employed by an unnamed council: ‘It is difficult to view the justices as having been independent and impartial if, as happened here, they simply adopted the local authority’s analysis of what their findings and reasons might comprise.

‘Just because there may be tacit acceptance on the part of many professionals within the family justice system that the practice which operated here exists, that does not mean it is right. ‘It is patently wrong, must stop at once and never happen again.’

The order to end collusion between judges and social workers was endorsed yesterday by the most senior family judge, President of the Family Division Sir James Munby.

In a circular to lawyers, Sir James warned all judges and lawyers to ‘carefully consider’ the case and added that Mrs Justice Pauffley ‘had to deal with circumstances which I hope will never recur.’

The scandal over secret deals between judges and social workers is the latest upheaval in a year of growing controversy over the family courts, the closely-associated Court of Protection, and the way the public has been routinely prevented from knowing what goes on in them.

Last year the Daily Mail revealed that a judge at the Court of Protection had sent a woman to jail in secret after she refused to stop trying to remove her father from a care home where she believed his life was in danger. All information about the imprisonment of Wanda Maddocks was banned from publication until the Mail investigated the case.

In December the Court of Protection was discovered to have ordered behind closed doors that a pregnant Italian woman must undergo a compulsory caesarean operation. The mother, Alessandra Pacchieri, was later told by a family court judge, again in secret, that her baby would be taken for adoption in Essex.

The secrecy surrounding the two court systems is now being loosened on the instructions of Sir James, who has acted to prevent both clandestine imprisonment and the removal of children from foreign mothers by British judges.

The exposure of private arrangements between family judges and social workers was exposed following an appeal by a mother whose child was taken into care.

The 32-year-old mother, a longstanding drug and drink abuser with a history of domestic violence, had had seven previous children. Six are living with their two fathers and one is in the process of being adopted. When she became pregnant again, she was given a place in a unit run by a specialist family drugs and alcohol service.

Mrs Justice Pauffley said it was ‘plain’ that social workers took a decision in advance to remove her baby, who was born in October last year. They cited the mother’s bleak history.

Family judges first heard the case on 1 November. They were presented with an expert report on the mother, commissioned by social workers and prepared by chartered clinical psychologist Dr Celest Van Rooyen. The psychologist, who also gave ‘very strong and powerful’ evidence in person, said the baby was at risk of harm.

The judges declared that ‘the immediate risk of harm is such that his safety requires the continuing removal from his mother’s care. It is proportionate and in his best interests.’ At a second hearing a week later, the same judges said the baby should stay with foster parents because ‘he needs to form an attachment with his primary carers.’ Mrs Justice Pauffley criticised the handling of the case in blunt and uncompromising language.

She said the Van Rooyen report on the mother had been researched and written in a day and the psychologist had spoken neither to the mother nor the medical and psychological experts with whom she and the baby were living. Instead, Dr Van Rooyen had relied on documents and a phone call to a social worker.

Mrs Justice Pauffley said: ‘It surprises and alarms me that Dr Van Rooyen was asked, and was prepared, to provide a report during the course of a single working day, a terrifyingly tight timeframe, and on the basis of papers supplemented by a telephone conversation with a local authority professional who had never met the mother.

‘I struggle to understand how Dr Van Rooyen’s apparently firm opinions, adverse to the mother, could have been formed given the complete absence of any kind of discussion with her.’

The High court judge said the family court judges had not written their own ‘findings of fact and reasons’ - their ruling in the case. The entire document had instead been emailed to them by lawyers for the local council before the 1 November hearing.

A near-identical document was drawn up by the judges after the second hearing. Mrs Justice Pauffley said this was ‘the result, almost certainly of cutting and pasting.’ Mrs Justice Pauffley said this practice ‘has become the norm’ in local family courts.

She said she was ‘profoundly alarmed’ at the practice, which was widespread.

‘There was, apparently, an established but largely clandestine arrangement between the local authority and the court which, to my mind, has considerable repercussions for justice.’ Mrs Justice Pauffley added: ‘In public law proceedings the local authority is the applicant. It is not and should never be seen as the decision maker. That is the role of the court.

‘There is no room for confusion. Justice must be upheld. There is no scope for dilution of that fundamental concept.’

John Hemming, the Lib Dem MP who has campaigned against secrecy in the family courts, said: ‘I am pleased that the senior judges are acting to stop stitch ups and “clandestine” fixing of decisions in the lower courts.

‘What really matters, however, is getting independent evidence into the process rather than the opinion of local authority employees who are instructed in what to say by their management, who are instructed by government as to what outcomes they want.’


8 reasons why having kids is awesome

Victoria Birch

If you’re looking for some reproductive benefits, avoid parenting blogs. They’re not sales pitches for prospective parents, they’re therapy for anyone in the throes of tantrums and tears. But don’t worry; if you’d like to create a mini-you it’s not all excretions of bodily fluids. There are some brilliant upsides to this kid business:

1. Family parking
Revel in the moment when you find a vacant parent and child parking spot. Drive sideways into its cavernous space. Note that you’re so close to the supermarket you can practically start your fruit and veg shop from the driver’s seat. Pity the poor child- free folk who fought off a bad-tempered ute for the last available space on level 74 (warning: be prepared for zero sympathy from said child-free folk when your kids pull down a full shelf of tomato sauce and leave you stranded in a glass-ridden pool of red waste).

2. T2 Transit lanes
While we’re talking transport, you may think this isn’t quite in the spirit of commuter efficiencies, but there’s me, there’s the kid and there’s 25 kilometres of red highway with nary a vehicle in site. Adios my traffic jammed, solo-driving friends!

3. ZOMG! You’re Back!
You’ve had a shocking day at work. You return home, open the front door and a massive smile on chubby legs belts down the hallway to greet you. Short of being rescued from a 12-month hostage situation, no grown-up will ever by that pleased to see you. The small person throws their grateful self into your arms, and even sheds a few tears of joy at your return. Ha! Screw you horrible client, here’s empirical proof that I am in fact totally awesome.

4. Dress-ups
Until kids get to an age where they can kick you in the shins for making them wear apricot-coloured tulle, dressing them up is great fun. Whether you have boys or girls, there is a whole host of clothing options completely incompatible with play but totally compatible with looking super cute. I know, treating your children like over-sized dolls is objectionable, but like I said you’ve only got a short window. Before long they’ll mount a rebellion in the form of flailing limbs and a determination to pair a moth eaten orange cardigan with purple satin pants.

5. Golden food
Adult life is one long boring round of healthy this and healthy that. Poached vegetables that taste like muddy fields and meat trimmed of all the bits that make it worth eating. And then kids arrive and choo choo! The tasty train chuffs back into flavour station. Once a month (or maybe once a week, who’s counting?) I make them hot chips, chicken nuggets and baked beans. It’s treat meal time and mummy and daddy (with an honourable waste-not-want-not ethos) hoover up the ample leftovers like the barely matured adults they are.

6. Kids’ TV
If I have to watch umpteen episodes of day-glo TV with insufferable moral finger wagging in lieu of an actual story then I at least deserve to appreciate the presenters’ abundant talents. Okay, cut to the chase. Mr Bloom is hot and a wild adventure with Andy is a pleasing proposition. You may find the objectification of kids’ TV presenters unsavoury, but just spend an hour or two with Jimmy Giggle and tell me Hoot isn’t on to a good thing.

7. The playground
It’s nigh on impossible to go to a playground as a grown-up without kids. I mean you can, but while you wait for your turn on the slippery dip, don’t be surprised if parents quickly gather up their young ones and herd them out the park while dialling triple zero. If you own a small child you can legitimately clamber over climbing frames and hide out in cubby houses. It’s brilliant and your kids will think you’re the funnest grown-up ever. That said, it is a bit tiresome when you have to give up the swing for the bawling toddler who’s taken umbrage at waiting 20 minutes for her go.

8. ?
I don’t really know what the last one is called but it’s definitely the best. It’s the ache in your guts that tells you don’t want a baby you need one. It’s whatever weird hormone makes you feel all teary at the sight of a stranger’s newborn. It delivers cartwheels and sunshine at baby’s first smile and makes your heart pop with pride when your kids do nothing more than tie their shoelaces. In short, it turns you into a soggy-hearted sap with all the emotional fortitude of a love-stricken teenager.

It might be biology. It might be evolutionary necessity. It might be fairy dust for all we know, but it makes having kids incredible. There are no blog pieces about it because it’s hard to articulate and deeply personal. It’s some kind of magic and no matter how many 3 am wake up calls you’re subjected to, it guarantees you’ll emerge out the other side knowing parenthood is the best thing you’ve ever done ... and the best thing you ever will do.



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 February, 2014

Multicultural fraud in Britain

A couple on benefits ran a £280,000 VAT scam on luxury fashion brand Chanel in order to fund a luxury flat in London's exclusive Chelsea, private schools for their children and gambling at casinos.

Emmanuel and Behnaz Scotts bought items at one of three Chanel stores and later return the goods to a different shop to obtain a refund or an exchange.

The couple, who claimed £32,000 in benefits, posed as wealthy tourists in order to claim back tax on returned goods They also misled staff into supplying VAT export claim forms for goods they had not bought.

Last week Emmanuel Behnaz was told to repay £27,672 and his wife £25,622 - or they would be handed 15 months in jail - at an Old Bailey confiscation hearing, reports the Evening Standard.

In March 2012 Emmanuel Scotts, a professional fraudster with convictions for similar rackets in the UK, Switzerland and Sweden who also stole £38,000 from a pawnbroker, was sentenced to four years for the fraud and six months consecutive for the theft.

Sarah Giddens, the prosecutor at the time, said the couple got to know staff at the central London stores in order to get them to sign forms allowing the fraud to take place.

She added: 'The UK retail export scheme is a scheme that allows a traveller to the UK who is not a resident of the UK or EU to purchase goods from participating retailers, inclusive to VAT, to claim back that VAT when they leave the EU.

'This case is all about an abuse of the export system, at Chanel, a luxury boutique shop, selling high level items, often to wealthy visitors to the UK.

'In total they attempted to make a quarter of a million pounds in VAT refunds, but were actually paid £176,000.'

Robert Alder, assistant director for criminal investigation at HMRC, said: 'Emmanuel and Behnaz Scotts were professional fraudsters and thought they were too clever to fail. They passed themselves off as high rollers and spent large sums of criminal cash in expensive boutiques and casinos.

'But their glamorous lifestyle was a sham, funded at the expense of the taxpayer. Our investigations do not stop on sentencing - we pursue the money stolen to reclaim it for the country’s finances.'


A Lefty Archbishop who's generous with YOUR money - but not his flock's

Those in authority become weary of perpetual demands for cash from worthy causes. They include the Head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols.

A couple of years ago my wife, a Catholic herself, went to see him with the suggestion that the Church should do more for those with learning disabilities and their families. Nichols’s immediate response was to say: ‘We’re constantly being asked for money.’

It was only when Rosa explained she wasn’t asking for an extra collection at Mass, just that one sermon a year should be devoted to this issue, that he relaxed and asked her to prepare a report on the idea.

So you would think Nichols might understand why the Coalition government, which is faced with a public sector net debt of over £1.2?trillion, has been pressing ahead with its plans to reform and if possible reduce the welfare bill.

Not a bit of it: in an interview over the weekend, marking the Vatican’s announcement that he was to be made a cardinal, Nichols, while accepting the need for savings, said it was ‘a disgrace’ that the Government had ‘destroyed the basic safety net’ of the welfare state, that it was being ‘punitive’ and that food banks were ‘scandalously’ on the increase.

It is right that our religious leaders stand up for the weakest; and given the popularity of the Government’s move to restrict welfare payments to any single home to no more than the income earned by the average working family, it takes courage to inveigh against it with such vigour.

Above all, Nichols is entitled to his opinion — even if he doesn’t see that this widespread public view is exactly the same sentiment that he himself expressed on behalf of his parishioners when he thought my wife was asking them to give to the families of children with learning disabilities: times are hard for many of us and our natural generosity is not limitless.

There is a further irony: the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, is himself a practising Catholic whose motive for welfare reforms is not to save the well-off from paying more tax but to break the iniquitous cycle of dependency that condemns families across generations to lives without possibility for self-improvement — something you would think the Churches would support.

Indeed, the Chancellor has privately expressed impatience with what he sees as Duncan Smith’s ‘moral crusade’: George Osborne would have liked deeper cuts in the welfare budget, but there are vast costs associated with the switch to Duncan Smith’s grand plan of a ‘universal credit’ which would guarantee (via the taxpayer) that it always pays to enter the world of work.

So why does the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster have such little sympathy for what his fellow Catholic is trying to do? For elucidation, I sought the opinion of Damian Thompson, the former editor of the Catholic Herald and still on its board of directors.

He has no doubt that Nichols’s anathema owes more to political prejudice than to religious doctrine: ‘Vincent Nichols is pure Merseyside Catholic — tribally old Labour. He’s a clever man, but he’s never deviated from his traditional politics. He doesn’t seem to understand the moral imperative behind welfare reform — or want to understand it. He is too polite to say that Tories are his ancestral enemies, but I bet he thinks it.’

I interviewed Nichols once and was impressed by his obvious intelligence. I wrote: ‘He has the fluency any politician would envy, while his hooded eyes inevitably invoke an intensely calculating mind.’

The last government painfully discovered what a formidable political operator he is, when he masterminded his Church’s successful campaign against New Labour’s attempt to make faith schools keep 25 per cent of places free for those without the same religious affiliation. But I doubt he will be as successful in mobilising his flock against the Coalition’s welfare reforms.

This is not least because Duncan Smith and his colleagues have powerful arguments on their side. It’s nonsense to say that there is no longer ‘a safety net’ when the state is currently spending £94?billion a year on working age benefits; and the time processing benefits claims — the most cited reason for destitution — has actually improved over the past few years. The official figures are that 92 per cent of them are processed on time; in 2009/10 it was as low as 86 per cent.

As for foodbanks, there has been an expansion of this field of charity across the industrialised world, not just in the UK: in Germany it has been reported that 6.5?million people are using foodbanks each month.

Given that supermarkets provide more food than paying customers need, it is surely a good thing that this is being put to charitable purpose — even if many users may be relying on it because they have spent too much of their welfare payments on less essential items, such as at the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, which now litter every High Street in the nation’s least affluent boroughs.

The Trussell Trust, this country’s biggest foodbank, itself acknowledges that its recent growth is partly the result of its publicity campaigns. Also, the Coalition government has authorised JobCentres to point people in the direction of foodbanks. Labour had banned them from giving such advice, possibly out of an ideological horror at the idea of charity supplanting the state.

It is odd, though, that Churchmen should share this horror. But that is demonstrated by the letter a year ago from 43 of the Church of England’s bishops attacking the Government’s welfare reform programme.

As the historian Frank Prochaska observed of the post-war period in his book Christianity And Social Services In Modern Britain: ‘Once religious leaders began to see government intervention as a solution to the crisis of urban poverty, the effect on Christian charity was predictable?.?.?.?religious leaders failed to appreciate just how much growth of government welfare would devitalise Christian charity and, by implication, Christianity itself.’

This perhaps helps explain why Nichols thought his parishioners should not be expected to fork out money, personally, for the disabled. As for the report he asked my wife to send him, she never heard back, even though it went to his personal email. When the Catholic Herald made an inquiry about that, they were told blithely that ‘there has been an oversight’. Motes and beams, Cardinal Nichols, motes and beams.


'Permissive parenting' mother loses custody of her two boys because she acts more like a 'best friend' and lets them stay up late playing computer games

A mother who lets her sons stay up late playing computer games has lost custody of them thanks to her 'permissive' parenting.

The boys, 11 and 14 years old, will now live with their father after a family court ruled in his favour and praised his plans to introduce boundaries into their lives.

He had expressed doubts about the mother's mental health and said she was more like a 'best friend' than a parent and lets her sons 'do what they like'.

Judge Laura Harris said the woman had 'significantly failed' the children, and that their behaviour towards adults showed a 'lack of discipline and structure'.

She added: 'I consider the mother’s parenting has been permissive, and, although the court must be tolerant of different standards of parenting, I consider the permissive parenting in this case has caused the children harm.'

Detail of the case has emerged in a written ruling by the judge after a hearing in the Principal Registry of the Family Division of the High Court in London. Nobody involved has been named.

The couple separated in 2002 and in 2004 a court ruled that the children should live with their mother - and have weekend contact with their father. But in 2012 the man asked a court to allow the boys to live with him - complaining that contact was 'regularly refused'.

He told Judge Harris that he was concerned about his ex-wife, whom he thought was showing signs of manic depression.

The man said he was worried about his sons’ dental and medical needs being neglected, and that they were 'left to play computer games' and had 'irregular bedtimes'.

He described his ex-wife as more of a 'best friend' to the boys than a parent and said she would let the children 'do what they like'.

The woman said she had 'gone out of her way' to promote a relationship with her ex-husband and his family. She said the boys had an 'impeccable record' at school and were 'good boys with beautiful manners'.

But Judge Harris ruled in favour of the man and ordered a residence transfer - although she said the woman should have contact.

The judge said the man’s frustration was 'palpable'. 'He has been tenacious to the extent of being dogged in his pursuit of a relationship with his sons. I do not criticise him for his tenacity. Many fathers would have given up by now,' said Judge Harris.

'He has, in my view, demonstrated far better insight into the needs of his teenage and pre-teenage boys, for example, around issues of guidance and boundaries, than the mother. Their parenting styles are very different.

'He is much more in favour of structure, boundaries and discipline, and I can understand why the boys might baulk at that, given what I consider to have been the very permissive atmosphere in which they have lived at home.

'He is totally committed to his sons. He has given his proposals a great deal of thought, and I was impressed with the breadth of the proposals and their depth.

'I was impressed with how he said he would deal with difficulties, for example, if either of the boys ran away. His analysis of what he saw facing the boys if they stayed with their mother was insightful.'

The judge said the woman was 'very angry and wilful' - an attitude fuelled by a belief that the man had an affair before their marriage ended. 'Her hatred of the father is almost pathological,' said Judge Harris.

'So preoccupied is she with her own sense of grievance that she completely overlooks the effect of her behaviour on her children. 'In my judgment, she has prioritised her own needs and feelings at the expense of the needs of her children.

'That is not to say that she does not love her children, I have no doubt she does, although I find her love to have something of a possessive quality about it.'

The judge added: 'I consider that she does have a very permissive style of parenting, and I accept the father’s evidence that she is more like a friend than a parent.

'I am satisfied that there is a failure to provide proper guidance and boundaries essential for the social and emotional development of these pre-adolescent and adolescent boys. Further, I have real concerns about her as a role model. 'I am sad to come to the conclusion that I find on all these fronts this mother has significantly failed these boys.'


'Disparate Impact' Doctrine Often Hurts Those it's Intended to Help

Disparate impact. That's a phrase you don't hear much in everyday conversation. But it's the shorthand description of a legal doctrine with important effects on everyday American life -- and more if Barack Obama and his political allies get their way.

Consider the Department of Justice and Department of Education policies on school discipline. In a "dear colleague" letter distributed last month, the departments noted that "students of certain racial or ethnic groups tend to be disciplined more than their peers."

Specifically, blacks made up 15 percent of the student population but accounted for more than 35 percent of suspensions.

The letter breezily explains that "research suggests" that this disparate impact of student discipline is not explained by more frequent misbehavior and concludes that "racial discrimination in school discipline is a real problem."

The upshot is that teachers and principals are on notice that they may get into trouble if they suspend or penalize black students in disproportion to their numbers.

It's not hard to imagine the likely results: quotas on student discipline and a double standard if, as appears likely, black students misbehave at higher rates than non-blacks.

And it's important, as U.S. Civil Rights Commission member Gail Heriot wrote, to "consider the other side of the coin -- that African-American students may be disproportionately victimized by disorderly classrooms."

Not much learning takes place in classrooms disrupted by misbehaving students. This policy could end up hurting black students who do not misbehave.

A similar price may be paid by law-abiding blacks and Hispanics in New York City if incoming Mayor Bill de Blasio follows through on his campaign promise to end the police department's stop-and-frisk policy.

That policy was disapproved as "indirect racial profiling" by a federal judge who used disparate impact analysis: The percentage of blacks and Hispanics stopped and frisked was far higher than their share of the city population.

But as Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute has pointed out, the relevant comparison group is not population data, but crime data. The judge, she wrote, "ignored the fact that blacks commit nearly 80 percent of all shootings in New York and two-thirds of the violent crime."

The appeals court removed the judge from the case and stayed her decision, and de Blasio appointed William Bratton, who has defended stop-and-frisk, as police commissioner. This suggests that the police tactics that have made the city safer for law-abiding blacks, and Hispanics will not be entirely abandoned.

Another area in which disparate impact analysis has been deployed is in housing. Department Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan referred approvingly to a study by Zillow, an online real estate data company, that said blacks and Hispanics are denied home mortgages at rates higher than whites and Hispanics. "(T)hese fundamental disparities affect the abilities of members of each group to accumulate financial assets," Zillow's economist writes.

But he also admits that black and Hispanic applicants had significantly lower incomes than whites and so presumably tend to be less creditworthy. Dispensing with credit standards to promote minority homeownership led directly to the 2008 financial collapse -- and to foreclosures on blacks and Hispanics.

Disparate impact analysis came into the law when courts faced disingenuous and sometimes violent resistance to civil rights rulings and laws by Southern whites. It was a drastic remedy for drastic obstruction of the law.

A 1971 Supreme Court case ruled that employment discrimination could be inferred by seemingly neutral practices that had disparate impact on blacks and whites.

Around that time, the Nixon administration was imposing racial quotas and preferences on building trades unions, where desirable positions tended to be doled out to sons, nephews and cousins of current members.

Ultimately, disparate impact analysis rests on what ordinary citizens instinctively recognize as a fiction, the notion that in a fair society you would find the same racial and ethnic mix in every school, every occupation and every neighborhood.

This runs against the sometimes uncomfortable fact that abilities and interests are not evenly distributed among ethnic and racial groups.

That doesn't justify racial discrimination. Ordinary Americans understand that the variation within groups is much higher than the variation between groups. They understand that it's unfair and unwise to judge individuals by their race of ethnicity.

Unfortunately, disparate impact doctrine produces policies that lead people to do just that. And in the process, it produces results that hurt many of the intended beneficiaries.



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 February, 2014

HIGH SCHOOL 1957 vs 2014

Scenario 1:
Jack goes duck hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking lot with his shotgun in his truck's gun rack.
1957 - Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.
2012- School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario 2:
Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.
1957 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.
2012 - Police called and SWAT team arrives -- they arrest both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged with assault and both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario 3:
Jeffrey will not be still in class, he disrupts other students.
1957 - Jeffrey sent to the Principal's office and given a good paddling by the Principal. He then returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2012 - Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADD. The family gets extra money (SSI) from the government because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario 4:
Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.
1957 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman.
2012 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse, Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. The state psychologist is told by Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mom has an affair with the psychologist.

Scenario 5:
Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.
1957 - Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking dock.
2012 - The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. His car is then searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario 6:
Pedro fails high school English.
1957 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.
2012 - Pedro's cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English is then banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario 7:
Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant bed.
1957 - Ants die.
2012 - ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates his parents - and all siblings are removed from their home and all computers are confiscated. Johnny's dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario 8:
Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.
1957 - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2012 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

Leftists prefer fraud to heroism

They are themselves frauds

HERE'S a story about the cultural divide. Hollywood blockbuster The Wolf of Wall Street did brisk business on the east and west coasts of the US when it opened in late December last year. It's a lurid yet true story about stockmarket crook Jordan Belfort and his piggish behaviour when he starts raking in more money than a boy from Queens ever thought possible. Lone Survivor is a gritty, gut-wrenching recount of a 2005 US SEAL mission in Afghanistan that goes badly wrong that is attracting huge crowds in the flyover states of the US. As one pundit wrote late last month, "Both are leading contenders for the most controversial US film of the year; like rival presidential candidates, they've carved up their own swaths of America."

You'd think that arty, so-called progressives would hate The Wolf of Wall Street as a gross glorification of testosterone-fuelled greed and stock market scams, not to mention the dwarf-throwing contests, the prostitutes, the repugnant displays of wealth, the on-screen misogyny, the mansions and flashy cars, the drug-taking binges on cocaine and Quaaludes. Wrong. You'd think they might regard as repugnant the film's failure to address the shocking personal and financial costs paid by the victims swindled by Belfort. Wrong.

New Yorkers, who have historically voted Democrat, just loved the movie. Same in San Francisco where I just managed to find an empty seat one night in early January. That city last voted for a Republican president in 1956. The film has earned five Academy Award nominations and the American Film Institute puts it on the top 10 list for 2013. Writing in America's bastion of literary and cultural commentary, The Atlantic, critic Christopher Orr gushed that director Martin Scorsese had delivered "a great - no, a f . . king great - movie." It is, wrote Orr, a "marvel of indecency", a "magnificent black comedy, fast, funny and remarkably filthy." That's the only bit Orr got right. Scorsese's three long hours of big screen self-indulgence is filthy.

By contrast, Lone Survivor scored two minor Oscar nominations for sound editing and sound mixing.

It is, wrote LA Weekly critic Amy Nicholson, "a jingoistic snuff film," that preaches "brown people bad, American people good."

When I saw it in New York there were many empty seats.

Based on a best-selling 2007 memoir of former Navy SEAL, Marcus Luttrell, the film recounts Operation Red Wings. On June 27, 2005, a four-man reconnaissance and surveillance team is dropped by helicopter high on the Sawtalo Sar mountain in the rocky and perilous Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan to locate a little known Taliban leader Ahmad Shah. When a group of local goat herders come across the SEALs team, the soldiers must decide whether to let them go - and risk the Taliban being informed of the team's whereabouts - or killing the civilians to avoid the mission being compromised. The leader, Lieutenant Michael Murphy agrees with Luttrell to let the local Afghanis go. Within an hour of that fateful decision, Taliban fighters are everywhere, armed with AK47 rifles, light machine guns and rocket propelled grenades. Luttrell is the lone survivor from the battle that ensues. Injured, alone and hiding, he is rescued by local Afghanis who feed and hide him until US forces rescue him.

The recount of Operation Red Wings is ugly, compelling, brutal and difficult to watch. One thing it is not is pro-war. Yet, this is precisely the allegation made by some members of the Left. Writing in The Atlantic, Callum Marsh is concerned by the "cartoon villainy" - the film treats the Taliban as the enemy. In fact, the Taliban is the enemy. The film, he says, resembles one of those "multi-million dollar recruitment videos." The film, he grumbles, is "enthusiastically pro-war".

