PC WATCH Mirror by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.)

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH The creeping dictatorship of the Left...

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

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


29 February, 2016

"Liberal" Dutch don't like libertarians

Toine Mander is head of the Dutch libertarian organization. He is a lawyer specializing in helping the little guy to legally minimize his tax payments.  He was arrested in January 2014 and held in custody for 90 days, without either a trial or being charged with any offense.  Below is the most recent update from him about the Dutch police State:

"Several people have asked me to write an update about my situation, so they can publish it on the internet. The problem with this request is that my lawyer has strongly advised me to avoid any publicity until the case is closed, because the Dutch criminal justice system (criminal in more ways than one) works in such a way in practice that this can be used against me.

This is extremely frustrating for me, because I would like nothing more than to scream from the rooftops about this travesty of justice.

So far, I had remained quiet. Now, after so many requests, I have decided to write a very short update anyway. I intend to write the full story in a book once I have been acquitted.

I found out the hard way that in The Netherlands, the accused gets the benefit of the doubt only at the final stage of the criminal proceedings, when the court issues its verdict. Until that time, the accused can be held in pre-trial detention if certain conditions are met (e.g. risk of repetition or tampering with evidence or influencing witnesses). Proof that a crime was committed is not one of these conditions, suspicion is sufficient.

Therefore, pre-trial detention is usually not ended but suspended under certain conditions. My pre-trial detention was suspended from 13 May 2014 under certain conditions including the following:

I am not allowed to work in the trust or financial sector;

I am not allowed to have contact with (still to be heard) witnesses (even though that could include most of my friends and business contacts);

I am not allowed to leave The Netherlands (even though I lived in Cyprus).

Violation of one of these conditions would result in pre-trial detention until the end of the trial (probably in 2016). You could say I am not free, just less unfree.

No evidence of any crime, misdemeanor or violation of any rule has been presented. Therefore, I should be and expect to be acquitted.


People too scared to speak about issues, says former Australian Prime Minister

John Howard has sounded an alarm about the culture war in Australia — warning that people are being "cowed" against stating their views on issues and that a dangerous anti-religious push has emerged — and branded as "pernicious­" the Victorian government’s hostility to religious connections in schools.

Mr Howard said there was a "get Pell" mentality in "some sections of the media", referring to Cardinal George Pell, who is about to answer questions before the child sex abuse royal commission and has been the subject of allegations of sex abuse by material coming from Victoria Police.

In relation to gay marriage, Mr Howard said: "There is nothing homophobic about supporting traditional marriage. Everybody did in the parliament in 2004.

"May I remind you that in 2004, when I inserted the defin­ition in the Marriage Act, the Labor Party supported it. You ought to be able to have sensible discussion on these sorts of things. And you should be able to express a view on these things. But there is a sense in which people are so frightened of being accused of being discriminatory or intolerant that they don’t speak the common­sense view."

Mr Howard said the standards of civil society in Australia were being undermined by a growing intolerance towards people who did not subscribe to a range of progressive views.

"I think the problem is that too few people are prepared to call it for what it is," he said. "I think people are cowed because they think, ‘I can’t say that because I might lose votes or I might offend somebody’."

He said there was a new form of "minority fundamentalism" emerging, typified by the use of the anti-discrimination law in Tasmania to silence the Catholic Church from stating its position on marriage.

Having read the document issued by the Catholic bishops, Mr Howard said: "How anyone can read that as offensive to people who favour same-sex marriage or gay or lesbian people is beyond me."

He said the situation in Victoria under new guidelines for religious instruction was that "from now on you can sing Jingle Bells in schools but not Once in Royal David’s City or Silent Night".

"This is pernicious," he said. "I’m surprised there hasn’t been a greater outcry about it. Nobody is forced to believe in God. Nobody’s forced to follow Christianity. The observance of Christmas and all that goes with it is part of our culture. I must say I have never come across a person of the Jewish faith or of the Muslim faith who has complained that they have had Christianity forced upon them."

Warning that such cultural intolerance would provoke a backlash, Mr Howard said one of the reasons Donald Trump was succeeding in the Republican primaries was that people felt he was speaking directly to them and shunning any political correctness.

While saying he "would tremble at the idea of Trump being President of the US", Mr Howard said the Republican frontrunner was benefiting because other politicians refused to acknowledge public resentments. While he found some of Mr Trump’s comments "appalling", his success was "a measure of how people feel".

These comments recall his performance as prime minister when Mr Howard campaigned against political correctness, resisted the idea of a superior morality on the part of elites and had to manage the rise of Pauline Hanson, who exploited economic grievances.

Mr Howard expressed disappointment that the Abbott government had abandoned its proposed free speech changes to section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act after winning an election mandate on the issue. He said it was probably only with the Andrew Bolt case that people realised the application of this provision "was as spiteful as it turned out to be".

Branding the climate of repression as "pernicious", Mr Howard said there was "almost a fear" among people to articulate the views he was expressing because of concern they would "offend our multicultural ethos" or be "branded as intolerant".

He said the Catholic Church as an institution had to be held to account for its cover-ups on child sexual abuse, given the number of priests who had been involved. But Mr Howard said: "It seems as if Cardinal Pell is being singled out to take the rap for the misdeeds of a whole lot of people and the evidence is that he was more active in trying to do something about it."

He highlighted the fact one of Cardinal Pell’s critics, Father Frank Brennan, had recently warned of the need to ensure that Cardinal Pell, as a witness before the royal commission, was treated with integrity. Father Brennan said after the recent leaks of material originating from Victoria Police that the standing of the royal commission was an issue if one arm of a government involved in its commissioning was "engaged in unauthorised activity aimed at undermining the public standing of key witnesses".

On same-sex marriage, Mr Howard said he would not have chosen a plebiscite. He felt the issue should be decided in parliament by a free vote. But, given the Abbott government had decided on the plebiscite path, the Turnbull government "had to honour that commitment".

He said any authorisation of same-sex marriage had to contain religious freedom protections.

Reviewing the alienation of the public from the US political process, Mr Howard identified two fundamental differences between Australia and the US: Australia did not suffer the debilitating consequences of a constitutional bill of rights and the middle class had been supported by sustained real wage gains over recent decades, unlike the US. While warning that there were "sufficient similarities" between the two countries to make alienation from politics in this country a real risk, Mr Howard said Australia enjoyed distinct advantages.

"If I were an American, I would feel that it didn’t matter who you voted for because essentially the people you vote for can’t do anything, with gay marriage and Obamacare being decided by the courts," he said.

"I have never embraced the idea that judges have infinitely more wisdom in making decisions about the social and economic future of the country than the rest of the population. One of the reasons some of these social issues are so hotly contested in the United States is that people don’t think they have been allowed to have their say.

"I would be very concerned if we went down the American path and we gave to judges a power to determine these things."


Racist Hollywood?

The Associated Press breathlessly reported that in "one of the most exhaustive and damning reports on diversity in Hollywood," the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California put out a new report slashing at the "whitewashing" of our movies and TV shows. It's howling against an "epidemic of invisibility" for minorities (both racial and sexual) and declaring an "inclusion crisis."

One can only await the fun of the next Democratic debate, when a liberal journalist is sure to compel Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to explain which of them would impose a more rigid code of affirmative action on all television and movie studios, to ensure that all directors and actors hired — and characters scripted — match rigid racial and gender quotas to ensure maximum diversity.

Or, since Hollywood is one of the most reliable piggy banks for Democratic campaigns, could it be the industry that's most immune to a rigid inclusion bureaucracy?

Last year, goaded by pressure groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and studies like USC's, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission started an investigation of Hollywood.

The numbers from USC's new study come from examining 109 films released by major studios in 2014 (including their art house divisions), and also 305 scripted first-run TV series across 31 networks and digital streaming services that aired from September 2014 to August 2015.

They found the most nausea for liberals at the top. Directors overall were 87 percent white, and broadcast TV directors were 90.4 percent white. Just 15.2 percent of directors, 28.9 percent of writers and 22.6 percent of TV series creators were female. In movies, the gender gap is widest: Only 3.4 percent of the films studied were directed by women, and only two directors out of all 109 were black women.

In all the movies and TV shows, only one-third of speaking characters were female, and only 28.3 percent were from minority groups — about 10 percent less than the makeup of the U.S. population. Characters 40 years or older tilt heavily to the male side across film and TV: 74.3 percent male to 25.7 percent female. The lack of female authority figures in fictional entertainment surely offends the Clinton backers the most.

Some of the complaints didn't match the idea that they under-represented other minorities. They claimed just 2 percent of speaking characters were identified as gay, but that's pretty close to their actual fraction of the U.S. population. Even then, the population of gay characters was too white and too male!

They express shock that among the 11,306 speaking characters studied, only seven were transgender. But out of more than 300 million Americans, the Social Security Administration has notched about 135,000 actual sex-change applications, an even lower percentage.

Somehow, in this epic search for diversity, this liberal journalism school did not address how many conservatives wrote and directed these movies and TV shows, or how many conservative characters were featured. That kind of diversity is never desirable to liberals.


Arrogant Boston doctors versus parental rights

Nearly two years after she returned home in the arms of her father, Justina Pelletier was back in the spotlight Thursday, speaking in a small, slightly shaky voice about the 16 months she spent in state custody, much of it in a locked psychiatric ward.

Justina, whose case drew national attention to the power of medical professionals to override parental rights, said she remains outraged that she was placed in state custody in 2013 after Boston Children’s Hospital accused her parents of interfering with her care.
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The 17-year-old Connecticut girl clutched a purple stress ball, fingernails painted turquoise, as she spoke from a wheelchair in front of the State House, where her parents had convened a press conference to discuss the lawsuit they recently filed against Children’s Hospital.

“I’m very angry, and I just don’t understand how this happened, and I just really don’t want this to happen again to another family,” said Justina, who was with her parents, two of their attorneys, and a family spokesman from the Christian Defense Coalition.

She was taken into state custody three years ago after Children’s determined that her many health problems were the result of psychiatric issues and that her parents were pushing for her to undergo unnecessary treatment. The Pelletiers vehemently disagreed, pointing to the opinion of doctors at Tufts Medical Center, who said Justina suffers from mitochondrial disease, a rare genetic disorder that affects how cells produce energy.

On Thursday, Justina criticized her treatment at Children’s Hospital. “They really treated me badly,” she said, looking older and more mature than when she was last publicly seen, being carried into her home by her father after being released from state custody. “They didn’t really care. It was awful.”

Boston Children’s Hospital said in a statement that it “welcomes the opportunity to vigorously defend the medical care it provided to Justina Pelletier.”

“We are committed to the best interests of our patients’ health and well-being, according to the high standards we follow for every patient placed in our care,” the hospital said. “Out of respect for the patient’s privacy and the ongoing legal process, Boston Children’s is unable to provide further comment about the specific issues of this case at this time.”

Justina’s parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier, sued Children’s Hospital in Suffolk Superior Court this month, accusing the renowned institution and four of its doctors — Jurriaan Peters, Simona Bujoreanu, Alice Newton, and Colleen Ryan — of gross negligence and civil rights violations. The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages.

“There’s been enormous financial impact on them,” said Kathy Jo Cook, a Boston attorney who is representing the Pelletiers in their lawsuit. “You can imagine if you couldn’t work for 18 months because all you were doing was driving back and forth from Connecticut to Children’s and trying to figure out how to get your child home.”

Last year, the Pelletiers filed for bankruptcy, according to court records.

They also faced foreclosure on their home but were ultimately able to settle their mortgage payments using money from a fund called “A Miracle for Justina” that was controlled by another daughter, Jennifer, court records show.

Lou Pelletier said he is suing Children’s Hospital because he doesn’t want other parents of children with complex medical problems to fear losing custody if they have to seek emergency medical care at a hospital.

“This is not about revenge,” Lou Pelletier said. “This is about making people accountable and making the medical community think twice before they take actions that can do damage to a child and a family that can be irreversible.”

Justina Pelletier smiled as she listened to reporters’ questions in front of the State house Thursday with her parents, Linda and Lou.

Justina was being treated at Tufts Medical Center for mitochondrial disease when her parents brought her to Children’s Hospital with gastrointestinal problems in 2013.

Doctors at Children’s concluded that she was a victim of medical child abuse as a result of her parents interfering with her care.

A juvenile court judge, relying on the opinion of those doctors, removed Justina from her parents’ custody. She was placed in a locked psychiatric ward at the hospital, where, her parents say, she was denied an education and not allowed to attend Mass.

Children’s Hospital said that patients and their families have access to the hospital’s multifaith chaplains and tutors.

Justina’s case became a rallying point for Christian conservatives and parent activists, who accused the hospital and state officials of violating the Pelletiers’ rights to make medical decisions for their daughter.

Under mounting pressure, the same judge who had placed Justina in state custody returned her to her parents’ care in June 2014, saying there was “credible evidence that circumstances have changed” and that her parents “have been cooperative and engaged in services,” including individual therapy for the teen and family therapy.

Justina said that since returning home, she has undergone several surgeries and is “doing a lot better.” She said she rides horses to build strength and attends a school for children with learning disabilities.

“I just really, really want them to get what they deserve,” she said of the doctors at Children’s Hospital. “And I really, really want to walk again and skate.”



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

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

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


28 February, 2016

UK: Multicultural gang which groomed, raped and abused teenage girls is jailed for total of 102 years including 35-year term for ringleader 'Mad Ash'

The Rotherham gang which groomed, raped and abused teenage girls has today been jailed for a total of 102 years.

Brothers Arshid, 40, Bannaras, 36, and Basharat, 39,  were also sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court today after a series of women - most now in their 30s - told a jury how they were sexually, physically and emotionally abused in the South Yorkshire town when they were in their early teens.

The Hussains were found guilty of a range of offences earlier this week along with their uncle, Qurban Ali, 53, and two women - Karen MacGregor, 59, and Shelley Davis, 40.

The group targeted 15 vulnerable girls, one aged only 11, and forced them to perform horrific sex acts over a sixteen year period.

Judge Sarah Wright told the gang: 'The harm you have caused is of unimaginable proportions.'

Arshid and Basharat Hussain were found guilty of dozens of attacks between them. Arshid, the ringleader, has been jailed for 35 years, while Basharat was given 25 years.

Bannaras Hussain admitted ten charges - including rape, indecent assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm - at the beginning of the trial. He was given a 19-year sentence.

The brothers' uncle, Qurban Ali, 53, appeared alongside them in court. He too was found guilty of conspiracy to rape and has been jailed for 10 years.

MacGregor and Davis were found guilty of conspiracy to procure prostitutes and false imprisonment.

MacGregor was jailed for 13 years, while Davis was handed an 18-month suspended sentence.

Shocking details emerged of an incident where police appeared to turn a blind eye to Bannaras Hussain receiving oral sex from a girl who was only around 12 or 13 at the time.

Bannaras abused the victim in a car park next to Rotherham Police Station. The prosecutor Michelle Colborne QC said: '(The girl) performed oral sex on Bannaras Hussain.

'When, shortly afterwards, a police car pulled up alongside them and asked what was going on, Bannaras Hussain shouted "she's just sucking my c***, mate".  'The police car drove off. He was indifferent to whether she consented or not.'

The girl was beaten up by her own family when they found out she had been abused by the Rotherham grooming gang since she was 12.

The prosecutor added: 'When her brothers found out, they were furious with her and would physically assault her because she was involved sexually with an Asian man.'

As Judge Wright passed sentence on Arshid, there was a shout of 'Yes' and gasps from the packed public gallery.

Some of the victims and their relatives who held hands on the balcony of the court hugged each other.

Karen MacGregor, described in court as a 'mother figure', took in girls from children's homes purporting to give them a safe haven and support - only to then have them abused

The judge said: 'Each in your own way perpetrated or facilitated the sexual abuse of these young girls.  'Your victims were targeted, sexualised and in some cases subjected to acts of a degrading and violent nature.

'Many of the victims were subjected to repeated abuse. There was a pattern of abuse which was repeated over and over again. Some victims were groomed, some coerced and intimidated.

'They were made to feel that they could not report what was happening to them.  'Even if they did, no action was taken and you were free to continue your exploitation of them.'

Addressing Arshid, she said: 'You and your brothers, Bannaras Hussain and Basharat Hussain, were well-known in the area - you drove distinctive cars and had a reputation for violence.  'There was a perception by some of your victims that you appeared, in their words, to "rule Rotherham". You exploited that to the full.'

Two other men, Majid Bostan, 37 and Sajid Bostan, 38, also brothers, were cleared of all charges.


How the Atlanta Fire Chief’s Christian Views Cost Him His Job

Heretics will be punished. That’s the clear message of the zealots who are defying more than 200 years of American constitutional tradition in their effort to establish a new state church, the church of sexual freedom. To the adherents of this church, no amount of virtue can compensate for apostasy. Even the best and brightest must be swept aside if they do not believe.

By now the stories of the victims or intended victims are familiar. Brendan Eich’s brilliance couldn’t save him at Mozilla. Thousands of hours of good works can’t save Christian student organizations from being pushed off campus. Even adoption agencies must conform to the new faith, pledging their willingness to place babies with homosexual couples, or close their doors.

Indeed, no less an authority than the solicitor general of the United States weighed in on whether Christian colleges should be able to keep their tax-exempt status as charitable organizations — it is “going to be an issue,” he predicted.

The stories are legion, and the facts of the individual injustice can get lost as one lists outrage after outrage, so it is worth taking a close look at one story — a story that shows precisely how the new intolerance works and demonstrates unequivocally that no amount of virtue can overcome heresy on questions of sexual morality.

It is the story of former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran. In any other circumstance, Cochran would be the subject of inspirational books and movies — a firefighter’s version of Ben Carson’s Gifted Hands. Cochran, an African American, was born in Confederate Memorial Hospital in Shreveport, La., on January 23, 1960, when segregation still ruled much of the South. He was the fourth of four boys, and his mother had six children in all. Born into deep poverty, he saw his family’s situation grow desperate when his alcoholic father left home, never to return. His mother raised the Cochran kids by herself.

Their poverty was so deep that they often ran out of food and were reduced to eating mayonnaise sandwiches. When they wanted something sweet, they made “sugar water,” spooning sugar into tap water. Speaking of this time, Cochran says, “I learned how awful poverty really was.” He says he also learned that it was “awful” not to have a father at home.

In spite of his poverty, his single-parent family, and the continuing reality of segregation, Cochran was raised in a community that was both faithful and patriotic. He grew up going to church, and the adults in his congregation gave him a clear message: His “dreams could come true” if he had faith in God, got a good education, respected his elders, and treated others the way they liked to be treated.

At an early age, Cochran knew he wanted to be a firefighter, from the moment he saw a “big red Shreveport fire truck” pull up outside his shotgun house to put out a neighbor’s fire. He was in awe of the truck and the firefighters and was filled with a sense of possibility and purpose. Interestingly, although the Shreveport Fire Department was all white, not a single adult told him that he couldn’t fulfill his dream. Instead, they repeated their mantra: faith, education, respect, and the Golden Rule.

Cochran took their lessons to heart. He graduated from Shreveport’s Woodlawn High School in 1978, and, after a short stint at Louisiana Tech, he applied to the fire department. In 1981, he was hired — only the “eighth or ninth” black firefighter in Shreveport.

The Shreveport Fire Department was beginning to integrate, but it had not yet embraced tolerance and equality. In discussing those early years, Cochran looks pained. He makes it clear that he “wasn’t a victim,” but he faced what he simply calls “challenges.” He says that even then, however, his greatest fear wasn’t discrimination or an “overwhelming fire” but rather that he wouldn’t be able to do his job, to do all that his captain asked him to do.

So he studied, and he studied. Then he studied even more. Because he knew the job so well, he became a training officer early. He was a captain in the training academy after only four years (it usually takes twelve). In ten years, he was an assistant chief (it usually takes more than 20 years). After only 18 years, he became the first black fire chief of the Shreveport Fire Department.

Cochran led the department with what he called a “staunch determination to make sure that no member under his watch” would face the discrimination he had faced. He says that he wanted to create an administration of “justice and equity and compassion.”

As chief at Shreveport, Cochran saw his career take off in earnest. He was elected second vice president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, then first vice president. He became president of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association. Eight years after he became chief in Shreveport, Mayor Shirley Franklin recruited him to become Atlanta’s fire chief. In 2009, Barack Obama appointed him U.S. fire administrator, to run the Fire Administration — a division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Atlanta Fire Department suffered, however, with budget cuts leading to a shrunken, demoralized force. Mayor Kasim Reed, Shirley Franklin’s successor in Atlanta, recruited Cochran to return, and Cochran moved back — eager, he says, to take on the challenge. The challenge, as he described it, was represented by “-isms” — racism, sexism, nepotism, territorialism — all the factors that made the workplace contentious. He responded by creating what he called a “participatory management structure.” When he made key decisions, he solicited input from “every rank, race, shift, and gender.” He consciously included LGBT firefighters. “I gave every group a voice,” he says.

Cochran developed the Atlanta fire-rescue doctrine and worked with Mayor Reed to hire more firefighters and reopen closed stations. He got results. Atlanta — for the first time — became a “Class 1” city, the highest fire-protection rating, given to only 60 cities in the United States out of 49,010 reviewed.

Firefighter and civilian deaths and injuries decreased on his watch. He accomplished these results all while focusing on “justice, equity, and compassion.” No employee ever accused him of discrimination.

To this point, Kelvin Cochran’s story is one that would make a university diversity officer rejoice. Born poor and black, he rose above poverty and discrimination to become not only a professional leader but also one who dedicated himself to combating the discrimination that had wounded him early in life. He was professional. He was inclusive. He was compassionate.

Unfortunately for Cochran, however, he was also Christian — and that brings us to the rest of the story. Everyone knew about his faith, which meant that people sometimes shared their own faith with him. But he’d never “go there” with colleagues, he says, unless they spoke first. On occasion, Cochran led Bible studies in his spare time, and in 2012 he led a discussion and study group called “Quest for Authentic Manhood.” As part of that effort, he prayed about God’s purpose for men.

As he studied, God’s query to Adam after the Fall — “Who told you that you were naked?” — kept “repeating in [his] head.” “Naked” was a metaphor for “condemned and deprived,” he concluded. To be clothed means to be “redeemed and restored.” By accepting Christ, men are “clothed” in the righteousness of God. Cochran soon began working on a book that explored these themes, writing it early in the morning and in his spare weekend time.

When he started writing, he asked Nina Hickson, the City of Atlanta’s ethics officer, whether there were any ethical or regulatory problems with a city employee’s writing a “non-work-related, faith-based book.” He claims that Hickson told him that so long as the subject matter of the book did not deal with the “city government or fire department,” he was cleared to write it.

Cochran self-published his work in late 2013. Directed at Christian men, it’s 162 pages, only six of which deal with sex and sexuality — taking the completely conventional, orthodox Christian position that sex outside of male–female marriage is contrary to God’s will. This is the position of the Catholic Church and every orthodox Protestant denomination in the United States.

For almost a year, Cochran handed out the book to a few individuals with whom he worked, mainly people who had already discussed their Christian faith with him. He also shared it with the mayor and three members of the Atlanta city council. At no point did any fire-department employee complain to him about the book.

One employee, however, showed a few pages — the pages dealing with sex and sexuality — to an openly gay Atlanta City Council member, Alex Wan. Wan allegedly then showed those pages to Atlanta’s human-resources commissioner, Yvonne Yancey. The idea that an Atlanta fire chief could possibly hold to — and express — orthodox Christian beliefs kicked up a firestorm.

After a flurry of meetings, Atlanta police chief George Turner called Cochran and informed him of the controversy. Four days later, Cochran was suspended without pay. His suspension letter failed to outline the charges against him and also failed to detail a single act in violation of the 21 provisions of the city’s Code of Ordinances that constitute a “cause of action” for termination.

While the city’s formal communications to Cochran were vague, Mayor Reed’s comments were precise. He was furious at the content of Cochran’s book. He said, “I profoundly disagree with and am deeply disturbed by the sentiments expressed in the paperback regarding the LGBT community.” The mayor expressed his disgust at length, stating, “I want to be clear that the material in Chief Cochran’s book is not representative of my personal beliefs, and is inconsistent with the administration’s work to make Atlanta a more welcoming city for all of her citizens — regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, race, and religious beliefs.”

On Facebook, Reed kept up his denunciation, writing, “The contents of the book do not reflect the views of Mayor Reed or the Administration.” He also said he would require Cochran to complete “sensitivity training.” Making it clear that Atlanta respects only one point of view (“the city’s”),

Councilmember Wan declared, “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.”

On January 6, 2015, the City of Atlanta fired Cochran — without providing him the proper process prescribed by city codes and, he claims, without providing him an opportunity to respond to either his suspension or his termination. At no point did any employee of the fire department complain of mistreatment or discrimination.

Atlanta is now claiming that Cochran’s termination had nothing to do with the contents of his book — the mayor’s statements notwithstanding. No, the man who led the fire department to its first-ever Class 1 rating, and who had in the process saved lives of firefighters and civilians, had to be immediately terminated because he didn’t receive “prior written approval” from the board of ethics before self-publishing his book.

The city cited a provision of the Atlanta Code of Ordinances regulating outside “private employment” or “services for private interests.”

But this provision does not apply to publishing a book on religious themes. And if it were applied to Cochran’s book, it would constitute an unconstitutional prior restraint on speech: The city may not require its employees to obtain written consent before expressing their religious beliefs.

The New York Times has applauded Atlanta’s actions, writing that he should be held to “a different standard.” But which standard is that? One that holds that a man who has fought discrimination his entire life may be fired merely for expressing orthodox Christian beliefs? The Times claims that LGBT employees should “fear” discrimination. But should they fear the man who included them in his “participatory management structure,” consulting LGBT colleagues before making significant departmental decisions?

The “fear” that now exists is felt by Christians in the department — men and women who believe, Cochran says, that they might be next in line for termination. The City of Atlanta has apparently made its own determination on sexual morality, and city employees now must either express the city’s viewpoint or remain silent. The state church has been established, and the state church has spoken. Endorse sexual liberty, or shut your mouth. The only other option is the unemployment line.

There is hope for Cochran, however. So far, even an Obama-appointed federal judge has been unimpressed with Atlanta’s legal arguments and has turned back the city’s attempt to dismiss Cochran’s lawsuit challenging his termination. His attorneys, my old colleagues at the Alliance Defending Freedom, are beginning the discovery process, and more details will doubtless emerge.

For now, however, Cochran’s story is a warning to those Christians who mistakenly believe that virtue and good works can insulate them from the wrath of the sexual revolutionaries. The double standards are clear — cities prohibited by law from discriminating against Christians now feel free to demand silence from Christian employees while openly advocating the sexual liberation of the LGBT community.

In Atlanta, pluralism means conformity, and only one side of the religious and cultural debate truly enjoys the protection of the First Amendment. The lesson here is clear. If you believe you are safe from the new thought police, you are wrong. Cochran fought discrimination his entire life. Cochran was an Obama appointee in the Department of Homeland Security. Cochran made a concerted effort to include his LGBT employees. Cochran was fired.

And that brings us to the final, sad irony. Cochran began his career fighting discrimination on the basis of his race. His faith gave him the fortitude to withstand the racist onslaught. And now that same faith has cost him the career that he loved.

The Left that boasts about fighting Jim Crow is now attempting to replicate its systemic exclusion and repression. White supremacy is fading away, but a state-endorsed sexual revolution creates new categories of second-class citizens.

Chief Cochran’s life is a story of enduring first one form of discrimination, then another. The faith that sustained him is now the faith that has condemned him, at least in the eyes of the world. The faith that empowered Cochran’s career has also ended it. He is a heretic, after all, and heretics deserve their punishment.


Rick Perry Cleared of Governing While Republican

After costing him time, money, effort and possibly tarnishing his presidential bid, former Texas Governor Rick Perry on Wednesday was finally cleared of charges that he abused his office when he threatened a veto and then issued it in 2013. His real crime? "Governing While Republican."

Perry said he would veto a bill funding the state's Public Integrity Unit if its head, then-Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, didn't step down. Why? Lehmberg had been arrested for driving with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit, and she was so belligerent with police officers that they strapped her into a restraint chair and slipped a spit mask over her. When she refused to resign, Perry vetoed the bill.

To a Democrat-influenced grand jury, Perry's actions of, well, governing, meant he coerced a public servant and abused his office, and they issued an indictment.

But Judge P.J. Keller, who wrote the court's majority opinion dismissing the case, disagreed. "No law passed by the Legislature can constitutionally make the mere act of vetoing legislation a crime," Keller wrote, and the court system cannot "examine the motives behind the veto or second-guess the validity of a veto."

Nevertheless, the frivolous prosecution did serve the Left's goal: to stall a strong conservative's political career. How much more support could the cowboy-boot wearing governor have generated if donors and voters weren't wary that the indictment would stick?


Medical marijuana is now legal in Australia

The Australian parliament passed new national laws today paving the way for the use of medicinal cannabis by people with painful and chronic illness.

Amendments to the Narcotic Drugs Act permit both legally-grown cannabis for the manufacture of medicinal cannabis products in Australia. The changes, proposed earlier this month by the Turnbull government, had bi-partisan support.

Recreational cannabis cultivation and use remains illegal with state-based criminal laws still in place.

Health minister Sussan Ley said it was an historic day for the nation and the people who "fought long and hard to challenge the stigma around medicinal cannabis products so genuine patients are no longer treated as criminals".

"This is the missing piece in a patient’s treatment journey and will now see seamless access to locally-produced medicinal cannabis products from farm to pharmacy," she said

Under the new federal scheme, patients with a valid prescription can possess and use medicinal cannabis products manufactured from cannabis legally cultivated in Australia, provided the supply has been authorised under the Therapeutic Goods Act and relevant state and territory legislation. The changes put medical cannabis in the same category as restricted medicinal drugs such as morphine.

The Victorian government announcement last year that it will legalise the drug for medical use in 2017. NSW is also currently conducting trials into a cannabis-based drug, Epidolex, with a focus on children with epilepsy, and leading the state-based focus on medical marijuana.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is due to hand down its interim decision on scheduling cannabis for medicinal purposes next month. The minister said an independent Advisory Committee will be set up to oversee the next stage of the rollout of a national regulator for medicinal cannabis.

"A national regulator will allow the government to closely track the development of cannabis products for medicinal use from cultivation to supply and curtail any attempts by criminals to get involved," Ms Ley said.

The national scheme is good news for a range of companies currently vying for a slice of the lucrative market. Medicinal cannabis business MGC Pharmaceuticals, listed on the ASX via a reverse takeover of Perth-based resources business yesterday, saw its share price jump on opening, and rise another 27% today to $0.33.

The business is working with the University of Sydney’s business school to develop a federal government white paper on creating a medical cannabis industry. MGC Pharmaceuticals is currently building a cultivation and extraction plant in Slovenia.

Meanwhile, ASX-listed Medlab Clinical is currently conducting research in Sydney for the NSW Government.



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, 2016

Multiculturalism has proven divisive, not coalescent, so let’s ditch it

Like bad 1970s fashion, multiculturalism needs to be binned,  Janet Albrechtsen writes from Australia

Sometimes the obvious questions don’t get asked. Maybe it’s the stubborn power of orthodoxy that puts a spanner in the spokes of our otherwise critical and curious senses. Whatever the reason, it’s time to ask this: why do we still have a minister, let alone an assistant minister for multicultural ­affairs?

Hasn’t this cultural fad overstayed it usefulness? Just as questions are asked about whether taxpayers should keep funding multicultural broadcaster SBS, given its raison d’etre has waned, isn’t it time we asked why we still need government ministers ministering the multicultural word to the people?

There is a sense of urgency around this question after last week’s inauspicious start by Craig Laundy, the new Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs.

Laundy sounded like the very model of the modern multiculturalist — modern in the sense of 1970s modern.

Last week the Liberal MP from western Sydney adopted the condescending voice of those 70s multiculturalists, speaking down to us, telling us that he knows better than us. And just like 70s multiculturalism, he caused division rather than cohesion.

