The creeping dictatorship of the Left...

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 This site is updated several times a month but is no longer updated daily.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

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

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


27 February, 2015

A British A-to-Z guide to the new PC

From appropriation to zero tolerance, everything you need to keep an eye on while checking your privilege

Anyone who thought political correctness had croaked, joining neon leg warmers, mullets and MC Hammer in the graveyard of bad ideas from the late 1980s and 1990s, should think again. When even someone as gay-friendly and Guardian-hued as Benedict Cumberbatch can be hounded for incorrectness, you know no one’s safe. So what can you say? Here’s an A-to-Z guide to the new PC.

A is for America. One-time land of the free, founded by un-PC white dudes partial to a drink and sex with slaves, but more recently the birthplace of identity politics (see under I) and 21st-century taboos (see everything below).

B is for bitch. Perfect example of a word some can say but others can’t. For a sassy chick to refer to herself and her girl pals as ‘bitches’ is cool; for a rapper with metal teeth it is rampant misogyny. To find out if you’re allowed to utter this word, put your hand in your underpants. Is there a penis? You can’t say it. If you do you’re the other B: bigot.

C is for cultural appropriation. When people from one culture adopt the styles or habits of people from another culture. Like middle-class white kids making rap music or donning Native American head-dresses at a rock festival. This is really bad. Thankfully Glastonbury is now restricting the sale of Native American dress and some British unis have banned sombreros. C is also for check your privilege. You must do this all the time. If you’re white, male and middle class, you’re super-privileged and must never speak about women’s issues or black people’s problems. White women are more privileged than black women, and straight black women are more privileged than queer black women (don’t worry — queer is OK here: see under Q). ‘What about solidarity and cross-class, cross-race empathy?’ I hear you cry. Please. Solidarity has been replaced by intersectionality (see below). Stop being a dinosaur.

D is for dinosaur. I shouldn’t have said the D-word, sorry. Alongside geezer, codger and blue-haired, it’s what the New York Times calls an ‘age-disparaging word’. Never say it, even to refer to actual dinosaurs: in 2012 some New York schools banned the lessons on dinosaurs for fear of offending creationist kids, and offending people is the worst thing you can ever do (see under O).

E is for ethically challenged. You, if you don’t adhere to these rules.

F is for faggot. Fine if you’re a gay man referring to himself, but it’ll earn you a knock on the door from the boys in blue if you’re a straight man referring to someone else. Never write it on a missile. American Navymen were instructed to ‘more closely edit their spontaneous acts of penmanship’ after one of them wrote ‘Hijack this, you faggots’ on a bomb for the Taleban. Members of the Taleban do not accept homosexuality as a valid way of life and thus should not be reminded of its existence as they have their heads blown off.

G is for gender. Never assume to know gender. Someone might look and sound like a man, and even wear a beard and possess a penis, but ‘he’ might identify as a woman, which is his/her/their right. Who are you, or nature, to say whether someone is male or female or something else entirely? Facebook now has 71 gender choices. The City University of New York recently banned the words ‘Mr’ and ‘Mrs’ from ‘all types of correspondence’ with students in order to prevent the faux pas of wrongly guessing a student’s gender ID. Ask everyone you meet: ‘What gender pronouns should I use when referring to you?’

H is for hir and hirs: gender-neutral terms for him and her. Safest bet when you’re at a dinner party surrounded by people whose preferred gender you don’t yet know.

I is for identity politics. Always define yourself by your natural characteristics rather than your character, achievements or beliefs. You are first and foremost male, female, other, straight, gay, black or white and should refer to yourself as such. Martin Luther King should have checked his privilege when he had that nonsense dream of a world where people ‘will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character’. That’s easy for a middle-class straight man to say, Marty. I is also for intersectionality, the tearaway offspring of identity politics, where you must constantly wonder how your various personal identities intersect with each other (or something).

J is for jokes. Don’t tell them. It’s too risky. Rape jokes, Holocaust jokes, sexist jokes, banter-based jokes — you might find them funny but others will experience them as a threat to their mental safety. Learn from the Dapper Laughs debacle: a wicked joke can hurt thousands and end your career.

K is for kiss chase. Never let your kids play this. For boys to chase girls in search of a smacker on the cheek is evidence of a culture of male sexual entitlement, so mercifully this ‘game’ has been banned in schools across the nation.

L is for LGBTQQIAAP. No, not a place in Wales — an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, allies and pansexual. If you’re the kind of person who says ‘gays’, or even worse, ‘the gays’, stop it at once and learn this by heart.

M is for microaggressions. A microaggression is an unwitting act of discrimination by people who think they’re super right-on, such as asking a black woman how she keeps her hair so funky or inquiring if a lesbian has ever had ‘real sex’. On some American campuses, professors have been accused of racial microaggression for correcting spelling mistakes in black students’ essays.

N is for nigger. Massive no-no (unless you’re a rapper, and even then tread carefully). New editions of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn come with the N-word expunged. Just as cigarettes are being cut out of old cartoons and Ghostbusters is being remade with the main roles now played by womyn (see under W). The past must be corrected.

O is for offence. The original sin. Offending people is worse than punching them. And offence is in the eye of the outraged — it’s they who decide if your words are hurtful. One man’s joke might be another’s mortal blow to his self-esteem. To avoid offence, speak as little as possible.

P is for people of colour. Coloured is bad, but people of colour is fine. Of course, it might one day be added to the list of once-PC but now sinful phrases, so keep an eye out for updates.

Q is for queer. Queers can say this, but non-queers can’t. Unless you’re an ally (see under L), in which case you can.

R is for racist. You’re a racist. I know you think you aren’t, which is sweet, but you are. Everyone is. By this point, we should all know about ‘unwitting racism’ — being racist without realising it. The solution? Racial sensitivity training for all. Stop racism by encouraging nationwide racial consciousness.

S is for safe space. A zone, usually at a university, in which no offensive language, off-colour jokes, banter, lads’ mags, mansplaining (men talking about feminism), manspreading (men spreading their legs), gender-questioning, or any other wicked words or deeds are allowed. A prototype PC society.

T is for tranny. Never say this word. Ever. It’s the Voldemort of PC. Whisper it and you will be accused of transphobia — not a country but a mental malaise that prevents you from accepting that gender is a fluid concept.

U is for uterus. If you have one of these, you may speak about abortion; if you don’t, you may not.

V is for vagina. People with vaginas, check your privilege. You aren’t the only people who get to call yourselves women. Plenty of folk do not have vaginas but are every bit as female as you. The US women’s college Mount Holyoake recently banned The Vagina Monologues because it ‘offers an extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman’.

W is for womyn. An alternative spelling of ‘woman’ for those who reject patriarchal spelling norms.

X is for Generation X, the post-baby-boom generation that is the architect of PC, which having waged a war of words against its hippy-dippy parents and their harebrained belief in a colourblind, gender-ignoring world, is now caught in a desperate rearguard action against younger activists armed with hashtags and intersectionality.

Y is for #YesAllWomen. A social campaign — well, a Twitter hashtag — created in response to the assertion that said #NotAllMen were rapists. Maybe they aren’t, but #YesAllWomen are victims.

Z is for ze. Gender-neutral term for he or she (see Rod Liddle, opposite). Z is also for zero tolerance. Of homophobia, rude old novels, saucy photos, and anything that might offend someone somewhere sometime. From student unions to trendy workplaces, the PC love nothing more than to boast of their lack of tolerance. You thought tolerance was a good thing? Get with the programme. Don’t be a D-word.


Just Who Has to Adjust in the Name of Tolerance?


Brookings Institution Center for Middle East Policy Fellow Shadi Hamid recently criticized the West as "illiberal" for refusing to accept the fact that Muslims, both in the West and globally, are different from Westerners.

It was an unusual argument, one for which The Atlantic devoted 3,400 words.

Although President Obama insists that the "fight against terrorism is not a religious war," Hamid seems to disagree with him.

According to a variety of polls, Hamid is right. For example, while a 2009 Gallup poll shows European Muslims overwhelmingly reject violence, they are far more religious than those who live in secular Europe (France, England, and Germany), and are more strongly opposed to homosexuality than are secular Europeans. In addition, young, second or third generation European Muslim men favor veiling for women, polygamy, the execution of apostates, and favor prohibiting Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men.

Muslims are more likely to view "blasphemy as unacceptable," Hamid wrote. He described Muslims as "deeply conservative" and, to varying extents, wanting "the application of Islamic law."

The liberal West believes in criticizing everything, especially religion, beginning with Judaism and Christianity. Extending this right-to-criticize, satirize, or examine Islam has led to major Muslim meltdowns.

Creative and scholarly exposures of Islam's history and practices amount to shaming and therefore are impermissible, especially when infidels are doing the exposing. Lawsuits, assassination attempts, lynch mobs, and political murders have been the radical Muslim response to books, films, lectures, and cartoons that detail Islamic gender and religious apartheid.

Documentation of normalized daughter-and wife-beating, child marriage, forced veiling, forced marriage of adults, polygamy, pedophilia, FGM, and honor killing has led to cries of "Islamophobia" and "blasphemy."

In a recent conversation, Israeli Arabist and counter-terrorism expert, Mordechai Kedar said: "Why would anyone get so outraged by a cartoon unless they believe that the cartoon is telling the truth? They are angry because it is the truth."

According to a 2006 Pew poll, 79 percent of French Muslims blamed the 2005 cartoon controversy on Western nations' "disrespect for the Islamic religion." The general population blamed "Muslims' intolerance."

This is completely foreign to the West's post-Enlightenment culture. Many Muslims are very clear on this point.

Hamid writes that French Muslims are "more likely to believe that attacks on the Prophet Mohammed and the Quran should be criminalized as hate speech and incitement, much like denial of the Holocaust is."

This is a shocking but familiar false equation. Jew-haters and Islamists minimize, disbelieve, but deeply envy the Jews as victims of the Holocaust. But they covet the reverence for sacred victim status that they believe Jews have-ostensibly via trickery. Islamists invented the false allegation of "Islamophobia," positioned the Palestinians as the "new Jews," and appointed the Jewish Israelis as the "new Nazis."

Unfortunately, many Europeans signed onto this lethal narrative in the hope that doing so would appease their hostile, unassimilated Muslim citizens. Also, latent European anti-Semitism happily found a new outlet in anti-Zionism, which is the new anti-Semitism.

Are Muslims being falsely accused and even persecuted? Can one even ask this question in an era when Muslim-on-Muslim, Muslim-on-infidel, and Muslim male-on-female barbarism is borderless, boundary-less, and beyond surreal?

Nevertheless, the false concept of Islamophobia - often defensively raised when the discussion focuses on radical Islamic ideology - has become equal to real concepts such as homophobia, sexism, and anti-Semitism. Despite FBI verification that hate crimes against Jews are far greater than those against Muslims, Muslims continue to insist that they are being racially and religiously targeted.

Islamophobia is worse than anti-Semitism, according to Hatem Bazien, the founder of Students for Justice in Palestine and the director of Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender, in a 2011 report co-sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Bazian concluded that, on a scale from 1 (best situation for Muslims) to 10 (worst possible situation for Muslims), "Islamophobia" in America stands at 6.4. One does not know how to greet such brazen foolishness.

Globally, Islamists demand that the West, which has separated religion and state brilliantly, accept and accommodate an aggressive and entitled theocratic state-not only abroad but in its midst.

In Hamid's view, real "moral courage" in France would consist of a "major political party" calling for "a rethinking of laïcité [secularism], and for the broadening, rather than the narrowing, [of] French national identity."

Challenging the "tolerant" West to accommodate an intolerant Islam is the tried-and-true Islamist method of hoisting the West by its own petard. Sophisticated Islamists are trying to use post-Enlightenment laws to achieve the right to practice pre-medieval and barbaric customs. Western political leaders and the intelligentsia are flirting with cultural suicide and siding with barbarism over civilization.


After Copenhagen: resist the empire of offence

The biggest threat to free and open debate is the fear of giving offence

Like the Paris massacre last month, the shooting spree in Copenhagen at the weekend started with an attack on a site that symbolised free speech and ended with an assault on a building used by Jews.

I didn’t watch the events in Copenhagen unfold on the news. The first I heard of what was going on was when I listened to a phone message left by a friend. She sounded upset; her voice was strained as she asked, ‘After this mess in Copenhagen, are you still going to go to Amsterdam to debate?’.

Although her message was framed as a question, it was clear she was worried about my involvement in an upcoming debate in Holland, titled ‘Free speech after Charlie Hebdo’. My immediate reaction was to dismiss such concerns as an over-the-top response to the tragic events in Denmark. After all, Western Europe is one of the safest regions of the world, and exercising the right to free speech rarely exacts a significant cost. However, the more I thought about my friend’s message, the more I began to be concerned by things that, thankfully, I have never needed to think about before.

The Krudttoenden cultural centre in Copenhagen was holding a peaceful and civilised discussion on free speech when it came under gunfire. When I looked at the pictures of this cultural centre, my thoughts turned from the plight of the victims to the realisation that this event was held in a building that was very much like the one that is hosting my debate in Amsterdam. Did I feel a slight pang of unease when I realised that the topic of the debate in Copenhagen was not a million miles from what I will be discussing in Amsterdam? Yes, is the answer. But what really disturbed me was the realisation that we have now moved into a world where the idea of a genuine clash of views on a controversial subject is increasingly associated with physical threats.

The likely target of the Copenhagen attack was the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. He has acquired a reputation for being a provocateur and, since the publication of his cartoon of Muhammad in 2007, has faced many threats to his life. In 2013, he, along with other ‘offensive’ artists, was placed on a hit list published by al-Qaeda.

Like his ill-fated Charlie Hebdo colleagues, Vilks is considered by many to be inflammatory and offensive to many Muslims. Likewise, Vilks’ critics argue that, through his provocative work, he has brought the wrath of angry Islamists on himself. Many institutions and publications have been wary of giving him a voice, and he has had numerous lectures and exhibitions cancelled by cultural organisations.

Sadly, far too many public figures and institutions take the view that anything that provokes Muslim sensibilities cannot be said. Indeed, their argument sometimes goes so far as to imply that the only way to prevent murderous attacks, such as the one in Copenhagen, is to cease publishing provocative cartoons and articles that Muslim people find offensive.

I must confess that I am not a fan of Charlie Hebdo or cartoonists who, instead of making a deeper point, opt for insulting their target. I find that such self-consciously in-your-face cartoons tend to infantilise discussion about difficult problems that actually require serious thought. But we don’t get to choose whose freedom of speech we uphold. Cartoonists have every right to offend, since that is what free speech is all about. By its very nature, the free exchange of views and sentiments will inevitably result in someone being offended. Throughout history, every new and important idea has been deemed offensive.

Alongside regarding freedom of speech as inviolable regardless of the offence it causes, there is also an absolutely compelling argument for not making concessions to the ‘I am offended’ lobby. In the Western world, the ‘feeling offended’ sensibility has acquired an expansive and unrestrained quality. Those who are offended by the work of Vilks will not be placated by the censoring of his cartoons.

Tomorrow, they will raise objections to an ‘offensive’ essay that criticises one of their cherished beliefs. The day after tomorrow, they will express their offence at a supermarket that sells pork in the wrong neighbourhood. And other groups of the offended will pile in to demand the silencing of their critics.

The concessions already made to those claiming offence have led to the ongoing expansion of words that cannot be said, and the continued extension of what is deemed unacceptable behaviour. What has also expanded are the death threats. You don’t need to be a cartoonist to invite a threat to your life. This week, the media reports that the artist Paul Cummins, whose poppy installation drew millions of people to London last year, has received death threats because some of the money raised by his project has gone to charities that have connections with the military.

Many, including Vilks, have predicted that after the Copenhagen murders it will be even more difficult to organise open debates on issues that hardline groups regard as offensive. And now, with the news that a Jewish radio broadcaster in Copenhagen has been forced to shut down for security reasons, the fight for freedom of speech has become ever more urgent. Instead of looking for excuses, we have to insist that speaking out and defending free speech is as important today as it ever was.


Ukiphobia: the prejudices that dare not speak their name

UKIP is a conservative British political party that aims to remove Britain from the EU

With 78 days left till election day, when us Brits will visit the ballot box to put our crosses next to the party that has disappointed us the least, Channel 4 has done us a favour by airing the docudrama UKIP: The First 100 Days.

A badly written, poorly acted fantasy born of the caliginous minds of the most aloof and self-satisfied section of the UK’s cultural elite, the drama imagines what Britain would be like if UKIP won the election and its pint-downing leader, Nigel Farage, became PM: in a nutshell, this once fine nation would become a hellhole in which those fat blokes with rough hands and even rougher accents would finally feel confident enough to air their racist prejudices on the streets rather than just on their beercan-strewn sofas.

This is what is so brilliant about C4’s drama: in setting out to confront what it imagines to be the prejudices of the numbskulls planning to vote UKIP, it unwittingly exposed the bigotry of the chattering classes themselves, of the self-styled progressive sections of the politically switched-on classes, whose visceral contempt for the white working class makes every other prejudice in 21st century Britain pale into insignificance in comparison.

With a couple of months of election-talk to go before we vote, you couldn’t have asked for a better insight into the minds of the upper echelons of society than this drama. It exposed a prejudice that usually does not speak its name, which normally only makes a public appearance dolled up in pseudo-progressive garb and fortified by advocacy research from Demos or some other wonk-station showing that the white and uneducated aren’t massive fans of immigration — we might call this prejudice Ukiphobia, a swirling fear, not simply of Farage and his footsoldiers, but more urgently of the incomprehensible blob of non-Guardian-reading, pale-skinned plebs whose passions and worries Farage and Co. might tap into.

Telling the story of the imagined UKIP government’s first Sikh MP, who slowly but surely realises that the party she represents is a bunch of nutters, the drama features every middle-class fear made flesh. There’s the white working classes, depicted, in the words of the Telegraph’s review, as a ‘stereotyped mob’. It’s as if C4 execs were put on a therapist’s couch to have their inner-most fears teased out and turned into TV fare. Then there are the petit-bourgeois supporters of UKIP, the Middle Englanders, who aren’t quite as dumb or corpulent as the working classes — who is? — but who are presented as nasty and racist. The good middle classes who love Jon Snow, dodge Starbucks and feel bad for Palestine hate the bad middle classes who drink pints and moan about the EU almost as much as they hate those inner-city swarms. Speaking of Palestine, the drama also contained a shot of a hard-right, immigrant-bashing demonstration on which someone was waving the Israeli flag. Well, supporters of Israel are all racist brutes, right? Yet another media-elite prejudice, chucked in for good measure.

The drama captured brilliantly a prejudice that is now so commonly and deeply held among the cultural and political elites that they don’t even think of it as a prejudice. Really, they don’t! It’s a prejudice that imagines Britain is neatly split between a cosmopolitan and enlightened elite which is pro-EU, pro-gay marriage and allergic to the St George’s flag and a throng of Daily Mail drones who are overweight, anti-EU and, of course, racist.

This belief that vast swathes of Britain are a problem needing to be nudged or re-educated towards a slimmer and more enlightened existence is now the most powerful bigotry on the political scene. Only it doesn’t call itself bigotry, or even think of itself as such. But given that the OED definition of bigotry is someone who is ‘unreasonably wedded to a creed or opinion [and] intolerant of others’, there could be no better description for those convinced that they’re right about everything and contemptuous of anyone who thinks differently.

The C4 drama has proved unpopular. Hundreds have complained to Ofcom and newspaper reviewers have slammed it. But it’s important to note that this ugly drama, with its dehumanising caricatures of whole sections of Britain, was merely a more extreme version of what increasingly passes for mainstream politics. The elitist treatment of the swarm as incomprehensible, as unknowable, as potentially volatile and given to poisonous ways of thinking, informs pretty much all mainstream political thinking and commentary these days. You can see it in the handwringing over the wisdom of debating immigration when it might ‘inflame’ the prejudices of you-know-who. You can see it in the widespread acceptance of the nudge industry and its right, its duty in fact, to reshape the behaviour of the masses. You can see it in the political interventions into ‘chaotic families’ (note: not families in the Home Counties) which are ‘white trash’ (Jamie Oliver) and don’t know how to feed their kids (everyone). And you can see it in the daily drip of commentary about communities that are ‘paranoid, suspicious, mistrustful, misogynist and racist’. Guess what communities that Guardian piece was referring to? Yes, obviously, we all know.

In recent years, this elite disdain for the unhealthy (in mind and body) sections of society, which has been alive and thriving from the New Labour days through to Cameron’s war on the ‘chaos’ in poor people’s homes, has crystallised around the issue of UKIP. Through attacking this party, the cut-off elites can express their ugly prejudices in a seemingly political and progressive fashion. They can pose as pro-Europe (when in fact they are just in love with the Brussels bureaucracy) and pro-immigration (when in fact they vote for parties that are just as keen to limit immigration as Farage is), when in truth their Ukiphobia is fuelled by something utterly unprogressive in nature: a disdain, even a disgust, for the little people, for those who still wave the national flag and eat chips, who still call their female colleagues ‘love’ and read a redtop [popular newspaper], who aren’t PC and aren’t enamoured with the European Court of Human Rights. The elite’s self-conscious distancing of itself from the horde now finds its keenest expression in their panic about UKIP.

So, thank you Channel 4, for exposing in a bit more Technicolor than normal the liveliest, coarsest bigotry in politics today. Looking ahead to the debates and clashes before the election in May, some of us now know what really needs to be put squarely on the agenda and challenged passionately: the cultivation of a new divide between the pseudo-cosmo elite and a vulgar public, and the spreading of the nasty prejudice that says the less well-off lack the lingo and ideas and decency to be able to do politics in a grown-up way. Let’s kick this idea to the kerb, and stand up to the hijacking of mainstream politics by a professional elite and their denigration of the once-proud tag of ‘liberal’, which on their watch has come to mean nothing more than: ‘Better than the blob.’ And let’s remind people that the problem here isn’t UKIP — it’s the now Grand Canyon-sized chasm that exists between Us, the everyday public, and Them, the mainstream parties that are bereft of members and ideas and now view the electorate as a problem to be solved rather than a people to be seriously engaged with.



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, 2015

Multiculturalist unwisely given a position of trust

A 'devious and calculating' accounts manager who stole £23,000 from a TV star's home improvements company was jailed for 16 months today.

Abeyomi Ogunagbadaro, 44, had only been working at home expert Alison Cork's Alison At Home furniture business in Regent Street, central London, for six weeks when he started stealing from the firm.

The financial controller, who was on a £42,000-a-year salary, had access to the company's online bank account and was able to launder payments via two innocent friends he duped into giving him their bank details.

Mother-of-two Ms Cork, 51, has appeared in a number of home and garden shows and is best known for her ITV series 'Don't Move, Improve'.

Ogunagbadaro, who started work at the company Alison At Home on March 4 last year, admitted one charge of fraud by abuse of position and was jailed for 16 months when he appeared in front of Southwark Crown Court today.

The fraud was only discovered after Ogunagbadaro had left the company in May of that year.

Peter Zinner, prosecuting, said: 'This was a very sophisticated, pre-planned fraud by a devious and calculating defendant who abused his position as a financial controller to his own financial gain.

'The offence, say the Crown, was aggravated by the use of various lies and by the involvement of two innocent people in an attempt to launder, or disguise, where the monies were being transferred to.  'Those two innocent people were put in the threat of prosecution by their unwitting involvement.'

'His employment commenced on the 4 March 2014, but there were immediately problems during his probation period with accounting errors and processing errors which resulted in him being spoken to by supervisors,' Mr Zinner said.

'To elicit sympathy from his employers the defendant lied about illness and death of a child in his family and because of that he was given a little bit of latitude and time off.'

However, the story was a sham and there had been no death or illness in his family.

'As his performance was not good he parted company, it seems amicably, with Alison At Home on May 7 but shortly afterwards the owners of the company decided they would do an audit and in particular they were concerned about three unrecognised transfers,' said Mr Zinner.

Two payments of £4,000 each were made to Vanessa Murphy and a further £15,000 was sent to Daniel Collen.

'The two payments were made without the consent or authority of the accountants signing off at Alison At Home, the recipients of the funds were not related to the business and suspicion fell on Mr Ogunagbadaro as he had actioned all the transfers.'

Ogunagbadaro had tricked his friends into receiving the money by telling them he wanted to conceal a bonus payment from his family and lying that he needed help keeping the cash because he had a drug problem, the court was told.

But none of the money has ever been recovered and Ogunagbadaro has not paid a penny back.

The judge also criticised the defendant for blaming alcohol and cocaine as 'excuses latched on to'.

Ogunagbadaro, of Kilburn, north west London, was led to the cells carrying his belongings in a Louis Vuitton rucksack.


Another false rape claim in Britain

These are regularly disastrous for the men

A man was stabbed and attacked by a mob when he was wrongly accused of rape, and claims his partner suffered a miscarriage after a gang hounded the couple over the false allegations.

Terry Brown, 33, was forced to flee his home town of Basildon in Essex after Lisa-Jayne Samuels falsely claimed he had drugged and raped her, and even picked him out of an ID parade.

Samuels - who had made up the lies to get attention from her mother - was jailed for 20 months after she admitted perverting the course of justice but Mr Brown claims he was made a prisoner in his own home while he spent a year on bail for the false allegations.

In one incident Mr Brown and his partner, Tracey Choularton, 25, were surrounded by a gang as they left their home and as Ms Choularton tried to flee she tripped and fell. She later suffered a miscarriage. 

Mr Brown was frequently targeted by angry mobs and the home he shared with his partner was daubed with graffiti on a daily basis, branding him 'scum' and a 'rapist.'

'We had to barricade ourselves into the house as we were terrified,' said Mr Brown, speaking after Samuels, a mother-of-four, was jailed for the lies.

'I walked outside my house once and a group of lads just jumped me and started hitting me with fence panels that had nails sticking out. 'I was left with puncture wounds in my back and they smashed out my teeth. Eventually we had to leave Basildon as I just didn't feel safe there.  'Everyone had branded me a rapist because I had been arrested so they decided I must be guilty.'

Mr Brown now lives on Canvey Island, Essex, with Ms Choularton, 25.

'I'm on anti-depressants and I haven't worked since this all started.  'I'm a plasterer by trade but just can't do it anymore as I am constantly shaking.'

Samuels was jailed for 20 months when she appeared at Basildon Crown Court on Friday. It emerged that the 29-year-old had falsely cried rape twice before.  The court heard that she had police draw up an e-fit based on her bogus claims and had picked Mr Brown out of an ID parade.

Her false claims saw 80 hours of police time wasted during the investigation. 

Samuels, of Southend, Essex, called 999 at 1am on October 10, 2012, claiming to have been raped at the town's cliffs.

She told police her drink had been spiked by her attacker, who she knew from a shelter. Eventually when CCTV showed no evidence of her being in the pub she claimed and her friends proved fictitious she admitted lying - after Mr Brown had already spent a year on bail.  

Recorder Anthony Abell said: 'The consequences for Mr Brown have been catastrophic.

'He has had 'dirty scummy rapist' graffitied on his home, been attacked by a gang of thugs with a large piece of wood so that he could not speak for a couple of days and he blames himself for the loss of a child.

'He was prevented from seeing his two elder children and got so scared he sought help to move away from the area.'

Samuels was jailed and all her children were taken into care. 


The Cancer of Multiculturalism

President Barack Obama surprised many at the National Prayer Breakfast when he lectured us, "Lest we get on our high horse and think this (barbarity) is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ."

Obama went on to explain, "In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often (were) justified in the name of Christ." In Obama's mind, Western outrage at Islamic barbarism should be tempered by the remembrance of what Christians did a thousand years ago in the name of Christ. Plus, that outrage should be chastened by our own history of slavery and Jim Crow.

President Obama's vision is that of a man brainwashed through an academic vision of multiculturalism, in which American exceptionalism has no place. It's a vision that has been shaped by a longtime association with people who hate our country, people such as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Weather Underground leader and Pentagon bomber William Ayers and Ayers' onetime fugitive wife, Bernardine Dohrn. A vision that sees a moral equivalency between what Christians did centuries ago and today's Islamic savagery is quite prevalent in academia. It's part of what's worshipped on most college campuses as diversity and multiculturalism.

College campus idiots — and that includes faculty members and administrators — call for the celebration of and respect for all cultures. In their eyes, it's racist Eurocentrism to think that Western values and culture are superior to others. But that's the height of stupidity. Ask your campus multiculturalist who believes in cultural equivalency: Is forcible female genital mutilation, as practiced in nearly 30 sub-Saharan African and Middle Eastern countries, a morally equivalent cultural value? Slavery is practiced in Sudan and Niger; is that a cultural equivalent?

In most of the Middle East, there are numerous limits on women — such as prohibitions on driving, employment, voting and education. Under Islamic law, in some countries, female adulterers face death by stoning, and thieves face the punishment of having their hand severed. Some multiculturalists are members of campus LGBT groups. Ask them to what extent the Muslim culture would tolerate their lifestyle.

At the very heart of multiculturalism is an attack on Christianity. Much of that attack has its roots among hypocrites in the intellectual elite. For example, Duke University sponsored Muslim calls to prayer in the name of promoting "religious pluralism," until external pressures forced it to cancel the practice. Earlier, Duke administrators removed Chick-fil-A as a campus vendor because of CEO Dan Cathy's comments regarding his religious opposition to homosexual marriage. So much for religious pluralism, tolerance and free speech.

Some public school boards have attempted to ban songs containing references to Santa Claus, Jesus or religious Christmas symbols. One school district banned a teacher from using excerpts from historical documents in his classroom because they contained references to God and Christianity. The documents in question were the Declaration of Independence and "The Rights of the Colonists," by Samuel Adams.

Western values are by no means secure. They're under ruthless attack by the academic elite on college campuses across America. These people want to replace personal liberty with government control; they want to replace equality with entitlement; they want to halt progress in order to worship Mother Earth. As such, they pose a far greater threat to our way of life than any Islamic terrorist or group. Visions of multiculturalism and diversity are a cancer on our society. We stupidly fund them with our tax dollars and generous charitable donations.

Islamists and leftists attack not only Christianity but also free market capitalism. They do so because Christian nations, which have a great measure of economic liberty, have been at the forefront of the struggle for personal liberty and private property rights for centuries. Personal liberty and private property are anathemas to people who want to control our lives. That is part and parcel of the multicultural and diversity movements infecting the Western world.


Al Sharpton and Comcast hit with $20 billion lawsuit… alleging racial discrimination (!)

Bad news, everyone. According to reports and rumors, MSNBC’s Red Wedding is only growing bloodier. Al Sharpton’s MSNBC program Politics Nation, on the air since 2011, is headed for the chopping block. For now, that’s just a rumor, but the confirmed details of a lawsuit targeting both Sharpton and his employer are far more troubling for both than merely the floundering ratings of the cable host slash political activist.

A lawsuit targeting Comcast and Sharpton last week, filed by the National Association of African-American Owned Media, alleges that both parties engaged in systematic discrimination against black-owned media outlets.

This group filed a similar suit against AT&T and DirecTV in late last year. “This time, the plaintiff is not only targeting both Comcast and TWC on the verge of what would be the largest pay television distributor in the United States, but also various African-American advocacy groups and MSNBC host Al Sharpton for allegedly facilitating discrimination,” The Hollywood Reporter revealed.

"At the time of Comcast’s 2010 acquisition of NBCUniversal, Comcast entered into memoranda of understanding with the NAACP, the National Urban League and the National Action Network, but the lawsuit says the voluntary diversity agreements are “a sham, undertaken to whitewash Comcast’s discriminatory business practices.”

The plaintiff objects that the only fully owned black-channel picked up by Comcast is the Africa Channel, and that entity is owned by former Comcast/NBCU exec Paula Madison, who “was directly involved in putting together the sham MOUs and obtaining government approval for the Comcast acquisition of NBC Universal, thus creating a serious conflict of interest.”

Other black channels are said to be “window dressing,” with black celebrities as “fronts” when they are “white-owned businesses” that are run by friends or family of Comcast executives."

The suit further alleges that Comcast made a series of donations totaling $3.8 million to Sharpton’s National Action Network to ensure that he would endorse Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal and deflect attention from its discriminatory practices. That seems like a more supportable charge than the claim that Comcast has a “Jim Crow” system in which black-owned media outlets are discriminated against and African-American talent is selectively elevated so as to shield the company from racial criticism. This allegation might be true, but it seems difficult to establish as fact.

This isn’t the beginning of the backlash against Sharpton by a younger set of African-American activists, but it is a significant development in that ongoing generational and cultural clash. A report in Capital New York published last month detailed a speech in which Sharpton lashed out at younger protesters who saw little value in deferring to New York City’s elected officials amid ongoing protests against police brutality that exploded late last year.

“You can’t be that stupid!” Sharpton reportedly barked at a crowd of protesters in Harlem on January 31. “ You more worried about who going to lead [National Action Network] than who going to be the governor with a multi-billion dollar budget that you got to pay state tax in. You can’t be that stupid.”

"In a statement to Capital following Sharpton’s speech, [protest participant Josmar] Trujillo wrote, “In New York, specifically in the majority of the work happening in the last year, Sharpton’s brand is largely seen as destructive at worst– irrelevant at best.”

Trujillo added, “This city voted in a self described ‘progressive’ mayor and city council, only to have Rudy Giuliani’s police commissioner, Bratton, return to power. And who opened their doors to welcome him back? Al Sharpton and NAN.”

Trujillo also said, “As we move ahead here in New York, inspired by Ferguson youth, we’re speaking truth to power. Sharpton, and others like him, are in fact much too cozy with power to fill that role. For the former informant to paternalistically admonish younger, more dynamic leaders by comparing them to ‘hoes’ is just another self-serving attempt to squash dissent as he wrestles for control of a movement that’s leaving him behind.”

It seems that a younger generation of African-American activists who seek to reform the establishment are tired of taking orders from someone who is quite plainly part of the establishment. Described as Obama’s “go-to” man on the subject of race, Sharpton is no longer an outsider bravely combatting the injustices of the system from without. An activist leader who evades prosecution for tax evasion despite flagrant violations and who celebrates his birthday surrounded by celebrities and powerbrokers at the Four Seasons in Manhattan no longer enjoys a claim to hardship and moral authority. For a new batch of activists, Sharpton is no longer viewed as an asset but as a liability.



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, 2015

Get a job! Judge backs ruling that ex-wife of millionaire racehorse surgeon has no right to be 'supported for life'

A parasite gets her comeuppance

A top judge has backed a ruling which told the ex-wife of a millionaire racehorse surgeon to 'get a job' because she has no right to be 'supported for life' at her former husband's expense.

Lord Justice Pitchford, sitting in the Royal Courts of Justice in London, has rejected an application by Tracey Susan Wright, 51, who claimed she should continue to receive maintenance support from her ex-husband Ian.

Last year, Mr Wright, 59, who is one of the country's top equine surgeons, went to the High Court to try and reduce the £75,000-a-year in maintenance and school fees he was ordered to pay his ex-wife following their divorce in 2008.

At the time, Judge Lynn Roberts agreed that the payments should come to an end since there was no good reason why Mrs Wright had not taken up any paid work in the six years since the divorce.

Mrs Wright, who lives with the couple’s two children in Newmarket, Suffolk, challenged the ruling, claiming that having to care for their 10-year-old daughter 'was an inherent restriction on her ability to develop any kind of earning capacity in the next five years.'

However, Lord Pitchford has now upheld Judge Roberts’ initial ruling and supported the idea that it is ‘imperative that she go out to work and support herself.'

The lengthy court battle began when the couple – who married in 1997 - divorced in 2008, having separated in 2006.

At the time, a judge ruled that they should sell their £1.3million seven-bedroom home, set in 16 acres of countryside in Suffolk, and split the proceeds.

It meant Mrs Wright – a former legal secretary and riding instructor - walked away from the divorce with a lump sum which enabled her to buy a £450,000 mortgage-free house in the heart of Newmarket, Suffolk, plus stabling for her horse and her daughters' ponies.

As part of the divorce order, she was also handed £75,000 yearly payments, of which £33,200 was spousal maintenance for her personal upkeep.

She opted to remain a stay-at-home mother following the split and has so far refused to take up any paid employment.

It prompted Mr Wright, who runs a cutting edge equine hospital in Newmarket which carries out life-saving surgery on top-class horses, to approach the High Court to seek a reduction in the hefty maintenance bills he was paying his former partner.

He protested that it was not fair that he was expected to keep supporting his ex-wife indefinitely, even after his retirement, while she made 'no effort whatsoever to seek work.'

The court heard that Mr Wright steadfastly made the payments, but was worried that supporting his wife would be unaffordable after he retires at 65.

Ruling in Mr Wright’s favour, Judge Roberts agreed last year that there was no good reason why Mrs Wright had not taken up work and criticised her for being 'evasive on the subject of her own earning capacity.'

'The world of work has innumerable possibilities these day...vast numbers of women with children just get on with it and Mrs Wright should have done as well,' the judge said.

'I do not think the children will suffer if Mrs Wright has to work, and indeed a working mother at this stage of their lives may well provide them with a good role model.

'It is possible to find work that fits in with childcare responsibilities. I reject her other reasons relating to responsibilities for animals, or trees, or housekeeping.

'Mrs Wright has made no effort whatsoever to seek work or to update her skills...I am satisfied that she has worked on the basis...that she would be supported for life. 'It is essential...that she starts to work now.'

He added that 'the order was never intended to provide the wife with an income for life' and concluded: 'The onus will henceforth be on her. This application is dismissed.'


Are the Ruling Elites in China Now More Pro-market than the Ruling Elites in the USA?

The current issue of the Cato Policy Report (January/February 2015) contains a short article about a book by Zhang Weiying called The Logic of the Market: An Insider’s View of Chinese Economic Reform, which was originally published in Chinese (and said to be a best-seller in China in that form) and was recently translated into English.

The author is the director of Peking University’s Center for Market and Network Economy and is described as a leader among pro-market economists in China, a description that accords well with the quotations given from his writings. In the article, a quotation from a recent Wall Street Journal interview with him states: “He [Zhang] says that when he recently wrote an article praising the late Austrian economist Murray Rothbard, the Communist Party secretary of Shanghai—a fairly high-level apparatchik—told him he liked it.”

I ask you: Has anyone high in the U.S. government ever praised any writing that lauds Rothbard’s views, not to mention Rothbard’s writings themselves? To me it is inconceivable that any such figure would do so. Moreover, is anyone in U.S. academia with a position comparable to Zhang’s position in Chinese academia likely to praise Rothbard’s views? To me it is inconceivable that any such figure would do so.

Once upon a time, the Chinese were the enemies of private property rights and free markets, and the Americans were the enemies of the Chinese and purported to cherish the institutions that the Chinese hated. Today no such clear-cut difference exists. If anything, today’s Chinese in high places seem to be more inclined to say kind words about private property rights and the free market than are comparably placed Americans. And when such Americans do speak favorably of these institutions, they do not really mean what they say, as their actions consistently attest.


Let Them Eat Cake

In January of this year, a Denver bakery found itself at the center of a civil rights controversy. The crime? The bakery refused customer Bill Jack’s request to put an anti-gay message (“God Hates Gays”) on a cake. He reported that he felt as though the bakery discriminated against him based on his “creed.”

In response to the claim, the bakery’s owner, Marjorie Silva, stated that, “it’s unfair that he’s accusing me of discriminating when I think he was the one that is discriminating.”

Almost immediately, people came to Silva’s defense. Her supporters claimed that she had every right to deny Jack’s request. Her personal convictions differed from those of her customer, so why should she be forced to cater to his request? There are a multitude of other bakeries who would have likely supplied the requested confection.

This isn’t the first time a Colorado bakery has come under fire for its decisions regarding the LGBT community. In fact, a judge recently ruled that Colorado’s Masterpiece Cakeshop had unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple for refusing to sell them a wedding cake.

In this case, however, the sympathies went to the customers, and not the store’s owner.

This is puzzling. In both cases you have a store owner refusing to serve a particular client because their personal beliefs conflict with those of their customer. However, the reactions have been very different. In both of these cases, however, the parties have called upon the government’s anti-discrimination laws to compel the other party to compensate them.

Why is it that we should be discussing whether or not we should force bakers to make gay wedding cakes, straight wedding cakes, anti-gay cakes, etc.? Allow me to argue that there is another way to deal with this issue—let the market sort this one out.

Above is a quick Google search of the bakeries in Denver. Every one of the red dots represents a bakery. As you can see, that’s a lot of pastries. Now, let’s suppose that some of these bakeries, say 25%, have a problem making wedding cakes for same-sex weddings. This means there are 75% of bakeries that would make the cake. Perhaps a subset of these bakeries specialize in same-sex wedding cakes (to answer your question, no, I don’t know what a same-sex wedding cake looks like vs. a traditional one other than maybe the cake topper...work with me).

What would happen in this case? Certain bakeries would get reputations for making particular cakes and serving a certain clientele. After word gets out, those in search of same-sex wedding cakes go to bakeries that will make them and avoid the ones who don’t. Those who are offended by the idea of same-sex marriage don’t have to compromise their convictions–producers or consumers. Same goes for those who are offended by a strictly heterosexual interpretation of marriage.

This idea makes many people uncomfortable. In response to this idea, many people would say that we should just ban this idea all together because “discrimination is wrong.” If we allowed businesses to refuse service to particular groups based on sexual orientation, or race, age, etc., then we’d wind up with a pre-civil rights era world of restaurants, theaters, bakeries, etc. completely excluding particular groups.

Perhaps we should let them. Why? Because they bear the full cost of that choice.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say a restaurant owner is a misogynist. He just can’t stand women. As a result, he makes his eatery a “men only” establishment. What are the consequences of this decision? First, he loses out on the business he might earn from women coming to eat in his restaurant. Since women make up about 50% of the population, he’s eliminating a potentially large source of revenue. In addition to this, he loses out on a variety of male customers who want to bring their wives, girlfriends, etc. Further, many people, including a lot of men, will find the owner’s policy offensive. As a result, they will refuse to eat there. The owner sees his profits fall. Most likely, he will be forced to close his business.

So what can the owner do? He can continue to indulge his preferences of discriminating against women and lose a ton of business or he can serve women and potentially increase his revenues.

Put simply, the market tempers his discrimination. The market forces of profit and loss mean that he bears the full cost of his bias against women.

Let’s bring this back to the idea of bakeries and wedding cakes for same-sex marriages. If a bakery refuses to make a cake for a gay wedding, or refuses to put an anti-gay message on a cake, they bear the cost of those preferences. As a result, they will lose the business of a particular group of people. In addition, just as in the example above, they will likely lose additional customers who identify with the group or find the bakery’s policy offensive. It will negatively impact the bakeries. They will either a. continue to refuse service to the particular group and lose business or b. relax their restrictions.

The current policies of anti-discrimination doesn’t eliminate bigotry. As I’ve discussed elsewhere, anytime you prohibit something you merely succeed at pushing it under ground. Moreover, current policies require monitoring and enforcement costs. As the example above illustrates, the market acts as its own monitor and enforcer–putting financial and competitive pressures on those with extreme (and unpopular) preferences.

Put simply, allowing people to indulge their preferences, or discriminate, have significant consequences in the marketplace. In this case, allowing the market to handle the situation means that everyone gets to have their cake and eat it too


Republicans in Congress Demand Answers About Military Chaplain Disciplined for Referencing the Bible

A group of 24 Republican lawmakers are demanding an explanation about why the Army disciplined a military chaplain for making references to the Bible during a suicide-prevention seminar.

In a letter addressed to Army Secretary John McHugh, lawmakers wrote:

"We believe this administrative action sets a dangerous precedent for Army suicide prevention initiatives, the role of Army chaplains, and most importantly, the ability for service members to exercise and express religious beliefs, as protected under the First Amendment and reinforced by current law and [Department of Defense] regulations."

In addition to 17 U.S. Representatives, Senators Mike Lee, R-Utah, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, James Inhofe, R-Okla., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and David Vitter, R-La., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and James Lankford, R-Okla. co-signed the letter.

The lawmakers called the disciplinary action “unwarranted,” and said it “sends the wrong message not only to chaplains of all faith traditions throughout the Army, but also to soldiers as well, that spirituality and religion are not welcome in the Army as viable methods for coping with suicidal thoughts or other personal issues more broadly.”

The chaplain, Capt. Joe Lawhorn, was punished last November after conducting a training session on suicide prevention at the University of North Georgia.

During the suicide prevention session, Lawhorn shared his personal struggles with depression while serving as an Army Ranger and explained how he learned to conquer adversity by following the example of Israel’s warrior king, David, one of the great heroes of the Old Testament.

Lawhorn also passed out a handout that drew from the Bible’s Book of Psalms and referenced its central Jewish figure, David, as an example of how to manage thoughts of depression and suicide.

A serviceman alerted an atheist group, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, about the chaplain’s comments.

The atheist group complained about it.  “This chaplain violated the privilege and responsibility he had and he exploited that opportunity to push his personal religious beliefs on the captive audience of military personnel,” Jason Torpy, president of the organization that filed the complaint told The Daily Signal in an earlier interview.

Lawhorn then received a letter of concern from Col. David Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Fort Benning, Ga., faulting him for “using Christian scriptures and solutions.” The disciplinary letter said:

During this training, you advocated, or were perceived to advocate for Christianity and used Christian scripture and solutions. This is in direct contrast with Army Regulation 600-20 and violates the Army’s Equal Opportunity Policy.

It will remain in the chaplain’s file for up to three years.

In their letter to Secretary McHugh, the 24 lawmakers requested that the Army review the incident as it relates to federal law—in specific the First Amendment right to free speech—and demanded an explanation of a chaplain’s role in conducting Army training.

“We fully expect Army to take the steps necessary in protecting the religious freedom of all soldiers while affirming the vital role of chaplains in ensuring the well-being of our soldiers,” they wrote.



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, 2015

Where is the Je Suis Chelsea march?

The Chelsea fans on the Paris Metro have spurred on football’s censors

Last week’s Copenhagen shootings have provoked another bout of phoney libertarian posturing. We saw the same gushing lip service paid to the principle of free speech after the Charlie Hebdo massacre last month. Everyone wanted a slice of the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ action, including those without a libertarian bone in their bodies. Every right-thinking person, it seemed, fully supported the right to offend, insult, ridicule and blaspheme. Naturally, we shouldn’t have believed a word of it. You only have to look at football to see how hollow the commitment to freedom of expression really is.

Exhibit A, m’lud, is the race row which has blown up over the video clip of Chelsea fans behaving oafishly on the Paris Metro. The video shows fans singing ‘We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it’, and pushing away a black passenger trying to board the train. It has provoked widespread condemnation. Chelsea FC issued a statement saying: ‘Such behaviour is abhorrent and has no place in football or society.’ The club is appealing for witnesses and says it will impose banning orders on the fans involved. London’s Metropolitan Police say they will ‘examine the footage with a view to seeing if we can apply for football-banning orders’.

This incident has been gleefully seized on by those who believe that racism in football never really went away. Scratch the surface and you’ll still find ugly bigotry. ‘We know that prejudice is on the increase and that in itself leads to hateful attitudes and this sort of conduct’, said Kick It Out chairman Lord Ouseley. ‘There is a greater shame here because we foolishly, naively, believed the issue of racism among our football supporters was a thing of the past’, laments Neil Ashton in the Daily Mail. The Guardian’s Barney Ronay says the incident is no surprise. ‘[F]or decades this kind of thing has happened, continues to happen, and most troubling, appears to be happening a little more now’, he writes.

I think we need a sense of perspective here. The video appears quite shocking to us precisely because it’s extremely rare to hear overtly racist chants sung by football fans. It’s certainly not something you’re likely to hear at Stamford Bridge. And we also need to bear in mind that this was a handful of fans – a tiny fraction of the 2,000 supporters who travelled to Paris. We’ve come a long way from the bad old days when Chelsea fans booed one of their own players, Paul Canoville, because of the colour of his skin. One isolated, unpleasant incident certainly doesn’t signify a resurgence of racism.