Here, writ large, is the Left's frequent preference for simplistic picture book politics. Their kneejerk judgments cause their moral compass to spiral in the wrong directions where The Wolf of Wall Street is lauded a masterpiece for its filth but Lone Survivor is just a filthy pro-war movie that legitimizes "feelings of xenophobia and American exceptionalism."

Lone Survivor is an anti-war film. Not anti-military, for these men form a dedicated band of brothers driven by love of country and love of liberty. But by showing the hauntingly horrific side of war (is there any other side?), Lone Survivor is a deeply cautionary tale about the profound moral quandaries and the human price of war.

Luttrell, the man who survived this mission, said it best on Fox News last month when asked about the critics who pan the movie as pro-war: "Pro-war? Is that a real term? There's nothing glorious about war. There's nothing glorious about holding your friends in your arms and watching them die. There's nothing glorious about having to leave your home for six to eight months while your family is back here. No one wants war. It's the most horrible thing in the world." Lone Survivor is no more pro-war than The Wolf of Wall Street is pro-women. And what a shame the blinkered critics can't see the irony of their reactions.

Alas, Lone Survivor also betrayed the Right's tendency towards its own mental default positions. Interviewing Luttrell, CNN's Jake Tapper said the loss of life seemed "senseless". Soon enough Twitter trolls rose up and talking heads on Fox News attacked Tapper for suggesting the Navy SEALs had died for nothing. By revealing the horrors of war, Lone Survivor necessarily raises the complicated, morally messy question of whether the war was worth it. It's a pertinent question given the precarious security situation in Afghanistan even before US combat troops pull out at the end of this year.

While conman Belfort is cashing in on his newfound fame by giving motivational lecture tours, Luttrell now runs the non-profit Lone Survivor Foundation to help combat veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress and other problems that arise after returning to civilian life. The movie has sparked increased interest from soldiers seeking the kind of counselling Luttrell developed through his daunting experience. This counts for naught in the glittering, artificial world of Academy Awards that invariably lauds yet another Woody Allen film about a middle-aged neurotic woman and Scorsese's depiction of a young narcissistic New York stockbroker. But Luttrell's story of true grit counts for plenty in the real world.


A Southern Black History Month tribute

“If you can cut the people off from their history, then they can be easily persuaded.” —Karl Marx

Did you know that Black units were segregated in the Union army but Black soldiers were integrated in the Confederate Army?

February is Black History Month and America will not forget her past!

This Black History Month tribute is dedicated in memory of Atlanta, Georgia native and friend Eddie Brown Page, 111. Eddie was a Black Historian who loved American history “not political correctness” and knew the true stories about the men and women who bravely carried the United States and Confederate flags into battle.

The stories about Billy Yank and Johnny Reb of color should be shared during Black History Month by teachers, students, parents, historians and all who love the true history. Please read the Sons of Confederate Veterans information sheet about Black Confederates.

Black Americans today like: Mr. H.K. Edgerton from North Carolina, Mr. Nelson Winbush from Florida and Professor Edward Smith from Washington, D.C. teach the true history of the South and the USA. Mr. Winbush’s Maternal Confederate Grandfather Louis Napoleon Nelson fought with General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Winbush and Edgerton are both members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Mr. Edgerton is also past president of a North Carolina Chapter of the NAACP. Read more about Mr. Edgerton here:

Black Confederate Soldiers included men like: Amos Rucker who fought alongside his Southern Comrades and upon his death in 1905 was buried with full honors with his Confederate gray uniform and casket draped with the Confederate Battle flag. His long missing grave marker at Atlanta’s Southview Cemetery was remarked in 2006 by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The 1989 movie “Glory” educated us about the Black men who fought in the Union Army during the War Between the States…But, where are the movies about the Black men who served the Southern Confederacy? Did you know that Black units were segregated in the Union army but Black soldiers were integrated in the Confederate Army?

Mr. Ed Bearss, who served as Chief Historian of the National Park Service from 1981 to 1994 said: “I don’t want to call it a conspiracy to ignore the role of Blacks both above and below the Mason-Dixon Line, but it was definitely a tendency that began around 1910.”

Did you know that….

Frederick Douglas, a former slave, made an interesting but accurate statement in 1861, saying:

“It is now pretty well established, that there are at the present moment many colored men in the Confederate army doing duty not only as cooks, servants and laborers, but as real soldiers, having muskets on their shoulders, and bullets in their pockets, ready to shoot down loyal troops, and do all that soldiers may to destroy the Federal Government and build up that of the traitors and rebels. There were such soldiers at Manassas, and they are probably there still.”

Some people today call for the removal of Southern monuments but do they know that….

In Mississippi on February 1, 1890, an appropriation for a monument to the Confederate dead was being considered. A delegate had just spoken against the bill, when John F. Harris, a Black Republican delegate from Washington, county, rose to speak:

“Mr. Speaker! I have risen in my place to offer a few words on the bill. I have come from a sick bed. Perhaps it was not prudent for me to come. But sir, I could not rest quietly in my room without contributing a few remarks of my own.

I was sorry to hear the speech of the young gentlemen from Marshall County. I am sorry that any son of a soldier would go on record as opposed to the erections of a monument in honor of the brave dead. And, Sir, I am convinced that had he seen what I saw at Seven Pines, and in the Seven Day’s fighting around Richmond, the battlefield covered with mangled forms of those who fought for this country and their country’s honor, he would not have made the speech.

When the news came that the South had been invaded, those men went forth to fight for what they believed, and they made not requests for monuments. But they died, and their virtues should be remembered.

Sir, I went with them. I, too, wore the gray, the same color my master wore. We stayed for four long years, and if that war had gone on till now I would have been there yet. I want to honor those brave men who died for their convictions.

When my Mother died I was a boy. Who, Sir, then acted the part of Mother to the orphaned slave boy, but my old Missus! Were she living now, or could speak to me from those high realms where are gathered the sainted dead, she would tell me to vote for this bill. And, Sir, I shall vote for it. I want it known to all the world that my vote is given in favor of the bill to erect a monument in HONOR OF THE CONFEDERATE DEAD.”

When the applause died down, the measure passed overwhelmingly, and every Black member voted “AYE.”


Australia in frontline of BDS campaign

Perhaps much of Jewish mentality throughout the ages has been to keep a low profile in the diaspora, but I believe that Jews need to fight back against the racist campaign of the BDS movement.

The BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign against Israel today is fought on many fronts across the world. From Israel Apartheid Week at universities, to Danish Banks to academic boycotts and others. It’s even been fought in fizzy drink companies!

The organizers and supporters of this movement like to compare themselves to the campaign against apartheid in South Africa – in other words a good and moral battle against an evil system of injustice. They like to disguise their intentions by using terms such as ‘non-violence’ and ‘international law’.

However, there is nothing moral or just or good about this battle. It is an absolute front for modern day anti-Semitism. The examples are plenty, but here in Australia, a country of immense racial diversity, the BDS movement itself will find itself on the defense.

This Wednesday a lawsuit will resume at the Federal Court in Sydney against Jake Lynch of Sydney University, who is a prominent supporter of the BDS campaign against Israel. The lawsuit was filed by Israeli legal center Shurat Hadin on behalf of an academic Dan Avnon from the Hebrew University. Avnon wanted to do research in Australia but Jake Lynch refused to sign the application, stating his support for the BDS movement. The lawsuit alleges that Jake Lynch is violating Australia’s racial discrimination act by discriminating against Dan Avnon based on his ‘Israeli national origin and his Jewish racial and ethnic origin’.

In a lawsuit like this, there are Jews in Australia who are for it and who are against it. Perhaps much of Jewish mentality throughout the ages has been to keep a low profile in the diaspora, but I believe that Jews need to fight back against the racist campaign of the BDS movement.

Stuart Rees, a supporter of Lynch, has described the lawsuit as ‘absurd’ and accuses Shurat HaDin of acting as a legal attack dog for the Israeli government by using the law to silence the people who support the BDS movement, yet it is ironic for Rees to complain about the ‘law’ being used when it is the BDS’s goal to ‘force’ Israel to act within ‘international law’.

The reality is that if Jews continue to remain silent against these evil campaigns and do not challenge the lies that are being spewed with venomous hatred by the BDS and others, those lies in time will become ‘fact’ by virtue of the lack of an opposing view.

People are entitled to their views and no one is forcing them to buy gefilte fish at the local kosher deli, but when they abuse their professional position, as Jake Lynch has done in a discriminatory way, the line has been crossed.

Jews are known to be the people of the book, so it’s time to use that legal book – and throw it at 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.


17 February, 2014

Men really DO have bigger brains: Male and female brains are wired differently

Many have long suspected that the male and female brains are very different. Now, researchers at Cambridge University have revealed just what those differences are.

By studying over 20 years of neuroscience research, they were able to create a map showing just how the sexes differ.

Males on average had larger volumes and higher tissue densities in the left amygdala, hippocampus, insular cortex, putamen; higher densities in the right VI lobe of the cerebellum and in the left claustrum; and larger volumes in the bilateral anterior parahippocampal gyri, posterior cingulate gyri, precuneus, temporal poles, and cerebellum, areas in the left posterior and anterior cingulate gyri, and in the right amygdala, hippocampus, and putamen.

By contrast, females on average had higher density in the left frontal pole, and larger volumes in the right frontal pole, inferior and middle frontal gyri, pars triangularis, planum temporale/parietal operculum, anterior cingulate gyrus, insular cortex, and Heschl's gyrus; bilateral thalami and precuneus; the left parahippocampal gyrus, and lateral occipital cortex.

'For the first time we can look across the vast literature and confirm that brain size and structure are different in males and females,' said Amber Ruigrok, who led the study. 'We should no longer ignore sex in neuroscience research, especially when investigating psychiatric conditions that are more prevalent in either males or females.'

The research, published this week in the prestigious journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, took in 218 different studies.

It found that males on average have larger total brain volumes than women, by 8-13%. On average, males also had larger absolute volumes than females in the intracranial space (12%; >14,000 brains), total brain (11%; 2,523 brains), cerebrum (10%; 1,851 brains), grey matter (9%; 7,934 brains), white matter (13%; 7,515 brains), regions filled with cerebrospinal fluid (11.5%; 4,484 brains), and cerebellum (9%; 1,842 brains).

Looking more closely, researchers found the differences in volume between the sexes were located in several regions. These included parts of the limbic system, which deals with emotion, and the language system.

The team, led by doctoral candidate Amber Ruigrok and Professors John Suckling and Simon Baron-Cohen in the Department of Psychiatry, performed a quantitative review of the brain imaging literature testing overall sex differences in total and regional brain volumes.

The research could have major implications for research into autism and depression. 'The sex differences in the limbic system include areas often implicated in psychiatric conditions with biased sex ratios such as autism, schizophrenia, and depression,' Professor Suckling said. 'This new study may therefore help us understand not just typical sex differences but also sex-linked psychiatric conditions.'

Professor Baron-Cohen said: 'Although these very clear sex differences in brain structure may reflect an environmental or social factor, from other studies we know that biological influences are also important, including prenatal sex steroid hormones (such as foetal testosterone) as well as sex chromosome effects. 'Such influences need to be teased out, one by one.'

Dr Meng-Chuan Lai, another member of the team, called for further research. 'We need more research exploring brain development over the entire lifespan, especially in the early, formative years,' she said.

The team searched all articles published between 1990 and 2013. A total of 126 articles were included in the study, covering brains from individuals as young as birth to 80 years old.


Anti-miscegenation lives!

There used to be laws against miscegenation -- interracial sex. It seems that the attitudes concerned are not dead -- among blacks. No more cream in the coffee, it seems

If a white politician said that he doesn't like a white man because he's married to a black woman, it would be time for another national conversation on race accompanied by Buzzfeed outrage, Slate and Atlantic think-pieces on why America is so racist and perhaps even a very special speech by Obama.

But this is nothing to worry about.

While on the the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives, state Rep. Alvin Holmes, a black Democrat, explained why he so dislikes Clarence Thomas: because "he's married to a white woman," reporter Mary Sell of The Times Daily and Decatur Daily tweeted Wednesday.

When reached for comment by a reporter for the Anniston Star, Mr. Holmes said he was misinterpreted, but added that Justice Thomas was an "Uncle Tom," the National Review reported.

"I said some people might say I didn't like him because he was married to a white woman," Mr. Holmes told the Anniston Star, before including the "Uncle Tom" addendum.

..sure "some people". If only Mr. Holmes were white, then Obama might say he acted stupidly.


The Culture Wars and Football

University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam publicly announced last weekend that he is homosexual, though he told his team last August. Sam projects to be drafted in the NFL this April, but as we noted earlier this week, he's now less a football player than a poster child for the Left's homosexual agenda. It's a shame that either he was baited into being used as a pawn for this agenda or he's such a narcissist that he couldn't resist the lure of instant celebrity.

We thought we could then leave well enough alone until Dale Hansen, a sanctimonious Dallas sportscaster, weighed in. Hansen really hit the NFL after officials reportedly said Sam's announcement will hurt him on draft day. If that's so, we think it's not so much due to potential clubhouse problems – though there may be some – but rather because teams want to avoid the inevitable media circus.

Hansen took on NFL culture, saying, “You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You're the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft. You kill people while driving drunk? That guy's welcome. Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they're welcome. Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away? You lie to police trying to cover up a murder? We're comfortable with that. You love another man? Well, now you've gone too far!” Indeed, the NFL has a major culture problem, though it's in part only a reflection of the larger culture. Give fatherless inner-city kids multi-million-dollar contracts and trouble is bound to happen.

But Hansen didn't stop there; he went on to slam conservatives. He said, “So many of the same people who used to make that argument to keep blacks from playing football are the same people who say government should stay out of our lives. But then want government in our bedrooms.”

We don't recall hearing conservatives call for a government ban on homosexual athletes. In fact, most conservatives take issue – politically at least – only with the homosexual agenda of redefining marriage and forcing acceptance upon the rest of us. We do not seek to personally persecute homosexuals. Quite the contrary.

There are also a couple of things Hansen neglected to mention. For starters, leftists may say they want government out of their bedrooms, but they have no problem insisting that taxpayers pay for what happens there. And as for racism, it was Democrats who were and remain the party of slavery. In the past it was real chains and then Jim Crow. Today it's the ObamaNation Poverty Plantation, the effect of which is much the same. So before Dale Hansen begins the pride parade for Michael Sam, a little perspective is still needed.


Will this old lady be robbed of her house and money?

Evil British social workers again

Wanda Maddocks is the woman who, as we learnt last year, was secretly jailed by the mysterious and sinister Court of Protection for removing her father from a care home where he had been put by social workers against his will. He had been neglected and ill-treated and, soon after his forced return, died. This shocking episode helped to trigger Lord Justice Munby’s recent guidelines calling for more transparency in the workings of the Court of Protection, which are even more secretive than those involving the forced removal of children.

I have lately been following the bizarre story of a frail but otherwise capable 94-year-old woman who has become the object of attention by social services. Their aim, it seems, is to take control of her £350,000 home and her substantial savings, to transfer her against her will to a care home and then to evict from the house a niece and her husband who look after her. Having obtained a questionable psychiatrist’s report to show that the old lady is not “mentally competent”, the social workers used an order from the Court of Protection to deny her access to her bank accounts. She only learnt this when a teller refused to give her money and would not tell her why.

Having found her capable of carrying on a sensible conversation, and having heard from her niece how the fear of God is being put into the family by highly intrusive visits from a social worker, accompanied by four police, my friend Ian Josephs arranged for the woman to be assessed by an eminent psychologist, Dr Ludwig Lowenstein, president of the International Council of Psychologists. Not only did she pass all his tests, he was so critical of the report produced by the council psychiatrist that he volunteered to come to court this week to testify as an expert witness.

After learning this on Friday, the council apparently withdrew its attempt to persuade the court that the old lady lacks “capacity”. In light of this twist, it will be interesting to see whether the social workers persist in their campaign to evict her and her family from their home, and to assume full control over her finances. In due course, I hope to report on the outcome.



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 February, 2014

Pathetic Canadian media too quick with homophobia label

Harper and the Homophobes. Not an edgy punk band from the early 1980s, but, according to the Globe and Mail's Tu Thanh Ha, the story of Harper's visit to Israel

Stephen Harper and the Homophobes. No, not an edgy punk band from the early 1980s, but, according to the Globe and Mail 's Tu Thanh Ha, the story of the prime minister's visit to Israel.

If, like me, you thought the event was all about supporting the Jewish state and opposing anti-Semitism, you got it terribly wrong. It was actually yet another example of the Conservatives' repugnant hidden agenda and hatred of gays.

Because among the more than 200 people accompanying the prime minister is a Christian minister who dares to hold Christian views about the nature of sexuality. Rev. Shawn Ketcheson from Ottawa's Trinity Bible Church has, " On at least two occasions, recorded on his church's website, he is critical of homosexuality." Good Lord, at least two! Incredible, outrageous.

He is then revealed to have quoted the Bible, on a church website. I mean, where will it end? That 99% of what he says is not about homosexuality at all, and that when he does speak of sexuality he is more critical of heterosexual lust than anything else, is apparently irrelevant. The Globe is incredulous that a man, who believes in a Bible written by Jews and in a Jewish messiah, is visiting a Jewish state lived in by lots of Jews.

But then Ketcheson goes even further, darker, deeper. "Reached in Israel by e-mail," writes the effusive Tu Thanh Ha, "Mr. Ketcheson said he couldn't be available for comment. 'Thanks for your interest in the message. I am presently out of the country and would be pleased to talk with you when I get back at the end of the week. Sorry that I can't be more accommodating at the moment,' he wrote." What a total swine!

Quick, contact NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar. "Homophobia doesn't represent Canada. The prime minister must explain why he chose the people on his delegation." OK, now off to Liberal foreign affairs critic Marc Garneau: "I find it regrettable that his delegation includes someone who is homophobic."

But hold on just one racist, sexist, homophobic moment. On the one hand, Harper is condemned by his leftist critics for being too supportive of Israel, the only country in the entire Middle East that accepts gay people. On the other, he is condemned by his leftist critics for having in his travel party one or two people who, while treating all people equally, believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

More than this, Justin Trudeau and numerous NDP leaders have met with Muslim leaders and spoken to their organizations without taking on their religion's dogma that homosexuality is evil and unacceptable and often regarded as on offence punishable by death. Why so little protest from the Globe and the other usual suspects about this genuine scandal?

This is juvenile, contrived, politically driven drivel and the Globe should be ashamed. But it won't be. Another product of Harper Derangement Syndrome and journalists who know painfully little about the Middle East, religion and freedom of thought and expression.


Black Supreme Court judge says he is treated 'worse' by northern liberals than southern segregationists

He is as renowned for his reticence as his conservatism on America's highest court, remaining respectfully silent for seven years when lawyers presented their arguments before him.

But with his robes off, Clarence Thomas, the only black Supreme Court justice, has now caused controversy by lamenting that modern America is too sensitive about race.

Mr Thomas, 65, who grew up in Georgia during the tumultuous civil rights protests against racial segregation, also said that "northern liberal elites" treated him worse than whites in the segregated South of his childhood, in comments obtained by Yahoo News.

"My sadness is that we are probably today more race and difference-conscious than I was in the 1960s when I went to school," he told students at Palm Beach Atlantic University, a Christian college in Florida.

"To my knowledge, I was the first black kid in Savannah, Georgia, to go to a white school. Rarely did the issue of race come up.

"Now, name a day it doesn't come up. Differences in race, differences in sex, somebody doesn't look at you right, somebody says something. Everybody is sensitive. If I had been as sensitive as that in the 1960s, I'd still be in Savannah."

Mr Thomas, who was brought up in poverty, speaking Gullah creole as his first language, developed a strong libertarian philosophy at college after winning a scholarship to Yale.

He was confirmed as the second black justice in the Supreme Court's history only after bruising Senate hearings during which Anita Hill, an African-American academic, accused him of sexual harassment.

His judicial career has been built on his belief that individual action rather than social welfare programmes are needed to overcome adversity and in the last year he has twice penned Supreme Court opinions that have angered many blacks and indeed northern liberals.

The court reined in affirmative-action laws and struck down key provisions of voting-rights legislation passed in the 1960s to ensure access of ethnic minorities to cast ballots.

He also told the students that throughout is career he has experienced more instances of discrimination and poor treatment in the North than the South.

"The worst I have been treated was by northern liberal elites...not by the people of Savannah, Georgia," he said.

He has previously described how long-established law firms took little notice of his Yale law degree, apparently believing that he was the beneficiary of the sort of affirmative action programmes that he opposes.

His comments prompted an inevitable backlash.

"Maybe the reason race came up so rarely was not that the racial situation was better in 1960s Georgia," wrote Jonathan Chait for New York magazine, a prominent commentator and who Mr Thomas would doubtless include in the "northern liberal elite" category.

"Maybe the reason race came up rarely is that the racial situation in 1960s Georgia was extremely terrible. Terrell [a majority black town] had a total of five registered black voters -- possibly because African-Americans were so satisfied with their treatment that they didn't see any reason to vote, or possibly because civil-rights activists in Georgia tended to get assassinated."

And Keli Goff, an African-American political analyst, told The Telegraph: "Nearly all black Americans would disagree with his implication that life was better for them in the 1960s in the South, when they had to attend inferior schools, drink at separate water fountains and travel at the back of the bus.

"My parents grew up in small Southern towns at the same time as Clarence Thomas and their experiences were certainly not of a better life. It is true that no group or party has a monopoly on bias, but he is speaking now from a position of power and privilege that few can imagine."

There is no doubt that racial issues remain at forefront of public debate in America, more than five years after the country elected Barack Obama as its first black president.

Mr Thomas was speaking in the same state where a middle-aged white man is currently on trial for murder after shooting repeatedly into a car containing several black youths playing blaringly loud "thug music".

The racially-charged case, which is being closely followed across the country, has raised inevitable comparisons with the murder trial last year of George Zimmerman, a white-Hispanic neighbourhood watch activist who shot dead an unarmed black teenage.

The acquittal of Mr Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin, who he said was acting suspiciously, prompted national protests about racial profiling and a rare emotional intervention on race by Mr Obama.


Israel at a Point of No Return - In the Right Direction

by David P. Goldman

I should like to advance a conjecture which I lack the qualifications to adequately develop: The global Left, and the Israeli Left most of all, perceives that the clock is running out, and has worked itself up into a froth of hysteria against Israel. The world of John Lennon's "Imagine," where there are no countries and no religions, is about to dissipate like last night's marijuana fumes. The demographic time bomb that worries the Left is not the relative increase of Arab vs. Jewish populations between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, speciously cited by John Kerry and a host of other errant utopians: it is the growth of the Jewish population itself, and Israel's transformation into the world's most religious country.

Israel now has a religious majority, as Times of Israel blogger Yoseif Bloch observes:

"According to our Central Bureau of Statistics, 43% of Israeli Jews are secular, 9% are haredi, and the remaining 48% are somewhere between masorti (traditional) and dati (religious): 23% the former, 10% the latter, and 15% smack in the middle. These five groups do not parallel the five groups identified by Pew, e.g. Orthodox is a denomination, while dati is a declaration."

So 57% of Israelis practice a form of Judaism that for the most part Americans would call "Orthodox," in that it recognizes normative Judaism in the rabbinic tradition (the presence of the "progressive" Reform and Conservative movements is almost imperceptible and largely limited to transplanted Americans). Many Israelis who are dati are far from completely observant, but there is a great gulf fixed between a semi-observant Jew who knows what observance is, and a "progressive" who asserts the right to reinvent tradition according to personal taste.

This majority seems to be expanding fast. I spent the second half of December in Jerusalem promoting the Hebrew translation of my book How Civilizations Die and was struck by the increase in commitment to religious observance, including among people who were steadfastly secular. Almost half of Israel's army officers are "national religious" and trained in pre-army academies that teach Judaism, Jewish history, as well as physical training and military subjects. The ultra-Orthodox are going to work rather than studying full time, little by little, but the little adds up to a lot. Naftali Bennett's national-religious party "Jewish Home" has created a new political focus for the national-religious. Outreach organizations like Beit Hillel are bringing once-secular Israelis back to observance. Beit Hillel's spiritual leader, Rabbi Ronen Neuwirth, was in New York recently lecturing about Israel's religious revival.

Anecdotally, I see this in my own small circle of Israeli acquaintances. A musician friend told me that he attends a Talmud class every Shabbat - he can't stand praying, but he is hungry for Torah. A journalist friend dresses her young boys in the tallit katan, the fringed undergarment of the very observant. It is becoming normal in Jerusalem restaurants to wash hands before bread and to recite the Grace after Meals.

This is a crucial, counterintuitive story: Israel is swimming against the secular current, becoming more observant as the rest of the world becomes more secular. Perhaps the explanation lies in the observation of the Catholic sociologist Mary Eberstadt, who argued in a brilliant 2007 essay that it is our children who bring us to faith. Last year Mary expanded the essay into a book which I had the honor to discuss in Claremont Review of Books. It is a commonplace of demographers' correlation that people of faith have more children: Mary argues that the causality goes both ways, that having children reinforces our faith. Israeli is a standpoint in the modern world with a fertility rate of 3.0 children per woman (the closest second is the U.S. with just 1.9). Excluding the ultra-Orthodox the number is 2.6 children per woman, still outside the range of the rest of the industrial world. Secular Israelis are having three children. Not only does that defuse the much-touted "demographic time bomb." It ultimately changes the character of the country. It validates the hundred-year-old argument of Rabbi Isaac Kook, one of the founders of religious Zionism, that identification with the Jewish people eventually will lead Jews back to Judaism.

This national religious revival is not occurring at the expense of Israeli or West Bank Arabs. On the contrary, the Arab population between the River and the Sea is flourishing as no modern Arab population ever did. A fifth of Israel's medical students are Arab, as are a third of the students at the University of Haifa. Ariel University across the "Green Line" in Samaria, the "settler's university," is educating a whole generation of West Bank Arabs. The campus is full of young Arab women in headscarves, and the local Jewish leadership reaches out to Arab villages to recruit talented students. Israel's expanding economy has a bottomless demand for young people of ability and ambition. The Left calls Israel an "apartheid state" the way it used to call America a "fascist state" back in the 1960s.