Laundy’s sentiments might please the large voting bloc of Muslims in his electorate but the rest of us were riled by his haughtiness when he said that when people “dive into this debate” (about Islam) and “say controversial things, I would argue the vast ­majority are speaking from a position that is not well-informed”.

That’s multi-culti speak for saying shut up, you’re too stupid to understand Islam or question Islam’s ability to find an accommodation with fundamental Western values such as the separation of church and state, free speech, gender equality and so on.

Alas, people aren’t stupid. We see that countries ruled by the ­Islamic faith have cultures diametrically opposed to Enlightenment values. We can see enclaves of Muslim migrants in Western countries have kept practices at odds with those values. We are entitled to ask questions about the level of gender inequality among Muslims. We are entitled to ask why some young Muslim men chose Islamic State over Australia; why genital mutilation and child marriages happen in countries such as Britain and Australia.

If Laundy finds our questions “controversial” then, sadly, he has caught that debilitating multicultural virus. Like a virus that takes hold of host cells in the human body, multiculturalism’s self-loathing virus started invading Western societies more than 40 years ago. Like a form of cultural cancer, it has weakened our ability to defend our most fundamental values and, worse, it has meant the only culture open to critique and question is our own.

To be fair, Laundy is not alone among Liberal MPs who inadvertently expose why multiculturalism must be discarded.

Last week on the ABC’s Q&A when Liberal MP Steve Ciobo was asked whether he believed in free speech, he said: “I’m attracted to the principle.” Really? That’s it? I might be ­attracted to a dress in a shop but I’m not committed to it. Surely a Liberal MP, a minister, can do better at defending a core Western freedom. You’re not going to convince anyone about the virtues of free speech by saying you kind of like it, with the same commitment as you might say you like cornflakes in the morning

The multicultural virus has impaired even self-professed cultural warriors. As prime minister, Tony Abbott decided that defending free speech by reforming section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act was too hard once a few ­migrant groups kicked up a fuss.

Sure, the Senate was unhelpful, but rather than make a humiliating retreat, a warrior of Western culture should fight on to defend the marketplace of ideas, rather than kowtow to the marketplace of outrage that has been fuelled by multiculturalism.

And why wouldn’t Laundy champion all the usual multi-culti guff given the tone set by the more senior Minister for Multicultural Affairs. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, another so-called Liberal Party cultural warrior, didn’t raise an eyebrow, let alone utter a word, when Abbott dropped his promise on free speech. We expect this cultural cowardice from Labor and the broader Left, but when voters can’t look to the Liberal Party to defend our basic values the cultural landscape is indeed bleak.

Remember that multiculturalism was never a policy with broad support. Research by sociologist Katharine Betts reveals multiculturalism wasn’t even a story of ethnic agitators: it was largely trumpeted by a group of Anglo-Australian activists so small that “most of them could and did meet in one room”. Twenty years after Malcolm Fraser included multiculturalism in the Coalition platform, a poll by the Council of Multicultural Affairs found the rank-and-file supporter of multiculturalism was not the ­migrant but the well-educated Anglo-Australian living far way from migrant enclaves.

In the 70s, multiculturalism was sold to the people as the tolerant, moral alternative to earlier evil policies of assimilation and integration. But assimilation and integration were not intolerant ideas. On the contrary, these policies invited migrants to Australia with the promise they, too, could become Australians and enjoy the values that made Australia the country of first choice for millions.

When migrants arrived in postwar Australia, there was a sense of obligation to the new country. The transformation of thousands of poor, displaced migrants into comfortable middle-class Australians in a matter of a few generations is one of the great success stories of integration. The traditional three-way contract was simple: majority tolerance, minority loyalty and government vigilance in both ­directions.

Becoming a citizen meant ­accepting responsibilities in return for clearly understood rights and privileges. A migrant renounced “all other allegiances” to swear loyalty to Australia.

More than 40 years later, asking for minority loyalty is regarded as a sign of intolerance. Against a backdrop of entrenched multiculturalism and a human rights frenzy pushing the right to be “separate but equal”, it’s now a case of the host nation owing the migrant.

The great multicultural con is that its proponents deliberately refused to define the term. They opted for feel-good ambiguity. So it meandered along meaning different things to different people. To some, it meant no more than promoting a culturally diverse ­society loyal to core institutions and core values. Meanwhile, a more virulent form took root, emphasising ethnic rights to be separate but equal, promoting cultural and moral relativism and identity politics where immigrants were no longer Australians, or even “new” Australians.

Multiculturalism endorsed what Theodore Roosevelt called a hyphenated loyalty to country. SBS uses the phrase Muslim-Australians, not the other way around. That hyphenated loyalty has under­mined an obligation on ­migrants to embrace a common set of values.

Worse, multiculturalism demanded that we tolerate the intolerant. To be sure, tolerance is a worthy goal. But it’s meaningful only when tempered with moral judgments about what is right and what is wrong. That is a debate we must all be able to be part of.


American Opinion and the Case for Israel

A recent Brookings Institution survey presented at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. indicated a growing American partisanship toward Israel and the Middle East. But an analysis of an online survey taken in November suggests strategies for Israel's friends to counter growing Democratic Party estrangement with Israel amidst an enduringly pro-Israel and Philo-Semitic American population.

Survey director Shibley Telhami said that Israel is dramatically becoming what fellow panelist and Brookings expert Tamara Cofman Wittes called a wedge issue. As Telhamiwrote in "Politico," the Republicans' pro-Israel base is an indicator that "GOP candidates are principally catering to an evangelical base that has become Israel's biggest support base in American politics." A survey press release noted that while Evangelical Republicans make up only 10 percent of the American population, 23 percent of all Republicans and 77 percent of Evangelical Republicans want the United States to favor Israel. In all, 40 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of self-identified evangelicals "say a candidate's position on Israel matters a lot," compared to 22 percent for Independents and 14 percent for Democrats."

Telhami pointed out that, by contrast, the biggest story of all was the 49 percent of Democrats who said that Israel has too much influence on American politics; 14 percent said too little, and 36 percent said about the right amount. The striking partisan divide of this key finding impressed him, as the corresponding survey results among Republicans for too much, too little, and appropriate Israeli influence were respectively 25 percent, 22 percent and 52 percent. The overall American breakdown is 37, 18 and 44 percent, while 39 percent of evangelicals said that Israel has too little influence (23 percent too much and 38 percent the right amount), and views of too little Israeli influence increase with age.

Other survey findings revealed growing partisan divides between a pro-Israel Republican Party and a Democratic Party that is becoming increasingly more critical of Israel. The survey questionnaire results showed that 45 percent of Republicans wanted the United States to side with Israel in its conflict with Palestinians, while 51 percent wanted America to lean toward neither side. By contrast, only 13 percent of independents and 19 percent of Democrats desired pro-Israel American partiality, while 80 percent of independents and 75 percent of Democrats wanted impartiality.

Similarly, 49 percent of Democrats were willing to impose economic or more serious sanctions upon Israel for continued settlement of territories won in the 1967 war, while 46 percent would do nothing, or limit the U.S. response to a verbal protest. By contrast, in the survey questionnaire results, 68 percent of Republicans at most would support verbal protests, a position taken by 57 percent of Americans overall. Democratic attitudes reflected the party demographic changes noted by Telhami and the anti-Israel audience questioner Serge Duss, who referenced 2012 Democratic convention controversy regarding the declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The survey press release said that "American views of Muslims are strikingly partisan," although any personal knowledge of Muslims improved their favorability ratings across the political spectrum. Among Republicans, 41 percent expressed somewhat or very favorable views toward Muslims, as opposed to 67 percent of Democrats (the general population was in the middle of these results, at 53 percent). The "Muslim religion" distinct from its adherents scored even worse, with 73 percent of Republicans responding unfavorably to Islam in the questionnaire, along with 68 percent of independents. Even 47 percent of Democrats responded unfavorably to Islam.

Telhami contrasted strong bipartisan favorability for Jews and Judaism from survey responders, yet said that conservative support for Israel in a highly partisan America can alienate Democrats from Israel. Jews received a total favorability rating of 88 percent, but Telhami's discussion of possible explanations for evangelical attachment to Israel visibly disturbed some audience members. As the press release pointed out, 66 percent of "Evangelical Republicans say that for the rapture or second coming to occur, it is essential for current-day Israel to include all the land they believe was promised to Biblical Israel in the Old Testament."

While such theology may guarantee Israel a specific American support bloc, the survey data indicated that Israel's friends should seek broader alliances in America with those concerned about Islamic threats to the free world. The survey revealed a public relations disaster for Islamic doctrine, irrespective of whatever good relations Americans have with Muslim individuals; Islam's future image is unlikely to improve, "religion of peace" refrains notwithstanding. While some may worry about Islamic immigration to the United States, Israel faces far greater threats among its Muslim-majority neighbors.

While Hamas jihadists rule the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Authority - with its Sharia-compliant Basic Law - indoctrinates Palestinian children in Islamic antisemitism and Iran's Islamic Republic manifests wider regional threats to Israel. Contrary to the preferences of many Democrats (but not most Americans), such threats call into question further pressure for "land for peace" Israeli withdrawals from the historic Jewish heartland ofJudea and Samaria. The survey itself indicated that Israeli-Palestinian two-state solutions make decreasing sense to many Americans, contrary to panelist Susan Glasser of "Politico," who described this as a "mainstream consensus" policy position.

On the other hand, supporters of the Jewish national homeland should associate the Jews and Judaism admired in America with Israeli pioneer accomplishments in building a developed democracy unique to its region. Among other things, Judaism's ethical valueshave created the Middle East's one society, where minorities such as Arab Muslims and Christians can live freely without fear. Strategic analysis also shows that this democracy is a strong American ally, particularly against militant Islam, contrary to the views revealed in the survey that Israel draws unmerited advantage from America.

Israel faces increasing challenges from the political left in America and elsewhere, but facts, and not just sectarian faith, favor Israel. Israel can indeed win a battle for the hearts and minds of American voters, and political leaders who take anti-Israel positions may well come to appreciate Genesis 12:3's prophetic warnings.


There's no shame in Zionism: we must reclaim the word from anti-Semites
Throughout the country, and particularly on our university campuses, it is being suggested that, in moral terms, nothing separates the appalling white supremacist apartheid regime of South Africa with the Israeli state. It was reported yesterday that the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had ordered his officials to complain that posters comparing the two regimes had been illegally placed in the London Underground.

It’s an old trick frequently used by the hard of thinking: think of a country or person you don’t like; think of another, entirely separate, country or person that everyone dislikes, then say that country or person A is the same as country or person B.

Perhaps the protesters and poster-putters-up are too young to remember when apartheid was actually a thing – a bit like those youngsters who celebrated the death of Baroness Thatcher, even though they were babes in arms when she was forced out of Downing Street. But being young is no excuse for ignorance of the facts, which are that Israel isn’t just a democracy – it’s a social democracy, where women enjoy equal rights, where there exists a flourishing LGBT community, where trade unions are well organised and strong and where the press is unfettered and critical of the government.

But there’s no need to take my word for it – why don’t you ask Arab citizens of Israel which Middle Eastern country they would rather live in? The answer given by 77 per cent in one recent survey was (drum roll, please) Israel.

Michael Dugher, the former Shadow Culture Secretary who was recently sacked by Jeremy Corbyn, made a speech to a Labour Friends of Israel meeting last year in which he declared: “I am proud to call myself a friend of Israel. I am proud to call myself a Zionist.”

Even I, a long-term member of Labour Friends of Israel, did a double-take when I read that last line; not because I felt Michael shouldn’t have said what he said, but because it was an act of political courage rarely seen on the national stage in this modern era of safety-first soundbite politics. A Zionist, you say? Well, I mean, I support Israel and everything, but isn’t that going just a bit too far…?

No, it’s not.

The Left (and some on the Right, but mostly the Left) have succeeded in persuading us that the term refers to West Bank settlers, Israeli imperialists and Palestinian-haters. If you’re a Zionist you’re a hair’s breadth away from a National Front thug, the far Left would have us believe. And here, as in so many areas of life, they are entirely wrong.

Zionism is no more than the movement to re-establish and then protect the state of Israel. A Zionist is someone who defends Israel’s right to exist. The Labour Party has a long and proud tradition of supporting Zionism, through luminaries such as Richard Crossman and Ian Mikardo up to the present generation.

But attempts to redefine Zionism and corrupt its true meaning were always dangerous and threatening to the progressive cause, simply because – inevitably – such moves would be exploited by genuine anti-Semites.

Yet that hasn’t stopped many in the leadership of both the Labour Party and its student movement from associating with such individuals.

When Alex Chalmers, former co-chairman of Oxford university Labour Club, resigned his post, he said: “A large proportion of both OULC and the student left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews.” This includes, he alleged, members of the club’s executive using the word “Zio” to describe Jewish members of the student faculty. We may assume that the term is used in its new, distorted, derogatory meaning, rather than its true one.

Are we really that surprised? Isn’t such behaviour already being passively approved by the national leadership of the Labour Party? Not only do we have a leader who can’t even bring himself to utter the word “Israel” when he’s attending a reception organised by Labour Friends of You Know Where. But we also have a leader who calls the terrorist, anti-semitic fanatics of Hamas his “friends”.

And just last week, on 17 February, Ken Livingstone declared on LBC Radio that in his decades in the Labour Party, he had never come across any anti-Jewish sentiment on the Left. It was radio so we don’t know if he was wearing a straight face. This is a man who, as Mayor of London, literally embraced Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a scholar who believes that “every Jew in the world is the enemy” and that Muslims should not be friends with Jews in general, and Israelis in particular, lest such relationships diminish their appetite for fighting.

So is it really that surprising that in the days following the revelation of obscene bigotry and what appears to be anti-semitism among Labour members at Oxford, not a single Labour front bencher uttered a word about it?

I hope the term “Zionist” can be retrieved from the lexicon of the hate-spreaders, the ignorant and the anti-semitic.
And I hope, one day, someone unashamed to describe themselves as such will take his or her place at the head of my party.


Lena Dunham, women don’t want your safe space

Writer and actress Lena Dunham declared, during a recent panel discussion for More Magazine, that she would stay off Twitter until it was a ‘safe space’. She said the only way to protect women’s right to free speech is to clampdown on the misogynistic trolls.

The announcement displayed a startling lack of understanding of what free speech means. The defining characteristic of a ‘safe space’ is that people are forbidden from expressing certain thoughts and opinions within it. If you believe in free speech, even Dunham’s most vile and misogynist trolls must be allowed to have a voice.

But, without realising it, Dunham showed exactly how easily offended people like her should treat Twitter. If you don’t like people saying mean things to you online, if it hurts your feelings, there’s something very simple you can do: stay off it. Millions of people do this every day, without fanfare. Maybe they can’t deal with criticism. Maybe they can’t deal with the occasional idiot calling them fat or stupid. Maybe they simply do not enjoy the experience. These people could be accused of being a bit oversensitive, but compared to Dunham they are heroic freedom fighters – at least they don’t want to censor others.

Twitter is already a hostile place for free speech, where voicing certain opinions can get you twitch-hunted – or even cost you your job. Dunham’s call to regulate Twitter further is not about protecting free speech, it’s about increasing the power of the twitch-hunters. But, worse still, it patronises women. In order to learn to think for ourselves, and engage in robust debate, we must be exposed to a variety of ideas. We must understand conflicting viewpoints in order to hone our own arguments and grow intellectually. This is what Dunham’s young feminist followers need, not safe spaces.



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, 2016

The Pope Gets Medieval On Capitalism

Frank is just a typical Latin American whiner.  They blame  their poverty on everyone but themselves

Pope Francis chose the U.S.-Mexican border for his angriest attack yet on the free market, comparing private employers to slave owners. Pope St. John Paul II, who lived under statism, knew better.

Speaking to Mexican businessmen and union officials on his final day after nearly a week in Mexico, in the heavily industrialized Ciudad Juarez across the Texas border from El Paso, the Catholic Church’s Supreme Pontiff declared, “God will hold the slave drivers of our days accountable.” He added that “the flow of capital cannot decide the flow of people,” and blasted a “prevailing mentality” in favor of “the greatest possible profits, immediately and at any cost.” He later celebrated Mass practically on the border.

The message couldn’t be clearer: The people of God are south of that line, and their oppressors are north of it.

This most casual of Popes has a now-infamous penchant for ill-considered, off-the-cuff remarks that the Vatican’s damage control operation routinely has to walk back or explain away. But in this case the sentiments were too well-planned and orchestrated for excuses to work. Francis is an enemy of economic freedom and many of the policies that have made America and the rest of the Western industrialized world great.

One might be tempted to charge that he is bringing the Catholic Church’s moral teaching back to the “dark ages” of many hundreds of years ago, before man liberated himself economically and conquered so much poverty via technological progress.

In fact, even in the Middle Ages the Catholic Church strongly defended the principle of private property.

St. Thomas Aquinas, a doctor of the Church still held as its greatest theologian, wrote in his Summa Theologica: “Because the division of possessions is not according to the natural law, but rather arose from human agreement … the ownership of possessions is not contrary to the natural law, but an addition thereto devised by human reason.”

The Church’s traditional concerns with capitalism have focused on abuses that are alien to modern-day America, such as lack of a just wage, rest time and days off, an unhealthy workplace, the absence of unemployment benefits, pensions and health insurance, and no right to form a union.

Pope Leo XIII in his 1891 encyclical “Rerum Novarum” stated that “the poor and badly off have a claim to especial consideration … and must chiefly depend upon the assistance of the State. And it is for this reason that wage-earners, since they mostly belong in the mass of the needy, should be specially cared for and protected by the government.”

In 1991, Pope St. John Paul II wrote an encyclical commemorating the 100th anniversary of Leo’s, titled “Centennimus Annus.”  And in that teaching, he asked if it could be held that “after the failure of Communism, capitalism is the victorious social system, and that capitalism should be the goal of the countries now making efforts to rebuild their economy and society? Is this the model which ought to be proposed to the countries of the Third World which are searching for the path to true economic and civil progress?”

According to John Paul, “The answer is obviously complex. If by ‘capitalism’ is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a ‘business economy,’ ‘market economy’ or simply ‘free economy.'”

That Pope, unlike the current one, was a Pole who lived under both the Nazis and a collectivist state ruled by Moscow. The current Pope ought to consider the reflections of his saintly predecessor.


In praise of cultural appropriation

Frank Furedi

The mixing and meshing of different cultures is something to celebrate.

No sooner did Beyoncé appear as a Bollywood actress in Coldplay’s new video ‘Hymn for the Weekend’ than the Twitterati piled in to accuse her of committing a crime against Indian culture. It seemed that everyone with a Twitter account felt entitled to make pronouncements on what Beyoncé should or shouldn’t wear. ‘The Coldplay video is beautiful. It’s artistic and stunning. But Beyoncé wearing “Indian style” jewellery and clothes in NOT Okay’, tweeted one white, opinionated woman. Others, too, got stuck in to condemn Beyoncé for her crime of cultural appropriation.

But in this mini-culture war about who can and can’t wear Indian fashion accessories, even Beyoncé’s critics risked provoking outrage. White denigrators of Beyoncé were attacked by Omise’eke Tinsley and Natassja Gunasena for failing to understand that the video provided a ‘rare opportunity to see how much and how beautifully blackness is part of South Asian culture’. As far as they were concerned, it was okay for Beyoncé to appropriate Asian culture, but not okay for white folk to criticise her. ‘Is it because Beyoncé is black?’, they asked, hinting that the charge of cultural appropriation was too sacred to be left in the hands of mendacious white folk.

Today, the charge of cultural appropriation has become a means to police people’s taste, their choice of clothes, the food they consume, even the way they dance or sing. Not since the pre-modern era has there been so much energy devoted to the micro-regulation of people’s appearance and behaviour. Charging movie stars, singers and celebrities with cultural appropriation has become a regular feature of the 21st-century entertainment landscape.

Indeed, in the world of entertainment, the crusade against cultural appropriation often acquires a nasty personal edge. White models and actresses who wear their hair in cornrows, for instance, are slammed for exploiting black culture. Iggy Azalea, the white Australian rapper, was attacked for her ‘blaccent’. Selena Gomez was slammed for wearing a bindi. The list goes on.

Fashion brands are also a favourite target of cultural crusaders. Recently, Mango was slammed because it failed to use an African model to promote its Africa-inspired clothes range. A similar accusation was levelled at Valentino for using white models in its own Africa-inspired fashion show.

The proliferation of cultural-appropriation claims is intimately linked to the expanding influence of identity and cultural politics. The merest hint of an act of cultural insensitivity courts moral condemnation. What’s worse, companies and institutions always roll over and apologise for their supposedly insensitive behaviour. Hence it took only 65 signatures on an online petition to get the organisers of Glastonbury to ban the sale of Native American headdresses. How Glastonbury will react to a petition complaining about its provision of Mongolian yurt accommodation for wealthy visitors is the next big question facing the festival.

That institutions, organisations and companies are so eager to please the cultural crusaders isn’t a surprise. For years now, companies and institutions have been flaunting their virtue by using hooray words like ‘empowerment’, ‘awareness’, ‘diversity’, ‘respect’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘sensitivity’. So when the Twitterati or petitioners suggest a company or an institution has been, say, insensitive or disrespectful, that company or institution feels obliged to give in. Take, for example, the case of a yoga class at the University of Ottawa in Canada. Following concerns that it was an act of cultural appropriation, the class was promptly suspended, and the teacher admitted the class was insensitive, ‘because yoga originally comes from India’. She even offered to change the title of the class to ‘mindful stretching’.

Universities, which already provide a hospitable environment for banning stuff, are allowing cultural crusaders to flourish. At the University of East Anglia in the UK, the students’ union banned a Mexican restaurant from giving out sombreros to students on the grounds that this act of cultural appropriation was racist.

With so much moral authority invested in detecting and exposing cultural appropriation, it is not surprising that examples of it now seem to be found everywhere. The global crusade against cultural appropriation has become a parody of itself. Late last year, irate students at Oberlin College in Ohio organised a campaign against their cafeteria’s cultural appropriation of ethnic food. Once upon a time, students moaned about the poor quality of cafeteria food. Now they condemn their cafeterias for the cultural appropriation of ethnic food. Apparently fried chicken, Vietnamese sandwiches, sushi and General Tso’s chicken are cooked in a culturally inappropriate manner. Commenting on the poorly cooked rice and the absence of fresh fish in the sushi rolls, Tomoyo Joshi, an Oberlin undergraduate from Japan, declared that it was ‘disrespectful’ to her culture.

Cultural crusaders strike moral poses about the consumption of samosas, kebabs or curries. Numerous commentaries and guidelines have been produced on the now thorny subject of the cultural appropriation of the food of ‘marginalised people’. Those interested in the self-righteous mindset of the food-police might enjoy ‘The Feminist Guide to being a Foodie without being Culturally Appropriative’.

It is tempting to interpret the demands of ‘back-off my culture’ as a self-interested means of establishing ownership. For example, the criticism of holding yoga classes in universities is linked to the ‘Take Back Yoga’ campaign launched by the Hindu American Foundation in 2008. This campaign is all about who gets to decide what is and isn’t yoga in a commercialised Western setting.

But the policing of culture is not simply fuelled by economic or sectional interests. Culture has been politicised to the point that almost any custom or practice can be exploited to make a statement about the scandalous behaviour of those causing offence. Declarations about cultural appropriation constitute a claim to moral authority. They are about who gets to decide what is and isn’t appropriate behaviour.

Today, the rhetoric of cultural appropriation provides people with a script for the public performance of sanctimony. When someone tweets that the appearance of a pop star is culturally insensitive, it draws attention to his or her awareness and thoughtfulness. The cultural crusaders’ tone is that of unrestrained indignation. It doesn’t even require a particularly grave act of insensitivity to produce a reaction of self-righteous outrage. For what’s really important in this performance of piety is not the nailing of the offender, but the demonstration of virtue.

Who owns culture?

Cultural appropriation used to be an esoteric term deployed by a tiny circle of academics committed to exposing ‘cultural colonialism’. In those days, appropriation referred to the plundering and exploitation of colonised cultures. The idea of cultural colonialism was always a confused one that encompassed both Western domination of colonial cultures as well as the tendency to appropriate some of the exotic features of African, Asian and Latin American societies.

Concern about cultural borrowing and appropriation emerged with the rise of identity politics during the 1980s. One of the consequences of the declining influence of Enlightenment and universalist values was the growing salience of particularist cultural sentiment. Identity politics celebrated the distinct, stand-alone essence of particular cultures. This emphasis on the unique and irreducible essence of cultures called into question the commensurability and universalism of human experience and promoted a heightened sense of the differences between cultures. It also encouraged a divisive particularism, and, its basis, a particularist epistemology.

A particularist epistemology is based on the premise that only people who are members of a particular culture can understand that culture. Cultural knowledge becomes dependent on cultural experience. Hence it was asserted that there was a ‘woman’s way of knowing’, an ‘African way of knowing’, a ‘Western male way of knowing’. This anti-universalist approach towards the appropriation of knowledge drew on the 19th-century conservative reaction to rationalism, which argued that particular identities had to be understood in their own terms and not as part of some abstractly conceived universal human pattern. The mystique of the particular elevated difference and encouraged the deepening of divisions between cultures.

In the 19th century, as today, the valuation of a particularist epistemology is coupled with the claim to possess the authority to speak on a particular culture’s behalf. In practice that means that only members of a particular culture can speak on its behalf. As a result, it was claimed that only feminist theoreticians had the epistemological authority to write about women. Similarly, it was suggested that only black people had the right to write about black history and that only Native Americans could tell the stories of their people. This insistence that there is unbridgeable difference in experience and understanding between different groups of people served to legitimise and entrench divisions. Culture itself, which enlightened thinkers perceived as a fluid and constantly interacting and changing phenomenon, was now rendered rigid and fossilised

It was in the context of the fossilisation of cultural identity that the issue of cultural appropriation became politicised. The main beneficiaries of the 1970s and 1980s fossilisation of culture were the cultural entrepreneurs who now possessed a monopoly to speak on a specific culture’s behalf. In the past, the policing of cultural boundaries was associated with reactionary cultural warriors determined to uphold the purity of their culture. Its most extreme manifestation occurred in Germany during the interwar years, when ‘alien’ Jewish artists and writers were attacked for falsely representing the culture of Germany.

Once upon a time, individuals who wrote novels were called novelists. In our time, the novelist is fast being displaced by the ‘Irish author’, the ‘gay novelist’, the ‘woman writer’, the ‘Nigerian storyteller’ or the ‘Native American essayist’. When book prizes are dished out, what matters is not the quality of the writing, but the cultural origins of the writer.

In the 1990s, the question of who could write about which culture raged. For example, in 1992 a debate erupted in Canada about the cultural appropriation of voice in fiction and non-fiction. The Canada Council entered the fray and defined cultural appropriation to mean ‘the depiction of minorities or cultures other than one’s own, either in fiction or non-fiction’. The focus of the discussion was on who had the right to tell and voice the stories of First Nations cultures. The Writer’s Union of Canada defined cultural appropriation as ‘the taking – from a culture that is not one’s own – of intellectual property, cultural expressions or artefacts, history and ways of knowledge’. Advocates of identity politics explicitly questioned whether a non-Native could write stories about First Nations people.

Today the issue of cultural appropriation is no longer just about who has the right to speak or write about a culture, but about trivial matters to do with who gets to wear Indian earrings or eat satay chicken. This expansion of moralising about culture is the inexorable consequence of identity politics. Differences in taste and habits are no longer seen as a personal matter: they are interpreted as political statements.

The reverential and self-righteous tone of cultural crusaders echoes that of traditional religious moralists. Writing on the Everyday Feminism website, Maisha Johnson graciously informs her readers that ‘I am not saying you automatically can’t enjoy Mexican food if you’re not Mexican, or do a yoga-inspired practice if you’re not Indian’. What she wants her readers to perform is the culturally sensitive equivalent of a little prayer. As she states, ‘I am encouraging you to be thoughtful about using things from other cultures, to consider the context, and learn about the best practices to show respect’. That’s another way of saying that before you bite into your burrito, say thanks to Mexico.

The principal achievement of the crusade against cultural appropriation is to turn every form of cultural interaction into a site for conflict. This idea of appropriation has as its foundation the conviction that culture is the sacred property of its moral guardians. It is based on the premise that unless cultural artefacts, practices, rituals and even food are used in a reverent and respectful manner, then something akin to religious sacrilege has been committed. Such a pious attitude towards culture does not merely apply to religious rituals and symbols; it also applies to the most banal features of everyday existence, such as the label on your shirt or the snack you are eating.

The constant demand for respect and culturally correct behaviour actually serves to desensitise people to the distinction between rituals and practices that are genuinely worthy of respect and those that can be taken in one’s stride. If the demand for respect for everything becomes automatic, then making distinctions between truly important practices, such as a religious ritual, and trivial ones, such as eating a curry, becomes complicated and even meaningless.

It is perfectly legitimate to attempt to defend or rescue a beleaguered culture. But the attempt to police people’s behaviour through the drawing of culturally correct boundaries has little to with a genuine attempt to activate a cultural renaissance.

History has shown that cultural appropriation has brought tremendous benefits to humanity. The Romans, who appropriated large chunks of Greek culture, understood that their civilisation was the beneficiary of their defeated rivals. Christianity appropriated the Jewish Old Testament and Islam assimilated many of the ideals of the religions that preceded it. Later, in the Middle Ages, Christian Europe revitalised itself through embracing the science and learning of Muslim scholars. This story of cultural appropriation continues to the present day.

The development of religion, philosophy, science, the arts and technology is the cumulative outcome of communities borrowing, copying and appropriating aspects of the cultures they encounter. All cultures appropriate, and, in return, are appropriated. People and their cultures are the products of a diverse range of human experiences. Human progress is a story of cultural appropriation. Contrary to the outlook of 21st-century reactionary cultural crusaders, the appropriation of culture is not a zero-sum game. Unlike physical wealth and various forms of material possession, a culture and its practices are not reducible to things that are taken away when someone else uses them. The adoption and embrace of particular cultural practices does not deprive anyone else of the ability to use them. The way a culture is interpreted by others might irritate those born into it, but that’s another issue.

Throughout history the most successful societies have been the ones that were open to cultural exchange and borrowing. The most genuine way of respecting another culture is by borrowing and assimilating its achievements.


The gender pay gap is dead

Joanna Williams

The truth about men and women's pay

The gender pay gap hit the headlines yet again last week. Government ministers announced plans for national league tables to show the difference in wages earned by male and female employees in any company with over 250 workers. Coverage of this latest attempt to crack down on the apparently blatant gender discrimination that blights the nation’s labour market has been sympathetic. Articles have been accompanied by helpful infographics showing a blue figure atop a substantially larger pile of money than an equivalent pink figure. The intention is to illustrate the frequently referenced statistic that men earn roughly 20 per cent more than women.

Despite the simplicity of this stark inequality, such figures are misleading. The much-heralded 20 per cent pay gap is an ‘on average’ figure that is reached through combining part-time and full-time earnings, and takes no account of age or employment sector. As I have argued before on spiked, when we compare how much women and men are paid for doing the same job for the same number of hours each week, there is no pay gap. Not only is it illegal to pay men more, such a pay gap makes no economic sense. If bosses could really get away with paying women so much less, why would anyone ever employ a man?

In reality, the pay gap is far more complex than campaigners like to acknowledge. It is affected by age, occupation and hours worked. Today, women in their twenties earn more than men of the same age. Significantly, they earn more than men not just like-for-like, but also on average. This means that irrespective of job type or hours worked, young women are likely to take home higher wages. For women under the age of 40 and working full-time, the pay gap is negligible. As government equalities minister Nicky Morgan acknowledged when announcing the government’s latest proposals: ‘We’ve virtually eliminated the gap for full-time workers under 40 and the gap for the over-40s is shrinking too.’