I think we can all agree that the ‘we’re racist’ chant was abhorrent. It is indisputable that the behaviour of those Chelsea fans was puerile, idiotic, rude and boorish. But should it be a crime to sing insulting and bigoted songs in a public place? Not in a free society. Should behaving like a complete uncouth moron on public transport be an arrestable offence? As I said, not in a free society. Freedom of speech: it’s not such a difficult concept to grasp, is it? In a free society, we don’t lock people up for expressing opinions which cause offence. We don’t arrest people just because they have insulted us. And we certainly don’t impose criminal sanctions for behaving like dickheads in public. If those supporters had kicked or punched passengers on the train, then they should of course have been charged with assault. But being rude, insulting and odious on public transport should not be a criminal offence.

I’m struck by the deafening silence from the advocates of civil liberties on this question. Where, one wonders, are all the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ types now? David Cameron described the Paris Metro incident as ‘extremely disturbing and very worrying’. Yes, that’s right, the same David Cameron who went on the Charlie Hebdo march last month and who told Channel 4 News that we should be ‘allowed to offend people’. In a similar vein, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg was also grandstanding as a champion of free speech after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. ‘You cannot have freedom unless people are free to offend each other’, he said. ‘We have no right not to be offended.’ Admirable sentiments, but shouldn’t that freedom extend to football fans singing racist songs? Are some forms of offensive speech more worthy of defending than others? Is it okay to lampoon jihadists but completely verboten to chant a stupid racist ditty?

Much as it might stick in the craw, the freedom to offend should apply to bigoted football fans, too. You can’t be selective about which forms of expression should be permitted. You can’t be ‘Je Suis Charlie, but…’. We can’t make exceptions or impose conditions. Freedom of speech should have no ‘get out’ clauses. Does that mean we turn the other cheek to racist chanting involving football fans? Certainly not. We should argue with, rebuke and confront the idiots. But arresting people for singing songs that we find distasteful has no place in a free and democratic society.


The real dodgers are those obsessed with tax avoiders

I’ve not broken the law. I’ve not done anything illegal. But morally, morally…’ Comedian Jimmy Carr’s deadpanned quip during a gig in 2012, when his involvement in a tax-avoidance scheme was generating a lot of political heat, captures what appears to be the connundrum at the heart of the ongoing arguments over tax avoidance. That is, tax avoidance is legal, as anyone fingered for it is quick to point out -  it simply means paying as little as the law requires. But that doesn’t make it right, as anyone crusading against it is equally quick to point out. Because morally, morally…

Those claiming that they’ve done nothing wrong, as the Tory donor Lord Fink did last week, following Labour leader Ed Miliband’s suggestion that Fink’s tax affairs were ‘dodgy’, are seemingly up against the political class as a whole. Over the past six-or-so years, politicians from across the political spectrum have all been singing from the same hymn sheet: tax avoidance is a moral issue. Its perpetrators may be adhering to the letter of the law, but they’re violating its spirit.

As early as 2010, the Lib-Con coalition was already busy framing tax avoidance as a moral issue, announcing several legislative changes designed to tackle the issue, including the introduction of a General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR). The GAAR, which was passed into law in 2013, overturned the precedent set by the 1936 Duke of Westminster case that asserted no one could be compelled to pay more tax than is required by statute. This meant that paying as little tax as required, while not illegal, was no longer acceptable. The terrain for moral intervention was opened up. Politicians were quick to take advantage, be it prime minister David Cameron taking time out of a diplomatic visit to Mexico in 2012 to denounce Carr’s tax affairs as ‘morally wrong’, Chancellor George Osborne using his 2012 Budget announcement to condemn tax avoidance as ‘morally repugnant’, or Miliband declaiming a year later that ‘[tax avoidance] is scandalous, it’s got to change. The next Labour government will change it.’

Such has been the moralising mood music around the tax affairs of wealthy individuals and large, largely unpopular corporations, such as Starbucks and Google, that it is now almost taken as a given that how much tax one pays is a moral issue. It’s about paying your fair share. It’s about honouring the social contract. It’s about putting in what you’re getting out. And those who are not playing fair, those who are exploiting tax laws to reduce their liabilities, those who are ‘aggressively’ paying as little as legally possible, are now ripe for vilification.

But are things really as clear cut as the tax moralisers make out? In one sense, tax avoidance is unavoidably a moral issue. That’s because the Byzantine intricacies of the tax code (1,200 pages and counting), replete in loophole-creating exemptions, allowances and incentives, have transformed the straightforward legal requirement to pay tax into a choice as to how much tax to pay. It is then up to individuals and companies (time and money for accountants permitting) to decide what to pay. But even then, there is nothing inherently virtuous about paying more tax than the state legally requires. And there is nothing morally worthy about lining the state’s coffers. After all, while the state uses tax revenue to provide many vital public services, it also spends billions on the latest weapons of mass destruction and, yes, bank bailouts. Perhaps, just perhaps, those avoiding paying more tax than legally required are spending their saved cash on something more worthwhile than an Apache helicopter.

So while it’s not clear that how much tax one pays is the index of moral worth that campaigners and politicians have been cracking it up to be, there’s no doubt that it has been constructed as a moral issue. It may not be a moral issue, like murder or lying, but it is represented as one. Why has this happened? Why has an issue that, 10 years ago, was a wonkish concern for political pedants, a nostrum beloved of the socially inadequate and Lib Dems, been transformed into one of the dominant themes in the run-up to this May’s General Election?

The answer lies in the way Britain’s political elite, and its media cheerleaders, responded to the economic crisis. That is, since the sub-prime mortgage crash in 2007 began popping credit bubbles throughout Western economies, the prevalent narrative that emerged has involved greedy bankers and gullible, stuff-wanting citizens. This made sense for a clueless elite. Faced by deep-seated structural problems in the economy, structural problems for which they and their predecessors were culpable, they were only too happy to avert their eyes.

But their gaze also needed another object on which to focus blame. So what brought the economy to its current interminably stagnant impasse, according to this story, was the bad behaviour and selfish decision-making of individuals: bankers lied and cheated; the authorities were too weak to resist; and the gullible, Visa-wielding masses were all too happy to go along with it all. And this story has largely prevailed. The economic crisis has effectively been painted as a crisis of morals, a product of the immoral behaviour, principally, of those in the financial sector.

Given the strength of this narrative among politicians and pundits alike, it is no surprise that the political answers to these economically straitened times are framed in equally moralising terms. Impersonal economic forces are not the problem here; it’s wealthy personages wot dunnit. And this is where tax avoidance comes in. So moralised has the economic crisis become, that politicians can only envisage solutions in moral terms - that is, in terms of individuals ‘doing the right thing’, cutting back, paying their fair share, indeed paying as much tax as is legally possible. Tax avoidance has become the big issue not simply because of the economic crisis, but because the response to the economic crisis has been so myopically moralistic.

The problem is that this massive displacement activity, this eagerness to recast economic problems, from a failure to cut the deficit to the continued inability to restore conditions of growth, as a moral issue, an erring on the part of selfish individuals who just aren’t giving enough back, leaves the real problems untouched. If those currently banging on about the tax affairs of the rich really did care about raising tax revenues, they would concentrate on raising the volume of wealth that can be taxed. But that would require a tough look at the economy, at the dearth of productivity, and at how it might be possible to restore conditions of growth. It would require serious investment, risk-taking, and nerve. These are not qualities today’s political class have in abundance. So, instead, they continue to project blame, singling out individuals for moral censure in the hope they’ll increase their payments to the state.

This obsession with tax avoidance is not the mark of a morally enlightened society. It is the mark of a society that is refusing to face up to the real problems in its midst. There is no moral clarity to be gained from gawping at individuals’ tax returns, only moral scapegoating.


US satirists have been ‘de-fanged’

There cannot be an iron-clad rule that you cannot go “there”’, said Pulitzer Prize-winning artist and illustrator Art Spiegelman yesterday evening at the French Institute Alliance Francaise in New York City. He was speaking at After Charlie: What’s Next for Art, Satire and Censorship?, co-hosted by the PEN American Center and theNational Coalition Against Censorship.

After navigating through the airport-style security to get into the event (such is the state of fear now associated with anything Charlie Hebdo), the audience was greeted to a striking backdrop to the stage, featuring a rolling montage of classic and contemporary satirical cartoons from old Mad front pages to the now infamous Charlie Hebdo covers.

Spiegelman, best known for Maus and In The Shadow of No Towers, subversively vaped throughout the evening. He was joined on the panel by Molly Crabapple of VICE, Francoise Mouly, art director of the New Yorker, and French cartoonist Emmanuel ‘Manu’ Letouzé. Having a panel of French and American speakers provided some initial discussion on the relative differences in the history and state of satire, particularly in the form of cartoons, between the US and Europe. It was somewhat depressing to hear Spiegelman describe the current situation of satire in the US as one in which cartoonists now largely self-censor. He said cartoonists had been ‘de-fanged’.

But one wonders if that is not the direction that Europe is going in now, too? Even after giving a solid defence of the need to understand cartoons and satire in the political and historical context in which they are drawn and presented, Manu almost seemed to be suggesting that censorship of artistic expression when outside of a valid context is okay.

That, unfortunately, became a theme of the evening. At every opportunity for the panel to really stick the knife into those seeking to censor, they stepped back. It is somewhat troubling when, even on a panel of ‘liberal’ satirists, no coherent argument is ventured for the need to support the right to be offensive or to push back against censorship. But then again, this is no longer a surprise.

As Mouly herself pointed out, it was the liberal-leaning papers in the US that most shied away from republishing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons for fear of causing offence. At a time when a relatively mainstream magazine like the New Yorker can become the focal point for satirical and rebellious artistic expression in the US,  then it’s clear that the de-fanging described by Spiegelman is a reality.

Spiegelman seemed most animated and most inspiring when describing the times in his career which have made him most want to push back against any restriction on his artistic expression. He stressed the importance of the medium of art and the cartoon in satire and how it was often born either from youthful rebelliousness or a street graffiti culture in which people were pushing against the status quo. But today, we are more likely to hear about an illiberal right-on mob demanding that a piece of art be banned because it is deemed offensive (such as the protests around The Death of Klinghoffer at the New York Met last year) or about a campus removing a statue to protect the emotional safety of its students.

Spiegelman’s career has undoubtedly run the gamut of provocative subjects. From his 1993 New Yorker cover in response to the NYC Crown Heights riots, to the 2006 cover of Harper’s Magazine in response to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammed cartoons (a cover which meant Spiegelman joined Hitler on the list of authors banned by Canadian bookstore-chain Chapters Indigo), he has a long history of pushing back against the offence-seekers. But for today’s young artists and aspiring satirists, the confidence to draw and comment on the politics and events of the day, no matter how juvenile, puerile or just downright offensive, needs to be reasserted.

When I arrived at this event and saw the backdrop of provocative cartoons and the resumés of the panel, I was excited. It seemed that the stage was set for an impassioned defence of the right to be offensive. Unfortunately, I left feeling cheated. If we are going to stand up for true free speech and complete freedom of expression, now is not the time to mince our words. As we have argued on spiked repeatedly, free speech and the freedom to draw satirical cartoons should come with no ifs or buts. That is the only way to secure a healthy future for art and satire.


Former Fire Chief Sues Atlanta, Mayor for Firing Him ‘Solely’ Because of His Beliefs About Marriage

Former Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran filed today a federal lawsuit against the city of Atlanta and its Mayor Kasim Reed alleging they terminated his employment because of his belief in traditional marriage.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, states Cochran’s was fired “solely” because:

    …[Cochran] holds religious beliefs concerning same-sex marriage and homosexual conduct that are contrary to the mayor’s and the city’s views on these subjects, and because he expressed those beliefs in the non-work-related, religious book he self-published.

Cochran had been a firefighter since 1981 and was appointed Atlanta’s fire chief in 2008. In 2009, President Obama appointed him as U.S. Fire Administrator for the United States Fire Administration in Washington, D.C. In 2010, he returned to serve as Atlanta’s fire chief.

Cochran is a devout Christian and active in his community as a member of Elizabeth Baptist Church, where he serves as a deacon and teacher.

On Jan. 6, 2015, after writing and self-publishing a book which briefly mentions homosexuality as one among many sexual sins from a Christian perspective, the city of Atlanta and Mayor Reed suspended Cochran without pay, subjected him to “sensitivity training” and ultimately fired him.

Although a city investigation found that Cochran has not discriminated against anyone throughout his career as fire chief of Atlanta, the city still fired him, citing the need for tolerance of diverse views.

“I respect each individual’s right to have their own thoughts, beliefs and opinions, but when you’re a city employee and those thoughts, beliefs and opinions are different from the city’s, you have to check them at the door,” said City Councilman Alex Wan, a leader in the campaign to oust Cochran, to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in November.

Alliance Defending Freedom, a non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith, is defending Cochran in his lawsuit against the city and mayor of Atlanta.

Kevin Theriot, a senior counsel for the organization, said today in a press release:

    "Every American should be concerned about a government that thinks it can fire you because of what you believe. If it can happen to Chief Cochran, a distinguished firefighter who attained the highest fire service position in the United States, it can happen to anybody".



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, 2015

Minneapolis cop shooter

Another whitewash below.  Not mentioned is that the alleged shooter is a member of a black Muslim gang.  Being both black and Muslim means that his identity must be doubly protected, of course

Authorities announced Saturday afternoon that a man had been arrested in connection with the shooting of a police officer earlier that morning.

Andrew Neal, 43, was arrested for suspected burglary and domestic assault, at about 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Minneapolis Assistant Police Chief Matt Clark said the department’s SWAT unit, along with other officers, surrounded and entered an apartment building at 1119 Logan Ave. N. to apprehend Neal.

Clark was not able to confirm Neal is the one who shot a Minneapolis police officer who responded to a burglary call in north Minneapolis around 5 a.m., and said police are still investigating the burglary and subsequent shooting.

He also reiterated an earlier statement by Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau that authorities believe the officer was the shooter’s intended target.

“It is clear to us that the officer was shot in connection to his response to the burglary,” Clark said. “It does not seem like there would have been any reason to shoot this officer other than him being targeted for doing his job.”

According to John Elder, public information officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, two Minneapolis Police Department officers responded to a burglary call on the 1100 block of 24th Avenue North in Minneapolis, and one of them was shot near his squad car.

The officer’s partner drove the wounded officer to a nearby hospital. Clark said the wounded officer – whose name has not yet been released – was recovering well and in fair condition Saturday afternoon.


Pat Robertson warns of bestiality wedding cakes: ‘What if somebody wanted to marry his dog?’

TV pastor Pat Robertson warned on Thursday that the government could force Christian florists and bakers out of business if they did not cater to weddings where men marry dogs.

After a Washington state judge found on Wednesday that a Christian florist had violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by refusing to sell flower arrangements for a same-sex couple’s wedding, Robertson asserted that an “intelligent judge” would have ruled against the gay men.

“To say that some procedural anomaly in the statute overrides the fundamental religious freedoms of the people, it’s just crazy,” he insisted. “And I hope that the lawyers for this florist will appeal this thing to get into the federal courts.”

“But this is outrageous!” the conservative preacher continued. “To tell a florist that she’s got to provide flowers for a particular kind of wedding. What if somebody wanted to marry his dog? She’s got to have flowers for that? What if there’s a polygamous situation where a guy has five wives and he wants to have five ceremonies, and she’s going to be forced by the law to provide them flowers. I mean, this is crazy.”

Robertson recalled that a court had also ruled that George Washington University had to provide accommodations for a “campus gay group.”

“I asked [Cardinal John O'Connor], ‘What would you do if you were in charge of it?’ He said, ‘I’d close the school down. Just like that, I’d close it down.’”

“Well, some of these bakers and florists may be forced out of business if the courts make them do things contrary to their beliefs,” the televangelist concluded.


Small breakthrough for homosexual couple in Texas

Early this morning, history was made as the first gay couple in Texas received a marriage license in Travis County.

Austin residents, Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, secured a temporary restraining order from Travis County District Judge David Wahlberg allowing Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir to grant them a lawful marriage.

In a statement, the County notes the situation applies to a medically fragile couple – Goodfriend suffers from ovarian cancer and her “future remains uncertain,” according to court documents – and any additional licenses must also be court ordered. It was "crucial" that the 9am marriage be validated before any opposition could be tipped off to the plan, reports Burnt Orange Report.

“Plaintiffs have no adequate remedy at law for the damage and the continuing harm that this course of action is causing them and will continue to cause them, and thus the only remedy available to Plaintiffs is the issuance of a temporary restraining order to prevent that ongoing unconstitutional denial of Plaintiffs' constitutional rights,” wrote Wahlberg.

Judge Guy Herman ruled the Texas ban on marriage equality unconstitutional earlier this week at the conclusion of an estate lawsuit; DeBeauvoir and county officials, weighing their options and getting pushback from Attorney General Ken Paxton, did not immediately issue licenses at the time. Meanwhile, Texans await a decision from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, who still have yet to rule on the Texas ban after hearing oral arguments in early January.


Who can’t say they’re superior to Islamic State?

MARTIN Amis, who loves nothing better than riling respectable society, once asked an audience of arty types at the Institute of ­Contemporary Arts in London to put their hands up if they thought they were morally superior to the Taliban.

Less than half the audience did. The rest shuffled uncomfortably in their seats or gawped awkwardly out the window.

“About 30 per cent,” Amis said in his trademark laconic, scathing drone, in the process passing judgment not only on those gathered to hear him speak but on the ­relativistic, self-loathing liberal elite more broadly.

That was 2007. Fast forward eight years and now there’s a group that makes the Taliban look like the Girl Guides in comparison: Islamic State, crucifer of apostates, executor of queers, immolator of prisoners, and all-round medieval nutjobs who look and sound like they wandered out of the swirling recesses of Dante’s brain.

Yet if Amis repeated his experiment with reference to this mob, asking the latte-sippers if they considered themselves morally superior to its cowboy caliphate, I reckon the result would be same. “About 30 per cent” would say yes. The rest? Shuffle, dodge the question, move on.

For amazingly, as the actions of Islamic State have become crazier, so the willingness of Westerners to pass clear judgment against this murderous statelet has waned.

The cult of relativism, the nonsense notion that all cultures are equally valid, now has the West in such a vice-like grip that it seems some of us can’t even bring ourselves to say: “Yes, those people who throw gays off buildings and who whip women who don’t wear black sackcloths are uncompli­catedly bad.”

Today, you don’t have to go to a place like the Institute of ­Contemporary Arts, long home to the morality-eschewing chattering classes, to witness the West’s niggling discomfort with morally condemning Islamic State.

President Barack Obama himself annoyed Christians but delighted the mob of moral relativists when he said at a ­National Prayer Breakfast that we Westerners should think twice ­before treating Islamist acts of ­violence as especially nutty.

“Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” he said.

“Slavery and Jim Crow (were) all to often justified in the name of Christ.”

Isn’t it part of the job description of being self-styled top dog of the free world that you occasionally get on your high horse, whether it’s to slam the evil empire (as Ronald Reagan did) or worry about an axis of evil (as George W. Bush did)?

That Obama can say openly we shouldn’t high-horse Islamist terrorists confirms that the kind of self-loathing that was once the preserve of post-colonialism studies and other university departments in which Enlightenment was a dirty word has now seeped into the White House itself.

Many are behaving like cut-price Joseph Conrads in relation to Islamic State, glimpsing in its heart of darkness our own ­capacity to be dark and heartless.

No less a figure than Bill Moyers, White House press secretary under Lyndon B. Johnson and now a leading commentator, said the first thing he thought of when he saw the Jordanian pilot being burned alive by Islamic State was “our own barbarians”: the white Christians in America’s south who a few decades ago burned black people. “Homegrown. Godly. Our neighbours, friends and kin.”

It takes a special, well-honed form of self-loathing to watch a modern-day Islamo snuff movie and immediately think of your “neighbours, friends and kin”, who apparently were once just as bad, and thus have the potential to be just as bad again.

Across the press, the judgment dodgers have implored us not to get all morally uppity about Islamic State. The Atlantic, conscience of liberal America, cut to the heart of the caginess about slamming Islamic State when it praised Obama putting the high horse out to pasture and said that “a certainty about which ‘side’ is always good and which ‘side’ is forever evil doesn’t really exist”.

The Economist said, of course, we shouldn’t be too judgmental of Them because “If you think your side is too virtuous to sin, it ­probably will sin”.

Meanwhile, New Matilda, key portal of Aussie miserabilism, ­bellowed: “Yes, ISIS Burned A Man Alive; White Americans Did The Same Thing To Black People By The Thousands”.

This “remember the lynchings” rallying cry has been made by everyone who thinks we should park our moral judgments and accept that Islamic State is only a 21st-century version of the scumbags we used to be.

Salman Rushdie calls these people the “But Brigade”. They ­interrupt every act of moral judgment by yelling “but!”. “Yes, Islamic State aren’t very nice, but we burned people too.” “Yes, it’s bad to shoot cartoonists, but they shouldn’t have been so offensive.” “Yes, Bashar al-Assad is a warmonger, but think about what your own great-grandad did in the Somme, the murdering ­bastard.”

The role of all these big, stinking buts is to prevent the making of any clear moral judgment, or even just moral distinctions between different ways of life. This is what fundamentally lies behind the weird reluctance of Obama and others to get on their high horses: a severe allergy to expressing moral superiority.

Across the West, for decades now, sniffiness about the Enlightenment has been the in thing, discomfort with the idea that our democratic traditions are superior to anyone else’s traditions has been widespread, and having a pop at dead white European males — the architects and narrators of modernity — is every student’s favourite pastime. The end result is that we’ve paralysed our moral muscles, virtually criminalised moral judgment, making it hard even to say: “Yep, we’re ­better than a group that burns people alive on TV.”

Of course, it’s true our history is peppered with awful events. And these should be studied. But to the new breed of Enlightenment-eschew­ing observers, history is not simply something to be analysed — rather, it has become a rich resource of ugly episodes that the self-loathers can dig into whenever they want to hate themselves a bit more and do what that Amis audience did: avoid like the plague making moral judgments against any group or idea.

This incapacity to judge is a ser­ious problem. Thousands of young people in the West are upping sticks to join Islamic State. And one reason they’re doing this is that they feel so little attachment to their own societies, and in fact view these societies as rotten, ugly, hypocritical.

Where could they have got this idea? Perhaps from watching ­Islamic State videos, yes. Or perhaps from listening to leading thinkers in their home ­societies who now constantly send the message that the West is historically compromised, violent, repulsive. So why not join Islamic State? They must be better than us, right?



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

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

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


22 February, 2015

Patients outraged after 'excellent' GP, 60, suspended because he couldn't touch type and struggled with 'endless admin'

Bookwork is sacred.  Far more important than patients

A patient group has defended its 'excellent' GP after he was suspended from practice because he failed to manage 'endless' reams of paperwork.

Dr Nihal Elapatha had his contract at his GP surgery terminated after a hearing found his performance was 'unacceptable'.

The 65-year-old had worked at the Rochester Healthy Living Centre for 13 years before he was suspended last March.

But a tribunal found his record keeping was 'inadequate' and that he did not arrange the appropriate treatment or tests for patients.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service also heard that Dr Elapatha was unable to touch-type and was not able to record everything that happened during an appointment.

The fitness to practise panel noted: 'He could not type onto the medical record everything that took place during a single 10-minute consultation.'

It adds: 'He had no touch typing ability and used his index fingers of both hands and one thumb on the space bar to make medical notes.'

Dr Elapatha's practice was described as 'high demand, high volume where one has to work as though on a conveyor belt'.

The panel suspended him for a year despite hearing that none of his patients were harmed in any way due to medical negligence or malpractice.

However the hearing was also told all Dr Elapatha's patient satisfaction surveys were above the Medway and national average.

Since the hearing, more than 650 people have signed a petition supporting Dr Elapatha.

Patient Mandy Richardson-Mills, 42, said Dr Elapatha 'saved her life' and that he should not have been suspended because of 'endless admin'.

She said: 'The whole situation is just disgusting and they were just trying to find a way to get rid of him.

'He literally saved my life and saved my ex-partner's life too. He was always there to support me and still is.

'He has got a whole lot of support. He is a good doctor and that should be the priority over endless admin.

'He was always there to treat his patients and he did a wonderful job. I can't praise him highly enough.

'There is a ridiculous amount of pressure on GPs. He is in his 60s and can't type, bless him. That doesn't make him a bad doctor.'

Since Dr Elapatha left the surgery last March, services for around 2,000 patients at the surgery in Rochester, Kent, have been covered by locums.

He has since taken remedial action by investing in new software, technical training and learning how to touch type.

The panel, which concluded on January 30, found that a permanent ban would not be appropriate.  Chairman Linda Buchanan said: 'The panel found that Dr Elapatha had limited insight into his failings.  'It notes that initially, Dr Elapatha did appear to acknowledge that his record-keeping was inadequate and this was noted in the panel's determination on impairment.

'However, he appears to minimise his failings and therefore there is little reassurance that he will not act similarly in the future.

'The panel has determined that, given the serious nature of the findings and potential risk to patient safety, it is necessary for the protection of members of the public for Dr Elapatha's registration to be suspended immediately.'


Villagers ordered to stop using their local phone box as a book exchange because someone could get hurt

BT has ordered villagers to remove books from a phone box which was turned into popular mini library in case someone gets hurt.

The traditional red kiosk in South Bar, near Banbury, Oxfordshire, was converted into the informal book exchange last summer after locals put up a set of shelves for around 40 tomes.

But now a notice has gone up from the telecoms giant warning that the library must be removed as it was worried it could injure someone.

Attached to the front of the phone box, the note stated that BT was 'concerned the books and shelving could cause injury if they were to fall.'

The company warned villagers they had until March 3rd to take down the tiny library, or 'we'll be obliged to remove them.'

North Oxfordshire MP Sir Tony Baldry added that he was 'at a loss' to understand the move.  'I don't actually think people are queuing up there to make telephone calls and I would be amazed if any telephone user had felt threatened by a few books,' he said.

One resident, Tom Christy, said: 'It would be horrible if all that goodwill in the community had to stop. It would be really sad. The shelf looks fairly sturdy to me. I'd have it in my house.

'My message to BT would be 'Have a little heart, think it through. Surely there is some way that they can sort it out to everyone's benefit.'

The notice goes onto say BT 'understands the good intentions' behind the project, but asks that the books, shelving and signs advertising it 'be removed as soon as possible'.

Libraries have opened in phone boxes across the country with the cooperation of parish councils, local authorities and charities. In all, 2,400 boxes have been adopted for £1 for all sorts of uses – book exchanges, heart defibrillators, libraries, coffee bars, and a pub.

But BT said no-one in South Bar had sought their permission before the kiosk was turned into a book exchange.  A spokesman said: 'The flimsy, Heath Robinson shelf was put into a phone box that is very well used.  'Unfortunately no one asked to use it for books. There were 1,093 calls made from this box in the past year.

'We then had a complaint about the wobbly shelving from a Banbury resident and we can't just ignore it. Imagine If we had ignored it and little Janet or John had been injured by a collapsing shelf and books.

'If people want to adopt a phone box in Banbury please contact us at: payphones.crs@bt.com and we will see if we can open a new chapter in this running saga, and book worms in Banbury can review the situation and plot a new course for a library.'


In Defence of the British Empire

On Thursday the 19th February 2015, Sean Gabb and Keir Martland, both members of the Libertarian Alliance Executive Committee, spoke at a debate organised by the Manchester University Student Union on whether the legacy of the British Empire should be regretted. Both spoke against the motion.

Sean Gabb said that empires are a regrettable fact of history. The British Empire was not the first or last, and not at all the worst. Rather than condemned for its faults, which were common to all empires, it should be praised for its virtues, which were unique to our own country.

Keir Martland elaborated on the virtues of the British Empire – the suppression of the slave trade and slavery, the suppression of banditry and piracy, the spread of English law and science and the English language to formerly benighted regions of the world.

Their speeches were not always well-received by the audience, but were not greatly disrupted. Sean did his usual impersonation of a Soviet tank, not stopping even when someone began to shout obscenities. Top marks to Keir, who was brought in at the last moment for his first public debate, and who was steady under enemy fire. A fine debut.

SOURCE. Audio file at link

Three Myths of Rape That Need Sunlight

By Wendy McElroy

A pivot point occurred within feminism on the issue of rape in 1975 when the book Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape by Susan Brownmiller appeared. In its pages, Brownmiller attempted to chart the history of rape from the Neanderthal through to modern man, placing great emphasis on periods of war and crisis. Against Our Will reportedly gave rape its history. It became a founding document of the "rape culture," which further propelled the feminist movement from liberalism to political correctness, which has also been called gender or radical feminism.

In her book, Brownmiller maintained that rape is the primary mechanism through which men subjugate women. "Man's discovery that his genitalia could serve as a weapon to generate fear must rank as one of the most important discoveries of prehistoric times, along with the use of fire, and the first crude stone ax. From prehistoric times to the present, I believe, rape has played a critical function. It is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear." [Emphasis in the original.]

Some of today's most prevalent myths about rape were cemented into the culture by Brownmiller. In particular, Brownmiller presented three interrelated myths:

1. rape is a part of patriarchy;

2. men have created a 'mass psychology' of rape; and,

3. rape is a part of 'normal' life.

I dispute each one of them.

[Note: This article addresses the origin of myths and terms that still wield great influence within feminism, academia, politics and our culture. Some concepts have evolved or expanded in meaning. "Patriarchy" is an example; there is currently a debate on whether all men benefit from "white male culture" or whether the "patriarchy" refers to internal social structures that can oppress people regardless of their gender. Other concepts have not drifted far from their origin. In both cases, it is not possible to understand the current expression of ideas without some understanding of their roots.]

Rape is a part of patriarchy.

The word "patriarchy" is Greek and means "rule of the father." Adrienne Rich – a key philosopher of PC feminism – offered what has become a fairly standard definition of "patriarchy" in her book Of Woman Born (1977): "Patriarchy is the power of the fathers: a familial – social, ideological, political system in which men – by force, direct pressure or through ritual, tradition, law, and language, customs, etiquette, education, and the division of labor, determine what part women should or shall not play, and in which the female is everywhere subsumed under the male."

The definition is often expanded to include capitalism as an aspect of patriarchy. This reflects the input of highly influential theorists like Catherine MacKinnon who referred to PC feminism as "post-Marxist." She meant that PC feminism largely accepted the Marxism context but not its claim that economic status determined class affiliation. Gender was the salient factor. Men, as a class, had constructed institutions, such as the free market and the traditional family, which needed to be deconstructed.

Refuting the concept of a North American patriarchy needs its own book; this column deals with patriarchy in passing and points to more plausible causes of rape. Regarding patriarchy, suffice it to say, those who promote the concept need to ignore many facts. For example, men and women are victims of domestic violence at virtually the same rate; men constitute the vast majority of prisoners; if prison populations are included, men and women are probably raped at virtually the same rate; they are far more likely to be murdered or die in war; anti-male violence by women is accepted in the popular culture and often causes laughter.

If not patriarchy, what does explain rape? A casualty of this myth has been research. Studies on the causes (plural) of rape have almost dried up because – as any right thinking person knows – there is only one cause: patriarchy. During the heyday of liberal feminism and sexual curiosity, Research was more sophisticated. In their book, The Crime and Consequences of Rape (1982), Charles W. Dean, Mary de Bruyn-Kops, Charles C. Thomas, reported, "The Kinsey study, begun in the 1950s and completed after Kinsey's death by Gebhard and associates, classified seven types of rapists: assaultive, amoral, drunken, explosive, double-standard, mental defective and psychotic ..."

People murder for money, for love, out of jealousy or patriotism – the rationalizations go on and on. Rape is every bit as complex. Men and women rape because of sexual hunger, a need to prove themselves, hatred of women or a desire for revenge, as a political statement or from peer pressure (as in gang rapes). Men and women rape from a constellation of complicated motives, which become further blurred when there is alcohol or drug use.

But it is no longer proper to suggest that there could be as many motives for rape as there are for other violent crimes. Other explanations for rape are defined out of possibility.

Men have created a 'mass psychology' of rape.

Brownmiller's second myth is that men have created a mass psychology of rape. Throughout the book, Brownmiller dips in and out of history, selecting whatever supports her statement. Some references have little to no connection with reality. For example, she quotes from fiction works. She also points to historical evidence that is difficult to credit. When Brownmiller speaks of prehistoric man as the beginning of man's use of "his genitalia ... as a weapon," for example, the reader is left to wonder where she acquired her amazing knowledge of Neanderthals and their sexual attitudes.

Contradicting references are dismissed in passing, if mentioned at all. At one point, Brownmiller notes, "People often ask what the classic Greek myths reveal about rape. Actually, they reveal very little ..." Yet these myths are widely held to be archetypes of human psychology. If Brownmiller wishes to argue for a continuum of male oppression, she cannot chose only the fiction, historical tidbits and anecdotes that favor her.

Yet, even with a careful sifting of history and fiction, Brownmiller's evidence does not support her conclusion: namely, that rape "is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear." To punch up the argument, she introduces statistics that allegedly 'prove' the mass psychology of rape. (For a refutation of high statistics, especially the "1 in 4 or 1 in 5 women will be raped" figure, please see my earlier Daily Bell column "The Proofiness of the Politically Correct Rape." Many sources on the flawed data used by PC feminists are in the commentary thread.)

But let me take the inflated statistics at face value. A rape rate of 25% means that 75% of women will not be raped. Even assuming a one-to-one correlation between victims and rapists – that is, assuming no serial rapists – this means 75% of men will never rape. Indeed, many men would come to the defense of an attacked woman.

The foregoing math may seem obvious. But the claim of a "mass psychology of rape" or a "rape culture" makes it necessary to state the obvious. And it raises a question. What other group in our culture could be castigated in this manner without a backlash? If all blacks or bisexuals were accused of being sadists or benefiting from sadism, people would howl in protest.

And lest a single man escape rape accusations by pleading that he had never contemplated committing the act, Brownmiller explains how good intentions and good behavior do not exonerate him. "Once we accept as basic truth that rape is not a crime of irrational, impulsive, uncontrollable lust, but is a deliberate, hostile, violent act of degradation and possession on the part of a would-be conqueror, designed to intimidate and inspire fear, we must look toward those elements in our culture that promote and propagandize these attitudes, which offer men ... the ideology and psychological encouragement to commit their acts of aggression without awareness, for the most part, that they have committed a punishable crime, let alone a moral wrong." [Italics in original]

Brownmiller is correct. If we accept her position "as basic truth," then her conclusions follow. But such a theory allows for no contradictory evidence. There is no possibility – through action, thought or word – for a man to escape the charge of rape. It becomes axiomatically and ideologically true.

Rape is a part of 'normal' life.

Brownmiller's third myth is that rape is part of normal life. To reach this conclusion, Brownmiller makes great leaps of logic. For example, chapter after chapter of Against Our Will dwells upon rape during times of war and severe societal turmoil. Because men rape in times of war and upheaval, she concludes that rape is part of 'normal' life. But the very circumstances highlighted are not expressions of normal life but evidence of its breakdown. Arguing from the extreme, Brownmiller draws conclusions about the normal. This is a fallacy. It is akin to concluding, "men kill in war; therefore, peacetime murder is the norm."

Against Our Will arrives at the third myth via ideological bias, not empirical research. Although Brownmiller's book is sometimes taken for a chronicle of historical fact, a strong political slant underlies the presentation of those cherry-picked facts. Consider Brownmiller's opinion of private property: "Concepts of hierarchy, slavery and private property flowed from, and could only be predicated upon, the initial subjugation of woman."

In her book Sexual Personae, the self-identified 'dissident' feminist Camille Paglia offered a more plausible relationship between society and rape. Paglia writes, "Generation after generation, men must be educated, refined, and ethically persuaded away from their tendency toward anarchy and brutishness. Society is not the enemy, as feminism ignorantly claims. Society is woman's protection against rape."

I dispute whether men or women have a natural tendency toward Hobbesian brutishness. But I believe normal society protects against violence of all kinds, including rape. For one thing, normal society enforces rules against violence, which often penalize perpetrators through imprisonment, social sanctions, reparations or restitution.


Myths about rape harm men, women and the victims of rape both male and female. Goodwill between the sexes has been replaced with rage or resentment, and for no productive purpose. Rape is not a part of patriarchy; like all crime, it is a lamentable choice that some people make for their individual reasons. Men have not created a 'mass psychology' of rape; PC feminists have created a mass fear about rape. Rape is not a part of 'normal' life; normal life helps to protect men and women against rape.



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, 2015

Judge slams 'social engineering' by council that took baby away from his father over ties to racist EDL and teenage sex caution

Social workers were accused by a senior judge of ‘social engineering’ after trying to take a child for adoption because his father was involved with the English Defence League.

They decided that the far-Right political group was ‘barbaric’ and the 25-year-old man’s views were ‘immoral’.

He should not be allowed to bring up his child because the boy needed ‘an environment that supports difference, equality and independence’, they said.

But Sir James Munby, the country’s most senior family judge, blocked the adoption, ruling that the father’s failure to be a good role model did not justify taking his child away.

The toddler was placed in foster care at birth when Darlington Borough Council raised concerns over his father's ties to the English Defence League and a sex caution he received as a teenager.  Social services staff said they found the man to be 'immoral' and should therefore not be given custody of his child.

But the judge yesterday criticised the council, saying it should not see itself as 'guardians of morality'.

In a written ruling, he stated the father could be 'immature' and 'irresponsible' but said there was a risk of 'social engineering' if the toddler was to be permanently removed from his care.

He said: 'I can accept that the father may not be the best of parents, he may be a less than suitable role model, but that is not enough to justify a care order let alone adoption.

'We must guard against the risk of social engineering, and that, in my judgment is what, in truth, I would be doing if I was to remove [the toddler] permanently from his father's care.'

He ruled the council had failed to show the child, now 13 months old, would be at risk of harm in the care of his father and said he should be returned to his care.

Sir James, president of the Family Division of the High Court, made his complaints after analysing the case at a family court hearing in Middlesbrough.

He said the approach taken by the council had been almost a textbook example of how not to pursue a care case and was 'very critical' of its analysis and conduct of the litigation.

The toddler's father, who has not been named, had wanted to care for him, said Sir James. The toddler's mother had not put herself forward as a carer - and had supported the father's application.

But social services staff said the youngster should be adopted and had raised concerns about his father's morality.

The charges laid by Darlington social workers against the father were that he lied about being present at a railway accident as a child, that when he was 17 he had sex with a 13-year-old and this was immoral, that he drank too much and used cannabis, and that he had briefly been an activist with the EDL.

They said he had ‘numerous’ criminal convictions when, in fact, he had two police cautions.

The child was born in January last year while his mother was in prison and immediately taken into council care.  She accepted she could not bring up her boy.

Social workers produced the string of allegations against the father as they prepared an adoption case.

One social worker recorded: ‘The distorted thinking of those within the EDL is barbaric and their actions inappropriate. Therefore the mentality of those involved has to be brought into question.’

The social worker also pointed out ‘the immoral nature of the values and beliefs’ of EDL members and the violence of their protests.

The father had ‘some involvement’ with the English Defence League during 2013, Sir James’s judgment published yesterday said.

Sir James said the the council had 'conspicuously' failed to show that the toddler would be at risk of harm or neglect in the care of his father.

He said it was ‘extraordinary’ that social workers should describe his politics and a teenage encounter with an under-age girl as immoral. He added that many 17-year-olds have had sex with under-age girls, but that does not mean they should lose their children.

'The city fathers of Darlington and Darlington's director of social services are not guardians of morality,' said Sir James. 'Nor is this court.'

He added: 'The justification for state intervention is harm to children, not parental immorality.'

Sir James, who did not identify the family involved, made a series of criticisms of the council.

'There are lessons here to be learned, not just by this local authority and its staff but also by practitioners more generally.'

Sir James said the allocated social worker had been 'plainly both inexperienced and too inexperienced for a case of this complexity'.

He said her work had been 'seriously flawed'. And he said a second social worker seemed neither to have 'explored nor analysed' in any detail the underlying factual basis of the council's case.

'In a significant number of very material respects the local authority has simply failed to prove the factual underpinning of its case,' said Sir James.

'The local authority was too willing to believe the worst of the father, which led to it being unduly dismissive of what he was saying.'

Sir James said he had 'quite deliberately' not identified either of the two social workers or a team manager. But he said he had deliberately identified Darlington Borough Council.

'It is Darlington Borough Council and its senior management that are to blame, not only social workers and a team manager, ' said Sir James.

'It would be unjust to the social workers and the team manager to name and shame them when others are not similarly exposed.'

Sir James said he had reached conclusions about the toddler's father after going through the council's concerns in detail.

He said: 'The father is immature and can sometimes act irresponsibly. In some instances, though not to the extent alleged by the local authority, the father has minimised or played down matters which were properly of concern to the local authority.

'He has not always been open and honest with professionals.

'To an extent the father is lacking in insight regarding [the toddler's] needs and minimises some aspects of his character and behaviours which may bear adversely on [the toddler].

'On occasions the father drinks to excess. On occasions he has taken cannabis.

'There have been episodes of domestic discord between the father, his mother and his step-father, involving the police and, on occasions, actual violence.'

But the judge said he had found the man to be a 'truthful and, for the most part, reliable'.

He said this did not establish a real possibility that the toddler will suffer significant harm, or that his welfare requires him to be adopted.  

Sir James suggested that similar concerns might be raised about many men.  'It is an undoubted fact of life that many youths and young men have sexual intercourse with under-age girls. But if such behaviour were to be treated without more as grounds for care proceedings years later, the system would be overwhelmed,' said Sir James.

His analysis of the concerns about the man's links with the English Defence League was similar.

'The mere fact, if fact it be, that the father was a member, probably only for a short time, of the English Defence League is neither here nor there, whatever one may think of its beliefs and policies,' said Sir James.

'It is concerning to see the local authority again harping on about the allegedly 'immoral' aspects of the father's behaviour.'

He added: 'I cannot accept that the father presents the kind of risk to [the toddler] which gives rise to a real possibility of [the toddler] suffering significant harm, let alone the degree of risk which would have to be demonstrated to justify a plan for adoption.' 

The case follows an incident in 2012 when three children in Rotherham were taken from foster parents after social workers discovered they were Ukip supporters.

Ada Burns, chief executive of Labour controlled Darlington, said: ‘We have taken the issues raised by Sir James Munby on board.’


Labour 'infantilised' millions of people on benefits by letting them choose a life on the dole, Cameron claims

Labour ‘infantilised’ welfare claimants by letting them choose a life on benefits, David Cameron declared today.

The last government’s handling of the system had divided Britain and created ‘resentment’ among taxpayers, the PM added.

In his first election campaign speech on the benefits system, the PM said it was a ‘national disgrace’ under Labour which had ‘infuriated’ those forced to pay for welfare.

As he appealed to voters for five more years ‘to finish the job’ Mr Cameron outlined his ‘British deal on welfare’ which he said would ‘restore real fairness to our country’.

He confirmed proposals to force jobless youngsters to do community work rather than just going straight on the dole. Instead of signing on, young people will be forced to pick up litter, clean graffiti or work for local charities.

This would give them the ‘order and discipline of turning up for work each day’, he said. There are around 50,000 young people a year who currently go straight on to the dole.

Mr Cameron defended the coalition’s reforms – including the benefits cap, tax cuts for low earners and rises in the minimum wage - and challenged the idea it was ‘compassionate’ to ‘leave people on the dole for years with no incentive to get into work’.

Addressing activists and the media at a school in Hove, East Sussex, he questioned the ‘myth’ that it was ‘kind to sentence people to never going anywhere’ or to let ‘people in their teens and twenties sit at home all day slipping into depression and despair’.

Under Labour welfare became ‘a series of giveaways’. Young people could ‘leave school, sign on, start getting your benefit, start getting housing benefit’ while making only a ‘minimal’ contribution, he said.

He said: ‘No CV? No problem. No real effort put in? No problem.

‘And all this had a corrosive effect. For those paying for welfare – it infuriated them. For those dependent on welfare – it infantilised them.’

‘Because people don’t just live up to expectations – they live down to them too.

‘If you give people nothing to work for, no responsibilities to uphold – they’re going to lose the ability to stretch themselves and find work.

Mr Cameron added: ‘Our welfare system should be something that unites our country in pride – not that divides it in resentment.’

‘But when people worked hard and paid their taxes, knowing that others were choosing to live on welfare.

‘When they saw their money going on social housing they could never afford to live in. ‘Or when hardworking young people were stuck living with their parents into their 30s – while others got a council house straight out of school, that created a sense of deep unfairness.

‘We are putting that right with a clear set of rules that apply to all; a British deal on welfare.’

Mr Cameron promised people in work would be better off, support for those who are ‘genuinely sick or disabled’ and ‘dignity and security in retirement’ for those who worked hard all their life.

But to anyone who refused to work he said: ‘We will not keep supporting you.’

The PM pointed to the rise in employment, and the 700,000 job vacancies for those looking for work. The Government’s economic plan was working and being felt ‘in people’s pockets and homes and hearts and hopes’, he said.


Meddling Bishops' left-wing manifesto

Tory fury as Church of England releases 'shopping list' of policies three months before General Election

David Cameron issued a rebuke to the Church of England yesterday, after its bishops delivered a thinly-veiled attack on the social and economic record of the Coalition.

In an unprecedented intervention into the general election campaign, Church leaders railed against the market economy, consumerism, and the legacy of Margaret Thatcher.

In an open letter they called for a ‘new direction’ in politics to replace a society they said is self-interested, fragmented, and badly led by politicians.

They insist they want to counter the message – promoted by comedian Russell Brand – that taking part in politics is useless.

One leading Tory described the attack as ‘depressing and naive’.

It was also pointed out that the letter makes little mention of issues such as marriage, drug abuse and the availability of pornography.

Former Conservative Party chairman Lord Tebbit last night said the bishops were ‘mostly wrong’.

He added: ‘In my experience, when people are not doing very well in their own job, they become very much better at telling other people how to do theirs. This is a classic case of that.’

The bishops claimed their intention was not to tell people how to vote. But the 52-page ‘letter to the people and parishes of the Church of England’ suggested inequality and social injustice had increased under the Coalition.

They said the burden of austerity has fallen on the poor and that worklessness is ‘corrosive of human dignity and sense of identity’.

Mr Cameron sharply reminded the churchmen that under the Coalition there are 1.75million more people in work, the tax threshold for the low-paid has gone up to £10,000, and ‘we’ve created an economy with genuine growth, real jobs and real security’.

He added: ‘And I would say to the bishops, I hope they would welcome that because it does bring dignity, it does bring self reliance, it does enable people to provide for their families, it creates a stronger society as well as a stronger economy.’

His remarks signalled deep unhappiness in Downing Street over a major departure for the CofE, which has never before tried to swing public opinion in advance of an election, and a radical turn for the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby.

Yesterday’s document, published in the name of the CofE’s 51-member House of Bishops, called for continued membership of the EU, a re-think of the nuclear deterrent, and the end of the first-past-the-post voting system.

The bishops also declared that there has been ‘an ugly undercurrent of racism in every debate about immigration’ and said that to cut the international aid budget would be ‘globally irresponsible’.

One academic said the Church’s policies reflected the Greens, the Scottish Nationalists, and ‘perhaps a bit of Labour’.

Paul Whiteley, Professor of Government at the University of Essex, told the BBC it was ‘a long time since the Church of England aligned with the Conservative Party.’

There were also apparent gaps in the letter – advertised as ‘a call for the new direction that we believe our political life ought to take’.