The Israeli Left, with its soggy vision of univeralist utopianism, may be at a point of no return. It is becoming marginalized and irrelevant. The Europeans, whose experience of nationalism has been uniformly horrific, are equally aghast. Liberal Christians who abhor the Election of Israel because they abhor Christian orthodoxy cannot suppress their rage. And "progressive" American Jews, who have been running away from Judaism for the past three generations, are upset that Israel has embraced the normative Judaism they worked so hard to suppress. American "progressive" and unaffiliated Jews, one should remember, have the lowest fertility rate of any identifiable minority in the United States. Even if most of them did not intermarry (and the intermarriage rate in the past ten years approaches 70% according to the October 2013 Pew study) their infertility would finish them off in a few generations. Meanwhile 74% of all Jewish children in the New York area live in Orthodox families. The center of gravity of Judaism will shift decisively to Israel in the next generation, and the segment of American Jewry that most identifies with Israel-the Orthodox-will set the tone for American Judaism and eventually become the majority in a much smaller American Jewish population.

It is up to the Israelis, to be sure, to draw out the implications of these trends. But I am encouraged by the perceptions of religious leaders like Rabbi Ronen Neuwirth, who perceive this revival in their daily work.

This is good news for Christians as well as Jews. The secularization thesis is refuted: a country with the world's greatest record of high-tech innovation is also becoming the industrial world's most religious country. It is devastating news for Lennonists as well as Leninists. The "Imagine" world turns out to be imaginary. Israel, as Franz Rosenzweig said of the Jewish people, is there to be "the paragon and exemplar of a nation." For all its flaws, the State of Israel stands as a beacon to people of faith around the world. It is honored by its list of self-appointed enemies. Will Israel prevail against the unholy coalition against it? As we say, b'ezrat Hashem. [Insh'allah]


Being homosexual is only partly due to gay gene, research finds

If homosexuality is mostly based on environmental and social factors, there should be no problem with claims that homosexuality can be cured

Homosexuality is only partly genetic with sexuality mostly based on environmental and social factors, scientists believe. A study found that, while gay men shared similar genetic make-up, it only accounted for 40 per cent of the chance of a man being homosexual.

But scientists say it could still be possible to develop a test to find out if a baby was more likely to be gay.

In the most comprehensive study of its kind, Dr Michael Bailey, of Northwestern University, has been studying 400 sets of twins to determine if some men are genetically predisposed to being gay. The study found that gay men shared genetic signatures on part of the X chromosome - Xq28.

Dr Bailey said: "Sexual orientation has nothing to do with choice. Our findings suggest there may be genes at play - we found evidence for two sets that affect whether a man is gay or straight.

"But it is not completely determinative; there are certainly other environmental factors involved. "The study shows that there are genes involved in male sexual orientation.

"Although this could one day lead to a pre-natal test for male sexual orientation, it would not be very accurate, as there are other factors that can influence the outcome."

Dr Alan Sanders, associate Professor of Psychiatry at Northwestern University, who led the study said that it was it was an 'oversimplification' to suggest there was a 'gay gene.'

"We don't think genetics is the whole story. It's not. We have a gene that contributes to homosexuality but you could say it is linked to heterosexuality. It is the variation."

The study builds on work by Dr Dean Hamer from the US National Cancer Institute in 1993 who also found an area of the x chromosome that he believed was linked to male sexual orientation.

Last year Canadian scientists found that the more older male siblings a man has, the greater change he will be gay.

They believe that the immune response produced by a pregnant mother increases with each son, increasing the odds of producing more feminine traits in the developing brain of the foetus.

Each older brother raised the odds that a man was homosexual by one third.

Researchers at the University of California believe that homosexuality can be explained by the presence of epi-marks - temporary switches that control how our genes are expressed during gestation and after birth.

Daryl Bem, a social psychologist at Cornell University, has suggested that the influence of biological factors on sexual orientation may be mediated by experiences in childhood. A child's temperament predisposes the child to prefer certain activities over others.

Interestingly no similar genes have been discovered which influence female homosexuality. "No-body has found something like this in women," he added.

Dr Bailey said environmental factors were likely to have the biggest impact on homosexuality. He added: "Don't confuse "environmental" with "socially acquired." Environment means anything that is not in our DNA at birth, and that includes a lot of stuff that is not social."

Richard Lane, of Stonewall, said that while studies into the origins of homosexuality have yet to produce firm evidence, they do to point to a biological root.

He said: 'The thing that's consistent across all of them is that they all point to sexual orientation being something fundamental to a person rather than the lifestyle choice some opponents of equality repeatedly suggest.'



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 February, 2014

Labour links of academics who denounced Thatcher's legacy

The horrors that took place in the NHS as it degenerated under Tony Blair's Premiership are not mentioned by the class warriors below. Hundreds of thousands of deaths in the NHS were caused by Blair's targets, cash-gobbling Trusts and unwise contracts. And then there is the unspeakable Liverpool pathway for bumping off the frail elderly... JR

Academics behind a controversial paper which found that Margaret Thatcher's policies caused the premature death and suffering of tens of thousands of Britons are Labour Party supporters.

Public health experts from Liverpool University, Durham, Edinburgh and the University of the West of Scotland found that unemployment, welfare cuts and damaging housing policies led to 30,000 "excess" deaths.

They also accuse the governments of Baroness Thatcher of wilfully engineering an economic catastrophe across large parts of Britain by dismantling traditional industries to undermine the power of working class organisations.

The research provoked a furious response from Tory MPs, with one describing it as "socialist propoaganda dressed up as academic research".

The paper, published in the International Journal of Health Services, does not disclose that two of the paper's lead authors are Labour supporters.

Dr Alex Scott-Samuel, a senior lecturer in public health at the Liverpool Public Health Observatory, attended the Labour Party conference in 2012 and accused the Conservative Party of "destroying" the NHS.

He told delegates: "It's absolutely clear that the Tory government is hell-bent on destroying the NHS which we all hold so dear. They can't be allowed to have a second term and finish off the job. Let's ensure we do everything we can to have Ed and Andy leading us at the next election."

Dr Scott-Samuel said yesterday: "I don't feel my political participation is relevent in this. Clearly I have my own personal views and my own personal politics, but I would present this as a scientific paper in a scientific journal. What we have presented is supported by a substantial review of available evidence.

"I am 100 per cent saying that Margaret Thatcher's policies killed people. It's not just mortality. What we're saying in the paper is that where there is mortality there is always much more morbidity - sickness, illness and suffering. It's not as easy to quantify those figures.

"Thatcher and her ideological colleagues were really waging a war on the working class. This resulted in an enormous amount of suffering."

Professor Clare Bambra, a co-author of the paper from the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing at Durham University, is a member of the Labour Party. Her Twitter page includes a large number of criticisms of government policies such as the so-called "bedroom tax".

She said: "The data is there, we have given our interpretation of the data. Unemployment did increase, there is a well known relationship between unemployment and mortality.

"There are parallels between the Thatcherist economic and social policy and the Coalition's austerity policy. We've got rising unemployment, cuts to welfare, the bedroom tax, Atos.

"I am a member of the Labour party, but this paper could have been equally critical of the Labour Party in the 1990s."

Conor Burns, a Tory MP and a friend of the late Baroness Thatcher, said: "This is socialist propaganda dressed up as academic research using the cloak of academia to advance dogma. I'm sure Ed Milliband will want to distance himself from any of these people associated with the Labour Party.

"Baroness Thatcher said herself of socialism in 1990, 'It impoverished and murdered nations. It promoted lies and mediocrity'. On the basis of this paper it would appear she was spot on."


The EU can't afford to punish Switzerland

It's called democracy. You should try it, Eurocrats. If the EU did get nasty, a threat from Switzerland to expel their 2 million or so EU citizens should cure all ills

"I will do such things—what they are yet I know not, but they shall be the terrors of the earth!"

The EU, like the unfortunate Lear, is issuing furious but unspecific threats. One after another, MEPs and Eurocrats have lined up to tell the Swiss that their vote against unrestricted EU immigration will have monstrous (though carefully undefined) consequences. Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, says that Switzerland's other bilateral treaties with the EU might be called into question. The Socialist leader, Hannes Swoboda, hints darkly at economic retaliation: “If Switzerland suspends immigration from the EU, it will not be able to count on all the economic and trade benefits it is currently enjoying." Commissioner Viviane Reding tells us that the single market is "not like a Swiss cheese" (actually, it's very like a Swiss cheese: there are all sorts of derogations, exemptions and other holes).

British Euro-enthusiasts, taking their cue from their Brussels leaders, are slavering at the prospect of anti-Swiss sanctions. By making an example of the Switzers, they hope, the EU will scare the British out of attempting any serious renegotiation of their own. So far, though, the only punishment delivered by Brussels has been, er, the deferral of some talks on cross-border sales of electricity.

When the Eurocrats have finished letting off steam, some brute facts will remain. First, free trade suits the EU as well as Switzerland. Indeed, with the Helvetic Confederation growing economically while the eurozone shrinks, it's the EU that is gaining more. The same is true of free movement of labour. It's not just that a quarter of Switzerland's residents are EU nationals; hundreds of thousands more cross the border from neighbouring countries to work in the cantons. Switzerland, in short, has a strong negotiating hand.

Second, the Swiss have voted as most European electorates would vote. The French, the Italians or the Germans, given a referendum, would also support restrictions on inward migration. Their politicians know it, which is one of the reasons they sound so tetchy.

Third, Switzerland's referendum was far more moderately phrased than you'd think from the coverage. Voters have not demanded an end to all immigration, or even to all EU immigration. All they have done is mandated their MPs to come up, at some stage over the next three years, with some controls.

Will that modest request drive the EU into full-scale retaliation? Will the European Commission, in its final months, embark on a quarrel that could only damage both sides? It makes no sense.

Then again, the Eurocrats have half an eye on Britain. If the Swiss can unilaterally alter their deal with Brussels, why not the British? And if the British why not the Danes? And if the Danes, why not the Dutch? Perhaps a penalty might be found which sounds scary, but which doesn't really matter. There is plenty of precedent. When the Austrians put Jörg Haider's Freedom Party into a coalition government in 2000, the EU responded with what it called "diplomatic sanctions", which involved not nominating Austrians for various international posts. The policy was practically meaningless, and was quietly dropped after a few months.

My guess is that Brussels will find some similarly symbolic way to penalise the Swiss. It might, for example, sententiously announce the exclusion of Swiss banks from elements of the single market. Such exclusion already exists, and suits most Swiss financial institutions, since their business model depends on not being covered by EU regulations. What the EU won't do is prejudice cross-border trade with its neighbour.

The same would apply, mutatis mutandis, to Britain. Our withdrawal from EU institutions would prompt angry speeches and vague threats and maybe some symbolic non-collaboration. But no one seriously thinks that the EU would restrict trade with what would be by far its largest export market – bigger than the second and third (the US and Japan) combined. In any scenario, EU countries benefit from free trade with Switzerland and with the UK – and, for that matter, with Norway, Macedonia, Andorra, Turkey and every other European non-member.

The idea that the EU will harm itself in order to harm Switzerland depends on the notion that it is motivated by vindictiveness rather than self-interest. I don't believe that for a moment. But if I'm wrong – if Eurocrats really would impoverish their own countries out of sheer spite – what are we doing allowing such people to rule us?


”Sweden – Europe’s closest thing to a fascist, hate-based regime”


Englishman Iain Channing returns to Sweden, the country he lived in during the 1980s. What has happened to the safe and well ordered country that was so admired throughout the world? Do people really appreciate the politicians’ radical experiment in social engineering? And what about Malmö – Sweden’s preeminent test tube? Here is Channing’s report – the last of three.

To understand how things have reached this pass—when an ordinary working class guy resorts to a self-censorship gesture used in communist countries—you only need to read the Swedish press. Mass immigration is not quite a taboo, but all criticism of it is censored, distorted or demonized.

An almost daily barrage of hate and slander is directed at the Sweden Democrats (SD), the anti-immigration party that is now shaking up Sweden’s cosy coalition-based politics. “SD are trying to delude the working class.” “SD are still racists!” “How far to the right will [SD leader] Jimmy Åkesson go?”

Every single newspaper story I read about SD in a month in Sweden—and there were a lot, because its rise (to 10 percent in the polls) has become a real headache for the establishment—was negative and often littered with childish, abusive epithets originating in World War II. In such an environment, the party does not list an address on its website, and its three top leaders require police protection.

Referring to an earlier scuffle SD leaders were involved in, a well-known Swedish rapper told the Metro on November 28, 2013, “If I had been there I would have taken the iron bar and put all three of them in a coma.” I read these lines and thought, this is Sweden?

To get an unbiased or critical angle on the immigration crisis, many Swedes now turn to what can fairly be called samizdat sources: the online news-sites such as Dispatch International, Avpixlat and Exponerat. Some stories on these sites attract more comments than major British dailies (and Britain’s population is eight times’ Sweden’s); I know of no other west European country where the alternative media have become so mainstream.

Aware of the threat they pose, major daily Expressen recently teamed up with far-left cybersnoops and launched a campaign of “outing” their donors and even Disqus commentators, hoping to get them “hung out” publicly, as the delightful Swedish term has it, and fired from their jobs. There is a rumpus at the moment about “opinion lists” (åsiktsregister), blacklists allegedly being drawn up by major media and other organizations. Yep, I’m not making this up. This is Sweden today.

And still the issue of immigration will not go away. On the contrary, the unmentionable topic has become a national obsession. According to columnist Hakelius, “[people who send me letters now] are interested in one thing: immigration. The discussion can begin wherever it likes, but it always ends with immigration. Immigration, immigration, immigration, immigration, immigration.”

There is one aspect of the crisis that cannot be censored, and it is one for which Malmö has become notorious. Mass immigration has led to a massive increase in crime in the city, and a massive decrease in that most cherished of Swedish values, trygghet. Every office door seemed to have “Be sure to lock up” or “No valuables here” sign on it. I have never seen so many locksmiths in any city, nor such huge locksmiths. A Låscentral store near my flat was the size of a small supermarket—and all it was selling was security devices.

The depth of the burglary crisis was clear from a single headline that autumn: “Today 16 Skåne families were victims of break-ins; Skåne is the worst affected län.” But it is rape and murder that have really ravaged Malmö’s reputation. The rape crisis has been officially swept under the carpet, but the city also has a less easily smothered gang problem. Between 2002 and 2008, crime-related murders in Sweden nearly doubled (compared to seven years in the 1990s) to 71, according to Sydsvenskan, and of these, 18 happened in Skåne and eight in Malmö alone, which makes it the murder capital of Sweden on a per-capita basis.

The December 4 Metro reported that there were about 100 shooting incidents in 2013 in the city – mostly at cars and other objects, but including a couple of teenagers shot in the leg, a 25-year-old shot at a car wash, a 31-year-old man severely injured by three shots in Bergsgatan, close to where I was. OK, it’s not Chicago. But twenty-five years ago, this wasn’t Sweden either.

How does the Malmö press handle all this bad news? By pretending it has nothing to do with resident immigrants (or blaming slack Danish border police – seriously). In this, they are greatly abetted by the Swedish police, which do not publicize the ethnicity of perpetrators and suspects, though they do not censor personal names. A local paper ran a story warning parents about a suspected rapist hanging around two local schools: “Three children were exposed to rape in September and all three have said that the perpetrator was a man in his 20s. No suspects are currently under investigation.” A man in his 20s? In a city with well over 100 nationalities, that does not exactly narrow the field.

Metro ran a story about a woman abducted and forced by thieves to get money for them from a cash machine. She reported that the pair had a pistol and knife and disappeared in a dark blue Audi – no mention of perpetrator race, accent or appearance. I saw stories like this, with gaping holes, every day. But all facts that make the open-door immigration policy look bad are simply suppressed.

At the same time, the local media bend over backwards to present multiracialism as a boon for Malmö. “Enterprises that employ foreign-born people succeed more easily overseas,” ran a particularly unsubtle headline. Needless to say, they are very sensitive about the city’s image. After an Odense school cancelled an exchange trip with a Malmö school citing the Danish parents’ security fears (such is the city’s reputation all over Scandinavia), Vårt Malmö (Our Malmö), published by the city, ran a puff story in which residents were asked if they felt safe in their areas. “Yes, I do,” said Darwin Celebre, the ethnic interviewee. “Yes, it’s safe, with lots of families with children,” said Eric. “I feel very safe,” said a third. Added Tove: “I feel really safe, very quiet streets.” In truth, I had some sympathy with this pathetic piece of propaganda. It isn’t that bad. Danish schoolkids are not going to get hurt here.

But overall, the media aroused in me a new emotion towards Sweden, one I never dreamed I would ever feel: contempt. Things aren’t quite as bad as East Germany, as dissident Swedes are wont to say, but this country no longer has full freedom of speech. The far left – that is to say, the Swedish media and establishment – is not interested in “debating” mass immigration. They are ideologically committed to imposing it, come what may, for the greater good, and anybody who disagrees is a “hater,” a “fascist,” a “nazi” or a “racist.”

I’m not exaggerating. You see those words over and over in the Swedish media. Which is to say, Sweden itself has become the closest thing western Europe now has to a fascistic, Nazi-like, hate-based regime – only it is wrong-thinking ethnic Swedes who are its victims, at risk of assault, home-trashing and media humiliation for voicing opposition to state immigration policy.

I dipped into a book on contemporary Sweden, almost the only title I could find in the leading bookstore chain that even touched on the issue of mass immigration. It was called Partiet : En olycklig kärlekshistoria (The Party, an unhappy love story), by Eva Franchell, Aftonbladet leader-writer. It was about the decline of the Social Democrats, the party of Palme, the party most associated with the golden era of nice (and largely homogenous) Sweden. Towards the end, a single line stuck out: “It is 2012, and one in 10 Swedes can think about voting for a racist party.” Is it surprising that there is no real debate on immigration when one side refuses to even acknowledge the concerns of the other, and simply resorts to slander?

It would be wrong to portray Sweden as a country in crisis. At the moment, Malmö is the exception. Most of Sweden (and Scandinavia generally) is still overwhelmingly ethnic Scandinavian. Countries that have been diluting their populations for longer than Sweden, like Belgium, the Netherlands and Britain, are much closer to losing their ethnic identity. In some ways, Sweden still lags these pioneers of multiracialism. The loaded term “ethnic Swede” is still commonly used in public to discriminate between native and “new” Swedes, though this kind of classification has become controversial in the UK.

The country is too rich and comfortable for systematic unrest (as opposed to local outbreaks like the Rosengård riots). And it differs from nearly all other western countries swamped by Third World immigration in one key respect – there is no pressure on resources. Sweden is huge and rich in minerals, but suffers a falling birth rate. Unlike, say, Belgium, it could easily absorb another million immigrants. (Having said that, its major cities still manage to suffer severe housing shortages; Sweden’s wealth masks a great deal of bad government.)

Divisive as it is, the race-blind, open-door immigration policy is supported by many Swedes, who seem to believe that they have a mission to be the world’s nicest country. I’m not just being snide about that. The fact that Sweden did not participate in World War II and has virtually no citizens who have experienced war has left it with something approaching a very mild version of the German guilt complex. At a subconscious level, the utopian immigration policy is partly a gesture of atonement for not opposing Hitler. It is also a product of the highly left-politicized nature of Swedish society.

Tiny, vocal far-left parties abound, young people are far more likely to go to demos about Palestine or women’s rights than in, say, France or Scotland, Marxist terms like “class conflict” are still standard parts of the political lexicon, and you see hammer and sickle graffiti now and then. I don’t think there many free countries in the world where people paint that symbol on walls and mean it.

To me, all this is political self-indulgence. Sweden is not affluent because it is socialist; it is socialist because it is affluent – because it can easily afford the very considerable cost of trying to build an egalitarian model state, where every public building with a staircase also has a hundred-thousand-kronor lift for wheelchairs. It is affluent for two simple reasons: the practical, hardworking Lutheran traditions of the people, who, being homogenous, were long spared ethnic conflict, and its ideal population-resource balance. With few people and abundant timber and iron-ore reserves, Sweden was quickly able to develop an advanced manufacturing economy, which has remained strong to the present. To this Englishman living in a depressed Yorkshire city, Malmö and the rest of the country looked awash in money.

Despite everything, I think multiracialism has added some positives to Malmö life. Twenty-five years ago, eating out in Sweden meant a hotdog or icecream at a Sybilla stand or paying half a day’s wage for a mediocre pizza and a low-alcohol beer. Today, Malmö must have one of the richest ranges of restaurants in northern Europe. Because the restaurant business is the only option for so many immigrant jobseekers, competition is fierce and prices for Middle Eastern and Mediterranean meals are often very low. For better or for worse, Malmö’s streets are more lively than the average Swedish town centre – more shops, more stalls, more music, more noise, but also more panhandlers and less security.

But integration has clearly failed. In Britain, the universality of the English language and the old colonial links with migrant countries of origin have made the whole process much smoother and deeper than it is anywhere in Scandinavia. But Sweden, like a misguided Marxist aristocrat trying to give his mansion away, has simply opened its doors to a huge range of countries it knows almost nothing about, expecting its supposedly superior social model to be automatically internalized by all comers. “Can’t speak Swedish? No matter. Can’t find work? Don’t worry, here’s the cash. Can’t fit in? You’ll come round. Hostile to Christianity and prone to rioting? You’ll grow out of it.” Isn’t there something not merely naïve, but even patronizingly racist, about Swedish expectations?

What has actually happened in Malmö is population replacement, with an exodus of ethnic Swedes to the country. I tried but was unable to get historic demographic data relating to the city. One helpful woman schooled here in the 1960s guessed that the total foreign population was between 2,000 and 3,000 when she was a child—mainly Yugoslavs and other East Europeans, who were later joined by Latin Americans in the 1970s before the tidal wave began.

In other words, Malmö has gone from being nearly 100 percent ethnic Swedish to 50 percent in 50 years. If this pace of replacement is sustained, it will be effectively be a foreign enclave on Swedish soil within a few decades, a crime-ridden grab-bag of minorities with little in common except Islam and a heavy reliance on the restaurant business. Kebabland. Is that really what Swedes want whole swathes of their homeland to become?


American Presbyterian group Declares War on the Jews

In the last decade, several mainstream American Protestant denominations have flirted with resolutions endorsing boycotts of companies doing business with Israel. Most of these efforts have been defeated, albeit narrowly, by strenuous efforts by Jewish groups determined to preserve good interfaith relations as well as by Christians who wanted no part of a movement dedicated to waging economic war on a democratic state. In most cases, these battles have involved a small cadre of left-wing activists involved in church leadership groups that had little support among ministers, and even less among rank-and-file church members. Thus, even the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), a church that has a particularly virulent group of pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel activists working in positions of influence, failed to pass a divestment resolution in 2012. But despite that defeat, those anti-Israel elements have now regrouped and launched a new initiative that threatens to escalate the battle within the church and to undermine any remnant of good will that still exists between this Presbyterian group (the PCUSA is just one among a number of groups that call themselves Presbyterians) and American Jews.

As the Times of Israel reports, the Presbyterians’ Israel Palestinian Mission Network (IPMN) has issued a “study guide” about the Middle East conflict that will forever change the relationship between the church and the Jewish people. The 74-page illustrated booklet and companion DVD entitled Zionism Unsettled was published last month for use by the church’s 2.4 million members. Unlike other left-wing critiques of Israel, the Presbyterian pamphlet isn’t content to register disapproval of Israeli policies and West Bank settlements or to lament the plight of the Palestinians. The booklet is a full-blown attack against the very concept of Zionism and seeks to compare Zionism to the Christian anti-Semitism that led to the Holocaust and other historical atrocities. Its purpose is to brand Israel as an illegitimate entity and to treat its American Jewish supporters as having strayed from the values of their religion. Zionism Unsettled not only swallows the Palestinian narrative about Middle East history whole, it is nothing less than a declaration of war on Israel and American Jewry.

As a work of political science or history, Zionism Unsettled is unworthy of serious discussion. Its argument rests on the prejudiced assumption that the Jews are the one people on earth that are unworthy of self-determination or the same rights to a homeland as any other on the planet. It smears those who sought to create the Jewish homeland and whitewashes those who have waged war and engaged in terrorism to destroy it. Ignoring history and the reality of virulent anti-Jewish prejudice in the Arab and Muslim world, it claims Jewish life would thrive in the region if there were no Israel. If that absurd assertion were not enough to strip it of even a vestige of credibility, it goes so far as to claim that the tiny, intimidated remnant of Jewish life in an Iran ruled by a vicious anti-Semitic regime is a model of coexistence.

With regard to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, it sees only black and white. In Zionism Unsettled, the Jews have no right to Israel and no right to defend themselves. On the other hand, it rationalizes and even justifies violence against Israel.

But the argument goes further than anti-Zionism. The pamphlet actually criticizes the Catholic Church for its historic efforts at reconciliation with the Jewish people, saying the 1965 declaration Nostra Aetate that rejected the Deicide myth against the Jews “raises as many questions as it answers.”

Unlike past controversies in which Jewish groups sought to bridge the divide between the two communities, the distribution of a publication that is driven by sheer hatred and a determination to see Israel destroyed requires a more forthright response. The response to this screed should be unequivocal. Any Presbyterian Church USA that chooses to distribute it is not merely offending supporters of Israel. It is endorsing hate speech and seeking to spread a doctrine that seeks Israel’s destruction and views Jews who do not reject Zionism as guilty of complicity in the “crimes” of the Jewish state. With this publication, the PCUSA has crossed a line that divides people of good will from those who promote racism or anti-Semitism. The many decent members of congregations affiliated with the PCUSA can no longer stand by mutely while the good name of their church is sullied in this manner. They must either actively reject this ugly publication or forever be tainted by association with the vile hatred to which their leadership has committed 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.


13 February, 2014

UK Girl Guide troop which refused to drop 'God' from their oath win their fight after being threatened with closure

Girl Guides who were told to adopt a new promise which omits God or face being axed from the organisation have won a reprieve after they were told no further action would be taken.

The 37th Newcastle Guide Unit were warned that they had to comply and start using the new oath which does not mention religion and instead sees members swear to be true to themselves and develop their beliefs rather than love their God.

The group, which meets at Jesmond Parish Church, received a letter from the Girl Guide's chief commissioner in the North East saying their membership to the organisation would end on December 31 last year unless they used the new promise.

However, Guide leader Glynis Mackie, who has led the troop for more than 25 years was told last month that the threat has now been lifted and a compromise will be found.

The 55-year-old, who works as a solicitor by day, is delighted there has been a change of heart as her members were upset that the group might have been forced to close.

Mrs Mackie has been a Guide leader for the past 25 years is delighted there has been a change of heart and that a compromise can be found

'It has been tough on them - some of them would have had to register with another group if we had been shut down. 'New members have been without a proper uniform for weeks because I’ve had to honestly tell them that they may have to join another group soon.

'I am so pleased to have pushed and made a fuss over this, I was not going to let them close us down quietly. 'There have been many sleepless nights and tears shed. I feel completely churned up. 'I have given a huge part of my life to the Guide Association. I am very proud of my girls for supporting me in it.’