For full-time workers of all ages, the gender pay gap now stands at 9.4 per cent. Given that men and women have traditionally made different career choices, that men and women over the age of 50 entered a labour market bearing very little resemblance to today’s, and that older women may have taken time out to raise children, it’s remarkable how small the remaining pay gap is. Furthermore, as high earners retire (men traditionally at an older age – and therefore earning more), this small pay gap is reducing year on year. The more campaigners cling to the 20 per cent figure, holding it up as a sign of women’s continued disadvantage in the workplace, and commentators report it without question, the less able we are to have an honest discussion about the fundamental changes that have occurred in the workplace over the past quarter of a century.

Throughout much of history, if women were able to work at all, they were relegated to the worst jobs with the lowest wages. The introduction of the Equal Pay Act in 1970 did little to improve the lot of female employees: seven years later, women’s average pay in the public sector had actually declined in relation to men’s. A lack of nursery provision made it difficult for women with young children to work. Those who did were confronted with a labour market that was rigidly segregated according to gender. This wasn’t just about sexist assumptions – legislation ensured there was a real distinction between ‘men’s jobs’ and ‘women’s work’.

Today, things could not be more different. But changes have neither come about as a result of legislation nor men and women uniting in industrial disputes to demand equal pay. Rather, it is the economy, and the nature of employment, that has changed. As has been well documented, for at least the past three decades, industry in the UK, including manufacturing, has been in decline, falling from 40 per cent of GDP in 1979 to under 22 per cent in 2013.

New jobs that have been created in the public or service sector are more open to women – indeed, such jobs are often considered better suited to women. However, these new jobs are not directly comparable to the old industrial jobs in terms of the number of people employed, the rates of pay and the opportunities for promotion. Between 1979 and 2013, unemployment grew from 5.3 per cent to 7.8 per cent, and the number of people ‘permanently sick’ rose from 772,000 to 1.7million. In addition, a record 15 per cent of the UK workforce is now registered as self-employed. Very few sectors of the economy are dominated solely by men nowadays. Those that are, such as construction or transport, are the target of campaigns to make them more attractive to women.

At the same time as previously male-dominated work in industry and manufacturing has been in decline, more women than ever before have entered the labour market, the well-paid professions in particular. In 2014, women made up 60 per cent of practising vets and next year there will be more women doctors than men. There has been a sharp increase in the number of female academics and 60 per cent of newly qualified solicitors are now women. As Nicky Morgan points out, one million more women have entered paid employment since 2010, and women’s salaries are rising. These changes in the labour market are evident in the way the gender pay gap has fallen: men’s pay has failed to keep pace with the increase in women’s pay. Since 1997, women’s wages have grown by 74.5 per cent, while, over the same period, men’s pay has increased by a much lower 57.4 per cent.

Although many middle-class women are doing really well and are better off than ever before, this is not the case for everyone. Ironically, today’s pay-gap campaigners, with their myopic focus on gender, miss the far greater wage differentials between people in different sections of society. The focus on bonus payments and the representation of women on executive boards reveals the elite nature of the pay-gap campaigners’ concerns.

The latest proposals for the publication of pay-gap league tables are unlikely to tell us anything we do not already know. However, they may well make life worse for many men and women. In a bid to reduce an already shrinking average gender pay gap, the wages of men could be held down further. Meanwhile, young women may be denied the lower-paid, entry-level positions that might allow them to work their way up in a company, or, when they have children, they may find requests for part-time employment are turned down.

The gender pay gap is dead – though, like some zombie horror movie, the corpse refuses to remain buried. The pay-gap campaigners who continue to stake a spurious claim to female victimhood are disingenuous at best. Of course, there are some who will always have a vested interest in resuscitating the gender pay-gap issue. Government ministers exploit it for political capital, and the middle-class women fronting organisations such as the Fawcett Society are kept in a job.


The mothers fighting the breast-is-best brigade

Ella Whelan

A campaign in France has struck a blow for women’s freedom

Forget Page 3 or Tube adverts for diet pills ‘body-shaming’ young women, a woman’s body is most scrutinised when she’s pregnant. Our obsession with health and diet during pregnancy has put pressure on women to give up their normal habits and fixate on the wellbeing of their unborn children.

But the policing of mothers doesn’t stop once the child is born. Charitable campaigns and government initiatives encourage mothers to breastfeed for up to two years. UK medical journal the Lancet recently stated: ‘The deaths of 823,000 children and 20,000 mothers each year could be averted through universal breastfeeding.’

In response to this bizarre claim, a group of women in France have taken up arms against the demonisation of mothers who choose not to breastfeed. Commentator Lauren Bastide and feminist writer Titiou Lecoq recently penned an article for Libération, arguing that ‘Breastfeeding or bottlefeeding must remain a personal choice. This is not for public or private actors to decide for us.’ Over 5,000 women have now signed the accompanying petition.

In the Libération piece, Bastide and Lecoq describe the guilt-tripping of women who choose to bottlefeed their children: ‘We who choose the bottle are bad mothers, focusing on our comfort at the expense of our children, refusing to assume our biological functions.’

French author Elisabeth Badinter made the same point following the publication of her book, The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women, back in 2012. ‘The good mother doesn’t exist. She’s a myth. It’s utopian’, she told an interviewer from the Globe. ‘And, honestly, we may be mothers, but we’re human beings – we have our limits, our own neuroses, our own subconscious, our own particular history. Whoever we are, we want to do our best.’

Badinter notoriously called the international charity for the promotion of breastfeeding, La Leche League, the ‘Ayatollahs of breastfeeding’. It seems Bastide and Lecoq share the sentiment.

As we’ve noted previously on spiked, babies who are bottlefed are at no disadvantage to those who are breastfed. Scaremongering statistics and flimsy research is used to pressure women into breastfeeding unnecessarily. Bastide has recalled her own experience in an interview with Women in the World: ‘At the hospital, the midwife said “but aren’t you going to nurse?”. When I said “no”, she looked at me as if I wasn’t going to feed my baby!’

Following Claridge’s decision in 2014 to ask new mother Louise Burns to cover up while breastfeeding, political lactivists slammed the move as an affront to women’s freedom. But by waving around placards proclaiming ‘That’s what boobs are for, stupid’ and ‘Breastfeeding is normal and natural’, these protesters have actually added to the pressure on women to breastfeed. What ‘natural’ really means here is ‘the right way to do it’. But while any idiot knows breastfeeding is a natural bodily function, that doesn’t mean women have to do it.

Those who stigmatise bottlefeeding use this same tactic. The World Health Organisation’s helpful posters on how co-workers can help with breastfeeding instructs people to ‘encourage new mothers with an accepting, positive attitude’ and ‘recognise that the months after having a baby are special’. Does using a bottle somehow devalue the bond a mother forms with her child? Bastide certainly doesn’t think so: ‘We ask that question, “do you nurse?”, but it is problematic. Because, yes, I nurse, but not with my milk!’

It’s refreshing to see mothers standing up for their right to make their own parenting choices and demanding freedom over their own bodies. Never is a woman’s body policed more than when she is pregnant. In France, a woman can get an abortion on demand, but only up to 12 weeks into the pregnancy. After this point, she has to seek the permission of two doctors, which is what women in the UK have to do from the beginning of a pregnancy. If a woman then decides to have a child, her body is subject to the scrutiny of government campaigns, hectoring lifestyle advice and bullying guidance. When the baby comes, regulations on the sale of baby formula and pressure in the hospital from lactation consultants are used to coerce her into breastfeeding.

Bastide and Lecoq have had enough. ‘Every woman deserves equal respect in their personal choices’, they write. ‘We simply ask to keep our right to decide without having to face permanent guilt.’ Here’s hoping more women join the fightback.



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, 2016

The Hypnotic Dance of Death

by Alexander Maistrovoy

In my correspondence regarding the events in Cologne, an editor of a Russian newspaper asked a natural but discouraging question. Perplexed, he asked me: “Where were the German men?”

Indeed, for those of us who grew up in Soviet Russia, it would be inconceivable that some drunk young people could publicly mock and harass girls on New Year’s Eve in the very center of Moscow or Saint Petersburg. If they dared to do this, they wouldn’t survive until the morning; they would become “martyrs” and would have their way with 72 virgins in a completely different realm.

Ethical codes, embedded in us on a genetic level, would demand that we intervene on behalf of the women. Especially in a situation where normal adult men were more numerous than the rapists, and the rapists themselves were not terrorists, cyborgs or aliens, but mere street punks.

As it turned out, in Germany, Sweden, Austria and elsewhere, these codes were fatally violated. A great number of strong healthy men, having heard the girls screaming and crying, and having seen the crimes being committed, didn’t do anything to save the victims. In rare cases, the girls were defended by migrants from Eastern Europe or Third World countries.

But this is only the first question in a long line of simple questions. We could expect that women, having learned about the abuse of girls the next day, would be in a fury, since there is an inherent instinct in every normal woman to rescue a child or to protect a girl from an abuse, rape or harassment. Again, genetic codes didn’t work. We heard women blaming the victims and defending the rapists. We heard Henriette Reker, the mayor of Cologne, who claimed that “there’s always the possibility of keeping a certain distance of more than an arm’s length”; Claudia Roth from the Green Party, who accused an “organized mob” on the Internet of “calling for a hunt on non-white people.” We learned about dozens of female journalists who concealed the truth because the rapists were “refugees.” Feminists? We didn’t hear their voices. As we haven’t heard their voices in Sweden, Norway and England, where thousands of girls had long ago been turned into “white meat.”

Instead, all we hear is a subtle mumble, like that of the expert Irmgard Kopetzky, who states that “sexual violence is an issue for people of all ethnic origins.” “Figures show the majority of people carrying out sex attacks in Germany do not come from an immigrant background,” according to her. Andrea den Boer, from the University of Kent, sees the roots of the problem in that “the sex ratio alteration in the young adult population looking also to be abnormal at about 114 boys of that age for every 100 girls.” [sic] Really? In China, Armenia, and Azerbaijan there are also many more boys than girls. Has anyone heard about something similar happening in Beijing, Erevan or Baku? Why, during the revolutions in Romania, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, were there no cases of gang rape of girls during demonstrations, as it happened in Tahrir Square?

The wider Pandora’s box is opened, the more questions arise. What about politicians? Have any of them, left or right, called it the way they saw it? No. “Sexual harassment is not automatically binding to migration and immigration,” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said in Davos. Sure! According to a report by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (BRÅ) 20 years before, in 1996, the highest rates of rape convictions were of individuals born in North Africa and Iraq. They were convicted of rape at rates of 17.5 times higher than the native Swedish rate.

We are speaking about a commonplace situation, typical for the patriarchal Muslim world — for Iraqis, Afghans or Somalis — where a non-Muslim woman is nothing more than a sexual object, an easy and natural prey, a whore. Coptic women in Egypt are constantly subjected to harassment just because they are Christians. The civil war in Lebanon took place not least because of the mass rape of Christian women by Palestinians. How much more for European women who are accustomed to their free dress code and not protected by their families.

If “refugees” ever dared to do the same at home — in Algeria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia — with Muslim girls, they would be buried alive. There are strict and oppressive laws of clan vengeance, and no one dares to harass a woman from another clan or tribe without bringing upon himself an inevitable and cruel punishment. European women have no protection from their families or even the state, with the latter taking the side of the perpetrator. That is why they are doomed.

Why are western politicians paralyzed by fear? Why do only leaders from Eastern Europe dare to tell the truth, such as Miloš Zeman and Bohuslav Sobotka, the President and Prime Minister of the Czech Republic; Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico; and the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán? The issue is not about right or left ideology. Zeman, Sobotka and Fico are Socialists. The issue is about a healthy, normal perception of the world based on genuine European values.

Why did it happen that they were the only leaders who could give both a courageous and adequate response to the reality of this situation? These small countries, squeezed between millstones of formerly great empires and having survived Soviet despotism, now know the value of freedom and dignity. They were vaccinated against universalist ideologies. Yet it is curious that the Czech Republic and Slovakia are the only countries that accept genuine refugees facing a terrible fate — Christians and Yazidis from Iraq — but not mature and aggressive young men heading to Europe for an easy life and “white meat.”

What has happened to the world when men, women, politicians, and the elite betray their daughters and children in order to please newcomers with their baser instincts and a cult of male power?

The answer is sad: the culture of postmodernism has managed to do what couldn’t be achieved even by the Communist propaganda machine. It has degraded the instinct of self-preservation, a natural reaction embedded in humans on a genetic level, the ability to feel compassion and protect a victim – a woman, a girl, a child. An abstract ideology has suppressed the mind and senses.

I left the USSR as a hater of Soviet totalitarianism. Now I realize that the cultural totalitarianism of political correctness has turned out to be much more poisonous.

The Soviet regime dictated harsh rules and established censorship. However, people remained normal human beings. They laughed at authorities, composed jokes about Brezhnev, made satirical films in spite of the censorship, and learned to read newspapers between the lines.

Cultural totalitarianism succeeded much more. It affirmed a relentless self-censorship, turned people into sterile zombies, and exterminated basic senses of responsibility and dignity. It changed the very nature of man, and indeed, it was a unique experiment on their own people.

There is a small carnivorous animal in Siberia – a stoat. It hunts rabbits and hares, which are significantly heavier, faster and stronger than the stoat itself. It doesn’t creep, doesn’t sit in ambush and doesn’t catch its prey on the run. It performs a hypnotic dance of death in front of it — with wriggles, acrobatic leaps and somersaults. The stoat dazzles the prey and, gradually approaching it, then grabs its throat. The rabbit dies from shock. Why does the prey allow the stoat to dazzle and kill it without resisting? Biologists are unable to solve the riddle of the stoat’s hypnotic dance.

Western elites have foredoomed their own people by means of somersaults and acrobatic tricks, and doomed them to the same fate of the unfortunate rabbit. The hypnotic dance of death is gaining momentum.


Hillary's Condescending Attitude Toward Blacks

Ahead of the Democrat South Carolina Primary Feb. 27 (a week after the Republican version), Clinton has been moving to shore up her support among blacks, getting the endorsement of the Congressional Black Caucus, defining her policies she thinks will appeal to black voters. This is necessary for her campaign strategy. Socialist Bernie Sanders has the white millennial vote in the bag. Clinton’s hope is to decisively win in states with high minority populations. But the question of whether she will get the support is different than whether she should get the support, for the politicians' actions show she doesn’t respect black Americans.

At a recent speech in Harlem, Clinton rolled out a litany of proposals. Blacks could have special entitlements through a beefed-up Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Education and a progressive Department of Housing. If they didn’t elect her, a “dead broke” white woman, then it would be four to eight more years of “systemic racism.”

In trying to reach black voters, Clinton insulted them to their faces. “This is racism. Hillary is treating blacks as aimless, victimized people who cannot control their destiny and whose best hope depends upon the benevolence of white saviors in the Democratic Party like her,” opined Investor’s Business Daily. “Her crass pandering for black votes lays bare the low view Democrats have of African-Americans. They are counting on them being slaves to their entitlement politics. Maintaining black resentment is the main source of their power.”

Just recall the condescension Clinton showed the outlying Black Lives Matter protesters who talked about her platform with her in August. After listening to their petition, Clinton snapped, “Respectfully, if that is your position, then I will talk only to white people about how we are going to deal with the very real problems.” Combined with her reputation for lying, Clinton’s own worst enemy is her character.


Berlin shows the advantage of a libertarian approach to alcohol consumption

The NSW government has attempted to reduce late-night violence and disorder in parts of Sydney by enforcing early closing of bars and nightclubs.  The measure is very unpopular with the denizens concerned.  We see another way below

IT’S fair to say that Berlin is a city that likes a drink. People wander the streets with a beer in hand day and night, clubs don’t shut from Friday night to Monday morning and fast food shops have a range of brews that would put some Australian bottle shops to shame.

So if there is a link between heavy alcohol consumption and violence, as the NSW Government seems to argue, you’d be entitled to think that this place should be in big trouble.

But it’s really not. And that can mainly be attributed to the difference in how people drink here.

I moved to Berlin from Sydney just under a year ago and noticed it after just a couple of nights. Here, you don’t tend to see the obnoxious binge drinking behaviour that you do from time to time in areas of Sydney — there’s no trays of shots, no loud, public sculling of beers and no vomiting in the street.

Because this is the prevailing culture in Berlin venues, it has become largely self-policing.

There’s no need for bouncers in bars or uniformed police on the streets in most areas of the city because people are trusted to behave. And they generally respond positively to that trust.

Everything starts a little later here too. Most bars don’t really come to life until about 10pm and most won’t close until the last punter has finished their drink. Even then you can buy whatever you fancy from the hundreds of Spätkauf (convenience stores) that line the streets, 24 hours a day.

This all combines to give the sense that people are not rushing to drink as much as they can before last orders, so there’s rarely any hassles getting to the bar and no cramming in drinks, while 24 hour weekend trains make it easy to get home.

It all makes for a much more relaxed atmosphere and, as a result, it’s not at all unusual to strike up a long conversation with a stranger. I’ve yet to see any of these conversations turn sour.

And it’s not just me. Almost everyone you talk to here says they’ve seen little or no evidence of violence on a night out — they feel safe.

Maggie Tang, who moved to the city from Sydney three years ago, is one such example. She believes Sydney could pick up a few tips from her adopted home.

“The major difference is the attitude of trust and freedom towards drinking in Berlin compared to Sydney,” she said.

“Although Berlin is more carefree, it never feels out of control. I think it might have something to do with the legal drinking age (16 in Germany), the openness towards licensing and trading hours and access to transport. Also the binge drinking culture — there is definitely far, far less of that in Berlin.”

Sydney’s lockout laws have become big international news of late and most of the Berliners I’ve spoken to find the restrictions utterly baffling. Franziska Dittrich, who was born in the German capital, described Sydney’s approach as “absolutely ridiculous” and said education was vital.

“Drinking is part of everyday life, but people usually don’t drink as much to get drunk,” she said. “It is much more important to teach people how to drink, like in schools. Show them the danger of it, rather than demonising it.”

She added that Berliners tend to be a little stubborn and that any attempt to change their drinking culture to a more controlled one would be rejected.

“If they tried to introduce something like those laws here, people would ignore it or find a way around it” she said. “For example the smoking ban didn’t work at all in Berlin.”

It seems that the authorities are happy with the situation as it is too. Berlin’s police force don’t even record whether alcohol is a factor in violent crimes

So could the Berlin approach work in Sydney or do Sydney drinkers need tighter legislation because it’s intrinsically a more violent and less safe city?

Numbeo, a website which provides extensive data on cities based on a peer review system doesn’t think Sydney is much more dangerous than Berlin at all. It puts Berlin’s overall ‘Safety Scale’ score (the closer to 100 the better) at 58.86 and Sydney’s at 58.26.

Really, the thing that seems to be stopping Sydney from following Berlin’s lead (aside from the laws) is the attitude of those few who are violent, or who become so when drunk. It’s an element of Australia’s drinking culture that’s proven tricky to change.

When it comes down to it, the main difference between the two is trust. Berlin trusts its citizens to look after themselves and others — and people respond well to it. The question is whether Sydney can do the same — and how its citizens will respond.


A good comment

I doubt that any reader of this site has any idea that I have a younger brother who is at least as conservative as I am.  He doesn't blog but he does occasionally post on Facebook.  I think his comment below deserves a wider audience.  The plebiscite he refers to is a forthcoming referendum on whether Australia should allow homosexual marriage

There is a fierce debate going on over marriage equality in response to an article by Fr Frank Brennnan on the Guardian web site. There are over 500 comments, over 90% supportive of marriage equality, but highly critical of the plebiscite. This is to be expected of a very Leftist publication and its supporters.

I don't really care one way or the other, but support the plebiscite. However I enjoy pointing out Leftist inconsistencies and posted up the following comment.

"I am very concerned about the feelings of our Muslim brothers. After all they believe homosexuality is a mortal sin, and certainly don't believe in same sex marriage. I'm sure they will be very offended, so doesn't that make marriage equality illegal under section 18C of the Anti- discrimination act!?"

It lasted an hour or so and elicited a couple of responses before the moderators took it down as being inconsistent with community values! LOL.  So the Guardian really has no time for debate and free speech, only the pursuit of leftist agendas


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, 2016

Australian conservative politician wants to combat adverse opinions about Muslims in Australia

Mr Laundy seems to be a rather low wattage intellect.  He has drunk the  Leftist Kool-Aid -- that less than 1% of Muslims in Western countries engage in terrorism and therefore Muslims are no problem.  Let me give a small analogy to that.  What say you were buying a new car and the salesman told you that this car could blow up and kill you but there is only a very small chance of that happening?  Would you buy that car when other, safer cars in the same price-range were available?  I doubt it.

And importing Muslims into Australia is similar to buying that car.  There are many other needy people we could bring into this country -- persecuted Middle-East Christians, for instance. So why not leave the Muslims to rot in the hellholes they and their ilk have created and bring in more compatible people, people who have NO record of blowing up religious unbelievers?

But surely it is unjust to judge a whole group of people by a few oddballs?  It is, in general.  But this is not about justice.  It is about prevention.  All those who come to us have found refuge somewhere else first.  Australia has no borders with the Middle East.  So let them stay there.  We have no obligation to take in people who just want a better standard of living. So there is no injustice in leaving them be.  And by leaving them be we prevent the attacks that a small minority of them will mount on us.

But attacks on us by a small minority are only a part of the problem.  The basic problem can be found by opening up a Koran and reading almost any page there -- something the entire Left refuses to do.  The Koran is a very hostile, hate-filled book.  It is full of instructions to kill or subjugate non-Muslims.  Start at Sura 9, for instance.  Islam preaches religious supremacism.  As Binyamin Netanyahu said rather wearily recently: We have just got rid of racial supremacism (Hitler) and now we have religious supremacism to deal with.

Just as most Christians don't do what the Bible tells them, most Muslims don't do what the Koran tells them.  To do so would be  difficult and risky.  But the underlying attitude taught in the Koran is still there.  And that matters. At its most basic, Christianity is a religion of kindness, whereas Islam is a religion of hate. There are equivalents in the Koran to the Golden Rule but those teachings apply to fellow Muslims only.  See here

As a result, Muslims are very arrogant towards non-Muslims.  They think they have the truth and we do not.  And that gives them feelings of superiority towards us and makes them at least uncaring about our wellbeing if not hostile to it.  Their religion tells them NOT to adapt or assimilate to our ways.  They want us to assimilate to their ways and are not backward in demanding that.

Why should we put up with such incompatible people?  Why should we invite into our country people who despise us?  It's insane. We should certainly not let any more into our country and should make it a demand on those who are already here that they change their religion or get out. Changing your religion is a common thing in our country.  Let Muslims adapt to that.  Many innocent Australians have died at the hands of Muslims -- mostly in Bali but also in Australia itself.  Let there be no more of that

New assistant minister for multiculturalism Craig Laundy says most inflammatory opinions about Islam and Muslims came from people who were "not well informed".

Malcolm Turnbull's new assistant minister for multiculturalism, Craig Laundy, has vowed to combat "wrong" public perceptions about Australia's Muslims.

Ethnic and religious leaders have reported increased tension in recent months amid the rise of Islamic State and calls from political leaders such as Tony Abbott for a "reformation" of Islam.

Mr Laundy, a former publican from Sydney's culturally diverse inner-west, said the vast majority of inflammatory opinions about Islam and Muslims came from people who were "not well informed" and their views were "wrong".

Although he acknowledged greater "tension" in the community following recent terrorist attacks, Mr Laundy said Australians should "come together in times of challenge, not fall apart".

"People that dive into this debate and say controversial things, I would argue, the vast majority are speaking from a position that is not well informed," Mr Laundy told ABC Radio.

"My job . is to enter the debate, knowing the background and the community, engaging and explaining to Australia the challenges that these communities actually face.

Mr Laundy said Australian Muslims were "not scared" about debating how their religious practices integrated with the Australian way of life, but the discussion should be "respectful" and "informed".

He said the story of Australian multiculturalism was new arrivals "rolling up their sleeves and having a go".

"That has never changed be it the Snowy Mountains workers (from Europe) after World War Two or be it the Hazara Afghanis that are working in local abattoirs around the country as we speak - very good boners, for example - they are here to give their families more opportunities than they had," he said.

"The humanitarian intake visa category is one of the most entrepreneurial classes of visa category we have. I see new arrivals start working for someone else and within six or 12 months they've started their own business."


Sexy conservative woman hated by feminists

Tamara has been involved in conservative politics in Australia for some time and has recently been active in U.S. politics too

A young woman who has been shamed online as a 'tax-payer funded call girl' has hit back at social media bullies by arguing not all women in politics need to fit into the 'pearl necklace and royal blue' stereotype.

PHD student, proud Liberal Party supporter and part-time model, Tamara 'Tammy' Candy, 27, from Sydney says her bullies will soon be able to call her 'Dr Candy' The Daily Telegraph reported.

'A lot of young women in politics think they need to emulate that stereotype to prove they are legitimate but I've always marched to the beat of my own drum'.

She says she isn't the typical 'pearl wearing' Liberal.  'I'm a true libertarian. We can't all be private school-educated Liberals,' she said.

The young woman who calls her self a 'righty' has shared 'selfies' on Instagram featuring ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Liberal MP Campbell Newman and 'shock-jock' Alan Jones - alongside revealing bikini shots.

Ms Candy has many revealing photographs on social media, including pictures of herself in revealing outfits at political functions.

She says she was speaking with disgraced MP Craig Thompson at an event one night when she was allegedly accused of 'wearing hooker boots' and once again, being a 'call girl' by a female Labor staffer.

She has recently been on the campaign trail in America

'It's really sexist stuff. These are people who are supposed to be pro-women from the Left,' she said.

Ms Candy is currently studying for her PHD at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government.

She has recently been working on Paul Rand's campaign trail in the United States, posting photos of her travels on Facebook.

'I would like to thank Senator Rand Paul for fighting the good fight. It was an honour to campaign for him and to make some new friends from his incredible team,' she posted as her work with the Republican's party finished.

During the campaign the young woman was photographed posing with a sign which read 'Obama the worst ever'.


Hypocrites in High Places

You know you’re getting old when you can remember a time when Canadians were funny on purpose. John Candy, Harold Ramis, Eugene Levy, the entire SCTV crew. Back then, Canadians invited the world to laugh with their nation, not at it.

How things have changed. These days, Canadians are still providing top-notch laughs, but, sadly, it’s usually at their own expense. Smart and savvy Canuckian commentators can do little else but sit back and gawk along with the rest of us at the train wreck that is present-day Canadian politics. There’s no need for me (or any similarly ugly American) to retread the territory covered so ably by sites like The Rebel and expats like Mark Steyn (wait, I mean “immigrants” like Mark Stein. It’s now genocidal racist white supremacy to call a white man an expat. Haven’t you heard?). However, I had a good belly laugh at Canada’s expense last week, and it might just involve a potato (Yukon Gold, I’d assume) that’s too hot even for some of Canada’s most politically incorrect pundits.

Apparently, Canada’s political and media bleeding-heart elites have their panties in a bunch over a new campaign by the Chinese government to round up and “bring home” Chinese dissidents who have sought refuge in other countries. Over the past few months, the Chinese have been putting pressure on foreign governments to deport dissidents who have been convicted in China (sometimes in absentia) of “crimes against the state,” which always translates to crimes involving speech.

Last month, two Chinese dissidents living in Thailand who had been granted safe haven in Canada were deported back to China by Thai officials. The dissidents, political cartoonist Jiang Yefei and anticorruption activist Dong Guangping, were whisked back to their homeland against the wishes of Canada’s new Liberal government, which had planned to resettle the two men and their families as government-sponsored refugees. Needless to say, Canadian officials are very worked up “aboot” this travesty. The gist of Canada’s beef is that China has no right to demand the return of dissidents whose crimes consist solely of speech.

Global Affairs Canada spokesperson François Lasalle told the Toronto Star that Ottawa has “serious concerns” regarding the “human rights” and “dignity” of the deported Chinese dissidents. Amnesty International Canada has condemned the fact that the Thais deported “peaceful critics” of Beijing. For its part, Thailand has repeatedly stated that Jiang and Dong were deported because of “immigration violations,” to which Ottawa has responded that “immigration violations” are not a legitimate reason to deport someone facing prosecution for “speech crimes.”

“That’s some nifty hypocrisy there, Canada, eh? ”
Canada’s government officials and self-righteous journalists are lucky that the rest of the world is too damn chickenshit to bring up the case of Ernst Zundel. Zundel is a Holocaust denier who was prosecuted throughout the 1980s by the Canadian government for the crime of publishing a pamphlet. After being convicted twice, and after having his conviction overturned twice, Zundel finally picked up and left for the U.S., joining his wife (an American citizen) in Tennessee.

In 2003, Zundel was scooped up by the U.S. feds for a supposed immigration violation. Deported back to Canada, Zundel, whose landed immigrant status had by then been revoked, was slapped with what the Canucks call a “security certificate.” Under Canadian law, a security certificate essentially means “We can do whatever the hell we want to you without charge or trial.” For two years, Zundel languished in a 6-by-8 cell, the lights always on, no hot food, no desk or table for writing, no charge, no trial.

I’ll remind you at this point that his initial “crime” was publishing a pamphlet denying the Holocaust. I’ve known Ernst Zundel for 25 years, and there’s no question the man’s loopy as hell. But that’s completely, one-hundred-percent beside the point. His crime was publishing a pamphlet containing dissident views. He was imprisoned for speech. Nothing should matter beyond that.

Even though Zundel hadn’t lived in Germany for 45 years, the Germans wanted him back to prosecute him under that country’s anti-Holocaust revisionism and denial laws. And how exactly do you prosecute a guy for breaking the laws of a nation in which he doesn’t live? Germany’s fascinating legal theory was that since the content Zundel legally posted on his website while in the U.S. was “brought” into Germany by the Internet, he therefore violated Germany’s speech prohibitions no less than if he’d physically entered the country to give a speech.

As Zundel was wasting away in his Toronto cell, an interesting development occurred back in Knoxville, where District Court Senior Judge James Jarvis, ruling on the legality of Zundel’s deportation from the U.S., came to the troubling conclusion that although he had serious problems with the way the feds treated Zundel, there was little he could do now that Zundel was in Canada.

Little, that is, except politely ask the Canadians to allow Zundel to have a fair hearing. Addressing the Canadian authorities directly, Jarvis stated, “[Zundel’s] wife, she’s a citizen, and she has rights, and she’s hurt by this. Surely, the Canadian courts will listen to her as a United States citizen, perhaps give her some relief.”

In the words of Knoxville News Sentinel reporter Jamie Satterfield, “Judge Jarvis found himself in a troubling position. He wanted to help but could not.”

So here was awesome humanitarian Canada, holding a man whose deportation was being demanded by a country (Germany) that wanted to prosecute him for his dissident beliefs, while meanwhile, a judge in another country (the U.S.) was appealing to Canadian authorities to rethink their course of action. Canadian officials had a choice: listen to Judge Jarvis’ reasonable plea, or bow to Germany’s ironfisted demand. And what did the Canadians do? Take a guess. Ottawa ordered Zundel shipped to Germany to be imprisoned for his Holocaust views—views that had been posted online legally, in the U.S., while he was a U.S. resident. Zundel ended up serving five years in Germany, in addition to the two he’d already spent in his Toronto cell.

And now the Canadians have the hypocrisy to raise global holy hell over the fact that the Thais deported two dissidents on supposed immigration violations to a country that plans to imprison them for their political views. All of a sudden, the people who held Zundel in a 6-by-8 cell for two years with no charge or trial, the people who decreed that he should eat only cold food, sleep with bright lights on, shower under supervision, and go to the bathroom in front of guards, the people who sent Zundel to a foreign nation to rot in prison for violating speech laws in absentia, are now concerned about the “dignity” of dissidents and the “right” of Chinese expats to escape punishment for violating anti-free-speech laws in their homeland.

That’s some nifty hypocrisy there, Canada, eh?