It suggested families need ‘networks of friendship, neighbourliness and mutual support’ around them, and that this might be provided by ‘intermediate’ organisations such as housing associations, credit unions, or the Church itself.

The letter made no mention at all of marriage.

The letter, entitled Who Is My Neighbour?, called for a new vision in politics to move the country on from the welfare state introduced by Labour after 1945 or Lady Thatcher’s drive to break the grip of the unions after 1979.

It criticised the welfare state because voluntary efforts were ‘marginalised’ and because ‘dependence on state provision can undermine individual initiative and responsibility’.

However, it directed its main fire at the market economy.

‘Thatcher’s market revolution emphasised individualism, consumerism and the importance of the corporate sector to the extent that, far from returning to Victorian notions of social responsibility, the paradigm for all relationships became competitive individualism, consumption and the commercial contract, fragmenting social solidarity at many levels,’ it said.

Mr Cameron said during a visit to Hove: ‘I’m always keen for anyone to intervene in politics. But let’s look at what we’re doing to help people who are in work in our country.

‘We are creating many, many more jobs. 1.75million more people in work. We’re cutting taxes by saying you can earn £10,000 before you start paying any income tax at all and we’ve created an economy with genuine growth, real jobs and real security.’

His backbenchers were much fiercer. Conor Burns, co-chairman of the all-party group on the Holy See, said of the letter: ‘I find its naivety a bit depressing.

'On the nuclear deterrent, look at Iran – a very dangerous, hostile country trying to develop a nuclear weapon – look at what’s going on in Ukraine.

'This idea that we now live in this benign, stable, post-threat age is terribly naive.’

Mr Burns said the Church was ‘factually incorrect’ to say that the rich had not paid the most towards deficit reduction.

And he accused the bishops of wilfully ignoring the Government’s success in job creation.

Former Tory defence minister Sir Gerald Howarth said the bishops’ letter was ‘tantamount to giving people advice on how to vote’.

He added: ‘It seems they have all the answers to the political issues – from a left-of-centre perspective.’

Archbishop Welby has made a number of interventions over the economy in recent months.

Some have provoked comparisons with 1985, when one of Mrs Thatcher’s senior colleagues described the CofE’s Faith in the City report as ‘Marxist’.

The Archbishop’s contribution to a book about the economy last month was resented by many Tories and business people, especially in the North of England.

He said: ‘There are entire towns and regions … that are being left trapped in an apparently inescapable economic downward spiral.’


State Dept. Spokeswoman: 'Christian Militant Group' Among 'Extremist Threats We Face'

People talk a lot about Islamic extremism and ISIS/ISIL (the guys who behead Christians, among others), but what about Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army?

"I don't remember people talking about that as much anymore, but that's a Christian militant group," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday.

She was making the point that terrorism "is not just a threat in one place"  -- and it's not just Islamic:

"If you look at the Lord's Resistance Army and Kony, Joseph Kony -- I don't remember people talking about that as much anymore, but that's a Christian militant group. So there are a lot of different extremists threats we face, and there are different tools we have to go after each one of them."

According to an Associated Press report last November, "Kony's LRA comprises a few hundred fighters who are being hunted down by African Union troops as well as U.S. advisers." Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity in a "reign of terror" that has spanned more than two decades in Central Africa.

In October 2011, President Obama informed Congress that "I have authorized a small number of combat-equipped U.S. forces to deploy to central Africa to provide assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of Joseph Kony from the battlefield."

Obama noted that Kony's LRA "continues to commit atrocities" across Central Africa "that have a disproportionate impact on regional security."

In March 2014, Obama sent military aircraft and additional Special Operations forces to Uganda to assist in the search for Kony, who remains at large to this day.

On Wednesday, Harf noted that this week's White House summit on "countering violent extremism" involves "over 60 countries from around the world who are facing a number of different kinds of extremist threats," and are coming together to identify "best practices" in identifying potential terrorists and deterring them.

Harf also refused to back off her controversial comment on Monday, that "we cannot win this fight by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war."

"Look, in the short term, and I said this on "Hardball" the other night, we are killing them and we will continue killing ISIL terrorists that pose a threat to us...but in the longer term -- and this isn't specific to ISIL -- military commanders, politicians of both parties, counter-terrorism experts all agree that if you're going to prevent terrorist groups from spreading to other places and getting more recruits, you have to look at the root causes that can lead people to extremism.

"You have to do all of it, you have to take them on militarily, but you have to look at things like governance, like opportunity, so these groups aren't able to get more people to their cause, absolutely."



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, 2015

Multicultural Follies

"Nothing to do with Islam."

That's what our political leaders keep telling us when radical Muslims enslave, rape, crucify, behead, and otherwise slaughter people by the thousands all over the world. It has nothing to do with Islam.

Teaching in public school a few years ago, I showed students pictures of burning cars in France. French media said it was exuberant "youths" torching the cars - well over a thousand vehicles in one night. NBC News also called them "youths." French and American media both averted their eyes from the plain truth that youths burning cars all over France were Muslim.

Reuters said only 1137 cars were burned on New Year's Eve in 2009, while 1147 had been torched the year before. Responding to what it called, "another wave of reader complaints that we don't brand these arsonists as Muslims," Reuters explained: "Sure, there were Muslims among them - but there were non-Muslims as well. What value do we add to a news story by using a questionable religious label to describe a political and socio-economic phenomenon?" Nothing to do with Islam. The arsonists were victims of western capitalist greed, they suggest.

When my students asked why media refused to call the "youths" Muslims, I told them it went against their cherished concept of "Multiculturalism." They looked at me with blank faces, having no idea what multiculturalism was. I told them to look it up on their laptops.

Some recited the Wikipedia definition, which said: "Multiculturalism refers to the historical evolution of cultural diversity within a jurisdiction, incarnated by its selection policies and institutionalized by its settlement policies."

"Okay now?" I said. That should clear it up." Some laughed. Most remained confused.

"Countries in Europe have formed into something called the ‘European Union,'" I explained, "kind of a United States of Europe. Elite EU leaders made ‘multiculturalism' one of their founding principles, and it basically means that all cultures are equal. No culture or religion is any better or any worse than any other. They're all the same."

Then I explained how Muslim imams were like priests of Islam, and when many encouraged Muslims in the mosques to kill the rest of us, that made it hard for European leaders to continue insisting that Islam was no worse than any other religion. So what do European leaders do in the face of Muslim violence? "They pretend it isn't happening, that's what. Don't call the arsonists Muslims. They're just ‘youths' getting a little rambunctious."

More than forty thousand cars are torched in France every year. Nothing to do with Islam, though.

Then I showed them media accounts of how radical Muslim US Army Colonel Nidal Hasan shot forty-three American soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas while shouting "Allahu Akbar!" I told them Obama Administration officials insisted the shootings had nothing to do with Islam. The president said: "Well, look, we -- we have seen, in the past, rampages of this sort. And in a country of 300 million people, there are going to be acts of violence that are inexplicable."

I told them how the Pentagon investigated and published an 86-page report that never mentioned jihad, Muslim, Islam, or Koran. My students knew what all those words meant. Ultimately Obama's Department of Homeland Security explained the Fort Hood shooting as "Workplace violence."

Nothing to do with Islam.

Muslims believe Mohammed was "The Prophet" of Islam and the "Hadith" is an ancient record of Mohammed's sayings, secondary only to the Koran. The Hadith prohibits making images of Mohammed. Radical Muslims kill people who draw cartoons of Mohammed, but President Obama and socialist French President Hollande insist those killings have nothing to do with Islam.

When the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) murders thousands of Iraqis and Syrians in the name of Islam, President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, and Attorney General Eric Holder maintain it has nothing to do with Islam. When Islamic terrorists from al Qaeda, Boko Haram, and al Shebaab torture and murder thousands of people across Africa and the Middle East in the name of Islam, our leaders assert it has nothing to do with Islam.

When the Koran, the holy book of Islam, instructs Muslims: "...cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them," it has nothing to do with Islam. So what if there are over 100 sections of the Koran encouraging followers to commit violence against non-believers? If our leaders are right, we must conclude that the Koran has nothing to do with Islam.

Get it? The teachings of Mohammed - the Prophet of Islam, the teachings in the Koran - the holy book of Islam, the teachings of imams in the mosques of Islam, and the actions of millions of Muslims around the world - have nothing to do with Islam.

Islam is a religion of peace. If not, multiculturalism would be seen as a fraud, and we can't have that.


‘The government should butt out of parenting’

Lenore Skenazy, aka American’s Worst Mom, first shot to infamy in 2009 when she wrote about letting her nine-year-old son ride the New York City subway home by himself. Since then she has authored a book, Free-Range Kids, and become a champion of so-called free-range parenting.

I chatted to her about her new reality-TV show, World’s Worst Mom, which premiered on the American Discovery Life network in January. In this 13-part series, Skenazy helps extremely nervous and over-protective parents to step back and give their kids the chance to do things on their own.

Nancy McDermott: Free-range parenting has been all over the news this month because of the case of Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, the Maryland couple who are being investigated by the Child Protective Services for allowing their kids, aged six and 10, to walk home unsupervised from a local park. The Meitivs describe their philosophy of child rearing as ‘free range’ and this has sparked a discussion about whether parents should be able to let their kids do things on their own.

Your blog, Free-Range Kids, features a lot of similar stories of parents getting into hot water over letting their kids do things on their own. In that sense, your TV show seems to go against the grain of what the authorities think parents should be doing. What has the response to the show been like?

Lenore Skenazy: It’s been really good. It seems like people are a lot more receptive to ‘free range’ (ie, normal, non-fearful parenting) than when my son took the subway back in 2009. It’s also important to say that things are not as bad as it might seem from reading my blog. I’m like the equivalent of one of those crime shows that makes you think that every third person is a murderer – because that’s all you’re seeing. But thankfully, cases like the Meitivs’ are still pretty rare.

It’s been a while since we made the show (it was first shown in Canada in 2012). I don’t know why it wasn’t aired in the US sooner, but in some ways the timing couldn’t be better. It seems like most people are more open to ‘free range’ now. Things that seemed really radical and outrageous three years ago when we made the programme just seem ‘right’ now. This is the free-range moment, and the fact that the Meitivs’ case has generated so much interest is a good thing. The show feeds into that: it’s the right message at the right time.

It has also been very nice for me personally. I hadn’t looked at it for a while and watching it now is like visiting old friends. I find myself cheering for the families and remembering times when I thought it might be impossible.

NM: Impossible is how it looked when my sons and I watched it. For people who haven’t seen the show, the first episode, ‘Meltdown in the Museum’, featured a set of parents who wouldn’t allow their kids to play in their big, fenced-in backyard by themselves, and made their six-year-old son ride in a stroller. The dad seemed fairly open-minded but the mom really, sincerely believed you were insane and that you would be eventually locked up to protect the public. They were extreme for sure – but sadly not at all uncommon. How do you even begin to address that level of fear?

LS: It is hard because people feel it very deeply. For instance, there was one family I remember where the mom was convinced that if her children came home with a cut or a bruise it would prove that she was a bad mother. She even admitted that she was secretly scandalised by moms letting their kids go to school wearing a band-aid, thinking ‘Oh my God, I guess they don’t really care!’.

I wasn’t sure they would listen to me. I had this desperate moment early in the filming when I cornered one of our production assistants, who I knew was studying psychology, and blurted out: ‘Tell me everything you know about anxiety!’ But it turned out that I didn’t need what she told me.

What I’ve learned in the course of the show is that parents don’t need therapy. What changes them is seeing their kids happy and competent because they’ve done something on their own. It’s incredibly powerful and I saw it happen over and over again. That’s what really inspired me to expand the free-range programme into schools.

NM: What is the free-range programme and how did it get started?

LS: Back in 2009, just after my son Izzy rode the subway and we were all over the newspapers and television, a teacher here in New York City called me to say she’d just had the kids in her class do a free-range project and wanted to know if I’d like to come along and see their presentations. So I went along and saw all the wonderful things these kids had done.

My favourite project was by an 11-year-old girl who decided to bake an ‘independence cake’. This meant she had to walk to the grocery store by herself, buy all the ingredients, walk back home and bake the cake.

On her poster she described walking the half mile to the store like this: ‘On my way there, everyone looked angry, like they might want to snatch me.’ But she got there safely, found all the things she needed, paid for them with her own money (because that’s what independent people do), then walked home and baked the cake. She wrote about the trip home this way: ‘It was much quicker and more pleasant because I was already used to the walk.’

It really just sums up how transformative one small act can be. She started out on her trip a little fearful, but on the way back, reality flooded in: the distance wasn’t shorter; the people weren’t nicer. What really changed is that she stopped seeing stranger danger everywhere and just saw her neighbourhood as it really was: filled with people, not abductors. I loved that story but it was only after a few years and doing the show that it finally dawned on me that if one class could do it, why not a whole school?

I had the idea when I was visiting a school in Menlo Park, California. The school had chosen ‘confidence’ as its motto for the year. There were all these posters up that read ‘What would you do if you weren’t afraid?’. So I asked them, why don’t you do a free-range project? I told them what I had in mind, the principal, the vice principal and the school psychologist all signed on, and that was that.

NM: How did it work?

LS: Every teacher in the school told each kid to go home and ask their parents if they could do one thing they felt they’re ready to do but haven’t done yet, for whatever reason. It could be something really simple, like walking the dog or going to get a haircut, or riding a bike to school – not extreme things like bungee jumping – just some activity that would have been considered normal a generation ago.

It was strictly voluntary, but knowing the school was endorsing it, a lot of the parents said ‘yes’. In the end, about a third of the 700 students at the school participated.  We were also careful to present it as a one-shot deal. It didn’t mean making a commitment to letting their kids walk to school every day. They just needed to let them do it this once. But that ‘once’ changed everything.

So, for instance, there was one family, where the father was (unusually) more nervous than the mother. Their son, a 10-year-old, wanted to ride his bike to school but his dad said ‘no way’. But his son persisted and showed him the material I’d sent along explaining what the project was about. There was one line in it – actually something someone wrote on my blog – that went ‘all the worry in the world doesn’t prevent death; it prevents life’.

That line affected this father so much that he cut it out and posted it on the kitchen cabinet. Then he and his wife decided to compromise with their son. They told him he could ride his bike over to a friend’s house on a Saturday when there was less traffic. So he went, stayed a long time and came back so grateful and beaming with pride that his mom and dad were overwhelmed. When Monday morning rolled around, his parents looked at each other and said ‘why don’t we just let him ride his bike to school?’. And so he did for the rest of the school year.

Just one thing can have a knock-on effect. There was another kid whose project was to get his hair cut on his own. He came back with a Mohawk! His mother was furious – she hated, hated this haircut. But then she calmed down eventually and thought: ‘If he’s old enough to choose his own haircut, he’s old enough to do more around that house.’ And she started giving him more chores. She also decided to do her own free-range project where she looked at what she was doing for him, things that were a hassle for her, and just stopped doing them. In particular, she stopped doing his homework with him. His grades went down a little bit to start with, but he eventually got back into the swing of things and this time all the efforts were his own.

The ripple effect through the school was palpable. The school psychologist told me that parents were coming up to her asking if they could do it again and bragging about all the things their kids were doing: ‘my kid is making dinner’; ‘my kid is walking the dog!’. The dynamic had flipped so that instead of feeling proud about all that they could do for their kids, they became proud of what their kids could do for themselves.  It really is that simple.

And another thing, when a whole school takes on a project like this, it has the potential to change a whole town and prevent parents being singled out. If there are enough kids out, doing things on their own, walking home from school or the playground, it becomes normal again. Busybodies no longer call up and complain to the authorities, as they did in the Meitivs’ case.

We need to stop the government telling us how to parent. The government is there to save children in danger: so if I’m starving my kid; pimping my kid; giving him drugs; beating him senseless – that’s what the government is there for – to save them from imminent danger. It’s not to say, ‘Oh, I wouldn’t do it that way’. That’s the government as mother-in-law, and nobody needs that.

NM: This all sounds great! Are there many schools involved in free-range programmes?

LS:  So far there are projects in California, Texas, Virginia and New York, and I hope that more schools across the UK and America will get involved. And of course, they could have me come and speak. Either way it’s amazing how a complete sea change can come from one simple thing.


UK: New rape laws: turning sex into a crime

Rape is a serious crime: those convicted of it face a lengthy prison sentence. Sexual foolishness or stupidity should not be a crime, although its protagonists may well be deserving of moral censure. There is a line to be drawn between sex that is criminal and sex that lacks the criminal culpability to warrant a lengthy prison sentence. In recent years, that line has moved so that those who deserve the shameful tag ‘rapist’ are now joined by some who do not.

The point was well made by the journalist Sarah Vine, who wrote of sexual behaviour that should not be criminalised: ‘Let’s face it, we’ve all done it at one time or another. Shared a cab home with someone we shouldn’t have; invited the wrong guy in for coffee. Unless you’re a saint, the chances of getting through life without making at least one disastrous sexual choice are very small.’

Acts of sexual foolishness or stupidity by men and women, particularly the young, have always happened. But, as Vine pointed out, ‘it used to be that women who made stupid mistakes with men, who had non-violent sexual encounters in dodgy circumstances – while drunk or otherwise intoxicated, in the heat of the moment or for a million other reasons – did not wake up the next morning and decide they had been raped. They took a shower, gave themselves a stern talking to, maybe told a friend about it , had a bit of a cry – and then moved on as best they could, vowing along the way never to end up in that kind of damn stupid situation again.’ Likewise, men who made stupid sexual decisions would, in days gone by, have learnt from their mistakes, often as part of a process of growing up.

But today, to use Vine’s words, ‘there’s a far easier option’ for the woman: ‘blame the bloke’ by ‘crying rape’. And for the bloke there is now the stark scenario of being woken up not just with a splitting headache and a guilty conscience, but by a policeman’s knock on the door.

Sarah Vine was right to draw attention to the way rape laws are now invoked in respect of sexual encounters that are foolish or stupid, but which should not engage the criminal law. Essentially, rape laws are now being used against some men whose behaviour does not, by a proper yardstick, warrant the tag ‘rapist’.

A good example was considered by the Court of Appeal in 2007, after Benjamin Bree, a 25-year-old without any previous convictions, was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for raping a university student whom he’d met once before. On their second meeting, they’d been out for a meal before returning to the woman’s flat arm in arm. Both had been drinking and, in the woman’s case, this impaired her memory. The woman’s case was that although she remembered various sexual acts, she ‘did not want to have sex, but she did not say so to him’.

Bree’s case was that the woman responded positively to his physical contact and that she removed her own pyjama trousers and asked if he had a condom. The parties agreed that the woman never said or did anything to give the impression she was not consenting, save that the woman claimed to have felt pain at one point, uttered an ‘ow’, and was said to have turned over at one stage to avoid intercourse. On the other hand, Bree described the woman’s movements as ‘pretty enthusiastic’.

So far this might sound like a fairly typical sexual encounter facilitated by alcohol. But a few days later, Bree was arrested at 6am. A most telling part of the court report was that the arresting officer observed Bree ‘to be shocked and extremely upset, and could not believe that an allegation of rape had been made against him’. Nevertheless, Bree was subsequently charged with rape, tried and convicted by a jury, and sentenced to five years in prison.

The Court of Appeal allowed Bree’s appeal, but by then he had spent six months in prison, on the sex offenders’ wing for his own protection. What should trouble anyone about the Bree case is how it could ever have resulted in: first, a complaint to the police; second, an arrest; and third, a prosecution and a jury conviction. Yet the answer to each of these troubling questions is that rape laws are now drawn so widely that Bree’s case is far from being a one-off.

Today, it is not uncommon for rape charges to be brought in respect of foolish or stupid sexual encounters. After presiding over back-to-back trials where a female complainant had been so drunk she could not remember what had happened and, therefore, whether she had consented to sex, Judge Mary Jane Mowat observed that ‘the rape conviction statistics will not improve until women stop getting so drunk’.

It was significant that Judge Mowat prefaced her comments by noting she would ‘be pilloried for saying’ them. She may have had in mind the treatment of Ken Clarke MP, who, in 2011, referred to ‘serious rape’. This prompted Labour leader Ed Miliband to call for Clarke’s resignation on the grounds he was suggesting ‘there are other categories of rape’. Clarke spent the rest of the day saying he ‘always believed that all rape is extremely serious’ and he was ‘sorry’ if his comments had given any other impression.

Despite the censorious you-can’t-say-that attitude of some feminists, there is an urgent need, not to debate the seriousness of rape, but to debate what rape is. Rape, properly defined, is serious. But by redefining rape to encompass drunken or foolish sexual activity, which a man believes the woman is consenting to, the crime of rape is, in these instances, being stripped of its criminal culpability.

‘Impossible’, claim rape campaigners with a glib understanding of how rape is now defined. Labour MP Harriet Harman responded to Sarah Vine’s column with an all-too-familiar analogy: ‘If I leave a window open an inch and someone breaks in, steals everything I own and ransacks my house, no one would say it wasn’t a crime or that the offender had “made a mistake”.’

Yet there is no parallel between a burglar who trespasses into a house and steals, and a man who believes a woman is consenting to sex. Trespass followed by theft is inherently unlawful. Sex, though, is inherently lawful, which is why it requires a carefully drawn law before it is criminalised. Traditionally, a conviction for rape could only be secured if the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that the man either knew the woman was not consenting to sex or he could not care less whether she was consenting (Morgan, 1975). It was this mental element of the offence (mens rea, as lawyers call it) that ensured that only defendants with an appropriately guilty mind could be convicted of rape.

It should be the defendant’s absence of belief in consent that turns lawful sex into unlawful sex. What links stranger rape in the dark alley with acquaintance rape in the bedroom is the criminal culpability that comes from the man penetrating the woman without honestly believing she has consented. It is his state of mind that may put him behind bars. So long as the defendant has this culpable state of mind, it is correct to say that rape is rape and is always a serious crime.

But rape laws were reformed by the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to enlarge significantly the type of behaviour that was criminalised. In particular, under the reformed law, a defendant’s belief that the woman was consenting no longer necessarily results in an acquittal, because the jury must now ask itself whether it was reasonable for the defendant to have believed the complainant was consenting. In other words, the issue of consent no longer turns on what the defendant believed, but on a jury’s view of what it was reasonable of him to have believed.

A man can now be convicted of rape even though he honestly believed the woman was consenting to sex. It is by allowing jurors to disregard the man’s actual belief in favour of what they consider to have been a reasonable belief that the law can criminalise men for acts of sexual foolishness or stupidity. But, in truth, such a man is no more a rapist than the idiot is a thief for taking a woman’s bag from the cloakroom in the unreasonable, but genuinely held, belief that it was his.

The Bree case highlights the problem. Bree said he believed the woman was consenting, a view he supported with her behaviours, and neither the woman nor the circumstances came close to establishing otherwise. Yet the jury’s finding of guilt implies that the jury found such a belief to have been unreasonable. Bree was convicted (albeit cleared on appeal) not for actually having a guilty mind, but because the jury decided he should have had a guilty mind. Bree’s case illustrates how rape laws are unjust for abrogating the fundamental principle of justice that a person should not be convicted of a serious offence unless he actually had a guilty mind.

The injustice of the current law was codified last month by the director of public prosecutions (DPP), Alison Saunders, who unveiled a new ‘toolkit’ for police and prosecutors that requires them ‘to make sure they ask in every case where consent is the issue – how did the suspect know the complainant was saying yes and doing so freely and knowingly?’. What Saunders astutely recognises is that juries, armed with the Sexual Offences Act 2003, can and do now convict defendants for acts of sexual foolishness or stupidity. And that if the Benjamin Brees of this world want to avoid spending several years in prison, they would do well to ensure they have evidence to satisfy a jury that their sexual partner ‘was saying yes and doing so freely and knowingly’.

As Sarah Vine observed, this is ‘laughably absurd: “Hang on a moment, would you mind awfully just signing this pre-prepared document? If you could just place a tick in the boxes next to the acts that you do consent to, just leave the others blank, and sign and date here, then we can proceed”.’ Nowadays, Romeo would be well advised not just to get the Vine checklist signed but also to keep a breathalyser and sniffer dog by the bed in case Juliet wakes up and claims her consent was not ‘freely and knowingly’ given for want of intoxication from drink or drugs.

Yes, it is ‘laughably absurd’, but it also indicates where rape laws under the Sexual Offences Act have taken us. And for those men who receive the policeman’s knock on the door at six o’clock in the morning, it is a sickening absurdity. For those men who become convicted rapists, who serve years in prison, it is an unjust absurdity. An absurdity, that is, for those men who honestly believed their sexual partner was consenting.

When she wrote her article, Vine must have known that she, like anyone who questions the justice of some rape laws, would be vilified. So she got her retaliation in first by referring to ‘the so-called ”vagenda”: the all-men-are rapists brigade, top feministas like Harriet Harman and the femi-fascist Twitter mob who, increasingly, seem to hold sway in public policy’. Yet there is clearly a need to debate a rape law that put Benjamin Bree behind bars, that can convict a man of rape who honestly believes his sexual partner is consenting, and which enables the DPP effectively to require a suspect to establish that his sexual partner was consenting. Some things are more important than the censorious you-can’t-say-that attitude of some feminists – justice is one of them.


Awareness-raising makes you sick

There is an idea popularised by the sociologist Robert Merton called ‘the law of unintended consequences’. While, as we all know, unintended consequences can be serendipitous in nature, the phrase is more often used to refer to the unforeseen negative outcomes that can result from our actions. The law alerts us to the possibility that, at times, those with the best of intentions are the ones who can do most harm. This is something that many of those behind the ubiquitous ‘awareness raising’ campaigns we have today could do with reflecting on.

Presented as progressive in nature, such campaigns usually aim to increase our knowledge of a variety of issues, alongside raising funds for specific causes. However, far from being progressive, or even benign in nature, there are many negative aspects to the current trend of awareness-raising.

First, there is the ubiquity of the awareness-raising messages. A cursory glance at Project Britain’s calendar of awareness-raising events shows us that, in March 2015 alone, numerous awareness-raising events are taking place, including ‘Brain Awareness Week’, ‘World Glaucoma Week’ and ‘World Kidney Day’. As the year goes on, we will have our awareness raised about many other issues, including child abuse, alcohol misuse, domestic abuse, heart disease, cancer, stress and a variety of mental-health problems. Looking at this list, it would appear that a lack of awareness is the No1. problem facing humanity today. As one commentator, tongue firmly in cheek, put it, ‘if there is anything more important than raising awareness’ he is not aware of it.

Far from helping us to grapple with society’s problems, such campaigns only work to increase our anxiety, bombarding the public with a bewildering and neverending slew of messages that tell us we are at risk from myriad threats. However, such pernicious effects stem from a more profound political problem. Awareness-raising campaigns are frequently presented as a form of political action; by raising people’s awareness, campaigners say, they are empowering them to take control over their lives. However, the focus of these campaigns is more often focused on our own lifestyles and relationships, rather than on any broader political project. As I have pointed out previously on spiked, the concept of personal empowerment is more often used to draw people into forms of state governance, over which they have little meaningful control.

Indeed, the current obsession with ‘raising awareness’ actually represents the negation of political action, and its replacement by a form of top-down, therapeutic moralising. For some activists, awareness-raising is the contemporary equivalent of the consciousness-raising political action of the Sixties and Seventies. For many on the left in the Sixties, the problem was that the masses, unlike themselves of course, suffered from ‘false consciousness’, blinding them to the reality of their oppression. Similarly, today’s campaigners see a lack of awareness as the problem dooming the masses to disease and despair. In each case, there is a clear moral line being drawn – in the former, between those with true consciousness and those with false consciousness; in the latter, between the aware and the unaware.

Such top-down approaches to social and political issues miss the collective dimension of politics. Yes, people have views that they think correct, and consequently think that those with opposing views are wrong. But it is through a process of struggle, argument and reflection that political consciousness is shaped. Top-down ‘truth telling’ is a meagre substitute for this process.

However, there is one key difference between the consciousness-raisers of the Sixties and the awareness-raisers of today. At least, the activists of the Sixties saw their role as spreading a particular message. By contrast, the activists of today are more interested in displaying their own awareness – through wristbands and ribbons – rather than spreading it.

In an illuminating analysis of the rise of ‘ribbon culture’ – the trend for people to wear awareness ribbons and charity wristbands – Sarah Moore notes that many wristband and ribbon wearers have little specific knowledge of the charity, illness or issue symbolised by the ribbon they are wearing. She notes how, for some, the choice of which ribbon to wear was made on the basis of which one best matched the clothes they were wearing that day.

Moore goes on to note that wearing a ribbon or wristband was often done as a means of demonstrating that the wearer was in a state of self-awareness, as opposed to being aware of a specific cause or issue. In other words, it was an expression of the self, of the wearer’s moral status as ‘aware’, that was being presented for public consumption. Showing awareness, then, becomes an act of self-expression, deprived of a political outlook or frame of reference. This is particularly true of ribbons which promote health-related causes, which become a display of the individual’s awareness of health risks and their commitment to avoiding them. In this sense, the focus of awareness-raising becomes the survival of the self – a desire to prevent death rather than an affirmation of life and the political possibilities therein.

Far from being benign, the cult of awareness-raising has a clear and detrimental effect.  In order to combat such a corrosive trend, and reinvigorate the public and political sphere, we must raise awareness of the dangers of awareness-raising.



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, 2015

A politically correct sniper

A really charming multiculturalist

Totally lacking any spark of human decency

A 93-year-old who was knocked to the ground in a violent robbery outside his home for just five pounds has spoken of his anger of being attacked by a man he says he gave £10 to months before.

Pensioner Stanley Evans, who lives on his own, was left lying on the floor for 10 minutes after being targeted by the robber when he came home from a shopping trip in London.

Police have today released CCTV footage of the robbery and assault, which a senior officer branded 'totally unprovoked, callous and sickening'.

Mr Evans - a retired cameraman who worked on films including the 1947 classic Brighton Rock with Richard Attenborough - said he was left 'flailing like a seal'.

Describing the attack, Mr Evans said: 'I've gone past anger, I'm frustrated. If I ever came across that one again I was a boxer and aggressive, if someone punches me I punch them back.'

'I was coming up to my flat from the supermarket with a trolley when I saw a large black man sitting on the wall, I vaguely recognised him as someone I had gave £10 to last year. I'm quite friendly with people in the area.

'He was even helpful with the trolley. I left him sitting on the wall and started fiddling with my key. Then he was behind me. He told me he had come to visit someone on the second floor.

The assault and robbery took place at Ingestre Court, central London at around 8pm on Saturday, 31 January.

The footage shows Mr Evans chatting to his attacker before he is violently knocked to the ground

The robber - who made off with just £5 - walked from the scene, leaving Mr Evans stricken on the floor   

He is determined not to let the mugging scare him out of leaving his flat and enjoying Soho where he has lived and worked in for so many years.

The CCTV footage released by police shows Mr Evans being followed by the suspect as he returns from the shops into the block of flats where he lives.

Pushing a small shopping trolley, the frail victim is seen waiting in a communal entrance for the lift to his flat as the robber approached him.  The attacker then grabs his pocket and pushes him to the floor.

The footage then shows the shocked pensioner collapsed in the communal area as he waits for help to come. As a result of the assault the pensioner suffered a shoulder injury, which was treated by an ambulance crew.

The suspect is described as a black male, around 5ft 10ins and 6ft, slim build and aged between 20-30 years. He was wearing casual dark clothing.


The Proofiness of the Politically Correct Rape

A legion of the politically correct who make a living from the alleged oppression of women were gleeful and almost goofy with proofiness this week. The incident is a window into how statistical myths are created.

Charles Seife, a journalist and a professor at New York University, coined the term proofiness as a corollary to an earlier term coined by comedian Stephen Colbert: truthiness. Truthiness was defined as "the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true." It became the American Dialect Society’s 2005 Word of the Year because it embodied a cultural zeitgeist that haunted the socio-political narrative of our time.

Proofiness is "the art of using bogus mathematical arguments to prove something that you know in your heart is true—even when it’s not." It should have been the Word of the Year for 2010 when Seife’s book Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception was published. A new study gives the term a second chance for fame, as it points to the dark side of math.

The Latest "Men Are Evil" ’Study’

"Denying Rape but Endorsing Forceful Intercourse: Exploring Differences Among Responders" is a ’study’ at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, which has just been released by the portentiously named journal Violence and Gender. It claims that approximately 1 in 3 male students would rape their female counterparts "if nobody would ever know and there wouldn’t be any consequences." The study is almost a classic example of proofiness.

It almost descends to the level of "Potemkin data." The phrase refers to Russian lore in which Gregory Potemkin erected fake settlements along the Dnieper River in order to deceptively impress his paramour Catherine II as she toured the newly acquired Crimea (1787). The faux villages were akin to movie props with no substance behind their fronts. Potemkin wished to trick Catherine into believing a situation was better than it really was. The North Dakota ’study’ wants people to believe a situation is worse than it really is. Except, of course, for those to whom political correctness is a profession or a moral crusade. To them, the finding of male depravity is good news because it means another paycheck and another false stat about which to be self-righteous.

The ’study’ is a classical example of how to construct Potemkin data. Some of the characteristics this includes:

Start with deeply biased researchers. Led by psychology professor Sarah R. Edwards, the researchers state within the ’study’: "Given that callous sexual attitudes permit violence and consider women as passive sexual objects, it follows that for men who endorse these, sexual aggression becomes an appropriate and accepted expression of masculinity. In this sense, using force to obtain intercourse does not become an act of rape, but rather an expression of hyper-masculinity, which may be thought of as a desirable disposition in certain subcultures." (p.189)

Proceed from a false premise or assumption. The opening sentence of the ’study’ states, "Federal data estimate that about one in five women becomes the victim of sexual assault while in college, most of which is committed by assailants known to the victim" (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control 2012). The 1-in-5 figure has been exhaustively debunked for many months and should be rendered unresurrectable by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) report (12/14) that found the actual rate of rape to be 0.61 percent per year—or 6.1 per 1,000 students.

Use a ridiculously small sample that is selective and drawn from one source. Of the approximately 15,000 students at the university in question, 86 male students were surveyed and 73 answers were used for analysis. Of these, 23 respondents were considered to have expressed "intentions to force a woman to sexual intercourse."

Further bias the sample by adding incentives. The Mary Koss study from which the 1 in 4 rape stat derives offered a $10 gift card for anonymous and self-reporting participation. The Edwards study offered extra university credit to participants. The incentive may have encouraged answers that the students thought the researchers wished to hear so as to complete the process and receive the credit.

Or the participants may have blown off the questions. The intrepid Ashe Schow commented in the Washington Examiner (13/01/15): "Even in a world where college men take everything seriously, nine guys does not equal a mass epidemic of would-be rapists. A more sound reading is that nine college boys didn’t take the survey too seriously."

Ask questions that skew participants toward the desired answer. The researchers specified that the imaginary rape would never be discovered and would have no consequences. How many people would admit to seriously considering murder at some point – e.g., of an ex-spouse, a swindling partner, an assailant – if the murder was guaranteed to be unknown and consequence-free? By removing the imagined rape from the real world, non-real rates are achieved.

Draw upon prestigious but dubious authority. Sources welcoming the prospect of rapacious men frequently mention that the ’study’ was peer reviewed. But, since research became a political tool circa the 1980s, peer review means increasingly little. Consider the peer-reviewed study "The Role of Conspiracist Ideation and Worldviews in Predicting Rejection of Science" in PLOS ONE (2013). The researcher found that age did not correlate with indicator factors. When a single self-reported age was removed from the sample (post-publication), age didcorrelate. The deleted sample was a 32,757-year-old person.

And, then, there was the study upon which Slate (11/11/2014) commented in an article entitled, "This Is What Happens When No One Proofreads an Academic Paper." The study "Variation in Melanism and Female Preference in Proximate but Ecologically Distinct Environments" appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Ethology. The published paper included a candid question intended for peer readers; the researcher asked, "Should we cite the crappy Gabor paper here?"

Meanwhile, never admit there is sound contradicting evidence. A Huffington Post article (09/01/15) reported, "Another 2002 study by David Lisak at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, speaking with 1,882 men, found 120 had committed rape or attempted rape."

State the researchers’ subjective conclusions based on their beliefs. The ’study’ declares of the rapacious males, "We believe that men exhibiting higher levels of hostility toward women will exhibit awareness that their behaviors constitute rape, and still endorse use of force given that the motivation of the encounter is to punish women." (p.189)

The Why of the Edwards ’Study’

The most insidious aspect of the ’study’ is one of the least commented upon. It is an attempt to reconcile a fact that has embarrassed and encumbered the 1-in-4 rate of female rape statistic upon which so much politics rests. Fully 73% of the women identified as rape victims in the pivotal Koss study said they had not been raped. Koss deliberately dismissed them and categorized them according to her own perceptions and needs. Otherwise stated, only 27% agreed with Koss’s assessment of their experience.

How does a researcher justify the unmitigated arrogance and dishonesty of dismissing data in order to fit an agenda? By claiming the participant does not understand the meaning of their own words or feelings ... but the researcher does. In an unskeptical Newsweek article (09/01/15), Edwards claimed that "the No. 1 point [of the study] is there are people that will say they would force a woman to have sex but would deny they would rape a woman." This statement was meant to explain the extreme discrepancy between men who reported a willingness to use force but not to rape; 31.7%, on which 1 in 3 is based, as opposed to 13.6% or 1 in 14. Edwards stated the conclusion of the ’study’ as "when survey items describe behaviors ... instead of simply label[ling] them ... more men will admit to sexually coercive behaviors in the past and more women will self-report past victimization." [Emphasis added]

The Newsweek article commented on a recent MIT survey that must have been a disappointment to rape culture zealots. It stated, "[O]nly 10 percent of those MIT women also said yes when asked if they were sexually assaulted, and just 5 percent said yes when asked if they were raped." But if the participants did not know the truth of their own experiences – and the researcher did – then those rates might soar.

The game of explaining away women’s disappointing reports of their own experience is afoot. The game of defending the 1-in-4 stat is on. Women’s voices be damned.


Homosexual Lawmaker Wants to Replace Statuary Hall Figure of Missionary Headed for Sainthood With Lesbian Astronaut

An openly gay State Senator in California has introduced legislation to replace a statue of Catholic missionary Father Junipero Serra in National Statuary Hall with a statue of Sally Ride, the first female U.S. astronaut and a lesbian.
The move by State Senator Ricardo Lara comes just weeks after Pope Francis announced plans to elevate Serra to sainthood.

“Dr. Sally Ride is a California native, American hero and stratospheric trailblazer who devoted her life to pushing the limits of space and inspiring young girls to succeed in math and science careers,” Lara said in a statement.
“She is the embodiment of the American dream whose accomplishments and life work will encourage future generations to reach for the stars and celebrate diversity and inclusivity.”

If the legislation is successful Ride would be the first member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the first woman representing California to be placed in the hall at the U.S. Capitol.

The proposal, according to Lara’s office, “aims to relocate the statue of Father Junipero Serra, known as an eloquent preacher and founder of numerous missions throughout California, at a location in California where citizens and visitors can enjoy it and be reminded of his significant historical impact upon our state.”

"Though Father Serra is a controversial figure, this effort is about recognizing the invaluable contributions of an accomplished Californian and American pioneer: Dr. Sally Ride," Lara told the Los Angeles Times.

Some Los Angeles Native American groups have protested the pope’s decision to canonize Serra, charging that he oppressed Native Americans and forced them to abandon their customs.

But Monsignor Francis J. Weber, an author and historian of the 18th century missionary, has rejected the characterization of Serra as “controversial.”

“You see all of these accusations against Serra, but not one of them can be validated by a responsible historian,” Weber told the Catholic News Agency.

Weber described Serra as a hero to the Native Americans. “California today is what he started it out to be,” he said, “Things have progressed a lot in 200 years, but he set the foundation.”

“The Native Americans, I think, are being utilized by these people who have a rather warped view of what evangelization is all about,” he said. “I’m convinced that the questions about Junipero Serra are really not about Serra himself, who simply epitomized Catholic evangelization. I’m convinced that this is an attack on all of Catholic evangelization throughout the world.”

Authorized by Congress in 1864, the National Statuary Hall Collection allows each state to provide two statues of notable state historical figures for display in the U.S. Capitol.

Along with Serra, California is currently represented in the collection by President Ronald Reagan.


Government websites are not 'women friendly' because they use too many British FLAGS, top Liberal claims

Women are being put off going into business - because websites encouraging female entrepreneurship use too many Union flags, an MP has claimed.

Branding on the Government's ‘Great Business’ site is not seen as ‘woman-friendly’ and looks too much like a military recruitment site, a study by the Liberal Democrat’s Lorely Burt has claimed.

Mrs Burt, the government’s women in business ambassador, singled out the website as a barrier for femail entrepreneurs considering setting up their own companies.

She said there was too much ‘untapped talent’ in the country because of the lack of women in business.  The Lib Dem MP said too many women thought entrepreneurship services was ‘not for them’.

The Solihull MP said: ‘One powerful way to show women that services are for them is to be explicit about it.  ‘The www.greatbusiness.gov.uk website includes a page explicitly for women in enterprise, which is welcome. It has links of particular interest to women entrepreneurs.  ‘To show graphically that the page is for women the bar on the right-hand side of the page uses all-women case studies.

‘However, in all other respects the page uses the same branding as the rest of the Great Business website.  ‘This branding is seen as not “woman-friendly”: the proliferation of Union flags, for example, has been compared to a military recruitment site.’



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, 2015

Emotional Problems among Children with Same-Sex Parents

The academic journal article below by Donald Paul Sullins comes to conclusions that are hardly surprising -- that homosexual families are bad for the kids -- but homosexuals deny them anyway.  It is true that, as a correlational study, the findings are not conclusive.  There could be other factors at work.  One that should be considered is the role of adoption.  The children of male homosexuals will all be adopted and adopted children generally probably have more problems.  It would be interesting if the data were re-analysed to examine lesbians and their natural children only


Aims: To test whether small non-random sample findings that children with same-sex parents suffer no disadvantage in emotional well-being can be replicated in a large population sample; and examine the correlates of any differences discovered.

Methodology: Using a representative sample of 207,007 children, including 512 with same-sex parents, from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey, prevalence in the two groups was compared for twelve measures of emotional problems, developmental problems, and affiliated service and treatment usage, with controls for age, sex, and race of child and parent education and income. Instruments included the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and the Kessler Scale of Psychological Distress (SPD). Bivariate logistic regression models tested the effect of parent psychological distress, family instability, child peer stigmatization and biological parentage, both overall and by opposite-sex family structure.

Results: Emotional problems were over twice as prevalent (minimum risk ratio (RR) 2.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.7-3.0) for children with same-sex parents than for children with opposite-sex parents. Risk was elevated in the presence of parent psychological distress (RR 2.7, CI 1.8-4.3, p (t) < .001), moderated by family instability (RR 1.3, CI 1.2-1.4) and unaffected by stigmatization (RR 2.4, CI 1.4-4.2), though these all had significant direct effects on emotional problems. However, biological parentage nullified risk alone and in combination with any iteration of factors. Joint biological parents are associated with the lowest rate of child emotional problems by a factor of 4 relative to same-sex parents, accounting for the bulk of the overall same-sex/opposite-sex difference.

Conclusion: Joint biological parentage, the modal condition for opposite-sex parents but not possible for same-sex parents, sharply differentiates between the two groups on child emotional problem outcomes. The two groups are different by definition. Intact opposite-sex marriage ensures children of the persistent presence of their joint biological parents; same-sex marriage ensures the opposite. However, further work is needed to determine the mechanisms involved.


SPLC Nurses a Grudge against Popular Doc

Under a phony “civil rights” banner, the SPLC has gotten away with murder in its hate labeling. But this time, the Southern Poverty Law Center may have finally bitten off more than it can chew. As if attacking everyday Christians, small towns, and national organizations like FRC weren’t enough, the group has apparently grown over confident under the Obama administration as they attempt to smear the hugely popular surgeon and neonatal pioneer, Dr. Ben Carson.

As a black man, who was raised in poverty by a single mother, Dr. Carson should be a poster child for the minority success the SPLC pretends to advocate. Instead, the organization, which has morphed into nothing but a multi-million dollar homosexual advocacy group, has made the conservative doctor a target for his mainstream marriage views. Why? Because he rose from poverty as a minority without the aid of big government? Because of a benevolent mother with moral convictions? Or is it because Dr. Carson is a viable candidate with a massive following who refuses to be choked back by political correctness? All of the above?

The absurdity of their hate “watch list” would be comical, if it weren’t dangerous – as FRC’s shooting and the developing story from UNC Chapel Hill prove all too well. Of course, the irony is that rather than expose extremists, SPLC only succeeds in exposing themselves as the rabid, anti-Christian radicals they are. This is a group that cares not about helping impoverished minorities but instead helping elite homosexual activists impose their views on the country.

Dr. Ben Carson may not fit their false civil rights narrative, but he is a man of character and decency, whose only crime is sharing Americans' Bible-based objections to same-sex “marriage.” “When embracing traditional Christian values is equated to hatred, we are approaching the stage where wrong is called right and right is called wrong,” Dr. Carson fired back. It’s a shame that SPLC’s vicious political agenda makes it impossible to practice the “tolerance” they claim to seek, especially when it comes to a man who rose above the circumstances SPLC claims to fight. If you’d like to stand with Dr. Carson, sign FRC’s petition and then forward it to your family and friends.


Are the British police at war on terror or with free speech?

National anti-terror unit handed list of Charlie Hebdo stockists to local forces who then went round demanding to know who bought copies

Anti-terror units handed local police officers the names of British newsagents who stocked the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in the wake of the Paris attacks.

But the decision by some forces to then visit the outlets and quiz shopkeepers about who bought the publication was 'overzealous and unnecessary', Britain's anti-terror police chief has said.

Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and national police lead for preventing extremism, said he was now urgently clarifying guidance to all UK forces.

It comes after police were caught asking British newsagents which sold copies of the satirical magazine for details of the customers who bought it.

Shopkeepers in Wales, Wiltshire and Cheshire reported that police approached them and demanded personal information on readers of the magazine.

In a letter to the Guardian, Sir Peter said that the move to provide details of newsagents to local police was intended to 'provide community reassurance'.

But he admitted that officers who then asked for details of individuals who bought the magazine had appeared 'over-zealous and unnecessary'.

He said: 'Following the attacks in Paris, there has been an increase in incidents of antisemitism and Islamaphobia.

'Forces were aware of the potential for heightened tension with the release of Charlie Hebdo and many neighbourhood police officers, who are well known in their communities, may have opted to visit sellers to establish any concerns and provide reassurance.

'However, it is important that we do not erode the very freedoms that we are trying to protect. I understand why asking for the names of those who might have bought this magazine will appear over-zealous and unnecessary. There was no national guidance to this effect and it is not to be supported unless there is clear evidence that a crime has been committed.'

Wiltshire police have since apologised, while the other forces have denied their officers asked for names.

The MailOnline revealed yesterday that The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) was handed a list of Charlie Hebdo's UK stockists by John Menzies, one of the magazine's UK distributors, via the National Counter-Terrorism Policing unit.

ACPO then alerted forces who had shops selling Charlie Hebdo in their area, saying that officers should be aware that the magazine was on sale.

But while the alert said police may wish to visit the shops involved, they should only do so if there were signs of rising tensions.

The advice said forces should review the lists for retailers using post codes, and if there are raised community tension indicators, or a large number of copies advertised for sale, then they should consider a site visit.

The ACPO advice did not recommend visiting each shop, and did not mention taking down the details of customers who had bought the publication, according to the spokesman.

Paul Merrett, 57, owner of a newsagent in Presteigne, Wales, said a detective and a police community support officer arrived at his shop and started to question his wife about the people who bought them.  He said: 'They wanted to know where we had got them from, and did we know who we had sold them to. 