In 2012, the Guide Association announced plans to revise the wording - which the 37th Newcastle Guides welcomed as they have Muslim girls as members, and non-believers in their ranks.

And in September last year, the troop received a letter outlining the changes to omit religion from the oath.

But Mrs Mackie, who has two daughters, one of who leads a Rangers group, was not willing to force her members to adopt the new pledge.

She said: 'A lot of people have made the argument that the Girl Guides are not a Christian group, and I accept that, but we are a group based on faith. 'We cannot build a group which welcomes those without a faith while pushing out those who do.'

'I see parallels with the legal world. In a courtroom, you have the right to swear on the Bible, or to opt not to have the religious dimension. ‘But to be denied the choice of pledging to serve God is just wrong. Instead of becoming more inclusive, it is excluding people who do believe, and for whom the religious aspect is an important part.

Not only was Mrs Mackie against the move to a new oath but so too were several of the groups members, including 16-year-old Eleanor Thomson. Speaking at the time she said: 'We haven’t done anything wrong. The ridiculous thing is that we have done what the Guide Movement has always taught us to do — stand up for our principles.

'But that is suddenly wrong, apparently. It’s ridiculous. It would actually be funny if it wasn’t so serious.’

Parents of the girls also received letters informing them of the situation saying there were other Guide units nearby that their children could attend.

Lindsey Letts got her letter just days after her daughter Hannah, 13, received her Baden-Powell Award - the highest accolade a Guide can receive. ‘The timing was astonishing', she said. 'We had this wonderful ceremony and then we were told the unit was being closed. None of it makes sense.

'We’re told the girls are being encouraged to develop their beliefs. Well, Hannah has made it very clear she has a Christian belief, and wants to be able to express that.'

Following the letter last month a meeting was set up between the association, the group and parents.

It was at the meeting that Glynis and the group were told that no further action would be taken, and that they would not under any circumstances be expelled from the association.

A Girlguiding spokesman said: ‘Girlguiding has suggested a way forward that does not change the wording of the Promise or compromise Girlguiding’s commitment to having one Promise for all girls. ‘Discussions are continuing with the group.’

The Girl Guiding movement was founded in 1910 by Agnes Baden-Powell, the sister of Robert Baden-Powell, who had formed the Scouts three years earlier after girls 'gatecrashed' the first boy scout rally at Crystal Palace in 1909.

According to the Girlguiding website, the promise is at the heart of guiding and gives a purpose to life.

It is also thought that several groups in Northern Ireland were also consulting on whether to refuse to endorse the new pledges.


American lugers' anger at Canadian equal rights video that says their sport has 'always been a little gay'

American lugers have lambasted an equal rights video that shows two spandex-clad athletes rocking back and forth on a sled with the message that the Olympics 'have always been a little gay'.

Christian Niccum, who competes in the doubles luge, called the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion video 'ridiculous and sad', while teammates agreed joking about their sport was old news.

The 33-second video shows two men in a sled at the start of a luge track thrusting in slow motion before they push off while 1980s hit 'Don't You Want Me Baby' plays. 'The Games have always been a little gay,' the tagline says. 'Let's fight to keep them that way.'

The video, which was created in response to Russia's anti-gay propaganda laws, has been an online hit - totting up more than 4.6 million views in a week. But Niccum is not so taken by it.

'It's a gross misrepresentation of everything,' the 36-year-old three-time Olympian told Reuters. 'All of it seems like a lie to me... To compare sports to sexuality is ridiculous.

'When we were kids I didn't get on the doubles sled thinking, well it never even crossed my mind, that "oh, this is gay". You think of like, wrestlers, football players, or whoever, "oh it's male on male contact so something is going on". It's just sportsmanship. When did we come so sexual about everything?

'Kids don't think that way and now they're having commercials and promoting that this is the way sports are. I just think it's too bad.

'It made me really think when I was a kid. Those types of thoughts never crossed my mind and now they are promoting diversity using our sport. 'I don't think it's fair for people that do have same sex attraction that they are using sport to promote their lifestyle. It's not that way at all. To make those comparisons, I think it's sad.'

In luge, one team member lays on top of the other as they navigate the sled through a series of turns.

Another American, Preston Griffall, added to the New York Times that most doubles lugers understand they are a target for jokes.

'We’re two dudes, laying on top of each other in spandex,' he said. 'Of course people are going to make fun of it.'

But he added, 'in sports, what we're doing is a completely different issue than what they're talking about. We’re competing here. I'm not going to look too deeply into it.'

Another American, Matthew Mortensen, said that making fun of the luge is old news. 'For some reason,' he said, 'whether it's Jimmy Kimmel or Conan O'Brien or anyone, doubles luge is always the target. It's never about football players taking a snap or whatever. We've heard all this stuff before.'

Niccum's riding partner, Jayson Terdiman, added that he had never heard a good doubles luge joke.

The Sochi Games are taking place amid protest from gay rights activists, who condemn Russian legislation passed last year banning the promotion of gay propaganda among minors.

Leader Vladimir Putin said the law is designed to protect young people but he has said that gay people would not face discrimination in Sochi.

CIDI founder and CEO Michael Bach said on his organization's website that it launched the video because 'the discrimination in Russia is unacceptable'.

'As an organization, we want to show our support, especially for the athletes competing at the Olympics in Sochi,' he said.


Overzealous Heathrow security officials 'confiscate' Toy Story cowboy Woody DOLL'S miniature gun

British authorities are as moronic as America's TSA

With his trademark cowboy boots, cute waistcoat and red neckerchief, little Woody from Toy Story hardly looks like an imposing figure.

But the cowboy doll was apparently branded a terror risk at Heathrow Airport – because it was holding a miniature six-shooter.

A bemused air traveller has claimed on a social networking site that the figure was examined at Heathrow by security staff - who then subsequently confiscated the doll’s tiny firearm.

The traveller, who backed up their claim by posting online a photo of Woody being impounded, said: 'I have travelled the world with Toy Story’s Woody, taking pics for my son.

The photo has caused hundreds of comments on the Reddit website, with many users branding the security services as overzealous.

One user, called Groonz, commented: 'I'm just imagining what it would be like if he tried to hijack an airplane with that small gun. People squinting looking at his hand.'

Another person, with the username dudeinsha, wrote: 'Pathetic. What happened to common sense?'

And Reddit user Spiritol Jaguar, referring to Woody’s famous catchphrase about snakes when someone pulls his string, added: 'Did they find the snake in his boot?'

The dolls are not normally sold with a gun, so it is unclear where the weapon originated.

Heathrow Airport refused to comment on the matter and but said that security rules are drawn up by the Department For Transport.

A spokesperson for the Department For Transport said: 'We do not comment on specific incidents or details of our security regime.

'Airports and airlines can use their discretion to remove any item being carried in hand luggage when they believe it may be perceived as a threat.'


Superficial history from the BBC

I watched the latest episode of Jeremy Paxman's documentary about the First World War last night. In the past, I've complained about his slapdash approach to history, so my expectations weren't high. He focused on 1917 – surely one of the most epoch-making years in human history – and I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that of all the seismic events he could have covered, Paxman chose to tell us about Alice Wheeldon, who was locked up for allegedly plotting to kill Lloyd George. Of all the injustices meted out to human beings in 1917, her fate – 9 months in prison followed by compassionate release on grounds of ill health – has a good claim to be bottom of the list.

It was also pretty depressing that Paxman felt the need to tell a BBC audience that Lloyd George was "the British prime minister". The worst moment came when he told us about Germany's submarine campaign to starve Britain into submission. Naturally, Paxman left out the reason why this ruthless effort failed. Listening to him, you might think it was because lots of people started digging allotments. The real reason, which got only a fleeting mention, was that Britain adopted the convoy system. For the first time in the age of steam, merchant vessels were given permanent protection by warships.

The admirals, incidentally, were unanimously against introducing convoys. Lloyd George, who had never been to sea in his life, had the good sense to overrule them. Because of this, the U-Boat stranglehold was broken and Britain saved from defeat in 1917. That is a story of eternal relevance: sometimes leaders must have the self-confidence to ignore expert advice. Rather than go into this, Paxman preferred to tell us how lots of women started ploughing fields.

All of that was to be expected. The most revealing flaw was the way that Paxman talked about the government's effort to sustain public "support for the war". He continually used phrases like "pro-war" and "support for the war".

In reality, I doubt if anyone in Britain between 1914 and 1918 would have considered themselves a "supporter" of the First World War. They backed the war effort and they believed that resisting Germany was essential. But that is something quite different.

Most British people regarded the war as an abomination which had been forced on Europe by German aggression. Perhaps they were wrong, but that is a separate issue. The point is that describing this position as "pro-war" is facile. You might as well say that the Russian people who fought Hitler's invasion in 1941 were "pro" the Second World War. Of course they weren't. They were "pro" resisting the aggression which had brought the conflict upon them.

Paxman is taking the debate of our own time – about whether to be "pro" or "anti" the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – and imposing it on the Britain of a century ago. Put simply, he is being ahistorical. Which is a bit of a shame since he's meant to be presenting a history documentary. He really should stick to being rude to politicians.



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 February, 2014

More multiculturalism in Australia: Gang rape by Africans

COMMUNITY leaders have warned of possible reprisal attacks by Blacktown’s Pacific Islander community targeting young African-Australian men in the wake of the gang-rape attack on a 14-year-old Islander girl.

Blacktown Uniting Church Reverend Liva Tukutama said it was vital he and other Pacific Islander leaders reached out to African leaders to stop the young men of their communities seeking vengeance.

Meanwhile the victim’s mother says her daughter has been “broken into pieces” after what police described as a “horrendous” sexual assault by up to six men.

With tears welling in her eyes, the mother of the girl said she was heartbroken, furious and wanted to kill the attackers who had left her daughter traumatised beyond words.

The devastated mother’s comments came the same day a CCTV image of a man at a nearby bottleshop provided to The Daily Telegraph was passed on to police as part of the extensive investigation into the incident which has shocked the city.

“I’m feeling angry and disgusted at what’s happened to my daughter and I want to catch those mongrels and kill them,” the girl’s mother said.

“My daughter is broken into pieces. To herself, she feels ugly. Since this happened she is always putting her head down …. It’s disgusting what they did to her. “She is a beautiful, nice girl — beautiful, beautiful.”

She said the 14-year-old was too traumatised to tell her or her sisters about what had occurred and was devastated that online bullies had already targeted her daughter for simply being in the park where the sexual assault took place at night.

She was reportedly “hanging out” with two friends in Bill Colbourne Reserve, Doonside around 11pm on Saturday night when the trio noticed “five or six” African-Australian men drinking alcohol.

The Daily Telegraph has obtained CCTV footage of a man buying a bottle of alcohol from the Doonside Cellars about 9pm on the night, who was yesterday identified by one of the victim’s friends as a member of the group in the park. Police are reviewing the CCTV image from the bottle shop and other businesses as they hunt down the rapists.

Bottle shop staff have confirmed that the timestamp vision is 90 minutes slow since the CCTV’s timer is not calibrated to the correct time.

A receipt corresponding to the filmed purchase show indicate the sale was made at 8.58pm.

At 11pm that night the teenage girl became the victim of a prolonged gang rape described by Superintendent Gary Merryweather as “horrendous” and “unprovoked”.

It is understood the girl — who was being consoled by friends at school yesterday — was walking home when one of the men “touched her inappropriately”.

That man and the remainder of the group then allegedly “overpowered” the teenager in the park before raping her in an ordeal that last 30 minutes, Supt Merryweather said.

After the rape, the victim raced to the nearby home of her friend whose family members described her as “almost inconsolable” and “practically hysterical”.

The victim’s friend, who cannot be identified, told The Daily Telegraph he had seen a group matching a description of the alleged offenders drinking from a liquor bottle shortly before his friend was raped.

“We were just hanging around,” he said. “I had to leave the park ...(The victim) is stressed today.”

The girl’s friend said the men were known drug dealers and that that the third friend in the group had intended to make a purchase.

The friend’s mother is understood to have called police and the young victim was taken by ambulance from the home a few hours later.

“Being of such a tender age she is traumatised to an extent that I can’t even describe at this stage,” Supt Merryweather said.


Swiss voters back limit on immigration

Voters in Switzerland on Sunday narrowly backed a plan to limit immigration, in a blow for the government after it had warned that the measure could harm the Swiss economy and relations with the European Union.

Swiss public television SRF reported that some 50.3 per cent of voters had backed a proposal by the nationalist People's Party to introduce quotas for all types of immigrants. About 49.7 per cent had voted against the plan. The difference between the two sides was fewer than 30,000 votes, with a turnout of about 56 per cent.

The decision means that the Swiss government will need to renegotiate treaties on the free movement of workers that it had painstakingly hammered out with the EU. Until now, citizens from most EU member states could live and work in Switzerland with little formality, while Swiss citizens could do the same in the 28-nation bloc that encircles the Alpine nation.

Two years ago Switzerland introduced quotas for immigrants from eight central and eastern European nations, a move that had already drawn heavy criticism from the EU. Ahead of Sunday's referendum business groups warned that many of the 80,000 people who had moved to Switzerland last year were vital for the country's economy, and curtailing immigration further could cost Swiss citizens' jobs too.

"We always thought the argument about jobs would win people over," said Urs Schwaller, a lawmaker with the centrist Christian People's Party. "Clearly that wasn't enough."

Mr Schwaller said the Swiss government would now need to launch a diplomatic offensive, explaining to the EU that its hands were bound by the referendum while trying to avoid sanctions from Brussels. "We need to show the European Union that we're a reliable partner," he said.

The new proposal forces the government to draft a law extending quotas to immigrants from western Europe and introduce limits on all foreigners' rights to bring in family members or access Swiss social services.

EU Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly said it was disappointed by the vote. "This goes against the principle of free movement of persons between the EU and Switzerland," he said. "The EU will examine the implications of this initiative on EU-Swiss relations as a whole."

Almost a quarter of the 8 million people living in Switzerland are foreigners. This is partly due to Switzerland's healthy economy and high salaries.

But Switzerland's restrictive citizenship laws also mean many people who were born in the country or have lived there for a long time don't have a Swiss passport, inflating the share of foreigners compared with other countries.

The People's Party - which has more than a quarter of seats in the lower house of parliament - launched a massive campaign in favour of limiting immigration, hoping to emulate the success of other referendums in recent years that targeted foreigners. Some posters showed a huge tree crushing a map of Switzerland, while others depicted a heavily veiled woman beneath the headline "1 million Muslims soon?"

Official figures say 500,000 people in the nation of 8 million identified themselves as Muslim. Many of them are former refugees who fled to Switzerland during the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Only a minority are actively religious.

In a local referendum in the eastern municipality of Au-Heerbrugg, voters decided to impose a ban on Muslim girls wearing headscarves at a local primary school.

The leader of Britain's main eurosceptic party has hailed Swiss voters for backing curbs on EU immigration. Nigel Farage, the head of Britain's Independence Party, said Switzerland had stood up to bullying from Brussels and it was "not a matter of race but of space".

Mr Farage, who is a member of the European Parliament, said it was wonderful news for national sovereignty and freedom lovers throughout Europe, describing Switzerland as wise and strong.


The U.N. Assault on the Catholic Church

A high-profile sex-abuse report is an attempt to bully the church into bowing before the altar of Turtle Bay

In the name of protecting children,the United Nations is now preaching to the Vatican. A report on the Holy See—released by a U.N. committee last week to much media fanfare—alleged that tens of thousands of children have been abused by Catholic clerics, and that the Vatican has helped cover it up.

The committee strongly urged the Vatican: "Ensure a transparent sharing of all archives which can be used to hold the abusers accountable as well as those who concealed their crimes and knowingly placed offenders in contact with children."

That's rich coming from the U.N., which has still not solved its own festering problems of peacekeeper sex abuse, including the rape of minors. Exposing abusers and holding them to account is a great idea. The Vatican has spent years addressing the scandal of its own past handling of such cases. But the U.N. hardly engages in the transparency it is now promoting.

The U.N. releases only generic statistics on violations committed by personnel working under its flag. The U.N. doesn't share with the public such basic information as the names of the accused or the details of what they did to people the U.N. dispatched them to protect. Blue berets accused of sex crimes are simply sent back to their home countries, where in the majority of cases they drop off the radar.

Though the U.N. has been recording a drop in sex-abuse cases since it began releasing numbers in 2007, the number of alleged instances of rape and exploitation each year still runs into the dozens. (This may understate the realities, given the hurdles to victims coming forward, often in societies in tumult or at war.) From 2007-13, the U.N. reported more than 600 allegations of rape or sexual exploitation, with 354 substantiated—many of them involving minors. The numbers do not convey how ugly some of these cases get. Details can occasionally be gleaned when an incident seeps past the U.N. wall of omerta and makes it into the news, as with the peacekeeper gang rape in 2011 of a Haitian teenager, whose agony was caught on video.

In such matters as sex abuse, it is reasonable to hold the Vatican, or any other organization, to standards higher than the low bar the U.N. sets for itself. But hypocrisy is just one of the problems with this 16-page report on the Holy See, which further assails the Vatican for not subordinating itself wholesale to a much broader U.N. agenda. For example, the report calls for the Vatican to drop its opposition to adolescent abortion and contraception, condone underage homosexuality, and use its "authority" and "influence" to disseminate world-wide a roster of U.N. views and policies that run counter to those of the Catholic Church.

The real issue here is that whatever changes the Vatican and the world's 1.2 billion Catholics might consider, the U.N. is supremely ill-qualified to serve as a guide. The body that produced this report is the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child. Its job is to monitor compliance with the U.N.-engendered Convention on the Rights of the Child, a lengthy and intrusive treaty that went into effect in 1990.

When the Holy See became one of the early parties to this treaty, it did so with explicit reservations meant to safeguard its own authority and religious character. Now the committee, in its report on Wednesday, is pressing the Vatican to "withdraw all its reservations and to ensure the Convention's precedence over internal laws and regulations." The committee's recommendations are nonbinding but can influence public opinion. In this report the Vatican is publicly shamed—and then urged to redeem itself by bowing before the altar of the U.N.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child consists of 18 panelists advertised as "independent experts," serviced by a secretariat housed in Geneva under the umbrella of the U.N.'s dubiously named Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The committee members are nominated for their posts by the governments of their home countries and elected by an assembly of treaty members that reflects the despot-heavy tilt of the U.N.

From 2009-13 the committee included a member put forward by the government of Syria, where in 2011 the Assad regime began making world headlines for torturing and murdering children. Currently, the committee includes members from such human-rights-challenged countries as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Bahrain and Egypt. This panel issues reports via a process that in practice entails neither uniform standards of judgment nor urgent attention to some of the world's most horrifying abuses of children.

Officially, all parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child are supposed to self-report every five years. The U.N. committee then responds with its own volume of "concluding observations"—which is what just hit the Vatican. In practice, however, some treaty members miss their deadlines by years, and when they do clock in, the committee is chronically slow to respond. Iran has for years led the world in juvenile executions, yet the committee last reported on Iran in 2005. Its next report on Iran is not due until 2016.

A stark example of selective reporting can be found in the committee's most recent observations on Saudi Arabia—issued eight years ago. That report mentioned the case of a 2002 fire at a girls school in Mecca, a disaster in which 15 girls died and dozens more were injured. Expressing "grave concern" that "the school building did not meet adequate safety standards for children," the committee recommended that school buildings be made safer and that staff be trained for such emergencies.

What the committee did not mention was that when the schoolgirls tried to escape the fire, Saudi Islamic-morality police drove the students back into the burning building because they were not covered head-to-toe in the scarves and abayas required in public. Saudi journalists had the courage to report on this monstrous element of the tragedy. The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child left it out.

Or take North Korea, where state policy has led to famines that resulted in the stunting and mass starvation of children, and where disloyalty to the supreme leader can be punished by sending three generations of a family, including children, to prison-labor camps. In assessing North Korea, the U.N. committee in its most recent report released in 2009 expressed concern about"severe ill-treatment" of children and noted with "deep concern" that "the overall standard of living of children remains very low." But there was none of the fervor with which the committee has denounced the Vatican for failing to explicitly forbid corporal punishment. On that the committee was more than merely concerned, scolding the Holy See to ensure that "all forms of violence against children, however light, are unacceptable."

The Vatican has responded to this U.N. satrapy with a statement that its headline-grabbing report was "unjustly harmful" and went beyond the committee's competencies "to interfere in the very doctrinal and moral positions of the Catholic Church." Pope Francis might want to consider that it is precisely to avoid gross intrusion by unaccountable U.N. "experts" that the United States has signed but never ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This treaty has less to do with children than with political power plays, and a fitting reform at the Vatican would be to walk away from it.


Ongoing Threats to Free Speech in the USA

The Obama administration and other liberal proponents of "net neutrality" were dealt a significant blow last month when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decided that 2010 FCC regulations on Internet providers were invalid. However, conservatives should remain alert to one caveat: the ruling affirmed a Federal Communications Commission right to regulate the Internet, leaving open the possibility for more tailored regulations by executive fiat.

"Analysts say it would be unwise for [internet service providers] to take initiatives that set off a consumer backlash or public relations battle, giving Democratic lawmakers an opening to propose new broadband legislation," reported Investor's Business Daily. "While the door might be open for ISPs to seek fees from bandwidth-gobbling websites, over-reaching could make it more likely that Congress will step in."

And so, while the "free market" prevails in this court battle between the FCC and Verizon, this is a tenuous victory, and businesses must still balance their desire to innovate against the threat of Congressional intervention. And before the market reacts to the change in FCC rules, congressional leaders are charging into the breach to defend the open internet. The "Open Internet Preservation Act" was introduced by House Democrats on February 3. "The Internet is an open marketplace where everyone can participate on equal footing," stated Democratic Senator Al Franken (MN) regarding the bill, which also has a Senate companion. Sen. Franken and the other co-sponsors say they'd like it to stay that way, and perceive a threat from big business.

Ross Kaminsky, writing for the American Spectator, has a different take: "The reason the Internet is one of the most successful achievements in human history is that it's been almost entirely unregulated (other than attempting to prevent already illegal acts like dealing drugs or distributing child pornography, etc.)" (emphasis added).

"The idea that anything the FCC would do is likely to increase innovation is ridiculous on its face," argues the senior fellow at the conservative Heartland Institute (emphasis in original).

"Tuesday's [court] victory, although in an important battle, must be seen in the context of a never-ending war against a patient and determined enemy," he asserts. Particularly, "With Net Neutrality dead for the time being, I expect renewed focus by the partisan [FCC Chair Tom] Wheeler on a new version of the ‘Fairness Doctrine' in which the FCC will work to weaken conservative dominance over talk radio and cable TV news."

As Accuracy in Media has long argued, a revival of the Fairness Doctrine is fully possible under the Obama administration, although it may occur under the guise of diversity and media ownership rules, or some other promotion of "media diversity." This makes it all the more disturbing that the FCC has reportedly launched a $900,000 study in Columbia, South Carolina that will, according to The Hill, "ask journalists and station owners about their news philosophy and story selection process."

Yet the media has been virtually silent about this study and what it might mean for the American public's ability to access news without government interference. The Daily Caller published an article on the study in late October of last year. Then, in December it published an article questioning whether the study will actually take place, given an apparent lack of outreach on the FCC's part. "More than six weeks after the Federal Communications Commission announced a broad probe of political speech that raised serious First Amendment concerns, the city where the program was scheduled to begin has yet to hear from the Feds," they wrote. "Some FCC watchers speculate that Wheeler does not share [former acting chair Mignon] Clyburn's interest in the CIN survey."

If so, this would mark a significant turn of events, especially since Wheeler himself clung to the survey as a fact-finding mission in his testimony before the House.

"In order to make that kind of a judgment you have to have facts," said Wheeler. "In order to have facts you do studies. And what we did was, there is a study that has been proposed by a consulting firm that we were working with, and we put that out for public notice to exactly get the kind of input that you're suggesting."

Time magazine described Wheeler last year as a top Obama bundler and an Obama "true believer."

But why did the FCC choose a consulting firm like Social Solutions International, Inc., which is "dedicated to the creation of social and health solutions to improve the welfare of underserved populations worldwide," according to their website. "Founded on the values of diversity, social responsibility, and quality, Social Solutions International's corporate culture is grounded in the concept of positive change," states their website (emphasis added). These factors may just skew the data the FCC collects.

"The prospect of government-sponsored researchers querying independent journalists about their news judgment is constitutionally questionable-and wholly unnecessary," asserted the National Association of Broadcasters regarding the study last July.

"Although the Commission's stated reason for the report is to inform the Commission in taking deregulatory action to lower ‘market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses,' it is hard to read this and see it for anything other than what it is: Fairness Doctrine 2.0," asserts a GOP letter which was sent on December 11, 2013, the day before the aforementioned hearing.

Diversity in media ownership is a core goal of the Obama administration. "As president, Obama will encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation's spectrum," states his 2008 agenda. Obama has also voiced his support for net neutrality.

In mid-2007 the Center for American Progress released a study entitled "The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio," a transparent attempt to boost liberal viewpoints on the airwaves through the manipulation of FCC licenses, which radio stations and other broadcast entities have to periodically renew in compliance with regulatory standards. They found that "Quantitative analysis conducted by Free Press of all 10,506 licensed commercial radio stations reveals that stations owned by women, minorities, or local owners are statistically less likely to air conservative hosts or shows" (emphasis in original).

To make their goal even more transparent, they write: "Ultimately, these results suggest that increasing ownership diversity, both in terms of the race/ethnicity and gender of owners, as well as the number of independent local owners, will lead to more diverse programming, more choices for listeners, and more owners who are responsive to their local communities and serve the public interest." By diverse programming, they mean more progressive viewpoints. We called it what it is back in 2008: a nascent Obama Fairness Doctrine.

This is not the only threat to free speech on the horizon. The Hill reported last month that "Thirteen House Democrats have proposed legislation that would require the government to study hate speech on the Internet, mobile phones and television and radio." Who wants to guess what they would classify as "hate speech" in the end? Just look at what we've reported about the Southern Poverty Law Center, a media go-to for anti-"hate speech" quotations and expertise, for a clue.

Indeed, the enemies of free speech are patient, and those who love free anything-the Internet, broadcast cable, the radio-must remain ever vigilant themselves in order to preserve a free society from threats like these.