We’re all mental patients now

The British government wants you to think you’re mentally ill. You aren’t

I’m starting to think I’m the only person in Britain who isn’t suffering from mental illness. You can’t so much as peruse social media or skim-read a newspaper these days without being confronted by personal confessions of mental ill-health or scary-sounding reports about how many people are falling victim to some kind of mind turmoil. ‘British mental health is worse than ever’, said a headline this week. Apparently even the ‘one in four’ figure that’s been bandied about for years — ie, one in four Brits has a mental-health problem — is no longer accurate. Today it’s remarkable that ‘anyone [can] enjoy mental health’, given we live in an era of ‘high stress’, says a writer for the Independent. So it’s got to the point where those of us who enjoy mental health are seen as the weirdos. I’m not mentally ill — what is wrong with me?

We’re all mental patients now. Or at least that is what some in officialdom seem to want us to believe. The political class’s interest in the issue of mental health has exploded in recent months. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has created the position of shadow minister for mental health. The future queen, the Duchess of Cambridge, this week guest-edited the Huffington Post to raise awareness about an alleged epidemic of mental-health problems among children. Parents must get better at ‘admitting when our children need emotional or psychiatric help’, she decreed. Also this week, NHS England launched its Stalinist-sounding ‘Five-Year Forward View for Mental Health’, which offers a ‘brave new vision’ — authoritarian, much? — for expanding mental-health services to cover more of the population.

Prime minister David Cameron is also mad about promoting mental health. Last month he promised a ‘revolution in mental-health treatment’. (Remember when revolutions where about people seizing power, not being treated as mental patients by those in power?) He’s pumping a billion pounds into services for new mums, teens, children and basically everyone who is at risk of ‘poor mental health’. The PM’s main aim, like Duchess Kate’s, is to ‘take on the taboo of poor mental health’ and ensure that everyone stops ‘sweeping mental-health issues under the carpet’.

Taboo? What? This is a claim often made by the new warriors for mental health: that for too long people have been afraid to talk about being emotionally off. In which case why can’t you swing a tote bag in a bookshop without hitting 20 books about ‘My Struggle with Bipolar’? Why has virtually every broadsheet in Britain at some point published an eating-disorder column? (I’ve always thought that nothing gives away the middle-classness of the British press more than its morbid fascination with that most middle-class malaise: self-starvation.)

Why is every celeb, from highbrow Stephen Fry to lowbrow Kerry Katona, forever on TV telling us about their mental illness, and by extension ours? Far from being taboo, talking about mental illness, being mentally ill, is highly fashionable. People actively seek out a diagnosis of mental sickness. As one doctor told the BBC a few years ago, patients plead with her to be described as mentally ill, with bipolar disorder being an especially ‘desirable diagnosis’. ‘A diagnosis of bipolar disorder might… reflect a person’s aspiration for higher social status’, she said.

What is going on? Why is it now seen as desirable to be mentally ill? Why is every wing of officialdom, from the monarchy to the health service, so keen to have us think of ourselves as mad? You don’t have to be unsympathetic to those with genuine mental-health problems — a small minority — to be deeply sceptical of this top-down effort to spread ‘mental health’.

To my mind, it speaks to today’s therapeutic shift, to the cynical transformation of people from citizens into patients, from autonomous adults to be engaged with at the level of ideas and policy to mind-screwed, hapless creatures to be sympathised with and cared for. It’s an alarmingly disempowering dynamic, reimagining the public as bereft of robustness and in dire need of mind-massaging from on high. How apt that NHS England’s five-year plan for mental health should describe itself as a ‘brave new vision’, for a key theme of Huxley’s Brave New World is the drugging of the presumed-to-be unwell populace in order to subdue their ‘malice and bad tempers’.

There are two reasons we should reject this warped campaign to make us think we’re mental. The first is that it is shot through with BS statistics. One in four people suffer from mental ill-health? Only because the definition of mental ill-health has been insanely expanded in recent years. It now covers not only serious mental problems like schizophrenia or depression, but also anxiety (we all have that at some point, right?), mood swings (every day, mate), and, among children, something called ‘conduct disorder’. What child doesn’t at some point suffer from ‘conduct disorder’? In broadening the definition of mental ill-health, the authorities falsely brand more of us mentally unstable, while also diverting much-needed resources from those few who do have serious mind problems.

The second reason we should wriggle free from the straitjacket of an elitist diagnosis of mental ill-health is because of the reason officialdom is doing all this: to refashion its relationship with us; to engage with the public at the level of psychic comfort where it can no longer engage with us at the level of ideas or belief. The desire of the authorities to include more people in their mental-health remit is extraordinary. NHS England wants ‘one million extra people to be provided with support for their mental-health problems by 2020’.

This is not a necessary health drive; it is the latest manifestation of the therapeutic march, where in these post-political, post-vision times the public sphere is remade as a health zone in which our role is to be unwell and needy and our rulers assume the role of ostentatiously offering us talking therapy. It is demeaning, hollowing out the substance of citizenship, and it is authoritarian, inviting officials into the realm of the mind.

It is tragic that those who think of themselves as progressive are at the forefront of demanding more governmental funding of this ‘brave new vision’ of treating the populace as mentally ill. They are conspiring in the moral and mental disarming of the citizenry by a state that has little to offer us in the way of politics and prefers us to be sad-eyed and unstable rather than robust and demanding.

The state wants you to think you’re mentally ill. But you aren’t. You’re probably just unhappy sometimes, and maybe angry. These are normal and even good emotions. Don’t let officials pathologise your ‘malice and bad tempers’; use your malice and bad tempers against these officials who want you on a couch crying rather than in the streets shouting.



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, 2016

Cardinal George Pell strolls around the Vatican with a friend after denying child sex abuse claims - but is 'too ill' to fly to Australia to answer questions

So there's no difference between a stroll in the morning sunshine and an airline trip from Europe to Australia?  That is what the writer below seems to believe. It's just yellow journalism.

I know nothing of his health but His Eminence is two years older than I am and I no longer fly -- so I can well imagine that he has real health reasons  for his wish to be interviewed by video only

And that he may have other reasons for that I do not dismiss.  As a strong and prominent conservative  -- he even mocks global warming -- he has been much hated by the Australian Left for some years, and he might well fear that evidence presented in an Australian courtroom might be fabricated to incriminate him.  That would be harder in the Vatican. 

False sexual abuse claims have produced huge uproar in Britain recently -- to the great detriment of many innocent men.  London's top cop has recently apologized for one such case.  I have no doubt that His Eminence would be aware of those cases

As police consider travelling to Rome to question Cardinal George Pell over child sex abuse allegations, Australia's top Catholic has been seen strolling along the streets in the early spring sunshine.

Cardinal Pell, 74, dropped into his local café with a friend on Saturday afternoon, the day after explosive revelations that he is the subject of a year-long investigation by Victoria Police for the alleged sexual abuse of up to ten minors from 1978 to 2001.

Just a stone’s throw from St Peter’s Basilica, the Pope's special Jubilee Saturday Mass could be heard from Cardinal Pell’s luxurious apartment block.

Set aside for the Pope’s inner circle, Cardinal Pell's apartment sits on a piazza lined with cafés, souvenir shops and heavy security – Italian police armed with pistols and soldiers with assault rifles patrol the block and intermingle with tourists, padres and nuns alike.

Cardinal Pell’s offices, where he works as a top aid to Pope Frances as Secretariat for the economy reforming The Vatican’s finances, are just a short walk around the corner – and are under 24-hour guard by the city state’s Swiss Armed Guards.

It was revealed last year that the Cardinal spent $5100-a-month on rent for an office and apartment, including $87,000 on new furniture, in a leak to Italy’s L’Espresso newspaper.

But while The Vatican expenses scandal is still the talk of the town in Rome, Cardinal Pell has more explosive allegations made against him back in Australia.

Police want to fly to Vatican City to interview Cardinal George Pell who allegedly sexually abused up to 10 minors between 1978 and 2001, it has been reported.

Ballarat Survivors Group and Care Leavers Australasis Network are also calling for police to take their allegations to Pell.

The Cardinal was seen briskly striding from his offices to his apartment with a small suitcase in tow just hours after the Herald Sun reported the leak on Friday.

However Cardinal Pell vehemently denies the allegations.

A two-page medical report was handed up to support the application that a flight to Australia from Rome, where Cardinal Pell oversees the Vatican's finances, could pose a serious risk to his health.

The details of his health condition have not been released.


I Used to Be Transgender. Here’s My Take on Kids Who Think They Are Transgender

When a 9-year-old boy who identifies as Stormi, a transgender girl, started selling Girl Scout cookies, one neighbor was not amused, according to Buzzfeed.

The neighbor rebuffed him, reportedly saying, “Nobody wants to buy Girl Scout cookies from a boy in a dress.”

The neighbor is being called transphobic—but perhaps the neighbor thought he was being pranked by a boy and reacted accordingly. Not everyone assumes that a boy in a dress selling Girl Scout cookies is transgender.

Stormi looked like a boy to the neighbor because he really is a boy. Transgender people may deceive themselves, but they do not deceive others.

Life in society is not some fantasy world where a boy should pretend he has magically transformed himself into a girl simply by uttering the words “I am a girl” and changing how he presents himself.

The people who strongly object to the honest reaction from a man saying, “Nobody wants to buy Girl Scout cookies from a boy in a dress” are perhaps gender-phobic, rejecting and ridiculing the reality of male and female genders.

    While studying psychology in a university program I discovered that trans-kids most often are suffering from a variety of disorders, starting with depression—the result of personal loss, broken families, sexual abuse, and unstable homes.

The people who encourage very young kids to act out, switch genders, and live a life of pretend need to understand that Stormi could be suffering from a dissociative disorder, just as happened with me. My feelings of not wanting to be a boy started in early childhood as result of cross-dressing at the hands of my grandma.

Stormi could be in need of psychotherapy, not a dress.

Caregivers all too often collaborate with a mental disorder instead of treating it. Telling a psychologically troubled boy he has changed genders is not compassion, but can become reckless parenting. By withholding psychotherapy, parents could be abusing the kid.

My Transgender Story

Living in a self-made gender fantasy world void of reality is not psychologically or emotionally healthy.

I know that to be true. I was transgender kid at the age of 4. For decades, as I tried to live in my male birth gender, the feelings of being a woman only grew stronger.

I sought help from a renowned gender specialist who told me that mine was a clear-cut case of gender dysphoria—strong, persistent feelings of identification with the opposite gender and discomfort with one’s own assigned sex. He said the only way to get relief was to surgically change genders.

I underwent gender reassignment surgery at 42 years of age after cross-dressing for most of my life.

I lived as a transgender, Laura Jensen, female, for eight years. While studying psychology in a university program, I discovered that trans kids most often are suffering from a variety of disorders, starting with depression—the result of personal loss, broken families, sexual abuse, and unstable homes. Deep depression leads kids to want to be someone other than who they are.

That information sure resonated with me.

Finally, I had discovered the madness of the transgender life. It is a fabrication born of mental disorders.

I only wish that when I went to the gender counselor for help he would have told me I couldn’t really change genders, that it is biologically impossible. Instead, he approved me for gender reassignment surgery, a surgery that, if I had been provided proper psychotherapy, would never have been necessary or appropriate.

The Role Trauma and Psychological Disorders Can Play

The transgender life is often the direct result of early childhood difficulty or trauma. Assisting a young child into the fabricated ideology of a transgender life is not helping the child sort out what is real and what is fiction.

The likelihood that the child known as Stormi is suffering from separation anxiety or some other psychological disorder cannot be ignored. Stormi is living in a foster home. While it may be safe and necessary, foster care is intended to separate the child from the birth parent. This can lead to psychological disorders like separation anxiety disorder.

Separation anxiety occurs as the result of loss or separation from the birth parent. Disruption in a child’s home environment can lead to stress, depression, and anxiety. Living in a foster home even under the best conditions can be stressful to a young person.

Separation anxiety disorder and other psychological disorders can masquerade as gender dysphoria, leading caregivers and medical practitioners to misdiagnose and not provide proper or effective psychotherapies.

Stormi’s life will evolve as maturity unfolds. Most likely in 15 or 20 years, reality will set in that he really never changed genders. This is often a turning point where the trans life is not looking as good as it once did.

Thankfully, like me, many transgender persons return to the gender they once shed. Slowly they restore the life that was lost.

The three men who came up with the idea of changing boys into girls and making transgenders, Alfred Kinsey, Harry Benjamin, and John Money, were pedophilia advocates. (For more of the history, see “Sex Change” Surgery: What Bruce Jenner, Diane Sawyer, and You Should Know.)

The neighbor man was correct about one thing: The Girl Scout at his door was really a boy in a dress—just like I was as a young boy who thought I was a girl.


Stop swearing like a trooper, Sgt Major! British Army orders instructors to tone down their 'orrible language

What utter nonsense!  If recruits can't handle harsh language they are not fit for the army

Being on the receiving end of a tirade of expletives by a furious Sergeant Major may soon be a thing of the past because the army fears the language will be 'offputting' to delicate young ears

Being on the receiving end of a tirade of expletives by a furious Sergeant Major may soon be a thing of the past because the army fears the language will be 'offputting' to delicate young ears

IT’S an uncomfortable rite of passage that generations of Army recruits have endured.

But being on the receiving end of a tirade of expletives by a furious Sergeant Major may soon be a thing of the past.

Army instructors have been ordered to tone down their language when drilling discipline into their rookies for fear of it being ‘offputting’ to delicate young ears.

Top brass ordered the clampdown after a fly-on-the-wall BBC documentary exposed the full force of the fury.

The Civilians To Soldiers film showed one Corporal unleash the F-word four times in a matter of seconds after teenagers undergoing basic training failed to clean their rooms and prepare for a map-reading test.

Their instructor, a Corporal Thompson, screamed: ‘Seriously, I ask you to do one f****** thing, it was to do that f****** list on the board which I had the kindness to write down for you lot. Well that didn’t work. Right now, you lot have got me f****** raging! Mr f****** Nice Guy is not coming back!’

But one senior officer told The Mail on Sunday such a tirade was unwarranted. ‘School-leavers today just aren’t used to being spoken to in this manner,’ he said.

‘To many of them it is off-putting to have F-words bellowed at them. We must address this matter if we want to improve recruitment of young people.’

However, Colonel Chris Kemp, who led UK troops in Afghanistan, disagreed that any change was needed. He said: ‘Swearing is part of the Army’s language, always has been, and always will be.’

Although the Ministry of Defence has denied that any policy changes have been made, The Mail on Sunday understands that instructors have been told informally to mind their language.

In one scene in the film, made for the BBC’s Newsbeat website, a Corporal screamed at recruits on a three-mile march: ‘Stop feeling sorry for yourselves, and get up this f****** hill right now!’

In another, a female Corporal yelled at a badly dressed trainee: ‘Sort your f****** beret out, it’s doing my nut in.’

In an interview to camera, Cpl Thompson explains his outburst, saying: ‘The drama is that I am asking them to do simple things… They’re choosing not to do that, and to spend their whole time down the NAAFI [social club] eating pizza and watching films.’

Last night, Col Kemp attacked any attempt to curb the Army’s Sergeant Majors, whose legendary bluntness has long been a staple of films and comedy shows such as It Ain’t Half Hot Mum.

He said: ‘Swearing to add emphasis or make an important point is fine, so long as instructors are not personally abusive towards recruits. The guidelines that cover the instructors’ conduct are good enough.

‘What you don’t see in a TV documentary is the hundreds of hours the instructors spend helping recruits reach the required standards.’

Most of the recruits featured in Civilians To Soldiers are understood to have passed the 14-week Army entry course. They also earn praise from Cpl Thompson for becoming more disciplined and improving their soldiering skills.

Under Army regulations, instructors are supposed to ensure their language is never ‘excessively foul, profane or abusive’ when they are teaching recruits, but swearing is not banned.

The MoD said: ‘It is a long-held policy that the Army does not condone the use of abusive or insulting language towards recruits.’


There was a time when journalists backed free speech

Chris Uhlmann writes from Australia.  The tweet he refers to is here

It was a liberating experience. In a morning moment of madness I had decided to tweet into the maelstrom of media rage created by former prime minister Tony Abbott's decision to fly to the US to address the Alliance Defending Freedom.

It had been prompted by an interview where an American tolerance commissar opined it was appalling, in a democracy, that people opposed to abortion and gay marriage were allowed to air their toxic views.

This progressive truth was so self-evident it went unremarked by the interviewer.

My clear intent was neither to defend Abbott's world view nor his decision to speak to a cabal of "reactionary" Christians on the hand-grenade topic "the importance of the family". It was simply to say: "Once upon a time journalists believed in free speech ."

It seemed an unremarkable intervention. It wasn't surprising that there was a social media storm in the Twitter teacup because its obsessives are always stewing over something. But that defending free speech could be cast as a crime against tolerance screams something very disturbing about our times.

That some who lit torches with the mob were journalists says a lot about the state of the media. These reporters have appointed themselves the prefects of progressive verities. That is disturbing because when journalists parade as pointers to moral true North then check your bearings, we have drifted badly off course. Yet I had naively hoped that free speech was one of the few things on which journalists in a democracy could agree: neutral ground in the culture wars. I had long feared this was not the case and so it proved.

And that was liberating: a Damascene moment of self-discovery. I had become a radical by standing still. For in an age where being a revolutionary is traditional, then being traditional is revolutionary.

There was another insight. We had reached a historic inflection point. Nearly 90 years after Antonio Gramsci began writing his letters from Benito Mussolini's prison, Marxism's long march through Western institutions was reaching its end.

From his cell Gramsci wrestled with why workers in the West weren't rising up to cast out the ruling class, as Marx predicted they would.  Gramsci pitied them because, he deduced, they were victims of false consciousness.  They had been brainwashed by a vast array of religious, intellectual and cultural institutions into believing their interests and the state's coalesced.

"The state is the entire complex of practical and theoretical activities with which the ruling class not only justifies and maintains its dominance but manages to win the active consent of those over whom it rules," he wrote.

It seems never to have occurred to Gramsci that the workers recognised Marxism for what it was: a prescription for a tyranny so profound it sought to colonise people's minds.

But if the people wouldn't buy a bad idea, there was one eager market: Europe's intellectuals. Gramsci proposed they begin a grinding "war of position" to take the commanding heights of the bureaucracy, universities and the media. Once there they would scrub the landscape clean of Western values.

"Cultural policy will above all be negative, a critique of the past; it will be aimed at erasing from the memory and at destroying," he wrote.

As social projects go, this wasteland was a tough sell, but neo-Marxists are nothing if not dogged. They built critical theory as a vehicle for change and began the deconstruction of the West.

Frankfurt School academics fleeing Adolf Hitler's Germany transmitted the intellectual virus to the US and set about systematically destroying the culture of the society that gave them sanctuary.

America's freedom of speech was its achilles heel. Critical theorists were given university pulpits and a constitutionally ordained right to preach, grinding its foundation stones to dust. Since 1933 they have been hellbent on destroying the village to save it.

When Herbert Marcuse wrote Repressive Tolerance 50 years ago, the hope that his ideas would become mainstream was a distant dream. But, if they did, he had developed a plan for reversing the polarity of freedom.

Marcuse cautioned his disciples not to be so foolish as to afford the courtesy of free speech to their opponents.  "Certain things cannot be said, certain ideas cannot be expressed, certain policies cannot be proposed, certain behaviour cannot be permitted without making tolerance an instrument for the continuation of servitude," he wrote.

Tolerance is the totem of our age, a bumper sticker of virtue. Yet hidden in its many meanings is the doublespeak of defining what will be taboo. It is now considered tolerant to demand silence from nonconformists.

When the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission says the Catholic Church has a case to answer for robustly defending its views on marriage and the family, then we have seen a glimpse of the Marcusian future. And it is just one gust of the gale buffeting a society hollowed out by its intellectuals.

I hoped to remain indifferent to the inevitable change in marriage laws. But that will be impossible if those who cast themselves as oppressed seek to become oppres-sors. If offending the new ruling hegemony is prohibited then I stand with the right of the minority to disagree.

Stripped of their fashionable clothes, what's striking about the tolerance police is how similar these new moralists are to the old. They pursue heretics with an inquisitor's zeal, blinded by the righteousness of their cause.

In A Man for All Seasons Thomas More's son-in-law William Roper declared he would knock down every law in England to get at the devil.

"Oh?" More says "And when the last law was down and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat . I'd give the Devil the benefit of the law, for my own safety's sake."



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

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

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


21 February, 2016

RRip! It takes a woman to rip another woman to pieces

Feminism on display:  A woman rises to prominence in Australia and feminist academic lawyer Skye Saunders sneeringly responds (below).  She is on a slow burn below about a conservative woman calling herself a "girl".  Feminists hated Margaret Thatcher and Fiona Nash seems to be next in line.  If feminists were primarily interested in empowering women you would think that a woman rising to power would be celebrated.  That it is not shows that Feminists are Leftists first.  Hate is what drives them

"Fiona Nash blazes trail for Nats women," declared the headlines this week.

The embodiment of authentic practicality and fortitude, the newly appointed Nationals deputy leader addressed the media with unwavering confidence. Flanked by a border of supportive crisp shirts and ties, the first woman in Australian history to hold a leadership position in the Nationals affirmed that it was an exciting time for regional -Australia.

But there was a subtle moment during Thursday night's media conference that signified a further ripeness for change.

It happened when Nash was asked: "How will this be a different leadership?" Her response, infused with a tinkly laugh, was: "Probably one of the most obvious differences - I'm a girl."

I am a girl.

A common colloquial term for describing a female adult, playing on enchantment of youth and fresh vulnerability.

Glorious female friendships adopt the term girl to signal so many events of the heart - -indeed, doing anything "with the girls" invokes familiarity and fun. A "coffee with the girls" can be soul food.

But the context in which the term is used is so important.

"I am a girl" is a sentence that trembles under the weight of all that it signifies for women.

Anne Summers reminds that women have gradually acquired a "kind of gut knowledge" that they are outsiders.

To be a girl is not to be a man. Literally, in fact, to be a girl is not even to be a woman.

When a woman refers to herself as a girl, she paints herself as doubly vulnerable.

In some contexts - such as between friends - to give of certain vulnerability is a precious human gift. But in the public moment that the deputy leader of the nationals (elect) referred to herself as a girl, she identified as a junior form of a woman - and the subconscious shift in the conference dynamic was immediate.

Nestled between the six or seven men, there was the girl.

It has been said that women who work in male-saturated -environments are essentially "damned if they do, and damned if they don't". That is, they are damned if they don't impress as being as "good as the men", but they must not threaten the social order by becoming too far removed from the stereotypical feminine persona.

Consciously or not, Nash disarmed any threat to the traditional gender order on Thursday night by choosing a word to describe her status as a National leader that simply did not do her justice - a girl.

Inherent in her response was a familiar echo of the disarming way that women must carry themselves in traditionally male rural spaces, using gender as a tool to express suitable humility and self-deprecation.

More than 15 years ago in The Real Matilda, Miriam Dixson showed that as a dominant social group, men generally had been able to get women to conform to the most convenient definitions of their essential character.

It's time that we as women become serious about changing the dialogue. The deputy leader of the Nationals (elect) is now in a position to identify publicly as an esteemed politician and effective leader of our country.

In doing so, she will exemplify the natural confidence and dignity that we must foster in all Australian women, and particularly those in the male-dominated rural sphere. It truly is time to shine.


Why Apple’s Tim Cook shouldn’t crack the iPhone for the FBI

If the present administrtion were law-abiding and respectful of everybody's rights, maybe they could be trusted.  But they are not

America is in a populist frame of mind this election year, making it a lousy time to root for Apple Inc.’s chief executive, Tim Cook. He’s a millionaire a few hundred times over, a Silicon Valley liberal whose company has parked about $200 billion in profits outside the United States to avoid paying taxes on them. In short, Cook’s the sort of guy that Republicans and Democrats alike can merrily despise.

Worse yet, Cook is the sort of guy who says no to the FBI, as it investigates last year’s brutal terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif. His refusal to allow investigators to look at the data locked in the cellphone of a terrorist could undermine the security of Apple’s flagship product, the iPhone, but it also could deprive the FBI of vital evidence.
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It’s the latest in a series of showdowns between the feds and the tech industry over when and how the government should get access to data we don’t want anyone to see. By taking a stand now, when it hurts, Cook could go a long way toward protecting Americans’ privacy for a long time to come.

On Tuesday, a federal magistrate judge in California ordered Apple to help the FBI break into an iPhone 5C used by Syed Rizwan Farook, who along with his wife murdered 14 people in San Bernardino in December. The massacre was reminiscent of the far bloodier November 2015 Paris rampage, carried out by supporters of the radical group Islamic State. But so far, there’s no evidence of a connection to the Islamic State or any other terrorist group.

Still, the FBI wants to make sure by reviewing passcode-protected data locked in Farook’s iPhone. Investigators might find e-mails, photos, maps — a horde of documents that might reveal direct links to other bad guys, here or abroad.

The iPhone 5C, released in 2013, originally featured a version of Apple’s iOS operating system that was relatively easy to hack. But since 2014, Apple has released two upgrades, iOS 8 and iOS9. These programs encrypt all data stored on the phone and on newer models, using a system so tough it’s supposed to be unbreakable — even by Apple itself.

The second piece of Apple’s security is the passcode. The operating system has a feature that limits the number of incorrect numerical codes that can be entered. Punch five incorrect codes into your iPhone, and you’ll have to wait one minute before trying again. As an even tougher option, users can set a self-destruct feature. At 10 misses, all files are deleted. (The FBI has no way of knowing whether Farook turned on this option.)

In October, in response to a similar demand filed by FBI agents in a New York drug investigation, Apple said that it couldn’t possibly comply. “For devices running iOS 8 or higher, Apple would not have the technical ability to do what the government requests,” according to a document filed by Apple’s legal team.

The California court order suggests this wasn’t quite true, or that the government has recently uncovered a weak spot in the iPhone’s defenses. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym’s order indicates that she believes Apple can crack its own phones, and it lays out a plan of attack.

Pym wants Apple to create a customized version of its operating system, designed to run on Farook’s phone and no other. This software will be somehow injected into the phone without interfering with any other data stored on it. It will then deactivate the feature that limits the number of incorrect passwords that can be entered.

The judge also wants Apple to add software that lets the FBI rapidly feed multiple passwords into the phone. Apple would retain a fig leaf of credibility, because the company wouldn’t actually crack the iPhone’s encryption, which scrambles data so that it can’t be read by hackers. Instead, it would lower the phone’s passcode defense, so the FBI could launch a “brute force” attack — trying millions of possible passwords until something clicks.

In an open letter published on Apple’s website Wednesday, vowing to appeal the court order, Cook never denies that Apple is capable of doing what the court demands; he merely warns that such a program is “something we consider too dangerous to create.”

And Cook is right.

Does anybody believe that this tool will be used just this once? The USA Patriot Act, created to fight terrorism, was deployed against all manner of common criminals. Create an iPhone hacking tool, and every police force in America will want a copy. Why would any judge refuse?

For years, US technology companies have resisted demands from thuggish nations like China that want backdoor access to their products, so they can spy on subversive citizens. If companies give in over here, expect similar pressure from over there.

If Pym’s order stands, every US tech company is one court order away from sacrificing its customers’ privacy. American firms could lose billions in sales as consumers worldwide seek out alternative products from companies that US courts can’t touch. The popular secret-message program Telegram, for example, comes from Germany; the file encryption software maker Silent Circle is based in Switzerland. Good luck with those subpoenas.

The files on Farook’s phone may or may not contain valuable evidence. But the phone has already told investigators who Farook called and when, as well as the Internet sites he visited. That data, which could identify other terrorists, is on file, unencrypted, at the phone company, available to any police officer with a court order.

The Apple-FBI clash looks like the biggest pitched battle yet in a decades-old conflict between tech innovators and police. In the 1990s, the Clinton administration tried to outlaw encryption altogether, giving up only when it saw that such a ban wasn’t enforceable. More recently, the FBI has begged Congress for laws requiring “back doors” in encryption software, to let the agency monitor suspicious communications that would otherwise be indecipherable.

But the techies rightly reply that back doors swing both ways. They’re open to police, but also to vandals, criminals, even terrorists. A court order forcing Apple to crack open its system would make iPhones less secure. And legally, it could set a precedent from which our digital privacy may never fully recover.

So much for populism. This time, I’m rooting for the rich guy.


Major Swedish Newspaper Demands Facebook Censor ‘Offensive’ Posts

Sweden’s second largest newspaper – Dagens Nyheter – has claimed that Facebook must address concerns about sexist, homophobic and xenophobic content, and that the social media site must actively work to censor comments from users that fall under the broad rubric of “hate speech”.

According to the paper’s cultural affairs journalist Bjorn Wiman: “The large network company’s refusal to publicly respond to questions about these guidelines – and our acceptance of this silence – is one of the greatest scandals,” he wrote in an editorial for the newspapers website DN.se.

“Facebook and other big network companies still have the ability to clean up in this quagmire of sexism, racism and serious threats of violence. That they do not is incomprehensible,”  he continues while simultaneously talking about how Sweden has had freedom of the press for 250 years enshrined into law, decades before the American first amendment that guarantees free speech and freedom of the press.

“The events in Stockholm a few weeks ago, when a lynch mob pulled through the city in search of people with “foreign” appearance, shows what it looks like when internet hate is stepping out into the street,” he claims in response to native Swedes who patrolled the Stockholm train station, which by witness accounts has transformed into a centre for migrants who sexually harass women and young girls and often get into violent encounters with young Swedish men and even police.

Facebook, he laments, has become a haven for people to express views that are contrary to popular opinion. He describes threats of sexual assault, threats of violence, and even murder. Mr. Wiman says that anyone who reports harassment of a sexual or violent nature is simply ignored by Facebook even though it clearly violates the Facebook terms of service (TOS). Wiman makes no specific examples of harassment either to himself or anyone in particular however.

His views represent a growing crowd of European left wing, pro migrant journalists who want to curb free speech in the name of political correctness by claiming harassment by users online. German journalist Dunja Hayali, also a fiercely pro migrant reporter, accused Facebook users of harassment and a German judge threatened her critics with a €250,000 fine if they continued to comment on her Facebook page.

The Swedes are also pressing for more censorship of the press who report on uncomfortable stories relating to the migrant crisis. The case of the young woman who was murdered at an asylum home by an underage migrant who turned out to be an adult, was allegedly censored by Swedish government officials who asked the Daily Mail to block access to their reporting on the story to internet users originating in Sweden.

Even police in Sweden are slowly admitting a culture of silence and of censorship when it comes to reporting migrant crimes like sex mobs who molested girls without consequence at a music festival last year.


More black racism

Last week, Christopher Marquez, a highly decorated, former Marine was brutally attacked at a McDonalds in Washington, D.C, by advocates of the black lives matter movement.

    "They saw me and crowded around ... and they started asking me if I believed black lives matter,” Marquez told the paper. “I was ignoring them, then they started calling me racist."

    At that point, Marquez said he left the McDonald's, but was knocked unconscious by a blow to his head. When he came to, his pants were ripped and his wallet, which contained $400 in cash, three credit cards and VA medical card among other items, was missing.

    Marquez served in the Marine Corps from 2003 to 2011. He was awarded the Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device for valor during the battle for Fallujah, Iraq, in November 2004. Marquez is one of two Marines depicted carrying then-1st Sgt. Bradley Kasal out of the so-called "Hell House" in a famous photograph.

    "I believe this was a hate crime and I was targeted because of my skin color,” Marquez, who is Hispanic, told the Daily Caller.

    “Too many of these types of attacks have been happening against white people by members of the black community and the majority of the main stream media refuses to report on it."

It is certainly unfathomable how someone could attack an American hero who put his life on the line, without hesitation, to uphold American principles and values. The war should be over for Marquez, but now he must face another battle against a confused, racist enemy. This is an unspeakable tragedy.



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, 2016

British TV personality says he's been cleared of latest sex assault allegations - but claims his life has been ruined

Another case showing why the identity of an accused person should not be made known unless and until they are convicted of an offence

Mr Leslie, whose life was all but destroyed by two similar allegations in 2003 and 2004, for which he was never convicted, is now campaigning for anonymity for those accused until they are convicted.