'[My wife] said she wasn't prepared to give any names. She thought we were in trouble for selling them originally, but they said we weren't, and they just wanted to know who bought them.  'We didn't give them any details. It was all very strange. There were a couple of customers in here at the time, so it soon got around town.'

A Dyfed-Powys police spokesman denied that customer details were asked for.  She said: 'It was not the intention to gather any personal information of those who purchased the magazine and we can confirm no purchaser details were asked for or recorded. Dyfed Powys Police can confirm the visits were only made to enhance public safety and to provide community reassurance.'

Cheshire police also denied that officers had asked for customers details.  A spokesman said: 'Officers were asked to call into local newsagents in their area to provide visible reassurance around the time of publication and were not asked under any circumstances to make enquiries as to who was purchasing or preordering the Charlie Hebdo magazine. 'Each area endeavored to visit as many newsagents as possible however we cannot provide an exact figure.'

Wiltshire officers asked at least three newsagents for people's details.

The force apologised after admitting that an officer had taken down the names of four people in the town of Corsham who bought the magazine featuring a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed on the front.  A spokesman said: 'Wiltshire Police are confident that the police officer’s intention was purely around enhancing public safety and ensuring that the newsagent was advised appropriately.'

Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, said: 'The Charlie Hebdo attack brought millions of people worldwide together to condemn those who seek to silence free speech through threats of intimidation and violence.

'This move by the police is entirely unacceptable. This sort of investigation would be understandable if a crime was being committed, but the fact is that they have requested information about people who have purchased a perfectly legal publication.

'It is far from clear why the police thought it was acceptable to request this information or what it is that they actually intend to do with it. Considering the comments made in the aftermath of the attacks in Paris by world leaders, that free speech should be celebrated and encouraged, the moves by the police in the UK completely undermine that.'

Hundreds of Britons queued for a copy of the £3.50 souvenir edition of the magazine, published following last month's attack by Islamic extremists on its offices which left 12 people dead.

John Menzies said it had handed over a list of newsagents which had ordered the magazine in the interest of safety and security.  A spokesman said: 'Given the sensitive nature of this product, Menzies Distribution's priority was the safety and security of our employees and customers.  'Where appropriate we consulted with the relevant authorities to ensure the these priorities were met at all times.'

Smiths News, another Charlie Hebdo distributor, has also refused to comment. The move has been branded 'entirely unacceptable' by privacy campaigners. 


UK: Labour council bans PORK from primary schools claiming it is too expensive to monitor diets of Islamic and Jewish pupils

A Labour council has banned pork from primary schools in its area claiming it is too expensive to monitor the diets of Islamic and Jewish pupils.

Islington Council, in north London, has been slammed by members of the pork industry for taking chops, sausages and bacon off the menu.

But while the local authority admits pork is no longer on the menu, it denies banning the meat - instead claiming pork is simply not provided under its current catering contract.

The council has removed pork from all primary school lunches despite the fact it is still being served in Islington's secondary schools.

An Islington Council spokesman said today: 'It's not true that pork is banned in our primary schools. 'It is not currently provided in our catering contract, but if any primary school wants to serve pork we will work with them to arrange it.'

Chris Godfrey, a master butcher who runs the 100-year-old Godfrey's butchers in Highbury Park, said: 'I feel quite strongly about this. I don't really feel we should pander too much to other religions.

'It's not a bad thing to show consideration, but that shouldn't restrict the choice of everyone else.  'The kids deserve to have a choice. I don't think this ban helps anyone.'

Dr Zoe Davies, chief executive of the National Pig Association, said: 'This is something we are particularity concerned about. 'It's something we have heard of but we wouldn't say it's common.  'It tends to happen in areas where there are large numbers of children from, for example, a Muslim background who wouldn't eat pork. 'But we would like there to be a choice. Pork is a very affordable and nutritious meat.'

Cllr Joe Caluori, Islington Council's executive member for children and families, said: 'By not having pork on the menus in our schools, we can keep down costs and reduce food waste, maximising the schools meal budget in tough financial circumstances.

'We meet regularly with our catering contractor and stakeholders and the feedback is that schools are very happy with the food offered by the service.'

A council spokesman said: 'Young children, some as young as four, of different religious and ethnic backgrounds may not know which foods contain pork, or may not realise the importance of avoiding it due to their culture or beliefs.  'Monitoring each child, every day ensuring they are avoiding pork, is an unnecessary cost at a time of tight budgets.'



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, 2015

Leftists hating their own country again

The BBC’s coverage of the bombing of Dresden in which Britain was described as ‘worse than the Nazis’ was condemned as disgraceful by RAF veterans and MPs last night.

Despite dedicating more than 32 minutes of airtime to the 70th anniversary of the fire-bombing that killed tens of thousands at the end of the Second World War, there was barely a mention of British airmen who lost their lives.

The BBC’s four major news shows and Radio 4 interviewed multiple German survivors of the bombings.

They also showed a British prisoner of war who berated those who ordered the raids, adding it was ‘demonic’ and ‘evil’.

But the coverage failed to mention the 55,000 airmen who died for Britain during the war. Nor did it mention the devastating Nazi bombing raids on London and Coventry.

One presenter even referred to Dresden as a ‘war crime’ and another spoke of how Britain ‘deliberately unleashed devastation on civilians’, while failing to refer to Auschwitz or Hitler.

During the only interview – which lasted just 23 seconds – with an RAF crewman who flew on the raid, the 91-year-old was asked: ‘Did you ever feel guilty about what happened at Dresden?’ Former Lancaster bomber rear gunner Harry Irons DFC simply replied: ‘No, not really.’

Last night politicians, historians and military figures said the coverage was a ‘disgrace’ and disrespectful to the airmen who served and died in Bomber Command.

Sir Gerald Howarth, a former defence minister, told the Daily Mail: ‘It is very unfortunate that the BBC chose on all days to produce such a one-sided account.  ‘It was just as one might expect from the BBC, concentrating on the negatives.

‘What about the civilians in London who were bombed out of their homes? What about the bombing in the Blitz? To suggest that those responsible for the bombing of Dresden were on a par with Hitler or guilty of war crimes is an absolute disgrace.’

Most of the BBC coverage focused on an interview with Victor Gregg, 95, who was a British prisoner of war in Dresden during the bombing. He said: ‘I saw people killed every day... but what I saw in Dresden – I’ve never seen women and children involved before.’

Asked by the presenter if he thought it was a war crime, he said: ‘Definitely.’

Mike Brundle, who served in the RAF for over 25 years, said: ‘The BBC should have had someone who was a member of Bomber Command on that operation – those are the ones who risked their lives.

A total of 125,000 men served as Bomber Command aircrew during the Second World War.  Their chance of surviving the war was lower than that of infantry officers in First World War trenches.  Bomber Command had a 44 per cent death rate – 55,573 died in action.

Some 3,249 Lancasters were lost in action – nine during the bombing of Dresden.

A woman who wrote a letter to the Daily Mail added: ‘The BBC is beyond belief. Do we hear you “celebrating” the “hell” that was Swansea burning, or Coventry, or Plymouth, or Portsmouth – with the same unctuous sympathy as you are showing for Dresden? We have nothing to be guilty about.’

Military historians and former military top brass defended the bombing of Dresden.

Historian Frederick Taylor told the Mail: ‘Thousands of innocent civilians as well as soldiers were dying every day as battles raged in east and west – not forgetting the concentration camp inmates who were still being murdered by starvation, violence, disease, and forced marches.

‘How could any resource – including the massive Allied air forces – be left unused in trying to shorten the war and save many, many thousands more innocent lives? There should have been more room for another view.’

Sir Michael Graydon, former head of the RAF, added: ‘It was an entirely understandable target. The bomber crews carried out the duty they were equipped to do with bravery and efficiency. I would have liked to see (the BBC) talking about the lessons of the war and a mention of Bomber Command.’

A BBC spokesman said: ‘The bombing of Dresden has always been a controversial episode. On Thursday evening the main BBC News bulletins reflected this and featured interviews with British veterans in coverage of preparations for the commemoration. On Friday we covered the commemoration ceremony in Dresden, which understandably reflected on the German experience.’

A BBC spokesperson added: 'BBC News has covered in greater depth than any other broadcaster many aspects of the commemoration of World War II - both the human cost on all sides and the military action - and will continue to do so.'


Evil Feminist Aborts Male Child Because She ‘Couldn’t Bring Another Monster Into The World’

A feminist blogger has created a massive uproar by detailing her decision to kill her male child in an article entitled “I Aborted My Baby – Because it was a Boy“.  She initially believed that she was going to have a girl, and she was making all sorts of plans for her future.  But when an ultrasound showed that it was going to be a boy, she decided that she must have an abortion because she “couldn’t bring another monster into the world”.  And she says that she would do it again “if the curse returns”.  So what would cause a woman to want to kill her own child just because it is a boy?  How twisted has feminism in America become if this is the result?

You can read her entire article right here.  A lot of people that have read it have become extremely angry, but personally it makes me very sad.  We will never know what that young boy could have become.  We will never know what gifts he could have shared with the world.  He will never love and be loved.  And it is all because of a very selfish and cruel decision by his mother.

So is this what the “right to choose” is all about?  When this young mother initially believed that she was going to have a girl, she was filled with joy…

    “As spring turned into summer and my belly started to grow, my mind ran wild with the thoughts of teaching my daughter from a young age tolerance and feminist ideals. Choosing the right all-girls daycare, then elementary school, all so that she could grow up and thrive in an environment where women are told that they can do anything that they want to do. No man will be around to hurt her progress, no boys there to demean her or call her names.”

But then one day she went in for an ultrasound, and her joy turned into utter despair…

    “I was in shock, I started crying, weeping at the thought of what I was about to curse the world with.”

To many people, this kind of radical feminism seems extremely bizarre.  But the truth is that this is what they are teaching our young women at colleges and universities all over the nation.

Getting back to the story, it only took a couple of days for this young mother to decide to have an abortion…

    “By the third day, I started regaining some of my mental strength and knew what I had to do. I couldn’t bring another monster into the world. We already have enough enemies as it is.”

And after she had her son killed, she felt really great about it.  In fact, she feels like she did “something that would actually make a difference” in the world…

    “A few days later, I went in for the procedure, as it was fairly later in my pregnancy, I was aware there were certain risks, but it went off without a hitch. My body’s betrayal was no more, I was free, and for the first time since the airplane incident, I felt strong. I had done something positive, something that would actually make a difference, something good, even though as I would find out, many others wouldn’t see it that way.”

So does she have any regrets after all this time? Not at all…

    “If the curse returns, I would do the exact same thing all over again.”

Needless to say, there was a huge backlash against her article.  People were absolutely outraged that any mother would choose to do such a thing…

    "Later, Lana said she was shocked at the public’s response to her blog posting, claiming she had even received death threats.“I cannot believe some of the emails that have been forwarded to me,” she wrote in a follow-up post. “[D]o people really exist who want to see me dead because of what I chose to do with my own body? Those are the minds of mentally disturbed individuals … I suspect that many of you reading this will be the kind of people who are sending emails from their mom’s basement, leaving comments on here and on social media websites as you degrade mentally more and more while sitting on your crusty computer chairs. Do everyone a favor: GROW UP!”

In reality, this abortion is not really any different from the tens of millions of other abortions that have been performed in America since Roe vs. Wade was decided in 1973.

Everyone that gets an abortion has a “reason” for getting one done.  This mother’s reason may seem a bit more outrageous than others, but the end result of any abortion is always a murdered baby.

So how does a women get to the point where she gleefully has her baby put to death just because it is a male?

Well, the truth is that the cultural forces shaping this woman’s decisions go back a long, long way.  The following is an excerpt from a recent Infowars article…

    "This diabolical “us vs. them” mentality pushed by today’s so-called feminists highlights how feminism has transformed from a genuine women’s rights movement in the late 19th century into a top-down tool of social control steered by the CIA and other powerful interests to make women more dependent on the government while breaking up the traditional family model.

    Simply put, people generally hold more allegiance to their own families than they do the state, so what better way to destroy families than to corrupt feminism into an “us vs. them” movement pitting women against men?

    A leading icon of the feminist movement, Gloria Steinem, even admitted she received funding from the CIA and the Rockefeller foundation to influence the counter-culture movement in the 1960s."

The minds of our young people are literally being poisoned, and it is going to get even worse the farther we plunge down the cultural toilet.

We have been taught that it is normal to kill our own babies, and since 1973 more than 50 million Americans have been killed this way.


Obama's abortion oscillations

It’s a good thing President Obama doesn’t work for NBC – or else he might have been suspended for lying too! Like the NBC’s Brian Williams, voters would have a difficult time narrowing down all the untruths to one. This President has told so many whoppers that Burger King should name a sandwich after him! David Axelrod, a former political advisor, spilled the beans about one of the President’s most unconvincing fibs in his new book, Believer.

Although it was no secret to anyone who followed Obama’s early career, the candidate-and-later-President was fully on board with same-sex “marriage” from Day 1. Before he was an Illinois senator, the up-and-coming Democrat was clear on a questionnaire about where he stood – only to change his position when it wasn’t politically advantageous.

Now, Axelrod is forcing the President out of the closet on his motivations, saying that he deliberately compromised just to advance his career. “If Obama’s views were ‘evolving’ publicly,‘ they were fully evolved behind closed doors,” David wrote.

In particular, the former top advisor said, the African-American community’s overwhelming support for natural marriage drove the decision to hide his true colors. “Opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church, and as he ran for higher office, he grudgingly accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position…” But even now, when he has the opportunity to come clean, the President is still trying to keep up the façade, insisting that Axelrod “is mixing up my personal feelings with my position on the issue.”

Americans might have given the “if-you-like-your-plan-you-can-keep-it” President the benefit of the doubt before, but not after a trail of tales that makes even Pinocchio seem honest. Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us 16 times, and you become almost irrelevant.

Unfortunately, this President hasn’t exactly staked his legacy on honesty. From Benghazi, taxpayer-funded abortion, and ObamaCare to Fast and Furious, religious liberty, and executive authority, it’s become more difficult to find instances when the President has told the truth. The facts are such a foreign concept in this White House that even left-leaning PolitiFact has logged more than four pages of lies from this President. And we wonder why the American people are so cynical about politics! In this case, the President’s “evolution” was a not-so-intelligent design.

Of course, President Obama is right about one thing in this litany of falsehoods: supporting natural marriage is a winning political strategy. And it continues to be, as more states and leaders push back on the courts’ agenda to redefine marriage. In conjunction with National Marriage Week, the House and Senate are both introducing legislation to stem the attack on federalism at the states' borders. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Congressman Randy Weber (R-Texas), who both introduced the State Marriage Defense Act this time last year, know these bills have never been more important – especially on the eve of the Supreme Court arguments this spring.

“Even though the Supreme Court made clear in United States v. Windsor that the federal government should defer to state ‘choices about who may be married,’” Cruz said, “the Obama administration has disregarded state marriage laws enacted by democratically-elected legislatures to uphold traditional marriage.”

In the House, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kans.) is taking a different tact, offering a federal amendment that would define marriage as the union of a man and woman in the U.S. Constitution. Dozens had done exactly that until the courts intervened and doubled the number of states with same-sex “marriage” to 37 since last October. Of course, that exposes one of the media’s lies, which is that Americans have evolved right along with the President. Voters only approved his radical position on marriage in three of those 37 states. Fortunately for FRC and a majority of conservatives, we never believed in evolution anyway!


Does Marriage Make You Happier? What a New Study Found

Journal abstract:  "Subjective well-being research has often found that marriage is positively correlated with well-being. Some have argued that this correlation may be result of happier people being more likely to marry. Others have presented evidence suggesting that the well-being benefits of marriage are short-lasting.

Using data from the British Household Panel Survey, we control individual pre-marital well-being levels and find that the married are still more satisfied, suggesting a causal effect, even after full allowance is made for selection effects.

Using new data from the United Kingdom's Annual Population Survey, we find that the married have a less deep U-shape in life satisfaction across age groups than do the unmarried, indicating that marriage may help ease the causes of the mid-life dip in life satisfaction and that the benefits of marriage are unlikely to be short-lived.

We explore friendship as a mechanism which could help explain a causal relationship between marriage and life satisfaction, and find that well-being effects of marriage are about twice as large for those whose spouse is also their best friend.

Finally, we use the Gallup World Poll to show that although the overall well-being effects of marriage appear to vary across cultural contexts, marriage eases the middle-age dip in life evaluations for all regions except Sub-Saharan Africa."

“Those who marry are more satisfied than those who remain single,” claims a new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

But does marriage itself influence happiness? Or is it just that happier people are more likely to wed?

This study gives support to the idea that marriage itself contributes to happiness. (In other words, even the grumps that get married may find themselves happier because they are married.)

Another finding from the study is that that friendship is a mechanism that may explain the link between marriage and life satisfaction. In fact, those who see their spouse as their best friend benefit even more from marriage.

But, during National Marriage Week (Feb. 7-14), it’s good to remember that happiness isn’t the only benefit marriage brings.

For instance, married adults tend to live longer and be healthier. They also have higher incomes, and not simply because two incomes mean more money. Marriage itself appears to boost men’s salaries: they work more hours and earn higher incomes.

Marriage doesn’t just help adults: it also serves an especially important role in the lives of children. Children who live in intact families tend to have better educational attainment and exhibit fewer behavioral problems. They also experience better physical and emotional health and are more likely to experience economic well-being.

Unfortunately, even with the good news about marriage, marriage rates have continued to drop and are at an all-time historic low.

The marriage rate has fallen by approximately 50 percent since the 1960s. Since then, the number of couples who cohabit has risen to nearly 12 percent. However, cohabiting relationships do not have the same benefits as marriages. In fact, cohabitation before marriage is linked to decreased marital stability and lower marriage quality. According to a government study on cohabitation, the risk of divorce is specifically higher for women who cohabit before marriage.

This decline in marriage is particularly problematic for children.

As marriage rates have declined, unwed childbearing has skyrocketed. Now, over 40 percent of all children are born to single mothers. In more than half of these cases, the child is born to a single mother who is in a cohabiting relationship.

Children born outside of marriage are roughly five times more likely to be poor compared to their peers in married-parent homes and are at risk for other negative outcomes. Yet the vast majority of women value marriage, and most Americans desire to get married.

National Marriage Week, happening until Feb. 14, presents a chance to focus on rebuilding a culture of marriage for this generation.

Policymakers should focus on reforming policies that penalize marriage, as many means-tested welfare programs do. Cultural leaders should also make efforts to strengthen marriage, helping more Americans achieve the dream of a happy and stable marriage and receive all the benefits of the institution—for themselves and their children.



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

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

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


15 February, 2015

Not AmeriKKKa after all

Dry comment from Charles Murray:  "Kevin Beaver has no instinct for self-preservation"

No evidence of racial discrimination in criminal justice processing: Results from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health

By Kevin M. Beaver et al.


One of the most consistent findings in the criminological literature is that African American males are arrested, convicted, and incarcerated at rates that far exceed those of any other racial or ethnic group. This racial disparity is frequently interpreted as evidence that the criminal justice system is racist and biased against African American males. Much of the existing literature purportedly supporting this interpretation, however, fails to estimate properly specified statistical models that control for a range of individual-level factors. The current study was designed to address this shortcoming by analyzing a sample of African American and White males drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Analysis of these data revealed that African American males are significantly more likely to be arrested and incarcerated when compared to White males. This racial disparity, however, was completely accounted for after including covariates for self-reported lifetime violence and IQ. Implications of this study are discussed and avenues for future research are offered.

Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 55, Issue 1, July 2013, Pages 29–34

'You're too pretty to be interested in politics and should be in Girls Aloud': What Labour councillor Karen Danczuk says Harriet Harman told her

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman told councillor Karen Danczuk she was 'far too pretty to be interested in politics' and should join a girl band instead.  Miss Harman allegedly made the remarks after being introduced to Mrs Danczuk for the first time.

It comes after the Labour shadow minister was accused of 'patronising' women after unveiling a bright pink women-only mini bus to attract female voters ahead of the election in May.

Mrs Danczuk, whose husband is the Labour MP Simon Danczuk, said Miss Harman's pink battle bus exposed politicians' failure to listen seriously to voters' concerns.

She said: 'What women voters want from politicians is their concerns heard in a serious manner. Not a patronising pink bus screaming drama queen!'

Mrs Danczuk later added: 'When I first met Harriet Harman she said I was far too pretty to be interested in politics & should be in Girls Aloud.'

She told MailOnline: 'It was at a conference in Manchester. I wanted a photo with her and she said "you're far too pretty to be in politics". I suppose I've proved her wrong - I did go on to be a councillor.'

But Miss Harman this afternoon rejected the allegation. She said: 'I deny I ever said that and it’s inconceivable I would have ever said that.

'I have always believed it’s what you do in politics, not what you look like. I have never discouraged a woman from getting involved in politics on the basis of their looks.'

The allegation sparked fresh accusations that Mrs Harman was belittling female voters.

Labour's 'woman-to-woman' campaign tour got off to a rocky start in Stevenage yesterday when an angry voter told her it was 'patronising and wrong' to divide men and women.

Asda shopper Bobby Smith demanded to know if Labour was planning to also have a blue man to appeal to male voters


Mothers should back off their boys and let dads be more involved in their upbringing, says parenting expert

A top parenting expert has warned mothers that being too possessive of their sons and not letting men be strong father figures can be detrimental to their boys' upbringing.

The frank advice comes from parenting expert Noël Janis-Norton in her new book Calmer, Easier, Happier Boys.

According to the parenting and behavioural specialist and former teacher, fathers have much greater influence than mothers in shaping boys into well-adjusted young men - but too often mothers find it hard to back off and let dad take control.

'Without a strong father-figure, (which could also be a step-father or grandfather), boys may struggle to learn how to express their emotions constructively, how to handle their physical strength and learn to respect others - and themselves,' Janis-Norton tells the MailOnline.

‘Mothers need to allow dads to be dads and to have their own relationship with their children - and in particular with their boys - without trying to micromanage,' she says.

The parenting expert, who has been credited by the likes of Helena Bonham-Carter turning her family life around, also warns mothers about barking too many orders.  'A boy will lose respect for the mother who appears to bossing the father around – or criticising him,' she says.

So when Dad gets little Tommy dressed in the wrong clothes, feeds him the wrong breakfast and then starts a pillow fight should Mum just look on through gritted teeth?

'Yes - absolutely she should!' says Janis-Norton. 'And the gritted teeth part comes because mums assume they know best - but actually none of us is perfect. We’ve got weaknesses too.  'We’re not doing it right all the time. So really we shouldn’t be judging the dads!'

 Of course mums are usually more familiar with the routines: 'Even in families where both parents work long hours outside the home, children tend to spend more time with their mothers,' says Janis-Norton.

'That’s not a problem for a girl – but for a boy it is. Because the genetically preprogrammed urge is for boys to copy their fathers. And it’s hard for a boy to do that when he doesn’t spend enough time with Dad.'

'Mums generally don’t have an interest in play fighting and they worry someone's going to get hurt, or feelings will get hurt, or clothes will get ripped or something will get damaged.  'But none of that is as important as boys getting their energy out and through play fighting they learn a lot about how to fight fair.

'They learn how to control themselves, they learn how not to be too rough - and they also learn how to make amends if it does go too far.'

'Dads can teach boys all of that,' she says but does advise that play fighting that is likely to become manic or annoy others in the house is best taken outside.

Of course mothers are not the only ones that need to make an effort to encourage that father-son relationship to flourish. Fathers needs to work at it too:

'Because so many fathers are spending more hours at work and often have longer commutes their time at home may be taken up with household chores such as paying bills, mowing the lawn and doing repairs.

'You can see that even a loving, conscientious father can end up not being a very good role-model.  'They may be reluctant to insist on good behaviour, to enforce rules and routines and to follow-through when rules are broken or routines drift.

'The less involved a father is, the less confident he will feel and the less confident he feels, the less involved he will want to be,' she warns.

Janis-Norton decided to write the book, which adapts her tried and tested Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting strategies to focus on boy behaviour, after parents of boys kept asking the same questions.

'They were often frustrated exasperated and perplexed,' she says. 'Parents often complain that their boys are fidgety and easily distracted and socially immature. Parents worry that their son isn’t fulfilling his academic potential.

'Another issue that concerns parents of boys is the tendency towards disrespect, defiance and aggression. And parents don’t know what to do.'

The most important piece of advice Janis-Norton has for parents is to stop telling their children off.  It may not sound like a recipe for cooperative offspring, but according to Janis-Norton it is key: 'Telling off doesn’t work and motivate to improve,' she says.

'Thankfully there are strategies that can help parents get back in charge,' she says. ‘The strategies I teach parents will help boys to become more cooperative, more confident, more motivated, more self-reliant and more considerate.'

One such strategy is Descriptive Praise, describing what your child is doing right rather than what they're doing wrong.

‘Let’s imagine a family around the dinner table. The little girl is eating with her knife and fork properly and using her napkin properly and sitting with legs in front of her – and waiting to swallow her food before she talks.

'The boy is doing all the opposite - plus he’s singing and talking too loudly and interrupting and maybe doing a deliberate burp.

'So it’s very tempting to keep saying "no", "don’t", "stop".'

'Reprimands may - or may not - get you immediate cooperation, but in the long-term telling off and endless reminders make the behaviour worse – because when children keep hearing about what they’re doing wrong, they start to feel that’s who they are.

'So after a while they don’t even bother trying to improve their behaviour. 'In fact, boys often enjoy being able to wind up their parents by burping or making some kid of a vulgar joke.

'So I advise parents to focus most of their attention on the OK things that the boy is doing. Notice and mention the tiny steps in the right direction.

'I’m not saying it’s easy to stay positive; it takes a lot of self-control. But it’s worth practising this strategy, which is called Descriptive Praise, because the more we notice when our children are doing things right, the more motivated they will be to behave better.'

Within a meal a parent might say: ‘You’re sitting up straight’ or ‘You’re using your napkin instead of your sleeve’ or even 'Your chewing with your mouth closed and I cant see any of the food in your mouth’. 

'If you take a moment to look carefully, there’s always something your son is doing that’s OK that you can comment on,' Janis-Norton says.

'For example, if your son is talking too loudly, just look at him, with a friendly face, and wait a few seconds until he pauses. Then at that moment you can say, with a big smile, "And now you’re not talking too loudly. You’re using your indoor voice".'

Helena Bonham-Carter, who took a course in Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting in 2010 is just one mother who has been helped by Janis-Norton's strategies.

'It absolutely works,' the star said of trying Descriptive Praise with her son Billy, then seven. 'Billy is lapping it up. And as a parent, you become happier because you’re observing all these good things about your child, if you’re being specific about what they’ve done.'


Young Oakland Girls Called ‘Radical Brownies’ Learn Social Justice Instead Of Selling Cookies

Poor saps

After the recent Black Lives Matter protests, there is a new brownie troop in Oakland. Instead of selling cookies, they are spreading a message.

On a Saturday afternoon in Oakland, a handful of 8 to 10 year old girls are gathered, in brown uniforms, giggling and eating cupcakes. They look like Girl Scouts, but it’s not just fun and games.

And it’s not just fun and games. “White policeman are killing black young folks such as women, men and children,” one of the girls said.

Another girl said, “Mike Brown. He was shot because he didn’t do nothing. Only the police officer shot him because of his skin color.”

These girls are called the “Radical Brownies.” And instead of learning sewing, they’re learning social justice.

Even their uniforms have a message.  “The beret, it’s a Black Panther/Brown Beret twist,” one of the Radical Brownies said.  “I think it’s very appropriate. A lot of the work the Black Panthers did was community oriented,” Radical Brownies co-founder Marilyn Hollinquest told KPIX 5.

Hollinquest and her friend Anayvette Martinez co-founded the group about a month ago, after Anayvette’s daughter Coatlupe told her she wanted to join a girl’s group.

“How amazing would it be to have a girls’ troop that was really focused around social justice and where girls could even earn badges?” Martinez said.

Their first badge, a fist emblazoned with the words Black Lives Matter. They earned it for marching in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Oakland last month.

“The girls felt really just like passionate about the topic and they loved being there,” Martinez said.

When asked about the big issues they are tackling, Martinez said, “They are big issues. But we also feel like these are conversations that they’re not too young to be having.”

The Radical Brownies have triggered an avalanche of criticism online, with some accusing the group of brainwashing.

“We did strike a nerve. We definitely did strike a nerve,” Hollinquest said.

But Hollinquest said they are not telling the girls what to think. “Kids already understand fairness and unfairness, so we take that understanding at an age-appropriate level,” she said.

The girls said they feel like they are a sisterhood.

“It’s really good for me because it brings out who I am,” one of the girls said.

Martinez said, “After this first year, we’re hoping to be able to support other chapters starting.”

In a matter of weeks, the Radical Brownies’ Facebook page received 10,000 likes. There have been requests from as far away as France and Bermuda to start chapters there.



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, 2015

UK: We should stop the dole after two years to force jobless to take work, says Labour's Rachel Reeves

The unemployed should be forced to take a job after no more than two years on the dole to end stop them spending a 'lifetime on benefits', Labour will say today.

Rachel Reeves is challenging David Cameron to back Labour's plan for a jobs guarantee to limit Jobseekers Allowance to a year for under 25s and two years for older workers.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the shadow work and pensions secretary warned the country cannot afford leaving people 'stuck on benefits for years on end'.

Latest figures show the number of people claiming JSA stood at 867,700 in December, down from 1.6million in 2011 but still 90,000 higher than the pre-crash trough in February 2008.

However, there are 133,200 people aged 25 and over who have been claiming JSA for two years or more, and 30,000 people aged 18-24 have been on JSA for over a year.

Under Labour's plan, the government would force those on the scheme to take a job working 25 hours a week, paid at the minimum wage, for six months.

The party hopes that four in five people would be kept on by employers in the job after six months.

It would be paid for using £1.9billion raised through a levy on bankers' bonuses, although the Tories claim it would cost £2.5billion.

MPs will debate and vote on the proposal in a debate in the Commons today.

In a letter sent to Mr Cameron, seen by MailOnline, Miss Reeves calls on the government to back the idea.  She writes: 'Abandoning people to a lifetime on benefits is not only bad for individuals and their families, but bad for the economy, and bad for the taxpayer who foots the bill.

'With youth unemployment up over the past quarter, the need to tackle this issue and get people off benefits and into work is even more urgent.'

She tells Mr Cameron: 'It's time to put an end to your government's rules which allow jobseekers to spend a lifetime on benefits without being offered a day's paid work.'

She says the figures show that the number of over-25s on benefits for more than two years has risen by 224 per cent since 2010.

'By a one-off repeat of the tax on banker's bonuses and restricting pension tax relief on incomes over £150,000, the Government could fully fund a Compulsory Jobs Guarantee to ensure that anyone 25 and over receiving JSA for two years and over, and anyone under 25 who has been receiving JSA for over a year, would be offered a paid job that they will have to take or face losing benefits.

'This is a tough but fair contract, because as a country we simply cannot afford to continue wasting the potential of so many, leaving them stuck on benefits for years on end.'

But a Tory party source said: 'Labour's sums don't add up. They are proposing yet more unfunded spending, meaning more borrowing and more taxes to pay for it. And Labour's bank tax is a short-term political gimmick that they want to spend at least ten times over.

'It's the same old Labour. Ed Miliband has no economic plan. Labour would put the recovery at risk, put jobs at risk and hardworking people would pay the price with a less secure future.'

Mr Cameron has set out a Tory ambition for 'full employment', claiming it means 'more of our fellow men and women with the security of a regular wage; it means you, your family and your children having a job and getting on in life'.

The Conservatives have committed to banning under-21s from claiming benefits, with requirement that they are 'earning or learning'.

'No longer will you have the option of leaving school and going straight into a life on benefits', Mr Cameron said last year.

In her letter to Mr Cameron, Ms Reeves says: 'You recently set out your aim for Britain to become a nation of 'full employment', but despite recent welcome falls in overall unemployment the number of people out of work (25 and over) and claiming benefits for over two years is 224 per cent higher than in 2010.

'I hope you will therefore support Labour and back a Compulsory Jobs Guarantee. It's time to put an end to your government's rules which allow jobseekers to spend a lifetime on benefits without being offered a day's paid work.'


You're still too soft on migration, say Tory MPs who warn Cameron Britain is at risk of 'immensely serious social dangers'

David Cameron's plans to curb immigration do not go far enough and leave Britain at risk of 'immensely serious social dangers', a Conservative backbench manifesto claims.

Brian Binley, treasurer of the powerful 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, said tougher controls were needed on migrants' access to welfare and the jobs market.

In a pamphlet for the respected Civitas think-tank, he said immigrants' country of origin should be made to pay for social security costs until they have made a significant contribution to the Exchequer.

There would also be automatic deportation for anybody given a one-year prison sentence or two court fines – a far tougher regime than is currently in place.

The document will increase pressure on the Prime Minister to toughen up the Tory Party's position on immigration controls.

In November, Mr Cameron promised to stop EU migrants claiming in-work benefits, such as tax credits, and getting access to social housing for four years.

But he disappointed his backbenchers by stopping short of more robust action, including a temporary ban on migrants – the so-called emergency brake.

It emerged that No 10 dumped the idea after German Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear it would not win EU support.

The pamphlet by Mr Binley, one of the party's most senior backbench figures, reflects widespread concern among the rank-and-file that the UK has 'surrendered control over its borders'.

It states: 'Emerging policies have failed to be wide-ranging and ambitious enough. Failure to address public immigration concerns would carry immensely serious social dangers.'

Mr Binley, who co-authored the pamphlet with the academic Dr Lee Rotherham, continues: 'The free movement of workers as permitted under EU rules means that the UK has lost control of the supply side of its workforce.

'This would not be an issue but for the fact that it is subsidising its own native workforce to remain unemployed and our long-term uncompetitiveness by hiring in outside labour.

'This may be advantageous to the productivity of the companies in these areas, but it is disadvantageous to the taxpayer who has to effectively subsidise them by dole payments, while the UK workers affected fail to better themselves and rise up the employment ladder.'

He also accuses Labour of 'cynically' encouraging mass immigration, adding: 'Those who endorse a level of mega-immigration that exceeds the ability of society to integrate the newcomers are deliberately attempting social change by different means.'

Mr Cameron sparked controversy this year by excluding immigration from his six key election themes.

The Office for National Statistics is expected to confirm this month that net migration is still 250,000 a year.


Spontaneous Order

Most of life happens without a central planner. Yet people think we need one.

Suppose you’d never seen a skating rink, and I told you that I want to lay down some ice and charge people money to strap sharp blades on their feet. They will zip around on the ice – young and old, skilled and unskilled. My only rule: Go counter-clockwise.

Hillary Clinton would say the rink needs regulation. She calls herself “a government junkie.” Government junkies like government plans. Hillary’d probably demand that my rink have an official who tells skaters when to zoom left or right, when to slow down.

I actually tried that while doing a TV special on “Spontaneous Order.” I brought a megaphone to a skating rink and bossed people around. Some skaters fell. No one thought I’d made skating safer or better.

That’s because no “planner” knows the wishes and skills of individual skaters better than skaters themselves.

Most decision making works much the same way: Leave people free to make their own choices, and a spontaneous order arises – buyers and sellers adjust to changing prices; inventors invent; families raise kids; musicians create jazz.

Yet control freaks have criticized such spontaneity for at least 2400 years. Plato warned that music should be simple so that it does not stir up passion. In the 1920s, Ladies Home Journal complained that jazz would lead “to a breaking away from all rules.” We’re lucky America didn’t have a U.S. Dept. of Music at the time.

On my TV show, one government-lover said decisions must be made “by technocrats … who have this expertise.”

But no central planner has enough expertise to direct the skaters on the ice. (I tried an expert, too. I got an Olympic skater to direct people. She was no better.)

Central planning creates the kind of inefficiency that brought down the Soviet Union. While Americans shopped in malls full of goods, Russians waited in long lines.

Today in the U.S., innovation tends to occur in the freest sectors of the economy, while sectors most closely affiliated with government stagnate. Because LASIK eye surgery is largely funded by customers, it’s improving by leaps and bounds. Government-subsidized hospitals, by contrast, can barely share equipment without running into a thicket of regulations controlling collaboration.

Eighty years ago, it took workers only 15 months to build the Empire State Building. But this century, using vastly superior construction equipment, building the new World Trade Center took 10 times as long. Eighty years ago, some trains ran faster than 100 miles per hour, but now even the “high-speed” Acela train averages only 90 miles per hour because government safety rules demand that American trains be heavier.

Venture capitalist Peter Thiel says the current state of regulation should frighten us: “You would not be able to get a polio vaccine … approved today.” He’s right. The first batch of Salk vaccine gave polio to 40,000 people. If that happened today, the FDA would immediately stop the research. Salk’s vaccine would not have had a chance to save thousands of lives and prevent so much misery.

Thiel funded startups such as Facebook, PayPal, LinkedIn and Yelp. It’s no coincidence that such wonderful innovation happened in cities far from Washington, DC. By the time regulators woke up, good things had already happened. But now the central planners want control over the Internet. Today, in response, Internet companies spend more on lobbying than Wall Street or defense contractors.

Today’s innovators take for granted that there’s only a short window of opportunity before regulators swoop in and ruin everything by dictating a single, centrally planned formula by which innovation may proceed.

That may not bother CEO’s who get in on the ground floor – their way of doing things becomes the template everyone else must use. But everyone else suffers. Bye-bye, innovation. But innovation was once what America was about.


A Typical Week in Dhimmi Britain

It is amazing — in a rather horrifying way — to track the antics of the Religion of Peace in what was once Great Britain. News over the last few days serve only to reinforce my belief that British politicians and media journalists have already submitted before Allah, or have large off-shore bank accounts bulging with treacherous blood money as a reward for betraying their country.

If this sounds a bit far-fetched, consider the peculiar behaviour exhibited by our supposedly impartial journalists over the weekend. The EDL held a march in Dudley on Saturday, protesting about the building of yet another mega-mosque which the vast majority of local people are firmly against. Some 1,000 plus patriotic Brits turned out for the event. A peaceful march ensued and a number of speakers outlined why it was not really a good idea to add another propaganda centre for Islam in the town.

Around fifty delightful young chaps from David Cameron’s UAF friends and Antifa also turned out, all dressed in black with balaclavas thoughtfully covering their scowling and hate-contorted faces lest cameras catch their violent behaviour carried out in the name of “anti-racism” — which is something of a misnomer when one considers the virulent racial hatred they feel toward the native British.

Of these fifty upstanding examples of decency and compassion, thirty were arrested (see video) after they attacked the police. Curiously though, all the media headlines were along the lines of “Thirty arrested at EDL demonstration in Dudley”, leading the low-information reader to assume all those arrested were from the EDL. In point of fact, no EDL supporters were arrested at all.

The Birmingham Mail was guilty of blatant propaganda here, but rather foolishly allowed their comment board to remain open. Within a few hours hundreds of people pointed out their story was a tissue of lies and disinformation. Some questioned the ethics of modern day Birmingham Mail journalists and publicly mused as to whether the propaganda they pumped out was in line with the integrity one expects from those who purportedly exist to tell us the unvarnished truth.

Having been caught in-flagrante as it were, the Birmingham Mail took the only course of action available to such an honourable edifice of truth telling… and deleted all the comments whilst making no attempt whatsoever to edit the article in order to reflect truth and objectivity. The editor is a chap called David Brookes who may be contacted at David.Brookes@trinitymirror.com should readers wish to drop him a line…

On Sunday another demonstration occurred, this time held by thousands of Muslims outside Prime Minister David Cameron’s temporary London pied-a-terre in Downing Street. Some people have noticed how hard it is to get large numbers of Muslims onto British streets to state “Not In My Name” regarding paedophile rape gangs, beheaders of British soldiers or blowers-up of London tube trains, and sure enough this large gathering had nothing to say about such errant Muslim behaviour. They were more concerned about abolishing free speech you see, particularly with regard to free speech about lovely, peaceful old Mo by those rascals at Charlie Hebdo magazine.

Along with the black flag of ISIS they carried placards telling us to “Learn Some Manners” and other tactfully cohesive messages such as “Freedom of Speech=Hatred to Muslims.” They swarmed over the Cenotaph and a statue of Field Marshal Montgomery, although to be fair they probably had little idea who he was other than some dead white English oppressor. I don’t expect they know what the Cenotaph symbolises either; after all, they never turn out on Remembrance Sunday unless it is to Islamically demonstrate within earshot of the old soldiers paying their respects to fallen comrades.

The sheer number of these Muslim demonstrators and the disrespectful way they behaved was surely worthy of media coverage, but not with the ghastly BBC, I’m afraid to say. If you go onto their website and search for “Muslim demonstrators Whitehall Charlie Hebdo” you only get this message: “Sorry, there are no results for Muslim demonstrators Whitehall Charlie Hebdo.”

And therein is a tale of two demonstrations. The British media are prepared to lie and mislead about the one supported by the English, and in the case of the BBC to totally ignore the one portraying Islam in a bad light. They claim this is done in order to promote Community Cohesion but I think all those who saw these arrogantly intolerant savages desecrating our war shrines will have little time for Community Cohesion anymore — just as they have little time in believing Lions and Antelopes can co-exist in a thoroughly modern, progressive, non-carnivorous sort of happy-clappy Utopia.

How can we tolerate the intolerant? And is there anything in the world more intolerant than Islam?

I rather doubt it. Their intolerance even goes beyond the grave, as in the case of the non-Muslim “Shady” Shadrack Smith who has been buried in a multi-faith cemetery in Burbage, Leicestershire, without taking into account the multicultural views of a Muslim family’s distaste about the proximity of their own deceased’s nearest and dearest to a nasty old infidel.

Having made their vociferous objections about this flagrant breach of multi-faith tolerance, Burbage Parish Council have contacted Mr Smith’s family asking them if they would mind awfully if they dug up poor old Shady and moved him to another location where he could then stop giving eternal offence to Islam. Or as Councillor Richard Flemming put it:

“Burbage Parish Council provides an award-winning cemetery for the benefit of the whole community…unfortunately the parish council has recently received representation from two families regarding the allocation of adjacent grave plots within Burbage Cemetery…the parish council is sympathetic to the feelings of both families concerned and is committed to working with the relatives and the wider community to reach an amicable and acceptable solution.”

Memo to Councillor Fleming — why don’t you just tell the Muslim family to naff off? It is, after all, a multi-faith cemetery serving the wider community… oh sorry, silly me. I almost forgot the way things work in Britain these days.

Other examples of Islamic intolerance over the last few days are as follows: Brustholm Ziamani was stopped by police on his way to behead another British soldier. Two young female cadets were threatened with a spot of casual beheading as they left an army reserve centre. Channel 4 newsreader Kathy Newman was escorted out of Streatham mosque after naively thinking a national open day for mosques was to be taken literally.

Undercover footage emerged of Muslims torturing sheep in a halal slaughterhouse. Tower Hamlet’s extremist Muslim Mayor has been accused of electoral fraud and of utilising intimidation and threats. He responded with the ubiquitous display of Muslim victimhood and branded his accusers as racists and Islamophobes. Zain Mohammed, a government employee, is being investigated by the police for stating his disappointment with Hitler for not wiping out the entire Jewish race. To date, however, no arrest has taken place. Meanwhile, Anti-Semitic attacks doubled in Britain in 2014.

British police have called for extra funding because they are now arresting multiple Muslims every day for terrorist activity. Perhaps they should allocate their money more wisely and desist from tracking down harmless old English women who had the anti-Islamic temerity to purchase Charlie Hebdo magazines from the local newsagent? The police should really work out which side they are on here, particularly so when they have been warned not to wear their uniform to work, thereby attracting the attention of cop-killing threats from the Religion of Peace.

Churchillian wannabe leader David Cameron bravely stated he was taking the fight against Islamic extremism to soaring new levels. He growled theatrically: “We have got to go after the hate preachers, we’ve got to go after the radicalisation” and then promptly let hate preacher Muhammad Salah into the UK where he could continue to call for murder and mayhem. Meanwhile, the ban on civil rights activists Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller was upheld by the Court of Appeal, so unlike Muhammad Salah they will not be allowed to enter Britain.

Other political news relates to the Labour Party’s Sadiq Khan, a friend of the convicted Al-Qaeda terrorist Babar Ahmad. Mr Khan wants to contest the election for Mayor of London and is progressing very well. He currently stands in second position in terms of voting support from his Labour chums.

The recriminations from the Rotherham gang rape obscenity continue with the Labour Party accused of deliberately covering up the Muslim rape in order to maintain the Muslim vote. The entire Labour council has resigned, but it now transpires many have gone on to lucrative jobs at other Labour councils — some in charge of safeguarding children. The disgraced former deputy council leader Jahangir Akhtar was asked if he wanted to apologise to the victims of sexual abuse. Mr Akhtar said no, he did not…

In the Daily Telegraph, Britain’s last investigative reporter Andrew Gilligan draws attention to the links between Hamas and the large Muslim Brotherhood presence in London, which includes various Muslim “charities” used to funnel money into Islamic extremism.

On a final note, the British government has noticed there are more British Muslims fighting for ISIS than there are British Muslims in the British army. In order to redress this “inequality” there is now a recruitment drive to swell the ranks with Islam. What could possibly go wrong? General Sir Nicholas Carter, chief of the general staff, thinks nothing could go wrong at all if we train Muslims in the use of firearms and explosives. He said: “Our recruitment from the black, Asian and minority ethnic communities has been improving over the years, but it is nowhere near where it needs to be. We have to do more.”

One of the most senior Muslims in the army, Imam Asim Hafiz, Islamic adviser to the chief of staff, said diversity was one of the UK’s strengths and this enhanced the military’s cultural understanding and helped them when deployed. “In my view, the values of the armed forces are fully compatible with the values of Islam as well as other faiths.” Isn’t that just marvellous? I do hope it won’t lead to incidents of “workplace violence” a la Fort Hood.

So all in all, not a bad week really. Not good for Britain of course, but jolly good for Islam. All things considered.



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, 2015

Labour's #pinkbus for women backfires with stream of Twitter spoofs

When senior Labour figures announced their intention to tour the country in a bus to “reach out to women” ahead of the general election, they probably didn't expect it to be quite so controversial.  But the bus has become a hot talking point - mainly thanks to its hot pink paint job.

The 16-seater van has sparked a debate on social media about whether the choice of pink for a women's campaign is patronising and sexist, or simply an eye-catching colour that people are reading far too much into.

Labour insists the colour was chosen purely for practicality: red wouldn't stand out from other vehicles in traditional Labour colours, a darker red looked too much "like a Pret A Manger van", while white vans weren't conspicuous enough.

But opinion from the masses remains firmly split.

"At least they're trying. People will always find something to complain about," wrote one commenter on the Telegraph's Facebook page.

"What a joke! Totally sexist and out of touch!" said another.

One thing is for sure - it is very easy to parody a bright pink bus.

The 'Woman to Woman' vehicle raised instant comparisons to Barbie cars, pink party limos and the hot pink cadillac from the Sheila's Wheels car insurance adverts in a stream of Twitter parodies:


Grandfather's body could be exhumed after relatives of Muslim buried alongside complain he was an unbeliever

Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, could be dragged into a messy legal battle after a Muslim family demanded that a “non-believer” who was buried next to their relation be exhumed for religious reasons.

The unnamed Muslim family raised objections after an 89-year-old Roman Catholic man was buried in a plot adjacent to their relation.

Shadrack Smith was buried in the multi-denominational Lychgate Lane Cemetery in Burbage, Leicestershire, following his funeral on Jan 30.

Mr Smith had lived in an official gipsy camp in nearby Aston Firs for more than 20 years, and in excess of 400 relations and friends attended his funeral.