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 February, 2014

Political values aren't coded in skin color

Jeff Jacoby below hangs a lot on the fact that blacks once voted Republican. He ignores the fact that it was no evolution on their part but rather a big switch on the part of the Democrats -- from being the party of segregation to being the party of handouts. Blacks changed their vote for what they saw as a better offer

A more interesting case is the Church of England. In recent decades they have acquired a very "modern" Green/Left clergy. So has that eliminated the traditional conservative lean among Anglicans? Far from it. The Tory vote among Anglicans has in fact INCREASED in recent years, now outnumbering Labour voters almost 2 to 1. Perhaps hearing a lot of tosh from the pulpit inoculates you against it elsdewhere

A FEW DAYS before the Super Bowl, MSNBC embarrassed itself with an obnoxious tweet implying that "rightwing" conservatives are such bigots that they were bound to "hate" a Cheerios commercial featuring a biracial couple and their adorable daughter, Gracie. The backlash was blistering and instantaneous, and the cable channel apologized and deleted the tweet.

When it comes to playing the race card against anyone to its right, MSNBC is a recidivist. The smear over the Cheerios ad came just a few weeks after an on-air panel smirkingly joked about Mitt and Ann Romney's newly-adopted black grandson and how incongruous he appeared in the family's Christmas photo. That flap also triggered an uproar, followed by multiple apologies.

Count me among those who can't imagine anyone this side of the fever swamps viewing that sweet Cheerios ad or the Romneys' quiver full of grandchildren with any kind of racial disapproval, let alone one driven by politics. That some on the left can so casually traffic in such slander reflects nothing but their own bigotry against conservatives.

If you asked me, I'd have said that was self-evident. (As a right-winger with kids of different colors, I may be biased.) But Jim Lindgren, a law professor and sociologist at Northwestern University, decided to double-check. He turned to the General Social Survey, a comprehensive national survey that for years has been compiling sociodemographic statistics on US residents — including (among many variables) data on respondents' political leanings and the racial makeup of their families.

Not surprisingly, Lindgren found, there was nothing in the data to back up MSNBC's suggestion that conservatives are more likely than liberals to frown on biracial families.

"Among families with step-children or adopted children," he wrote for The Volokh Conspiracy, a legal blog hosted by The Washington Post, "11 percent of conservatives were living in mixed-race households compared to 10 percent of liberals." Broadening the analysis to include families with biological children of an interracial couple (like Gracie in the Cheerios spot), Lindgren found that 11.9 percent of self-identified conservatives live in mixed-race families compared to 11.4 percent of liberals. When the numbers were sorted by party affiliation, they showed 9.5 percent of Republicans living in mixed-race families vs. 11.2 percent of Democrats. Crunching the stats by both race and ideology, 2.0 percent of white conservatives live in mixed-race families, while 2.4 percent of white liberals do.

None of these differences are statistically significant. Taken together, they reinforce the ugliness of MSNBC's taunting insinuation that to be politically right-of-center is to be racially intolerant, or that there is something inherently liberal in forging ties of love across the color line.

But there is also a message here that conservatives and Republicans should be taking to heart, one that has nothing to do with liberal closed-mindedness.

In the ongoing debate over immigration reform, there are reasonable arguments on all sides — arguments about the economic, social, and environmental impact of increasing the number of immigrants, sealing the US-Mexican border, or offering amnesty to illegal immigrants. What is not a reasonable argument, it seems to me, is the claim that more immigrants must mean fewer Republicans.

"At the current accelerated rate of immigration — 1.1 million new immigrants every year — Republicans will be a fringe party in about a decade," writes Ann Coulter in a recent column. She cites a wide swath of polling data showing that most immigrants not only come from "societies that are far more left-wing than our own," but that "they bring their cultures with them." Hispanic and Asian immigrants may have little in common economically or culturally, but "both overwhelmingly support big government, ObamaCare, affirmative action, and gun control. . . . How are Republicans going to square that circle?"

The color of their skin doesn't predetermine their political values. Neither does their immigration status.

But that kind of essentialist argument is as flawed as the claim that interracial families must be left-wing, or that a conservative message of liberty, opportunity, and patriotism can only appeal to voters with white skin.

For more than half a century after the Civil War, blacks were a solid Republican constituency, and the most Democratic-leaning states were the most hostile to black voting rights. Yet attitudes change — sometimes for good reasons, sometimes not — and voting patterns with them. Political values aren't coded in our DNA. Party loyalty isn't a function of immigration status.

Where do you stand on amnesty? Whom you support for president? Would you ever watch MSNBC? If you're looking for the answers in the color of your skin, you're definitely doing it wrong.


Female grey power? It's a feminist's fairytale...

By Janet Street Porter

You’ve heard of the pink pound. Now self-help books, successful movies (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and television series (welcome back Birds Of A Feather) are targeting the spending power of the older woman — the ‘female grey pound’

Feminists argue that we must assert ourselves, and stop being invisible once we pass 50. It’s time to ‘age with attitude’.

As a well-preserved pensioner who regularly behaves like a teenager, I’d like to claim that when I enter a room, folk remark how fabulous I look. Sadly, life is not like that.

Once you say goodbye to your 40s, and your dress size sneaks up to 14, the only compliments are from other women and the odd gay man. Certainly not from the average heterosexual man.

This band of authors telling us life is fabulous at 60 can’t be living in the real world, where most women are earning less, working part-time against their will (having had their hours curtailed), looking after grandchildren (unpaid) and are with partners they went off years ago but cannot afford to divorce.

The notion of female grey power is a middle-class conceit. For many of us, each day brings fear — about the lack of a decent pension, of cancer and ill-health, of loneliness. A huge number care for aged parents, as funding for social services dries up.

Until women have real power — making up 50 per cent of the Commons, of Ministerial jobs and half of all public appointments — talk of grey female power is premature. We might get excited because one 62-year-old models underwear, but in fashion magazines it’s still business as usual. The main purchasers of expensive clothes are career woman over 40 — yet they’re nowhere to be seen. Ads still feature thin young girls having simulated sex with handbags.

Historian Mary Beard is giving a lecture this week on ‘the public voice of women’, examining how women through the ages have struggled to make them-selves heard.

She reckons ‘granny is sidelined’ and women are only allowed a voice if they are ‘turned into freaks’ like Margaret Thatcher, who consciously changed her voice and had hair like a helmet.

Mary says powerful women like Theresa May pay a far greater price than men to get heard. She’s right; and God help them if they have a wrinkle! Mary herself was subjected to horrible abuse on Twitter for daring to present a television series with grey hair.

Yes, 67-year-old actress Susan Sarandon might have a gorgeous 36-year-old bloke, but that’s hardly the norm.

The best news for older women is not a bunch of new books about grey power, but the Law Commission’s proposals to make pre-nuptial agreements legally binding. If relationships fail, we will be able to walk away with decent financial provision.

Of course, a bunch of MPs (mostly male) will have to vote this sensible plan into the statute book, so don’t hold your breath.


Handbagging for Hattie, high priestess of PC

Leading the charge against the Tories over the fact barely 15 per cent of their MPs are women is Harriet Harman, high priestess of political correctness.

The deputy Labour leader is a champion of the party’s policy of all-women shortlists in winnable seats - when it suits her.

The policy was mysteriously abandoned by the party’s ruling National Executive Committee in the run-up to the 2010 General Election in the safe Labour seat of Birmingham Erdington.

Harman was conveniently absent from the meeting that dropped the diktat. It enabled Jack Dromey, deputy general secretary of the Unite trades union, to secure the candidacy and become the MP.

And who is Dromey married to? None other than Hattie Harman. She, of course, has never been able to forgive the Tories for the fact they chose a woman as leader.

So much so that when she was equalities minister, Harman commissioned, at public expense, a document saluting the role of women in political life that omitted Margaret Thatcher.

The likes of Diane Abbott, the first black woman MP, and Baroness Uddin, the first Muslim woman peer (suspended for 18 months and ordered to repay £120,000 of fiddled parliamentary expenses) were featured. But there was no reference to the election of a woman as Tory leader in 1975.

The only reference was: ‘1979: UK’s first woman prime minister.’

Pointedly, there was no mention of Lady Thatcher’s name, which will endure in history long after Harman’s has been forgotten.


The Left’s long march will be hard to stop

Committed political agitators tell lies, even if with honourable intentions

By Janet Daley

Labour spent a lot of time last week making furious complaints about Conservative ministers filling public posts with Tory sympathisers. A predictable portion of the media actually took this seriously. The rest of us fell about laughing. As was frequently pointed out amid the hilarity, the last Labour government was spectacularly successful at stuffing every public body, quango and national institution within its reach with soft-Left placemen who could be relied on to cultivate the ground for its programme.

Now, Conservative ministers are left facing a wall of institutionally embedded, mutually supportive ideological enemies, snugly ensconced in virtually every arm of the country’s social, educational and cultural apparatus. And so, they are forced into an apparent war of political patronage – and are doubly disadvantaged by having to deny that they are engaged in any such thing.

Because the Left has politicised so much of public life, particularly in areas that affect mass opinion, such as the broadcasting media and education, the dismantling of that process itself becomes a political act: appointments that might once have been non-partisan and politically neutral must now be part of a campaign to counteract a deliberate manipulation of public influence. Having created the problem, Labour then gets mileage out of its opponents’ need to unravel it.

But let’s leave that aside. Michael Gove can fight the small battle of who will be the chairman of Ofsted with his usual unblinking determination. Deciding who is to be head of this, and director of that, is the least of the problems that his department, and any Conservative government that truly wants to change social attitudes, has to face. By far the more insidious – and more intractable – power-grab of the past generation was by the hard, not the soft, Left, and it was quite independent of any government direction. It was, in fact, a phenomenon about which New Labour was deeply ambivalent.

The Labour party in the Eighties may have had a highly publicised struggle with the Militant Tendency in its own membership, but it never confronted the infiltration of wider civic life by Left-wing activists, partly out of cowardice but mainly because the rabid anti-Toryism, which those activists could be relied on to inculcate, was not unhelpful electorally.

So as someone who spent her youth as a Left-wing activist, let me try to explain how we got here. Lots of people this week have referred to that memorable slogan of infiltration, “the long march through the institutions”, and most of them have wrongly attributed it to the Italian Marxist, Antonio Gramsci. In fact, it was coined by one of the iconic New Left figures of my generation, Rudi Dutschke, in the late Sixties. The prevailing philosophy of our time was that violent revolution – a mass uprising by the organised working class – was largely out of the question. Bourgeois capitalism was too monolithic and too successfully deceptive: the proletariat were deluded, forced into a state of false consciousness, and would never spontaneously rebel against their oppression.

The only solution to this was to invade the areas of life that were most directly responsible for opinion-forming and the bending of minds: to “work from within”, as we used to say, to alter the consciousness of the masses, who would then be made to see the reality of their own situation and become more receptive to the message of revolution. I had dozens of comrades on the New Left who became union officials, broadcasters, teachers and lecturers (the old polytechnics were full of such people) with this explicit motivation.

Anti-capitalist, class-war jargon permeated public discourse in the Seventies to an extent that now sounds risible. The Haringey primary school that my children attended was forced to end its Suzuki violin classes because the NUT representative on the staff declared the violin to be “a bourgeois instrument”. Later, the national curriculum turned subjects such as geography into polemical condemnations of colonial empires. The worst of this may be past now in the schools, but not before whole generations were put through a sheep-dip of hatred for their own historical culture. For Mr Gove, the deconstruction has only just begun.

But there is a larger story here – and one that is even more difficult to uproot than the takeover of state education by what used to be called “vulgar Marxism”. It is about the obsessive dedication of political activists who believe themselves to be on a moral mission, and the almost insurmountable difficulty for Conservative or apolitical people in dealing with them.

It is almost impossible for those who lead normal lives with private preoccupations to win out over professional activists who are trained in the techniques of public influence. An example of this is the way in which groups of activists conduct themselves at public meetings. We were always instructed not to sit together but to scatter ourselves through the audience, so that when we made noise (which we were encouraged to do) it would seem as if the whole hall was joining in.

This is precisely what Left-wing activists in BBC Question Time audiences do, by the way. Whenever I’ve been on the panel, I have been struck by it. The audience is not, as the folks at home often think, overwhelmingly on the Left: it is just that the Leftist groupies have positioned themselves around the room and are causing enough ruckus to intimidate those who disagree with them. The producers of this hapless programme always claim that they screen out activists with their advance audience questionnaires. So let me tell you something else about committed political agitators: they tell lies. And they do that – I mean this quite charitably – with the most honourable intentions.

In the name of the exploited working class, any amount of deception is justified: any intervention in battles about which you know little, any instruction to go along and help the comrades in their struggle at such-and-such a factory or in such-and-such a borough, with your mass-produced placards and your copies of Socialist Worker. Shove your placard in front of the cameras, chant your slogans and create a sense of organised momentum. Dominate the news coverage and distort the public perception of the event. Any tactic – vote-rigging, outright election fraud, the orchestration of a party leadership contest – is done in the name of the proletariat against which such great historical crimes have been committed.

The version of Marxism that was disseminated was garbled and diluted but its main tenets came through clearly enough: wealth creation is generally wicked, and poverty is an inevitable product of capitalism. Showing why both those statements are wrong and dangerous is going to be a long slog.



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 February, 2014

Multiculturalism alive in Australia

The religion concerned is not named, for some strange reason, but we read elsewhere that the pair met at a mosque. So they are obviously both Presbyterians

A Lebanese man living in Australia on a student visa will spend his first night in jail after allegedly "marrying" a child bride in a religious ceremony.

Ahmad Chamma, 26, allegedly met a 12-year-old girl in the Hunter region in 2013 and became involved in an ongoing sexual relationship with her. The pair then allegedly moved to a house in Sydney's southwest, where they continued the relationship.

Police claim the man and child were married in an Islamic ceremony in NSW earlier this year and the girl is now 13.

He was charged with 25 counts of sexual intercourse with a child between 10 and 14 years. The sexual assaults took place between January 1 and February 4.

Wearing a striped polo shirt and a black beard, the man made a brief appearance at Burwood Local Court on Friday and spoke via an Arabic interpreter. The Newcastle University student made no application for bail and it was formally refused.

The court heard he will make a bail application during his next court appearance on February 12 at the same court.

NSW Community Services Minister Pru Goward said the case was brought to the attention of authorities by Centrelink.

Ms Goward said anecdotal evidence suggests forced marriages between children and adults was an ongoing issue among Sydney communities. "This is a very secretive practice ... but it is not an unknown practice," she said.

"I understand there are actually a significant number of unlawful, unregistered marriages to underaged girls in NSW, particularly in western Sydney, southwest Sydney and the Blue Mountains."
The girl has been taken into state care.


Obama's Progressive Mirage Has Faded

The left is disillusioned

Progressive America is crestfallen. It had hoped for better things from President Obama, and he has not delivered.

Obama is the “Inaction Hero,” writes John Dickerson in Slate, who detects a “lack of ardor” in the Oval Office. He laments that “the president seems content with tending the store.” In The Washington Post, E.J. Dionne looks plaintively for “More Hope in Year Six?” In National Journal, Norman Ornstein explains “How Obama Can Save His Presidency (Or Not).” In The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf writes about “The Decline and Fall of ‘Hope and Change.’ ”

The disillusionment extends beyond the punditocracy: In Chicago, community activist Mark Carter advises Obama to “just quit. Because if this is what you call helping us, then just stop helping us.”

How times change.

Six years ago Obama was greeted as a messiah. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer described him as “the country’s hope, the kind of promising, intelligent leader who comes along perhaps once in a generation.” To the Toledo Blade, he was comparable to Lincoln, JFK, and FDR. The Los Angeles Times described him as “a constitutional scholar” who “has articulated a respect for the rule of law and the limited power of the executive.” The Detroit Free Press considered him “a disciple of the pay-as-you-go approach to federal spending that helped produce a budget surplus in the ’90s.” NBC’s Tom Brokaw compared his inauguration to the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, when “the streets were filled with joy. … People have been waiting for this moment.”

Obama did not exactly try to modulate expectations with humility. His coronation as Democratic nominee, he said at the time, marked the moment “when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Honeymoons fade, and every hero becomes a bore at last. Obama has fallen to Earth with a harder thump than most.

Granted, between the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov and the Edward Snowden revelations, the president had a rough year in 2013. But this gloss treats Obama like the poor schlimazel who goes to a restaurant and gets a lapful of soup from the waiter. It ignores his complicity in his own misfortune. The Obamacare website was his administration’s handiwork — as were other failed aspects of the law. Edward Snowden would have had much less to leak if the president had put an end to dragnet domestic surveillance, as he had promised to do.

Some of the president’s defenders have tried to portray him as the victim of an intransigent Republican Congress. Republicans have indeed been unhelpful. Yet the president can do a great deal without Congress. The NSA is an executive agency, after all. It answers to him — or ought to. By the same token, it is not Republicans’ fault that Obama has created the most secretive administration in memory and prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined. It is not Republicans’ fault that he has violated his own expressed standards for military intervention abroad. It is not their fault he became what a writer for Salon has called “a civil libertarian’s nightmare: a supposedly liberal president who instead has expanded and fortified many of the Bush administration’s worst policies.”

In any event, Obama was supposed to transcend partisanship: “More than any other candidate, I could bridge some of the partisan, racial and religious divides in this country that prevent us from getting things done,” he told the Houston Chronicle in 2007. “Washington is broken,” he said the next year. “My whole campaign has been premised from the start on the idea that we have to fundamentally change how Washington works.”

That certainly went well, didn’t it?

The exospheric expectations for Obama seem odd for progressives, who tend to prefer “people’s history” — history as the tide of mass movements, history as “history from below” — over great-man theories in which transcendent individuals steer the course of the world.

The dashing of those expectations also ought to serve as a cautionary tale. The vast gulf between the imagined Obama presidency and the actual Obama presidency should leave progressives wondering what a future Democrat might do in the Oval Office. Do they really expect another president to govern more liberally? To show more regard for the Constitution, for civil liberties, for executive restraint? Do they think some other Democrat could surpass Obama?

Apparently so. Though for now she says she will not run, Elizabeth Warren has become the new Obama. “Liberals are fawning over Warren,” observes The Washington Post. According to The New Republic, she inspires “an almost evangelical passion.” The Daily Beast says she is “a candidate who can inspire passion and embody fundamental change.” And so on.

Like a mirage in the desert, the great liberal hope always lies just over the horizon. Yes, this one has been a great disappointment. But next time! Next time …


British council plan taxpayer-funded adult learning course on how to look after HAMSTERS by assessing their 'social needs'… but are forced to cancel after NO-ONE signs up

A council blew taxpayers' money organising a course in how to look after hamsters - then were forced to cancel it because no-one signed up to go.

Northamptonshire County Council was planning on running a two-hour adult learning session which was titled 'Meeting The Welfare Needs of Hamsters'.

The evening course led by rodent expert Sophie Hacking was designed to teach pupils how to feed their pet 'a balanced diet' and assess their 'social needs'.

The session, which would have cost £5.90 to attend, was due to go ahead on March 4 but has now been scrapped.

In the advert, the council said the event had been designed to help owners 'evaluate the extent to which different types of housing meet the needs of hamsters'. It also helpfully pointed out that 'no existing knowledge or qualifications will be assumed.'

Today local residents, campaigners and politicians criticised the authority for wasting resources as they try and slash budgets by £128million over the next five years.

The council hurriedly pulled adverts for the course off their website today after the media phoned up to ask about why they were spending money on it.

Robert Oxley, campaign director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: 'The council have got better things to do than worry about the welfare of hamsters. 'It’s absurd that the council is wasting taxpayers’ money on talking about hamster housing and social needs when families struggle with their own household bills.

'Last I checked there wasn’t an urgent shortage of hamster wheels in Northampton so maybe the council should rethink its priorities.'

Labour councillor Mary Butcher, who represents the Oakley ward in Northampton, said. 'That is absolutely ridiculous, I can’t believe they would spend money on that and that they could be so frivolous. 'Why can’t people just buy a book to find out how to look after their hamster. 'Why are they wasting money like this when we are trying to save the children services and save domestic violence refuges across the county.'

Conservative Councillor Stan Heggs, for Corby, added: 'Well we have enough things to be looking at like the kids services rather than this. It is not up my street anyway.'

Butcher Paul Robinson, 30, said: 'That’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard - what an absolute waste of time, money and energy.'

A previous hamster course had been scheduled to take place at Caroline Chisholm School on October 23 last year. It was also cancelled because of a lack of interest.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council confirmed that they had cancelled the course. 'We love hearing people's suggestions for courses and we're happy to test out new ones, as we've done with the hamster care course,' he said.

'In this particular case, we actually haven't had any bookings so this course won't be going ahead. 'However, we've lots of other courses ranging from interesting hobbies to supporting the growth of local businesses.'


Julie Bishop's stance on the legality of Israeli settlements appears to be right

Julie Bishop is the Foreign Minister in Australia's conservative government -- a government which I am pleased to say is very pro-Israel

Julie Bishop had some sensible things to say in Jerusalem, as she broke ranks from a cosy, normally unexamined international consensus: the idea that, by permitting Jewish residence in the West Bank, Israel is violating international law.

Asked if she agrees Jewish communities located beyond the Arab/Israeli 1949 armistice lines are illegal, Bishop replied: "I would like to see which international law has declared them illegal."

Her reply has drawn attacks from perfervid Palestinian spokesmen - such as Palestinian Authority veteran official Saeb Erekat - who cite Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. But what does Article 49 actually say?

Drafted to outlaw the horrors of Nazi mass deportations, Article 49 prohibits "individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the occupying power or to that of any other country, occupied or not". It ordains that "the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."

"Transfer" is not rigorously defined in international law, but it has an accepted meaning: it entails some form of compulsion. Yet Palestinians are not being deported from the West Bank to another territory. Nor are Jews being deported from Israel to the West Bank; they are moving of their own free will.

The West Bank, illegally seized by Jordan in 1948, captured by Israel following Jordanian attack in 1967, is unallocated territory under international law. Only Israeli annexation or an Arab/Israeli agreement could alter its status - neither of which have occurred. In short, Article 49 has no bearing on the situation, as it deals solely with sovereign territories.

The original international decision at the 1920 San Remo Conference earmarking this territory for Jewish settlement has never been superseded by an internationally binding agreement. The 1947 UN partition plan, which sought to create Arab and Jewish states, could have been such an agreement, but it was rejected by the Arab powers and Palestinian Arabs. Being a UN General Assembly resolution, the plan had no legal force of its own.

In contrast, the 1993 Oslo Accords do possess legal force, but as these contain no prohibition on the existence and growth of these Jewish communities, Jewish rights remain unimpaired. Whatever one's view of the conflict, all should be able to agree on this. Yet Erekat denies it, even though the Palestinian Authority he represents signed the agreements.

He cited two other legal sources: the 2004 International Court of Justice (ICJ) advisory opinion, and the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. He didn't mention that the ICJ opinion was advisory and therefore non-binding, nor the perversion of legal norms by which it arrived at its conclusion - the ICJ opted to spuriously invest a General Assembly resolution with the authority for a legal determination of this kind.

The Rome Statute, which Erekat says makes Jewish settlement illegal, says nothing about Israel or the territories in question. It reiterates the Fourth Geneva Convention's prohibition on transfer of populations. It seemingly widens the scope of "transfer", by adding "directly or indirectly", but if compulsion is the touchstone, these qualifiers change little. But even if they did, some 40 countries, including free societies such as India, Israel and the US, have either declined to sign or to ratify the Treaty, making its application here nugatory.

Erekat is also incorrect to assert that the Abbott government's position represents an aberration. While differing from her predecessor, Bob Carr, Bishop's position is consistent with Australia's historic bipartisan stand.

Bishop was right to dismiss the notion that Jewish residence in the West Bank is illegal as the flat-earth assertion that it is. Inasmuch as this fiction inflames Palestinian ambitions to delegitimise Israel and uproot hundreds of thousands of Jews, it presents a profound obstacle to peace settlement.



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 February, 2014

Lessons from Kelo, the Eminent Domain Case That Wiped Out an American Neighborhood

Revisiting a notorious Supreme Court ruling

In its 2005 decision in Kelo v. City of New London, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a Connecticut municipality to forcibly condemn multiple private properties in a well-tended working-class neighborhood in order to clear space for the construction of various upscale amenities, including a luxury hotel, office towers, and apartments. According to the majority opinion of Justice John Paul Stevens, this seizure of private property counted as a legitimate “public purpose” under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment because the city’s eminent domain proceedings were part of a “comprehensive” redevelopment scheme that was carefully designed to bring “appreciable benefits to the community.”

How did that work out? Writing in the latest issue of The Weekly Standard, Charlotte Allen describes a recent visit to Fort Trumbull, the New London neighborhood that was bulldozed thanks to the Kelo ruling. It is now the city’s “most desolate neighborhood,” she writes. “Actually, ex-neighborhood, for there was not a residential property standing on the entire tract.”

Credit: Institute for JusticeCredit: Institute for JusticeAs we’ve previously reported here at Reason, Kelo was a colossal failure on all counts. Despite prevailing at the Supreme Court, New London’s redevelopment plan was scrapped, the razed neighborhood was never rebuilt, and the Pfizer corporation, which inspired the whole saga by inking the original real estate deal that led New London to set its sites on Fort Trumbull, pulled out of the city entirely in 2009. After Hurricane Irene blew through town a couple years later, New London urged city residents to use Susette Kelo’s barren former neighborhood as a dump site for storm refuse.

In her piece, Allen makes the case that Kelo is “something more than the story of a particularly nasty and overbearing abuse of either eminent domain or government power in general. It was also a tragedy,” she maintains, “with all the classical Greek elements: hubris, turn of fortune, cathartic downfall, and possibly the ‘learning through suffering’ that Aristotle in his Poetics argued was the point of tragic drama.”

That's certainly a plausible interpretation of the case. But there’s also at least one major player in this tragedy who has yet to show any signs of learning his lesson: Justice John Paul Stevens.

In his 2011 memoir Five Chiefs, Stevens discussed many of the big cases that he encountered during his long tenure on the bench (he was appointed in 1975 and retired in 2010), including District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010). But Kelo goes entirely unmentioned in the book, despite the extraordinary public backlash sparked by his controversial majority opinion. I criticized him for this absence at the time, and Stevens later responded to my critique, though his defense left a lot to be desired. In essence, Stevens asserted that Kelo was any easy case since it “adhered to the doctrine of judicial restraint, which allows state legislatures broad latitude in making economic policy decisions in their respective jurisdictions.”

Perhaps a future Supreme Court will learn from Stevens’ example and avoid another tragedy.


'Leaking like a sieve': Furious judge's verdict on Britain's borders as he jails Albanian Muslim drug dealer who has strolled back into the UK after being deported THREE times

A judge has described the UK’s borders as 'a leaking sieve' after an illegal immigrant drug dealer was deported three times only to return each time to commit more crimes.