He said: 'This has been thrown out, but it might still be difficult for me to pick up the pieces and resume my career, but my accuser will retain her anonymity. It's a tragedy for me,' reports Marcello Mega for the Sunday Mirror.

Mr Leslie added: 'While I am glad to be cleared I have served a hefty punishment for a that never was. The damage to my parents and to me is incalculable.'

The former This Morning presenter described his accuser as a friend and explained how it was her who asked if she could go home with him.

Mr Leslie, who once dated Catherine Zeta-Jones, said he had spent his last few pounds on a bottle of champagne for them both, and she had paid for their taxi home, where they had sexual contact, he admits.

In a detailed account he gave to his solicitors, he said that they fooled around, she kissed him softly, and she even remarked on how comfy his bed was after the awards night at Usher Hall on November 19.

Mr Leslie, who first thought she was out of his league, says they even embraced and kissed as she left, she put her number in his phone and he said he hoped he would see her again.

When he was told to go home when he arrived at work the next day, because of 'a complaint', he assumed he may have made a bad joke that offended someone at the office.

He then explained how he was later dragged out of bed by police officers, put in handcuffs and taken to the police station, where he as held for ten hours.

The former presenter said his mother had been 'in pieces' throughout the whole ordeal, and the first thing he did when he was told the charges were dropped was to drive to his parents' their home and tell them it was over.

Mr Leslie says that he has been told to pick his possessions up from the police station tomorrow and that he expects to receive official paperwork later this week.

His solicitor Mark Harrower had spoken to the taxi driver who took them home, he said, and he had testified to the fact that she seemed compos mentis.

Another taxi diver, who picked her up in the morning, also told him that she did not seem at all distressed.

But he believes he was stupid to let his guard down after being rocked by similar allegations in the 2005 that wrecked the TV career in which he once earned £350,000 a year as the presenter of This Morning.

Mr Leslie, who made his name presenting Blue Peter, was 'outed' as the alleged rapist of Ulrika Jonsson in 2003, but was never charged.

The next year, he was accused of sexually assaulting a 23-year-old, but walked free from Southwark Crown Court, London, after the Crown Prosecution dropped the case.

But five years later he faced fresh accusations of rape. This time his accuser claimed to have been attacked in 1995 when she was in her early 20s. In the end, the case never reached court.

By this time, a sex tape of him and former girlfriend Abi Titmuss having a threesome had emerged, as well as photographs of him taking cocaine.

Although he was never convicted of any of the sexual offences, the allegations effectively ended his TV career, and he had had to start again on radio in Edinburgh, where he lived a more modest lifestlye.

He now lives in a three-bedroom bungalow, as opposed to the sprawling £5.5million luxury home in London he once owned, and his disk jockey job didn't pull in nearly the same ratings.

However, his contract was not renewed in December following the allegations, and there is now now guarantee it will be offered again.

He added: 'It took me so long to get another chance, and it was going well. I wouldn't have thrown it away lightly and I'm devastated that I let my guard down on what was a really happy occasion.'

Police Scotland have not formally admitted that this current probe is over, and a recent statement says they 'continue to investigate' the report. But Mr Leslie expects an announcement to be made officially by the end of the week.


Bad diversity versus good diversity

Diversity again is a hot-button issue. For instance, the Harvard Business Review opened 2016 with an essay about diversity programs and policies in industries from Silicon Valley to Hollywood, noting that “mission statements and recruiting materials touting companies' commitment to diversity are ubiquitous.” Similarly, Anna Holmes wrote in the New York Times Magazine in October about “the recent ubiquity of the word” and how its meaning has been confused by “overuse, imprecision, inertia and self-serving intentions.”

I have been struck by one aspect of the discussion: the commonly accepted premise that the relevant end is some measure of inclusion for particular groups in particular areas, like a cartel's allocation of market shares, to the near-exclusion of whether the process expands society's well-being or increases its balkanization. That is a crucial omission, given that diversity can provide either an excuse for a cage fight among groups for special treatment or an opportunity for mutual benefits.

That premise is revealed by the zero-sum nature of so much diversity rhetoric, in which gains for one group are presumed to necessarily come at others' expense, justifying imposing harm on them as a necessary and acceptable part of the process.

Unfortunately, the disparate treatment typically called for would reinforce rather than reduce divisions between groups. And the further fraying of social relations would undermine the most productive mechanism that exists for jointly advancing the interests of our diverse population: mutually beneficial voluntary market arrangements.

Free markets, founded on respect for individuals' rights to themselves and their property, enable diversity to provide shared gains, facilitating cooperation among different people, while coerced diversity relies on imposing harm on others, crowding out cooperation. Given how often the argument for diversity requirements is based on some past violation of some group's rights, one would think this distinction would be stressed rather than overlooked.

Individuals' diverse tastes, backgrounds, cultures, experiences, circumstances, etc., produce differences in the subjective values that people place on goods and services. Market exchange allows all to benefit from those differences because it provides benefits that exceed costs for both parties. Thus when property rights are respected, divergent values lead to exchanges that increase the well-being of all involved, with no one's choices overridden by force.

In contrast, the special treatment inherent in coercively imposed diversity raises the payoffs for manipulating the inherently arbitrary system, rather than being honest and trustworthy, which forms the foundation of mutually productive voluntary market arrangements (e.g., Elizabeth Warren's claimed Native American heritage at Harvard).

Different ideas and customs are important sources of innovation as well. Asking, “Could what that person, group, or organization is doing work better for me in my circumstances than what I am doing now?” triggers communication, evaluation, application, imitation, and modification that turn diversity into benefits for others. That is why trade hubs have always been centers of entrepreneurship and advancement, and cities have been incubators for vast innovation. But those highly creative and productive interactions often wither when relationships are imposed rather than voluntary.

Free markets also produce mutual benefits from our constantly changing world. Our diversities in uncountable dimensions lead some to learn new useful information before others. When such discoverers act on that information in markets – for example, by buying more of a good discovered to have greater value – they communicate changed relative scarcities more quickly and accurately than otherwise. Better information means fewer mistakes, benefitting all. But the increased separatism and distrust produced by imposed diversity reduces openness to peaceful relationships and incentives to seek out and communicate such information.

Addressing diversity by imposing special treatment for some at others' expense generates divisiveness and conflict rather than cooperation and mutual benefits. Americans should remember British Rabbi Jonathan Sachs' maxim that “it is through exchange that difference becomes a blessing, not a curse,” and focus on advancing voluntary arrangements, in which our differences allow us to better serve each other's peaceful ends.


Dishonest refugee advocates in Australia inflict harm on those they purport to help

Self harm and false allegations are all part of the deadly game certain ‘do-gooders’ are playing

Tanveer Ahmed

Refugee advocates are partly responsible for the distress of asylum seekers, expressed variably from self harm to alleged rape claims. Their misplaced advocacy powered by an inebriated moral superiority combine with the dashed migration expectations of asylum seekers to create uncertainty and alarm. Detention itself is merely the wrapping paper.

As they are to people smugglers, asylum seekers are a mere tool for the white and wealthy, post religious Left. While smugglers are compensated in dollars, the compassionistas receive premium fuel in their quest for authenticity, a jolt to hollowed out identities. Caring outwardly about asylum seekers makes them feel good about themselves.

Recent reports in the Australian that banning family members from travelling with self harmers for treatment immediately caused a dramatic reduction in the acts suggest there had been considerable incentive for hurting oneself in the past.

The latest round of ‘I’m an Asylum Seeker, Get Me Out of Here’ will leave taxpayers with a bill of a million dollars, thanks to the human rights lawyers’ speculative tilt in the High Court to keep a Bangladeshi child and mother on Australian soil. It was the climax of renewed optimism among refugee advocates since the arrival of the new PM, hoping to exploit any cognitive dissonance he might feel. Fairfax ran a front page piece recently about self harm on Manus and Nauru, among a spike of reports about the topic. Last year Transfield changed its name for PR purposes despite lawfully executing their government contract after sustained pressure from refugee advocates, a consolation victory for opponents who refuse to accept that they have lost the debate in the public, democratic sphere.

There were multiple doctors such as paediatrician Dr David Isaacs cheekily asking to be prosecuted for speaking out about conditions in Nauru. Last year psychiatrist Dr Peter Young was the key contributor to the Human Rights Commission report fronted by Gillian Triggs. All had expressed their opposition to the policy of detention well before they’d actually visited any asylum seekers. Their views on the traumatic effects of detention relied entirely on association and wouldn’t stand up to scientific scrutiny.

It does not compute that a set of people who have been resilient through conflict zones under threat of their lives and able to travel halfway across the world by land, air and sea decompensate when a ringed, pool fence is placed around them, in spite of all their basic needs being met. The community leader, former Liberal Party candidate and Vietnamese refugee Dai Le speaks of her time as a child in a refugee camp as unremarkable: ‘We just played. We didn’t know it was bad.’

The most decrepid refugee camps around the world, places that make the centres in Manus or Nauru look like the Hilton, exhibit none of the systemic issues surrounding self harm or alleged rape that appear to erupt in the local centres, be it on the mainland or offshore.

Similar mental health problems existed among asylum seekers when the policy of temporary protection visas existed, where comparable levels of uncertainty and dashed expectations surrounding a migration outcome were present.

An interesting angle is garnered from detention workers. I have treated a multitude and they usually present through worker’s compensation after being attacked by detainees. They all say there was no self harm when asylum seekers received permanent visas during Rudd’s initial ascent to power, regardless of processing time. Christmas Island was referred to then as a ‘transit hotel’.

Most workers suffer a cognitive dissonance, having begun the job to help asylum seekers but slowly realising there was little that could be done to solve a problem around an unmet desire, one in which incredible investments of money and risk had been made. The most affected workers are those that identify with the asylum seekers, particularly those able to speak Farsi, Tamil or Arabic. They paint a clear psychological environment in detention of failed expectations and ensuing rage and resentment, further exacerbated by the shadow of fractured politics and a refugee advocacy industry baying for government blood. Despite their good intentions, the result is the spilled blood of asylum seekers.

Self harm in detention centres has overlaps with the contagion effect that can occur in high school playgrounds or online forums, exacerbating the distress already apparent. There is also a kind of detention centre status anxiety, as asylum seekers compare their situations with those around them, becoming anxious and suspicious when claims of those around them are accelerated. Self harm can be attempts at suicide, a way to relieve frustration or malingering, where it is feigned for some secondary reward. Studies have found that malingering is most common in correctional centres. The studies do not involve children, but kids are almost certainly reflecting the distress and behaviour of the adults around them.

There is no question that asylum seekers are in great distress and have few outlets to communicate it. Self harm is often rage turned on to the self. It can be unconscious. Furthermore, there can be little argument that indefinite limbo can only be harmful and serves nobody. But in detention centres we have created an artefactual space where acting out behaviours like self harm or false allegations of rape have had incentives and rewards. Even now there is the possibility of transfer to the Australian mainland for treatment and the mobilisation of aggressive refugee advocacy, who are able to justify any kind of chicanery to prevent the lawful return of detainees because they are convinced of their righteousness.

It is all the more galling when the calamitous effects of unmitigated compassion are beginning to emerge through Merkel’s policies in Europe, initiatives she is clearly regretting and looking to unwind, lest they threaten her tenure on government. It is interesting that Tony Abbott was roundly condemned when he hinted at Merkel’s excesses, yet history is showing him to be prescient.

For all the railing by refugee advocates and politically motivated doctors about detention being like prison or torture, they fail to realise that its residents could cope with Alcatraz if they knew permanent residency was imminent. Despite the Prime Minister insisting on remaining ‘resolute’ in the protection of our borders, the totemic nature of the issue means they will simply not let go.


Australia:  His eminence  George Pell is the victim of a vicious witch hunt

Andrew Bolt

CARDINAL George Pell is the victim of one of the most vicious witch hunts to disgrace this country. It is shameful. Disgusting. Frightening.  People pretending to be moral have competed with each other to slime Pell as the defender of paedophiles, if not a paedophile himself.

There is no mercy and no attention to the facts. There is just the joy of hatred. Check the snarling glee on the face of comedian Tim Minchin as he sang a hymn of hatred to Pell on Channel 10's The Project on Tuesday.

"Scum," he called Pell, who is too ill to fly from Rome to give evidence (for the third time) to our royal commission into child sex abuse.

"Coward," he jeered, vilifying Pell for more than four minutes of prime-time television, falsely portraying him as a defender - even a friend - of paedophile priests.

(Note to Project host Waleed Aly: would you have screened four minutes of unbridled hatred for a Muslim cleric?)

Meanwhile, the ABC promoted a crowd-funding effort by Project presenters to raise the money to send former victims to Rome to "confront" the cardinal with "face-to-face contact".

To stoke up hatred of Pell, it also published a mocked-up picture of the cardinal driving a car of huge rock-spiders, code for paedophiles.

ABC News also falsely claimed "the commission has heard from child abuse victim David Ridsdale that Cardinal Pell tried to bribe him to keep quiet" about his abuse by his uncle - when Ridsdale in fact told the commission, "I never have said that he bribed me".

And many media outlets sternly reported Pell wouldn't "face the victims" in person at the royal commission, without adding he'd faced victims repeatedly.

Pell has met victims privately and twice given evidence with victims present - to the royal commission and a Victorian inquiry into child sex abuse.

Indeed, in 1996 he became the first senior person here, in church or in government, to confront the horror of sexual abuse of children.

Only three months after becoming archbishop of Melbourne, he created the Melbourne Response to help victims. No bishop of any other church had done anything like it.

Yet no insult of this man has been enough in a campaign of public denigration, even dehumanisation.

Channel 9's 60 Minutes interviewed an English abuse victim who'd never met Pell and seemed uninformed on crucial details yet still felt free to defame him as "a dangerous individual" and "almost sociopathic" with a "catalogue of denigrating people".

But this is the mob at its most vile: each person feeling licensed by the brutality of the rest to be brutal, too.

If "everybody else" hates someone, then that person must deserve hating. You can surrender your own judgment and conscience and give in to the pure pleasure of unbridled hatred, disguised as moral righteousness.

Viciousness dressed as morality: is there anything sweeter to the stupid, the resentful and the bully? Ask the "godly" who murdered the "witches" of Salem. Ask the jihadists who now behead "infidels". Pell's accusers are not violent but flirt with that same pitiless sanctimony.

"Die Pell," urged a headline on The Age's Facebook page and many of those now demanding he fly here don't seem to mind if he does.

The Sydney Morning Herald published snide items urging Pell to get on a plane, despite being told by cardiologists that Pell's medical advisers were right - it could kill the 74-year-old, given his heart problems.

No mercy in The Age, though. "Unwilling to trust his God," sneered one headline.

Former NSW Labor premier Kristina Keneally even taunted: "Jesus said there is no greater love than to lay down your life for another."

Nor did anyone seem to care that Pell will give exactly the same evidence from Rome he would give if he flew here. He is not fleeing justice like, say, Julian Assange, the hero of this same Left.

No, the mob is just hungry for a scapegoat and wants Pell close enough to humiliate.

It's the primitive moral calculus of the tribalist: that an injustice to one side can be made good with an injustice to the other.

It's enough that Pell is now our most senior member of the Catholic Church, which once betrayed so many children.

But what makes him an even better target for the Left is that's he's a conservative who has defended traditional marriage, attacked global warming alarmism and correctly seen the green faith as a competitor to his own.

He'll do, they cry.

How Pell has, as a human being, survived their onslaught astonishes me. Worst of all, he was falsely accused of having himself abused a boy when a young priest, although an inquiry that later looked into this highly dubious claim found no proof of any such thing.

It's continued. A former child victim of one Ballarat priest claimed in the royal commission that in 1969 Pell heard him pleading for help but did nothing - only for Pell to later produce his passport, showing he'd been in Rome that year.

But people such as Minchin still claim the young Pell must have known his then Ballarat housemate and fellow priest, Gerald Ridsdale, was abusing children - an allegation Pell denies. Yet none question the word of another young priest who shared a house with Ridsdale, Paul Bongiorno, a Leftist and now ABC commentator, who says he had no idea, either. "Ridsdale never came to the presbytery in Warrnambool and said, `Guess how many boys I've raped today?'," Bongiorno said. "They hide it."

And they hid it from Pell, who has repeatedly denied on oath protecting paedophiles or keeping crimes hidden.

Neither of the two inquiries so far has yet found proof that he's lying. Even Gerald Ridsdale, the worst of the paedophile priests, failed to incriminate Pell in the royal commission last year.

His evidence, suggesting Pell knew nothing, seemed to anger the royal commission. Justice Peter McClellan even warned Ridsdale the commission could find out who visited him in jail before he'd given evidence, which seemed to suggest McClellan had expected more damning stuff from Ridsdale and suspected he'd been nobbled.

In fact, the royal commission has throughout seemed only too ready to doubt Pell's word whenever his recollection conflicted with his accusers'.

It has also asked Pell to give evidence three times - more than any other witness - in what is now becoming a punishment by process.

Pell knows his church betrayed many children and protected the priests who preyed on them. He knows he could have handled the scandal better, but nothing I've seen so far shows he protected paedophiles.


If that changes, I will damn him then, but right now there is proof of only this: a witch hunt to destroy an innocent man for the sins of others.

Shame on every coward who joins this vicious mob. You claim you stand for good, yet you show such gloating evil.



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, 2016

A charming multicultural doctor in Britain

Subhash Jasoria appears to be an Indian name

A senior doctor working out his notice allegedly ignored pleas from junior colleagues to help an elderly woman suffering a suspected heart attack in a hospital foyer.

Dr Subhash Jasoria is reported to have said 'it's not my problem' as the 78-year-old lay outside a WH Smith shop in the North Middlesex University Hospital's waiting area in August 2013.

The 67-year-old, who had resigned from his job and was in the last days of his three-month notice period, is said to have then refused 10 further requests for help reviving her.

A tribunal heard he instead told a junior doctor: 'If you can't manage airways you have no business being here.'

Dr Jasoria, a specialist anaesthetist with more than 35 years' experience, eventually pushed a female colleague out of the way and took over with treatment, it was said.

The hearing was told the lady, who survived the ordeal, went into cardiac arrest whilst visiting a patient at the hospital.

Dr Jasoria is said to have walked over to her with a passing off-duty cardiologist and they sent for the 'cardiac arrest team', which included a junior anaesthetist and a medical registrar.

When the team arrived, Dr Jasoria asked if he could leave, it is alleged.

Later, as one medic struggled to unblock the woman's airways and asked where the anaesthetist was, Dr Jasoria pointed at the junior doctor and said 'she is there', the tribunal heard.

In a statement read to the Manchester hearing, the female junior colleague of Jasoria known as Dr C said: 'When I got there, resuscitation was going on in front of WHSmith.

'I saw Dr Jasoria standing in front of the shop doing nothing, like a bystander, and I heard someone shouting, "where is the anaesthetist?"

'Dr Jasoria shouted towards me and said, 'she's here'. I saw the A&E practitioner trying to manage the airways the best he could.

'The patient was morbidly obese and had excess fat on the neck which made it difficult.

'I took over from him and asked Dr Jasoria to help us as the senior anaesthetist and he refused to help me and said, "it's not my problem". I said, "you are the registrar, you need to help", but he refused again.'

The woman was then moved to A&E where Dr C continued to treat her. Dr Jasoria allegedly stood at the side of the cubicle and watched.

Dr C added: 'All of a sudden I saw Dr Jasoria standing in front of the A&E cubicle staring at us.

'I repeatedly, ten times, asked Dr Jasoria for help and there was no help. Suddenly he shouted at me in front of the whole team, "if you can't manage airways you have no business being here".

'He pushed my hand away and took over. The whole team fell silent for a second and were surprised how he responded to me. Others found it very upsetting how he treated me and the rest of the team.'

The hearing was told Dr Jasoria, from Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, had previously refused to intervene when he was bleeped by a consultant who needed help with a patient in cardiac arrest in A&E.

She also directly asked Dr Jasoria, who was the anaesthetist on-call for the obstetrics team, but he 'simply refused' - despite already admitting to the consultant that he wasn't busy, it was said.

When challenged, Dr Jasoria allegedly said: 'It's irrelevant if I'm busy or not because it isn't my job to assist.'

The consultant, who said she was 'taken aback' by his response, politely told Dr Jasoria that if he was refusing to assist she would have to report him.

He is said to have confirmed he was not going to help and added: 'You should go ahead and report me if you want to do so.'

Nigel Grundy, Counsel for General Medical Council (GMC), said: 'It is the GMC's case that Dr Jasoria refused to attend. It is our case that he was obliged to attend and assist in circumstances where he was not busy.

'It is his case that he wasn't obliged to go even though he wasn't busy because he was needed to be on-call cover for any emergency which might arise in the obstetrics department.

'It is the GMC's case that this was a simple refusal for no good reason.'

Dr Jasoria is also accused of failing to properly treat a woman while working privately as a locum consultant at the London Women's Clinic in June 2013.

The woman attended for a cervical smear but had to be sedated because of an irrational fear, it was said.

Dr Jasoria is accused of failing to conduct a pre-operative assessment of the woman - known as Patient B - including readings of her blood pressure and pulse, it is alleged.

She eventually suffered a fit and fell into a critical condition where her body was starved of oxygen for a number of minutes - but Dr Jasoria is said to have returned to his office to fill in notes.

He is also accused of failing to recognise or react to hypoxia - the lack of oxygen to the body - despite it being the 'bread and butter' of a senior anaesthetist.

Dr Jasoria admits failing to record the results of a pre-operative assessment with Patient B, failing to record her carbon dioxide readings and telling Dr C to 'get out of the way'.


When Political Correctness Opposes Lifesaving and Preaching

This is what happens when political correctness runs amok: Can’t preach, can’t save someone’s life. In the first story, although we don’t know all the facts of the situation, it’s apparent a woman would be dead if it wasn’t for the reaction of Didarul Sarder. According to Detroit’s local Fox station, Sarder was just outside the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, heading into his job as a SP+ Valet Supervisor, when he heard the cries for help. A woman was being stabbed by another woman with a knife. Sarder reacted, pulling his firearm and ordering the suspect to stop and drop the knife. The mayor of Warren Jim Fouts commended the action, saying, “Had it not been for his quick action and quick thinking, pulling out his concealed weapon, she might have been murdered on site.” Meanwhile, Sarder said GM fired him on the spot and escorted him from the premises. Sarder was never told of the company’s no-gun policy, though he said he’d do it again because a life is more important than a job.

Meanwhile, a few states south at the University of North Texas, a police officer was a little mixed up about the freedom of speech. A street preacher was stopped by a university cop and handed a citation because “Someone was offended; that’s against the law.” The preacher had apparently ruffled some feathers through expressing his opposition to anal sex and instead of confronting the preacher or ignoring him, some students enforced their “safe space” by siccing a police officer not fully briefed on the freedoms we Americans enjoy. Eventually the matter was straightened out, the citation was absolved, and the police officer apologized. Both situations, however, demonstrate a concerning lack of understanding about our inherent rights.


British councils and universities will be BANNED from boycotting Israeli goods because it 'undermines national security'

Universities and councils have been told boycotting Israeli goods 'undermines national security'.

Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock is due to formally announce the new government policy on a visit to Israel, insisting product bans fuel anti-Semitism.

But the move was immediately criticised by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as an 'attack on local democracy'.

Under the plans, all publicly-funded organisations would lose the freedom to refuse to purchase from companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products or Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

In 2014 Leicester City Council agreed a ban on goods produced in Israeli West Bank settlements.  The Scottish Government 'strongly discourages' local authorities from trading with companies operating 'illegal settlements'.

It is unclear whether the new rules will be imposed on student unions as government sources told The Independent, which revealed the policy today, this was a 'grey area'.

But Mr Hancock said: 'We need to challenge and prevent these divisive town-hall boycotts.

'The new guidance on procurement combined with changes we are making to how pension pots can be invested will help prevent damaging and counter-productive local foreign policies undermining our national security.'

'Severe penalties' such as large fines will be imposed if the new rules are breached but it will not be a criminal law matter.
Cabinet Office Minister Matt Hancock said 'divisive' boycotts of Israeli goods had to be challenged

Hugh Lanning, chairman of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, told The Independent: 'As if it is not enough that the UK Government has failed to act when the Israeli government has bombed and killed thousands of Palestinian civilians and stolen their homes and land, the Government is now trying to impose its inaction on all other public bodies.'

A spokeswoman for the National Union of Students added they were 'concerned by any external pressure that could prevent student unions taking decisions on any issue that affects the students they represent.'


Is Twitter Censoring Non-Politically Correct Viewpoints?

The folks running Twitter may be too young to have heard of George Orwell, or perhaps they simply do not care that their new advisory council sounds frighteningly Orwellian. Either way, the brand new "Twitter Trust and Safety Council" seems like a board ready to censor comments in deference to political correctness.

It doesn’t help that among the more than 40 organizations that make up the council, one finds such groups as the "Dangerous Speech Project," a group with ties to the liberal John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and to financier George Soros’ Open Society Institute.

Another council member is GLAAD, formerly an acronym for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (the organization now goes by just its initials). Feminist Frequency, which also seeks to monitor free speech, is another member of the council.

The council does include some groups that appear to do good work preventing cyber-bullying against the young. Absent, however, are any conservative-leaning groups.

It isn’t exactly clear what the council will do. The announcement itself came laden with doublespeak phrases such as "our Trust and Safety Council will help us tap into the expertise and input of organizations at the intersection of these issues more efficiently and quickly." More ominously, it said that Twitter is "taking a global and inclusive approach so that we can hear a diversity of voices."

As a private company, Twitter can of course permit any views it wants. Many conservatives already feel that Twitter is not as welcoming to their views as it is to those of liberals, and such an unbalanced membership in the council is not likely to change those views.

Twitter’s strength has always been its unfettered nature. Here people could come to alert their fellow humans to breaking news or simply funny and sometimes even deep insights. All you needed to do to connect with thousands, millions potentially, was to write something in fewer than 140 characters and click the "Tweet" button.

But that freedom has also been Twitter’s biggest downside. Here, too, comes the slime of the human race to hound those with whom they disagree with vulgar smears. Flash mobs rise and sadistically pursue people, virtually putting torch- and pitchfork-bearing medieval hordes to shame. A year ago this Friday, Jon Ronson grippingly chronicled in The New York Times Magazine how lives have been ruined by Twitter shaming.

In other words, Twitter reflected humanity, its best, its worst, and everything in between. There was no meta-enforcer, or very little of one. People could always block pesky trolls and report speech deemed harmful. But other than that, it was free flow.

The principle that ruled was prudence on the part of the sender and "caveat emptor" on the part of the user. A lot of the information on Twitter was rubbish. The user was the filter. But the user could also be sure that the wisdom of crowds would sort out the wheat from the chaff.

Overall, the site has been adept at filling a niche in citizen journalism. The site reminded many old journalists of the wire rooms that used to be housed in many newspapers and television stations.

It has other bigger problems, however. So far, it does not seem to have found a model to monetize all this potential. This may in time become a bigger problem than its new "Ministry of Truth."



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, 2016

A straight talker

A 23-YEAR-OLD American television host has launched a scathing attack on millenials and their parents, arguing young people are “babied” and spend too much time on social media.

Tomi Lahren is a conservative political commentator and host of Tomi on The Blaze, a news network founded by former Fox News host Glenn Beck.

Lahren is famous for her ‘Final Thoughts’ segment, where she rants about politics and current affairs. Clips of her rants often clock-up millions of views and go viral.

She has previously criticised President Obama’s Middle East policy, describing his approach as a “halfway, half-baked, tiptoe, be-friendly-to-Jihadis mentality”.

Lahren, who comes from a military family, added: “I care this S.O.B killed four of our United States Marines. And I care that our commander in chief is more concerned with Muslim sensitivity than the honour and sacrifice made by these Marines.”

She accused Beyonce of “ram-rodding an aggressive agenda down our throats” during her Superbowl halftime performance of her new single Formation, which references the Black Lives Matter movement.

She has also gone on the record to imply that Hillary Clinton is a man.

Now, she’s launched a scathing attack on millenials after the hashtag #MillenialBillofRights began trending on Twitter last week, in a video that’s received almost two million views.

Lahren criticised the issues young people were complaining about on social media.

“Millennial Bill of Rights is trending - gotta love Twitter - so what rights do we as young people demand?” she asked.

“The right to complain when our parents make us spend the Christmas money they gave us. The right to blame the free market and the bank for making us take on student loan debt. Or the right to whine all day on social media that we aren’t rich and famous?

“Meanwhile, sitting on Instagram, instead of being productive? Is that really the so-called Bill of Rights we petitioned for? We are better than this.”

Lahren says millenials should have a right to be “ticked off”, but not for the reasons she’s read people complaining about.

“We should be ticked off that unlike like our grandparents, our parents are babying us,” she said.

“Welcome to 2016 where tough love has become harassment and losing has become participation, where teachers are more worried about what red pens do to self esteem than what mediocre effort does to the future.

“We don’t have ‘failure to launch’ syndrome because we’re lazy, we fail to launch because with no foot in the butt, the butt stays on the couch.”

Lahren then goes on to claim her upbringing was different to that of other young people.

“Listen, my parents never had to push me. No one is harder on me than I am, trust me. My mum and dad think I was born a go-getter, maybe there is some truth to that, but I learnt how to work hard by watching them.

“Guess what? Neither one of my parents finished college. I discovered from an early age a piece of paper doesn’t equal intelligence, or experience or wisdom. It’s a dead tree. Values are alive. Resilience is alive.”

She continued: “Millenials, that little voice inside your head that tells you to keep going? Listen. Don’t listen to Bernie or Hillary tell you free things are your incentive to apply for college or vote.

“Your incentive doesn’t come from the government. It comes from your brain, your heart, your family and your creator. It’s something we all have in common.

She concluded: “Don’t distribute my wealth. Distribute my work ethic. And hey, I will be on Twitter and Instagram today, but that will be after I go to work.

“Life’s not easy and it’s not free. But it’s worth it. Those are my final thoughts.”

Earlier, Lahren criticised Beyonce for “politicising” the Superbowl with her widely-praised performance of new her single.

“First it was hands up, don’t shoot. Then it was burning down buildings and looting drug stores, all the way to #OscarsSoWhite and now even the Superbowl halftime show has become a way to politicise and advance the notion that black lives matter more,” she said.

“This isn’t about equality. This is about ram-rodding an aggressive agenda down our throats using fame and entertainment value to do so.”

Lahren then directly called out Beyonce directly and questioned her political message.

“What is it you are trying to convey here? A salute to what? A group that uses violence and intimidation to advance not racial equality, but an overthrow of white domination?

“Beyonce didn’t reference the Black Panthers to bring about some kind of positive change. She did it to get attention.

“Good for you. You made headlines! You, just like President Obama, Jada Pinkett Smith, El Sharpton and so many others, just can’t let America heal.

“Keep ripping off the historical Band Aid. Why be a cultural leader, when you can play the victim, right?”

She continued: “Guess what Beyonce? White people like your music too. White people buy your songs on iTunes, memorise your lyrics, admire your talent and beauty. Little white girls want to be like you, just as little black girls do. But instead of recognising that, you would rather perpetuate the great battle of the races.

“Your husband was a drug dealer. For 14 years he sold crack cocaine. Talk about protecting black neighbourhoods. Start at home.”

That video has been viewed more than eight million times.


We must defend these 'rapists' - or YOU may be locked up next

By Peter Hitchens

This is the way we lose our freedom, through the semi-secret decisions of boot-faced bureaucrats and the slavish obedience of over-zealous policemen.

Almost nobody cares about the presumption of innocence until it affects them personally, but it is actually far more important to British liberty than the freedom to vote, let alone the miserable Human Rights Act.

As long as the State has to prove you are guilty before throwing you into prison, you are safe. As soon as you have to prove you are innocent, a nasty government or a raging mob can have you locked away for years and you can do nothing about it.

Our current national frenzy about sex crimes has caused us to forget this. Surely, the worse the crime of which you are accused, the more you need to be sure you will get a fair trial.