His family later received notice that relations of the man buried alongside him had complained because Mr Smith was not an adherent of the Islamic faith.

Islamic religious authorities say that it is forbidden for non-Muslims to be buried alongside Muslims under normal circumstances.

Mr Smith’s family have now been warned by town hall officials that Mr Smith’s grave may be moved.

If Burbage parish council decides to overrule Mr Smith’s family’s wishes, it would fall to Mr Grayling’s Ministry of Justice to approve the application to exhume and relocate his remains.

His family, which includes eight children, 25 grandchildren and 40 great-grandchildren, have vowed to fight “tooth and nail” to stop any exhumation taking place.

Any bid to move human remains requires a licence from the Ministry’s officials.

“The consents of all the next of kin of the deceased are normally required,” official guidance says. “The MoJ receives over 1,000 licence applications a year. Each will be considered on its merits, but applications made for private family reasons on behalf of the next of kin will, subject to any other necessary consents, normally be considered sympathetically.” But Mr Smith’s family have vowed to fight any move to relocate his remains.

His daughter-in-law, Tracey Smith, 46, said: “This whole thing has devastated our family. We were told when we bought the plots that it was a multi-faith cemetery, but the council has been so unsupportive.

“I feel for the Muslim family because they obviously thought they were only going to have other Muslim families buried around them. But that’s not our fault.

“The council has tried to bend over backwards to please the Muslim family.

“We have been told we might have to exhume Shady if the council decide to side with them. There is no way Shady will be exhumed. If they suggest it, we will take them to the highest court in the land. We will fight tooth and nail to stop the grave being dug up.”

Mr Smith’s family were warned by the council four days before his funeral that the owners of the plot adjacent to theirs had complained, but declined to amend their plans. His family paid £2,500 for three plots at the cemetery, including one hand-picked for its position, facing towards Mr Smith’s home, a Romany tradition. Burbage parish council confirmed that the cemetery is unsegregated, adding that: “So that people of all denominations can use Burbage Cemetery, the graveyard ground at Lychgate Lane is unconsecrated.”

Richard Flemming, the Council chairman, said: “Unfortunately the parish council has recently received representation from two families regarding the allocation of adjacent grave plots within Burbage Cemetery.

“The parish council is sympathetic to the feelings of both families concerned and is committed to working with the relatives and the wider community to reach an amicable and acceptable solution.”


Obama now claiming 1 in 5 women in America have experienced rape or attempted rape

Gone are the days that the president makes false claims that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted while in college. Now 20 percent of all women in America have been raped or nearly raped. And 25 percent of American women — not just college women — have experienced domestic violence.

Let’s just think about that for a minute. The current population of the U.S. is 316.1 million, with women comprising about half. That means there are about 158 million women and girls in the U.S. If 20 percent of American women have been raped or almost raped, that’s a total of 31.6 million women, which is somewhere between the populations of Texas and California.

These numbers are wildly out of line with national crime statistics, which don’t show anywhere near that number of rapes in the past two decades. Those statistics show fewer than 2 million rapes being reported in that time frame. Even accounting for the fact that many rapes go unreported, the number Obama gave Sunday night is staggering. It would mean that just 6.3 percent of rapes and attempted rapes are reported.

This would also mean that, if Obama is right and 25 percent of American women have experienced domestic violence, then 39.51 million women in the country (which is more than the population of California) are victims of such violence.

If this is truly the case in America — and Obama didn’t just make a major blunder by not limiting his statistics to college campuses, which are still wildly exaggerated — then the draconian measures activists have been pushing to eradicate due process to address the supposed rape crisis might be understandable.

However, in the more likely scenario that Obama forgot to say “women in college” when pushing these politically powerful but ultimately incorrect statistics, then he just broadcast to everyone watching the Grammy’s that they should be afraid to leave their house for fear of rape, and afraid to stay in it for fear of domestic violence.


The Crusades in Context: Correcting a Historic Campaign of Disinformation

At the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington last Thursday, President Obama looked directly at his audience and, with a straight face, invoked an argument commonly leveraged by Islam's disingenuous apologists and western intelligentsia.  He asserted that we must resist the urge to "get on our high horse," as we lack the moral credibility to decry Islam for the horrific acts committed by the Islamic State (IS), due to a documented history of Christian-perpetrated violence-the Crusades.

This shifty attempt to divert attention away from fourteen centuries of atrocities committed under the banner of Islam, by falsely manufacturing moral equivalency with the Crusades, dangerously grants absolute impunity to the ideology that motivates the unthinkable barbarity committed by the Islamic State today.

By way of revisionist history and intellectual dishonesty, western intelligentsia has sought to whitewash the doctrinal skeletons of Islam by contorting Christian history-and they've largely succeeded.  How well have they succeeded?  During a 2001 visit to Damascus, Syria, the late Pope John Paul II apologized to his Muslim hosts for "Christian offenses and violence of the past."  The grim irony: this apology was delivered in the Umayyad Mosque-a former Christian church, conquered and converted into a mosque in the earliest days of Islam.

Thoughtful targets of this historic campaign of disinformation should consider whether this pseudo-argument is properly invoked, by asking the basic question, "what were the Crusades?"  Further, may such a questionable line of reasoning be regarded as logical justification to pardon Islam for the crimes committed by its adherents and institutions-which are not only sanctioned by Islamic doctrine, but are also expressly commanded by the Koran?  Why do such apologists have to reach back nearly one thousand years in Christian history to muster a single-yet inadequate-example through which to construct this immoral moral equivalency?

A Look Back

In the seventh century, a new Islamic Empire, motivated by Mohammadean political-military philosophy, dressed in the cloak of religion, emerged from the Arabian Desert, and waged predatory conquest over the Levant, south Asia, Anatolia, north Africa, the Balkans, and eventually the Iberian Peninsula.  In the eleventh century, the Seljuk Muslim dynasty inherited this spirit of conquest, and executed with renewed zeal.

Like their dynastic predecessors, the Seljuk Muslims waged a persistent campaign to slaughter the Christian minority communities of the Holy Land, the Levant, and northern Mesopotamia, as they continued to force their way deeper into Europe, by way of the Balkans in the east and the Iberian Peninsula in the west.  The Christians who were not slaughtered along the way were forcibly circumcised (both men and women), raped and subjugated.

Unlike the preceding dynasties of the Caliphate, the Seljuks exterminated thousands of European Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land.  Thus, in 1095, Pope Urban II sanctioned the First Crusade. 

The Crusades are often mischaracterized as an example of medieval Christian bloodlust and warfare, motivated by dominion theology.  However, when considered in its accurate historical context, it becomes apparent that the Crusades were not wars of Christian conquest and conversion, but rather defensive measures to protect European pilgrims and Christian holy sites, and to fend off the Muslim Empire's burgeoning westward tide.  The Muslim Empire posed a geo-political threat to the edges of the European continent indeed, but more importantly, a threat to western civilization at large, with imposition of Islamic law as its pinnacle goal.  The survival of western civilization was at stake; and as such, so was the Christian principle of free conscience.

The Crusades were also a humanitarian campaign to rescue the persecuted Christian minorities of the Holy Land, Levant, and northern Mesopotamia.  While twentieth century secular Arab regimes have concocted the claim that the Crusades decimated the native Christian communities of the Levant, we know from original sources that the Crusaders actually bolstered the Syriac Christian communities of Edessa, Antioch, Damascus and the Holy Land, the Maronite community of Lebanon, and the Armenians of Edessa.

It would be irresponsible to ignore that many native Christians fell victim to rogue mercenaries from within Crusader ranks.  However, to be clear, those atrocities, while inexcusable, did not represent the campaign's mission; such orders were not passed down the chain of command, and they were certainly not commanded by Christian religious texts.  While history judges the Crusades largely as self-defeating to Christendom (the Fourth Crusade is credited with the dissolution of the Byzantine Empire), I'm sure this is not the cruel legacy apologists cite when passing moral condemnation on "Christianity's oppressive history."

Justifiable Even by Modern Standards

Not only was the European Christian campaign a defensive humanitarian and geo-political imperative by medieval standards, but also by modern standards of international law.  Contrast that with every Islamic campaign observed throughout history, starting with the genocide of the Jews of Medina, to the genocide of Syrian and Iraqi Christians today.

The international duty of humanitarian intervention, commonly known as the Responsibility to Protect Doctrine (R2P), is an international norm, adopted retrospectively by the international community after its failure to respond to the Rwanda genocide of 1994.  R2P holds that nation-states bear the responsibility to protect their internal populations (including ethno-religious minorities) from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing.  The international community bears the responsibility to assist said nations in fulfilling this primary responsibility.  If a state manifestly fails to protect its citizens from mass atrocity, the international community bears the duty to intervene through coercive measures, to include military intervention.

Justifiable under both medieval and modern standards, the Crusades can only reasonably be condemned by way of revisionist history, and intellectual dishonesty.  While this revisionist narrative was created in western ivory towers, it did not remain confined therein.  This lie of the ages has spread from college campuses into western popular culture and ultimately infiltrated policy lobbies.

Either with treasonous purpose, or by ignorance, many supposed intellectuals fail to highlight the fact that medieval Arabic accounts do not regard the military campaigns of European Christians in the Holy Land as a monumental historic event.  In fact, the Crusaders are regarded in medieval Arabic manuscripts as just another element in the political-military milieu of the Levant in the High Middle Ages, and were viewed with far less concern than the plethora of internal enemies of the Seljuk dynasty, and the Islamic Caliphate generally.  It was not until the late nineteenth century that the notion of the Crusades as a discrete event entered into Arab nationalist political thought, drawing largely from western sources.  This novel narrative neatly suits the deceptive Islamist victimhood agenda today.

The Proper Basis for Moral Comparison

It is nearly impossible to refute the claim that every religion, at some point in history, has had rogue elements commit criminal acts in its name.  However, characterizing any religion by cherry picking the misdeeds of its individual adherents is a fundamentally flawed methodology for scientific inquiry.  Individual actions only represent the vices and virtues of individuals.  To objectively evaluate the character of a religion, one must engage in a sober review of its scriptural principles, along with the beliefs, character and conduct of its founding prophet.

According to biblical scripture, the followers of Christ are commanded to engage in a conquest of hearts and minds, with love as their sole weapon.  In that light, Christian missions have fanned across the globe, over the last two millennia, building schools, hospitals, and orphanages.

Islam, on the other hand, expressly and unambiguously commands its followers to bring perpetual jihad until the Day of Judgment (al-jihad qa'm hatta yawm al-deen), or until all peoples of all nations submit to Allah.  Islam's dominion theology is not merely the brainchild of an individual's radical interpretation or an extremist strain.  Koran 9:5 commands Muslims to "slay the infidels wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush."   Koran 8:12 more specifically commands Muslims to "strike off the heads of infidels."  A far cry from "turning the other cheek" (Matthew 5:39).

If there's ever been a single cause that warrants the world community to mount a moral "high horse," this is it-the campaign against the ideology of the Islamic State.  The world cannot afford to regard human beheadings and live human incineration from a moral relativist perspective.  Shielding a self-proclaimed rogue state, and its belligerent ideology, from objective moral accountability is a treacherous slope, especially if that pseudo-state has already demonstrated the will and capacity to mount an unprecedented campaign to claim large swaths of sovereign territory, and redefine Westphalian world order.



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, 2015

Isn't multiculturalism wonderful?

Kuwaiti refugee who murdered wife after torturing her for two hours with screwdrivers and a drill while blasting out Koran to hide her screams is jailed for at least 23 years

A Kuwaiti refugee who murdered his wife after horrifically torturing her with screwdrivers and a drill while blasting out the Koran to mask her screams has been jailed for 23 years.

Thahi Manaa beat his wife Sara Al'Shourefi, 28, for two hours with metal bars, an electric drill, two screwdrivers and shelf during the 'ferocious and chilling' attack.

The bloodstained weapons were found near the mother-of-four's body, which police found stuffed in cupboard after Manaa had bound the woman's legs with parcel tape.

One of the screwdrivers was found sticking out of Mrs Al'Shourefi's eye socket and a section of her scalp had been torn from her head.

The living room attack at their home in Firth Park, Sheffield, in March last year took place while Manaa's mother and two of the couple's children - aged two and four - were also inside the locked house.

Manaa, 37, even telephoned a travel agent during the assault to make plans for his getaway.

Jailing him today, Mrs Justice Cox said: 'It was a ferocious and chilling attack of unimaginable barbarity.'  She said the victim suffered multiple blows while she was already on the floor bleeding and crawling around on her hands and knees.  The judge said: 'She was alive for most of the assault though she may well have been rendered unconscious in its latter stages.

'The pain, terror, anguish and desperation she would therefore have suffered as you inflicted these appalling injuries upon her and ended her life, is truly horrifying to contemplate.'

The judge said the sentence would have been longer but it was accepted that Manaa had been suffering from a psychotic illness for a long period of time and it was a 'significant contributory factor' in the killing.

She added that he had subjected his wife to 'repeated acts of violence and abusive and controlling behaviour' since she joined him in this country. Manaa stared at his feet in the dock as an interpreter repeated the judge's words to him.

A total of 270 injuries were found on his wife's body, there were a large number of puncture wounds to her head and neck and clumps of her hair had been torn out. Her scalp was hanging off her head, she had been kicked and stamped upon and a knife had been used on her neck.

Lead investigator Detective Chief Inspector Zaf Ali said afterwards: 'This was a horrific and brutal attack on a woman that has left four young children without their mother and family completely destroyed.

'Until the day of her death Sara was kept isolated by Manaa and suffered serious domestic abuse at his hands in silence, believing it was not culturally right to speak to the police or medical professionals against her husband.'

Nicholas Campbell QC, prosecuting at Sheffield Crown Court said: 'It was a sustained and brutal attack and Sara received sadistic injuries.'

Manaa admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denied the murder. He was found guilty of murder by the jury after a two-and-a-half week trial.

The murderer previously claimed he had no memory of the attack and told a psychiatrist the couple had ongoing rows about a shelf he put up in the living room.

'His wife wanted it to be moved,' said Mr Campbell. 'There was an argument and he hit her with his hands and with the shelf he was trying to reposition.

'He said he hit Sara on the head and shoulders with the shelf and she became a little tired. He offered to take her to hospital or call 999 but she told him it would not be necessary. He went upstairs but when he came back down she was lying on the floor. There was a screwdriver sticking out of her left eye.'

Manaa told Mrs Al'Shourefi 'she was not up to his demands' and was described by another psychiatrist as a 'depressed individual who is also controlling, possessive and jealous'.

The court heard he took four wives, which is allowed in his culture, and had an 'unshakeable belief' that each of his wives were unfaithful to him.

Neighbours heard high-pitched screams and the sound of banging coming from the house on the morning of the murder.  One said: 'It seemed as if Sara was being tortured. It seemed as if she was in a lot of pain.'

Another witness heard Manaa hitting his wife. 'She pictured Sara on the floor with the defendant coming in and out of the room shouting and hitting her. As the assault continued the screams became more laboured until everything went silent.'

Manaa later told his nephew Ahmad Jabber: 'I have killed my wife.' Mr Jabber told police: 'His eyes were bulging and he seemed to be like a crazy person as if he was out of his mind.'

Manaa fled to the UK in 2010 and his wife a year later as 'stateless' refugees. He was granted leave to remain in the UK until 2016. The couple, who married in 2004, brought their three young children with them and had a fourth child while in Britain.

Mrs Al'Shourefi's only close relative in the UK was her younger sister Narjis Farhoud who lived just two minutes away from the family's privately rented home, with the rest of her relatives in Kuwait.  'Her isolation from the family at home is a significant factor in the events which unfolded,' said Mr Campbell.

When she married, Mrs Al'Shourefi was pretty with long, black hair but by the time of the tragedy became subdued, wore glasses and had limited reading and writing skills.

Her younger sister told how she was not allowed out of the house alone and even had to ask her husband to buy sanitary towels. 'From being good-natured and happy she lost her joy in life,' said Mr Campbell.

Her husband swore at her but she was not allowed to raise her voice at him and she was forbidden from attending English classes or going shopping.  Mrs Al'Shourefi confided in her sister that Manaa beat her but she said she 'had to bear it' as he continued to dominate her.

He threw 'everything in front of him' at her and would hit her for the slightest reason. 'He punched her regularly and when she tried to protect herself he would grab her hand and control her movements,' said Mr Campbell. 'He would pull out chunks of her hair.'

After her death on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 chunks of her hair were found in a bag in the kitchen which the deceased had collected.

'Narjis believed not a week would go by without her sister being assaulted in one way or another although Sara told her she was hit almost every day,' Mr Campbell said.

Manaa threatened to kill her if she reported it to the police and she was worried she would lose the children. 'Sara said she accepted all of this behaviour because she loved him,' said the prosecutor.

To isolate his wife even more he took her mobile phone at the beginning of 2014 - preventing her from calling Narjis or her family in the Middle East. Narjis from then only had contact her sister through her mother-in-law.

In a statement which Narjis asked to be read in court before Manaa was sentenced she said: 'Why did you do it? Why did you just not divorce her? You treated her as a slave. Had you no mercy for all the good things she did for you and your children. You tortured her from the moment you married her. Was this not enough for you? Why did you have to kill her.'


Islamic book burners

by Jeff Jacoby

BOOK BURNING is as old as books, and as current as this week's news.

The Associated Press reported on Monday that Islamic State fanatics have ravaged the Central Library of Mosul, the largest repository of learning in that ancient city. Militants smashed the library's locks and overran its collections, removing thousands of volumes on philosophy, science, and law, along with books of poetry and children's stories. Only Islamic texts were left behind.

"These books promote infidelity and call for disobeying Allah," one of the ISIS jihadists announced as the library's holdings were emptied into sacks and loaded onto pickup trucks. "So they will be burned."

There was more book-burning soon afterward, when Islamic State vandals sacked the library at the University of Mosul. "They made a bonfire out of hundreds of books on science and culture, destroying them in front of students," AP reported. Lost in the libricide were newspapers, maps, and texts dating back to the Ottoman Empire. UNESCO, the UN's educational and cultural agency, decried the libraries' torching as "one of the most devastating acts of destruction of library collections in human history."

Perhaps the most chilling words ever written about book-burning were penned in 1821 by the great German poet Heinrich Heine: Dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen — "Where they burn books, they will in the end also burn people." Today that axiom is etched on a plaque in Berlin's Bebelplatz, the public square where more than 20,000 books deemed "un-German" and "decadent" were destroyed in a vast Nazi bonfire on the night of May 10, 1933.

Though Heine's words are indelibly associated now with the Holocaust, they have lost none of their grim prescience. Just one day after news emerged of the book-burnings in the Islamic State's so-called "caliphate," the jihadists released a video exulting in the horrific murder of Jordanian pilot, Moaz al-Kasasbeh, who was burned alive in a metal cage.

There is something uniquely diabolical about setting books on fire, a lust to obliterate that almost ineluctably leads to even more dreadful evils. It is no coincidence that those obsessed with annihilating the physical expression of dangerous thoughts or teachings so often move on to annihilating the people who think or teach them.

"A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it," orders Captain Beatty, the book-hating fire chief in Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury's dystopian classic. "Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man's mind. Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man?"

Yet if the long and heartbreaking history of book-burning teaches anything, it is that books cannot be killed by fire. Pages can be burned, libraries can be reduced to ash, treatises can be found guilty of heresy or sedition and set ablaze. But ideas are not so easily extirpated. Heine's books were among those the Nazis flung on the bonfires in 1933; so were the books of more than 2,000 other authors, including Bertolt Brecht, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Ernest Hemingway, Leo Tolstoy, and Franz Kafka. Josef Goebbels assured the enthusiastic crowd that they would "commit to the flames the evil spirit of the past." The books, however, are still alive. It was the Third Reich that went down in flames.

The story of books is the story of books being suppressed — a story of staggering cruelty, and of equally staggering futility. The destruction of Mosul's libraries prompted one Iraqi parliamentarian, Hakim al-Zamili, to compare ISIS to the Mongols who conquered Baghdad in 1258. Then, too, prized works of learning — on history, medicine, astronomy — were demolished. "The only difference is that Mongols threw the books in the Tigris River, while now [ISIS] is burning them," al-Zamili said. "Different method, but same mentality."

Indeed, in their bloodlust and zealotry, the book-burners of ISIS have many antecedents — Crusaders, Mongols, Nazis, Wahhabis, Khmer Rouge. But ISIS too will find that it is easier to slaughter human beings than to destroy ideas.

The Talmud records the death of Chanina ben Teradion, a 2d-century Jewish sage killed by the Romans for violating a ban on teaching Torah. It was a terrible death: He was wrapped in the scroll from which he had been teaching and set on fire, with wet wool placed on his chest to prolong the agony. His horrified disciples, forced to witness his death, cried out: "Rabbi, what do you see?" He replied: "I see parchment burning, but the letters are soaring free."

Any brute can burn parchment, or ransack a library, or blow up a mosque, or bulldoze cultural treasures. But not even mighty armies can destroy the ideas they embody. The Roman Empire couldn't keep the letters from soaring free. ISIS can't either.


AFA: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Glamorizes Abuse, Degrades Women

 The American Family Association, a conservative, pro-family group, is urging movie theaters around the country not to show "Fifty Shades of Grey" when the movie debuts on Valentine's Day.

“Nothing in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ builds up society, respects or empowers women or demonstrates healthy relationships,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “Rather, the film glorifies abusive relationships and glamorizes abusive tendencies such as stalking, bondage sex, intimidation and isolation.

"In fact, the Centers for Disease Control’s standards of emotional abuse and sexual violence include nearly every one of the interactions between the two main characters. Both movie theaters and moviegoers can stand up to this kind of disgusting content that’s touted as 'entertainment' and choose not to show or pay to see the film.”

The movie tells the story of a young college graduate, Anastasia Steele, who is introduced to sexual bondage, abuse and sadism/masochism, by a character named Christian Grey, whom she met during a newspaper interview.

“The irony is not lost that the film’s main character is named 'Christian,' while this film presents anything but a 'Christian' view of intimacy,” Wildmon continued. “The idea that anyone would think this film is in any way appropriate demonstrates an incredibly unhealthy view of relationships and sexuality. A more apt title for the movie would be 'Fifty Shades of Evil.'

"Without question, this film will have a corrosive effect on cultural views of what normative sexuality ought to be," Wildmon continued.

"Healthy relationships seek to safeguard the emotional and physical well-being of another; this film promotes inflicting emotional, physical and psychological harm on another for the sole purpose of self-serving sexual gratification. It is the epitome of elevating abuse, and we call on all theaters to reject promoting such abuse on their screens.”

The American Family Association is not the only group condemning the movie before it airs.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation is among the concerned groups sponsoring a Twitter campaign called #50DollarsNot50Shades, which encourages people to skip the movie and donate $50 to a domestic abuse center instead.

"Hollywood doesn’t need your money; abused women do,” says the social media campaign.


Store Wars: Americans Weigh in on Wedding Business Clash

Liberals may claim no one’s “hurt by a gay wedding,” but they can’t fool the American people. Voters are more concerned than ever that this race to redefine marriage comes at a price. A slim plurality of people told the Associated Press that they support same-sex “marriage” – 44% to 39% (a whopping 15% had “no opinion”) – but there are plenty of strings attached. Fifty-seven percent of the respondents believe that families like the Kleins, Stutzmans, Nangs, Odgaards, and others should have the right to turn down same-sex “wedding” business.

No American – business owner or otherwise – should have to violate their beliefs to compete in the marketplace. Michigan’s David Kenney, who was a part of the poll, sided with the vendors. “Why make an issue out of one florist when there are probably thousands of florists? The gay community wants people to understand their position, but at the same time, they don’t want to understand other people’s religious convictions. It’s a two-way street.”

That consensus also spilled over into the public square, where a solid majority thought government officials and judges should be able to opt-out from issuing “marriage” licenses to same-sex couples. As more Americans cut through the media’s spin, they’re finally starting to understand that the debate isn’t about discrimination but participation in a ceremony that violates people’s faith. These are the stories the media doesn’t want to tell. But you and I are – and it’s starting to make a difference.



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, 2015

Couples with one dominant partner are happier and produce more children, study says

Leftist fantasies about equality don't even work in personal relationships

Equality may not be the best policy – at least when it comes to starting a family.  Research shows couples have more children when one half takes control of the relationship.

And the boom in births applies whether it is the man or the woman in charge. This may be partly because strong women find submissive men sexy, the Czech researchers say.

More than a quarter of women are the dominant partner in a relationship, making the couple stronger

Pairing a dominant personality with a more reserved soul may also make it easier to resolve rows and boost co-operation.

For the study, entitled Why Do Some Women Prefer Submissive Men, the researchers from Charles University in Prague quizzed 240 young men and women about the sort of person they were attracted to.

For instance, they were asked whether they would prefer to be with someone who would 'guide and protect' them or 'admire and serve' them.

They were also asked whether their mother and father had equal status in their relationship or whether one tended to be more submissive. Finally, they were asked how many siblings they had.

The results showed there to be more families in which one parent was dominant than where both were equal.

Women were in charge in 24.2 per cent of cases, the journal Neuroendocrinology Letters reports. The couples in which one partner was dominant had the most children.

The researchers said: 'Too often, we are told to view even mild dominance and submissiveness as a problem.

Our results challenge the frequently held belief in equality within couples as a trademark of functional partnerships.

'It rather appears that existence of some disparity, with one partner dominant, and the other submissive, improves cohesion, results in better co-operation between partners and improves the couple's ability to face challenges.'

They added: 'In the light of these results, both excessive pressures towards equality in some modern societies, and pressures towards male dominance in some traditional societies, represent a form of oppression.'

Couples made up of two strong characters had the fewest children.

The researchers said: 'If the two individuals rank at a similar degree, even minor conflicts may escalate due to competition.'


Homosexuals take more drugs because they don't have children so are more prone to destructive behaviour, says Newsnight host Evan Davis

BBC Newsnight host Evan Davis has revealed that gay people take more drugs because they don't have children, it has been reported.

The gay broadcaster, who has always been candid about his own sexuality, said homosexuals were more prone to destructive behaviour as they were not bound by the same 'discipline.'

He was said to have described drug taking as 'socially infectious' among the gay community and said it was not helped by their slightly greater disposable income.

'The gay community has less discipline because it doesn't have kids to go home to, and slightly more disposable income, and then add to that that when these things catch on they tend to have a momentum,' the 52-year-old broadcaster told Attitude magazine.

'Once gay people start taking drugs, they'll take more drugs because it's socially infectious and one person will take them, then another. I just think it's something gay people have to watch out for.'

Davis comments come after the British Crime Survey found drug use among gay and bisexual men was three times higher than for straight men and was higher in the majority of individual drugs consumed including cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines and cannabis

The same report concluded illegal drug use by gay and bisexual women was four times higher at almost 23% than among heterosexual women.

This is not the first time that Davis has discussed drugs. In 2010 he was accused of using a new purge of health and safety rules to promote the legalisation of cannabis.

During an interview with, Lord Young, he seized on the Tory peer's remark that: ‘Frankly, if I want to do something stupid and break my leg or neck, that’s up to me.’

When Lord Young replied: ‘Haven’t you ever been skiing?’ the presenter retorted: ‘So if I want to smoke cannabis, that’s up to me as well, presumably?  ‘What principle distinguishes between me doing something dangerous that can break my neck and having a spliff?’

The journalist, who presents the BBC Two current affairs programme, told Attitude magazine that he was 'tortured' during his teenage years due to his sexuality.

Mr Davis,who was formerly an economist before joining the BBC, said he now hopes 16-year-old's in the same position think 'it's not a very big deal.'

Mr Davis, who is also known for his role on Dragons’ Den and Radio 4 flagship breakfast news show Today, replaced Jeremy Paxman as the host of Newsnight last year.

When his appointment was announced Tony Hall, BBC director general said: 'Evan is an outstanding journalist, an extraordinarily clever and intelligent interviewer.  'He has a wonderful presence on TV. I’ve got no doubt he will be a really great presence on Newsnight.'


A Short History of The many meanings of 'political correctness'

Amanda Taub's Vox piece denying the existence of political correctness does get one thing right: The phrase political correctness "has no actual fixed or specific meaning." What it does have, though Taub doesn't explore this, is a history of meanings: a series of ways different people have deployed the term, often for radically different purposes. Unpack that history, and you can unpack a lot of the debates going on today.

People have been putting the words "politically" and "correct" together in various contexts for ages, but for our purposes the story begins in the middle of the 20th century, as various Marxist-Leninist sects developed a distinctive cant. One of the terms they liked to use was "politically correct," as in "What is needed now is a politically correct, class-conscious and militant leadership, which will lead an armed struggle to abolish the whole system of exploitation of man by man in Indonesia and establish a workers state!"  It was a phrase for the sort of radical who was deeply interested in establishing and enforcing the "correct line," to borrow another term of the day.

If you were the sort of radical who was not interested in establishing and enforcing the correct line, you were bound to start mocking this way of talking, and by the end of the '60s the mockers were flinging the phrase back at the drones. In 1969, for example, when Dana Beal of the White Panther Party defended the counterculture against its critics on the straight left, he argued that freely experimenting was more important than trying "to be perfectly politically 'correct.'"

A year later, in the seminal feminist anthology Sisterhood is Powerful, Robin Morgan derided male editors who had "the best intentions of being politically 'correct'" but couldn't resist butting in with their own ideas. In the new usage, which soon superseded the old Leninist lingo pretty much entirely, "politically correct" was an unkind term for leftists who acted as though good politics were simply a matter of mastering the right jargon.

Meanwhile, a similar but slightly different approach to the phrase emerged. In '80s issues of magazines like Mother Jones or Ms., "politically correct" could describe a consumer good or a lifestyle choice. The tone here was usually lightly self-mocking, as you'd expect when words once associated with a shifting Maoist party line were now being applied to an exercise book or a fake fur. But some people did use it earnestly, perhaps because they weren't in on the joke, perhaps because they just thought the term was too good to go to waste. In the early '90s, a woman told me that she and her friends had often said "politically correct" without any irony when she was an undergraduate at Bryn Mawr. She wasn't happy when she started hearing people use the expression disdainfully.

My favorite mid-'80s manifestation of the phrase has to be this ad that Mother Jones ran in 1985—mostly because I'm not entirely sure if it's being partly ironic or completely sincere. It's clearly one of the funniest things anyone wrote that year, but I'll be damned if I know whether the person who produced it knew that:

By then the term was fairly well-established on American campuses. When future Clinton speechwriter Jeff Shesol debuted his comic strip Thatch in Brown's student newspaper in 1988, he included a faux superhero called Politically Correct Person, a character forever correcting people's language and consumer choices. "Yes, I'm familiar with Doonesbury. 

The phrase persisted in the more radical segments of the left as well. When I was attending the University of Michigan, one of my colleagues at the student radio station edited a queer/punk zine called P.C. Casualties, which ran this righteous rant in 1991: "As if bullying prank phone calls from those young Republican shitheads weren't enough, now we have half-assed, pseudo-radical academics playing the same old power games as well. Yeah, you've got all the 'correct' answers, and even a little power in your corner of this political ghetto. But you're all fake....All you've managed to do is torture and maim those you really ought to be caring for—your own brothers and sisters. The bodies of P.C. Casualties lay strewn all over, ghosts of dreams too afraid to materialize, and whispers too fearful to make a sound."

That piece was published near the end of the 1990-91 academic year, which also happened to be the year the phrase had its national coming-out party. The December 24, 1990, Newsweek featured the words "THOUGHT POLICE" on its cover; inside, a Jerry Adler article argued that "where the PC reigns, one defies it at one's peril." A month later, John Taylor's cover story "Are You Politically Correct?" appeared in New York magazine. The Wall Street Journal ran a series of pieces attacking political correctness. And around the same time that issue of P.C. Casualties appeared, President George Herbert Walker Bush warned the graduating class at Michigan that "the notion of political correctness" was replacing "old prejudices with new ones."

"Politically correct" had now entered the mainstream lexicon—and, maybe more important, the conservative lexicon. But what did people mean when they said it? When that jeremiad in P.C. Casualties got down to specifics, it invoked "women banned from the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival for practicing S&M." You weren't likely to see that mentioned in a George Will column. So what were the conservatives upset about?

To a large extent, it was the same things critics on the left had been upset about. But there were other complaints here too. While Newsweek's cover story included anecdotes about censorship and other heavy-handed attempts to impose an orthodoxy, it also veered off periodically into discussions of deconstruction, the Great Books canon, and other subjects that didn't have much to do with civil liberties. Taylor's New York story went even further in that direction, including a whole section on Afrocentrism. From 1990 onward, a bunch of longstanding conservative complaints about campus life, particularly its arguments about what was taught in the English departments, were framed as debates about political correctness.

For some on the right, "P.C." began to be a vague way to refer to anything left of center. "Un-P.C.," meanwhile, became a phrase people used to pat themselves on the back, not just on the right but in the culture at large. By proclaiming yourself politically incorrect, you were announcing that you were a brave opponent of stultifying orthodoxies, even if your actual opinions were as vanilla as the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival.

On the left, some people embraced the term defensively (at Michigan, several student groups opened the 1991-92 school year by adopting the slogan "PC and Proud"), while others foreshadowed Taub by declaring political correctness a myth. More recently, it's become common to claim that what conservatives call political correctness is really "just politeness." (And indeed, if someone uneducated in the jargon of the week unwittingly uses the wrong language, he may receive the same reaction he'd get at a society dinner for using the wrong fork. But I don't think that's what they mean.)

So maybe Taub's right; maybe we should drop the phrase from our lexicon. Not because it doesn't describe anything, but because it describes so many things that you can't use it without worrying that people won't understand what you're talking about. But I won't scold you if you use it anyway. I wouldn't want to come across as politically correct.


Parents branded child abusers by NHS 'bullies'... simply for refusing a heel prick test on their newborn baby

Britain more frighteningly authoritarian than ex-Communist Poland

It should have been the most joyous moment of their lives, one they would look back on fondly for years to come.

But for Tony Shepherd and his Polish fiancee Viola, the weeks after the birth of their baby were filled with disbelief, followed by desperation and finally outright terror – when a small act of perfectly legal defiance led the NHS to brand them child abusers.

The couple could never have imagined that their refusal to have a simple heel prick test for their son would escalate into a full-blown investigation by midwives, social workers and even the police; or that before their son Charlie was even three weeks old, he would have to endure two intimate internal examinations.

Although completely exonerated, the couple were so appalled by the incident that they left the country.

Today, in an extraordinary interview from their home in Babiak, Poland, the couple reveal the hair-raising sequence of events that drove them to the edge of despair and nearly lost them their child for ever.

They have grave questions about the targets that drive so much health service procedure and the lack of communication between NHS trusts – two issues they believe lie at the heart of their ordeal.

Now they intend to take legal action. ‘We have been dealt with appallingly,’ says Tony, 42. ‘The NHS has robbed us of the joy of having a newborn child.’

After seven years together, Tony, a former stockbroker and owner of a legal services firm, and Viola, 28, an architect, were overjoyed when Charlie was born at Whiston Hospital in Merseyside last June.

Apart from a cephalhematoma – a swelling on the head that is a common birth injury and usually clears up within weeks – Charlie was healthy. But the couple’s problems began when a midwife from Whiston visited the new parents at Tony’s mother’s home in Knowsley.

‘She didn’t phone – she just turned up,’ Tony recalls. ‘She seemed forthright and authoritarian; looking down her nose.’ The midwife told them she would do a heel prick test, in which blood is taken from the baby’s foot to be screened for a range of conditions including cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease. It is not a compulsory procedure, but she seemed insistent.

‘She didn’t ask our permission,’ Tony says. ‘We didn’t know what this test was, so asked her. She said it was something they do which looks for conditions in the baby.  ‘I asked what conditions exactly, but she couldn’t tell me.

‘We like to know the reasons for doing tests so I advised her that we would research it and contact her if we wanted it done. She said, "That’s not how it works I’m afraid." ’

The midwife eventually agreed to leave a number for the Liverpool community midwives’ office and left.

The couple returned to their seven-bedroom home in Aigburth, Liverpool, and were transferred to the care of Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

Seemingly unaware that they had already been visited by a Whiston midwife, one from LWH then phoned and said she would be visiting to do the heel prick test. Tony and Viola calmly told her they were still deciding whether to have the test.

‘That same midwife proceeded to call us 15 times,’ Tony says. ‘I own a legal services company so I know what constitutes harassment.’

At 5.30pm that day the exhausted new parents, who were napping, woke to the sound of the buzzer to their gated property. Someone seemed determined to reach them. ‘It continued for 15 minutes,’ Tony says. He eventually opened the door to find a woman in a midwife’s uniform.

‘She said, "So you are in then?" like I was a naughty schoolboy,’ Tony says.

The midwife said she was there to do Charlie’s heel prick test. Tony says: ‘She said, "Listen to me, it’s going to be done today whether you like it or not because it has to be done within ten days." She then put her hand on my chest and tried to push past me into our home. I managed to push her away and close the door. I told her if she didn’t leave, I’d phone the police.’

The midwife in question denies any physical contact.

According to NHS guidelines, the blood spot (heel prick) test is offered to parents of babies in the UK from when they are five days old and up to one year of age.

Although screening is strongly recommended, parents can decline. Tony believes he knows the real reason the midwife was so insistent on getting the test done: targets. ‘We were told by friends that midwives have targets to get the heel prick test done,’ Tony says.

‘There’s immense pressure on midwives, but there’s also the culture that you will just do as you’re told. We naturally question everything.’

According to Public Health England, individual NHS trusts aim to get 95 per cent of newborn babies tested before they are eight days old.

Things got more serious still when the couple were visited by two uniformed police officers.

Tony recalls: ‘The officer explained they had received a report saying we had refused prenatal care – we hadn’t – and now were refusing postnatal care. They wanted to see if Charlie was OK.’

The officers seemed to have a particular suspect in mind – Tony.

‘They looked around a couple of floors and asked Viola, "Is there anybody you know stopping you from having care?" In other words me.’ Later that day it was the turn of Liverpool Social Services.

‘They said they’d had reports from LWH that we were refusing care.

‘They looked in every room and asked lots of questions: how long had we been together; whether Charlie was planned; how and what we fed Charlie; how we changed him – we demonstrated this and they took notes. They asked Viola if she was under duress. They said, "We think your partner may be refusing care in some way because it’s usually your partner who speaks.

‘ "Are you allowed to speak, are you in any form of danger? Is your partner violent towards you?" ’

Viola says: ‘I’m not a person who sits quietly and lets Tony make the decisions. It was horrible and embarrassing. When they left they said, "If you do want to tell us some time in the future, that’s OK."'

Tony adds: ‘I don’t have any form of police record. I’m a professional person. To feel that I was being labelled as something I’m not was terrible.’

After admitting there were no care issues, the social workers apologised and left.  But this was not the end of the couple’s problems.

Concerned that the cephalhematoma injury on Charlie’s head had not changed, Tony and Viola asked their health visitor for advice. They were promptly sent to their GP.

‘She took Charlie from us, examined his head and referred us urgently to Alder Hey Hospital,’ Tony says. ‘We were extremely worried. On the way to the hospital I was terrified. I felt that because of the midwives, the police and social services visits, this was snowballing. I thought they were going to take Charlie from us.’

Once at the hospital, the couple read through the notes the GP had sent with them and were horrified to discover a full run-down of the visits from the midwives, police and social workers.

Tony’s so-called ‘controlling’, ‘unusual’ and ‘strange’ behaviour had been flagged up, as had his refusal to allow a heel prick test.

Worse was a letter from the couple’s GP who had suggested, in light of their notes, that Charlie’s head lump could be an ‘NAI’ – a non-accidental injury. ‘That meant they were putting us forward for child abuse,’ Tony says. ‘I broke down at that point.’

Viola adds: ‘We would never hit Charlie. I couldn’t believe we could be in this situation.’

After an agonising hour-long wait, Tony and Viola saw the consultant.

‘We told him we were being victimised and harassed but he wasn’t interested. He examined Charlie from top to toe. He wanted us to change Charlie’s nappy and at that point he examined Charlie’s genitals and anus. My GP friend later told me that this was to see if we had abused him.’

The consultant confirmed that the lump was a simple cephalhematoma and asked why they had refused the heel prick test.

‘I explained that we hadn’t refused it but that no one could explain it to us. The consultant talked it through and we had it done then and there. All we wanted was for someone to tell us what it was for.’

Charlie then endured a second thorough examination, by another consultant. The couple had gone in at 6.30pm and left, exhausted, at 2.30am. ‘We were both extremely upset,’ Tony says.

The following day, the distraught couple, who had been planning to eventually retire to Poland, wrote a list of pros and cons of moving there or staying in Britain.

‘The biggest con of staying in Britain was potentially having our son taken from us or dealing with the NHS on a continual basis,’ Tony says. ‘That tipped the balance.’

The decision made, they put their home up for rent and left for Poland two weeks later.

To those who may dismiss their decision as overly dramatic, Tony insists: ‘It’s not knee-jerk if you’ve been through what we’ve been through. I’m scared to go back to the UK in case something happens.

‘If Charlie fell and broke an arm and needed hospital treatment, would there be a red flag against our name? Are we going to be on a register? Will Charlie be thought of as an abused child? Our GP friend said that once you had a red flag against your name, it never goes.

‘Poland is a third-world country in some ways, but when it comes to care they seem light years ahead of the NHS.

‘The NHS should be a public service, but it’s being made into individual businesses using private subcontractors who have targets that need to be exceeded each year.’

Viola now says that she would be afraid to have another child back in Britain.

John Hemming, MP for Birmingham Yardley and chairman of the Justice For Families campaign group, said he understood the couple’s distress.

‘The system could decide that they are "unwilling to co-operate with professionals" and put their baby up for adoption,’ he added. ‘You can see the health and care sector getting more and more aggressive in the way people are treated.’

Tony and Viola want to share their experience to help others. ‘We can’t be the only ones who have experienced this,’ he says. ‘Parents have rights. Research your rights and don’t be afraid to say no.’

Dianne Brown, director of nursing and midwifery at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, said: ‘The midwife followed Trust guidelines. Neither the midwife nor Liverpool Women’s referred the family directly to social services or the police. LWH believe the midwife behaved in a professional and appropriate manner and have received no formal complaint.’

A spokesman for Whiston Hospital said: ‘The Trust’s community midwife visited for a routine postnatal check two days after Charlie’s birth. No screening tests were carried out during this visit, but it was discussed with the parents and advice given.’

The couple’s GP failed to respond to requests for comment.



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

What the heck is the ADL doing promoting feminist whining?

With Jews under attack worldwide, you would think that the ADL, an organization set up to defend Jews, would have plenty on its plate without departing from its original purpose.  But their constant attacks on Christian observance have made it clear that it is in fact little more than a Leftist organization.  American evangelical Protestants are a major support for Israel so ADL have clearly lost the plot.  What sense does it make for Jews to attack their friends? So I suppose it is not too surprising to see them poking their noses into a matter that has nothing to do with the welfare of Jewry.  They are promoting Common Core lessons in how to recognize sexism in video games! Preamble below

Marketed primarily to boys and men, video games do not have a good track record when it comes to positively including girls and women. Female characters are rarely in the games and, when they are, they are often portrayed in negative, stereotypical and one-dimensional ways. The lack of female characters, the over-sexualization of them and the violence directed against women are just a few of the problems.

Women media critics have called attention to the sexism and misogyny within the gaming world and, in resulting backlash, several of them have become victims of violent threats themselves. Anita Sarkeesian, one of the more well-known media critics, was in the news recently because, when she was invited to speak at Utah State University, she received threats that there would be a shooting massacre if she came. The campus police reportedly told her they could not search people entering the talk for weapons and therefore could not guarantee her safety, so she cancelled.

Over the past several years, Sarkeesian has repeatedly been threatened with rape, violence and murder because of her outspoken analysis of sexism in the gaming world. This advanced high school lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about the world of video games, understand how sexism and misogyny are perpetuated in gaming and express their own thoughts about the issue.

More HERE (See the original for links)

'Consent is consent, blind drunk or otherwise': Fury as barrister insists it's NOT rape if a woman's under the influence of alcohol or drugs

A barrister has sparked fury among rape victims after insisting men should not be convicted if the woman is drunk or on drugs when sexually assaulted. Writing in a blog post titled 'She's gagging for it', David Osborne protested 'consent is consent, blind drunk or otherwise'.

The Somerset-based barrister added rape statistics would drop if women 'covered up and did not drink themselves legless.'

His comments have been slammed by rape victims and support groups as 'vile'.

Spurred by the Crown Prosecution Service's announcement last month that defendants must prove a a woman not only gave consent to sex but was in an able state of mind to do so, Mr Osborne said: 'I have always found it distasteful and unattractive the suggestion that as the victim was blind drunk she (was) therefore unable to give her consent to sex, or more to the point, she gave her consent which she would not have given had she been sober.

'In my book, consent is consent, blind drunk or otherwise, and regret after the event cannot make it rape,' he continued the post.

'I have a very simple solution which I hope you will agree is fair. If the complainant (I do not refer to her as the victim) was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both, when she was ‘raped’, this provides the accused with a complete defence. 'End of story and a victory for fairness, moderation and common sense!'

Mr Osborne's comments were lambasted by rape victims and charities this morning. Siobhan Ames-Bell, whose step-father was jailed for raping her last year, said: 'His comments are absolutely vile. 'If a person is not in a position to consent then it is rape.  'Sex is a choice, when both people involved are not in consent then it is rape.'

The views of Miss Ames-Bell, who waived her anonymity to campaign on behalf of other rape victims, were echoed by the End Violence Against Women Coalition who described Mr Osborne's comments as 'sick'.  'I find it hard to believe this is not some kind of sick joke or a parody,' Sarah Green, the Coalition's director told the Daily Mirror.

'He is suggesting the opposite of the law. The guy is a barrister and there’s no way he doesn’t know all this.'

Defending his comments, Mr Osborne said the decision on whether or not a woman is fit enough to have sex should not be left up to 'the red-blooded bloke'. 

‘After sexual intercourse has taken place whilst a girl was clearly drunk, when she sobers up and then says "I wouldn't have consented had I been sober" I'm saying very firmly: "bad luck",' the barrister told MailOnline this morning.

‘Why should the responsibility for making these decisions be placed upon the bloke?

'The red-blooded bloke out on the town, there to enjoy himself, if he thinks that someone is likely to consent and he makes the usual enquiries as you do, obviously he should whether she is underage but beyond that I don't really see why the responsibility for determining whether sexual intercourse takes place with consent and with consent freely given, is entirely the responsibility of the accused person.

‘I think that is wrong I think that is unfair, I think it should be a more balanced approach.

'The point I'm trying to make is not that drunken women are not a free-for-all for irresponsible men, what does concern me and that was the reason why all this has started is that the pendulum has swung too far the other way by saying there may be factors which may not be known to the accused at the time but that will subsequently come out which will assist the jury and I say that's totally unfair.’

Mr Osborne was speaking of the recent announcement by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, who said more should be done to determine whether a woman was fit to give consent in alleged rape cases.

‘It is not a crime to drink, but it is a crime for a rapist to target someone who is no longer capable of consenting to sex through drink,' Mrs Saunders said last month.

Mr Osborne however said women who were 'unwilling to behave properly' 

'In towns and cities across the country, girls who shouldn't be out on the street at all, are inappropriately dressed and getting completely rat-arsed.

‘I'm talking about vulnerable girls, clearly are not either willing or able to behave themselves properly and when I say this I mean dress appropriately and don't drink to excess.

‘These problems then arise where she finds herself finding sexual intercourse with a bloke and then she finds herself saying she didn't consent.'


Girl cadets threatened with BEHEADING by two men as they left an Army Reserve Centre

"Asian" is British code for "Pakistani"

Police have mounted uniformed patrols around an Army Reserve after two girl cadets were threatened with beheading as they left the centre.