Albanian national Baksim Bushati, 37, was sentenced to seven years in prison after he was found to have almost 1kg of cocaine worth £26,875 and £14,000 in cash at his home.

Since 2005, he has been sentenced to prison terms totalling nearly five years for offences of violence, battery and possessing false identification.

Despite being deported from the UK following each jail term, he returned to commit more crimes.

Yesterday, Judge Richard Bray criticised the Government as he sentenced Bushati to his latest prison stretch, saying the UK’s borders 'leaked like a sieve.' 'These things make a classic study for people who want to see if the Home Office and the Border Agency are doing their jobs properly,' the judge told Northampton Crown Court.

'It just shows how powerless they appear to be. They are hopelessly undermanned and that is what has caused this situation. 'It is our duty to point this out so the public are aware of it.

'As I have been saying for the last 10 years, it is a very serious problem which is simply not being dealt with. 'Our defences to illegal immigrants are leaking like a sieve. I can only hope you will be successfully deported on this occasion.'

For his latest offence, Bushati, from Weedon, Northamptonshire, jumped out of a moving car to try and evade capture on December 17 last year before he was stopped by police dogs.

Jonathan Eley, prosecuting, said Bushati, who admitted possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply, was found with £960 cash, Albanian identification documents and two mobile phones.

Bushati was first jailed in the UK for three-and-a-half years in 2005 before being deported back to Albania on his release from prison. But he managed to sneak back into Britain and in September 2010 he was sent to prison for 54 weeks for possession of false identification documents.

Last year it was revealed that the now defunct UK Border Agency was dealing with a backlog of 320,000 cases, which was expected to take more than 20 years to clear.

Former chief Tony Smith blamed the problem on an influx of illegal immigrants who arrived in the UK between 2000 and 2003, many of whom have since changed their names and become untraceable.

The agency has now been split into two sections, one to deal with immigration visas and one to deal with immigration law enforcement, which operates as Border Force.


Weak British law provokes vigilante action

Token sentences for Muslims attempting to enforce Sharia law in Britain provoke outrage. Some rough guys dare the Muslim "patrols" to take them on

Scotland Yard is investigating a far-right group after members launched 'Christian patrols' to 'draw out' and confront Muslims by drinking and smoking outside one of Britain's biggest mosques.

Vigilantes from Britain First, a group led by a former BNP linchpin, filmed themselves on Brick Lane in east London and told Asian men: 'This is our country. You want to live here, you adhere by our laws'.

The group says it is a response to 'Muslim patrols' that walked the area and warned couples holding hands, uncovered women or those drinking it was a 'Muslim area' and they faced 'hell fire'.

Three members were jailed at the Old Bailey last month for repeatedly trying to enforce Sharia law.

Britain First chairman Paul Golding, a former BNP councillor, said they were using members with cans of lager as 'bait' for Muslims outside the East London Mosque in Whitechapel.

'This is going to be a regular thing. We’re going to be out there every weekend to draw out these "Muslim Patrols",' he said after the footage emerged.

Golding is currently on bail for alleged harassment of hate preacher Anjem Choudary, who has been a vocal backer of 'Muslim Patrols'.

The video also shows him and his 15 supporters entering the East End in Gulf War vehicles and then later unfurling a banner outside the mosque that said 'resistance'.

It ends without any confrontation but uses an image of murdered soldier Lee Rigby, along with the message: 'The day Lee Rigby was murdered, thousands of patriots were born. The fightback has begun'.

The Bishop of Stepney, Rt Rev Adrian Newman, said: 'East London is proud of its generous attitude to diversity, based on tolerance and respect. 'There is no place for vigilante patrols, Christian, Muslim or any other faith, on the streets of Tower Hamlets.'

A spokesman for the East London Mosque called Britain First 'neo-Nazis'. 'Britain First’s patrol does not represent Christians, just as al-Muhajiroun’s patrols did not represent Muslims. Both are tiny, extreme groups, unwelcome in our community,' he said.

'We will not let those who espouse hatred damage our wonderful community relations.'

Jordan Horner, 19, Ricardo MacFarlane, 36, and a 23-year-old man who cannot be named for legal reasons were sentenced to 68 weeks, 12 months and 24 weeks in prison respectively for their Muslim Patrols.

The Old Bailey heard that in December 2012 Horner and the 23-year-old man drove alongside a couple and shouted: 'Let go of each other's hands. This is a Muslim area!'.

They stopped holding hands after the men repeated the message - and when they started again, the car blocked their way until they let go.

Two weeks later, Horner and MacFarlane attacked men drinking in Shoreditch, shouting: 'Kill the non-believers.'

Horner then punched two of the group, hitting James Forward in the jaw and knocking out Patrick Kavanagh with a sucker punch to the head.

On January 13, Horner and the 23-year-old harassed another couple, Clare Coyle and Robert Gray, as they were walking in Stepney - accusing Miss Coyle of being a 'slag'.

In an exchange filmed on Horner's phone, she replied, 'This is Great Britain. I can dress how I wish,' while the group shouted: 'Remove yourselves now. Muslim Patrol. Move away from the mosque.'


Yet another false rape claim from Britain

A cheating wife who cried rape in a bid to keep a six-year affair secret from her husband just a month after their wedding has avoided jail.

Unfaithful Jessica Gore, 32, had only been married to partner Darren, 41, for four weeks when she arrived home later than expected last September. The newly-wed mother-of-two claimed she had been attacked by a stranger as she walked home from babysitting for a friend. Her worried husband immediately told her to contact police and report the crime.

Her bogus claim came as police investigated a number of other reported rapes in her local area.

But detectives quickly exposed her lies and found she had sneaked off to meet lover Matthew Richards - just a short walk from her marital home.

Police then uncovered a series of texts on her phone and Gore admitted she had been cheating on her partner for six years.

Gore admitted perverting the course of justice and was given a suspended prison sentence of eight months, suspended for a year.

Judge Heather Norton told her: 'This wasn’t just a vague allegation. You gave an incredible amount of detail. 'This was all at a time when there was an ongoing investigation into rapes in the Ashford area.'

On letting her walk free from Canterbury Crown Court Judge Norton added: 'This is an extremely exceptional case. 'I do so with some reluctance and it is really by the skin of your teeth.'

Richard Scott, prosecuting, said she left her marital home in Ashford, Kent on the evening of September 24, telling her husband she was visiting a friend called Amanda.

She left the house at 8.15pm and texted her husband saying she had arrived at the property. But in fact she was in the arms of her lover who the court heard she had had an 'on-off relationship' for more than six years.

Mr Scott said: 'Jessica Gore was lying to her husband at that stage. In fact she had arrived at the home of a Matthew Richards.

'Mr Gore, washed and shaved, put the children to bed and settled down to watch a film. By this time Mrs Gore was having sex with her lover.'

At 10.10pm Gore left her lover and arrived home 10 minutes later in floods of tears claiming she had been raped. On the advice of police her husband bagged her clothes before detectives arrived to question her.

Mr Scott added: 'She gave the police an allegation of stranger rape after being confronted by a man who she had struck. 'She had then been shoved to the ground and her trousers and underwear were pulled down and she had then been raped.'

But the court heard that her story began unravelling when her friend revealed that she had not been at her house.

Officers then examined Gore’s mobile phone and discovered sexual texts between her and her lover.

Gore told the court she was upset at herself and said 'things had spiralled out of control.'

She also claimed she had gone to her lover’s house 'under threat' as he was going to tell her husband about the affair.

James Ross, defending, said: 'It was Mrs Gore’s belief that, unless she consented to this blackmail to have sex with him on that particular day, he would tell her husband. 'In effect, that her lover would pull the plug on her entire life.'

Mr Ross added that Gore was suffering from mental health issues and blamed problems as a child for her difficulties with men.

After her initial appearance in court she was sent to a hospital to be treated for mental health problems.

Judge Norton said: 'Sadly, in this case, the allegation of rape proved to be untrue but was not admitted until after extensive inquiries had been carried out by detectives, at a time when there was understandable public concern about a number of earlier assaults being carried out in the Ashford area.

'I would echo the comments by Judge Norton that this strikes fear into the hearts of women and undermines actual victims.'



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 February, 2014

British charities accused of giving millions to left-wing campaigns as watchdog refuses to name causes under investigation

Charities are using millions of pounds of public money to subsidise fashionable political campaigns, a report warns today.

A study by the Institute for Economic Affairs says many well-known charities are using taxpayers’ cash to push for causes, such as increased foreign aid spending, which ‘are not priorities for the electorate and are often unpopular’.

It comes as MPs condemn the Charity Commission as feeble and 'not fit for purpose' as the watchdog refuses to name charities which are under investigation.

Warning that the practice undermines the democratic process, the IEA report calls on ministers to introduce strict curbs.

The report’s author, Christopher Snowden, said: ‘Using taxpayers’ money to fund special interest groups is both immoral and an inefficient use of public money.

'By crowding out privately-funded voluntary organisations, this taxpayer-funded bloc of charities, quangos and non-government organisations subverts the democratic process.

‘It is vital that measures are introduced to prevent state-funded political activism and make taxpayers aware of how their money is being spent. Charities and NGOs that are dependent on government funding are not independent of government.’

The study examines the activities of 25 charities that receive funding from the taxpayer. In many cases, taxpayer support makes up a large proportion of the organisation’s total funding.

The charities involved run political campaigns ranging from curbs on tobacco and alcohol to support for tackling climate change and opposition to welfare reforms.

The homeless charity Shelter, which receives £3.5million from the taxpayer, has run a vociferous campaign against the Government’s so-called bedroom tax. The funding is almost 10 per cent of its income.

And Save the Children, which has run a campaign against welfare reform, receives £54.3million.

The charity has also drawn criticism for paying bumper salaries to its executives. At the weekend it emerged that its top official is paid an astonishing £234,000 a year.

In a statement, the charity said: ‘Save the Children has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of children that has always been, and will remain forever, above party politics.’

The study warns that charities and quangos remain dominated by left-wingers. It highlights research showing that, of those appointees prepared to express a preference, 77 per cent declared support for Labour.

In a separate report the Charity Commission is condemned as ‘not fit for purpose’ by a parliamentary committee.

The names of 13 charities placed under statutory investigation by the watchdog have not been made public, meaning donors cannot know if their money is being properly spent.

In a devastating assessment MPs warn that the ‘feeble’ charities watchdog has failed to deal with clear-cut cases of abuse of charity regulations.

The Commons public accounts committee said it also had ‘little confidence’ in the watchdog’s ability to tackle its shortcomings.

The committee’s Labour chairman Margaret Hodge said: ‘We are dismayed by the fact that the Charity Commission is still performing poorly and failing to regulate the charity sector effectively. It is obvious that it has no coherent strategy and has been simply buffeted by external events.

‘It is clear that the Charity Commission is not fit for purpose.

‘The commission too willingly accepts what charities tell it when it is investigating alleged abuses. It too often fails to verify or challenge the claims made. Some of the most serious cases of abuse have not been properly investigated.

‘It has been too slow in removing or suspending trustees and in pursuing investigations promptly.’

Today’s report singles out for criticism the Charity Commission’s botched handling of the Cup Trust - a tax avoidance scheme that raised £173 million but gave only £55,000 to good causes.

William Shawcross, who succeeded the controversial Dame Suzi Leather as Charity Commission chairman in 2012, last night rejected the criticism. Mr Shawcross said the organisation was now heading ‘in the right direction’. He added: ‘I completely reject the suggestion that the Commission lacks a coherent strategy. ‘I am confident that we are taking the Commission in the right direction.’

But Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said that although there were some recent signs of improvement, the committee’s criticisms were justified.


On the Abortion Front, Good News for Babies

Does everyone agree that the recent news on abortion is actually quite promising? Abortions are in decline.

Abortion is at its lowest level since Roe v. Wade in 1973 legalized it. There were 1.05 million abortions in 2011, down 13 percent from the 1.21 million abortions committed in 2008. We are heading back in the direction of the 1.03 million abortions committed in 1975. All this information comes from the Guttmacher Institute's report "Abortion Incidence and Service Availability in the United States, 2011," and the Guttmacher Institute favors abortion along with the more humane forms of birth control. So when even the Guttmacher Institute agrees abortion is down, it has got to be down.

Not only is the number of abortions down, but also the incidence of abortion. The frequency of abortions has dropped to 16.9 abortions per 1000 women in 2011. That, too, is the lowest since 1973. The decline is widespread across the country, a national trend. In 2011, there were some 40,000 fewer abortions than in 2010. In recent years, abortion has been falling by 4 and 5 percent a year. Also the number of abortion facilities has declined. Between 2008 and 2011 the number declined by 4 percent. The number of women with unintended pregnancies choosing abortion dropped from 47 percent to 40 percent from 2000 to 2010.

The debate about abortions is having an effect, and the opponents of abortion are winning. This is a long-term debate, however, and it has been uphill all the way. When the Supreme Court intruded into the debate with its decision, it was up to the opponents of abortion to organize nationwide, and that is what they have done. The opposition to abortion has grown and so have the laws making an abortion harder to get. Brenda Zurita, a research fellow for the Concerned Women of America's Beverly LaHaye Institute, asserts that since 2010 the number of "pro-life laws" has multiplied: "In 2011, there were 92 pro-life laws passed; in 2012, there were 43 passed, and in 2013, there were 70 more." She adds that 81 clinics closed in 2013. The fact is, increasingly abortion is unlikely to be a spur of the minute decision.

In reading these statistics, I note that there is a heretofore invisible agent in the abortion debate. We all know about the women at the helm of the pro-abortion movement -- most of them call themselves feminists. But has anyone noted that it is women who are leading the anti-abortion movement, too? Sure there is ex-governor Sarah Palin, who led the fight with tireless advocacy and even by example, taking her baby with Down syndrome to term. She has braved the abuse of the pro-abortion militants and deserves the support of all Americans. Yet, has anyone noted the ordinary women leading the movement at the local level? Women are taking responsibility for their lives and the lives that they carry in their wombs. They are doing what Irving Kristol once remarked women in pre-feminist societies always did, to wit: They stood as society's last line of defense for morality.

When feminists transformed abortion into a "women's issue" they ignored the millions of women who always opposed abortion as preeminently a moral issue. They also ignored the millions of irresponsible men who were delighted to leave abortion as a women's issue. These men never wanted to be held accountable for the child they fathered in the first place. Yet women and men have recognized steadfastly that abortion is one of the foremost moral issues of our time. They have moved the conscience of America to consider the moral heft of abortion and slowly, steadily they are rolling back Roe v. Wade.

In answer to my initial question, everyone does not agree that the abortion news is good. But now the mindless acceptance of abortion has been challenged. The champions of abortion have to face up to the fact. There is a growing number of Americans who fear that abortion is killing babies and it ought to be stopped.


UK tax system is 'punishing success' says Institute for Fiscal Studies

Forcing Britain’s highest earners to foot a greater share of the nation’s tax bill is putting the Government’s long-term finances at risk, a leading economic think tank has warned.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies raised concerns about the state’s growing reliance on tax revenue from a small number of high earners.

“Lumping more taxes on the rich” is not a sustainable long-term strategy, the IFS suggested, as it warned that the ability and willingness of high earners to pay more tax could eventually run out. The think tank’s warning coincides with a heated debate in Westminster about the tax burden being placed on those with the largest incomes, with Conservative MPs warning against “soaking the rich” to fund services for the rest.

Official figures show that 300,000 people earning more than £150,000 a year now pay almost 30 per cent of all income tax — and 7.5 per cent of all tax revenue.

This places the stability of the public finances under threat because high earners whose taxes prop up the state could opt to emigrate, find ways of reducing their tax bills, or simply suffer declines in their fortunes, the IFS said. Government spending plans have become “very sensitive” to changes in the behaviour and status of a group that includes bankers and business executives and owners, as well as senior public employees including some NHS doctors.

If revenue from that small group falls, the Government would be forced to borrow even more money than it is now, the IFS said, suggesting that the Treasury should try to widen the tax base by targeting other sources.

“The Government might be concerned if the Exchequer becomes increasingly reliant on one particular revenue source, as it increases the risk that a shock to one revenue source would have serious implications for total revenues,” the IFS said in its annual Green Budget.

Politicians should resist the “knee-jerk” urge to tax the rich harder during downturns or risk them leaving the country, the economists said.

Rowena Crawford, a senior economist at the IFS, urged ministers to consider the stability of the tax base “rather than at the first sign of problems lumping more taxes on the rich people because of 'the broadest shoulders and all that’?”.

“The world is more mobile than it used to be,” she said.

“You become sensitive to the payment behaviour of those individuals. If you push them too far and they emigrate then you lose revenue.” The IFS did not call for a tax cut for high earners, but its findings offered encouragement to Conservative MPs who believe that David Cameron should ease the burden on the rich.

Steve Baker, the Conservative MP for Wycombe, said: “It is a cruel fairy tale to believe that 99 per cent of the public can live on the earnings of one per cent.

“A policy of soak the rich is not a sensible one; the system cannot sustain itself.”

Supporters of lower tax for high earners argue that lower rates would encourage people to earn more in the UK, ultimately pushing up overall tax revenues. Last week the Labour Party pledged to lift the top rate of tax from 45p to 50p if it wins the next general election, and challenged Conservative ministers to rule out any cut in the top rate of tax.

Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said on Wednesday that the top rate would be brought down to 40p — its level before the financial crisis — “over my dead body”.

However, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, indicated that plans to cut taxes for the richest would appear in the Conservative manifesto, which is being written by his brother, Jo, the Orpington MP and head of the No. 10 Policy Unit.

“I don’t think we are going to go into an election with a campaign to keep our tax rates higher,” the Mayor said.

The IFS criticised Coalition moves to shrink the tax base further by lifting the personal allowance to £10,000, at a cost of £10?billion a year.

The Liberal Democrats plan to raise it higher, to £12,500, costing a further £12?billion a year.

The policy is an poorly targeted and expensive way of making the poorest better off and the money would be better spent by increasing the personal allowance on National Insurance contributions, or by allowing people on benefits to keep more of their own money when they start work, the think tank said.

Labour’s plans to reintroduce a 10p tax rate would be even less well targeted at the poorest and would make the tax system more complicated, it claimed.

“It is hard to find a coherent economic rationale for it,” the IFS said.

The IFS identifies two trends that have forced a shrinking band of people to bear a growing share of the State’s tax revenue.

The tax burden has shifted from business taxes and fuel duties onto personal taxation and property taxes. The share of taxes borne by capital gains tax, stamp duties and inheritance tax is expected to reach 5 per cent by 2018, the highest since records began in 1978.

At the same time, the Government has become reliant on the top one per cent for a greater share of the tax take, rising from 21.3 per cent in 2000 to 29.8 per cent this year.

In the same period, that one per cent’s share of the national wealth before tax has risen more slowly, from 11 per cent to 13.7 per cent.

Their true contribution is even higher because the wealthiest pay a “large fraction” of VAT and capital taxes.

The stamp duty from the London boroughs of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea alone account for 14 per cent of all revenue.

The shrinking tax base may discourage politicians from curbing inequality, as it is in the taxman’s interest that the super-rich prosper.

“It could be better for you if the top one per cent has roaring income growth and everybody else ticks along, because you get more revenue out of it,” Ms Crawford said.

The Prime Minister has declined to rule out cutting the top rate but insists any tax cuts will be targeted at low and middle-income voters.


Window and door rules axed in drive to get Britain building houses

David Cameron will today announce a drive to build thousands more homes by slashing building regulations.

More than a hundred rules applied to new homes will be pared back to fewer than ten in a bonfire of “crazy and over-zealous” red tape, the Prime Minister will say.

The move will save developers £60m a year, equivalent to £500 for every new property built. It is hoped the move will result in far more homes being constructed.

Rules setting out minimum window sizes, the dimensions of rooms, the strength of front doors, and arrangements for toilets, lighting, telephone lines and disabled access will be culled in the review.

The rules being targeted have been imposed by council planning officers or industry lobbyists on top of perfectly sound national basic standard.

However, it will lead to fears that greater numbers of poorly designed homes may be built in some areas. The average new home now has the same floorspace as a tube carriage, and home sizes have halved since the 1920s.

Mr Cameron will tell the Federation of Small Business that his will be the first Government in modern history to leave office with fewer regulations than when it entered, saving firms £850m a year.

He will promise to scrap “needless” health and safety regulations dictating how to use ladders and what non-smoking signs should look like.

The forthcoming Deregulation Bill will make one million self-employed people exempt from health and safety altogether.

A “ridiculous” rule that dictated that childminders who give food to infants need to register as a food business has also gone.

His Government has already amended the “crazy” Equality Act that means people cannot sue their employer if they are “insulted” by a customer, the Prime Minister will say, and shopkeepers no longer need a poison licence to sell oven cleaner.

“I have insisted on slashing needless regulation. We will be the first government in modern history to have reduced - rather than increased – domestic business regulation during our time in office,” the Prime Minister will say.

“This will make it easier for you to grow, to create jobs and to help give this country the long-term security we are working towards. More than 1.3m new jobs have been created since I came to office – many of them by small businesses. And I know many of you want to grow further – or may be thinking of employing your first person - but have been put off or held back by red tape.”

He will also announce 80,000 pages of so-called “green tape” environmental regulations will be ditched by March 2015, saving firms £100m a year.



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

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

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


6 February, 2014

Multicultural rapist in Britain

A masked robber has been jailed for six years today after he was caught within an hour by police who tracked him using an app on an iPhone he had stolen from a woman he sexually assaulted.

Raymond Yates, 31, straddled and molested his vulnerable victim in her bed after climbing into her south London house through a window at 5am.

He was arrested an hour later by officers using a tracking app on one of the two phones he had stolen from her.

Yates had been caught on CCTV snooping outside the 23-year-old victim's home before tying a T-shirt over his face and climbing through an open window.

The woman, who was sleeping alone in the room, woke to find the attacker straddling her and pinning her to the bed - he then threatened to kill her if she screamed for help.

He also had no shoes on to lessen the chances of him being heard as he approached.

He fled the scene through the same window as he had entered - pocketing two stolen mobile phones.

Police then traced Yates using a security app on one of the stolen phones - he was arrested on a bus in Brixton Hill just an hour later.

DC Corrado Di Mascio of the Met's Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: 'This was a particularly harrowing attack on a lone woman whilst she slept in her bed at home.

'The evidence shows that Yates was calculating in his attack, concealing his identity and taking off his shoes in an attempt to mask his approach.

'I would like to praise the victim who has been committed to seeing her attacker brought to justice.'

The attack took place at the victim's home in Forest Hill, south London, at around 5am on July 25 last year.

Yates, of no fixed address, was convicted of sexual assault, trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence, and robbery following a trial at Woolwich Crown Court. Judge David Tomlinson sentenced him to six years jail.


Young women who want to be rich and powerful should major in economics or engineering and be prepared to work 60 hour weeks

From the NYT!

A serious dialogue about parity in the workplace can begin only when we liberate ourselves from the widely propagated but utterly false assertion that “for the same work, women receive 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.” The 23-cent wage gap does not take into account the factors that justify different pay, like occupation, education, tenure on the job, and hours worked per week.

Young women who want to be rich and powerful should major in economics or engineering and be prepared to work 60 hour weeks.
Unfortunately, some activist groups cling to the wage gap, insisting that women earn less than men even after controlling for the relevant variables. For example, the AAUW’s "Graduating to a Pay Gap" report classifies "social science" as one college major and reports that, among such majors, women earn only 83 percent of what men earn. Horrifying—until you notice that "social science" includes both “economics” and “sociology.” Economics majors (66 percent male) have a median income of $70,000; for sociology majors (68 percent female) it is $45,000.

When women’s groups acknowledge that pay disparities are largely explained by women’s choices, they then insist that those choices are not truly free. “Women’s personal choices are… fraught with inequities,” says the AAUW: women are “pigeonholed” into “pink-collar” jobs in health and education. But American women today are as independent-minded and self-determining as any in history. It is condescending to suggest that they have been manipulated when they choose home and family over high-octane careers—or to pursue degrees in education rather than engineering.

It is certainly the case that career-minded women, precisely because they so often embrace greater domestic responsibilities, face distinct challenges. We should, however, be wary of claims that European-style policies—extended and fully paid maternity and paternity leave, subsidized day care, flexible work schedules, and the like—will result in workplace parity. Europe’s comprehensive family-friendly polices do bring more women into the workforce—but they tend to work part-time and remain in low-level positions. American women are more likely to work full-time and to achieve high-level jobs as managers or professionals.

Talented young women who aspire to be rich and powerful would be advised to major in economics or electrical engineering rather than psychology or social work. They should be prepared to work 60 hours a week at the office rather than combining shorter hours with home, family, and other pursuits they find fulfilling. Those who stick with this course will find that their W-2s are equal to those of their male counterparts.

Perhaps, if we stop indoctrinating college women with the myth that the workplace is rigged against them, more will try.


Gross: NARAL Celebrates 45th Anniversary With Image of a Birthday Cupcake

NARAL Pro-Choice America, a group dedicated to the expansion of abortion rights and access in the United States, marked its 45th anniversary Tuesday on Facebook with an image of a birthday cupcake with one candle and by starting the hashtag #HappyBdayNARAL.

“I’m so honored to lead this historic organization into a new era. Happy birthday NARAL Pro-Choice America,” its president Ilyse Hogue shared online. “We’re thrilled to be celebrating our birthday today! Together, we’ve been fighting for reproductive rights and access to reproductive health care for 45 years!”

Since the Roe v. Wade decision, over 55 million babies have been denied the chance to celebrate any birthday.

For a better and way more appropriate use of cupcakes, check out National Prolife Cupcake Day. Every baby deserves at least a chance at life.


Australia: Black privilege AND Muslim privilege mean you can do no wrong

What is it with footballers of all codes? Rugby League star Blake Furguson, after repeated other offences, has been found guilty of groping a woman’s breasts in a Cronulla nightclub. CCTV evidence shows him also forcing his hand up her dress and grabbing her front bottom while she struggles to free herself from the oaf.

Crumbs, tennis players and golfers don’t do this sort of thing, do they?

That sort of unprovoked sexual assault has to be worth at least a couple of years in the brig, right? Wrong! Magistrate Jacqueline Trad handed him a two-year good behaviour bond instead.

Furguson’s gobsmacked lawyer, Adam Houda claimed, “We are not happy with this. We will appeal this in a superior court.” What are we not happy with, Mr Houda? The guilty finding, the feathered penalty, or is this sort of sexual assault justified?