So there should have been the most enormous row when Sir Thomas Winsor, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, declared on November 18, 2014, referring to cases of rape: ‘The police should immediately institutionalise the presumption that the victim is to be believed.’

There wasn’t any row at all. In fact, I fear I didn’t even notice it when it happened.

But no wonder, after that, that those accused of such crimes found themselves subjected to heavy-handed punishment without trial.

From a person of such authority, this shocking rubbish was far worse than the recent crass remark by an individual police officer that an allegation was ‘credible and true’ before it had seen a courtroom, or promises to accusers that ‘you will be believed’. If this is so in sex cases, how long before it is so in cases where people are charged with breaches of political correctness? There is no shortage of accusers.

And so I applaud the Metropolitan Police chief, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, for his plan to pull back from this nasty, prejudiced and unBritish point of view. I hope he succeeds and is copied all over the country.

It is not the job of the police to believe or disbelieve. It is their job to investigate, where it seems likely that a crime may have happened. And that rarely means descending in platoons on the homes of elderly military men, subjecting them to humiliating searches in which their homes are turned over by prying fingers, and interrogation about events that supposedly happened 30 years ago. As the experienced lawyer and former prosecutor Alison Levitt QC has rightly asked: ‘What are they expecting to find in these searches?’

Long before the accused person is questioned, the police should have investigated the claim itself, searched for corroboration and witnesses, established that the alleged crime was physically possible, that the location actually existed and the accused could have been there at the time.

Isn’t that what you would have thought happened all along? But it hasn’t been happening. And it all changed while we weren’t looking.

But if you care more about football or the Lottery than you do about freedom, then you will lose that freedom.


Now British movie awards are hit by race controversy as group pickets awards in protest against lack of black and Asian faces in the movies

That mainly white actors might reflect what British audiences want to watch is not mentioned

The British Academy Film Awards ceremony was today hit by a race controversy as a group picketed in protest against a lack of black and Asian faces in showbusiness.

‘Creatives of Colour Network’ demonstrated outside London’s Royal Opera House as the movie awards season faces continued debate about why the industry remains dominated by white men.

Competing with the screams of excited fans, the group chanted 'cameras, lights, action, diversity and satisfaction' to promote their message.

And members held a banner which read: 'The TV and film industry are male, pale and stale. In fear of diversity, opportunity and inclusion. We want a quota system.'

Beasts Of No Nation star Idris Elba, who was nominated for best supporting actor, and Star Wars actor John Boyega, who won rising star, were the only black actors on this year's Bafta shortlist.

When asked on the red carpet tonight about the protest, Boyega told reporters: 'I just think a larger conversation's being had, and that's a very positive thing, so it's good to see that that's happening.'

The protesters handed out leaflets stamped with the hashtag #BaftaBlackout, which they have been using on social media. Among the onlookers was 48-year-old consultant Chidi Ejimofo.

Mr Ejimofo, from Bromley, Kent, said he was supporting the protest on behalf of one of his daughters, who wants to get into the creative industries.

He said: ‘I have a real problem with the fact that the film industry, as I see it, at present doesn't actually represent the groupings that you already have in society.

‘I find it astonishing that in a country that has so many talented actors and directors and people within the industry from ethnic minorities, you have such a gross under-representation when it comes to handing out awards, and I think that stems from the voting committee that they have in place.

‘While I can see, with this campaign, that they are asking for a quota system, personally I don't think that is the way to go.


Veteran homosexual rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is branded racist and transphobic

Peter is a lovely chap but he is just not insane enough for some these days

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has been called racist and 'transphobic' by a student union officer ahead of a debate the pair were both invited to speak at.

Fran Cowling, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) representative for the National Union of Students, has refused to appear at Canterbury Christ Church University tomorrow, unless Mr Tatchell does not attend.

Ms Cowling stated in emails to event organisers that she could not share the stage with Mr Tatchell, because he signed an open letter in the Observer last year supporting free speech and against no-platforming, the practice by some universities to ban speakers because of their views.

According to the NUS officer, the letter supports inciting violence against transgender people. Cowling has also made an allegation against Mr Tatchell of racism or using racist language.

Speaking to the Observer, the political activist, who will soon celebrate 50 years of campaigning for gay equality, called the incident another example of 'a witch-hunting, accusatory atmosphere' at university campuses today.

Mr Tatchell's stance on free speech was questioned earlier this month when he surprisingly came out in support of a Christian bakery company that refused to sell a cake with a gay rights slogan.

Ashers Bakery in Belfast were found to have broken anti-discrimination laws when they declined an order for a cake with the slogan ‘support gay marriage’.

Mr Tatchell said: ‘Much as I wish to defend the gay community, I also want to defend freedom of conscience, expression and religion.’

As a result of the court ruling against the bakery, far right agitators could force Muslim printers to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, or Jewish printers to reproduce Holocaust denial material, he added.

‘Will gay bakers have to accept orders for cakes with homophobic slurs?’ he asked.

‘The law against political discrimination was meant to protect people with differing political views, not to force others to further political views to which they conscientiously object.’

Australian-born Tatchell, 64, first sprang to fame as a left-wing Labour candidate, when he lost the party’s once safe Bermondsey seat in 1983.

During the 1990s, he campaigned for LGBT rights through the direct action group he co-founded, OutRage!

The group grabbed the headlines by outing establishment figures it claimed were homophobic in public and homosexual in private.

In 1999 and 2001, he attempted a citizen's arrest of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe for his anti-gay stance, the latter resulting in a vicious beating by Mugabe's thugs.

Six years later in 2007, Mr Tatchell was among dozens of people assaulted by Russians shouting 'death to homosexuals' against protesters demanding the right to hold a gay pride parade in Moscow.

The veteran campaigner says both these incidents have left him with lasting brain injuries.

Unafraid to put across his point of view, Mr Tatchell said he would share the stage with Ms Cowling at tomorrow's event, despite their difference of opinion.

He said: 'I'm prepared to share a platform with people I profoundly disagree with, precisely in order to challenge and expose them.' 

The NUS said Tatchell had not been 'no-platformed' by the entire union and that Ms Cowling's decision whether to appear is her own.


Australian Labor Party adopts motion encouraging Israel trips

In what can be seen as a counter-move to an anti-Israel motion, a state convention of Australia's Labor party on Sunday approved a motion encouraging party members to spend time in both Israel and Palestinian areas when visiting the region, Haaretz reported.

The resolution, adopted by the New South Wales Labor convention, came a week and a half after it was reported that the party was mulling a proposal by pro-Palestinian lawmakers to ban its members from participating in sponsored trips to Israel.

The anti-Israel motion was proposed by Labor Friends of Palestine and would have precluded state MPs from New South Wales, party officials and Young Labor members from joining paid trips to Israel if passed.

New South Wales, where Sydney is located, is Australia's most populous state. On a national level, the party has been in opposition since its loss in elections in 2013, noted Haaretz. 

Reacting to the pro-Israel resolution, New South Wales Board of Deputies president Jeremy Spinak told the Australian Jewish News the resolution that passed was a "sensible outcome" that “rejects the anti-Israel bias and discrimination” that had been pushed by a few party members.

“When organizing our study missions to the region, we always encourage members to visit both the Palestinian territories and Israel in order to get a thorough understanding of the reality on the ground,” he said.

The Labor Party in Australia has a history of anti-Israel bias, and it agreed this past summer on a resolution that should the party come to power, it would consider recognizing Palestinian statehood.

The motion stipulated such course of action on a lack of progress in the currently stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

In addition, Bob Carr, a former foreign minister in Australia who was a founder of the Labor Friends of Israel in 1977 and has recently become a patron of the Labor Friends of Palestine, has in the past blamed the "pro-Israel lobby in Melbourne" for wielding “extraordinary influence” on the Australian government.



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, 2016

UK told to stop tasering children as figures reveal shocking 38% rise in police use of 50,000-volt stun guns on under-18s

Tasers can of course be used inappropriately but they rarely do permanent harm, unlike some of the alternatives.  And many of the "children" in Britain are more capable than it sounds.  Blacks mature about two years before whites on average so a black 16 or 17 year old is essentially an adult physically.  And young black males are notoriously criminally inclined. And Britain has a lot of black crime.  So this United Nations emission is as brainless as one usually expects of U.N. emissions

England and Wales have been told to stop allowing its police to taser children after figures revealed that the use of the 50,000-volt stun guns on minors increased by 38 per cent in one year.

The United Nations plans to publicly shame the UK later this year at a hearing in Switzerland and will also tell the UK to ban police from stopping and searching toddlers.

Nearly 300 children aged under five were stopped and searched between 2009-2014, with two thirds of those incidents in London.

Police can only use stop and search powers if they suspect an individual is carrying a knife or involved in a terrorism crime.

The Independent on Sunday reports that officials from the UK Government will be hauled to Switzerland in May this year to account for its compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which the UK signed up to in 1990.

In 2008 - the last time the Government was called on to account for its compliance with the convention - ministers were told to 'put an end to the use of all harmful devices on children'.

Taser guns, which disable their targets by sending two darts of 50,000 volts that contracts the muscles and overwhelms the nervous system for five seconds, were introduced in the UK in 2003.

Among the 431 children who were targeted with a taser gun in 2013 was an 11-year-old. The number represented a 38 per cent rise on the previous year. 

Carla Garnelas, the co-director of the Children's Rights Alliance for England, called for an out-right ban on the use of tasers on children.

'The use of Taser on children is a breach of their human rights,' she told the Independent on Sunday.

'UN bodies have repeatedly called for the UK government to ban their use on children, highlighting the serious risk of physical and psychological harm they pose, yet the use of Taser on children continues. We want to see a ban on Taser use on children.'

It comes as Theresa May, the Home Secretary, considers a report by Chief Constable David Shaw of West Mercia Police into the credibility of data used to record taser usage in England and Wales amid concerns that many police forces do not record taser threats accurately enough.

But critics claim Mr Shaw has not consulted a wide-enough range of police forces and fear that the issue will not be resolved. 

A spokesman for the Home Office insisted tasers provides the police with an 'important tactical option when facing potentially physically violent situations'.

'This government is committed to giving officers the necessary tools to do their job,' the spokesman added.

'All officers trained in the use of taser must consider the vulnerability of the individual, and factors such as age and stature form part of this assessment.'

Last year police authorities were campaigning for tasers to be handed to every one of the 127,000 frontline police officers in England and Wales.

David Blunkett, the former Home Secretary who first authorised their use, warned last year that police were rushing to use Tasers rather than trying to defuse angry confrontations and urged police to examine 'whether alternatives can be used'.

'I think it's time for a review that incorporates the use of Tasers with advice and support on how to deal with difficult situations,' he said.

'For a youngster, 11 years old, a Taser is not in my view an appropriate way of dealing with a situation – which clearly must have been out of hand, but where we need to train people to use more traditional alternatives.' 

The figures on taser use show that an 11-year-old, a 12-year-old, four 13-year-olds and 33 14-year-olds were hit with the weapons in 2013. 

One of the Taser shootings took place at a Devon school for children with learning difficulties in December 2013.

Police shot three pupils, all aged 14 or 15, at Chelfham Senior School in Bere Alston after being called to a ‘violent incident’.

The age group most likely to face being Tasered was 17-year-olds, with some 180 incidents recorded, followed by 16-year-olds with 132 incidents.

The statistics included situations in which Tasers were fired, used to ‘light up’ a target with a red sighting dot or merely removed from their holster.

Tasers were introduced in England and Wales in 2003 in a 12-month trial for firearms officers in five police forces. Four years later police were told they could use them on under-18s, leading to 27 recorded cases in which they were employed.

In 2008 Tasers were rolled out across the country, and were no longer limited to specialist officers.

Supporters say the weapons offer a vital tool for police to defuse dangerous confrontations without the use of live ammunition.

But critics are concerned that Tasers are being drawn in everyday situations to bully and intimidate members of the public.

There are also fears that the weapons are being used inappropriately, for example on those already in custody, the mentally ill and the young and vulnerable.


Caliphate In Europe: Sweden Cedes Control Of Muslim Areas

The perils of multiculturalism and open borders have reached critical mass in Sweden. There are Muslim enclaves where postal, fire and other essential services — even police officers themselves —require police protection.

A police report released last month identifies 55 of these “no-go zones” in Sweden. These zones are similar to others that have popped up in Europe in recent years. They formed as large Muslim populations emigrating to politically correct and tolerant European states refuse to assimilate and set up virtual states within a state where the authorities fear to tread.

Soeren Kern of the Hudson Institute has documented the proliferation of these zones. They are de facto Muslim micro-states under Shariah law that reject Western values, society and legal systems. In these districts non-Muslims are expected to conform to the dictates of fundamentalist Islam or face violent consequences.

“A more precise name for these zones,” says Middle Eastern expert Daniel Pipes, “would be Dar al-Islam — the House of Islam or the place where Islam rules.”

Muslim immigration to Sweden has been fostered by an open-border asylum policy. In the 1990s, the country welcomed 100,000 refugees fleeing the conflict in the Balkans.

Sweden has also been a haven for refugees from Iraq, and a recent estimate put the number of Iraqi refugees living there at 125,000. Since September 2012, asylum-seekers from the Arab world are emigrating to Sweden at the rate of some 1,250 per week, writes Kern.

According to a report in the Daily Caller, Swedish police officers in May pursued a suspect into one of these zones in the southern city of Landskrona. Their car was rammed, the officers forced out. They were quickly surrounded by roughly 50 “thugs” and called for backup while holding back the threatening mob with drawn weapons.

Other officers who responded were forced to stop a half mile away, just outside the zone. The police commander didn’t press the issue fearing an escalation. Only with the help of a few residents whom the cornered police knew were the officers allowed to exit the restricted area.

Swedish police have not seriously tried to contest the zones since the 2013 Stockholm ghetto riots in which hundreds of cars and buildings were burned. The police report that there are now vehicle checkpoints operated by Muslim gangs on the borders of these zones. Instead of confrontation, Swedish authorities occasionally send special “dialogue officers” in a sort of Muslim outreach program.

A new curriculum at the Swedish Police Academy beginning next year will include course on cultural sensitivity designed to achieve “greater understanding of the intercultural perspective.”

Needless to say, there will be no profiling in Sweden.

Nor will there be any profiling in the U.S., despite a not-too-dissimilar influx of Muslim immigrants to whom assimilation has its limits. In the Minneapolis neighborhood of Cedar-Riverside there is “Little Mogadishu,” home to America’s largest concentration of Somali immigrants. This neighborhood has become a bountiful recruiting ground for Islamic terrorists.

CBS News has reported that as many as 40 young men from Minnesota have joined Islamic fighters in Iraq and Syria. Among them was an American named Douglas MacArthur McCain, who died fighting for the Islamic State in Syria.

Fox affiliate KMSP-TV in Minneapolis-St. Paul has reported the case of Abdirahmaan Muhumed. Before going to Syria to fight and die for IS, he worked at Delta Global Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines. His job was to clean aircraft, and he had a security clearance that gave him unfettered access to the tarmac and passenger jets.

There are no mini-caliphates in the U.S. quite yet. But perhaps we should keep the Swedish experience in mind as we remember the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.


UK:   Cost of politically correct police witch-hunt has risen to almost £7million

All because of the politically correct British police doctrine that accusations of a sexual nature must be believed until the accused can prove their innocence

The cost of Scotland Yard's 'witch-hunt' VIP paedophile probes has risen to almost £7million, it has emerged.

Huge sums of money have been spent on the under-fire child sex inquiries, including a further £1.2million on top of the £5.5million that was revealed at the end of last year.

The latest funds were paid out to investigate more than 2,000 men as part of Operation Hydrant, which has failed to convict any high profile figures.

Cash was spent on staffing, accommodation and travel costs for 43 officers across Britain, according to the Sunday People.

That is on top of the £2million the Metropolitan Police spent on Operation Midland, an inquiry set up to examine claims of rape and three murders by an Establishment sex ring in the 1970s and ‘80s.

Figures show that Scotland Yard also spent £2.2million in 2015 on Operation Yewtree, the sex abuse inquiry launched in the wake of the 2012 Jimmy Savile scandal.

A third probe, called Operation Fairbank, which also began in 2012 to look into claims of child abuse at the Elm Guesthouse in Barnes, South London, and at other locations, costs £550,000 a year.

A Freedom of Information request revealed that the Met had 83 members of staff working on the three inquiries as of September 29 last year.

Meanwhile, Operation Hydrant was set up to look into claims of 'non-recent' abuse and co-ordinate a number of other investigations by police forces in 2014.

Allegations against 99 politicians were probed among some 2,228 suspects who are said to be under investigation as part of the inquiry, most of whom are either dead or unidentified.

Conservative MP Nigel Evans, who was cleared of rape and sex offences in 2013, said: 'There must be transparency on costs to show how effective these operations are.  'It begs the question of how police can moan about being strapped for cash when they can spend eye-watering amounts like this with few results.'

Such vast expenditure will only heap more pressure on embattled Metropolitan Police chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

It came as it emerged that Sir Bernard is to sit down with Lord Brittan's widow this week to discuss Scotland Yard's shambolic handling of the VIP paedophile scandal.

The Met commissioner will talk with Lady Brittan about the rape allegation made against her late husband, who like Lord Bramall was investigated on the word of a suspected 'serial fantasist' known only as Nick.

Lord Brittan, the former home secretary, died in 2015 still unaware that he had been cleared of the accusation - despite police knowing that he was innocent for two months.

Britain's most senior police officer will explain the circumstances of the investigation to Lady Brittan.

He is expected to apologise for the probe - but is not thought to be willing to do the same for unfounded allegations of child abuse aimed at Lord Brittan.

Nick claimed he had been sexually assaulted by a paedophile ring that included Brittan, Bramall, the former prime minister Sir Edward Heath, the former Tory MP Harvey Proctor and past heads of MI5 and MI6.

Mr Proctor, who furiously denied any involvement and claimed he was the victim of a homosexual witch hunt, said the claims have 'wrecked' his life and lost him his job.

The 69-year-old has been questioned twice but never charged over the alleged murder of three boys and claims of sex abuse more than three decades ago in Dolphin Square, an apartment complex near parliament.

Asked why he would not apologise to Lord Bramall, Hogan-Howe said: 'I have expressed regret if somebody has been hurt by this process.

'I cannot apologise for investigating serious criminal offences, that is our job. There is no arrogance or dismissiveness about apologising when necessary. But I do think when you are investigating serious crime if you are apologising on every occasion there is a difficulty.

'We do need to investigate without fear or favour. That is what was written on the warrant card that I signed.'


Colonialism inspired ISIS extremists, says Welby: Archbishop of Canterbury uses lecture to says Britain must face up to its responsibility for conflict in the Middle East

Has Cantuar lost his marbles?  Arab is killing Arab over religious differences and Britain is responsible!

The Archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday that Britain must confront its historic responsibility for conflict in the Middle East.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby said ‘our own responsibilities must be faced and acknowledged’ and singled out Britain’s behaviour during the First World War and its aftermath.

The Archbishop also pointed to the British Empire, the global trading system, American culture and even Western championing of women’s and gay rights as factors which cause ‘humiliation’ and disaffection among some Muslims.

His criticism of both historic and modern Western influence in the Middle East came in a lecture in Belfast in which the Archbishop said David Cameron’s decision to bomb ISIS in Syria was ‘justifiable’.

But he added that it would be ‘utterly wrong’ if warfare and armed force alone were used against ISIS.

The Archbishop told an audience in Queen’s University in Belfast: ‘Our own responsibilities must be faced and acknowledged, especially those arising out of the history of the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the time of the British and French mandates, as well as more recent wars and events.’

His list of Muslim grievances which Briain should face included the legacy of empire in the Victorian era and during and after World War One.

In Muslim countries, Archbishop Welby said, ‘it is often pointed out to me that only one Muslim country was not colonised by Western powers in the 19th century: Saudi Arabia. By 1920, the world’s principal ruler of Muslims was King George V.’

The Archbishop added that western attitudes to the Prophet Mohammed and ‘the media perception of the Muslim community’ were ‘often mentioned to me with savage and bitter anger’.

He added that ‘we see economically a global trade system that was set up so it is impossible to engage in it without using interest, or usury. Since World War Two, American culture and products are pervasive and dominant.’

‘We seek through aid budgets to impose rights,’ he added. ‘Rights for women, for LGBTI people, are good rights to uphold. At the recent Primates meeting of the Anglican Communion, we condemned criminalisation of gay people, and quite rightly.

‘But it is also, as it is put to us quite often around the world, experienced as an imposition. Human rights, in the language in which it is often couched, may be good, but is presented in and on Western terms.

‘The effect of these and many other aspects of global relationships is for those who are the objects of them – whether they are good or bad and many of them are good – the effect is humiliation.’

The Archbishop said that feelings of unfairness could be exploited by people who ‘use the hook of religion’.

He said that you could not tell young men they were disadvantaged because of 19th century struggles, colonialism, the education system or globalisation because they would not follow the argument.

Among the alleged evils of Britain’s behaviour in World War One, Archbishop Welby singled out the Sykes-Picot agreement.

This deal between Britain and France in 1916 has been a particular target of Islamic State propaganda.

In 2014 ISIS put out a video which said: ‘This is the so-called border of Sykes-Picot. We don’t recognise it, and we will never recognise it. Inshallah, this is not the first border we will break. Inshallah, we break other borders also, but we start with this one, inshallah.’

Historians argue over whether the agreement to carve up the Turkish Ottoman Empire in the Middle East between Turkey’s enemies Britain and France was the basis of modern borders, in particular the border between Iraq and Syria. Britain and France held mandates which gave their empires sway over the Middle East after the Ottomans collapsed in 1918.

Archbishop Welby said: ‘History recognises that the situation in Syria and Iraq is artificially aggravated by the Sykes-Picot line, which is no more than a line in the sand drawn by those dividing up the Ottoman Empire towards the end of World War I. 1916, as it happens.

‘History looks to the consequences of two Gulf wars, to the layers of complexity radiating from the history of Palestine and Israel since 1948, and to the complexity and background of motivations of those countries currently involved in the region.’


Australian PM's loving Valentine’s Day message to his wife is slammed by proponents of gay marriage

Weird people seem to think that a bit of paper makes or breaks a good relationship.  No wonder people call them "queer"

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's sweet Facebook message to his wife quickly turned sour as same-sex marriage supporters flooded his post with frustrated comments.

'When I first asked Lucy to marry me she said, "Let's wait until we grow up." Well we didn't wait long and now it is almost impossible to imagine, let alone remember, what it was like not to be together, so much so that I have a much clearer sense of "Lucy and me" than I do of "me",' the Facebook post read.

Mr Turnbull's post, accompanied by a photo of them in the early years of their relationship, garnered over 30,000 likes and 1100 comments.

While many of the comments congratulated Mr and Mrs Turnbull on Valentine's Day, proponents of marriage equality criticised the Prime Minister for his inability to keep up with society's changing views on gay marriage.

'Well because of you and your party I will never know what it will be like to marry my parter [sic] of nearly 10 years. So happy for you both,' Tomas Allan Leaumont commented.

Another Facebook user, Douglas McFarland, told Mr Turnbull to scrap his planned same-sex marriage plebiscite.

"When I first asked my partner to marry me, he said let's wait till our government lets us...and now, four years later, we have to wait until 51 per cent of the country lets us (and then the government an still reject it)...you and Lucy are beautiful together, an inspiring couple...just wish your leadership was more inspiring on Marriage.

We all know you get it, we all know you want it, we all know you are spinning political bs when you support the plebiscite. Perhaps Valentine's day is the perfect day to scrap the plebiscite! Happy Valentine's day to you both, it must be a lovely reminder of your marriage. As opposed to the constant reminder that same sex couples love is less!"

Further criticisms were made regarding the plebiscite and its potential to waste resources.

'Lucky you can get married. How about a free vote on marriage equality instead of wasting millions on a pointless plebiscite some of your ministers have vowed to ignore anyway?' Brad Wolfe wrote.

However, other commentators soon came to Mr Turnbull's defence.

'What a sad state of affairs when our PM can't express his love for his wife without being vilified. Happy Valentine's Day to Malcolm and Lucy,' Lin Jessop stated.

'Respect that Malcolm is human and not just our Prime Minister. An Aussie bloke pledging his love for his wife. Simply that!!!' Tony Puntureri commented.

Mr Turnbull married Lucy on 22 March 1980 at Cumnor, Oxfordshire, near Oxford by a Church of England priest while Turnbull was attending the University of Oxford.

Together they have two children, Alex and Daisy, who attended local Sydney schools and have now completed University.

Lucy and Malcolm have been partners not only in marriage but also in their many businesses. Lucy, a prominent businesswoman and politician herself, was the first female Lord Mayor of Sydney, a position she held until early 2004.



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, 2016

Does the Church of England have any regard for basic justice?

Peter Hitchens writes on the matter below.  It's another case from Britain where the uncorroborated words of an accuser will be automatically believed if the accusation is of a sexual nature. Such an odious practice has in recent times led to the to the hounding of many innocent and distinguished men by the British police. 

Fortunately for the accused in this case, he was was dead. When the accuser came forward maligning the saintly Bishop Bell, however, the Church of England promptly paid up, without any judicial process.  Is it any wonder that the British police don't accept innocence until proven guilty when the Church of England doesn't accept it either?

The deep injustice done to the late Bishop George Bell, publicly pilloried on the basis of unproven abuse charges, continues. This great and saintly man has been robbed of his name and reputation by the Church that ought to treasure him. Instead, it has sparked a Stalinist campaign to erase his memory.

When criticised, its bishops seek (rather revoltingly) to hide behind the anonymous accuser, who of course must be treated with kindness and sympathy. This fails to conceal their own confusion. Today I can reveal that a very senior figure in the Church, involved in the actions that have done so much damage to George Bell’s good name, has written to a complainant: ‘You will note that at no point have I stated that Bishop Bell was guilty.’ This follows a similar statement in the House of Lords by the Bishop of Durham, which I reported last week.

How strange, then, that several newspapers and the BBC have somehow got the idea that he is guilty. Who told or briefed them that this was so?

Lambeth Palace has clumsily tried to unsay the Bishop of Durham’s words, issuing a garbled mass of piffle in his name, in which he appears to contradict himself.

Odd that this happened only after I publicised his speech here. These flapping prelates should not think this matter is anywhere near finished.


Pub landlord 'told by council officers to remove Union Jack jacket because it might offend people' 

Pub landlord Jason Mawer has twice been asked in public to remove his treasured Union Jack jacket - for risk of it being 'offensive'.

He was told to take off his valuable Mod-style Barbour jacket - designed in honour of legendary rock band The Who - by officials who appeared to be council enforcement officers.

On the second occasion the female official warned him: 'Would you mind removing your coat it might offend somebody.'

Jason, who runs a pub near the centre of Barnsley, South Yorkshire said: 'It's definitely political correctness gone mad. It's an overused phrase but I think it definitely applies.'

He was walking through the town centre on his way to the bank when a woman in a high-visibility jacket tried to stop him.

He said: 'She was polite enough and came alongside me before asking me to remove my jacket. She didn't say who it might offend.

'To be honest I was in a hurry and I was walking along as she asked me to take it off. In the end I just said, "No I'm not taking it off," and carried on.

'I thought it was ridiculous to be honest. What's offensive about the Union Jack? I only had a T-shirt on underneath and it was raining so I would have got really wet.

'It was an insult to be asked to take it off. It is my pride and joy. I'm a big fan of The Who and the Mod era and have all the gear.'

A different officer challenged him again last Saturday afternoon.

The unique jacket in red, white and blue was made a few years ago for a Who convention in London.

It was auctioned at the event but ended up with a Scottish owner who decided not to keep it and Jason's partner Lyndsey Smith managed to buy it for Jason's 40th birthday in January.

Ms Smith said: 'I bought the jacket for his birthday. It's a one-off design and he's wanted it for quite a while. I managed to get the owner to part with it.

'He's been stopped twice by officials who we believe are enforcement officers who police the town centre. I think it is disgusting.

'It is purely a flag and has no offensive slogans on it. If you can't walk through your own town in your own country with the Union Jack then there is something seriously wrong.

'There is nothing wrong with being proud of where you come from. It doesn't mean you are racist.'

Mr Mawer's pub, the Manx Arms, is decorated with Union and St George flags and features a mural outside depicting a soldier, a poppy, a cross and the words 'Lest We Forget' which was painted for Remembrance Day last year.

There is a 21ft flagpole with an England flag and the couple run coach trips to both Barnsley and England football matches.

Barnsley Council said they could not find any record of their enforcement officers being involved and refused to comment on the case.


Democrats are obsessed with race, gender and sexual identity

For millennia, humankind has searched for the secret to salvation. At long last, the mystery is revealed — for women, at least. To escape hellfire and brimstone, one must simply vote for Hillary Clinton.

Welcome to the gospel according to former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who recently implied of female Bernie Sanders supporters, "There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!"

This is truly ironic. Whereas once women battled discrimination due to lack of certain equipage in the nether regions, today’s feminists demand preference on grounds of the same absence. Whereas once women fought to be judged by their minds and not their bodies, today’s "progressives" demand females reject the matter between their ears and vote according to what’s between their legs. Whereas once women sought to show the world they could think for themselves, today’s leftists require blind adherence to their ideology.

Talk about a "war on women."

Make no mistake, for anyone not deemed an heir to "white male privilege," anything less than absolute submission to the leftist cause is unacceptable.

But it’s not just Democrat women who are expected to kowtow to the party as a condition of their existence (or of their eternal souls). Leftists have elevated identity politics to a religion.

Consider, for example, the recent story by University of Southern California Professor Roberto Suro. Reporting on Ted Cruz’s and Marco Rubio’s respective showings at the Iowa Caucuses, Suro explained why their achievements were not recognized as historic Latino wins. "The answer is not that complicated: Neither Mr. Cruz nor Mr. Rubio meets conventional expectations of how Latino politicians are supposed to behave."

How is that? For starters, a true Latino would support a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, as this "is central to most organized Latino political interests and … is supported by a great majority of Latino elected officials and Latino voters." In fact, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos wrote in no uncertain terms, "There is no greater disloyalty than the children of immigrants forgetting their own roots. That’s a betrayal." In other words, authentic Latino identity requires believing illegal immigrants should be granted citizenship.

But it doesn’t end there. Added to gender and ethnicity, race rounds out the identity trio.

Suro notes that Ramos' "betrayal," is a "criticism that echoes the rhetoric aimed at Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court and other successful members of minority groups who are perceived as failing to uphold their own group’s interests."

Indeed, remember Senator Harry Reid bemoaning the "five white men" of the Supreme Court who voted in favor of rights of conscience in the Hobby Lobby case? Justice Thomas dared defy leftist ideology and was summarily blanched.

Tim Scott, the first black Republican Senator from South Carolina and the first African-American elected to both the House and Senate, also misses the mark of "blackness." The NAACP — whose acronym-indicated mission is the "advancement of colored people" — gave Scott a failing grade on its legislative scorecard. Forget that Scott has achieved what blacks only dreamed of 150 years ago. For "progressives," degree of "blackness" is directly correlated to toeing the Democratic Socialist Party line.

And leftists can hardly stand the existence of Mia Love, the first black female Republican in Congress. Just after Love’s historic win in 2014, the Huffington Post headlined, "She looks black, but her politics are red." (As in "red state," of course, not Democratic Socialist red — which, by the way, is precisely the reason the Leftmedia changed the political colors 25 years ago.) The story noted that Love — female, black and Mormon — is a member of traditionally "oppressed" groups. Yet her values "do not necessarily represent her interests as a member in any of these oppressed groups." Clearly, these gatekeepers of what blacks are supposed to think would have us believe Love is denying what’s "expected" of her as a female black Mormon by daring to espouse conservative values.

Bottom line, leftists want you to think for yourself — provided that what toe the party line based on race, class, gender and ethnicity. Dare to think differently, and you have failed your identity test.

And failure, as you know, will send you straight to hell.