Two men had shouted the violent threats as they drove past the teenage cadets, who weren't in uniform at the time.

The pair, driving in a Vauxhall Zafira, were said to have asked the girls if they were in the army before threatening them with beheading.

Police have traced the car, which is left-hand drive and appears to have foreign plates, and were trying to establish the identity of the occupants.

The driver was described as black or Asian, in his 40s, and of plump or muscular build with a black bushy beard and wearing dark clothes.

The passenger was also said to be black or Asian, in his 30s, and had short black hair and stubble. 

It comes weeks after British police forces warned officers not to wear uniforms on the way to work after an ISIS-style plot to kidnap and behead an officer.

More than 7,000 officers in the West Midlands were warned they were in imminent danger following an anonymous telephone call to their headquarters on December 8. 

Other forces urgently reviewed safety precautions and warned officers not to wear their uniform or ID badge when off duty.

The official threat level to officers came amid fears extremists will attempt to copy the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby, which has led to soldiers being warned not to wear their uniform off duty.

ISIS has previously called on followers to launch 'lone wolf' attacks on the West.

Extra patrols have now been put in place around the Army Reserve centre in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, formerly the Territorial Army, after the violent threats against the girl cadets.

Other Army Reserve centres have also been alerted since the incident at 9.15pm on Wednesday January 21.

Gateshead Superintendent Richie Jackson said: 'The men made no attempt to make any physical contact with the girls or get out of the car, and shouted the comments while driving away from the scene.

'Inquiries are ongoing to establish the exact nature of what was said during the incident and we have spoken to the two teenage girls, viewed CCTV footage from the area and have identified the vehicle and inquiries are ongoing to trace the driver.

'As a precaution we have notified staff at other Army Reserve centres in the area and have had extra officers on patrol in Alexandra Road to reassure residents.

'Although this is concerning, it is an isolated incident and if anyone has any information that could help us with the investigation I'd ask that they contact us on 101.'

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: 'We are aware of an incident allegedly involving members of the Army Cadet Force - this is a matter for the police and we cannot comment further. Any witnesses are urged to contact the police.

'We understand the girls were not in uniform at the time of the incident and that the suspects asked them 'Are you in the Army?' before issuing the threats.'


Feminists to Trannies: Stay off our TERF

by Jim Goad

As a connoisseur of leftist cannibalism, I enjoy watching the internecine squabbling of groups competing for the top spot on the hierarchy of oppression as if they were puppies stepping on one another’s necks straining for a tug on the warm teat of sympathy.

Male-to-female transsexuals—who, as luck would have it, have always constituted the vast majority of those who feel they were born wearing the wrong genital costumery—have recently emerged as perhaps the most rabidly militant of all identity groups strung along the vast fractured progressive rainbow. In their manic quest to force the world into parroting the obvious lie that they are women, they have stumbled upon an unexpected foe—radical feminists who have real, God-given vaginas.

This is a struggle—laden with a hilarious level of acrimony—between men who insist they’re women and women who insist that the most crucial part of being a woman involves popping out of your mother’s vagina with a vagina of your own. The latter group is disparagingly referred to as TERFs—Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists—due to the fact that they feel male-to-female trannies are trying to party-crash their struggle against historical oppression. The TERFs argue that for men to pretend they’re women is insulting to real women. To them, it is a genital form of blackface.

"Leftist intersectionality has devolved to the point where real women and fake women are arguing over whose vaginas smell worse."
The TERF worldview can be loosely summarized as follows: So-called "trans women" are actually privileged males who use such privilege in an attempt to co-opt women’s historical suffering without enduring any of the social stigma attendant to bleeding for five days a month without dying. They are essentially delusional men who wear dresses or, in some cases, mutilate their genitals in a near-suicidal quest to validate their delusions. Trannies should under no circumstances be able to use women’s bathrooms or attend events that are exclusively designed for women. For trannies to invade such female-designated "safe spaces" is at best intrusive, at worst yet another form of rape. Since "gender" is a social construct and "femininity" is a patriarchal imposition, transsexuals are merely reinforcing anti-female memes by aping sexist stereotypes of how women should behave. Therefore it is they, and not the TERFs, who are the true reactionaries.

Robert Anton Wilson famously said, "It only takes 20 years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea." Whereas those who would now be defamed as TERFs were on the far bloody cutting edge of leftist politics a generation ago, they now find themselves outdated or, as the kids like to say, "irrelevant." Without having changed a single idea, they find themselves labeled not as bold freedom warriors fighting the good fight against oppression but as hateful reactionaries who stand in the way of true progress.



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

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

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


8 February, 2014

Multicultural husband stabbed wife to death with Bowie knife in 'frenzied' attack as she lay in bed - just a month after he was freed early from jail

A husband brutally murdered his wife by stabbing her more than 40 times with a Bowie knife as she lay defenceless in bed, a court heard.

Mazhar Hussain Nawab killed Anayat Bibi in a 'horrific' attack - just weeks after he was released from a six year prison sentence for firing a gun into a room of terrified wedding guests.

Sheffield Crown Court heard the 43-year-old had flown into a frenzy after the pair argued and he murdered Mrs Bibi, his wife of 22 years and mother of his children at their home in Firth Park, Sheffield, last August 10.

Mrs Bibi was later discovered in a pool of blood in their marital bed covered by a duvet.

Imposing a mandatory life sentence, of which Nawab must serve a minimum of 18 years, Judge Michael Murphy QC said: 'This wasn't simply a frenzied attack with an intention to kill, but a sustained attack which continued even after the deceased could have put up no more resistance.

'It wasn't a kitchen knife you picked up. This was a dreadful weapon and you used that weapon to murderous effect.

'A woman is entitled to feel secure and safe in her own home and she was clearly very vulnerable lying in a situation in which she couldn't defend herself. She had stab wounds to her head, neck, face chest and arms.

'The sheer ferocity and savagery shows a level of quite horrific violence on this lady, in my judgement.'

During the hearing it emerged Nawab was jailed for six years in 2012 after he fired a gun into a room full of terrified wedding guests at a Sheffield hotel.

Shocked guests cowered beneath tables as Nawab fired the pistol three times at the Sheffield Park Hotel, Meadowhead, in March 2011. One bullet hit the ceiling, while two shot across the room,

But he was released on licence last July - just a month before he murdered his wife.

Prosector Jonathan Sharp said Nawab and Mrs Bibi were from Pakistan where they had had an arranged marriage in 1992. They moved to the UK in 1994 but the marriage was not a happy one in its latter stages and there was evidence Nawab had looked at dating sites on a laptop computer recovered from the house.

Mrs Bibi moved out of the marital home and lived in Milton Keynes for a time before returning to her husband.

On the day of the killing the emergency services were called by Nawab, who told the operator his wife had stabbed him and he had stabbed her back.

He pleaded guilty to murdering her on the basis she came at him with the knife but his account was rejected by the judge.

Mr Sharp said Mrs Bibi suffered more than 40 injuries and had been stabbed through the duvet.

They included one to her neck which cut her carotid artery and jugular vein, another to her nose cut her septum, a 6cm wound penetrated her spine, while other stab wounds cut into her ribs, lung and liver. Mr Sharp said one injury was inflicted after her cardiovascular system had collapsed.

He said Mrs Bibi's family were devastated by the death of a loving mother, daughter and sister and still had unanswered questions about what had happened. Nawaz refused to answer police questions or give evidence in court.

Mr Sharp said Mrs Bibi 'cared passionately for the happiness of others' and was 'someone to who other members of the family could turn.' He said she had a lot to look forward to in life, including seeing her sons 'bloom into adulthood'.

Her family had expected her as a woman in an arranged marriage, to be protected by her husband.  Mr Sharp added: 'They wonder how something so terrible could happen to someone so kind.'

Speaking after the hearing, Det Chf Insp Sean Middleton, who led the investigation, said: 'It was a sustained and vicious attack on a woman lying in her bed who was entitled to security and protection.

'It was a frenzied assault and he is clearly a dangerous man - that is reflected in the length of the sentence.'


Beware the ideology of Islamism

The latest spate of radical Islamist terrorist attacks on schools, cafes, offices and other 'soft targets' has again ignited debate about Islam's compatibility with liberal democracy.

Some commentators have taken this brutal violence as further evidence that 'there is a problem with Islam' and that it is time to discuss 'Islam's place in the West,' while others have warned against the dangers of 'Islamophobia' and insisted that Islam is a 'religion of peace.'

Rather than engaging in a divisive debate about the meaning of modern Islam, attention should instead be turned to the real and present danger posed by the ideology of Islamism.

Whether the Islamic faith is liberal or illiberal depends on the attitudes of its adherents. However, a political ideology aimed at imposing an 'Islamic order'--Islamism--is by its very nature at odds with liberal democratic values.

In Muslim-majority countries from Indonesia to Morocco, Islamists advocate policies that severely restrict individual liberty. These groups oppose the freedom of women to dress as they see fit, the freedom of sexual minorities to choose their own partners, and the freedom of Muslims to renounce Islam.

As demonstrated by examples like Tunisia's Ennahda party--which last year peacefully accepted electoral defeat--Islamist political parties sometimes respectfully play by the rules of parliamentary democracy. But the Islamist's overarching project of remodelling political, social and economic life in accordance with apparently Islamic principles still threatens the liberty of those who do not share their particular brand of religious fundamentalism.

Although many Islamist political parties have renounced terrorist tactics as a means of advancing their cause, the expanding ranks of numerous violent Islamist movements make plain that the ideology of Islamism also imperils peace and security.

Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria and Iraq rival the fighting power of the conventional militaries of the Syrian and Iraqi states and will continue to perpetrate and inspire terrorist attacks around the globe.

The combination of the rise of IS and the legions of Islamist fighters already active in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Mali, Nigeria and elsewhere suggests that there are at least hundreds of thousands of Islamist militants worldwide.

This all too common combination Islamist ideology and a willingness to employ violent tactics in its name makes contemporary Islamism a threat to not just liberty but also life itself.


The Pope says it is fine for parents to smack their children if they are misbehaving

The Pope said parents should punish their children, 'do the right thing, and then move on,' as he acted out the movement of smacking a child on the bottom.

The pontiff made the remarks in front of a large crowd during his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square on Wednesday.

Addressing the crowd, Pope Francis recalled a conversation he had had with a father who had admitted to him that he would sometimes hit his children as punishment.

'One time, I heard a father say, "At times I have to hit my children a bit, but never in the face so as not to humiliate them".,' the Pope said according to the Telegraph.

'That's great. He had a sense of dignity. He should punish, do the right thing, and then move on.'


Six-month old boy is found dead with head injuries - and social workers 'knew his immigrant mother was a killer'

A six-month-old baby boy died after Haringey social workers decided he was not at risk despite knowing his mother was a murderer.

Police arrested a 30-year-old woman, believed to be the boy's mother, and a man, 26, thought to be her partner, after the boy was found with head injuries two weeks ago.

Haringey Council admitted the boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was not placed on the 'at risk' register by child services, despite being informed the mother's dark past by police and hospital staff.

 Haringey child protection officers were told of the mother's past conviction, but decided not to put her son on the 'at risk' register before he died of head injuries

The woman, who also cannot be identified, was jailed for 12 years in her home country after a man was stabbed during a burglary gone wrong.

She was released on licence after nine years but fled to the UK where she was fitted with an electronic tag during extradition proceedings which are still ongoing, reports The Sun.

The baby was taken to North Middlesex Hospital on January 23 after being found unresponsive at a home in Tottenham, part of Haringey, North London.  He died three days later after being transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital, in central London.

Police made two arrests on Sunday 25, and are thought to be investigating the possibility that he was shaken to death.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: 'A post-mortem examination gave cause of death as head injury. Enquires into the circumstances of the death are ongoing. 'A 26-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman were arrested on Sunday, January 25, on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm and taken to separate London police stations.'

A Haringey spokesman added: 'We are aware of the recent death of a child in Haringey.  'The council is working with the police to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident. 'The independently-chaired Local Safeguarding Children Board will consider commissioning a review to look at the role of all agencies involved.'

An inquest at Barnet Coroner's Court was adjourned yesterday.

The Haringey track record

Baby P, later identified as Peter Connelly, died in 2007 at 17 months old after suffering more than 50 injuries while on Haringey's at risk register.

Peter's mother Tracey Connelly, her boyfriend Steven Barker, and his brother Jason Owen were all guilty of causing or allowing the death of a child.

Haringey Social Services had already come in for criticism in 2000 after eight-year-old Victoria Climbie died after months of beatings and neglect.

A report into her death found she was known to two further housing authorities, four social services departments, two child protection teams, a specialist centre managed by the NSPCC, and was admitted to two different hospitals because of suspected deliberate harm. 

The Haringey Local Safeguarding Children Board also found several agencies had failed four-year-old Child T, who was found with more than 50 bruises to his body inflicted my his parents and taken into care in 2011.



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

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

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


6 February, 2015

Meet Britain's strange state-loving "libertarian"

Shami Chakrabarti’s "On Liberty" is a libel on John Stuart Mill

Given the eponymous nod to John Stuart Mill, Shami Chakrabarti’s On Liberty promises to be a tribute to individual freedom. It promises to be a stirring defence of liberty written by someone who, as the head of the 80-year-old civil-rights campaign group Liberty, has been knee-deep, holding back the tide of aggressive, illiberal legislation. It promises to be an unbowed affirmation of freedom at a time when it has rarely been more devalued.

But the reality of Chakrabarti’s On Liberty, an awkward amalgam of the semi-personal and the mainstream political, never even comes close to realising the promise. Instead, it turns out to be a desperately dull encomium to the human-rights industry, a verveless trudge down Good Cause lane, with every battle against New Labour anti-terror legislation, each scuffle with the ASBO-happy authorities, eventually turning into a victory for the indispensable European Court of Human Rights. Hooray for Strasbourg! If John Stuart Mill wasn’t so liberal (and dead), he’d be within his rights to sue Chakrabarti for calumny.

But first, the prose. Whatever vital impulse there was behind writing this book must have expired long before it reached the page. There’s no life here, no spirit. It as if Chakrabarti has barely thought about the words she’s using. Even when she’s describing the frustrations of her ‘university-educated’ mum, held back ‘by a lack of affordable childcare’, she sounds as if she’s dashing off a policy document, not portraying a loved one. Admittedly, she does prove capable of a geekish whimsy at points - ‘You might say that I am a Jedi Knight who began on the dark side of the force’, she writes of her career beginnings at the UK Home Office. But On Liberty is mainly composed of dead phrases and, worse still, argument-averse legalese. ‘This type of administrative detention by the UK secretary of state’, she writes of the internment of foreign terror suspects at Belmarsh, ‘is not incompatible with the right to personal liberty and the right against arbitrary detention under Article 5 of the Human Rights Convention, as long as it is necessary to the stated purpose, provided for in legislation and subject to scrutiny and appeals in the appropriate courts and tribunals’. Magical stuff.

And why is the writing so deadening? Why is it so determinedly dull? Because it’s written by someone who has never really questioned herself, who has never really subjected her beliefs to criticism. For Chakrabarti, human-rights discourse is just insuperably, indubitably correct. There’s no more to be said - or thought. And that right there is the source of Chakrabarti’s dullness. This is automatic writing from the ‘deep slumber of decided opinion’, the product, as Mill would put it, of someone who has never really wrestled with the meaning of the words she lets fall on to the page, like so many droplets of bien pensant thought. Her writing is the result of dogma, not reflection.

The dogma - human-rights law - infuses Chakrabarti’s thinking: she is not really a libertarian at all; she’s a legalist. Her commitment is to the letter of the law, not to the spirit of freedom. Freedom, in this context, doesn’t really figure in its true sense, as something that an individual lives and experiences, both in their interior and exterior worlds, in their judgements and in their actions. Moral autonomy is anathema to a legalist such as Chakrabarti. Freedom, or liberty, to the extent that it features at all, does so as a legal entity, couched in the qualifications and caveats of law, a thing to be administered and regulated by the great and the good (people, as it turns out, like Chakrabarti, who proudly sat on the panel of the Leveson Inquiry into the press and press freedom).

On Liberty is a testament to Chakrabarti’s unquestioned legalism. She presents her book as a personal and political journey, but there’s very little travelling. She begins On Liberty by describing how, as a law student, she discovered what DH Lawrence would have called her ‘bright book of life’. It wasn’t Paradise Lost or Middlemarch, though; it was the European Convention on Human Rights (1950), the ‘essential text’, as she puts it. And she ends On Liberty on the same legalistic ticket, by publishing in full another of her favourite tracts: the Human Rights Act (1998). Between the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act, there is not so much a journey as a self-reinforcing circle.

Chakrabarti’s inspirations are equally revealing. She is not spurred on by the great heroes of the struggles for liberty, such as Thomas Paine or Sylvia Pankhurst. Rather, she is all too content to be awed by lawyers and barristers, QCs and judges. There’s ‘dear friend and lifelong race-equality champion, Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC’; and there’s ‘Helena Kennedy (Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws), who has been one of my role models for pretty much as long as I can remember’. The only non-law figure who comes close to entering Chakrabarti’s circle of greatness is Doreen Lawrence, the mother of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

From Chakrabarti’s legalism, her fetishising of the law and its agents, flows the two other notable aspects of her thinking: her implicit veneration of the state and her diminution of democracy.

That Chakrabarti thinks quite a bit of the state may come as a surprise to those who tend to think of liberty as being demarcated precisely by the limiting of state power. But human-rights advocates are not really concerned with liberty in the sense that the Founding Fathers or John Stuart Mill were. Rather, under the aegis of human-rights discourse, liberty, as a legal entity, becomes something that needs to be administered and regulated by the benevolent state. Freedom is not to be found apart from the state; it is to be requested through it  [Very Hegelian].

As spiked’s Jon Holbrook has noted, the UK’s former director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, was well aware of the difference between classical ideas of liberty and human-rights thinking. Holbrook quotes these revealing comments by Starmer: ‘It is often thought that civil liberties and human rights are two sides of the same coin. They are not. Civil liberties protect the individual from the state by restricting the circumstances in which the state can interfere in the affairs of its citizens. Human rights, in contrast, not only protect the individual from the state but also oblige the state, in carefully defined circumstances, to take positive steps to protect its citizens. This distinction is important. The Human Rights Act entrenches positive obligations in our law.’

Chakrabarti clearly sees this as right and true. The state needs to ensure that individuals are ‘protected from each other’, she writes. ‘This is a positive responsibility on the state to protect the rights and freedoms of the people and not merely a negative restraint… it is about the protection of the individual from overweening bureaucracy and the vulnerable from the physically and materially powerful in society.’

What’s striking here is Chakrabarti’s perspective. Mill in On Liberty was concerned with the flourishing of the individual: that is, with providing the conditions - the freedom to think, express, and plan one’s life - that would make this possible, that would allow genius to bloom. His perspective was that of the self-developing individual, his vision uplifting. Chakrabarti, by contrast, is concerned with protecting the individual: that is, with providing the conditions - the laws, the limits, and the restrictions - that would make this possible, that would allow the vulnerable to survive. Her perspective is that of the paternalist state, her vision downbeat. Little wonder that, in the final chapter, she makes the case for human rights in terms not of classical Greece or the age of Goethe, as Mill does for liberty, but in terms of the Holocaust and the Gulag. She recounts a friend’s father’s argument with approval: ‘My wife was in a death camp and I was in Siberia. No one is going to tell me we don’t need human-rights laws.’

Given Chakrabarti’s belief that human rights are necessary to protect people from each other, which is a far cry from Mill’s belief that liberty is necessary to allow people to flourish, it is hardly surprising that she has so little faith in democracy. After all, if you conceive of the demos as a collection of vulnerable, helpless individuals, who need the state, backed by human-rights law, to keep them from each other’s throats, it’s unlikely you’ll be terribly favourable towards the idea of letting the people decide their own future. This is particularly clear in her attack on elected politicians criticising the power of unelected judges. Politicians clearly believe that ‘the only legitimate power is their own’, she moans. ‘I sometimes wonder whether this new, arrogant and increasingly detached political class has thought at all deeply about what democracy means and what it needs to survive’, she writes, before concluding: ‘Rules in the form of human rights and the rule of the law prevent majority rule descending into that of the mob and today’s democracy from becoming tomorrow’s dictatorship.’

And that, folks, is Shami Chakrabarti, the director of one of Britain’s most prominent civil-rights campaign groups, the go-to guy for a defence of, well, liberty. With freedom fighters like this at the barricades, who needs dictators?


Jewish communities seek security as anti-Semitic attacks in Britain hit record high

London: The Jewish community endured the highest level of anti-Semitic incidents ever recorded in Britain in 2014 amid a climate of hostility fuelled by Israel's military action in Gaza.

New figures show the number of reported issues, ranging from verbal abuse to extreme physical violence and the desecration of graves, more than doubled.

The figures, published by the Community Security Trust, came as anxiety within the Jewish community was said to have risen even higher in the wake of the Islamist terrorist killings in Paris.

The Trust, which provides security advice to synagogues and schools, said last month it was receiving an "unprecedented" volume of calls from Jews fearing a similar attack in Britain.

Overall, the Trust, which has recorded anti-Jewish hate crime for 30 years, logged 1168 anti-Semitic incidents in 2014 - a 118 per cent increase on the previous year.

The report cites dozens of cases of abuse fuelled by a combination of Islamist, far-Right racist and extreme anti-Israeli prejudice.

It includes numerous examples of threats and insults, children abused on the street and jokes about murdering Jews.

Swastikas and the term "Jewish slag" were daubed on gravestones at a cemetery in Manchester, England.  Elsewhere a man was battered with a glass and a baseball bat and subjected to anti-Semitic insults.

Attacks rose during the summer, around the time of the Israeli action in Gaza, but the report notes that incidents were already above average in the early half of the year.

Theresa May, the British Home Secretary, condemned the hostility towards Jewish people as an attack on Britain as a whole.


Politicizing Vaccination

Republicans hate women, children, puppies, rainbows and especially Science™. If you didn’t believe that, witness the latest kerfuffle over vaccines. Once the province of doctors' offices and parenting blogs, vaccines have come front and center in the political arena over the last few days, and the Leftmedia are using it to bash the GOP.

Two likely 2016 presidential contenders, Chris Christie and Rand Paul, answered questions about vaccines in the wake of the recent outbreak of measles at Disneyland. They both might have been better off with a "no comment" than to wade into such a "gotcha" issue for a Leftmedia hungry to discredit anti-Science™ Republicans.

Though Christie extolled the benefits of vaccination, he said there must be "some measure of choice" in the matter. Paul argued that most vaccines should be voluntary: "The state doesn’t own your children. Parents own the children. And it is an issue of freedom and public health." That thought came after he relayed scary but discredited anecdotes involving "many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines."

The Republicans' comments followed Barack Obama’s pontification on the issue: "You should get your kids vaccinated. The science is, you know, pretty indisputable. We’ve looked at this again and again. There is every reason to get vaccinated, but there aren’t reasons to not."

That’s a shade different from Obama’s stance in 2008, however, when he said, "We’ve seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it’s connected to the vaccines. … The science is right now inconclusive, but we have to research it." Perhaps he settled the science during his first term.

Likewise in 2008, Hillary Clinton and John McCain pointed to vaccines as a possible cause of autism. McCain said there was "strong evidence" of a connection, and Clinton promised to "make investments to find the causes of autism, including possible environmental causes like vaccines."

As for "investments," Obama’s latest budget cuts $50 million from a vaccine program for the underinsured. That’s inconvenient.

So now that we’ve established a bipartisan problem, we’ll make a few observations.

Science is rarely "settled" – that’s the point of scientific inquiry. As we often note, climate change is likely happening, but the science is not at all clear on its cause or extent or what we can do about it. Whether eating eggs or too much salt is bad for you has been the subject of years of rigorous debate. Vaccines were created thanks to research and study – and there’s no reason to end such work, or to deny that we don’t know everything.

That said, fears about vaccine risks are often overblown. The Wall Street Journal reports, "The claims about vaccine risks go back to a 1998 article in The Lancet in which British doctor Andrew Wakefield claimed to have found a link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. But the real menace was Mr. Wakefield, whose findings were proven to be fraudulent and who was on the payroll of the plaintiffs bar. The Lancet retracted the article in 2010, and Mr. Wakefield lost his medical license."

And it’s indisputable that vaccines have been remarkably effective in virtually eradicating communicable diseases that once claimed numerous lives. Measles was declared eliminated in 2000, but international travelers brought it here again, where it spread at Disneyland among the unvaccinated.

Let’s be clear that some children cannot receive vaccinations due to illnesses such as leukemia, and there are indeed perfectly legitimate reasons to forgo vaccinations or to space them out. Parents should research the issue and be as knowledgeable as possible. That includes finding a trustworthy doctor.

Those who opt out of vaccines benefit from what’s known as herd immunity. In other words, as long as about 90% of people are vaccinated, the "more-enlightened" few may choose to avoid doing so and suffer little consequence. But there is a mathematical limit to this gamble, and it’s often upper-class liberals who are rolling the dice.

Wealthy schools in Los Angeles now feature vaccination rates as low as South Sudan. As a result, there’s a resurgence of measles and whooping cough. The California counties surrounding San Francisco (which went for Obama by 84% in 2012) also have especially low vaccination rates.

But remember, it’s Republicans who are anti-Science™.

Some on the Right do oppose government mandates for vaccinations, but the vast majority of conservatives still vaccinate (and all 50 states have varying degrees of mandate). Most of the time it’s not actually an issue of personal liberty; it’s one of public health and individual responsibility. As 19th century physician Oliver Wendell Holmes put it, "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins." The choice to refuse vaccination – when rooted in vain conceit rather than medical reality – endangers others.

Vaccinations are a very good idea, and, because many people lack common sense, the use of state power through carrots and sticks is not excessive. It was Thomas Jefferson writing in the Declaration of Independence who said, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men."

Finally, the issue for both sides of the political aisle boils down to trust in government. Whether it’s global warming, NSA surveillance, IRS audits, ObamaCare or vaccinations, many Americans just don’t think government officials are playing it straight or telling the truth. Most of the time, this distrust is founded in legitimately bad experience. ObamaCare in particular can be blamed for the rising mistrust in medicine.

Unless and until that trust is restored, a growing number of people will eschew good health choices, and, as a result, we may be looking toward a future full of diseases we only thought we had beaten.


Oregon Bakers Found Guilty

Make them bake cake! That’s the verdict of an administrative judge in the case of Oregon bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein. The couple, who became the brave face of America’s religious liberty clash, were informed [Monday] by the state’s Bureau of Labor and Industries that in the battle over marriage, their First Amendment rights no longer counted.

In the first of what will almost certainly be several rulings, the Kleins were found guilty of violating state law for politely declining an order for a same-sex "wedding" cake. As part of his 52-page order, Judge Alan McCullough claims that "requiring them to provide a wedding cake for Complainants does not constitute compelled speech." Aaron Klein disagrees. "First Amendment, Constitution. Freedom of religion. I’m free to exercise my religion however I see fit. If I’m told to make a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage, I feel that I’m violating my beliefs. I don’t think I should have to do that."

Unfortunately for the parents of five, wedding vendors like them may soon have no choice. In the free market, the courts no longer seem to recognize the right to believe what you want. Owners of small businesses like Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Arlene’s Flowers, Simply Elegant Wedding Planning, Hands On Originals, and others are seen as nothing more than tools of the government to think and believe as the state sees fit. If they refuse, as Aaron and Melissa have done, Oregon is threatening to bring the full weight of the government to bear.

A hearing on March 10 will decide exactly how much the Kleins' courage will cost them. As much as $200,000 could be at stake for a family who’s already been forced to close their shop and scrape together the money they need to make up for that lost income. Anna Harmon, one of the Kleins' three attorneys, said that although the judge tossed out every claim but one, it’s still a tough loss. "Americans should not have to choose between adhering to their faith or closing their business, but that is what this decision means… The judge ruled wrongly that the Kleins' right not to design and create a work of art celebrating an event which violates the tenets of their religion is not protected by the Oregon or Federal Constitutions. This is a dangerous result for religious liberty and rights of conscience in Oregon…"

If only it were just Oregon! But, as Betty and Richard Odgaard just found out, the fierce tide of intolerance is at the door of every Christian business owner in America. Last Wednesday, the long-time owners of a church-building-turned-bistro made the sad announcement that they would no longer be hosting weddings at the scenic site after settling a same-sex "wedding" dispute. The Odgaards, a Mennonite family, were hauled before a civil rights commission for deciding not to host a homosexual ceremony because of their religious beliefs. So the government gave them an ultimatum: conform or pay crippling fines.

It was a difficult decision for the family, which hosted as many as 15 to 20 weddings a year at the Görtz Haus. But ultimately, something had to give – and that something wasn’t going to be their beliefs. "Our faith hasn’t changed," Betty told reporters.

Where are all of those writers who insist that conservatives "can’t even convincingly demonstrate that anyone is hurt in any way by a gay wedding?" Still denying reality no doubt.
Pain Killer? Ellmers Feels the Heat of Bill Betrayal

It isn’t exactly flip-flop season in Washington – unless you’re Rep. Renee Ellmers ®. The North Carolina politician stunned everyone two weeks ago when the self-styled "pro-lifer" pulled the rug out from under a bill she supported in 2013 just hours before it was set to pass the House. The move, which threw cold water on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, shocked and frustrated a city full of activists, who were looking forward to celebrating the first pro-life milestone of the 114th Congress on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Ellmers, who, two years earlier, had voted for the same language on the 20-week abortion ban, suddenly objected to a reporting requirement that, if excluded, could render the bill moot. Hundreds of students in town for the March for Life packed the hallways in protest outside of Ellmers’s office, while other groups didn’t mince words about her betrayal.

Now, after two weeks on the hot seat, the congresswoman seems to be cracking under the pressure and is lashing out at the very pro-lifers who helped elect her. In a new op-ed, she desperately tries to justify her actions before ripping into the pro-life groups who held her accountable. "I am appalled by the abhorrent and childish behaviors from some of the leaders of the outside groups," she writes.

Obviously, Ellmers, in her blind rage, has it all backwards. What’s abhorrent is the abortion of innocent unborn children who feel the excruciating pain of their execution at five months – a barbaric practice this bill would have helped prevent. Instead, the legislation was shelved for now, the victim of internal politics that have no place sidetracking a common sense, life-saving bill. The pro-life movement is right to be upset.
The Gospel According to Jon

Jon Stewart is a comedian, but the justification of his ideology is the real joke. On [Monday’s] "Daily Show," the host tore into Governor Mike Huckabee for holding the mainstream view on marriage. In what he hoped would be a "gotcha" monologue, Stewart only managed to show his ignorance about the Bible he insisted on citing.

Paraphrasing what the Governor said on CNN, Stewart said, "I just can’t ‘change’ with the ‘times’ if it means deviating from ‘biblical law.’" He went on to set up a false comparison between God’s definition of marriage and other Old Testament laws that changed under the new covenant. "It’s why Huckabee never mixes fabric in his clothes or trims his beard or sleeps with another man’s slave. It would be wrong." Then, in an expletive-filled rant, he exclaimed, "it makes no… sense!"

Well, it may not make sense to someone who’s making a convenient argument from out-of-context Bible verses, but it’s perfectly clear to those of us who take a comprehensive view of God’s Word as inerrant truth. If it’s New Testament evidence Stewart is looking for, then look no further than Matthew’s Gospel for Jesus’s affirmation of marriage and human sexuality.

"‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?’" (Matthew 19:4-5, NIV) The Bible is replete with references of God’s design for marriage in the New Testament.

But Stewart and others should take note that the Bible doesn’t condemn without the offer of grace. After the Apostle Paul rebukes the practice of homosexuality (along with a host of other sins) in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, he follows it up with the hope of redemption. "And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God" (ESV).

Much to the Left’s annoyance, the whole of Scripture affirms the natural definition of marriage and sexuality from the very beginning – to the very end. And that same Scripture shows us that with Christ, this world is not the end for us.



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, 2015

The new war against PC – it’s too late and it’s picked the wrong target

Why almost everyone is wrong about political correctness.  It is a shrill replacement for a collapsed older morality

Jonathan Chait’s essay on political correctness, ‘Not a very PC thing to say’, published in New York magazine last week, has provoked a transatlantic debate on PC as a ‘system of left-wing ideological repression’. Here, we republish Brendan O’Neill’s 2011 Sydney speech on why it’s wrong to see PC as the handiwork of small groups of intolerant Cultural Marxists.

My favourite example of political correctness involves the American Navy. In October 2001, shortly after America invaded Afghanistan, some of its Navy personnel were preparing missiles that were going to be fired at al-Qaeda and Taliban strongholds. One of the Navy men decided to write some words on the side of his missile to express his anger about 9/11. So in reference to the 9/11 hijackings, he wrote the following message on his missile: ‘Hijack this, you faggots.’

Now, little did he know that even though the American military had rather a lot on its mind at that moment, his message would still cause a massive controversy. When they heard about what had happened, the upper echelons of the Navy were outraged. They expressed ‘official disapproval’ of the homophobic message. They issued a warning that Navy personnel should ‘more closely edit their spontaneous acts of penmanship’. Some unofficial guidelines were issued, covering what could and could not be written on post-9/11 missiles. So it was okay to write things like ‘I love New York’ but not okay to use words like faggot.

That is my favourite example of political correctness for two reasons. Firstly because it sums up how psychotically obsessed with language politically correct people are. Because what these Navy people were effectively saying is that it is okay to kill people, but not to offend them. It is okay to drop missiles on someone’s town or someone’s cave, just so long as those missiles don’t have anything ‘inappropriate’ written on them. Heaven forbid that the last thing a member of the Taliban should see before having his head blown off is a word reminding him of the existence of homosexuality.

This really captures the warping of morality that is inherent in political correctness, where one becomes so myopically focused on speech codes, on linguistic representation, that everything else, even matters of life and death, can become subordinate to that.

And the second reason it’s my favourite example of political correctness is because it captures a truth about PC that is far too often overlooked. Which is that political correctness is not actually the handiwork of small groups of cultural Marxists or liberal malcontents. The rise and rise of PC is not simply down to the activism and agitation of unrepresentative sections of the chattering classes, who detest vulgar language and what they consider to be offensive ideas. If it was, how could we explain the actions of the US Navy? Why would one of the most powerful, well-armed institutions on Earth buckle under pressure from po-mo feminists or people who read the Guardian?

No, political correctness represents something far more profound than its critics appreciate. The victory of PC is built upon the demise and decay of traditional forms of authority and traditional forms of morality. It is parasitical on what we might call the crisis of conservative thought. In fact, I would argue that the power of PC is directly proportionate to the weakness of the old, taken-for-granted forms of morality.

I can understand the temptation to present political correctness as simply the imposition of a stifling framework by small groups of illiberal liberals, to see it as the conscious project of a cut-off, head-in-the-clouds middle-class elite determined to remake everything and everyone in its own image.

Indeed, there are two striking things about political correctness that would appear to bolster the view that it is the creation of a cabal of grumpy, misanthropic feminists and greens. Firstly, PC largely came to the fore at a time when conservative governments were enjoying fairly strong electoral support. In America and Britain, for example, it really took off in the 1980s, when Reagan and Thatcher were in power. So, many members of the electorate were giving their votes to conservative regimes, yet at the same time PC is born and becomes more and more widespread - boosting the notion that a left-leaning cultural elite far removed from the madding crowd sat down one day and drew up some new rules for regulating everyday life and speech.

And secondly, political correctness does tend to be most vociferously promoted by the media and by sections of academia. In short, by rather rarefied, aloof institutions, which have more than their fair share of worthy people.

Yet to look at political correctness in that way only - as a kind of new Ten Commandments enforced by tiny elites - is to miss what is the foundation stone of PC, the ground upon which it is built. Which is the inability of the traditional moralists to justify themselves and defend their way of life and moral system. It is that inability which, towards the end of the twentieth century, created a moral vacuum that was filled by instinctive and often kneejerk new forms of moral control and censorship.

Because when you have a profound crisis of traditional morality, which governed society for so long, then previously normal and unquestioned ways of behaving get called into question. From speech to interpersonal relations, even to nursery rhymes - nothing can be taken for granted anymore when the old frameworks have been removed. All the given things of the past 200-odd years start to fall apart. Political correctness is really the scaffolding that has been hastily erected to replace the old morality. It represents the tentative takeover by a new kind of modern-day moralist. And the end result is undoubtedly tyrannical and stifling and profoundly antagonistic both to individual autonomy and freedom of speech.

To see how political correctness has its origins in the demise of traditionalism, it is instructive to look at the example of the Girl Guides. For 100 years, the Girl Guides in Britain, and also in Australia, was a very straightforward organisation: it was designed to instil girls with imperial pride. The Guides had a very simple code: swear an oath of loyalty to God, Queen and country.

Then, about 15 years ago, the British Girl Guides suddenly rewrote their constitution. They turned one page into about 20 pages. There was no more old-fashioned ‘duty to God’ - instead the girls promised to ‘love my God’, in recognition of the fact that in our relativistic times, when both Truth and Christianity are no longer untarnished values, there are many gods. Also, the swearing of an oath of loyalty to the Queen was replaced with an expression of sympathy for the Queen - ‘because it can’t be easy for her being photographed everywhere she goes!’.

The important thing here is that nobody invaded the Girl Guides’ head office and forced its top women at gunpoint to refashion their values. Rather, the Girl Guides did it themselves, in instinctive recognition of the fact that the three institutions they were previously based around - God, Queen and country - no longer enjoyed unquestioned authority.

All of those three huge political entities of the modern British bourgeois world - church, monarchy and nationalism - have suffered severe crises of legitimacy over the past 20 to 30 years. The Girl Guides’ adoption of a more ‘appropriate’ way of presenting themselves, their overhauling of their mission, illustrates very well what is the engine of political correctness: not so much an external onslaught by a ‘PC lobby’, so much as internal moral rot amongst more traditional sections of society.

So political correctness is not a simple case of ‘cultural Marxists’ storming the citadel; rather the citadel collapsed, and we now have some rather opportunistic, instinctively authoritarian elements in society attempting to build a new moral system on the rubble.

That is why political correctness is so hysterical, so intolerant, so keen to govern everything from how professors communicate with their students to whether teachers can touch their pupils to when it is acceptable to say ‘blackboard’ - not because it is strong, but because it is weak and isolated. It has no real roots in society or history, like the more traditional forms of morality did. It enjoys no popular legitimacy or public support; in fact, the phrase ‘political correctness gone mad’ rather reflects the disdain amongst large sections of the public for today’s new speech codes and behaviour etiquette. It is the shallowness of PC, its parasitical nature, which makes it so insatiably interventionist.

Because at a time when it is no longer clear what is right and wrong, what is good and bad, who is respectable and who is not, then everything is thrown into a kind of moral chaos, giving rise to a weird hunger among the new elites to clamp down on and closely govern what were previously considered to be normal interactions that required little, if any, external intervention. So even nursery rhymes are being rewritten. In Britain recently, a book of children’s ditties refashioned the old classic ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor?’, replacing ‘drunken sailor’ with ‘grumpy pirate’. The old song said ‘Stick him in a bag and beat him senseless’; the new one says ‘Tickle him till he starts to giggle’.

We all laugh at this kind of thing, but it’s worth asking: what kind of crazy society rewrites childish songs that have been around for generations and which have never (to the best of our knowledge) led to drunken sailors actually being put in bags and beaten senseless? What kind of society takes such an Orwellian, Ministry of Truth approach, not even to political documents or historic claims, but to songs sung by children in playgrounds and sandpits? Only a society that has utterly lost its moral bearings, which is so morally unanchored, so estranged from given, accepted, natural ways of doing things, that it seeks to recolonise every corner of human interaction.

A more confident moral system would be better able to tolerate deviants. An unconfident, accidental moral system like PC can tolerate no deviancy at all because it continually fears for its own survival.

Too often these days, critics of PC play the victim card. Many right-wing thinkers claim that a conspiratorial cabal of PC loons is ruining our lives. This conveniently absolves these thinkers of having to account for what happened to their morality and traditions. Where did they go? It is far easier to claim that society has been taken hostage by gangs of lentil-eating, language-obsessed nutjobs than it is to face up to and explain the demise of a way of life that had existed for much of the modern era. Indeed, in many ways the term ‘political correctness’ doesn’t really have much basis in reality - it is the invention of traditionalists unable to explain recent historic turns, so instead they fantasise about the onward, unstoppable march of sinister liberals riding roughshod over their superior way of life.

Of course, the demise of traditional morality did not have to be a bad thing. There was much in those old ways which was also censorious and pernicious and stifling of anybody who wanted to experiment with lifestyle or sexual orientation. The problem is that the old, frequently stuffy morality was not successfully pushed aside by a more progressive, human-centred moral outlook - rather it withered and faded and collapsed under the pressure of crises, creating a moral hole that has been filled by those who have influence in the post-traditional world: the increasingly vocal chattering classes.

But let’s not play the victim in the face of an apparently all-powerful ‘PC police’. No, if you feel like you are being treated as a heretic for thinking or saying the ‘wrong things’ in our politically correct world, then you should start acting like a proper, self-respecting heretic: have the courage of your convictions and say what you think regardless of the consequences.


Huntress, who hunts animals with her bow and arrow, is inundated with death threats over her 'brainwashing' hunting photos

More people haters

A California woman who started a program to teach hunting and other outdoor pursuits to children has begun receiving death threats from animal-rights activists.

Jen Cordaro, who calls herself 'Jen the Archer' on her Facebook page, started a program two months ago called #BringAKidHunting, which claims to teach children responsible hunting habits.

Cordaro's Facebook page, which includes photos of her and her young students in the field, has caught the attention of animal-rights activists, who want to stop all hunting in California.

The hunting and angling enthusiast has received dozens of messages including: 'I would not let my children near such a vile, sadistic murderer as this piece of human trash.'

Another post said: 'Give me 5 minutes in a room with her and I would make sure she feels the same pain and cruelty she dished out!'

As well as angry comments on her social media pages, an online petition has been launched which calls Cordaro a murderer and demands that she stop hunting.

The Change.org petition accuses Cordaro of teaching children to become animal murderers.  'Cordaro claims to be someone who promotes wildlife conservation and all she does is kill innocent animals and post them on social media for the world to join her in celebrating murder,' writes Dusti Lee, who launched the petition on Wednesday.

Cordaro told KNSD that the threats have made her uncomfortable. 'It's a little intimidating, I'm not going to lie. It's a little scary,' she said.

She has also received support as well, including one post that read: 'Keep it up and silence the haters.'

Parents of children she has taught have also come forward to offer her support. Shannon Caldwell told 10News that her daughter MacKenzie had a wonderful experience.

'Not only hunting, they took her to an archery range, to lobster hooping, to learn how to shoot a gun; just all around fun. Kept her outdoors, she never touched her phone or other electronics around. It was overall one of the best weekends. She said it was like Christmas every day,' she said.

Ironically Cordaro used to be a vegetarian, but she says the local, sustainable food movement got her interested in harvesting her own meat.

'Being the eaters, I think its important to be responsible meat eaters. Hunting is, in my opinion, the most responsible way for me to go and acquire meat,' she told XETV.

Despite the online abuse, she hasn't contacted police about the threats and hopes things will die down.  'I'm not going to run. I'm right here and I'm going to stay here and advocate for outdoors and hunters and for kids in the outdoors. That's the bottom line,' she said.


'Saudi Arabia says 'I am Charlie' but it is not': Charlie Hebdo cartoonist attacks hypocrisy of leaders who marched in name of free speech but censor their press

A cartoonist who survived the Charlie Hebdo massacre has attacked the hypocrisy of world leaders who march in the name of free speech but censor their press.

The cartoonist Renald 'Luz' Luzier has given his first on-camera interview about the day of the massacre, how he missed death by minutes and criticised world leaders for hypocrisy over press freedoms.

Seventeen people, including journalists and police, were killed in three days of violence that began on January 7 when militants burst into Charlie Hebdo's office during a regular editorial meeting and shot dead five of its leading cartoonists.

The filmed interview took place in his sniper-proof flat in Paris, and throughout the interview Luz becomes visibly more and more distressed.

Interviewed for Vice by reporter Milene Larsson, he said : 'There are cartoonists in France who say "we can no longer draw things that could offend someone elsewhere in the world" - but if we take into account the positions and opinions of the whole world, we might as well tear up our drawings. It is over.'

He also reflected on the international movement of 'Je Suis Charlie' and criticised the hypocrisy of world leaders marching in the name of free speech while suppressing press rights in their own countries.  He said: 'All of a sudden, Saudi Arabia says 'I am Charlie' but it is not.'

When asked how he managed to survive the massacre just over three weeks ago, he said: 'How can I put this? I was lucky.  'It was my birthday, the January 7, and I stayed in bed with my wife for a long time.'

He explained she had made cakes and coffee and he was running late for the office meeting.  When he arrived at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, people told him not to enter the building as two armed men had just gone in.

He said: 'We tried to understand what was going on. We could not go in, we felt something was strange.  'And then we heard the first gunshots.'

He describes how he walked back up the street and saw two men dressed in black, who started shooting in his direction.

When he swiped into the building, he said: 'I walked up the stairs. I started seeing bloody footsteps. 'I understood later this was my friend's blood.

'I saw that there were people on the ground. On their backs. I saw a friend on the ground, his face against the floor.' 'What's strange is that you can never be prepared for this.'

Growing more distressed, he said that in the immediate aftermath medics needed belts to make tourniquets, but he was not wearing a belt that day - adding that Paris was not prepared for such events.

He said: 'But it happens in Syria, in Africa, in some other places. We're not used to this fear, this terror, but a lot of people are.'

Ms Larsson said: 'There are people around the world saying they are Charlie, what do you think Charlie is symbolising and what do you feel about it?

He spoke at length about the time their offices were burnt down for depicting the prophet Mohammed.  He describe how following that event they were called both agitators and white knights defending free speech.

'But then, all at once, everyone was saying 'I am Charlie' and for ourselves becoming a symbol is difficult,' he said. 'Because Charlie fought against symbols.  'How do we burst the bubble of this symbol? The symbol we've become?

'Humour doesn't kill anyone. We can't be prisoners of the sense of humour of others.'

 When asked if he was ever concerned that some of his cartoons offend Muslim communities, he replied: 'I think that most Muslims don't care about Charlie Hebdo.

'Those who claim all Muslims are offended take Muslims for imbeciles, I think.  'We don't take Muslims for imbeciles.'

He described how he hugged a Muslim friend of Charb's at the editor's funeral, and how the Muslim man cried and told him he was sorry. Luz told the man he had no reason to be apologising, and the two men cried together.

Towards the end of the interview he showed the reporter how they 'had a laugh' making a blank Charlie Hebdo newspaper 'which wouldn't offend anyone.'  He said: 'This is the magazine of those saying 'I am Charlie, but.'

When asked his opinion of the march of millions of people and world leaders that he was a part of, he said that while he is happy that people are supporting them, the hypocrisy of some world leaders 'makes him sad'.

He said: 'When I saw Hollande at the march, a pigeon s*** on him. It was great.

'I told him "You're about to have lunch with many heads of state, tell them to allow their people to laugh at them through drawings and newspapers."

'What an irony to see that behind us was a representative from Saudi Arabia, where the blogger Badawi is in jail for 10 years, where they lash him every week.

'All of a sudden, Saudi Arabia says 'I am Charlie' but it is not.  'They are no Charlie when the put a blogger in jail and whip him. That's not being Charlie.  'And it makes me really sad.'


Stop the state 'playing Dad'

Comment from Australia

Gary Johns has argued that compulsory contraception is needed to stop women having children and relying on the state to support their families.