Of course media has not commented on the case, other than to report it, for good reason. (Just ask Andrew Bolt.) You see Mr Furguson is an Aborigine and blame has instead been heaped upon the Raiders’ football club for not “taking care” of him.

Maybe I’m old school, because if I had snuck even a kiss from someone I didn’t know I’d reckon I was doin’ okay. Even then I would have been quite prepared to cop a smack in the face in return for trying.

What makes an adult male believe he has the right to molest a female?

What the hell gets into a bloke’s head that convinces him to sexually abuse a woman minding her own business?

Does Mr Furguson believe women have no rights, does he believe they are mere chattels for his crass entertainment?

Then it all became clear, you see his cousin and mentor Anthony Mundine had convinced him to convert to Islam.



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 February, 2014

The new iPad? Wimbledon tickets? No, these women are queuing round the block in the cold to sign up to a new branch of the WOMEN'S INSTITUTE

Established in 1915, Britain's Women's Institute (WI) is the largest voluntary women's organisation in the UK. It was initially formed to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. And during World War II, its members' ‘Jam Busters’ effort enabled the nation’s bread to be spread with vitamin-rich home-made jam, bottled by volunteers slaving away in small kitchens across Britain.

Queuing round the block in the cold, these women look like they are waiting patiently to purchase a new gadget or coveted sports tickets.

But in fact, they are queuing up in the darkness to join a new branch of the Women's Institute (WI).

More than 60 women turned up to the Downend WI's first monthly meeting at Christ Church Hall in Bristol in a bid to sign up.

The group hopes to accommodate women who have been turned away from nearby Bromley Heath WI, which attracted a record-breaking 350 people on its opening night a few months ago.

It was set up by Tracey Simmonds, 37, who pulled together a committee of nine women to organise the first meeting.

'My husband Andrew is in the Round Table charity and always has a lot of fun, so I thought to myself "I want a bit of this!",' she said.

'Despite the recession, people still want to enjoy themselves, even though they might not have much money.

'People also have such busy lives these days, meaning they have no time to meet new friends and have new experiences.

'The WI gives them a chance to meet once a month and enjoy a sense of community at low cost.'

Sarah Byfield, 31, was among the dozens of women queuing round the block in Downend.

She said: 'There’s nothing like this in the area and it sounds really varied and interesting. I thought I would dip my toe in and find out more about it.

'I’ve got a full-time job and I am member of the PTA at my son’s school so this will be something for me.'

Another applicant Melanie Gale, 50, said she had tried to join the WI many years ago, but had felt too young for the crowd.

'I think they were all over 60 and I felt I didn’t fit in,' she said. 'I have always wanted to join the WI because I think it’s a bit more dynamic these days, with a lovely mix of ages.

'I enjoy a lot of things they put on such as craft working and campaigning on issues.

'I have got a lot of friends at work but I don’t know many people in the area so I am really looking forward to joining.'

The WI, which was set up in 1915 to harness the spirit of the First World War, is best known for jam-making and for its anthem, Jerusalem.

The iconic organisation famously put former prime minister Tony Blair in his place in June 2000 when he was subjected to a slow handclap at a speech to their conference.

Its increasing popularity is believed to have been spurred on by TV programmes such as Great British Bake Off and Great British Sewing Bee, as well as social-networking sites like Facebook.

Ms Simmonds said the Downend WI has an extensive range of activities planned for the coming year, including Indian cookery, button art and even zorbing.

'The choices are limitless,' she said. 'We can have talks, do cookery, craft work, photography.

'As we progress, I envisage lots of sub groups which can run their own workshops.'


How Hollywood Is Killing Same-Sex Marriage

In May 2012, Vice President Joe Biden floated a political trial balloon: He came out in favor of same-sex marriage. In the process, he stated that the way had been paved for the same-sex marriage movement by Hollywood. "I think 'Will & Grace' probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody's ever done so far." Biden, of course, was absolutely right: Hollywood's personalization of the societal issue of same-sex marriage has shifted millions of minds.

Now, unfortunately for same-sex marriage advocates, Hollywood is busily shifting those minds back.

On Sunday, the Grammys tooted its self-proclaimed righteousness by trotting out Queen Latifah to officiate the mass wedding of 33 couples, including gay couples. She did so as new Grammy winner Macklemore shouted cloyingly sanctimonious anti-religious slogans into his microphone: "The right-wing conservatives think it's a decision / And you can be cured with some treatment and religion ... Playing God, aw nah, here we go / America the brave still fears what we don't know / And God loves all his children is somehow forgotten / But we paraphrase a book written 3,500 years ago." To top off the marriages, Madonna then staggered out to warble "Open Your Heart."

This wasn't an argument for same-sex marriage. It wasn't even attractive image-making on behalf of same-sex marriage. It was hatred of Biblical values cloaked in pietistic nonsense.

Begin with the marriages themselves. The only rationale for getting married on the Grammys en masse would be either attention-seeking or spite toward Americans with traditional values, or both. Neither of these rationales scream "love," "commitment" or "societal building block."

Move on to the cheering audience — a group of anti-marriage Hollywoodites who largely see the institution itself as patriarchal. The same folks standing up for same-sex marriage at the Grammys largely scorn the institution of marriage itself. The only time they embrace marriage is when it is being mocked, undermined or perverted. That's not a cuddly case for same-sex marriage.

Finally, look at the artists: Macklemore, who rages against religious Americans for cash and Grammys; Madonna, who is happy to glom onto the marriage bandwagon after selling her body for decades, and running through a raft of unsuccessful marriages and relationships of her own; Queen Latifah, acting as a stand-in for the government, offering up salvation via paper licenses from the state. None of this warms hearts or changes minds.

But this is Hollywood unmasked: angry, vindictive, self-righteous, anti-Biblical. The case for same-sex marriage rests on an application of Biblical principle — monogamy and commitment — to actions condemned by Biblical text.

For years, Hollywood was able to get away with perverting the Bible by ignoring it. But in its rush to congratulate itself for overthrowing Biblical values without a shot, Hollywood spiked the football and revealed its true agenda. And that agenda is not the agenda of tolerance for individuals, but an ugly agenda of unearned moral superiority via destruction of traditional values.


Australian voters' support for republic hits 20-year low. Monarchy still strongly favoured

Increasing publicity in recent years for two very popular Princes -- William and Harry -- has no doubt helped. Duchess Kate has been a big help too

Backing for an Australian republic has collapsed to a 20-year low, with just 39.4 per cent of Australians saying they support a republic.

Support was lowest among older Australians and Generation Y voters, with people aged 35 to 65 most supportive of Australia abandoning the monarchy.

An exclusive ReachTEL poll of more than 2100 Australians, conducted on Thursday night for Fairfax, shows 41.6 per cent oppose the country becoming a republic, and 19 per cent had no opinion on the issue.

Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy national convener David Flint said the findings were a "time bomb" for the republican movement, with support among 18 to 35 year olds at 35.6 per cent. More people in this age bracket oppose a republic than support it. Only people aged over 65 had a lower rate of support (30.7 per cent) for Australia becoming a republic.

"That is a time bomb, I believe, for republicans, because you don't have that investment for the future," Professor Flint said.

Not only were young people uninterested in a republic, he believed, they were favourable to the monarchy partly because of the star power of the "young royals", Princes William and Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.

But Geoff Gallop, chairman of the Australian Republican Movement, said: "Polls will come and go, but we've been encouraged by the support we've been getting, and our campaign will continue." Mr Gallop said higher support for a republic among Generation X and baby boomer voters could be explained by them having participated in the 1999 referendum, and remembering the 1975 constitutional crisis.

The poll was conducted less than a week after Prime Minister Tony Abbott named General Peter Cosgrove as the next governor-general, the Queen's representative in Australia. Mr Abbott said he could "not think of a better person" to fill the governor-general role than General Cosgrove. "Throughout his life, he has demonstrated a commitment to our country and a commitment to service," Mr Abbott said. "He has given service of the very highest order to our country. I am confident that in this new role he will continue to deliver to a grateful nation leadership beyond politics."

General Cosgrove was roundly endorsed by male voters in the ReachTEL poll, with 61.9 per cent of men saying the decorated veteran was a better choice than Quentin Bryce. Ms Bryce, who five years ago became the first female governor-general, is due to retire next month.

Women were more supportive of Ms Bryce, with 47.4 per cent saying she was a better governor-general, compared with 52.6 per cent of women supporting General Cosgrove.

In November, Ms Bryce used the final Boyer lecture of the year to publicly support the push for Australia to become a republic. Ms Bryce said she hoped the nation would evolve into a country where same sex marriage was legal, "and where perhaps, my friends, one day, one young girl or boy may even grow up to be our nation's first head of state".

At the time, Mr Abbott, a staunch monarchist, said: "It's more than appropriate for the Governor-General, approaching the end of her term, to express a personal view."

According to the ReachTEL poll, women were less likely to support Australia becoming a republic (with 36 per cent support) than men (with 43 per cent support).


Tebow Blacklist Isn’t the Beginning, It’s the End

Openly Christian footballers banned?

The NFL has allowed politics to be interjected into the game repeatedly, running anti-2nd Amendment commercials on the one hand during the Super Bowl, and rejecting a commercial from a gun manufacturer—who by the way sells a perfectly legal product, guaranteed by the constitution.

But the sellout doesn’t stop there. It gets worse.

As my friend Bill Rogan, sportscaster for KNUS AM710 Denver has noted: “Quarterbacks Kyle Orton, Curtis Painter, Michael Vick, Rex Grossman, Drew Stanton, Ryan Lindley, Colt McCoy, Tavares Jackson, Jordan Palmer, Shaun Hill, Scott Tolzien, Seneca Wallace, Josh Freeman, Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, Sean Renfree, Dominique Davis, Derek Anderson, Jimmy Clausen, Luke McCown, Dan Orlovsky, Thad Lewis, Matt Moore, Pat Devlin, David Garrard, Matt Simms, Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez (injured reserve), Tyler Bray, Chase Daniel, Matt McGloin, Terrelle Pryor, Brad Sorensen, Charlie Whitehurst, Tyrod Taylor, Josh Johnson, Zac Robinson, Jason Campbell, Brian Hoyer, Alex Tanney, Brandon Weedon, Bruce Gradkowski, T.J. Yates, Matt Hasselbeck, Ricky Stanzi, Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne and Rusty Smith were all on NFL rosters this past season. But Tim Tebow wasn't.”

“Well they say Tebow isn't an NFL quarterback. He can't throw. He can't read defenses. He can't play,” Rogan continued. “I'm glad I watched the video to confirm that this guy can't play. He can't complete a pass. He doesn't do anything to help his team win. What a loser. No wonder he wasn't on an NFL roster. All those guys listed above have proven themselves to be NFL greats with highlight reels hours long. Yep, watch the video. This guy can't play.”

He can play. But really he MUST NOT play… because he’s Christian.

"And just as I feel compelled to call out the league when it comes to injustices like the dearth of minorities in offensive play-calling roles,” wrote Yahoo NFL writer Michael Silver last year, “the apparent blacklisting of a quarterback who went 7-4 as a starter in 2011 and won a memorable playoff game over the Pittsburgh Steelers doesn't seem kosher to me.”

That’s because it’s not kosher. Imagine the NFL blacklisting someone who is outspoken about global warming, or anti-poverty programs or women’s and minority issues. hey wouldn’t dream of doing it.

You can rape and abuse a woman, be an accessory to murder, get nailed for doping and as long your play on the field is acceptable, the NFL has a place for you.

But being a Christian? That’s where they draw the line.

Of course they’re in trouble. When the game that helped America kill the color barrier has no more room at the stadium for Touchdown Jesus, the end is near.

(P.s. While I was editing this column a commercial for Scientology appeared during the Super Bowl. It’s a good thing the NFL has standards. I rest my case.)



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 February, 2014

Do lesbians make good parents?

Most of the concerns people have about children raised by "two mommies" are social and psychological. But psychology and sociology are playgrounds of the Left. I have taught in both psychology and sociology Departments of Australian universities and find sociologists in particular to be almost amusingly Leftist. Karl Marx is still their chief inspiration.

So you know what to expect when you find studies by social scientists that tell us anything about homosexuality. Homosexuals these days are a positively revered class who can do no wrong. So finding out what is actually going on from such sources is a major challenge. It is however a challenge I often took on in my own research career. If you read the "small print" (usually the "Results" section of a research report) you get at least a hearty laugh. The statistics obtained in the course of the research often contradicted the conclusions drawn by the researcher. But statistics frighten people so they get away with it. I actually used to teach statistics, however, so I had a ball.

And it all comes back to me when I read the latest article in an obsessively Leftist newspaper about homosexual parents. The article pulls no punches. It is headed Study finds same-sex parenting is not harmful for children". No nuances there! An excerpt:

Children raised by same-sex parents fare just as well in their education, emotional and social development as those raised by heterosexual parents, new research shows.

The report on same sex-parented families in Australia, commissioned by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), found "there is now strong evidence that same-sex-parented families constitute supportive environments in which to raise children''.

The findings are at odds with Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi's recent comments that the "gold standard" for children's development is having a biological mother and father who are married.

Report author Deb Dempsey, who reviewed all the research on same sex-parented families, said there was a wealth of evidence that showed the children were doing fine."

Well, author Cosima Marriner is right about a conflict of findings. Conservative authors generally come to much more adverse conclusions. So what is going on? I did my usual trick and looked up the original research report. I immediately found that Cosima had been a very naughty girl. The research was about lesbians only. The authors concluded that there was too little research about male homosexuals available to draw any conclusions. So Cosima definitely over-generalized.

The real fun of the fair however came in a section of the report that was rather forbiddingly titled "Methodological issues and studies of children's wellbeing". I reproduce a couple of paragraphs from it:

"Evaluating the effects of family structures upon children's wellbeing and development is complicated, particularly when the population of interest is a very diverse, stigmatised, numeric minority. Some questions have been asked about the methodological rigor of research studies on the wellbeing of children raised in same-sex parented families, by scholars who (implicitly or explicitly) have political or moral objections to same-sex parenting (see Marks, 2012; Regnerus, 2012; Schumm, 2012) and by those who do not. For instance, Tasker and Patterson (2007), two respected psychologists who support the rights of lesbian and gay parented families and have published widely on various aspects of the wellbeing of children raised by lesbian and gay parents, commented that the field would benefit from a wider variety of data collection methods. They noted that most of the data collected about children raised in lesbian and gay parented families comes from self-reports by their parents, supplemented with psychometric testing of children by the research team. Few studies have been blind, or made use of psychometric tests administered independently of the researchers. That said, many researchers emphasise the importance of contextual, qualitative studies in learning about the family experiences and processes in same-sex parented families from the point of view of parents, children and other family members (Biblarz & Savci, 2010; Dempsey, 2012b; Goldberg, 2010; Goldberg, Kinkler, Richardson, & Downing, 2011; Lindsay et al., 2006; Riggs, 2007).

Researchers in this field have noted a range of limitations with regard to how their samples of participants are drawn. Although this is beginning to change, many studies are based on small and homogenous samples of highly educated and middle-class participants. Many of the comparative studies conducted to date on children or young adults raised in same-sex parented families are based on volunteer samples of participants rather than random samples. This means that it is unknown how representative and generalisable the studies' results are. Further to this, many researchers in this field note that their participants were mostly white and well educated, which does not reflect the likely socio-economic, ethnic and racial diversity of the same-sex parenting population. That said, it is important to emphasise all research designs have limitations and not to dismiss the cumulative findings from many small scale or volunteer sample studies, as some critics of this literature attempt to do (see Marks, 2012; Regnerus, 2012; Schumm, 2012). Amato (2012) indeed pointed out that if there were noteworthy harms accruing to children resulting from parental homosexuality per se, which is often the concern of those scholars who criticise research designs and methodology, these would be revealed in research on high socio-economic, ethnically homogenous samples of parents and children."

So there you have it. The data was mostly what lesbians say about themselves and their children: Self report studies. Does anybody sniff bias there?

But it gets worse. Most of the studies were of high status parents: Richer and better educated. So the studies were not even a fair sample of lesbians. ANY children of high status parents should have done better at school etc.

And if you look at it with my perverse eye you see a suppressed correlation. If the studies showed (which they mostly did) that the children of such parents only did "as well as" the children of heterosexual families that means that something has been suppressing the status advantage that the Lesbian children should have had. And what could that be? Would it be the fact that they had no daddy? That's what it looks like. Once you control for education in homosexual/heterosexual comparisons, the homosexual children come out looking disadvantaged. Some studies did apparently control for education but it seems that most did not.

So where do we go from there? Is it just too difficult to examine fairly the questions involved? I think it is -- but only if we rely on social science research. Demography is informative too. What if we interview actual prison inmates, drug addicts etc. And what if we find that a higher than proportionate percentage of them do not come from a normal heterosexual family with both a mommy and a daddy regularly present? That is what we find and that is what the redoubtable Senator Bernardi was referring to.

But no research involving people will ever be watertight so in the end we always have to draw our conclusions on a balance of probabilities. And our conclusions will always be influenced by our other beliefs. Cautious conservatives, for instance, will shudder at the thought of experimenting on children -- while Leftists will always think that the existing state of society is so unsatisfactory that anything which might improve it should be tried. It would be nice if Leftists would admit to uncertainty on some occasions though. I just did. Are you listening, Cosima? -- JR.

Family breakdown puts children at risk

Contemporary society is obsessed with risk and equity. If a certain behaviour endangers others or threatens to make society less equal, calls for 'something to be done' to protect personal and social welfare usually follow.

Great zeal is then displayed for devising strategies (usually government-led and taxpayer-funded) that are designed to minimise harm and promote equality (think the anti-obesity crusade). However, when the issue is the contentious and controversial one of child welfare and family structure, that zeal flags.

Decades of data show that children who are raised in traditional married families do better, on average, in life than children who are raised in divorced or sole parent families. In other words, family breakdown puts the welfare of children at risk and makes society less equal in areas such as health, education, and employment.

Yet we are reluctant to discuss the links between family type and outcomes for children, especially in relation to child sexual abuse.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is investigating ways to better protect children from abuse in organisations including churches, schools, and sporting clubs. This is crucial and overdue work.

However, the vast majority of child sexual abuse does not occur in organisations. It takes place within the family, and children in certain types of families are at greater risk than others.

Children, irrespective of socio-economic status, who do not live with both biological parents are far more likely to be sexually abused than their peers in intact families.

Girls who live in non-traditional families are sexually abused by their 'stepfathers' - the married, cohabiting, or casual partner of a divorced or single mother - at many times the rate that girls are sexually abused by their biological fathers in intact families.

These confronting issues are not raised to make people feel guilty or get a moral buzz out of judging people's private lives. They are raised because it is important to make legitimate social observations about the impact of 'family diversity,' and to consider the genuine public policy implications.

The fashionable, 'progressive' idea that marriage doesn't matter for children is wrong. The relationship and reproductive choices that adults make can have adverse implications for children, and people should be provided with the right information to make responsible decisions about their family life.

This is happening in the United States where public information campaigns are encouraging marriage before having children, and warning the community of the risks associated with raising children out of wedlock.

We are a long way from similar initiatives in this country but we need to start to discuss fully and frankly what's best for the children.


The BBC just loves swearing - until it gets a dose of its own @!X*! medicine

The BBC have refused to accept a complaint about bad language transmitted on national radio – because the complainer’s letter used exactly the same words that they had used on air.

They told Colin Harrow that his letter’s tone and language were ‘unacceptably abusive or offensive’.
In other words, the BBC are ready to transmit words into our homes which their staff are not prepared to read.

The Corporation’s complaints staff are supposed to be more sensitive to bad language than (say) elderly ladies or young children.

The programme involved, a Radio 4 play called Paradigm, was broadcast on Tuesday, January 21 at 2.15 pm, long before any sort of watershed.

No warning of bad language was given. An 80-year-old spinster, or a small child, could have been exposed without notice to a dialogue including the words p***, s*** (lavatory expressions), s*** (a sexual expression), b******s, b****r , b*****d, and some other crudities I’ll omit.

It’s striking that the BBC’s relaxation of rules on foul language has reached the point where expletives of this sort can be broadcast without any apparent sense of caution, let alone shame, in the early afternoon, on the country’s main serious speech station, at your expense and mine.

Mr Harrow thought he would treat the Corporation as they had treated him. He opened his letter with the same words and a similar tone (he did not use asterisks, but I have).

‘This afternoon’s play was sh***. It p***ed me off. The b*****d who wrote it needs sh****ing. Perhaps the b****r should be kicked in the testicles while stark b****** naked.’

He added: ‘I hope whoever reads this is not offended by the language used so far, but then if they work for the BBC why should they be?

'After all, every swearword and obscenity was used, some several times over, in this “afternoon” play, so I guess the BBC regards them as perfectly acceptable, including, I’m sure, in letters of complaint.’

Oh no they didn’t.

The metropolitan sophisticates of the Corporation (in my experience well used to every rude word in the language and then some) drew up their skirts like Victorian maiden aunts, and primly rejected the complaint, saying they felt ‘unable to circulate it more widely to our colleagues’.

‘When handling your complaint,’ they continued piously, ‘we will treat you courteously and with respect. We expect you to show equal courtesy and respect towards our staff and reserve the right to discontinue correspondence if you do not.’

They then offered to consider the complaint if Mr Harrow resubmitted it ‘using more acceptable language’.

He has. I contacted the BBC to ask them how they squared their rules on letters of complaint with their willingness to transmit the language of the lavatory wall, without warning, into the nation’s homes.

I was careful to asterisk the offending words in my letter to them, and began it with a warning in bold type that there was offensive language in what followed.

As usual, when caught out in hypocrisy, they couldn’t really understand the question. Totally unable to see themselves as others see them, BBC officials gobbled like affronted turkeys.

First of all, they claimed that listeners are ‘accustomed to the use of realistic, at times challenging language in the context of contemporary dramas’ and uselessly admitted that ‘in hindsight we could have taken further steps to signal the nature of the drama to listeners’.

Then they missed the whole point of the complaint, saying they understood that ‘listeners make their complaints in colourful ways when they are angry’, when in fact this complaint was a thoughtful satire on them, and not angry at all.

It is interesting that when they see such words in cold print, they immediately feel their menacing power – a power they ignore or belittle when they transmit them.

Finally, they said: ‘We think most people would appreciate there is a difference in how language is used in a fictional drama and how it is used in correspondence between real people.’

Real people? Don’t the BBC regard their listeners as real people? I rather suspect they don’t, seeing them merely as faceless serfs who can be relied upon to pay the licence fee and endure whatever liquid manure they choose to pump out through their transmitters.

Complacency of this kind, and on this scale, is usually followed by revolution. Will they listen? No, I swear they won’t.


This tenant complained to her council about addicts leaving dirty needles and BLOOD on stairway walls. They were too busy to help... but they found the time to come after HER when she put up warning signs

A tenant in a block of flats blighted by drug abuse has been forced to remove photos of syringes and blood stains she pinned to a ‘wall of shame’.

Ann Hodges snapped discarded needles and other drug paraphernalia she found at Denaby Court in Hull – and then displayed the evidence in the entrance hall of the high-rise.

But the 62-year-old has now been forced to remove the images by city councillors after they claimed it caused a ‘great deal of concern’ to other residents.

Mrs Hodges, who has lived at the flats for ten years, said: ‘I don’t go round with my eyes shut and I’ve found needles with spoons and foil, blood spattered up the walls and white powder that’s been dropped.

'I’m aware this sort of thing goes on in cities, but when it stopped being underground and was starting to appear outside our homes I started taking pictures.

‘We’re dealing with drugs, urine and faeces on a daily basis, and there are children coming here to see their relatives. Why should we have to live in these conditions?’

Denaby Court, which is owned and maintained by Hull City Council, originally only housed the elderly and a number of tenants with disabilities, however there are currently no age restrictions other than they will not allocate a high-rise flat to families with children under 12.

However, Mrs Hodges, who is the chairwoman of the Denaby Court Residents' and Tenants' Association, says 'hooded' groups of people have begun hanging around the building.

She decided to highlight the living conditions by creating 'a wall of shame' in the entrance hall next to a poster saying: 'This is happening in Denaby.'

However, she was soon told to remove the pictures by Hull City Council which she claims 'is not doing anything about it'.

Mrs Denaby said: 'It was hard not to miss when you came in, and I really wanted it to hit home.'

The photographs also include one of human excrement on the floor in a communal room where residents dispose of their rubbish via a waste shoot and two blood-splattered walls where Mrs Hodges believes drug users had been injecting themselves.

Another elderly resident, who did not wish to be named, said she even confronted one stranger who she suspected had been taking drugs in a chute room.

She said: 'I was going to put my rubbish in the chute and he was in the room. 'When he saw me he just stood there and eyeballed me. I love my flat, but it's getting frightening living here.'

Mrs Hodges said she is now being driven mad by the conditions of the flat but she refuses to move. She said: 'If I move, who is going to stand up for the people who can't.

'I abide by the guidelines in my tenancy agreement and these people are bringing down the area.

'There are younger people here who respect where their live and we respect them.

'When you live in a block of flats you have to consider the people who live around you and not just yourself. Everything you do impacts other people.

'Most of the older residents will look into the lifts before they get in them and if they don't feel comfortable with the people in them, they will walk downstairs and these are people with mobility

Laura Carr, City Neighbourhoods and Housing Manager at Hull City Council, said: 'The Neighbourhood Nuisance Team, Area Team, Housing service and Humberside Police have recently met with met with the chair of the residents' association, to work together to tackle anti-social behaviour within the block of flats.

'The Council and Humberside Police are committed to dealing with any issues and are taking the appropriate action to ensure residents are safe within the area.'



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 February, 2014

Check your context

Everyone has been talking about privilege lately. A catchphrase I hadn’t heard since my undergraduate days has resurfaced with the vigor and tenacity of a serial killer in the final reel of a horror movie. You have surely heard it by now: Check your privilege.

The charitable reading of the phrase is that it is a reminder that life can look a lot different depending on who you are. The somewhat less charitable reading is that the phrase is an assertion that, because of who you are, your thoughts can be discounted or ignored. Human nature being what it is, you are probably equally likely to hear it used either way. Julie Borowski and Cathy Reisenwitz fought out a version of this debate in the FEE Arena.

What very few people seem to be talking about when it comes to privilege is how context-dependent it is. The privilege I have, for example, as a well-educated, upper-middle-class, middle-aged white woman is quite an asset when I want to window shop in a pricey store or talk an airport gate agent into giving me an upgrade. But it is decidedly less useful—and is perhaps even a serious disadvantage—if I’m thinking about walking alone at night to a restaurant in an unfamiliar city. The set of characteristics that is privileged in each of these cases is different. The set of characteristics that add up to “Sarah” is always the same.