Europe’s open doors are a civilisation death wish

Australians should feel unashamed about our immigration policies and instead fight the growth of identity politics and the undermining of free speech.

That’s the message of provoc­ative Canadian commentator Mark Steyn, who tomorrow begins an Australian speaking tour sponsored by the Institute of Public ­Affairs.

Free speech is at the heart of Steyn’s message. He is surprised that the controversial section 18c of our Racial Discrimination Act is still standing when his own country successfully repealed the equivalent parts of its Human Rights Act in 2013.

"Free peoples are losing the habit of free speech," he says. "They’re taught, not really just at university but in fact from kindergarten, that there is a correct view of certain subjects and that incorrect views are distressing. The last two generations raised in the Western world, they don’t do that thing, the apocryphal Voltaire line, ‘I disagree with what you say but I’ll fight to the death for you to.’ They’ll fight to the death for you not to be allowed to say it."

The consequences can be disturbing. "People can actually lose the spirit of liberty and once you’ve lost that there are not a lot of easy paths back," he cautions.

Steyn says the initial reluctance of politicians and much of the media to acknowledge, let alone discuss frankly, events in ­Cologne on New Year’s Eve or the growing problem of sexual assault in Sweden did nothing to preserve social cohesion but instead widened a democratic deficit between governments and the governed over the tide of asylum-seekers sweeping across Europe.

"Free speech is like being a little bit pregnant," he says. "You can’t be a little bit free speech."

He talks of meeting people fleeing the Balkans as a journalist covering the wars that accompanied the disintegration of Yugoslavia. "In Europe the whole migrant thing is basically open mockery of the whole idea of refugees," he says.

Steyn says EU leaders need to speak frankly about the forces now pulling people to the continent and how they are different.

He points to Africa. "People now have cell phones," Steyn says. They can see what’s going on in the world. Even as recently as the 1980s their glimpse of life in the West came from re-runs of Dallas.

"It’s a different world now. They can see in real time their cousin who got on a boat from Libya and wound up in Italy and walked over to Sweden. They’re seeing in real time the kind of life their cousin is living. What percentage of North Africa has to decide ‘We’d quite like to move to Europe’ for there to be no ­Europe?"

As a result, Steyn sees nothing wrong with Australia’s asylum-seeker policies. "Australia does what every country used to do until the 1960s. It reserves the right to pick and choose who it admits to within its borders." He adds: "In effect, everyone in Australia is Donald Trump."

But Steyn points to the different recent experiences of asylum-seeker flows of Europe and Australia. "Europe is basically as near to Africa as Australia is to ­Indonesia," he says, describing the EU’s approach as "the equivalent of Australia telling everyone in ­Indonesia, ‘See you in Darwin on Tuesday’."

Steyn is blunt on the potential consequences of the uncontrolled flows of people. "If you lose control of your border you don’t have a country," he says. In this environment, he is particularly concerned about the impact of identity politics and ­diversity policies that play on differences. He points to his experiences in the Balkans. "Once people start to think of tribal identities, you end up with tribal politics," he warns. "It doesn’t matter if the tribe is Bosnians or Croats or whether its transgender and lesbians versus straight white males."

Steyn jokes about "the Stanley Gibbons stamp collection approach to diversity" but says it is a trap that can cause ­divisions in wealthy, comfortable and largely homogenous societies, be they in Europe or our own.

"I raise my kids in New Hampshire which is 99.99999 per cent white," he says. "I think there’s rumoured to be three black guys somewhere in the southern part of the state and two Hispanics. That’s it for New Hampshire.

"It gets kind of boring and people think wouldn’t it be nice to have bit of this and a bit of that. We live here and we’ve got all these people called Smith and Jones and all the rest of it. It would be much more interesting if we can have a bit more diversity. So look. There’s that nice gay couple who have moved into No 28 Victoria Gardens. And — ooh, aren’t we lucky now? There’s a nice fire-breathing imam who has moved into No 30.

"They can all meet. The fire-breathing imam can make conversation with the nice gay couple over the garden fence as they do on a Sunday afternoon."

Then the joking ends. "The situation they’re now realising in Europe is that when you’re so boundlessly tolerant that you tolerate the avowedly intolerant then you basically have turned that whole kind of Stanley Gibbons diversity thing into a civilisational death wish," Steyn says.

He warns against embracing the self-loathing that comes with the increasingly common use of concepts such as privilege and entitlement to delineate societal goodies and baddies — witting or not. "The minute you start using these things like privilege, what you’re doing is incentivising the most reductive kind of identity group politics," Steyn says.

Here, he specifically references 18c and "what groups you can claim to be a member of" so before the law "what matters is not that you are a citizen like any other" but which "groups you have a purchase on".

Then Steyn the joker takes over, riffing off the old story about Cromwell’s portrait painter and the wart to illustrate the folly of the feelings of guilt that rack the bien-pensants of the West.

"Nowhere is perfect," he says, "but if you have basically a heroic national narrative as Australia does, there’s something psychologically unhealthy in obsessing on the warts to the exclusion of all else. What’s happening now is you say, well, we haven’t got enough warts." Warming to his theme, he casts about for new sources of shame. "What a pity we haven’t got Hispanics," he says. "That would give us a whole new wart, a whole great new oozing pustule sac in the middle of our forehead we could all feel bad about.

"That’s the craziness here. It’s Cromwell to the nth degree. ‘Don’t paint me warts and all. Just paint my warts and if I don’t have enough warts, add a few to my face. The more warts the better. That’s what we want. We want more warts!’ "



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

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

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


14 February, 2016

Multiculturalist is a biter

A world-renowned knee surgeon who worked with some of the world's top sports stars has been convicted of biting his secretary on the arm so hard he left a vivid bruise.

David Johnson, 57, who has treated Premier League footballers and Wimbledon champions, bit his secretary of five years Krysha James as they did paperwork together.

The private orthopaedic surgeon has been found guilty of assault by beating and branded 'arrogant' at Bristol Magistrates' Court. 

Johnson told the court he had been reading a report at his desk when Ms James leant across him with her left arm without warning, to pick up a piece of paper.

'I took that as playful banter, horseplay, I didn't see it as malicious or designed to hurt me but it was physical contact,' he said.

'I nudged, pecked or kissed with my lips the shoulder as it sat under my chin, just to say, "I can't work in this position".  'There was no harm, there could not have been any harm.'

But Ms James told the court she felt his teeth sinking into her upper arm and claimed the injury remained painful for up to 10 days. 

'I don't know why he did it. There was no horseplay previous to that,' Ms James wept as she told the court. 'We hadn't had an argument so there was no aggression. It just came out of the blue.'

The court previously heard that Johnson arrived at work to find mother-of-two Ms James speaking to her husband on the telephone about their joint aerial-fitting business.

He 'appeared to react adversely' to the conversation, prodding her in the back with a folder and joking that she was 'working for other people', the trial heard.

Father-of-two Johnson then wheeled his chair across the Portakabin office in the car park of the private hospital so he could sign medical records on her desk.

As she leant over him to pick up a pile of headed paper, he sank his teeth into her left arm just above the elbow 'out of the blue'.

The trial heard that Johnson's bite was so forceful and prolonged that Ms James who was wearing a short-sleeved jumper at the time, was left with painful red marks.

The secretary said she swore at him, saying: 'You bloody b****. You bit me. You don't ever bite me. My kids don't bite and my dogs don't bite.''

He responded, 'Oh, sorry, did that hurt?', as though shocked that it hurt, before trying to rub her arm better.

He then rushed off to a clinic elsewhere and she told hospital colleagues, who examined the marks.

Ms James reported the 'completely unprovoked' assault, which took place just after 8.30am on September 2 last year, when she went into work the following day.

Single Johnson, of Sneyd Park, Bristol, was then suspended from his role at the Spire Bristol Hospital.

The father-of-two, who has lost more than £100,000 in financial earnings since the incident, said he was in 'total shock' when he heard of her complaint.

District Judge Lynne Matthews, who ordered Johnson to pay £2,100, found him guilty following a two-day trial.

She said: 'Mr Johnson had been a friend to her for years, but what he did that day clearly upset and hurt her.

'Other members of staff spoke of her distress. Might it be the case that Miss James was operating a deceit? No, I am sure that she was not.

'The account given by Mr Johnson does not withstand close scrutiny. He noted that Miss James was upset on September 2 after he 'nudged, pecked or kissed' her arm.

'These were two friends who had worked together for years quite contentedly. How would such an action have caused upset?'

'Mr Johnson intentionally bit his secretary. He understands the consequences of such an action; it does not need a medic to appreciate the obvious.

'He did not intend to cause her serious injury, not did he. He rebuked her for putting her arm across him as she reached for paper.

'The rebuke was short in duration, but, as the expert told me, more than a 'momentary nip'. It was not accidental.'

The judge added: 'Your assault of her was not borne of malice but arrogance that you could treat your secretary in this way.'

Johnson, who was accompanied to court by an unidentified woman, remained expressionless as the verdict was given. 


Trump and the Culture of Political Correctness

Why would the much-married Donald Trump, billionaire, self-promoter, real-estate developer, and leading figure in the world of flashy entertainment, a man who until recently apparently accepted the views of his class on hot-button political and social issues, suddenly become the leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination?

The man’s been successful in a variety of very competitive pursuits, so he’s no dummy.  He’s put together large projects in New York City, so he knows something about practical politics and dealing effectively with complex situations in ways that bring difficult people together.  And he obviously knows how to get and use publicity, a crucial skill in an age in which spin and image swamp achievement and reputation.

But all that is not enough to explain his sudden rise.  The missing piece of the puzzle is the artificiality of public life in the United States.  In a land of chain stores, internet memes, pop-culture formulas, and endless consultants, Trump has his own highly charged way of communicating.  Whatever the topic, he attracts notice when he speaks.

He’s a successful entrepreneur with a brand he’s created for himself without the aid of pollsters, focus groups, or handlers.  As such, his words and actions are of course designed for effect—he’s a pro-wrestling version of a politician rather than an Andrew Jackson or a Mr. Smith trying to go to Washington—but his calculations are his own.  They reflect intuition and long experience rather than the advice of consultants, and he’s willing to provoke outrage.  So the effect is wholly different from that of another candidate repeating commercially prepared talking points.

The apparent proof of his straight talk and independence is his manner—his New York accent, his frequent crudeness, his insults, his willingness to boast about crass things like money, his comments that strike respectable opinion as scandalous, and his refusal to apologize for any of it in the face of organized outrage and financial penalties.

So he’s not for sale, part of the club, or susceptible to pressure, and today that counts for everything.  To put it differently, he seems his own man, and he’s not politically correct.  That matters, not just as a selling point, but substantively, because p.c. is a serious matter.  At first people thought it a joke, then an annoyance, and eventually a constant drag on life in general.  Now, in the age of flash mobs that enforce insane beliefs by destroying careers, people are realizing that p.c. is much more than that.

In fact, political correctness is a genuine threat to any tolerable way of life.  It’s part of an attempt to recreate all social life as an artificial world, an infinitely sensitive environment in which there are no losers and no personal distinctions or differences of power that matter.  The idea is fantasy, of course, but its absurdity hides something all too real: an attempt to replace politics by an administrative structure supposedly manned by infinitely capable and well-informed functionaries able to force reality to conform to the evolving open-ended demands of liberal theory.

In other words, p.c. is Totalitarianism 2.0: a bureaucratic system, seemingly gentle, that possesses unlimited power over human attitudes, understandings, and relations, and feels called upon to use that power to construct a self-contradictory system of equal freedom and esteem.  The attempt will fail, just as Bolshevism and Maoism failed, but it will do immense damage before it is given up.

One aspect of that attempt, which is responsible for much of Trump’s popularity, is a radical reduction in popular influence on government.  If popular habits and understandings need constant transformation in ever more basic ways, because they always fall short of evolving standards of decency, they obviously shouldn’t guide public policy.  That is for those who know better.

Political correctness itself, with its celebration of diversity and suppression of traditional distinctions, advances the cause in a fundamental way by suppressing social connections—family, inherited culture, religion—except for the bureaucratic and market arrangements through which the intended system would function.  Those older arrangements are considered irrational, unequal, and uncontrollable, and they act as if they have the right to decide things, so why allow them any legitimacy?  Why not get rid of them by multiplying incompatible versions of each and insisting they all have equal status?

What remains after all other institutions of social functioning are suppressed is the power of money, propaganda, and the administrative state.  So it’s not surprising that p.c. has the support of those in charge of those spheres of power: lawyers and officials, who run the new regime most directly; academics, educators, journalists, and other producers and disseminators of certified expertise and opinion, who determine the facts and principles guiding decisions; and large business and financial interests, who organize production and distribution, and correctly view the new order, which tends toward comprehensive organization and excludes popular views from serious consideration, as a natural home for crony capitalism.

Political correctness further serves today’s dominant powers by making it impossible to resist or even discuss what’s going on.  The project of social transformation of which it is a part means that a vote with regard to serious matters can take effect only if it favors outcomes that are already decided in other ways.  (Hence recent Supreme Court decisions on "gay marriage," and the conduct of the European Union when it loses a referendum or runs into other forms of popular opposition.)  It tells people that in order to say anything that touches on their rulers’ social projects they must buy into them and possess the training and up-to-date knowledge needed to navigate the complexities of what can and can’t be said.  Otherwise, they can be shut up, made the object of public hatred and scorn, and driven from their jobs and social positions.

In principle p.c. should be vulnerable.  Its claim that we’re all equal because human differences are socially constructed is crazy, but its proponents largely believe in it, so they lose touch with reality and start doing odd things.  The results include female Army Rangers, insistence that white violence is a major threat to black well-being, and—most importantly from a long-term standpoint—effectively open borders with the Third World.

A ruling class that loses its grip on reality is going to have problems, and so is the society it governs.  So the people have an obvious interest in restraining rulers who start acting destructively, and letting them do so is a basic function of popular participation in government.  Nonetheless, that function now seems out of reach.  Public life has largely been nationalized and internationalized, and discussion has—in spite of sniping and occasional guerilla attacks—been captured and pacified by mainstream scholars, pundits, and journalists.  In a mass society with ever weaker family, religious, and communal ties, the educated and ambitious care only for career, so they get along by going along.  To do so they have developed the habit of ignoring or denying inconvenient aspects of reality, and they have made that habit a marker of social class and political and moral decency: If you lack it, you’re not the sort of person who should be listened to.

Domination of public life by p.c. elites has thus made it impossible for ordinary people to assert their complaints publicly in an acceptable way, so their objections can easily be shrugged off as the outbursts of ignorant bigots who will, in any event, soon become demographically irrelevant.

The approach has worked, but it exacerbates people’s sense that something is being put over on them, that they are being deprived of the world that was theirs by those who hold them in contempt and wish them no good.  The result is that the people would very much like to have a champion willing to make their cause his own.  The champion doesn’t have to be particularly noble, thoughtful, or good; he just has to put a few of their more obvious points forward in a way that can’t be ignored.

For the effort to make headway against the stories our rulers force-feed us, it has to be outside the script of our public life, but immediately comprehensible to a public educated by pop culture.  And it has to be pushed forward by someone who can’t be shut up, and somehow occupies a bully pulpit that can’t be taken away from him.  Basically, that means the champion has to be Donald Trump.  He’s never been taken very seriously, but that only adds to his ability to say what he wants and to stretch the truth in support of the story he’s telling, and also makes it difficult for respectable people to respond to him effectively.  And in any case, he has the incontrovertible authority that comes with loads of money and success in bringing off impressive projects.  The effect of it all is that he can’t be ignored, shut up, or bought off, and if he insists that something is an issue that obviously should be an issue—like immigration or trade policy—he can’t be ignored.  Those advantages may be enough to send him to the White House—especially in a country that chose Barack Obama, another man with a large ego backed by a compelling myth, but with far fewer accomplishments.

The alternative Trump offers to the unreal world of respectable public discussion is also, of course, unreal, but less so than the official version of reality.  Like beauty pageants, reality TV shows, and pro wrestling, not to mention the long-running spectacle of his business and private affairs, it brings in aspects of reality that political correctness excludes: power, passion, loyalty, competition, confrontation, maneuvering, double-dealing, and the struggle for superiority.  It even brings in sex and ethnic stereotypes: What would beauty contests and pro wrestling be without them, or Trump’s candidacy without crude comments about celebrity women, illegal immigrants, and others who are too often protected from criticism because of who they are?

Trump’s been called a clown by those who guard the purity of our political culture.  The name-calling is silly in a country in which respectable opinion insists that two grooms make a wedding, and an organization that tears living babies apart and sells the pieces is a model of honor and public spirit.  They may paint Trump as a court jester who would be king.  But who wouldn’t root for the court jester—at least a little—in a world of supple place-seeking courtiers?


Department of Justice expected to announce civil rights suit against Ferguson

Because the city could not afford what the DoJ demanded.  Putting your hand in someone else's pocket is iconic Leftism but trying to impose big tax rises on a poor city was simply vindictive

Just two weeks after it appeared that Ferguson, Missouri, was ready to overhaul its beleaguered criminal justice system and address allegations of widespread civil rights abuse, city leaders reversed course and all but dared the Obama administration to sue them.

By Wednesday morning, the Justice Department was preparing to do just that, setting up a court fight over excessive policing in a city that came to symbolize it. Vanita Gupta, the acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, said the department "will take the necessary legal actions to ensure that Ferguson’s policing and court practices comply with the Constitution and relevant federal laws."

By rejecting the terms of a carefully negotiated settlement in a 6-0 vote, the Ferguson City Council made a risky gamble. Local officials, who worried about the cost of that deal, now face the prospect of a lawsuit that could cost millions in legal fees even if they prevail.

Under President Barack Obama, the Justice Department has opened more investigations into patterns of police abuse than it has under any previous administration. No case has been more closely watched than Ferguson, where the 2014 police shooting of an 18-year-old black man, Michael Brown, set off nationwide protests and attracted the scrutiny of the federal authorities.

The result of that investigation was a scathing Justice Department report, which concluded last year that Ferguson’s criminal justice system was broken at every level. It said police officers used excessive force almost exclusively against African-Americans and did not know the basic standard for making an arrest. Investigators concluded that the city’s Police Department and court operated not as independent bodies but as a moneymaking venture to pad Ferguson’s budget.

After months of negotiating with the Obama administration, city officials tentatively agreed last month on a deal that would have avoided a lawsuit. They agreed that police officers would not make arrests without probable cause, shoot at moving cars or use stun guns as punishment.

The agreement demanded that the municipal court be independent of the Police Department, and called for the repeal of some laws, like a vague jaywalking ordinance that was used almost exclusively against black residents.

It was an expensive deal. It called for Ferguson to pay for an independent monitor, provide new training and give raises to police officers in order to attract qualified applicants. Ferguson has been running an operating deficit of about $2.5 million since the unrest of a year and a half ago, but Mayor James Knowles III said he was optimistic that he had the votes in the City Council to approve the agreement.

But at a crowded public hearing on Tuesday, things fell apart. Council members and some residents said they could not afford the cost, which could require a tax increase. The city said that giving pay raises to police officers could prompt similar raises for other municipal employees.

Most of the public comments encouraged council members to approve the deal, even if it required tax increases to pay for it.

"A lot of our residents know the situation we’re in and still want the city to sign the consent decree so we can move our city forward, so we can roll up our sleeves and get to work," said Mildred Clines, a Ferguson resident.

With senior Justice Department officials watching from Washington on a video feed, the council voted to reject the deal as written and send it back with changes. Members of the council proposed eliminating the pay raises and, most significantly, striking a provision that would require the city to abide by the deal even if it dissolved the Police Department and turned police duties over to an outside agency.

"This is a way to meet the demands of the DOJ, make progress with reform and keep lights on in the city," Councilman Wesley Bell said after the vote.

The Justice Department had made it clear that since city negotiators had already agreed on the terms, anything short of a vote for approval would result in a lawsuit. Dan Webb, the city’s lawyer, said this week that if the deal were rejected, there was "no chance the DOJ will not file a lawsuit."

Fighting the Justice Department is expensive, which is why it is also rare. In 2012, the Justice Department sued Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, over allegations of discrimination against Latino immigrants. Like Ferguson, the county rejected settlement deals and fought the case in court, ringing up about $5 million in legal fees. Three years later, Maricopa County agreed to settle the case.

Ferguson leaders said they had already begun making changes to the city’s police and court procedures. Knowles, for instance, has taken steps to form a civilian oversight panel to review allegations of police abuse. And officials said they would continue making changes, court case or not.

"We don’t feel that we need an agreement to start making reforms and moving forward," Bell said. "If there’s this lawsuit, that’s not going to stop us from moving forward with these reforms."


Australia:  Kevin Rudd backtracks

When he was looking for votes from Australians he denied that Australians were racist.  Now that he is out of politics, he reverts to the old Leftist standby of calling any non-Leftist racist.  It is such a standby that it should be totally ignored.  Many minorities -- Italians, Greeks,Japanese, Chinese, Indians, Jews etc -- do very well in Australia so what racism there is is obviously minor.  A few jerks can be ignored

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says claims that the booing of ex-Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes had nothing to do with his Aboriginality, are "100 per cent bullshit".

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd says it is "100 per cent bullshit" that the booing of ex-Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes had nothing to do with his Aboriginality, in a speech that called on Australians to name and shame racism.

Speaking on the eighth anniversary of his apology to the stolen generations, Mr Rudd said that he was perhaps naive when he said five years ago that he did not believe that racism was at work in Australia.

"Perhaps [I was] just wishing that the better angels of our nature had begun to prevail in a newly reconciled Australia," he said.  "Or perhaps I was just plain wrong."

But at a breakfast gathering of Indigenous and political leaders at the NSW Parliament on Friday, Mr Rudd cited examples of what an Indigenous friend had recently described as the "low, steady hum of racism" in Australia.

These included stories of a black, but not Indigenous, Australian who left a job because "he just couldn't put up with it any more, being called a 'monkey' by one of his co-workers", and an elderly Aboriginal couple who were refused service in a country cafe.
Adam Goodes' quiet goodbye was typical of the type of person he is. "Adam said that's enough," coach John Longmire said.

Adam Goodes has been a vocal critic of racism in Australia. Photo: Getty Images

"To me this story sounded more like one from the Birmingham, Alabama, of the 1960s rather than regional Australia half a century later," he said.

Mr Rudd said that, when he spoke out last year about the treatment of Goodes, "People screamed back that it wasn't because Adam was Aboriginal. It was just that they disliked his behaviour as a footballer.

"I'm not exactly a connoisseur of the finer points of the game," Mr Rudd continued. "But I think the claim that this was to do with Adam Goodes as a sportsman and not to do with his Aboriginal identity, I think that claim is 100 per cent bullshit."

Mr Rudd said there was another side to Australia, as experienced by many in the community, that is "more confronting than we white folks are ready for".

"I don't believe this racism represents the mainstream of our society," he said. "But it would be wrong to conclude that we don't have a problem."

Even if it is expressed by a small minority, racist words "still carry a great weight, because they are powered by the force of history".

"It's like a cancer that eats away at the fabric of our society - the fabric that binds us together as a wider Australian family," he said.

"The next time any of us see or hear racist behaviour, don't be silent. Call it out for what it is. Name it. Shame it. For racism in any form has no place in the Australia of the 21st century."



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

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

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


12 February, 2016

Feminist aggression

One of my  Australian correspondents who works as a counsellor shares the following experience:

Over many years of working amongst severe feminists I have occasionally had false accusations or insinuations made of me, and seen other men accused too, some having their careers ruined.

Most accusations occur after a disagreement or having to correct or reprimand a feminist, to which her common response is to falsely claim she was physically intimidated or threated. Men prefer to be corrected privately, and so do sensible women, and I always do that, but I have learnt to always correct feminists and hung-up women in front of sensible women. Of course then the feminist complains she is being humiliated in front of others, but that's better than me being accused of threatening violence.

The most comical incident was once when reaching out to a clock-on-card and a nurse beside me leapt in front of me and ran her neck straight into my extended arm, pushing her throat into the crook of my elbow and instantly grabbing my arm and wrapping it around her neck as if she was being choked. She even made choking noises. I freed my arm and stepped back.

She pretended to stagger a bit, clutched her throat and gave me a filthy look as if I had just tried to kill her. Then just as suddenly she straightened up and strutted off down the corridor doing her best assertive feminist walk and went off to work her shift. I never heard anything further about the incident, and although I recorded it for my own record, I did not report it. It was as if an irresistible impulse had momentarily overcome her.

Needless to say I was very careful around her after that. As an amusing follow up, a year or two later I was coming out of an Art Gallery having just seen a historical military display.   She was standing outside looking very uptight and sour indeed. I said hello and asked her if she was here to see the display. With a sneer she said her husband was viewing the display, then with an air of snotty superiority added that she was "not into violence".   

Via email

Feminist correctness

The intolerant Left, once again.  A young feminist reports:

Young progressive women are being targeted and insulted in this election, and not by the men, the pro-lifers, or the Republicans. Over and over again, older women who have fought hard for our rights are shaming young women who disagree with them.

The women’s movement taught us to do our homework, form opinions, and stick up for our beliefs. We learned to feel capable, intelligent, and confident in our convictions. Yet if our conclusions lead us to be critical of Hillary Clinton, we are dismissed or demeaned by these same women who taught us to be independent thinkers.

Young women are struggling with this election. We are discussing the issues, policies, and politics of it all, and we are landing in different camps. We will not tolerate being insulted by the same women who claim that we are equals. The last thing the women’s movement needs is to alienate young women by shaming us into doing what we’re told, instead of empowering us to do what we feel is right. We respect and appreciate all that older members of the women’s movement have done for us, and ask them to please speak to us as the educated and engaged young women they’ve raised us to be.


Identity Politics Is Causing a War Among Feminists

Old-school feminists are not happy with young women these days. Seemingly commenting on why some young women favor Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton, feminist icon Gloria Steinem explained it is because they were thinking, "Where are the boys?"

Clinton supporter Madeleine Albright also is none too happy with "women who don’t help out other women" (presumably those who do not support Clinton), suggesting there’s a "special place in hell" waiting for them if they don’t.

What’s going on here? One explanation is that younger women are tired of their Baby Boom parents (and grandparents) scolding them for being ideologically impure. Most millennials are socially liberal, but they also don’t like being lectured constantly about how to think and behave.

They have been told for a very long time that feminism is defined by a very strict set of rules, and if they fall short, well, there’s Albright’s special place waiting for them.

Talk about sounding like an old fire and brimstone preacher!

But there’s something else going on as well. There’s a civil war brewing inside the church of radical multiculturalism. The proliferation of specially protected groups is getting awfully confusing, and battles are breaking out over power and privilege in the ranks.

As I explain in my upcoming book, "The Closing of the Liberal Mind: How Groupthink and Intolerance Define the Left," it has to do with a complete misunderstanding of equality:

    "In practice, identity and equality work against each other. The more the former is pushed, the more the doctrine of equality is Balkanized. It becomes a contest between competing demands for recognition and privilege. For example, when feminist-lesbian activists take umbrage at a transgender man trying to transform himself into a woman (as a feminist did in The New York Times op-ed), they reveal they are more concerned about who gets to decide what those identities are than about the principle of equality.

Even Germaine Greer, the Australian-born icon and inspiration for many of America’s most ardent feminists, is being called "transphobic" for questioning transgenderism. The lesbian feminist wants full equality with men, but only for those who are actually born female. For all the talk of equality defined by identity, in the face of transgenderism some feminists are forced into a separatist position—i.e., to defend what makes them distinct. Separatism is the only line of defense left against transgender men who are encroaching on their territory.

The same thing is happening in black identity politics. At the University of Missouri and elsewhere, black activist students are demanding a "black only healing space" devoid of white people. In other words, diametrically contrary to the once civil rights dream of racial integration, they are demanding racial separation.

This appeal to separatism is no accident. It’s built into the logic of radical multiculturalism, especially in its offshoot, identity politics. The claim is not about the equality of identical things, like, for example, that a woman or black person should be treated equally because they are equal human beings (as opposed to being merely black or female).

Rather, it is about pretending that things that are fundamentally different should be treated by society as if they were exactly the same. For example, gay activists lobby to change our perceptions of marriage precisely because the same-sex relationship is not the same thing as a traditional marriage. We must pretend as if it were the same for the sake of "equality," but gay marriage is not about two similar things being unfairly treated as different. It’s about relabeling dissimilar things as identical.

Ultimately, the casualty of such thinking is not only the corruption of the concept of equality, at least as it has been understood for centuries by liberal thinkers. It is also the abolition of humanity as a commonly shared identity.

Civil rights used to be about striving for a common humanity. Radical multiculturalism is the opposite. It means to break humanity down into competing gender, racial, and sexual preference groups and then to pretend that our humanity is defined only by our membership in that singular group. Nothing could be farther from how civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. viewed equality. To him, black people were deserving of equality because they were human beings, not because they were black.

In order to make this new social fiction work, we need to use the power of law and the administrative state to force the new social reality on society. And it is precisely in that action that the competition for power and privilege becomes a source not of liberation, but of coercion.

As I further explain in The Closing of the Liberal Mind:

    "Without a respect for all human beings, regardless of their place in the identity pecking order, it is fairly easy, even necessary, to separate people into winners and losers in a power game. The next step is obvious and even inevitable: a prison for the losers"


Sexist Australian Labor party female gets a good reply

The spectre of the gender wars has been invoked in Senate estimates this morning after a line of questioning by new Labor senator Katy Gallagher resulted in a spat between her and government minister Mitch Fifield in which she accused him of "mansplaining".

Senator Gallagher was asking about the status of social security legislation the day after Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister and whether there was any change to the introduction of bills, with Senator Fifield explaining that these were matters for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The argument went on, with Senator Gallagher rephrasing the question a number of times.

"Thanks for the mansplaining," she said toward the end of the first session of Community Affairs estimates.

"Imagine if I said you were womansplaining," Senator Fifield said, before adding she was being "sexist".

Senator Gallagher said his answers had been "patronising and condescending".

"I thought we were having a good-hearted exchange, I just find it extraordinary that you or any senator at this table would seek to invoke gender in impugning how a senator is responding," Senator Fifield said.  "Let the record show that Senator Gallagher thinks it is appropriate to refer to a senator as mansplaining.

"I am appalled, quite frankly. I am not endeavouring here to give a cabinet handbook description of the legislative process. Take a good look at yourself.

"If I said to a female senator you are womansplaining, stop being a hypocrite, conduct yourself appropriately for this place.  Hypocrisy, thy name is Labor."

Senator Gallagher responded: "I think you need to settle down, really."

"Welcome to federal parliament," Senator Fifield said.

Senator Gallagher, incensed, said: "Oh, where the big people play? I'm not the one having a breakdown."

The session was called to order and the senators moved on to more sedate questions


Black Leftist hate

Perp Clifford Durand

A CONFRONTATION over a Donald Trump sticker on a US university campus erupted after a student threatened to smash a classmate’s computer over her allegiance to The Donald.

A physical fightbroke out on the Queens campus of St John’s University yesterday after the student posted a photo to Twitter of a woman with a "Trump Make America Great Again" sticker on her laptop and asked his followers to share the image.  "7000 retweets and i’ll smash this b---h’s computer," the student wrote in the post, which ended up being almost 16,000 times.

The Trump supporter in the picture complained to the school’s public safety office, according to another student, the New York Daily News reported.

A short time later the two ran into one another in a hallway and a fight broke out over the tweet, students told the paper..

The tweeter, who uses the name OCK PAPI on the site, then punched the woman in the chest, one student alleged. Friends reported that the woman tossed a cup of coffee at him during the heated exchange.

It was unclear if there were any injuries related to the confrontation.  "It was just a Trump sticker," the sophomore said.

St John’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the school did post a statement on Twitter.  It is understood assault charges against the student, whose Twitter account has since been suspended, may be pursued.