A better way to address this form of welfare dependency is to bring the outdated parenting payment system into line with modern ideas about women, work and family.

Prior to the 1970s, there was no welfare for single mothers. Having children outside of marriage was considered socially unacceptable, and traditional social values were upheld by the draconian policy of forcing unmarried mothers to give up their babies up for adoption.

The presumption was that women without breadwinning husbands would be unable to combine child rearing with paid work. Forced adoption was therefore intended to prevent unmarried mothers and their children inevitably requiring public assistance.

The social revolution of the 1960s rapidly altered social attitudes to sex, marriage, and children. This led to the introduction in 1973 of the 'supporting mothers' pension, which meant unmarried mothers no longer needed to give up their children for financial reasons.

The right of single mothers to receive welfare was hailed by the feminist movement for liberating women from the patriarchal institution of marriage and eliminating economic dependence on men.

But, ironically, the state was called on to step into the place of absent husbands and fathers because the sexist presumption remained that women could not combine paid work and motherhood.

These days it is increasingly common for women with children - whether married , divorced, or single - to work outside the home.

We no longer think that a mother's place is in the home... unless they are on parenting payment!  Why should only some mothers choose not to work and receive a guaranteed taxpayer-funded hand out until their youngest child turns eight?

Parenting payment is an anachronism. Sole parents should only receive the family tax and childcare benefits that all families qualify for. Those who do not work should receive Newstart and be subject to the mutual obligation requirements designed to encourage the unemployed into work.

Stopping the state from 'playing Dad' would remove the incentive to have children - an incentive created by the more generous, and activity-test exempt, parenting payment. This, in turn, would encourage women to take a more responsible attitude to their fertility.

A policy that made combining work and motherhood mandatory would promote Johns' objective of ending welfare-dependent parenting without getting into the messy business of compulsory contraception.



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, 2015

More of Britain's delightful multiculturalists

And as Muslims they didn't even have the excuse of drunkenness

A group of men who threw 40 kicks and punches at an American student during an 'unprovoked' attack which left him with post-traumatic stress disorder have been jailed for more than 15 years.

U.S. student Francesco Hounye, 23, had only been in Britain for three days when he was left permanently scarred after being attacked by the gang as he walked home following a night out in Shadwell, east London.

Mr Hounye suffered a fractured eye socket and was left needing 23 stitches after being kicked repeatedly in the head by the five men, who also grabbed a bottle of Jagermeister liquor from his hand and smashed it over his head.

According to police, Mr Hounye was assaulted simply because he was 'obviously not local'.

The court heard how the gang landed up to 40 kicks and punches in just 30 seconds during the brutal attack on Mr Hounye on June 17, 2013.

CCTV footage showed Mr Hounye being kicked mercilessly as he lay crouched in the road.

He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following the incident and dropped out of college where he had been training to be a commercial pilot, the court heard.

He has since been left too terrified to go out in London and plans to return to his hometown in Florida, U.S.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Hounye said: 'Prior to this incident I was a confident, 'happy-go-lucky guy'. Never did I think that something like this would happen to me.

'As a direct result of this incident, I am now scared to go out on my own, particularly at night, and have become a much quieter and withdrawn person.

'I remain a visitor to the UK, but this incident has made me reassess my future plans.

'I was intending to remain in the UK and attend interviews as a personal trainer to fund my studies; however I could not attend job interviews when my face looked like it did.

'I felt very emotional about the whole situation at the time, and I am continuing to attend regular counselling sessions with a psycho-therapist, which began in January 2014.

'I have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and now take regular medication to help me sleep. .'

The gang included a man who had dreams of enrolling at medical school and a youngster who played an 'instrumental' role in preventing further disruption during the London riots, the court heard.

Sentencing the five men, Judge Alistair Hammerton, said: 'Mr Hounye has suffered post-traumatic stress disorder.

'He has been left with permanent scarring, and the attack had adverse effects on his college studies.

'He was pursued by all five defendants, and they submitted him to an attack that included kicks, knee strikes, and punches.

'The prosecution submitted there were at least 40 punches or kicks given during this short attack.'

He added: 'Shaleem Uddin was one of the principal protagonists in this attack on Mr Hounye and that is clear from the CCTV.'

Judge Hammerton also told the defendants that he was 'quite satisfied' that the victim 'did not provoke this attack in anyway.'

'The aggravating features are that this was a group attack and the offence was committed at night.'

Ringleaders Shaleem Uddin and Samad Uddin, both of Whitechapel, east London, were jailed for six years and five-and-a-half years respectively for causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Samad Uddin is already currently serving a 32-month sentence for possession with intent to supply and money laundering, which he was jailed for in January. The judge told him the GBH sentence would run concurrently.

Kamrul Hussain, also of Whitechapel, was jailed for 27 months while Shahdat Hussain, of Canning Town, east London, was given 22 months. Both were jailed for grievous bodily harm but are likely to be released in due course after serving the terms while on remand.

Masoom Rahman, who threw three punches at Mr Hounye, escaped with an 18-month sentence suspended for two years. The 22-year-old, also of Whitechapel, was also ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work, pay £1,000 compensation, and an additional £800 in costs.

Describing the incident, prosecution barrister Paul Casey, previously told the court: 'At just after midnight on June 17, 2013 Mr Hounye was walking home from the Whitechapel area along North Road toward Commercial Road after a night out.

'They passed a group of men which Mr Hounye described them - by their behaviour and body language - as threatening and aggressive.

'They continued on their way and they were followed by a group of five males and they were surrounded by the group.

'Mr Hounye was grabbed by the shoulder. Four of the men surrounded him and Shaleem Uddin tried to wrestle the bottle out of his hand.

'He was punched in the face and Shaleem Uddin used a bottle to strike Mr Hounye over the head, causing him severe cuts to the side of his head.'

The court also heard how Mr Hounye tried to cross to the other side of the road to get away from the gang, but was followed before they set on him - punching him and kicking him to the floor. Samad Uddin then kicked Mr Hounye in the head while he was on the ground.

'The Crown says this was an unprovoked attack and to say anything else would be speculation.'


Stitch-up hospital report riddled with 200 errors: NHS watchdog behaved like used car dealer run by lynch mob, says MP

An inspection report which failed the first privately-run NHS hospital made at least 200 errors, the watchdog has admitted.

The Care Quality Commission last month declared Hinchingbrooke, Cambridgeshire, was inadequate, with the lowest ever patient care score.  That same day, Circle, the private firm running the exemplary hospital, pulled out of its contract.

But there are growing suspicions the inspection was a stitch-up, heavily influenced by Labour figures and other individuals who oppose privatisation.

They include an inspector who was a member of Keep Our NHS Public and another who had warned of the dangers of private firms’ involvement in the NHS.

Yesterday, CQC chief David Behan admitted to the Public Accounts Committee that the report contained about 200 inaccuracies, from false allegations against staff, and mistakes in data about care, to basic but sloppy typing errors.

Committee member Stewart Jackson, Tory MP for Peterborough, described the CQC as a ‘lynch mob’. He asked Mr Behan: ‘What is it, a used car salesmanship? It is supposed to be a proper regulatory body. This is why one of your own staff admitted it was a lynch mob … you should be ashamed of yourself.’

He added: ‘Are you fit for purpose for judging an organisation which in May 2014 was winning awards … whereas within four or five months your report, based on anecdotes, some might say tittle-tattle, rates it as inadequate and one of the worst inspections the CQC has ever undertaken?’

The MPs were told some of the report’s most serious allegations were in fact misunderstandings by the watchdog.

In one instance, an inspector claimed to have heard an A&E doctor shouting abusively at a patient. It later transpired the doctor was speaking loudly to the man because he was profoundly deaf.

A student nurse criticised by the CQC for telling a patient ‘you know what happens when you misbehave’, was found to have been sharing a joke with him to make him feel more comfortable so he would eat.

Senior Circle managers told MPs they had found 300 inaccuracies in the report. The CQC has since admitted to about two thirds of these but has refused to change the ‘inadequate’ rating.

Hisham Abdel-Rahman, chief executive of Hinchingbrooke, said he had asked the CQC to provide written notes to back up its allegations but it has so far failed to do so.

The hospital will now be put back in the hands of the NHS. But it is deemed unprofitable and there are fears it will be closed or taken over by a larger hospital.

It has also emerged a senior NHS manager who oversaw the flawed contract for Circle’s takeover walked away with a £400,000 pay-off. Sir Neil McKay was chief of the Midlands and East Strategic Health Authority when the deal was signed in 2011.

But in 2012 when the authority was abolished he received £465,000 in redundancy pay with a pension pot valued at £2million. MPs heard he is still being paid by the NHS as he has set up a consultancy advising organisations in the Midlands.

Following Circle’s takeover in February 2012, Hinchingbrooke’s A&E waiting times and those for cancer patients were among the lowest in the NHS.  Patient satisfaction scores went up and in May last year it was rated the top hospital in the country by healthcare data monitors CHKS.

But an investigation by this newspaper last month revealed the deal may have been doomed from the start as members of the local NHS body opposed privatisation. The Clinical Commissioning Group slashed the hospital’s finances and imposed arbitrary fines. Two members are Labour activists, including chairman Maureen Donnelly, formerly a senior TUC member.

There are concerns the report was heavily influenced by the opinions of anti-privatisation inspectors – including Dr Jonathan Fielden, previously a senior member of doctors’ union the British Medical Association, who had warned of the dangers of privatisation.

Another inspector, Dr Nigel Sturrock, had been a signed-up supporter of Keep Our NHS Public since its launch in 2005.

The CQC has since said it will force inspectors to disclose links to organisations which may distort their opinions.


Disneyland, measles and madness: the latest vaccine lunacy

A few years back, an acerbic friend of mine told me that she itched to write a satirical novel with the following narrative:

A group of wealthy, educated people who deliberately didn't vaccinate their children subsequently take them on a "poor-ism" trip to a developing country. The goal is to make them wiser and more sensitive to suffering in the world. While being sensitised, the kids catch diseases that they could have been inoculated against. Some of them die.

As a plot, it lacks subtlety (and compassion). But as a parable, it's crystal clear. You can be so privileged that you're underprivileged, so blessed with choices that you choose to be a fool, so "informed" that you're misinformed.

Which brings us to Disneyland, measles and the astonishing fact that a scourge once essentially eliminated in this country is back.

You've probably heard or read about the recent outbreak traced to the theme park. But there's a chance that you're unaware, because it hasn't received nearly the coverage that, say, Ebola did, even though some of the dynamics at work here are scarier.

It started in mid-December and is now believed to be responsible for more than 100 cases in seven states and Mexico; more ttan half of those are in California, which of course is where the park is - in Orange County, to be more specific.

As it happens, there are affluent pockets of that county where the fraction of schoolchildren whose parents have cited a "personal belief" to exempt them from vaccinations is higher than the statewide average of 2.5 per cent. That's also true of some affluent pockets of the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas.

It used to be that unvaccinated children in America were clustered in impoverished neighbourhoods; now they're often clustered among sophisticates in gilded postcodes where a certain strain of health faddishness reigns. According to a story in The Hollywood Reporter last year, the parents of 57 per cent of the children at a Beverly Hills preschool and of 68 per cent at one in Santa Monica had filed personal-belief exemptions from having their kids vaccinated.

Why? Many of them buy into a discredited theory that there's a link between the MMR (mumps-measles-rubella) vaccine and autism. They're encouraged by a cadre of brash alarmists who have gained attention by pushing that thinking.

Other parents have separate or additional worries about vaccines, which can indeed have side effects. But they're weighing that downside against what they deem to be a virtually nonexistent risk of exposure to the diseases in question. And that degree of risk depends entirely on a vast majority of children getting vaccines. If too many forgo them, we surrender what's known as "herd immunity" and the risk rises. That's precisely what health officials see happening now.

In 2004, there were just 37 reported cases of measles in the United States. In 2014, there were 644. And while none of those patients died, measles can kill. Before vaccines for it became widespread in 1963, millions of Americans were infected annually, and 400 to 500 died each year.

"I don't think its fatality rate has decreased," said Daniel Salmon, a vaccine expert at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "We just haven't had enough cases for someone to die."

An estimated 90 per cent of unvaccinated people who are exposed to the measles virus become infected, and they themselves can be infectious four days before they develop a telltale rash.

But what's in play is more than one affliction's resurgence. The size and sway of the anti-vaccine movement reflect a chilling disregard for science - or at least a pick-and-choose approach to it - that's also evident, for example, in many Americans' refusal to recognise climate change. We're a curious species, and sometimes a sad one, chasing knowledge only to deny it, making progress only to turn away from its benefits.

The movement underscores the robust market for pure conjecture - not just about vaccines, but about all sorts of ostensible threats and putative remedies - and the number of merchants willing to traffic in it. Look at Dr Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon now drawing millions of viewers daily as a television host peddling weight-loss tricks. The British Medical Journal recently analyzed dozens of his shows and determined that more than half of the suggestions he doled out didn't have sound scientific backing.

The Internet makes it easier for people to do their own "research" and can lead them to trustworthy and untrustworthy sites in equal measure.

"It can be difficult to know what to believe," said Kristen Feemster, a infectious diseases specialist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "So many people can be an expert, because there are platforms for so many voices."

Salmon noted that the sheer variety and saturation of media today amplify crackpot hypotheses to a point where they seem misleadingly worthy of consideration.

"People say things enough times, there must be some truth to it," he said. "Look at the proportion of people who question where our president was born, or his religion."

And we in the traditional media don't always help, covering the news in an on-one-hand, on-the-other-hand fashion that sometimes gives nearly equal time to people citing facts and people weaving fiction.

I'm not entirely baffled by the fear of vaccines, which arises in part from a mistrust of drug companies and a medical establishment that have made past mistakes.

But this subject has been studied and studied and studied, and it's abundantly clear that we're best served by vaccinating all of those children who can be, so that the ones who can't be - for medical reasons such as a compromised immune system - are protected.

Right now, Salmon said, only two states, Mississippi and West Virginia, limit vaccine exemptions to such children. If the anti-vaccination crowd grows, other states may have to move in that direction.

There's a balance to be struck between personal freedom and public safety, and I'm not at all sure that our current one is correct.

We rightly govern what people can and can't do with guns, seat belts, drugs and so much more, all in the interest not just of their welfare but of everybody's. Are we being dangerously remiss when it comes to making them wear the necessary armour against illnesses that belong in history books?


What exactly does the race industry want from white America?

By Patricia L. Dickson

Nothing frustrates me more than for someone to rant on and on about something while never really specifying the desired outcome that he or she is seeking.  Or for someone to imply that I somehow owe him something without specifically telling me what it is.  This tactic of never specifying or articulating an actual wrong or debt is used so that the accused will be forever indebted to the accuser.  The race industry and their cohorts in the Democratic Party have been ranting and raving about black injustice ever since the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and have yet to articulate exactly what the injustices are or what can be done to correct them.

With the constant attempts to find racism under every rock and behind every door, I actually believe that the race-baiters left over from the Civil Rights movement have a nostalgia for the days when there was real racism and discrimination in America.  Why else would they continue to act as though the Civil Rights Act was never signed into law? 

In fact, all Civil Rights leaders should celebrate July 2, the day President Lyndon Johnson signed the bill into law in 1964.  Has anyone ever heard Al Sharpton or Jessie Jackson mention that date?  That day should be celebrated as a national holiday.  Instead, the American people are bombarded with trumped up charges of racism (some turn out to be complete hoaxes) to the point that we have developed race fatigue.

The latest race hoax comes from Charles Blow, a black New York Times columnist.  He claimed that a racist campus police held his son at gunpoint at Yale University.  Apparently, Blow’s son met the description of a campus burglar.  However, he failed to mention a few details.  The officer is black.  In fact, Yale’s police chief is also black.  This hoax comes fresh off the movie Selma’s Oscar snub (used as proof that America is still a racist country) coupled with the Department of Justice’s decision not to charge Officer Darren Wilson in the Michael Brown shooting. 

With the constant claims of racism 24/7, I wonder: what exactly does the race industry want from white America?  What will it take to satisfy the debt?  To my knowledge, I have never heard the answer.  The American government has spent billions of dollars on social programs for poor blacks and other minorities.  We have affirmative action, free education grants, free housing, food, and medical care.  America has black CEOs, tenured college professors, journalists, mayors, governors, state representatives, senators, attorneys general, and the president of the United States.  If any one of us were to walk into any large corporation, we would see a diverse workforce.  So, I am still asking, what do the race-baiters really want?  More importantly, how do they plan to go about getting it?

Since the latest attempts (Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and the movie Selma) have failed to convince America of her inherent racism, black liberals have turned their wrath on black conservatives or any black person who speaks out against black culture.  Bill Cosby’s reputation has been destroyed by 30-year-old claims because black liberals did not like him speaking the truth about black culture, therefore they had to silence him.

I, along with other black conservative writers, am being targeted for pointing out the truth about our race.  Black liberals claim that black conservative writers are guilty of portraying black people in a negative light.  This claim is an attempt to shame us into silence.  Black conservatives speaking the truth about the state of the black community are not to blame for how the rest of America views the black race (people are intelligent enough to discern the truth by themselves). 

It is the constant lies coming from race-baiters and the behavior displayed by uneducated blacks in poor communities (Ferguson) that is responsible for cemented negative stereotypes of blacks.



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, 2015

UK: Men will have to prove a woman said 'yes' in tough new rules for police investigating date rape

The argument "For" below, folowed by an article against

Date rape suspects will now need to prove that a woman consented as part of tough new rules on the way sex offence cases are investigated.

The Crown Prosecution Service said the time has come to move beyond the idea of 'no means no' when it comes to identifying situations where women may have been unable to give consent.

As part of the major overhaul, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, said she wanted police to ask suspects how they knew the alleged victim was saying yes, and was doing so 'freely and knowingly'.

The CPS wants to tighten the law against offenders who target people incapacitated through drink or drugs, or where the alleged rapist holds a position of power over the victim.

Questions on consent should also be raised where the complainant has mental health problems or learning difficulties, it was said.

The rules also aims to stop suspects using social media to construct ‘false narratives’ to help cover their tracks.

Numbers of rape cases coming to court in the past two years have risen by 30 per cent but police remain concerned that as many as three quarters of victims do not come forward.

Mrs Saunders said: ‘For too long society has blamed rape victims for confusing the issue of consent – by drinking or dressing provocatively for example.

'But it is not they who are confused, it is society itself and we must challenge that. Consent to sexual activity is not a grey area – in law it is clearly defined and must be given fully and freely.

‘It is not a crime to drink, but it is a crime for a rapist to target someone who is no longer capable of consenting to sex through drink.

‘It is now well established that many rape victims freeze rather than fight as a protective and coping mechanism.’

Speaking at a conference yesterday, Mrs Saunders added: ‘We want police and prosecutors to make sure they ask in every case where consent is the issue – how did the suspect know the complainant was saying yes and doing so freely and knowingly?’

New CPS rules say such situations include where someone is incapacitated through drink or drugs or where ‘a suspect held a position of power over the potential victim – as a teacher, an employer, a doctor or a fellow gang member’.

The ability to consent to sex should also be questioned where the complainant has mental health problems, learning difficulties or was asleep or unconscious at the time of the alleged attack.

Also covered are domestic violence situations and those where ‘the complainant may be financially or otherwise dependent on their alleged rapist’.

During the conference a hypothetical case was examined by police and prosecutors involving an 18-year-old student in her first week at university who went to a party with an older male student, drank and took drugs then woke to find him in her room.

She repeatedly told him to leave but he took off her clothes and when it was clear that he was about to rape her, she gave him a condom for protection.

Prosecutors and police were asked whether the man should be prosecuted for rape – and an overwhelming number said yes.

In discussion of the case, it was recommended that should a complaint have been made, police should check social networking sites as standard practice for evidence and to check if the defendants had posted comments putting a deceptively innocent spin on the night.

New guidelines issued to police and prosecutors warn that ‘offenders may take steps which, on the face might seem normal or reasonable, to distance themselves from an offence or to reframe the offence … in order to undermine or pre-empt any allegation’.

Officers are urged to watch for suspects being over-friendly or seeking reassurance and reinterpreting events leading up to the offence as spontaneous rather than planned.

The conference heard that other examples of behaviour to try to conceal an offence of rape include boasting to friends, pretending to fall asleep afterwards, or making counter-allegations.

Delegates were told by Martin Hewitt, a Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner, that the rise in reporting of rapes was ‘unreservedly welcome’. The conference heard this was partly due to abuse scandals involving figures such as Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris.

But Mr Hewitt added: ‘The reality is that we are still only getting 20-25 per cent of those who suffer the offence … 75 per cent of those [who are raped] are not coming forward.’

Charities today welcomed the new guidance, saying it could boost victims' confidence in the justice system.

Katie Russell, from Rape Crisis England & Wales, said it was 'vital if the criminal justice system is to become fit for purpose for survivors of sexual violence'.

She said: 'Rape and other sexual offences have long been under-reported, with the Government estimating that only 15 per cent of those who experience these horrific crimes choose to go to the police.

'Through our frontline work at Rape Crisis, we know that among the many reasons for survivors' reluctance to report is fear, including fear of not being well treated by the criminal justice system.

'We hope the police, Crown Prosecution Service and others will continue to strive for positive change of this kind to enable the cultural shift necessary for sexual violence survivors to receive the criminal justice they want and deserve.'

The number of rapes in Britain hit a record high in 2013 - with more than 35 women attacked every day according to the latest official figures, released in October.

An extra 4,000 women were raped in the year to June than in the previous 12 months - a shock 36 per cent increase in a year - police recorded crime figures revealed.

Overall, 13,455 women reported being raped in 2013/14 – the highest in 10 years of recording the crime. Attacks on men, girls and boys also soared – with the number of rapes almost twice as high as a decade ago.

Martin Hewitt, a Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner, told the conference yesterday that the rise in reporting of rapes was ‘unreservedly welcome’.

But he said these figures still only represented between 20-25 per cent of those who are raped - meaning 75 per cent are still not coming forward.

Despite the increase in the number of rapes being reported, the conviction rate over the same period fell.

In 2012/13 police sent 5,400 cases to the Crown Prosecution Service in 2012-13, representing just 31 per cent of all reported rapes they had received.

Of the cases sent to prosecutors for trial, around 60 per cent result in convictions.

It represented a 3 per cent drop from the previous year, when 63 per cent of cases resulted in convictions.

The Office for National Statistics said the increase in reports of sex attacks could be due to an 'Operation Yewtree' effect – where the prosecution of celebrity figures such as Jimmy Savile for historical offences has encouraged other victims to come forward.

It said improvements in police recording of sexual offences could be another reason for the rise.


The argument against:

Let’s face it, we’ve all done it at one time or another. Shared a cab home with someone we shouldn’t have; invited the wrong guy in for coffee.

Unless you’re a saint, the chances of getting through life without making at least one disastrous sexual choice are very small.

The point is to live and to learn. To acknowledge when you’ve made a mess of things, and to avoid making the same mistakes again.

This is never easy, especially the part where you have to take a long, hard look at yourself and admit that, ultimately, you don’t much like what you see.

There is, of course, another way. You can blame someone else. You can make excuses. You can attempt to alleviate your own feelings of guilt and self-loathing by pinning responsibility on another.

And, in this day and age, that means crying rape.

It used to be that women who made stupid mistakes with men, who had non-violent sexual encounters in dodgy circumstances — while drunk or otherwise intoxicated, in the heat of the moment or for a million other reasons — did not wake up the next morning and decide they had been raped.

They took a shower, gave themselves a stern talking to, maybe told a friend about it, had a bit of a cry — and then moved on as best they could, vowing along the way never to end up in that kind of damn stupid situation again.

Now, in our modern it’s-anybody’s-fault-but-mine culture, there’s a far easier option. Blame the bloke.

Forget that minutes before the alleged assault you were twirling your bra around your head, or twerking in his face, or entwining yourself in his legs, or quoting from Fifty Shades Of Grey.

Even as you urged him on — yes, yes, yes! — you still meant no, didn’t you?

That, at least, would seem to be the view of Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions, who yesterday said the time has come to move beyond the idea of ‘no means no’.

In other words, date-rape suspects will have to prove they obtained explicit consent.

Not only is this laughably absurd: ‘Hang on a moment, would you mind awfully just signing this pre-prepared document?

'If you could just place a tick in the boxes next to the acts that you do consent to, just leave the others blank, and sign and date here, then we can proceed. Now, if you’d care to resume the position . . .’

But, more worryingly, won’t men in rape cases automatically be presumed guilty until they can prove they have obtained consent? However appalling a crime rape may be, this cannot be right.

What makes this still more shocking is that it seems to be part of a political attempt to push up rape conviction rates and meet targets.

Because although reports of rape have risen sharply in recent years, actual convictions are lagging behind. And that doesn’t suit the so-called ‘vagenda’: the all-men-are-rapists brigade, top feministas like Harriet Harman and the femi-fascist Twitter mob who, increasingly, seem to hold sway in public policy.

After 2005, when conviction rates hovered between five and six per cent, Harman and others made clear their determination to push up conviction rates.  The politically correct Alison Saunders has now taken on the cause.

And so, instead of initiating an intelligent conversation about, say, whether the proliferation of free-to-view violent pornography on the internet is having a negative effect on people’s sexual and social morals, or why it is that young people consider getting blind drunk and insensible to be a normal part of social interaction, our DPP comes up with ridiculous suggestions like this one.

Take the path of least resistance, why don’t you? After all, they’re only men. Who cares if they don’t get a fair trial?

Already it’s pretty hard for a man who is even just suspected of rape. His identity is public; that of his alleged victim is not.

The moment he is arrested, he loses his right to anonymity — even if charges are never brought.  This is because, the police and pressure groups argue, protecting the identity of the victim encourages others to come forward.

Yet it is not infallible. Last year, in the case of Ben Sullivan — the Oxford Union president who was accused of rape by a fellow student — it turned out to have been a misunderstanding among students. He, however, remains forever tainted.

That is not to say that, when bad things happen, the perpetrators should not be held to account.

In the recent controversial Ched Evans case, the former Sheffield United footballer was convicted of raping a young woman whom his friend had picked up in a fast-food restaurant.

The girl in question was very drunk, so drunk, in fact, that she remembers very little of what happened, and was unable to say whether or not she gave consent.

Nevertheless, it would be hard to argue that what Evans did was anything other than a vile act of sexual exploitation.

But if you take the Saunders world view, the girl herself is wholly without reproach.  This is clearly not the case. No one forced her to get blind drunk and in so doing place herself in danger. Actions have consequences. Women need to understand that.

In August last year, Judge Mary Jane Mowat, who spent 18 years on the bench in Oxford before retiring, claimed the rape conviction rate would not improve until women stopped drinking so heavily.

‘I’m not saying it’s right to rape a drunken women,’ she added. ‘I’m not saying that it’s allowable to take advantage of a drunken woman.’

She simply explained that a jury in a case where a woman can’t remember what she was doing ‘because she was off her head’ is less likely to convict.

She was speaking a basic truth. For her trouble she was vilified by the feministas.

In fact, far from making it easier for women to accuse men of rape, we should be making it harder.

Not by going back to the bad old days of misogynist judges and sexist juries; but by ensuring that the charge really is rape, and not just a change of heart, a change of circumstance, an act of revenge or simply an attempt to appease a sense of guilt or self-loathing.

Changing the parameters of what can be construed as rape to serve a clear politically correct agenda — not just to improve conviction rates for rape, but also to appease hard-line feminists — is very dangerous.

Not only is it deeply insulting to those women who, through war or religious bigotry find themselves victims of rape, it will not help safeguard women from violent sexual offenders such as serial rapists.

Nor will it make any difference whatsoever to domestic abuse cases — the average wife-beater doesn’t generally ask for permission in triplicate before he smashes his woman’s face in.

It will, however, destroy the lives of young men who are not habitual sexual offenders, but who pay for one act of grotesque idiocy by having their lives and reputations forever destroyed.  I, for one, fail to see how that can be construed as justice.


The Left Realizes Too Late that Political Correctness Is a Virus

And now it’s eating their movement from within

There are few things in life as exquisitely pleasurable as watching the terminally silly fight among themselves, and, for those of us who have turned the practice into a spectator sport of sorts, this week certainly did not disappoint. On Tuesday, New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait decided that he was tired of watching people he dislikes use the tactics on which he himself likes to rely, and, with 4,700 words of deliciously biting criticism, set off something of a firestorm. "The language police are perverting liberalism!" griped Chait. "The new political correctness has bludgeoned even many of its own supporters into despondent silence." And then, right on cue, came those knocks at the door.

Over at Crooked Timber, Bell Waring reacted precisely as her target had predicted that she would, proposing that Chait "has a skin so thin that he cries when someone gets the butter knife out of the drawer anywhere within six blocks of his apartment, and is also so allergic to his own tears that he then needs to use his EpiPen and ARE YOU HAPPY NOW BLACK FEMINISTS1/1//!" At Gawker, Alex Pareene lamented repeatedly that Chait was a "white man," and, among other things, accused him of "operatic self-pity." In the pages of In These Times, meanwhile, Sady Doyle leveled a charge of "blatant racism" and suggested without embarrassment that Chait’s begrudging call for a less totalitarian political culture represented little more than a cover for his "white male tears." It was, as one might expect, drearily predictable and depressingly stupid — just one more blood-stained grudge match between the Judean People’s Front, the People’s Front of Judea, and, when he can be bothered to show up, the Popular Front as well. I loved every minute.

Providing a nice overview of the contretemps, the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto wrote that he would primarily be "rooting for casualties." This strikes me as being the correct approach. It is enormous fun for conservatives to write long essays that rail against and mock the scourge of "political correctness," and yet, as I am coming to learn, it is also a monumental waste of our time. As a genuine "liberal" in the classical sense of the word, I have no particular objections if people wish to descend into surrealism and intolerance. But I am under no obligation to indulge them either. Rather, I think that the best way of responding to somebody who tells you that they are "offended" is to first ask, "so bloody what?" and then to go and do something else. The most effective means of dealing with those who want to talk about who you are and not about what you have said is to repeat your proposition clearly, and to ask kindly if they have an answer to it. The most sensible way of reacting to the sort of ridiculous word-salad that the Left’s sillier emissaries have now perfected is to cackle derisively in their faces. Most people are pretty busy, and they do not have time to start each and every discussion with a re-litigation of whether or not there is such a thing as objective reason, or with a knock-down brawl on the subject of whether the Enlightenment was a Good Thing. If your interlocutor’s opening gambit is that conversation itself is a tool of the oppressors, why not just go get a drink instead?

Indeed, one has to wonder how long it will be before a more substantial backlash begins. "I am out of ideas," the socialist blogger Freddie DeBoer admitted yesterday afternoon, before inquiring rhetorically what he is supposed to conclude when he sees so "many good, impressionable young people run screaming from left-wing politics because they are excoriated the first second they step mildly out of line?" Among the things that DeBoer claims lately to "have seen, with my own two eyes," are a white woman running from a classroom simply because she used the word "disabled"; a black man being ostracized for suggesting that there is "such a thing as innate gender differences"; and a Hispanic Iraq War veteran "being berated" for using the phrase "man up." Worse for him and his interests, perhaps, DeBoer also claims to have under his belt "many more depressing stories of good people pushed out and marginalized in left-wing circles because they didn’t use the proper set of social and class signals to satisfy the world of intersectional politics." What, he asks in exasperation, is he supposed to say to them?

I have a few suggestions here. How about, "Stop bullying my students with your nonsense, you insufferable prigs?" Or, "This is a place of learning, not a witch trial, and we do not treat people like that here. Capiche?" Or, "If you can’t tolerate people who don’t agree with you, why are you engaging in argument at all?"

I daresay that if I had been in any of the situations that DeBoer describes, I would have walked happily out of the class. Why? Well, because there is simply nothing to be gained from arguing with people who believe that it is reasonable to treat those who use the word "disabled" as we treat those who use the word "n***er"; because there is no virtue in arguing with people who refuse even to entertain the possibility that they might be wrong; and because there is no good reason for smart people to subject themselves to barrages of epithets, delivered by people who have not yet been taught to think critically. On rare occasions, people with extremely ugly views do need to be exiled from polite society. But such occasions are — and should by rights be — few and far between. If your first response to somebody’s suggestion that there are palpable differences between men and women is to shout the words "homophobe," "transphobe," or "misogynist," you are no more deserving of attention than is, say, Alex Jones. "Answer not a fool according to his folly," the King James Bible suggests, "lest thou also be like unto him." Why, one has to ask, does DeBoer tolerate it?

Once upon a time, "political correctness" was little more than a benign left-wing version of old-church-lady tut-tutting. Today, by contrast, the designation is used to describe what has become a sprawling, unhinged, and invariably unfalsifiable conspiracy theory that can be used to dismiss anybody who violates this morning’s edition of the progressive catechism. "Gosh," one can almost hear DeBoer and Chait asking themselves, "have we unleashed a brigade of poorly educated, parodically self-indulgent, and chronically illiberal morons into our movement, the better to destroy it from within? And, if we have, will we ever be able to rid ourselves of them?"

The answer to the latter question, one suspects, may well be "No," for as Hollywood has taught us repeatedly over the years, it does not pay to unleash unpredictable viruses into the ecosystem — even if one gains temporarily by doing so. And make no mistake, "political correctness" is a virus — a nasty, cynical, destructive sickness that is akin in both theory and in practice to the sort of irritating malware that pushes endless streams of nonsensical dialogue windows onto your grandmother’s computer and prevents her from e-mailing her friends. In the "politically correct" settings that Chait and DeBoer are describing, no sooner has a freethinking person started to say, "Well, I think" — than a grotty little pop-up box has appeared to interrupt him with a stream of tosh. "Error 349xxf9: Privileges unchecked," a typical response might read. Or, if we are dealing with a more serious case: "Error 948xxer11: Tolerance Level Low: Fault at LGBT Sector Cis*Trans*Kin: Intersectionality Improperly Allied." As within computing, the genius is the panic that this provokes. Just as scareware thrives on the elderly’s touching belief that they can "break" the computer by clicking on the wrong buttons, so today’s young are so terrified of politically-correct bullying that they fail to do what is obviously necessary, which is rolling their eyes, clicking quietly on "cancel," and uninstalling the problem completely. The Left is arguing about the right level of "political correctness"? A plague on all their houses. Want to go to the pub?


Why is the public so determined to misread American Sniper?

Miranda Devine

BEST picture nominees Birdman and American Sniper represent the schizophrenia of the western mind, circa 2015.

The pretentious Birdman is the critics’ favourite, starring Michael Keaton as a washed-up actor angsting over his miserable existence, made miserable by his selfishness. Between levitating in his dressing room and bizarre appearances of the action-hero he used to play in movies he now reviles, he is trying to stage a play.

It’s a movie which appeals to people so engrossed in their own petty concerns they have lost sight of the real world.

But with the twitterati in raptures, a 92 percent critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and movie stars at the Golden Globes fawning over Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, this sour, self-indulgent black comedy is the Emperor’s New Clothes of the Oscars season.

It will be a travesty if it wins over Clint Eastwood’s (as usual) brilliant American Sniper, the true story of war hero Chris Kyle, an American Navy SEAL who served four tours of Iraq and became the most lethal sniper in US military history.

Bradley Cooper as Kyle gives the performance of his life, having bulked up 15 kilograms through a daily regimen of five-hour workouts and 6000-calorie meals. His portrayal is so accurate it brought Kyle’s widow Taya to tears.

Eastwood, who was against the Iraq war, takes a spare, nuanced view. There is a poignant subtext in the context of an Iraq in the grip of ISIS today, that all those hard-fought gains were squandered by President Obama’s feckless withdrawal of troops in 2011.

But Eastwood does not make these political points. Instead, he conveys the enormous sacrifice of the troops engaged in brutal urban warfare against al Qaeda to regain control of Iraq between 2003 and 2007 - and the suffering of their families at home.

Sniper is the opposite of a jingoistic celebration of violence, but it treats with respect those who do violence in our name.

Cooper portrays Kyle as he was, a gentle bear, a man’s man, with 160 confirmed kills to his name, and no remorse. "I was just protecting my guys… I am willing to meet my Creator and answer every shot I took."

This is how the real Kyle spoke, before he was murdered in 2013 at a Texas gun range by a veteran he was trying to help with his post-traumatic stress disorder.

He was even more direct in interviews for his 2012 autobiography.

"For the most part, the public are very soft. You live in a dream world. You have no idea what goes on on the other side of the world. The harsh realities that these people are doing to themselves and then our guys and there are certain things that need to be done to take care of them."

Clearly Sniper has touched a chord with the public. It opened in Australia on Thursday, taking an extraordinary $1 million at the box office that day. In the US it broke records with A$107 million in its opening weekend.

And yet, the movie is copping vicious flak in the lead-up to the Academy Awards next month, slammed as pro-war, anti-Muslim propaganda.

Last week in Los Angeles, "murderer" was scrawled in red paint across a billboard. Seth Rogen, of all people, likened it to Nazi propaganda, and Michael Moore declared snipers were "cowards".

The Guardian called Kyle a "hate-filled" serial killer and pychopath and questioned why "simplistic patriots" are calling him a hero.

Based on their extensive knowledge of the bars and coke lines of LA and Sydney’s eastern suburbs, some people seem determined to misread Sniper. It is being used as a proxy for criticising all things military and, by extension, the battle against the terrorism they deny exists.

The masculine male who is needed, once again, to fight this existential threat is their ultimate target - which is why Sniper offends them so.

Birdman is more suited to their solipsistic concerns, which are only viable in a world made safe by men like Kyle, "rough men who stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."

Men like Australia’s Afghanistan war hero, Ben Roberts-Smith, VC, MG.

In his Australia Day address last week, Roberts-Smith said: "Australian soldiers and the broader military are at the coalface – they are the face – of our defence, of our efforts to overpower the lethal forces of terror and insurgency rampaging throughout the world. The terrifying and tragic siege in Martin Place … told Australians that we’re neither remote nor immune."

On this Australia Day weekend, it’s worth remembering, "the freedoms and rights we’ve always fought for and won at great cost to our own are again under serious and continuing threat."

That’s reality, not the Birdman fantasy in which people move about in a bubble of privilege, ignorant or scornful of those who take care of distasteful things, who dispose of their garbage, kill the animals they eat, create the wealth they enjoy, provide the power they consume, and keep them safe from the enemies that want to wipe the smug smiles off their faces.



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, 2015

Inborn inequality in Britain: Today's rich mostly descend from rich families of the past

Smart people are usually smart about making and keeping money too  -- and smart people tend to marry other smart people.  So wealth has a considerable hereditary element.  Equality is a counter-factual fantasy

Wealthy parents pass on three quarters of their fortunes to their children meaning it will take 300 years for the offspring of today's super-rich to have average incomes, a survey has revealed.

The sons and daughters of prestigious families are also likely to live longer than average, more likely to attend Oxbridge, live in expensive houses, and go on to become doctors or lawyers.

There is also little difference in wealth or social standing when the richest families of the Victoria era are compared to their descendants today, according to the study.

Publishing their findings in the Economic Journal, Professor Gregory Clark and Dr Neil Cummins said: 'What your great-great-grandfather was doing is still predictive of what you are doing now.'

The pair examined the records of 19,000 people, including more than 600 rare family names such as Bazalgette, the Pepys, and Bigge.

Joseph Bazalgette was responsible for building the world's first sewer system in London in the 19th century, the Pepys family tree contains noted diarist Samuel Pepys, and John Bigge was a judge and royal commissioner.

They found that, compared to their relatives in 1850, those living with that surname today are almost certain to have amassed fortunes well beyond the reach of the average Briton.

For example Sir Peter Bazalgette, the great-great-grandson of Sir Joseph, is the founder of Endemol television production company which created Big Brother and Deal or No Deal.

The company was floated on the Dutch stock exchange in 2005. It trebled in value and was sold for £2.5billion in 2007.

The findings of Dr Clark and Dr Cummins, as reported by The Guardian, suggest that the passing down of wealth has a far bigger impact on society than previously thought.

The data showed a 'significant correlation between the wealth of families' even up to five generations apart.

They estimate that three quarters of any estate is passed down to the offspring of wealthy families, despite inheritance taxes introduced in recent years.

At that rate, it means that children of today's super-wealthy would take, on average, nearly three centuries to become as wealthy as the average Briton.

Dr Clark and Dr Cummins said: 'Wilson, Thatcher, or Blair – the noisy cacophony of Westminster politics – makes no difference to the iron law of inheritance.

'Measures to promote social mobility have little prospect of succeeding. It’s always going to be the case that families with the greatest abilities will just pass them on to their children.'


The Fluidity of Race?

Emily Nix and Nancy Qian just put out a paper – The Fluidity of Race – that has gotten some attention. They claim (based on their analysis of US Census records from 1880-1940) that at least 19% of black males ‘passed’ for white during this period, with about 10% switching back.  And this wasn’t a one-time thing: it kept happening for at least several generations, so there was a continuing net black-to-white flow, about 20% of each generation! They don’t talk about women, since their surnames change, but presumably there would be at least some race-switching among black women as well.

So let’s say that 17% of black males permanently passed over into the white category. During the time in question,  the black percentage of the US population was around 11%;  1 13.1% in 1880, 11.6% in 1900,  with a low in 1930 of 9.7% due to lots of recent immigration from Europe.

I think we can assume that half of the black population was male, at least until someone publishes claims of long-secret, industrial-scale parthenogenesis.

The period in questions covers about two generations.  So:

the fraction of the population called white should have absorbed  about

2 generations x 17% of the black male population x 0.5 (male fraction) x 11% (black fraction of the population) = 1.87% .  The white population during this period was about 89% of the population.    So you’d expect that whites in this country, on average would have about 2% black ancestry.  Or maybe less, since blacks average about 75% African ancestry: more like 1.5% African ancestry.

But they don’t : the average amount of African ancestry among self-labeled whites is , according to a recent, massive 23andme study,  0.19%.  The majority don’t have any African ancestry at all. 0.19% is way less, at least ten times less, than suggested by  the Nix-Qian paper.  Considerably less than you’d see in one generation, if they were right, and remember that they thought this was an ongoing process over many decades.  Moreover, for most of those whites that have any detectable African ancestry at all, the amount is small, a percent or two – which suggests the admixture event happened quite a while ago.

In the South, the amount of African admixture is larger among whites: about 5% of self-labelled whites in South Carolina have at least 2% African ancestry.  About 12% have over 1% African ancestry. But that amounts to an average African ancestry well under 1% among whites in South Carolina, a state in which blacks used to be the majority. That strongly suggests that the fraction of blacks that ever successfully passed into the white zone,  over the entire history of the US,  is more like 1 in 100, rather than 20% per generation.

So: what can we conclude about this paper? It’s a classic case of economic imperialism, informed by what ‘intellectuals’ [ those that have never been introduced to Punnet squares, Old Blue Light, the Dirac equation, or  Melungeons] would like to hear.

It is wrong, not close to right.


Sheriff lashes out at NAACP: ‘Number one cause’ of police shootings is black single mother homes

David Clarke, sheriff of Milwaukee County in Wisconsin, asserted on Tuesday that the NAACP was wrong to blame police for shooting black men when the problem was homes with single mothers.

A body camera recording released last week showed an Muskogee police officer in Oklahoma fatally shoot a fleeing suspect, Terrance Walker, who dropped and then picked up a gun as he ran.

Tulsa NAACP chapter President Pleas Thompson told KTUL that the shooting was part of a "shoot first and ask questions later" mentality.  "I think emphasis should be placed on trying to take those people alive," Thompson said.

On Tuesday’s edition of Fox & Friends, Sheriff Clarke argued that the NAACP should be focusing on black men instead of the police.

"This once proud organization that was a force for good has relegated itself into irrelevancy, and I challenge anybody to name the last significant accomplishment that the NAACP has achieved in the United States for people of color," Clarke opined. "This organization has become nothing more than a political propaganda entity for the left."

The sheriff recommended that the NAACP start a discussion in the black community about "the behavior of our young black men."

"The discussion we need to be having and the NAACP can lead it — stay off the police — is why is the stuff happening, and what are we going to do about it," he continued. "The number one cause of this is father-absent homes. So what are we going to do in terms of having more effective parenting, more role modeling, more engaged fathers in the lives of these young black men so that we don’t have this behavior."

Fox News host Brian Kilmeade pointed out that Terrance Walker’s mother said that officers did not have to shoot her son as he ran away.

"Well, what did his dad say?" Clarke laughed. "You know, we always hear what his mom says. You know, look, mom loves her son, we all get that. But shoot first and ask questions later — anytime a law enforcement officer is in a situation where a gun is introduced by a suspect, yeah, it’s shoot first, stop the threat, and then ask questions later."

"And also, when you run from the police, I’ll tell you right now, you’re headed toward a very dark place where things are not going to go well for you," he added. "That doesn’t mean that you’re automatically going to be shot and you should die. But the fact is, that is one of the most dangerous situations an officer can be involved in."

Clarke concluded by calling the shooting "unfortunate," but he said that the NAACP needed to "focus on the behavior of our young black men, and not the police."


Pauline Hanson and Muslim issues

Controversial Australian independent conservative politician gets a lot wrong but highlights some important issues.  She fronts the One Nation party

In the past Hanson has tapped into worries about Asian immigration and entitlements for indigenous Australians, and now she has identified Muslim Australians as her next bogeyman.

On the back of our recent freedom of speech debate, rebooted by the fallout from Paris’s Charlie Hebdo massacre, Hanson presents a challenge. Rather than attack her we should challenge her where she is wrong and welcome a debate about any real issues she identifies.

A touchstone for Hanson’s new crusade is Halal registration. She says it should be illegal for companies to pay for Halal certification of their food products.

"When I see 2.2 per cent of our population are Muslim in this country and yet the other 97.8 per cent are paying for this," she rants. "I reject this."

This is the reason for her "I will not buy Vegemite," pledge.

If Hanson wants Muslim immigrants to assimilate you’d think she’d favour smoothing a Halal path to Vegemite on toast. Even aside from that silly paradox the anti-Halal campaign is ridiculous.

Perhaps these registrations can sometimes be a rort but if companies are prepared to pay the fee for Halal labelling there is no problem. It can help them market to Muslim customers at home and can be essential for exporting to Muslim nations.

The anti-Halal movement seems to be classically xenophobic and should be dismissed on logical grounds. Some of our supermarkets have kosher aisles and brands seek approval for all kinds of labels, from organic or gluten-free status to heart health and environmental ticks.

Halal certification ought to be welcomed as another marketing tool.

Hanson says Muslims "come here for a new life and I have no problem with that" but complains "we can’t sing Christmas carols because it offends others".

She also is "totally opposed to the burka", claiming many women are forced to wear it.

This is where her anti-Muslim rant comes up against the stifling effect of political correctness. We have seen attempts to downplay Christian references at Christmas but this is hardly the fault of Muslims — more likely it stems from the activism of bureaucratic secularists.

But while most Australians would not be as strident as Hanson on the burka there is little doubt many worry that the covering of Muslim women is an open form of oppression.

This is a legitimate issue for discussion, especially among feminists and Muslim communities, and Hanson shouldn’t be condemned simply for raising it.

It also goes to her core complaint about lack of assimilation or how Muslims "will not change their ways but want to change our ways".

Again, most of us wouldn’t be so confrontational but a discussion about assimilation should not only be tolerated; it is desperately needed.

The radicalisation of young Muslim men, born in our suburbs and educated under our freedoms, who have then gone overseas as ­jihadist Islamic State recruits, is of grave concern, especially to the majority of Muslims who are politically moderate.

Shouting down Hanson, or demonising anyone who echoes her views, will not help. It will only confirm an unwillingness to confront the issues, and we have seen plenty of this national squeamishness lately.

The contortions performed by many to deny the Islamist extremist motivation behind the Martin Place siege were extraordinary.