Happily for those who are interested in the way that different contexts make the concept of privilege more complex, and unsurprisingly for those who are familiar with this column, there are some useful literary discussions of context-dependent privilege to consider.

Edna Ferber’s Emma McChesney story “Sisters Under Their Skin” begins, in fact, with an observation about privilege: “Women who know the joys and sorrows of a pay envelope do not speak of girls who work as Working Girls. Neither do they use the term Laboring Class, as one would speak of a distinct and separate race, like the Ethiopian.” This story, Ferber signals to us, is going to be about a very different kind of woman. The redoubtable Emma McChesney is about to be invaded by Reformers, those “well-dressed, glib, staccato ladies who spoke with such ease from platforms and whose pictures stared out at one from the woman's page [who] failed, somehow, to convince her.” While Emma is in favor of many of “The Movement’s” goals, “The Movers got on her nerves.”

This is doubtless because Emma, who has spent 15 years as traveling saleswoman, and then vice president, and then part owner of the T. A. Buck Featherloom Petticoat company, has

"met working women galore. Women in offices, women in stores, women in hotels—chamber-maids, clerks, buyers, waitresses, actresses in road companies, women demonstrators, occasional traveling saleswomen, women in factories, scrubwomen, stenographers, models—every grade, type and variety of working woman, trained and untrained. She never missed a chance to talk with them. She never failed to learn from them. She had been one of them, and still was. She was in the position of one who is on the inside, looking out. Those other women urging this cause or that were on the outside, striving to peer in."

The Reformers, headed by Mrs. Orton Wells, have not.

Emma understands the effort and art that go into making a factory girl’s salary produce “cheap skirts hung and fitted with an art as perfect as that of a Fifty-seventh Street modiste . . . with a chic that would make the far-famed Parisian couturiere look dowdy and down at heel in comparison.” The Reformers see only that “They squander their earnings in costumes absurdly unfitted to their station in life. Our plan is to influence them in the direction of neatness, modesty, and economy in dress.… We propose a costume which shall be neat, becoming, and appropriate. Not exactly a uniform, perhaps, but something with a fixed idea in cut, color, and style.”

So when this group of wealthy, non-working women arrives at the T. A. Buck company to instruct the “working girls” on how to dress with modesty and economy, they are already on the wrong foot. But the problems really begin when the Reformers come face to face with a few real, live factory girls and find that their privilege of class and wealth is not quite the unassailable armor they had anticipated.

Emma takes one look at the proposed speaker—Mrs. Orton Wells’s daughter Gladys—and notes that “Gladys was wearing black, and black did not become her.” And then Emma introduces her to Lily Bernstein, whose “gown was blue serge, cheap in quality, flawless as to cut and fit, and incredibly becoming. . . . she might have passed for a millionaire's daughter if she hadn't been so well dressed.” Instantly understanding (or misunderstanding?) why Gladys has come to talk to her about clothing, Lily begins to give her advice about how to dress.

Gladys is smart enough to know that privilege is context-dependent. She realizes that the privileged experts, in this context, are the women she has always thought of as underprivileged. And so when Gladys is put before the women on the factory floor to tell them how to dress, she realizes that the stylish shoe is on the other delicately stockinged foot, and simply asks, "You all dress so smartly, and I'm such a dowd, I just want to ask you whether you think I ought to get blue, or that new shade of gray for a traveling-suit."

We see a similar lesson in O. Henry’s story “The Social Triangle,” which surveys the social strata of turn-of-the-century New York City through a series of brief interactions that cross class lines. Each of the interactions ends with the less-privileged person’s delight at shaking the hand of someone more important. When, for example, the tailor’s apprentice Ikey Snigglefritz shakes the hand of Tammany Hall politician Billy McMahan, he is transported. “His head was in the clouds; the star was drawing his wagon. Compared with what he had achieved the loss of wages and the bray of women’s tongues were slight affairs. He had shaken the hand of Billy McMahan.”

The story continues in this vein until it reaches one of O. Henry’s classic twist endings when the millionaire Cortlandt Van Duyckink, in a moment of passionate desire to know and befriend “the people,” leaps from his car and feels “an unaccustomed glow about his heart. He was near to being a happy man. . . . He had shaken the hand of Ikey Snigglefritz.”

Ferber’s and O. Henry’s stories suggest to us that, yes, there are plenty of moments when we should check our privilege. Wafting into a factory to tell working women how to dress might well be one of them. But we should also check our contexts, and remember that the things that make us—or someone else—important, or impressive, or privileged in one place or time, can have a very different effect in different circumstances. No one is privileged at all times and in all ways. The teenager who rules the halls of the high school is just a punk kid when she gets pulled over for speeding. And even the most powerful politician, stuck in a dance club, is still just an old guy who can't dance. Lily Bernstein can tell Glady Orten Wells how to dress. And Cortlandt Van Duyckink is elated to shake the hand of Ikey Snigglefritz.


Yes, really, Women's Lib caused inequality

Now here's a thing: the liberation of half the country from their economic and social shackles I regard as an unalloyed good thing. That this liberation of women largely came from technological causes, the "washing machine" or domestic household technology as Ha Joon Chang calls it, plus the decline in the economic importance of male musculature, doesn't matter at all. That it happened was great.

However, as recent research is showing, it has also led to an increase in the inequality of household incomes.

The argument is very simple indeed. We have moved from a society in which women tended not to work into one in which they tend to do so. And obviously, women tend to do the sort of work they are educated to achieve. Add in that people tend to meet their partners through university or work these days and it's quite clear that professionals will tend to marry professionals, blue collar blue collar and so on. We thus end up with a world in which there is a strata of society enjoying two professional incomes per household and others enjoying two white collar incomes, two two blue collar and so on. Although it does rather break down at that last: stay at home housewives are more likely to be in the working classes.

Whatever the earlier level of household income inequality we had before it's obviously going to be larger now. That a polemicist for the trade union movement is married to a GP, or that the Harman/Dromey household enjoys two, not just the one, MP salaries and allowances, makes the gap between those professional classes and the average working joe greater.

Short of the State telling people who they may shack up with there's no real way out of this either.

But what's really interesting is that that linked paper is claiming that all of the rise in US household income inequality can be put down to this one factor. And if that's so then I cannot for the life of me see that that rise in inequality is a problem. People are now much freer in their love and working lives than they used to be. That's good, in fact that's great. The side effects be damned.


Magistrate attacks soft touch justice system that allows criminals to walk free with a 'slapped wrist' after burglars ransack his home

A magistrate has warned that Britain's 'soft touch' justice system will turn householders into vigilantes after his own home was torn apart by burglars. Abid Sharif, 36, said 'every man should have the right to defend his castle' after he returned home from picking up a pair of airline tickets to discover it had been broken into, trashed and looted of valuables including his wedding ring.

During the daylight raid, a rear window was torn from off its hinges with a crowbar before the gang climbed into the house, breaking a dining table.

They tore doors off wardrobes and cupboards before stealing the gold jewellery, a watch and electrical goods including a PlayStation 3, a Sony laptop, a Samsung mobile phone and a digital camera. Mr Sharif later took pictures of the aftermath of raid which is said to have cost almost £10,000.

Today the father of three, a bus driver who sits one day a week at Burnley Magistrates' court in Lancs said: 'The levels of policing have gone down since the cutbacks and that's crazy when you hear about these public service executives being paid thousands.

'People will naturally want to protect their property but I fear they will then become vigilantes and will probably get done in court for it.

'If I had been in my house when these people came in and I had knocked one of them out I would be inside for assault and I don't think it's fair. Every man has a right to defend his castle and if we gave powers to the public I think the crime will drop.

'Within my job I see these criminals come before me and they seem to know more law than their solicitors about equal rights and human rights and they can get away with a lot of things. 'They know we can only give them a slap on the wrist, it's very frustrating for me - we want to throw the book at them but prison is regarded a last resort. 'We try fining them but then they say they can only pay £5 a week because they are on benefits.

'The laws have gone too lenient. In some cases everything points to custody but then they say they have medical problems and then they can't do paid unpaid work because they have a bad back. By the end its a conditional discharge.

The other day there were 16 cases and 11 of those where burglary either from a shop or a dwelling. I know when I sit again and a case like this comes up and I will be frustrated. 'Obviously I cannot and will not take my frustrations out on others in court but sometimes we walk away from court disheartened - especially when you see the criminals go away laughing.'

It is thought the burglars had been circling Mr Sharif's neighbourhood in a car before stopping at his property and then knocking on his front door to establish he was not at home.
Police are now examining CCTV footage of the raid which was captured by cameras at a neighbouring property.

'CCTV cameras caught them outside the house in a blue Ford focus. They parked up and then an Asian knocked on the door and waited for about two or three minutes.

'The car was driven around and came back and another camera picked them up going on the backstreet. They were even pictured walking out of the property with the laptop and computer in their hands - it was sickening. 'They absolutely ransacked the place, it's very upsetting.

'I used to see a lot of police presence around here. Police cars would even be around at night time and you would feel safe - but it's not safe around here any more. 'The police presence used to be fantastic and you knew that there were there. Now I can't say that they are not doing their job right if they don't have the funding. 'We used to see a bobby on the beat every day and we used to know him. Now I don't know who the local bobby is.

'I think even the police are frustrated because they have such a high workload and different teams. When they should be out investigating a burglary they are stuck doing paperwork and can't do it.


RSPCA risks losing power to prosecute

The RSPCA’s role in prosecuting cases of animal cruelty could be overhauled to restore public confidence.

Stephen Wooler, a former HM chief inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service, suggested the charity could be stripped of its prosecution rights because of increasing concern over its approach. Another option was for it to be scrutinised by an independent watchdog, he said.

Campaigners have long complained that the RSPCA can both investigate and prosecute cases, while also campaigning to raise money.

They have suggested that because the charity often levies large costs in the cases it wins, some people plead guilty because they fear contesting a charge and losing.

The RSPCA was criticised for bringing a £326,000 private prosecution against the Heythrop hunt in David Cameron’s Oxfordshire constituency at the end of 2012. A judge said the costs, some of which went on external lawyers, were “staggering”.

The Heythrop pleaded guilty to hunting a wild fox with dogs, claiming it could not afford to fight the charges. A former huntsman and hunt master also pleaded guilty to the same charges.

Mr Wooler was appointed by the RSPCA’s trustees late last year to carry out a £50,000 review of its role as the major prosecutor in cases involving animal cruelty.

In his first interview since then, Mr Wooler stressed that he had not yet reached any conclusions, but he conceded that one option was to strip the charity of its right to prosecute cases.

Asked if the RSPCA could lose this role, as well as that of investigator, he said: “There would have to be some very careful discussions if one got to that position.

“But bearing in mind there is no obvious alternative, the main issue … is what needs to be done to make it work better.”

He added: “One of the things I want to find out is what would happen if the RSPCA did not do those functions. It is all well and good throwing the baby out with the bath water, but you have to put something in its place.”

Mr Wooler said one possibility was to limit the court costs the RSPCA could charge, and he said he would look at the costs of its prosecutions “to see if they are reasonable and proportionate”.

He said he would examine the charity’s approach to prosecutions, from those against fox hunts to those against elderly spinsters who cannot look after their pets.

He claimed that concern about the charity’s activities was so widespread that there was a “self-help group” on the internet “of people who have had involvement with the RSPCA”.

Mr Wooler said he would be examining criticism from hunts as well as “from small animal sanctuaries who sometimes feel targeted [and] ordinary individuals who have companion animals”.

He added that he would be holding meetings with Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, senior police officers and councils to see if the charity needed to be subject to an independent regulator. At present, the RSPCA acts as a private prosecutor. Any new supervision would help to increase accountability.

Mr Wooler said: “The idea I would want to look at is what does the RSPCA need to do, specifically in relation to its prosecution role, to get public confidence restored to what it used to be?

“The RSPCA trustees are quite puzzled [by the controversy]. They are looking … to see what the RSPCA should be doing in order for there to be that confidence that criticism suggests isn’t there at the moment.”

Mr Wooler invited submissions from anybody concerned about the charity’s policy.

“The RSPCA has given me a very free hand to look at the whole issue widely,” he said. “What I want to do is to find the best way forward … I will look very carefully at what people have to say.”

Ray Goodfellow, the RSPCA’s chief legal officer, said: “We strive to be a reasonable and fair-minded prosecutor and this independent review will provide an effective external measure of our performance and highlight any areas of potential improvement.

“We are committed to providing accountability and transparency in this very important area of our work which we recognise has a considerable impact on people’s lives, as well as for the animals we seek to protect. We will publish findings from the review when it is complete.”



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 February, 2014

More multiculturalism as Muslim gangs wage war in London

A gang who stabbed and hacked a schoolboy to death with knives, swords and a meat cleaver because he lived on the wrong side of the street was yesterday jailed for a total of 131 years.

Hani Hicham Abou El Kheir, 16, died after being knifed 30 times when the hooded gang of up to ten people pounced on him wielding a ‘fearsome armoury’ in a ‘calculated and savage’ attack yards from multi-million pound homes.

He was hunted down and shot with a Taser stun gun before being stabbed through the heart and left for dead.

Arber Barbatovci, 20, Ahmed Mikhaimar, 20, Tarquai Joseph, 19, and a fourth man, aged 20, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 26 years each.

A fifth member of the gang, Craig Boyce, 26, was told he would spend at least 27 years behind bars. The Old Bailey heard that the ‘chilling’ murder, which happened on a Sunday in Pimlico, an affluent area of Central London where Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has a home, was the result of a bitter rivalry between two street gangs in a ‘turf war’ over drugs.

Police blamed Hani’s slaughter on ‘the casual acceptance of knives among young people’ in London. But his broken-hearted mother insisted her son had nothing to do with gangs and died simply because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

On January 27 last year, Hani was walking home with his girlfriend through an estate in Pimlico at the centre of the turf war when he was spotted by the gang, who were wearing balaclavas, hats and scarves.

They chased him into an alleyway where he was ‘butchered’ in such a frenzied ambush that two of the killers suffered cuts as they rained down blows on the helpless schoolboy. The mob then scattered and dumped their weapons in a drain. Hani died later in hospital.

Prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee QC said: ‘An agenda of murderous proportion was at play that evening by way of simply which side of a street they lived on. His murder was the produce of brazen lawlessness on the streets of Central London on a Sunday evening.’

Hani’s mother, Pauline Hickey, said he was a recluse who suffered from anxiety attacks and had only just started venturing out on his own and making friends in the last few weeks of his life.

In a moving statement, she said: ‘Hani was my only child. I pine for him every day and I cannot come to terms with the fact that I will never again see his warm, beautiful smile or his awkward walk or hear his childish voice and explosive laugh, the way he said “Mum” constantly and told me he loved me every day, the mess he left his bedroom and his heavy hugs.

‘Hani was a gentle and loving giant. Every day I expect him to come through the front door. I cannot face the truth of Hani’s death and I cannot get over the devastating image of my son lying dead in the hospital.’

She said she would have given her life to save her son. ‘It has left me feeling so much guilt for not being there to help him when he was butchered by that gang as he tried to run home to me,’ she added. ‘Hani was not involved with any gangs and had never been arrested or involved with the police in any way. ‘It could have been anyone who was murdered that night; Hani was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.’

The court heard that his killers had a catalogue of previous convictions.

Judge Charles Wide QC, told them: ‘The murder by you of Hani Hicham Abou El Kheir was as calculated as it was savage. ‘The horror of what you did is demonstrated and compounded by the degree of planning and organisation.

‘You had a fearsome armoury of long knives and meat cleavers and then a co-ordinated meet after which you moved together through the streets to find your victim, hunt him down and kill him. He must have been utterly terrified as he was chased by you and utterly terrified when, outnumbered, the blows rained down.’

A sixth man, Yassine Sidi-Ammi, 20, was cleared of perverting the course of justice, while another man, Dilwar Hussein, has fled to Bangladesh.

Donjeta Gashi, 20, of Kentish Town, North-West London, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice. She will be sentenced later.

Police are offering a £20,000 reward for information about others involved in the murder.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Attewell said: ‘It is the casual acceptance of knives amongst young people that has led to the needless loss of yet another young person in London.’


Feminists will always be a disgruntled minority of harpies huddled in a corner moaning to one-another

Most women will acknowledge some feminist sympathies -- equal pay for equal work etc. But I am not talking about those women. I am talking about the feminists you encounter at universities and writing in the papers. They are often quite good at changing official policies (generally set by men) but their influence on the behaviour of other women is minimal.

The big and unsurmountable problem for feminists is that young women are intensely interested in young men. They are more interested in young men than young men are interested in them. As a result, young women tend to PANDER to young men. There! I've said it. The word that sends feminists molten. A women pandering to a man deserves the lowest depths of hell and damnation from a feminist perspective.

I am moved to those thoughts by something I saw this morning as I was having a cup of tea with Anne at the seaside (Wynnum). It was a classical example of the pandering I just mentioned.

What was happening was that two young men -- perhaps around age 20 -- were fishing without much success. But fishing they were and they stuck at it despite catching only the occasional tiddler. And they had a girl with them, a rather aspirational girl of about 18, about 5'5" tall with fair skin, blue eyes and blonde hair. And she was in great shape wearing tight short denim shorts.

So what was she doing? She was just there for the company. She did have her own fishing rod and cast it in a few times but mostly she just pottered around or sat in a nearby shelter watching. She was there because the men were there and for no other reason. They paid their fishing much more attention than they paid her but she was nonetheless in great good humor, full of smiles. She was happy just to be there with the men.

And that is how it goes in the teenage years. And as the years progress it gets even worse from a feminist perspective. Young women enter into intimate relationships with men -- not even requiring a wedding ring first these days. But a wedding is still the vision for most women.

So feminists are up against human nature just as much as other Leftists before them. Leftists once thought that they could mould a "new Soviet man" but were thwarted by human nature. They simply drove Soviet man to drink. A new feminist man is just as remote. Feminized men tend in fact to be rather despised by most women. Most women like men to be men. Look at all the women who "wait" for husbands and boyfriends in the armed forces who are "away" on deployment. Such a relationship looks a very bad deal from a certain point of view. But men in the forces tend to be real men -- and women will put up with a lot to have such a man. Where it matters, feminism is an abject failure -- JR

Three cheers for Scarlett Johansson's stand against the ugly, illiberal Boycott Israel movement

As if her otherworldly beauty and screen presence were not enough, here is another reason to love Scarlett Johansson: Oxfam, of which she was an ambassador, hinted that she should cut her ties with SodaStream on the basis that it maintains factories in Israeli settlements and she responded by cutting her ties with Oxfam!

What’s not to love about this story? A worthy charity shakes its big head in disapproval at a celeb who has dared to do things for a company that works in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, no doubt expecting the celeb to freak out, issue a tear-drenched apology and promise never again to rub shoulders, or anything else, with these evil Israelis. But instead the celeb basically tells the worthy charity to get stuffed and says she will carry on working with and promoting the Israeli company.

Ever since she was signed up as the face of SodaStream, Ms Johansson has had a tsunami of flak from campaigners who think that buying Israeli stuff, working with Israeli academics or attending Israeli theatre performances is the very worst thing a human being could ever do. You know the kind: they stand outside Marks & Spencer’s on Oxford Street warning all whom enter that this evil shop sells blood-stained products (ie, stuff made in Israel), and they screech and wail, these philistines for Palestine, when an Israeli violinist starts playing at the Proms. I mean, can you imagine it – a musician from Israel inside the Royal Albert Hall? *Shudder*.

And so it was that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which calls for decent-minded Westerners to refuse to contaminate their body, souls or minds with any grub or books from Israel, called on Oxfam to “immediately sever ties” with Ms Johansson. Oxfam expressed its concern at Ms Johansson’s lack of guilt over advertising SodaStream, asking her to “[consider] the implications”, and said it was thinking about what this all means “for Ms Johansson’s role as Oxfam global ambassador”. And then, brilliantly, totally stealing Oxfam’s puffed-up thunder, Ms Johansson’s people issued a statement saying: “Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years.” Sassy Actress 1, Self-Important Moaners About Israel 0.

Ms Johansson broke her links with Oxfam over what she calls “a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement”. That is, Oxfam thinks this movement is hunky dory; Ms Johansson thinks it isn’t. In taking this stance, Ms Johansson is being pretty rebellious. There is enormous pressure on the well-known and the well-connected to boycott Israel. Any pop singer who dares to perform there is bombarded with letters, emails and tweets telling them to rethink. Any Western shop that stocks Israeli produce can expect despressed-looking middle-class white people in Arafat-style keffiyehs to turn up on a Saturday morning waving banners saying “Stop supporting Zionism!” Various academic unions boycott Israeli universities, turning that nation’s professors into the lepers of modern intellectual life, as if their words – on stuff as innocent as physics or philosophy – are wont to poison and corrupt those who hear them.

As for Israeli theatre troupes or dance groups that come to Western European nations to perform – they will find themselves hollered at and complained about by our right-on arts world. When Habima, Israel’s national theatre company, came to Britain in 2012 to take part in an international Shakespeare festival at the Globe, luvvies wrote open letters expressing their “dismay” and claiming that by including Habima the Globe was “associating itself with the policies of exclusion practised by the Israeli state”. Notably, the presence at the Globe of theatre companies from authoritarian regimes, including Zimbabwe and China, was not complained about. Nope, just Israel. Because Israel is different, you see. It’s really horrible. We hate it. And we love to hate it.

There is nothing remotely progressive in this campaign to boycott everything Israeli, with its double standards about various nations’ behaviour and its shrill rhetoric about everything that comes from Israel being covered in Palestinian blood. This movement is not designed to have any kind of positive impact in the Middle East but rather is about making certain Western activists feel righteous and pure through allowing them to advertise how Israeli-free their lives are.

It’s illiberal, because it effectively demands the censoring of Israeli academics and performers; it’s hypocritical, because it is led by people who are only too happy to use iPhones made in undemocratic China and to vote for the Labour Party, which, er, bombed the hell out of Middle Eastern countries for the best part of 10 years; and it has unfortunate ugly echoes of earlier campaigns to boycott Jewish shops and produce.

So three cheers for Ms Johansson for taking a very public stand against this right-on pressure to treat Israel as the most evil nation on Earth.


Australian PM threatens to deport asylum seekers if they 'are irritating, spit or swear in public'

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been accused of abusing his power after drafting a code of behaviour for asylum seekers that threatens to deport them for ‘irritating people, disturbing someone or spitting or swearing in public’.

Australia’s tough stance over asylum seekers from Indonesia has soured relations between the two countries in recent months and this document is not likely to improve matters.

The number of asylum seekers from Iran, Afghanistan, Myanmar and elsewhere reaching Australia in Indonesian fishing boats has soared in recent years and Australia has occasionally used its Navy to tow boats back to Indonesian waters.

Now those who manage to make it to Australia’s shores will have to sign a new code of behaviour, currently in draft form, which sets out how they’re expected to behave.

The document, which applies to those arriving by boat - or 'illegal maritime arrivals' - was leaked to The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

It states that they are banned from ‘irritating people’, ‘disturbing people’, ‘damaging property, spitting or swearing in public’ and ‘other actions that other people might find offensive’. ‘Spreading rumours’ at work or ‘excluding someone from a group or place on purpose’ are also banned.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre said punishment for code of behaviour infringements could vary.

It said: 'It could start with just a warning, you may have your Red Cross payments reduced or stopped all together or you may be placed in detention in Australia or offshore on Nauru and Manus Island.'

Kon Karapanagiotidis, a spokesman for organisation, told The Telegraph: ‘No other industrialised nation criminalises everyday behaviour. The idea that spitting in public or getting a parking fine is enough to get you sent to an off shore detention centre is extraordinary. It is an abuse of power and creates a climate of terror for asylum seekers.’



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

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

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


Examining political correctness around the world and its stifling of liberty and sense. Chronicling a slowly developing dictatorship

BIO for John Ray

I record on this blog many examples of negligent, inefficient and reprehensible behaviour on the part of British police. After 13 years of Labour party rule they have become highly politicized, with values that reflect the demands made on them by the political Left rather than than what the community expects of them. They have become lazy and cowardly and avoid dealing with real crime wherever possible -- preferring instead to harass normal decent people for minor infractions -- particularly offences against political correctness. They are an excellent example of the destruction that can be brought about by Leftist meddling.

I also record on this blog much social worker evil -- particularly British social worker evil. The evil is neither negligent nor random. It follows exactly the pattern you would expect from the Marxist-oriented indoctrination they get in social work school -- where the middle class is seen as the enemy and the underclass is seen as virtuous. So social workers are lightning fast to take chidren away from normal decent parents on the basis of of minor or imaginary infractions while turning a blind eye to gross child abuse by the underclass

Gender is a property of words, not of people. Using it otherwise is just another politically correct distortion -- though not as pernicious as calling racial discrimination "Affirmative action"

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

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

Juergen Habermas, a veteran leftist German philosopher stunned his admirers not long ago by proclaiming, "Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [than Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amedment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

Consider two "jokes" below:

Q. "Why are Leftists always standing up for blacks and homosexuals?

A. Because for all three groups their only God is their penis"

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

The latter "joke" is not a joke at all, of course. It is a comparison routinely touted by Leftists. Both "jokes" are greatly offensive and unfair to the parties targeted but one gets a pass without question while the other would bring great wrath on the head of anyone uttering it. Why? Because political correctness is in fact just Leftist bigotry. Bigotry is unfairly favouring one or more groups of people over others -- usually justified as "truth".

One of my more amusing memories is from the time when the Soviet Union still existed and I was teaching sociology in a major Australian university. On one memorable occasion, we had a representative of the Soviet Womens' organization visit us -- a stout and heavily made-up lady of mature years. When she was ushered into our conference room, she was greeted with something like adulation by the local Marxists. In question time after her talk, however, someone asked her how homosexuals were treated in the USSR. She replied: "We don't have any. That was before the revolution". The consternation and confusion that produced among my Leftist colleagues was hilarious to behold and still lives vividly in my memory. The more things change, the more they remain the same, however. In Sept. 2007 President Ahmadinejad told Columbia university that there are no homosexuals in Iran.

It is widely agreed (with mainly Lesbians dissenting) that boys need their fathers. What needs much wider recognition is that girls need their fathers too. The relationship between a "Daddy's girl" and her father is perhaps the most beautiful human relationship there is. It can help give the girl concerned inner strength for the rest of her life.

The love of bureaucracy is very Leftist and hence "correct". Who said this? "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything". It was V.I. Lenin

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

Germaine Greer is a stupid old Harpy who is notable only for the depth and extent of her hatreds

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To be continued ....
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