This jihadist denialism suggests to the mainstream that the political class is incapable of handling obvious challenges — so it only fuels the fear Hanson aims to harness.

The best way to combat One Nation fearmongering is to inject more frankness into our public debates.

One person who did that this week was Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith in his compelling Australia Day address. He explained: "the freedoms and rights we’ve always fought for and won at great cost to our own are again under serious and continuing threat."

Roberts-Smith, now working in business, explained how our military are in the frontline of a battle against the "lethal forces of terror" and that Martin Place showed we were "neither remote nor immune" as he matter-of-factly listed it with 9/11, Bali, Paris and other attacks.

"As Australians witness these things in the midst of our ordinary lives … reading about young people leaving the country to join a raging, borderless jihad," he said, "the outlying world of Australian soldiers fighting Islamic extremism in Afghanistan and Iraq seems to come within touching distance of domestic, civilian life."

He is right and, unsurprisingly, brave.  Courage is not just needed on the frontline but in mustering the confidence to speak honestly against Islamist terrorism while simultaneously embedding our tradition of tolerance.



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

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

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


1 February, 2015


But for different reasons.  See the two articles below

Not a Very P.C. Thing to Say

How the language police are perverting liberalism

By Jonathan Chait

Around 2 a.m. on December 12, four students approached the apartment of Omar Mahmood, a Muslim student at the University of Michigan, who had recently published a column in a school newspaper about his perspective as a minority on campus. The students, who were recorded on a building surveillance camera wearing baggy hooded sweatshirts to hide their identity, littered Mahmood’s doorway with copies of his column, scrawled with messages like "You scum embarrass us," "Shut the fuck up," and "DO YOU EVEN GO HERE?! LEAVE!!" They posted a picture of a demon and splattered eggs.

This might appear to be the sort of episode that would stoke the moral conscience of students on a progressive campus like Ann Arbor, and it was quickly agreed that an act of biased intimidation had taken place. But Mahmood was widely seen as the perpetrator rather than the victim. His column, published in the school’s conservative newspaper, had spoofed the culture of taking offense that pervades the campus. Mahmood satirically pretended to denounce "a white cis-gendered hetero upper-class man" who offered to help him up when he slipped, leading him to denounce "our barbaric attitude toward people of left-handydnyss." The gentle tone of his mockery was closer to Charlie Brown than to Charlie Hebdo.

The Michigan Daily, where Mahmood also worked as a columnist and film critic, objected to the placement of his column in the conservative paper but hardly wanted his satirical column in its own pages. Mahmood later said that he was told by the editor that his column had created a "hostile environment," in which at least one Daily staffer felt threatened, and that he must write a letter of apology to the staff. When he refused, the Daily fired him, and the subsequent vandalism of his apartment served to confirm his status as thought-criminal.

The episode would not have shocked anybody familiar with the campus scene from two decades earlier. In 1992, an episode along somewhat analogous lines took place, also in Ann Arbor. In this case, the offending party was the feminist videographer Carol Jacobsen, who had produced an exhibition documenting the lives of sex workers. The exhibition’s subjects presented their profession as a form of self-empowerment, a position that ran headlong against the theories of Catharine MacKinnon, a law professor at the university who had gained national renown for her radical feminist critique of the First Amendment as a tool of male privilege. MacKinnon’s beliefs nestled closely with an academic movement that was then being described, by its advocates as well as its critics, as "political correctness." Michigan had already responded to the demands of pro-p.c. activists by imposing a campuswide speech code purporting to restrict all manner of discriminatory speech, only for it to be struck down as a First Amendment violation in federal court.

In Ann Arbor, MacKinnon had attracted a loyal following of students, many of whom copied her method of argument. The pro-MacKinnon students, upset over the display of pornographic video clips, descended upon Jacobsen’s exhibit and confiscated a videotape. There were speakers visiting campus for a conference on prostitution, and the video posed "a threat to their safety," the students insisted.

This was the same inversion of victim and victimizer at work last December. In both cases, the threat was deemed not the angry mobs out to crush opposing ideas, but the ideas themselves. The theory animating both attacks turns out to be a durable one, with deep roots in the political left.

The recent mass murder of the staff members of Charlie Hebdo in Paris was met with immediate and unreserved fury and grief across the full range of the American political system. But while outrage at the violent act briefly united our generally quarrelsome political culture, the quarreling quickly resumed over deeper fissures. Were the slain satirists martyrs at the hands of religious fanaticism, or bullying spokesmen of privilege? Can the offensiveness of an idea be determined objectively, or only by recourse to the identity of the person taking offense? On Twitter, "Je Suis Charlie," a slogan heralding free speech, was briefly one of the most popular news hashtags in history. But soon came the reactions ("Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie") from those on the left accusing the newspaper of racism and those on the right identifying the cartoons as hate speech. Many media companies, including the New York Times, have declined to publish the cartoons the terrorists deemed offensive, a stance that has attracted strident criticism from some readers. These sudden, dramatic expressions of anguish against insensitivity and oversensitivity come at a moment when large segments of American culture have convulsed into censoriousness.

After political correctness burst onto the academic scene in the late ’80s and early ’90s, it went into a long remission. Now it has returned. Some of its expressions have a familiar tint, like the protesting of even mildly controversial speakers on college campuses. You may remember when 6,000 people at the University of California–Berkeley signed a petition last year to stop a commencement address by Bill Maher, who has criticized Islam (along with nearly all the other major world religions). Or when protesters at Smith College demanded the cancellation of a commencement address by Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, blaming the organization for "imperialist and patriarchal systems that oppress and abuse women worldwide." Also last year, Rutgers protesters scared away Condoleezza Rice; others at Brandeis blocked Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a women’s-rights champion who is also a staunch critic of Islam; and those at Haverford successfully protested ­former Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau, who was disqualified by an episode in which the school’s police used force against Occupy protesters.

At a growing number of campuses, professors now attach "trigger warnings" to texts that may upset students, and there is a campaign to eradicate "microaggressions," or small social slights that might cause searing trauma. These newly fashionable terms merely repackage a central tenet of the first p.c. movement: that people should be expected to treat even faintly unpleasant ideas or behaviors as full-scale offenses. Stanford recently canceled a performance of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson after protests by Native American students. UCLA students staged a sit-in to protest microaggressions such as when a professor corrected a student’s decision to spell the word indigenous with an uppercase I — one example of many "perceived grammatical choices that in actuality reflect ideologies." A theater group at Mount Holyoke College recently announced it would no longer put on The Vagina Monologues in part because the material excludes women without vaginas. These sorts of episodes now hardly even qualify as exceptional.

Trigger warnings aren’t much help in actually overcoming trauma — an analysis by the Institute of Medicine has found that the best approach is controlled exposure to it, and experts say avoidance can reinforce suffering. Indeed, one professor at a prestigious university told me that, just in the last few years, she has noticed a dramatic upsurge in her students’ sensitivity toward even the mildest social or ideological slights; she and her fellow faculty members are terrified of facing accusations of triggering trauma — or, more consequentially, violating her school’s new sexual-harassment policy — merely by carrying out the traditional academic work of intellectual exploration. "This is an environment of fear, believe it or not," she told me by way of explaining her request for anonymity. It reminds her of the previous outbreak of political correctness — "Every other day I say to my friends, ‘How did we get back to 1991?’?"

But it would be a mistake to categorize today’s p.c. culture as only an academic phenomenon. Political correctness is a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate. Two decades ago, the only communities where the left could exert such hegemonic control lay within academia, which gave it an influence on intellectual life far out of proportion to its numeric size. Today’s political correctness flourishes most consequentially on social media, where it enjoys a frisson of cool and vast new cultural reach. And since social media is also now the milieu that hosts most political debate, the new p.c. has attained an influence over mainstream journalism and commentary beyond that of the old.

It also makes money. Every media company knows that stories about race and gender bias draw huge audiences, making identity politics a reliable profit center in a media industry beset by insecurity. A year ago, for instance, a photographer compiled images of Fordham students displaying signs recounting "an instance of racial microaggression they have faced." The stories ranged from uncomfortable ("No, where are you really from?") to relatively innocuous ("?‘Can you read this?’ He showed me a Japanese character on his phone"). BuzzFeed published part of her project, and it has since received more than 2 million views. This is not an anomaly.

In a short period of time, the p.c. movement has assumed a towering presence in the psychic space of politically active people in general and the left in particular. "All over social media, there dwell armies of unpaid but widely read commentators, ready to launch hashtag campaigns and circulate Change.org petitions in response to the slightest of identity-politics missteps," Rebecca Traister wrote recently in The New Republic.

Two and a half years ago, Hanna Rosin, a liberal journalist and longtime friend, wrote a book called The End of Men, which argued that a confluence of social and economic changes left women in a better position going forward than men, who were struggling to adapt to a new postindustrial order. Rosin, a self-identified feminist, has found herself unexpectedly assailed by feminist critics, who found her message of long-term female empowerment complacent and insufficiently concerned with the continuing reality of sexism. One Twitter hashtag, "#RIPpatriarchy," became a label for critics to lampoon her thesis. Every new continuing demonstration of gender discrimination — a survey showing Americans still prefer male bosses; a person noticing a man on the subway occupying a seat and a half — would be tweeted out along with a mocking #RIPpatriarchy.

Her response since then has been to avoid committing a provocation, especially on Twitter. "If you tweet something straight­forwardly feminist, you immediately get a wave of love and favorites, but if you tweet something in a cranky feminist mode then the opposite happens," she told me. "The price is too high; you feel like there might be banishment waiting for you." Social media, where swarms of jeering critics can materialize in an instant, paradoxically creates this feeling of isolation. "You do immediately get the sense that it’s one against millions, even though it’s not." Subjects of these massed attacks often describe an impulse to withdraw.

Political correctness is a term whose meaning has been gradually diluted since it became a flashpoint 25 years ago. People use the phrase to describe politeness (perhaps to excess), or evasion of hard truths, or (as a term of abuse by conservatives) liberalism in general. The confusion has made it more attractive to liberals, who share the goal of combating race and gender bias.

But political correctness is not a rigorous commitment to social equality so much as a system of left-wing ideological repression. Not only is it not a form of liberalism; it is antithetical to liberalism. Indeed, its most frequent victims turn out to be liberals themselves.

I am white and male, a fact that is certainly worth bearing in mind. I was also a student at the University of Michigan during the Jacobsen incident, and was attacked for writing an article for the campus paper defending the exhibit. If you consider this background and demographic information the very essence of my point of view, then there’s not much point in reading any further. But this pointlessness is exactly the point: Political correctness makes debate irrelevant and frequently impossible.

Under p.c. culture, the same idea can be expressed identically by two people but received differently depending on the race and sex of the individuals doing the expressing. This has led to elaborate norms and terminology within certain communities on the left. For instance, "mansplaining," a concept popularized in 2008 by Rebecca Solnit, who described the tendency of men to patronizingly hold forth to women on subjects the woman knows better — in Solnit’s case, the man in question mansplained her own book to her. The fast popularization of the term speaks to how exasperating the phenomenon can be, and mansplaining has, at times, proved useful in identifying discrimination embedded in everyday rudeness. But it has now grown into an all-purpose term of abuse that can be used to discredit any argument by any man. (MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry once disdainfully called White House press secretary Jay Carney’s defense of the relative pay of men and women in the administration "man­splaining," even though the question he responded to was posed by a male.) Mansplaining has since given rise to "whitesplaining" and "straightsplaining." The phrase "solidarity is for white women," used in a popular hashtag, broadly signifies any criticism of white feminists by nonwhite ones.

If a person who is accused of bias attempts to defend his intentions, he merely compounds his own guilt. (Here one might find oneself accused of man/white/straightsplaining.) It is likewise taboo to request that the accusation be rendered in a less hostile manner. This is called "tone policing." If you are accused of bias, or "called out," reflection and apology are the only acceptable response — to dispute a call-out only makes it worse. There is no allowance in p.c. culture for the possibility that the accusation may be erroneous. A white person or a man can achieve the status of "ally," however, if he follows the rules of p.c. dialogue. A community, virtual or real, that adheres to the rules is deemed "safe." The extensive terminology plays a crucial role, locking in shared ideological assumptions that make meaningful disagreement impossible.

Nearly every time I have mentioned the subject of p.c. to a female writer I know, she has told me about Binders Full of Women Writers, an invitation-only Facebook group started last year for women authors. The name came from Mitt Romney’s awkwardly phrased debate boast that as Massachusetts governor he had solicited names of female candidates for high-level posts, and became a form of viral mockery. Binders was created to give women writers a "laid-back" and "no-pressure" environment for conversation and professional networking. It was an attempt to alleviate the systemic under­representation of women in just about every aspect of American journalism and literature, and many members initially greeted the group as a welcome and even exhilarating source of social comfort and professional opportunity. "Suddenly you had the most powerful women in journalism and media all on the same page," one former member, a liberal journalist in her 30s, recalls.

Binders, however, soon found itself frequently distracted by bitter identity-­politics recriminations, endlessly litigating the fraught requirements of p.c. discourse. "This was the first time I had felt this new kind of militancy," says the same member, who requested anonymity for fear that her opinions would make her employer uncomfortable. Another sent me excerpts of the types of discussions that can make the group a kind of virtual mental prison.

On July 10, for instance, one member in Los Angeles started a conversation urging all participants to practice higher levels of racial awareness. "Without calling anyone out specifically, I’m going to note that if you’re discussing a contentious thread, and shooting the breeze … take a look at the faces in the user icons in that discussion," she wrote. "Binders is pretty diverse, but if you’re not seeing many WOC/non-binary POC in your discussion, it’s quite possible that there are problematic assumptions being stated without being challenged." ("POC" stands for "people of color." "WOC" means "women of color." "Non-binary" describes people who are either transgender or identify as a gender other than traditionally male or female.)

Two members responded lightly, one suggesting that such "call-outs" be addressed in private conversation and another joking that she was a "gluten free Jewish WWC" — or Woman Without Color. This set off more jokes and a vicious backlash. "It seems appropriate to hijack my suggestion with jokes. I see," the Los Angeles member replied. "Apparently whatever WOC have to say is good for snark and jokes," wrote another. Others continued: "The level of belittling, derailing, crappy jokes, and all around insensitivity here is astounding and also makes me feel very unsafe in this Big Binder." "It is literally fucking insane. I am appalled and embarrassed."

The suggestion that a call-out be communicated privately met with even deeper rage. A poet in Texas: "I’m not about to private message folks who have problematic racist, transphobic, anti-immigrant, and/or sexist language." The L.A. member: "Because when POC speak on these conversations with snark and upset, we get Tone Argumented at, and I don’t really want to deal with the potential harm to me and mine." Another writer: "You see people suggesting that PMs are a better way to handle racism? That’s telling us we are too vocal and we should pipe down." A white Toronto member, sensing the group had dramatically underreacted, moved to rectify the situation: "JESUS FUCK, LIKE SERIOUSLY FUCK, I SEE MORE WHITE BINDERS POLICING WOC AND DEMANDING TO BE EDUCATED/UNEDUCATED AS IF IT’S A FUCKING NOBLE MISSION RATHER THAN I DUNNO SPEND TIME SHUTTING DOWN AND SHITTING ON RACIST DOUCHE CANOE BEHAVIOUR; WHAT ARE YOU GAINING BY THIS? WHAT ARE YOU DETRACTING? YOU NEED SCREENCAPS OF BURNING CROSSES TO BELIEVE RACIST SHIT IS HAPPENING? THIS THREAD IS PAINFUL. HUGS TO ALL THE WOC DURING THIS THREAD"

Every free society, facing the challenge of balancing freedom of expression against other values such as societal cohesion and tolerance, creates its own imperfect solution. France’s is especially convoluted and difficult to parse: It allows for satire and even blasphemy (like cartoons that run in Charlie Hebdo) but not for speech that incites violence toward individuals (like provocative comments made by the comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala). This may appear to Americans as a distinction without a difference, but our distinctions are also confused, as is our way of talking about free speech as it overlaps with our politics.

The right wing in the United States is unusually strong compared with other industrialized democracies, and it has spent two generations turning liberal into a feared buzzword with radical connotations. This long propaganda campaign has implanted the misperception — not only among conservatives but even many liberals — that liberals and "the left" stand for the same things.

It is true that liberals and leftists both want to make society more economically and socially egalitarian. But liberals still hold to the classic Enlightenment political tradition that cherishes individuals rights, freedom of expression, and the protection of a kind of free political marketplace. (So, for that matter, do most conservatives.)

The Marxist left has always dismissed liberalism’s commitment to protecting the rights of its political opponents — you know, the old line often misattributed to Voltaire, "I disapprove of what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it" — as hopelessly naïve. If you maintain equal political rights for the oppressive capitalists and their proletarian victims, this will simply keep in place society’s unequal power relations. Why respect the rights of the class whose power you’re trying to smash? And so, according to Marxist thinking, your political rights depend entirely on what class you belong to.

The modern far left has borrowed the Marxist critique of liberalism and substituted race and gender identities for economic ones. "The liberal view," wrote MacKinnon 30 years ago, "is that abstract categories — like speech or equality — define systems. Every time you strengthen free speech in one place, you strengthen it everywhere. Strengthening the free speech of the Klan strengthens the free speech of Blacks." She deemed this nonsensical: "It equates substantive powerlessness with substantive power and calls treating these the same, ‘equality.’?"

Political correctness appeals to liberals because it claims to represent a more authentic and strident opposition to their shared enemy of race and gender bias. And of course liberals are correct not only to oppose racism and sexism but to grasp (in a way conservatives generally do not) that these biases cast a nefarious and continuing shadow over nearly every facet of American life. Since race and gender biases are embedded in our social and familial habits, our economic patterns, and even our subconscious minds, they need to be fought with some level of consciousness. The mere absence of overt discrimination will not do.

Liberals believe (or ought to believe) that social progress can continue while we maintain our traditional ideal of a free political marketplace where we can reason together as individuals. Political correctness challenges that bedrock liberal ideal. While politically less threatening than conservatism (the far right still commands far more power in American life), the p.c. left is actually more philosophically threatening. It is an undemocratic creed.

Bettina Aptheker, a professor of feminist studies at the University of California–Santa Cruz, recently wrote an essay commemorating the Berkeley Free Speech movement, in which she participated as a student in 1964. She now expressed a newfound skepticism in the merits of free speech. "Freedom of speech is a constitutional guarantee, but who gets to exercise it without the chilling restraints of censure depends very much on one’s location in the political and social cartography," she wrote. "We [Free Speech movement] veterans … were too young and inexperienced in 1964 to know this, but we do now, and we speak with a new awareness, a new consciousness, and a new urgency that the wisdom of a true freedom is inexorably tied to who exercises power and for what ends."

These ideas have more than theoretical power. Last March at University of ­California–Santa Barbara, in, ironically, a "free-speech zone," a 16-year-old anti-abortion protester named Thrin Short and her 21-year-old sister Joan displayed a sign arrayed with graphic images of aborted fetuses. They caught the attention of Mireille Miller-Young, a professor of feminist studies. Miller-Young, angered by the sign, demanded that they take it down. When they refused, Miller-Young snatched the sign, took it back to her office to destroy it, and shoved one of the Short sisters on the way.

Speaking to police after the altercation, Miller-Young told them that the images of the fetuses had "triggered" her and violated her "personal right to go to work and not be in harm." A Facebook group called "UCSB Microaggressions" declared themselves "in solidarity" with Miller-Young and urged the campus "to provide as much support as possible."

By the prevailing standards of the American criminal-justice system, Miller-Young had engaged in vandalism, battery, and robbery. By the logic of the p.c. movement, she was the victim of a trigger and had acted in the righteous cause of social justice. Her colleagues across the country wrote letters to the sentencing judge pleading for leniency. Jennifer Morgan, an NYU professor, blamed the anti-­abortion protesters for instigating the confrontation through their exercise of free speech. "Miller-Young’s actions should be mitigated both by her history as an educator as well as by her conviction that the [anti-abortion] images were an assault on her students," Morgan wrote. Again, the mere expression of opposing ideas, in the form of a poster, is presented as a threatening act.

The website The Feminist Wire mounted an even more rousing defense of Miller-Young’s behavior. The whole idea that the professor committed a crime by stealing a sign and shoving away its owner turns out to be an ideological construct. "The ease with which privileged white, and particularly young white gender and sexually normative appearing women, make claims to ‘victimhood’ and ‘violation of property,’ is not a neutral move," its authors argued. It concluded, "We issue a radical call for accountability to questions of history, representation, and the racialized gendering of tropes of ‘culpability’ and ‘innocence’ when considering Dr. Miller-Young’s case."

These are extreme ideas, but they are neither isolated nor marginal. A widely cited column by a Harvard Crimson editorial writer last year demanded an end to academic freedom if freedom extended to objectionable ideas. "If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism," asked the author, "why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of ‘academic freedom’?" After the Nation’s Michelle Goldberg denounced a "growing left-wing tendency toward censoriousness and hair-trigger offense," Rutgers professor Brittney Cooper replied in Salon: "The demand to be reasonable is a disingenuous demand. Black folks have been reasoning with white people forever. Racism is unreasonable, and that means reason has limited currency in the fight against it."

The most probable cause of death of the first political-correctness movement was the 1992 presidential election. That event mobilized left-of-center politics around national issues like health care and the economy, and away from the introspective suppression of dissent within the academy. Bill Clinton’s campaign frontally attacked left-wing racial politics, famously using inflammatory comments by Sister Souljah to distance him from Jesse Jackson. Barbara Jordan, the first black woman from a southern state elected to the House of Representatives, attacked political correctness in her keynote speech. ("We honor cultural identity. We always have; we always will. But separatism is not allowed. Separatism is not the American way. We must not allow ideas like political correctness to divide us and cause us to reverse hard-won achievements in human rights and civil rights.")

Yet it is possible to imagine that, as the next Clinton presidential campaign gets under way, p.c. culture may not dissolve so easily. The internet has shrunk the distance between p.c. culture and mainstream liberal politics, and the two are now hopelessly entangled. During the 2008 primary contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the modern politics of grievance had already begun to play out, as each side’s supporters patrolled the other for any comment that might indicate gender or racial bias. It dissipated in the general election, but that was partly because Obama’s supporters worried about whether America really was ready to accept its first president who was not a white male. Clinton enters the 2016 race in a much stronger position than any other candidate, and her supporters may find it irresistible to amplify p.c. culture’s habit of interrogating the hidden gender biases in every word and gesture against their side.

Or maybe not. The p.c. style of politics has one serious, possibly fatal drawback: It is exhausting. Claims of victimhood that are useful within the left-wing subculture may alienate much of America. The movement’s dour puritanism can move people to outrage, but it may prove ill suited to the hopeful mood required of mass politics. Nor does it bode well for the movement’s longevity that many of its allies are worn out. "It seems to me now that the public face of social liberalism has ceased to seem positive, joyful, human, and freeing," confessed the progressive writer Freddie deBoer. "There are so many ways to step on a land mine now, so many terms that have become forbidden, so many attitudes that will get you cast out if you even appear to hold them. I’m far from alone in feeling that it’s typically not worth it to engage, given the risks." Goldberg wrote recently about people "who feel emotionally savaged by their involvement in [online feminism] — not because of sexist trolls, but because of the slashing righteousness of other feminists." Former Feministing editor Samhita Mukhopadhyay told her, "Everyone is so scared to speak right now."

That the new political correctness has bludgeoned even many of its own supporters into despondent silence is a triumph, but one of limited use. Politics in a democracy is still based on getting people to agree with you, not making them afraid to disagree. The historical record of political movements that sought to expand freedom for the oppressed by eliminating it for their enemies is dismal. The historical record of American liberalism, which has extended social freedoms to blacks, Jews, gays, and women, is glorious. And that glory rests in its confidence in the ultimate power of reason, not coercion, to triumph.


I don’t know what to do, you guys

Fredrick De Boer

So, to state the obvious: Jon Chait is a jerk who somehow manages to be both condescending and wounded in his piece on political correctness. He gets the basic nature of language policing wrong, and his solutions are wrong, and he’s a centrist Democrat scold who is just as eager to shut people out of the debate as the people he criticizes. That’s true.

Here are some things that are also true.

I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 19 year old white woman — smart, well-meaning, passionate — literally run crying from a classroom because she was so ruthlessly brow-beaten for using the word "disabled." Not repeatedly. Not with malice. Not because of privilege. She used the word once and was excoriated for it. She never came back. I watched that happen.

I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 20 year old black man, a track athlete who tried to fit organizing meetings around classes and his ridiculous practice schedule (for which he received a scholarship worth a quarter of tuition), be told not to return to those meetings because he said he thought there were such a thing as innate gender differences. He wasn’t a homophobe, or transphobic, or a misogynist. It turns out that 20 year olds from rural South Carolina aren’t born with an innate understanding of the intersectionality playbook. But those were the terms deployed against him, those and worse. So that was it; he was gone.

I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 33 year old Hispanic man, an Iraq war veteran who had served three tours and had become an outspoken critic of our presence there, be lectured about patriarchy by an affluent 22 year old white liberal arts college student, because he had said that other vets have to "man up" and speak out about the war. Because apparently we have to pretend that we don’t know how metaphorical language works or else we’re bad people. I watched his eyes glaze over as this woman with $300 shoes berated him. I saw that. Myself.

These things aren’t hypothetical. This isn’t some thought experiment. This is where I live, where I have lived. These and many, many more depressing stories of good people pushed out and marginalized in left-wing circles because they didn’t use the proper set of social and class signals to satisfy the world of intersectional politics. So you’ll forgive me when I roll my eyes at the army of media liberals, stuffed into their narrow enclaves, responding to Chait by insisting that there is no problem here and that anyone who says there is should be considered the enemy.

By the way: in these incidents, and dozens and dozens of more like it, which I have witnessed as a 30-hour-a-week antiwar activist for three years and as a blogger for the last seven and as a grad student for the  past six, the culprits overwhelmingly were not women of color. That’s always how this conversation goes down: if you say, hey, we appear to have a real problem with how we talk to other people, we are losing potential allies left and right, then the response is always "stop lecturing women of color." But these codes aren’t enforced by women of color, in the overwhelming majority of the time. They’re enforced by the children of privilege. I know. I live here. I am on campus. I have been in the activist meetings and the lefty coffee houses. My perspective goes beyond the same 200 people who write the entire Cool Kid Progressive Media.

Amanda Taub says political correctness "doesn’t exist." To which I can only ask, how would you know? I don’t understand where she gets that certainty. Is Traub under the impression that the Vox offices represents the breadth of left-wing culture? I read dozens of tweets and hot take after hot take, insisting that there’s no problem here, and it’s coming overwhelmingly from people who have no idea what they’re talking about.

Well, listen, you guys: I don’t know what to do. I am out of ideas. I am willing to listen to suggestions. What do I do, when I see so many good, impressionable young people run screaming from left-wing politics because they are excoriated the first second they step mildly out of line? Megan Garber, you have any suggestions for me, when I meet some 20 year old who got caught in a Twitter storm and determined that she never wanted to set foot in that culture again? I’m all ears. If I’m not allowed to ever say, hey, you know, there’s more productive, more inclusive ways to argue here, then I don’t know what the fuck I am supposed to do or say. Hey, Alex Pareene. I get it. You can write this kind of piece in your sleep. You will always find work writing pieces like that. It’s easy and it’s fun and you can tell jokes and those same 200 media jerks will give you a thousand pats on the back for it. Do you have any advice for me, here, on campus? Do you know what I’m supposed to say to some shellshocked 19 year old from Terra Haute who, I’m very sorry to say, hasn’t had a decade to absorb bell hooks? Can you maybe do me a favor, and instead of writing a piece designed to get you yet-more retweets from Weird Twitter, [I changed my mind, Weird Twitter is cool and good] tell me how to reach these potential allies when I know that they’re going to get burned terribly for just being typical clumsy kids? Since you’re telling me that if I say a word against people who go nuclear at the slightest provocation, I’m just one of the Jon Chaits, please inform me how I can act as an educator and an ally and a friend. Because I am out of fucking ideas.

I know, writing these words, exactly how this will go down. I know Weird Twitter will hoot and the same pack of self-absorbed media liberals will herp de derp about it. I know I’ll get read the intersectionality riot act, even though everyone I’m criticizing here is white, educated, and privileged. I know nobody will bother to say, boy, maybe I don’t actually understand the entire world of left-wing politics because I went to Sarah Lawrence. I know that. But Christ, I wish people would think outside of their social circle for 5 minutes.

Jon Chait is an asshole. He’s wrong. I don’t want these kids to be more like Jon Chait. I sure as hell don’t want them to be less left-wing. I want them to be more left-wing. I want a left that can win, and there’s no way I can have that when the actually-existing left sheds potential allies at an impossible rate. But the prohibition against ever telling anyone to be friendlier and more forgiving is so powerful and calcified it’s a permanent feature of today’s progressivism. And I’m left as this sad old 33 year old teacher who no longer has the slightest fucking idea what to say to the many brilliant, passionate young people whose only crime is not already being perfect.


The evils of Britain's family courts again

A mother and her 11-year-old son were separated on the orders of a judge who refused to listen to their pleas to live together, an appeal ruling found today.

Three Appeal judges said the mother was wrongly denied the hope of getting her son back by the behaviour of Judge Robert Dodds in the family court in Liverpool.

Judge Dodds took the decision to break up the family forever on the basis of an out-of-date report by social workers. He refused to listen to crucial facts of the case - dismissing them as ‘Victorian detail’.

Instead he decided to make a final judgement about the mother and son’s future on the spot, at a court hearing that was only supposed to plot the future conduct of the case, the Appeal judges found.

Judge Dodds decided to break up the family ‘within a matter of minutes’, dismissing the 11-year-old’s hopes of living with his mother.  He wished the boy ‘every good luck in the world but the Children Act and the court has nothing to do with it.’

The Appeal ruling published today contained severe condemnation of Judge Dodds’ conduct of the case by three Appeal judges: Lady Justice King, Lord Justice Lewison and the most senior family judge, President of the Family Division Sir James Munby.

Sir James said: ‘It is unhappily all too apparent that no dispassionate observer of the proceedings could think that justice was done, let alone that it was seen to be done. It was not.’

He added that ‘such a ruthlessly truncated process as the judge adopted here was fundamentally unprincipled and unfair.’

Lady Justice King said that Judge Dodds’ behaviour ‘was not only unfair to the mother but contrary to the interests of the children with whom he was concerned.’

Lord Justice Lewison added that justice could not be done ‘when a judge has apparently made up his mind before hearing argument or evidence.  ‘A closed mind is incompatible with the administration of justice,’ Lord Justice Lewison said.

The family that came before Judge Dodds in the brief hearing in Liverpool last August were the mother and her three children who had been taken into state care at the end of 2012.

Lawyers, social workers and grandparents had agreed that two of the children, aged 14 and 10, would go to live with their grandparents.  But the 11-year-old wanted desperately to live with his mother.

The Appeal judgement said that the boy was academically capable and ‘overachieving’ at school. But in less than two years he had gone through 14 different placements with foster parents and his life was one of ‘continued instability, distress and fervent desire to go home.’

At one stage social workers had sent him to live with his father, a drug dealer, where the boy complained of ill treatment. He was sent back to the father, who was later charged with assaulting the boy and was in prison awaiting trial at the time of the Appeal hearing last month.

Social workers had told the mother they would allow new drug tests to check her claims that she had turned her life around, and lawyers agreed the court should consider sending the boy back to her.  But Judge Dodds took a different view.

The Appeal judges said that at the August case management hearing intended to plan future hearings, ‘within a matter of minutes the judge had made abundantly clear, in trenchant terms, his determination to conclude the case there and then by making final care orders.

‘All the parties crumbled under the judge’s caustically expressed views, and as a consequence were unable to explain to the judge that the situation was more complicated.’

They added that at one stage Judge Dodds said the mother looked ‘upset and bewildered’. The Appeal judges observed: ‘It is hard to see how she could have looked otherwise.’

Judge Dodds made care orders placing all three children under the care of Liverpool social workers despite the detailed and different plans that had been made for them.

The Appeal judges set the decision aside and ordered the case should be taken over by a different judge.

Sir James Munby said: ‘A parent facing the removal of their child must be allowed to put their case to the court, however seemingly forlorn. It is one of the oldest principles of our law – it goes back over 400 years – that no-one is to be condemned unheard.’

He added that the mother had a right to question social workers in court.

Sir James said that while requirements that family cases involving the fate of children should take no more than 26 weeks in court were important, ‘robustness cannot trump fairness.’


Australia: You can't makes whites out of blackfellas

Successive governments of all stripes have tried everything To get blackfellas to behave like whites -- but nothing works.  Despite all efforts, blackfellas remain welfare dependent, violent towards their women and children, prone to alcoholism and in poor health.  The only people who really had any effect on them were the missionaries -- but nobody in government wants to know about that.  I knew some of the older generation of blackfellas who grew up under the missionaries and they had their limitations but were real gentlemen

Australia's native people mostly call themselves "blackfellas".  Interesting that only the Latin term "Aborigines" is used below

ALMOST 1½ years into the initial term of Tony Abbott’s Coalition government and the latest drastic overhaul of indigenous affairs policies and programs, the great mystery overhanging remote ­Aboriginal Australia has only deepened.

It is the besetting question no one in the circles of administrative power wants to ask clearly, or answer squarely: Why aren’t the men and women of indigenous communities across the deserts and the north sending their children to school, seeking out jobs and training opportunities, engaging with the scores of programs under way in their midst? Why, given the vast social engineering efforts launched for their benefit, are the people of the remote bush townships and outstations failing to thrive? And what more, beyond the measures tried already in the past decade of large-scale interventions, can be done?

Among the architects of new policy initiatives, the standard assumption is that the legacy of passive welfare is to blame for this persistent failure of response in the target populations of the centre, the Kimberley, Cape York and the Top End. Simply design the right combination of constraints and incentives, they argue, and human nature being what it is, all will improve in time.

But the emerging picture of policy fiasco is disquietingly stark. Despite the blizzard of despairingly tweaked official statistics and assessments of progress, the "gap" persists; even though measures of indigenous wellbeing are routinely presented so as to blur the distinctions between the remote bush and the towns and more settled regions, the landscape is plain. Across the country, remote community schools are empty and ineffective, grog and drugs loom large, health is poor, preventable illnesses rampant, feud and family violence pervasive; even the make-work jobs for locals tend to go unfilled.

The dramatic change expected in the wake of the 2007 Northern Territory "Emergency Response" and allied programs around the remote bush has simply not materialised. For a range of expert observers, there is now a dark conclusion to be drawn. Remote Aboriginal Australia is more than merely indifferent or disengaged: it is pursuing a mingled strategy of noncompliance and resistance to outside authority — and from this diagnosis several consequences flow.

The way the commonwealth bureaucracy and successive governments have reached the present impasse is instructive. By 1999 the new native title system had been launched and bedded down. Attention turned to the worsening condition of the bush. Cape York reformer Noel Pearson put forward his argument that passive welfare was the chief factor behind remote community anomie, and that alcoholic drinking should be treated as a cause, rather than a symptom, of social collapse.

These views won converts in the government of prime minister John Howard, whose activist indigenous affairs minister Mal Brough based the Territory intervention on the three principles of enhanced child protection, alcohol bans and welfare income management. This was a stripped-down version of the reform recipe being tested in four Cape York communities in concert with the Queensland government, and it would be extended, retouched and widened in its geographic scope by Labor under minister Jenny Macklin between 2008 and 2013.

Pearson’s schema won the day not only because of its upscale presentation and strong media support but because it came with a prescription, a cluster of linked programs to change behaviour: if parents failed to send their children to school their welfare income would be quarantined after review by a local panel, the Family Responsibilities Commission. The logic was straightforward: welfare simply paid without reciprocal obligation was sapping the autonomy and judgment of remote communities. They needed the guidance of a penalty-and-incentive model.

This became the ruling paradigm, with bipartisan political support. Welfare quarantining and close surveillance were enshrined as the mainstays of remote community administration in the Territory: a network of outside overseers is still in place, backed by trainers, job skills instructors, community capacity builders and engagement officers. From Mount Isa to Kalgoorlie, public servants now report and assess all signs of community advancement. These are well advertised by governmental media: upbeat spin and announcements of transformative new schemes have become the order of the day.

So things stood when Abbott took the reins in September 2013. In his opposition years he had made a habit of sitting down with traditional leaders and working alongside community members, and all this was more than show, it was a statement of intent. The Prime Minister was also close to the Territory’s centrist chief minister Terry Mills, who had recently won office with the solid backing of Aboriginal bush voters and was just beginning a redesign of the Territory’s relations with its remote communities.

It felt like a new dawn in Canberra, at close to midnight. A good four decades had gone by since the welfare net came down on remote indigenous Australia, the "sit-down" money times began, the outback cattle industry was modernised and station life for Aborigines vanished in the dust; four decades since drinking in town camps first became entrenched. Two full generations, in indigenous life. The last chance had come to cut into welfare dependency while senior remote community members who remembered another system were still living.

Abbott had given undertakings that he would consult and listen to Aboriginal voices in crafting his approach. Of course, when the maelstrom of office hit he found he had no real time to give to such a marginal portfolio. How to proceed? He held one simple truth fast: education was the key. Bush children had no hope without schooling. Abbott selected as his minister Nigel Scullion, from the same party as his Territory ally, Mills. But within months Scullion’s faction had deposed the elected chief minister in Darwin, torn up his program of reforms and brought in a group keen to break the political power of the large Aboriginal land councils and gain easy access to indigenous land: it was a change of course felt in the bush as a shock betrayal.

As a check to Scullion, Abbott had singled out Alan Tudge, a former associate of Pearson. He also looked for some blue-sky thinking: philanthropist Andrew Forrest, abetted by Melbourne academic Marcia Langton, produced a report on training in the bush that recommended a steroid expansion of compulsory income management’s scope and the creation of a largely cashless remote area economy to fight the scourge of drink and drugs. Abbott brushed these draconian plans aside when they were first presented to him, but the bureau­cracy in Canberra smiles on them and is keen to implement some of Forrest’s recommendations.

It is clear enough, by now, what happened to the Prime Minister’s indigenous affairs dream. When he came to office he had no seriously developed or fine-grained blueprint for transforming the bush, despite his feeling for its plight and the length of his waiting time as leader of the opposition. He swiftly brought the entire indigenous affairs bureaucracy into his own department and charged Scullion with prosecuting his one big idea, the compulsory school attendance agenda. And he adopted the cause of the constitutional referendum on Aboriginal recognition as his grand symbolic issue.

Only now, halfway into his initial term, is Abbott poised to commit the government to a new set of practical reform measures. What course will he choose? Advice comes to Abbott from a tight circle, including favoured members of the indigenous political class, but he has no real access to community-based voices, and his impulse to involve bush leaders has evaporated. His counsellors all believe in the primacy of economic signals as the most effective agents of social change. As a result, the commonwealth is now on the verge of adopting an intensification of approach — more stringent management of welfare income, more reciprocal obligation to work for transfer payments, more controls on substance abuse, more concerted action on parental neglect and domestic violence.

A milder version of this policy set has been in place in remote north Queensland, the Territory, parts of desert South Australia and much of the outback west for seven years. As a result, the impact of such top-down controls has been much studied and the outcomes tabulated.

The school attendance project being run by Abbott’s department provides the latest example. It covers 30 target schools in the Territory and a handful elsewhere, and has enlisted and paid some 300 community members to get children to go to school, at a cost of more than $30 million. An increase of 15 per cent in attendance has been claimed by the program managers, but this is a fiction: numbers have actually fallen in many schools, the reporting method is flawed, the numbers are grotesquely padded.

The record of the north Queensland "direct instruction" schools in boosting attendance has been more promising, yet the broader impact of Pearson’s long-running Cape York reform project in its four trial communities is much more ambiguous. The landscape there is one of stabilisation, at best, rather than revolutionary behaviour change. But the most telling research has been carried out in the Territory’s swath of intervention communities.

The largest of these evaluation reports, examining all aspects of the intervention, was released late last month, after long delay and with much reluctance, by the Department of Social Services. The study had been run over four years by an expert team; the sample was large, the range of data broad. For those who had put their faith in controls as triggers for behaviour shifts, its conclusions were startling. It found that compulsory welfare income management had not promoted "independence and the building of skills and capabilities", nor had it changed patterns of spending on food, tobacco or alcohol. Rather, it had increased a sense of dependency on welfare and removed the burden of personal management from community people.

The take-out was pretty clear: the intervention’s flagship measure had been a costly waste of time. But government ministers promptly seized on the review’s findings as evidence of the need for much stricter income management. They argued that if remote area Aborigines were not responding to the sanctions placed on them, they had too much welfare cash on hand, and therefore 60 or 70 per cent of the welfare payment should be restricted to the "basics card", rather than the present 50 per cent.

The idea was simple: disempower to empower; limit economic freedom to set free people’s minds. The parliamentary secretary assisting Abbott in the indigenous field, former management consultant and Cape York expert Tudge, gave the strong version of this thesis in The Australian last month, citing a Mornington Island study showing half of all welfare payments were spent on drink: a level that would defeat the present setting of the basics card.

This study, carried out in the 1990s and published in 2002, was the pioneering work of the profound and humane anthropologist David McKnight, whose constant focus was the colonial encounter. He saw no simple solution to the alcohol plague. He traced the despair and social breakdown on Mornington to the coming in the 70s of the local government shire, which stripped autonomy from the local Lardil people and gave them in its stead the welfare benefits that tore apart traditional ways of life.

Can the sharp remedy now being proposed by Tudge, Forrest and the government’s coterie of advisers make inroads, and reverse the long decline and fall of the Aboriginal bush? The commonwealth is the last authority willing to engage. The state government in South Australia has given up on social remediation projects in the Pitjantjatjara communities, and wants to adopt full-scale welfare income control. The West Australian government has canvassed a sharp reduction in remote support funds that would see a number of smaller communities and outstations shut down. And the Territory’s priorities are clear: it has just opened a $500m jail and launched a mandatory rehab scheme that has already recorded its first death in care; a new courthouse and new police stations are under way; it has assembled a crack team of lawyers for its bid to have the Aboriginal land rights act watered down in the coming year.

On the ground, signs of positive behaviour change are increasingly hard to find. Broome is flooded by remote community dwellers from the Kimberley and desert who gather there in camps to drink; in Alice Springs, there are 15 thriving sly-grog sale outlets unknown to the police, who pride themselves on their effective bottle-shop controls. The towns to the south of Cape York are fringed by seasonal drinking humpies, all currently occupied.

What is the group psychology underlying this pattern? Can it be that the remote population is not susceptible to economic pressure, or that intervention is proving counterproductive? What if the control programs are now generating defiance and sabotage?

In all the long official debate on the bush communities and their condition, there has been a blanket reluctance to take the harsh politics of the frontier seriously, or consider the impact when two distinct worlds and their perspectives meet. But close, committed observers free from governmental ties and consultancies and keenly aware of the indigenous thought-world have come to a contrarian position: one that demands attention as policy lines are hardened for the years ahead.

The most prominent exponent of this viewpoint is the Territory’s leading public intellectual, Rolf Gerritsen, a professor at Charles Darwin University’s Northern Institute. He knows the Roper Gulf region closely; he also knows the political economy of the centre and the north. He was for four years director of social and economic policy in the Chief Minister’s Department. After his resignation in 2006 he blew the whistle on the Territory’s large-scale diversion of commonwealth funds earmarked for remote areas to its own metropolitan priorities. Gerritsen believes that remote settlement Aboriginal men and women have adopted a strategy of covert resistance to the intervention and its associated programs.

At the heart of his analysis is an awareness of the persisting difference between the values of "our" mainstream society and the traditional Aboriginal world, with its emphasis on reciprocal responsibility and its strong belief in individual autonomy. Thus "we" are inevitably seeking to re-engineer "them". For Gerritsen, bush Aborigines are not merely Australian citizens: they are also a dispossessed people, conscious their world is occupied by outsiders. They collaborate with the occupiers, and acquiesce, and also resist, and the strain of resistance strengthens when their limited free agency in life is infringed. They have two quite separate modes of expression: one for when white people are around, one for themselves.

Hence the school attendance puzzle, and scores of others like it. When asked, or "consulted" in public, Aboriginal parents all say they want their children to go to school, but that commitment may be insincere, or may waver, or be countermanded by dislike of the school, or the teachers, or the actions of the government and its local figureheads. Constraint is still the chief weapon of the state: Aborigines are being asked to adapt — "we are requiring them to become like us" — and they object, and fail to comply. This is what social policy observers then tend to describe as "dysfunction".

There are several ways this pattern manifests itself in the bush. The resistance can be overtly political. Black votes were responsible for removing NT Labor in the 2012 election; when the conservative regime broke its promises to the bush, voters swung and gave Labor a rare good result in the Territory regional seat at the 2013 federal poll.

Individuals also act this disobedience out. Young Aboriginal men between the ages of 15 and 35 are the "zealot" resisters who engage in substance abuse, drive unregistered vehicles unlicensed, are fined repeatedly and then go to jail, thus "confirming the significance of their rebellion". Their behaviour becomes "a resistance to what the white society has in mind for them". Illegal card gambling is a form of rebellion. So is littering in communities, and in towns. Drinking, which the authorities prohibit or seek to limit, is itself a weapon — a deliberate gesture of "rejection of the conqueror and all he stands for".

The rebel withdraws from the victor’s realm: and it is very striking how many well-trained community men and women refuse to work. Trained teachers don’t teach, builders don’t build, while more than 30,000 young Aboriginal men from remote areas have forgone their benefits and refused to submit themselves to the job search discipline of Centrelink.

This analysis of conflict between two cultures leads to a dark concluding point: self-­neglect, poor health and social harm are also expressions of what Gerritsen sees as the veto Aborigines hold in their hands over Australian society and its representatives: "Governments think they have power over Aboriginal welfare recipients, but Aboriginal people, in their failure, in their covert resistance, can place pressure on government."

This version of the remote community context is in diametrical opposition to the consensus position of the indigenous affairs establishment, which likes to present a map of constant slow progress in the bush as newer and more enlightened strategies are brought to bear on the hapless native population. The upturn in outcomes is always just ahead, or just beginning to be visible in the reports and statistics.

Can Gerritsen be right? The evidence is suggestive — and bush Aboriginal people tend to smile quietly when asked their view. Resistance shades into pure reserve, and into indifference. Damian McLean, president of the Ngaanyatjarra shire in the far western desert, places the weight in the seven ultra-remote communities he represents on withdrawal as much as on defiance. He has watched aghast over the past half-decade as official policy blow after blow has damaged the resilience and capacity of the indigenous bush: "Successive Australian governments have been increasingly dismissive of the collective and individual indigenous identity, and insistent on compliance with social norms: school attendance, transition to work, home ownership and economic participation."

These norms coerce, but have little transformative impact. In fact the world of the far western desert is still very internal to itself, McLean contends: "Its people are aware that they have limited interest in the things that engage the white world and they know that the outside world would find the practices at the heart of desert life quite confronting. And the intimidating impact of welfare reform drives people further into their own world, and makes them less confident and safe to feel out the wider world."

Such sketches of the attitudes in the remote bush fit precisely with the outcomes: it is hard to point to a single top-down social reform or employment or home ownership project in any part of the centre or the north that has taken off. This may well be because the intervention has never been "owned" by the communities it affects.

In the Cape, a mounting hostility towards the Family Responsibilities Commission is palpable in the four trial communities. Social and medical workers on the front line know that wellbeing in their host communities is on the decline and that agents of the outside world are increasingly viewed with suspicious eyes.

What might be done to change this picture, and enlist the support of remote Aboriginal Australia’s men and women in a journey towards a fuller, easier participation in the mainstream? An article in next week’s Inquirer will seek to outline a fresh approach.



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.

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