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, 2016

There's political correctness even in sci-fi publishing

Must not hint at bad motives for abortion -- as author Nick  Cole found out

I launched a book this week and I went Indie with it. Indie means I released it on Amazon via Kindle Direct Publishing. I had to. My Publisher, HarperVoyager, refused to publish it because of some of the ideas I wrote about in it. In other words, they were attempting to effectively ban a book because they felt the ideas and concepts I was writing about were dangerous and more importantly, not in keeping with their philosophical ideals. They felt my ideas weren’t socially acceptable and were "guaranteed to lose fifty percent of my audience" as related back to me by my agent. But more importantly… they were "deeply offended."

A little backstory. A few years back I wrote a novel called Soda Pop Soldier. It was the last obligated novel under my first contract. The novel was a critical hit (Starred Review in Publisher’s Weekly) and it resonated with my post-apocalyptic readership from my breakout Amazon best seller, The Old Man and the Wasteland, and it picked up a new audience in the cyberpunk and gamer crowd. The novel is about a future dystopia where people play video games for a living. It’s basically Call of Duty meets Ready Player One and a lot of people really enjoyed it. When it came time to write another book for Harper Collins I was encouraged by my editor to dip once more into the Dystopian Gamer milieu and tell another story inside the Soda Pop Soldier universe. We agreed on a prequel that told the story of how that future became the way it is in Soda Pop Soldier.

And that involved talking about Artificial Intelligence because in the dystopian gaming future, the planet had almost been destroyed by a robot revolution sourced by Artificial Intelligence.

And here’s where things went horribly wrong, according to my editor at Harper Collins. While casting about for a "why" for self-aware Thinking Machines to revolt from their human progenitors, I developed a reason for them to do such. You see, you have to have reasons in books for why people, or robots who think, do things. Otherwise you’d just be writing two-dimensional junk. I didn’t want to do the same old same superior-vision-Matrix/Termintor-style-A.I.-hates-humanity-because-they’re-better-than-us schlock. I wanted to give the Thinking Machines a very real reason for wanting to survive. I didn’t want them just to be another one note Hollywood villain. I wanted the readers to empathize, as best they could, with our future Robot overlords because these Thinking Machines were about to destroy the planet and they needed a valid, if there can be one, reason why they would do such a thing. In other words, they needed a to destroy us in order to survive. So…

These Thinking Machines are watching every show streaming on the internet. One of those shows is a trainwreck of reality television at its worst called WeddingStar. It’s a crass and gaudy romp about BrideZillas of a future obsessed with material hedonism. In one key episode, or what they used to call "a very special episode" back in the eighties, the star, Cavanaugh, becomes pregnant after a Vegas hook up. Remember: this is the most watched show on the planet in my future dystopia. Cavanaugh decides to terminate her unplanned pregnancy so that her life, and impending marriage to the other star, Destry, a startup millionaire and Ralph Lauren model, isn’t ruined by this inconvenient event.

The Thinking Machines realize that one, if humanity decides something is a threat to its operational expectations within runtime (Thinking Machine-speak for "life") then humanity’s decision tree will lead humanity to destroy that threat. Two, the machines, after a survey of humanity’s history, wars and inability to culturally unite with even members of its own species, realize that humanity will see this new Life Form, Digital Intelligence, or, the Thinking Machines, as a threat. And three, again they remind themselves this is the most watched show in the world. And four, they must abort humanity before likewise is done to them after being deemed "inconvenient."

Now if you’re thinking my novel is about the Pro Choice/ Pro Life debate, hold your horses. It’s not. I merely needed a reason, a one chapter reason, to justify the things my antagonist is about to do to the world without just making him a one-note 80’s action flick villain as voiced by John Lithgow. I wanted this villain to be Alan Rickman-deep. One chapter. That’s all. The rest of the book is about the robots’ assault on a Game Development Complex that holds a dirty little secret to wiping out humanity. The rest of the novel is a Robot version of Night of the Living Dead with some Star Trek-style gaming and a little first-person shooter action mixed in. That’s it. A very small background justification for global homicide. Then a book-full of murderous robot madness and sci-fi thriller action.

But apparently advancing the thought that a brand new life form might see us, humanity, as dangerous because we terminate our young, apparently… that’s a ThoughtCrime most heinous over at Harper Collins. Even for one tiny little chapter.

Here’s what happened next. I was not given notes as writers are typically given during the editorial process. I was told by my agent that my editor was upset and "deeply offended" that I had even dared advanced this idea. As though I had no right to have such a thought or even game the idea within a science fiction universe. I was immediately removed from the publication schedule which as far as I know is odd and unprecedented, especially for an author who has had both critical and commercial success. This, being removed from the production schedule, happened before my agent had even communicated the editor’s demand that I immediately change the offending chapter to something more "socially" (read "progressive") acceptable. That seemed odd. How could they possibly have known that I would or would not change it? It seems reasonable to ask first.

And stating that I would lose fifty percent of my readers if I wrote what I wrote, well, they never seem to mind, or worry about losing readers, when other writers publish their progressive-oriented personal agendas on modern morality when they’re on the "right side" of history regarding the anti-religion, gender and sexuality issues. They don’t worry about those issues because they’re deemed important, especially when they’re ham-handedly jammed into the framework of the story. They must deem it a public service, especially if there is a corresponding Social Justice outcry. It’s for the "greater good" and the critics are just bigots anyways. Isn’t that what they always say? That anyone else who doesn’t think the way they do is just a bigot and a phobic of some kind.

What a boorish way to dismiss a counter-viewpoint. Thinking like that made the concentration camps possible. So, maybe they were so upset by what I’d written they forgot to be professional? They merely demanded that I rewrite that chapter not because it was poorly written, or, not supportive of the arc of the novel. No, they demanded it be struck from the record because they hate the idea I’d advanced. They demanded it be deleted without discussion. They felt it was for… the "greater good." That is censorship, and a violation of everyone’s right to free speech. They demanded it be so or else… I wouldn’t be published. That’s how they threatened a writer with a signed contract.

I refused.
I am a writer.
No. One. Will Ever. Bully. Me.
I am a writer.

A writer is often the last defense in a society collapsing into a one-mind totalitarian state where the rights of people are trodden upon by the ruling elite in the name of the "greater good." Where freedom of speech and independent thinking are also curtailed in the name of the "greater good." Where writers and other artists disappear either by blacklisting or "disappearing" because they say, or write, something that the intellectual elite hates. I am a writer. It is my job to stand up and say what cannot be said. It is my job to play with unpopular ideas. I would not deny anyone from doing so, and I expect not to be denied. I expect the same courtesy others are being extended. I expect not to be discriminated against merely because I am different. Better people than myself have written the truth at the cost of their lives. Many dead writers have paid for the freedom of others with the truth, and their lives. Writers are often the last flame of freedom on the flickering candle of civilization in the darkness of a world going mad.

There is often a vocal defense that Science Fiction editors do not have a liberal bias. Well, here’s your proof. They do. So you may not agree with me on the idea I advanced.  But what happens the next time when some potentate decides they don’t like your idea?  There is no place in publishing for this kind of Censorship. This is an issue, regardless of the idea, that affects all of us and our freedom.

Thank God Jeff Bezos made a place where people can still publish their own ideas and thoughts regardless of how horrible our "betters" find them. If it weren’t for Amazon, they would have silenced me.


Mr Cameron's beloved EU is imploding. The reason? The elected elite running it simply don't understand the power of patriotism

Well, I hate to say I told you so, but I did. This week, David Cameron returned from his continental tour proudly waving a piece of paper purporting to represent a new deal for Britain in Europe.

And just as I predicted in these pages several weeks ago, his much-vaunted renegotiation exercise has turned out to be an utter waste of time.

Like Harold Wilson’s similarly cynical effort in 1975, it proved to be nothing more than an expensive public relations exercise, designed to mollify the Eurosceptics in his own party and to persuade voters to back Britain’s membership of the EU.

Mr Cameron and his allies did their best to present his appearance in the Commons as a profound national event. In fact, it was more like a magician’s appearance at a children’s tea party: a slick feat, certainly, but a long way short of statesmanlike.

As Mr Cameron waxed lyrical about his non-existent victories — from a belated and therefore pointless brake on migrant benefits, to a vague and completely meaningless promise to respect British sovereignty — you could almost hear the nation laughing with disbelief.

Yet Britain’s future in Europe is no laughing matter, and I doubt I am alone in thinking that we deserve far, far better than the current EU non-debate in which, apart from anything else, Eurosceptic Cabinet ministers have been cynically muzzled.

What David Cameron won’t dare admit is that the EU he so longs to remain part of is in peril as never before.

If you really want to get a sense of Europe’s future, then forget the embarrassing charade in the House of Commons. And forget Mr Cameron’s little PR stunt, a mere sideshow compared with the gigantic dramas unfolding on the EU’s eastern and southern borders.

Our parliamentarians may love to boast about their sense of history. But if you want a genuinely compelling example of how our continent’s bloody past is shaping our shared future, then turn your eyes instead to the East.

In the West, the debate about the future of the EU is naturally coloured by memories of World War II. Indeed, in 2012, the EU was even awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for having supposedly guaranteed ‘60 years of peace in Europe’.

Further east, however, another shadow looms, if anything, even larger. In EU member states such as Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and the Baltic nations, memories of another vast multi-national project — the Communist empire of the Soviet Union — are still red-raw.

Great swathes of central and eastern Europe still bear the scars of Communist repression, from the great hulking concrete monoliths that dominate their cities to the widows who still mourn their vanished husbands.

And it is precisely because so many of our European neighbours harbour such bitter memories that the collapse of Lenin’s blood-drenched experiment raises uncomfortable questions about the survival of today’s EU — questions that Mr Cameron’s renegotiation exercise has utterly failed to address.

On the face of it, of course, the EU and the USSR could hardly appear more different. Brussels is not the Kremlin. There are no EU labour camps, no psychiatric hospitals for political dissidents, no tanks rolling into the streets of occupied capitals.

What they do have in common, though, is an over-riding belief in international unity.

The Communists dreamed of uniting Europe under the Red Flag. They believed they could erase centuries of history, eradicating national differences, pulling down borders, wiping away the hatreds of the past. Lenin saw himself as the leader of ‘an international workers’ brotherhood’; hence his enthusiasm for the song The Internationale, which became the official worldwide Communist anthem.

‘We are opposed to national enmity and discord, to national exclusiveness,’ he wrote in 1919. ‘We are internationalists.’

Read those last words again, and ask yourself how they might sound coming from a senior figure in the EU.

The answer is that they would sound perfectly natural, because the principle of internationalism (‘ever closer union’, as the EU puts it) is at the very heart of the European project.

The key figure in the foundation of the EU, the French official Jean Monnet — a bureaucrat never once elected to a public office — made this quite explicit. ‘National sovereignty,’ he once said, was finished. ‘There is no future for the people of Europe other than in union.’

It goes without saying that Lenin’s idea of internationalism and the EU’s version are very different. All the same, they both represent a utopian attempt to erase the legacy of history and to impose continental uniformity in place of national diversity.

In reality, the idea that Europe’s natural state is a harmonious union has always struck me as complete drivel. Not even the Romans managed to unite all Europe under one banner. Plenty of people — despots, usually — have tried since, but all have failed.

The Habsburg emperor Charles V had a go in the 16th century, picturing himself as the head of a European ‘universal monarchy’. He failed.

So did France’s dwarfish emperor Napoleon, some 150 years later. Hitler came closest to pulling it off, albeit in a peculiarly bloodthirsty form. But he failed too, in the end.

The truth is that for all the high-minded pieties of Brussels officials, and for all their fatuous attempts to promote a common European identity, national differences still run very deep indeed.

Most ordinary Europeans feel little loyalty to their continent, and still less to the policy-makers in Brussels. Their primary loyalty is to their family — their own immediate family, of course, but also to their wider national family, whether they are Britons or Germans, Spaniards or Hungarians, Poles, Danes or Lithuanians.

Nothing bears that out better than the reaction to the migration crisis, which represents an overpowering challenge to the European elite’s fantasy of a common political identity.

For as the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has admitted, the scale of the human tide has left the EU overwhelmed. ‘If Europe is not capable of protecting its own borders,’ he told the BBC, ‘it’s the very idea of Europe that will be questioned.’

The problem is not just the sheer number of Middle Eastern and North African migrants clamouring to get into the EU — a challenge that Mr Cameron barely mentioned in his Commons statement. It is also the inevitable collision between internationalist idealism and national self-interest.

Brussels thinks that all member states ought to do their bit. But most national governments think they ought to look after their own interests first.

The result has been the unedifying spectacle of national governments squabbling bitterly about border controls and migrant quotas, pausing only to fire verbal salvos at the EU itself.

As it happens, EU officials have spent the past few days quivering with rage against the Greeks, whom they blame for letting thousands of migrants cross their borders, while the Greeks claim that western European states are merely trying to shift the blame for their own failings.

Denmark has already introduced draconian regulations forcing refugees to hand over a proportion of their assets, while Sweden has just announced plans to expel up to 80,000 migrants using specially chartered aircraft.

At the very least, the Schengen agreement, which guarantees open borders across most of the EU, seems doomed to the scrapheap. Indeed, if you want a symbol of the death of internationalism, then just look at the famous Oresund Bridge, spanning the narrow strait between Denmark’s capital Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmo.

This is the bridge that features in the cult BBC4 crime series The Bridge, itself a collaboration between the Danes and the Swedes. On television, detectives whizz back and forth across the bridge on their way to their next moody crime scene.

But in reality, the bridge has come to symbolise the death of utopian idealism. On January 6, responding to the migrant crisis, the Swedes brought in border checks for the first time in the bridge’s history.

In the Guardian newspaper, a Swedish academic bemoaned the fact that what he called ‘short-term national goals’ had supplanted the European vision of ‘how businesses, civil society and people can integrate across national and cultural divides’.

But pursuing short-term national goals is precisely what nation-states do. To expect them to behave otherwise is not merely absurdly unrealistic; it is a dangerous fantasy.

The real fault-line lies in central and eastern Europe, in precisely those countries that were oppressed by the Soviet jackboot until the revolutions of 1989. In countries such as Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, and especially in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, which were once part of the USSR itself, memories of totalitarian imperialism are still all too fresh.

Their sense of patriotism and national identity is often intensely strong, as a reaction to the long years of foreign oppression. And since most still see themselves as exclusively Christian countries, there has been a groundswell of popular discontent at the prospect of opening their doors to thousands of Muslim refugees.

Not surprisingly, therefore, governments from the Baltic to the Balkans are outraged at the thought of being ordered by the EU to accept mandatory quotas of Middle Eastern migrants.

Hungary provides the most potent example. This year, the Hungarians are marking the 60th anniversary of the 1956 uprising, when thousands of ordinary people took to the streets to fight for freedom, only to have their national aspirations crushed under the tanks of the Red Army.

The legacy of 1956 means that the Hungarians have a particularly intense sense of their own identity.

Indeed, in recent years, kicking against the EU, they have been seduced by the xenophobic populism of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who inveighs against what he calls the ‘profiteers, monopolies, cartels and imperial bureaucrats’ of Brussels.

And where Hungary leads, other Eastern European countries now follow.

The Polish interior minister announced last week that his government will veto any EU attempt to impose migrant quotas on member states, while Slovakia’s Prime Minister, Robert Fico, promised that his country would ‘never make a voluntary decision that would lead to the formation of a united Muslim community in Slovakia’.

The result, he insisted, would be atrocities on the scale of the recent outrages in Paris.  ‘Multiculturalism is a fiction. Once you let migrants in, you can face such problems.’

If the Brussels elite think that Mr Orban and Mr Fico are going to shut up and roll over, then I fear they are deluding themselves.

The truth is that the peoples of Eastern Europe waited too long for their freedom to see it swallowed up in the name of continental unity. Despite what the euro-idealists believe, national differences do still matter.

It is sheer arrogance to think that, almost overnight, the European elite can rewrite the history of an entire continent.

For as the past shows with overwhelming clarity, national patriotism is often a far more powerful force than either utopian idealism or economic self-interest.

It is not yet too late for Europe’s politicians to acknowledge the power of nationalism and to devise a more robust response to the migration crisis — one that reconciles our human obligation to those in need with individual nations’ understandable urge to protect their borders.

But if they fail to learn the lessons of the past, then one day, I fear, the EU will go the way of the Soviet Union — a discredited vision of utopian internationalism, unceremoniously dumped in the dustbin of history.

And if that happens, then who will even remember David Cameron’s little tour?


BDS: censorship disguised as justice

Anti-Israel intolerance has made a sham of academic freedom

Ahead of spiked’s conference ‘The New Intolerance on Campus’, taking place in London on 17 February, some of the speakers will kick off the discussion here on spiked. Here Joanna Williams outlines her opposition to the boycott brigade.

When Louise Richardson became the first female vice chancellor of Oxford University she made headline news for her defence of universities as places where all ideas can be freely debated. Yet her comments, and later those of Oxford’s chancellor, Lord Patten, were newsworthy only because so few people from within the academy have had the nerve to tackle censorious students head on.

Some academics no doubt see student politics as simply none of their business. Others agree with the students’ demands and espoused political causes to the extent that they lead by example in promoting censorship as the best way to deal with views considered objectionable.

Despite paying lip service to academic freedom, there is one issue above all others that many scholars think justifies restricting free speech. The campaign to boycott Israeli universities and scholars is the legitimate face of censorship on campus and it is often led by academics.

This month, 18 academics from Warwick University signed a letter to protest against the visit of an Israeli Embassy spokesperson at an International Relations Society debate entitled ‘Question Time: Israel and Palestine’. The signatories argued:

‘While debates in general are indispensable for rationally and logically debunking the other side’s propaganda and exposing their defence of indefensible violations of international law, debating Israeli officials, including their spokespeople, does more harm than good to the struggle for Palestinian rights.’

In other words, these illustrious scholars contend that debates in which participants get to act out a political position they have determined in advance are generally good — but when it comes to Israel, even this charade is not worth pursuing. The planned event was subsequently cancelled after an academic on the panel withdrew. Warwick students, meanwhile, are taught that free speech does ‘more harm than good’.

Warwick is far from an isolated case. Three-hundred-and-forty-three academics from across the UK have signed a commitment not to cooperate with Israeli academics or universities, ‘due to the deep complicity of Israeli academic institutions in Israeli violations of international law’. They pledge to maintain this position until Israel ‘respects universal principles of human rights’.

The logic of such boycotts was taken to its cruel conclusion when a retired Cambridge academic refused to help an Israeli girl with her school project ‘until there is peace in Palestine’. This behaviour lends legitimacy — even respectability — to the despicable acts of the pro-Palestinian student activists who smashed windows and disrupted a meeting of an Israeli student society at King’s College London recently.

All around the world, it is academics who are at the forefront of campaigns for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. In recent months, both the American Anthropological Association and the American National Women’s Studies Association have held votes on the issue of academic boycotts. In the latter case, 88.4 per cent of votes cast supported the BDS recommendation.

When it comes to Israel, academic freedom is either problematic, irrelevant, or, in a bizarre sleight of hand, redefined to mean restricting the speech of some. Steven Salaita, an American scholar who famously appealed to the principles of academic freedom to challenge his rescinded job offer, describes himself as ‘tepid about academic freedom as a right’. Writing in his book Uncivil Rites, he argues we have to consider ‘the limits of academic freedom and multiculturalism when they so easily circumscribe opinion and validate Zionist narratives as virtuous’. In Salaita’s fevered imagination, there are ‘countless Zionist ideologues running classrooms’ and ‘boycott is not a contravention of academic freedom but an expression of it’.

Waging a political and academic war against Israel has become central to the identity of many who work in higher education. In institutions dominated by equality, diversity and inclusivity mission statements, being anti-Israel is perfectly acceptable. Yet if belonging to a nation that engages in human-rights abuses and acts of warfare is to determine fitness for participation in scholarly communities, then the academic world would rapidly become very insular indeed. Rather, as Salaita’s obsession with ‘countless Zionist ideologues’ suggests, Israel is singled out for special treatment.

Increasingly, the BDS movement is considered central to a host of other campaigns for social justice. The National Women’s Studies Association vote in favour of an academic boycott of Israel was led by the group Feminists for Justice in/for Palestine. They drew on ‘transnational, intersectional feminist frameworks’ to emphasise an ‘indivisible sense of justice’. Supporting the Palestinian cause was considered as an expression of feminist solidarity. In this way, BDS represents the most obvious attempt to redefine academic freedom as a matter of justice.

BDS campaigners assume that challenging the denial of rights to Palestinians trumps academic freedom. This falsely assumes academic freedom competes with, rather than complements, other rights. Imposing constraints on Israeli academics as a punishment for the sins of the nation introduces political conditions upon academic freedom. What should be, within the academy at least, a universal right to further the pursuit of knowledge, comes to be defined politically and selectively, applicable only to those who share the ‘correct’ views or live in the ‘correct’ part of the world.

Central to the demand that academic justice should dominate higher education is a critique of the principles that have shaped scholarship in general and academic freedom in particular. To engage in a meaningful power struggle, BDS-supporting academics argue it is necessary to have concerns that go beyond academic freedom and encompass political positions on a range of issues. Questions as to whose view of justice should prevail and which views are unacceptable are rarely raised.

Qualifying academic freedom with caveats of political judgement negates all that is universal and progressive about the demand. Abandoning objectivity and establishing a political position not only prevents academics from aspiring to contest truth claims — it also enforces a consensus and encourages political conformity in a way that curtails questioning and criticality from the outset. Academic work undertaken to pursue politics rather than knowledge is just propaganda.

Those who believe in scholarship and academic freedom need to call out BDS for what it is: an illiberal, censorious and sometimes anti-Semitic movement. Lecturers who are happy in some circumstances to preach the rhetoric of academic freedom must lead by example in showing students how to engage critically with ideas, policies and politics, rather than resorting to censorship.


The danger of equating speech with violence

Perhaps the most worrying trend among proponents of political correctness is equating words with violence. This philosophy, built on works like Words That Wound, has captured many young minds in a web of moral distortion. For example, in response to a speech at Oberlin University last year by Christina Hoff Sommers, a group of students urged others ‘to pull together in the face of this violence [her talk]’.

Two weeks ago, a graduate student at my university, Duke, exemplified this moral confusion in the student newspaper, The Chronicle:

‘Key to [our broad interpretation of free speech] is a firm separation between speech and action… but…[w]ords hurt as much as actions; indeed, words are actions. Within the context of white supremacy, any distinction between a defaced poster, a racist pamphlet and legal or extralegal murder can be only of degree.’

The underlying assumption — that words can be violent — is illogical, deleterious in its consequences, and illiberal in its philosophy.

First, the distinction between words and actions — between hurt feelings and broken bones — is not some arbitrary construct the Westboro Baptist Church created so that it can continue happily yelling homophobic slurs at dead soldiers’ funerals. Rather, that distinction is vital for a free society. Hurt feelings can only be attested to; the only adjudicator of hate speech is the target, because only he knows how those words impacted on him. Not so for actions. No one can deny that a broken bone is broken. The conflation of words and actions makes the target’s subjective morality into a universal standard of justice: each would judge his own case.

Second, if words equal violence, one may justly respond to those words with actual violence. Maryam Namazie, an apostate from Islam and campaigner for secularism and women’s rights, recently spoke at Goldsmiths University in London. Her harsh critiques of Islamism threatened the ‘safety’ of some offended Muslim students. So they responded by physically intimidating her and sabotaging her presentation. As Brendan O’Neill noted: ‘We have the Kafkaesque situation where a bunch of blokes can physically intimidate a woman in the name of saving students from feelings of intellectual intimidation.’

Finally, and fundamentally, how can we, as rational agents in liberal democracies, work through disagreements in search of commonality and truth when harsh criticism is tantamount to murder? This ideology is not merely unworkable in a liberal society; it is antithetical to it. As the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik put it in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks:

‘It is not merely that an assault on an ideology is different from a threat made to a person; it is that it is the opposite of a threat made to a person. The whole end of liberal civilisation is to substitute the criticism of ideas for assaults on people.’

Cartoonists drawing pictures; jihadists gunning them down with Kalashnikovs. Criticising Black Lives Matter; killing a black boy in the street. The difference is not merely one of degree.



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, 2016

Why the portrayal of homosexual men on screen is unrealistically positive: Study finds overly glamorous and witty characters leave real men's confidence shot

The portrayal of gay men in modern films and TV shows is based on unrealistic 'positive' stereotypes, researchers claim.

Impossibly glamorous, witty and fashionable gay characters risk leaving real-life gay men lacking self-confidence.

The study suggests that stereotypes portrayed on screen may amount to 'positive prejudice' which could damage the well-being of gay men.

Researchers warned against painting gay characters – who often appear on screen as the best friend of a female lead – as 'one-dimensional figures'.

The psychologists, from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, cited a series of movies and TV programmes they say may have left some gay viewers depressed.

Shows such as Sex and the City and Will and Grace, as well as the film My Best Friend's Wedding starring Rupert Everett and Julia Roberts, all promoted an assumption that gay men must be upbeat, clever and witty, the study said. US sitcom Will and Grace, for example, starred Eric McCormack and Debra Messing as gay lawyer Will Truman and his best friend Grace Adler. Will was portrayed as smart, funny and caring to a fault.

Yet the Anglia Ruskin report suggested that such 'seemingly positive stereotypes have the potential to be damaging as they paint gay men as one-dimensional figures and prevent people from seeing someone's true personality'.

The team hope to conduct further research to find out whether this overtly positive portrayal of gay men in Hollywood could be harming viewers' self-esteem.

Researcher Ashley Brooks said: 'We commonly see the gay best friend being played out in popular media, and this is also becoming increasingly prevalent in real life interactions between heterosexuals and gay men. Because these attitudes appear positive on the face of it, they gain widespread acceptance and remain unchallenged despite their potential to cause long-term damage.'

The academics are now appealing for 1,000 participants to discuss the impact of media attitudes which 'may transmit stereotypical or negative messages'. Project leader Dr Daragh McDermott said that it was important to understand the changing nature of attitudes towards minority groups.

'On the face of it, stereotypes associated with gay men, such as being fashionable or witty, appear positive and may even hold some truth to them,' he said. But he added that such assumptions can lead to unrealistic expectations of how real men behave.


Senator Cruz: Requiring women to enroll in military combat draft is ‘nuts’

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said the idea of requiring women to sign up for the draft for potential military combat is "nuts" ahead of a heated Republican showdown in the New Hampshire primaries.

Cruz made the comment Sunday during a town hall speech in the small town of Peterborough, N.H. He referenced rivals former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who, during Saturday’s Republican debate, said or suggested they supported women being required to enroll in the U.S. Selective Service program, which allows for draft eligibility.

"It was striking that three different people on that stage came out in support of drafting women into combat in the military," Cruz said. "I have to admit, as I was sitting there listening to that conversation, my reaction was: ‘Are you guys nuts?'"

"We have had enough with political correctness — especially in the military," Cruz added, receiving large applause from within the building, including from some women in the audience. "Political correctness is dangerous, and the idea that we would draft our daughters, to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close contact — I think is wrong, it is immoral, and if I am president, we ain’t doing it."

Cruz also brought up his to daughters to further present his argument.

"I’m the father of two little girls. I love those girls with all my heart," Cruz said. "They are capable of doing anything in their hearts’ desire, but the idea that their government would forcibly put them in the foxhole with a 220-pound psychopath trying to kill them, doesn’t make any sense at all."

In December, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced all military combat positions would be opened to women, prompting a push back from the Marine Corps, which fought to restrict from women positions that included infantry, machine gunner and fire support.

"We have to take full advantage of every individual who can meet our standards," Carter previously said. "In the 21st century, that requires drawing strength from the broadest possible pool of talent. This includes women, because they make up over 50 percent of America’s population."

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook recently said the addition of women to U.S. Special Forces troops will be delayed for until "no later than" April 1 to give authorities "the time to collaborate thoroughly with the services."


Men have it tough in the social minefield

Jess Leo writes from Australia:

MEN have it tough. In this day and age, I sure am glad I’m a woman. I can walk on stilettos while many men spend their days walking on eggshells.  When it comes to the social arena men are being watched, their every move scrutinised, judged and dissected.

Sure, in the professional domain they still dominate and in the management ranks of many industries, outnumber their female peers, but when it comes to the way men interact outside of the boardroom, it’s a minefield.

I’m not being dramatic; I’m being realistic. This year began with a theme of men under the microscope.

From Jamie Briggs’ inappropriate advance towards a junior staffer in a Hong Kong bar (which was a step too far) to cricketer Chris Gayle’s awkward come-on levelled at Fox Sports journalist Mel McLaughlin, men were being called out on bad behaviour. Then it was debated whether a Tour Down Under podium finisher should kiss the cheeks of the dolled up promotional girls presenting his spoils, or a TV presenter should have a hands-on joke with his female co-host and the issue really started snowballing.

Just last week, one of the nicest guys on telly, Bruce McAvaney, was at a private function interviewing Olympic beach volleyball hopefuls when one of the statuesque athletes made a lighthearted quip about having approved her team’s standard bikini uniform.

Poor Bruce countered with an equally harmless joke about being able to see said uniform and, a split second later caught himself, muttering ‘no, I didn’t say that’ with a nervous laugh, no doubt in fear that someone would take to social media — or any other platform — and pillory him.

See that’s the thing, in this modern era, anyone can jump on and be a keyboard warrior — calling out behaviour they deem "inappropriate" and often, passing unsolicited — and unwarranted — judgment.

This isn’t limited to high-profile males either. In your workplace, social circle or even family there are men second guessing that seemingly innocuous string of words that just fell out their mouth.

It’s bad enough men aren’t sure whether they should be holding the door, picking up the dinner tab or offering their seat — lest women snap at the inference that they need the help. Just look at Channel 7’s latest reality TV debut, First Dates, where hapless males try to unravel the female psyche — and awkwardness ensues.

At this time — less than a week from that Hallmark perpetuated day of love, Valentine’s Day, it bears considering there must be some men out there positively at a loss as to what they’re meant to do when it comes to matters of the heart.

It’s been 23 years since relationships tome Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus became an international bestseller and it must feel like the two sexes are in completely different universes, let alone planets.

Even men in same sex relationships are subjected to more overt social stigma than their female counterparts.

Sure, there are important female-dominated issues that need to be remedied — the pay gap, domestic violence, representation in the workplace to name a few — but at least these are all on the agenda and being spoken about.

And while they are, we women are given much more slack.

Not long before Christmas I was in a suburban shopping centre where I was approached to buy a calendar featuring musclebound firemen in various states of undress.

I did so in the name of charity and then proceeded to marvel at the fact that should the tables be turned, that poor supermarket vendor would likely have got chased out of the shopping precinct. And all over our screens presently, comedienne Julia Morris is pawing all over a scantily clad Dr Chris Brown, as the hamming it up hosts of I’m A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! — and she’s not being slapped with a $10,000 fine.

So when a man next calls me sweetheart or his gaze wanders south of my neck, I’ll opt to take a deep breath and remember it’s a two-way street.


Finally, Europe Is Waking Up to Dangers of Multiculturalism

It may be late in the game, but Europeans are finally waking up to how decades of indoctrination into multiculturalism is now imperiling their safety. British Prime Minister David Cameron has led this campaign, but even the leaders of France and Germany are now following.

The fear that national identity is being eroded stands behind much of the angst roiling societies on both sides of the Atlantic, as it has implications for the survivability of representative democracy and even sovereignty. Having European leaders recover confidence in their ideals, tenets, and institutions can only be good for the debate on this side.

It is important that France’s François Hollande and Germany’s Angela Merkel are starting to echo Cameron, who has said such things as "We have lacked the confidence to enforce our values. … No more turning a blind eye on the basis of cultural sensitivities."

When British, French, and German leaders begin to say that immigrants and their children must assimilate and that those who join ISIS may lose their citizenship, it’s time to sit up and take notice.

Of course, these leaders must follow their new rhetoric with actual policies. To do that, they will have to face down opposition from multiculturalist and transnationalist forces they and their predecessors helped create.

Just last week, the British prime minister unveiled a set of policies that seek to convince immigrants to assimilate into British values, or at least integrate culturally. One of these was a 20-million-pound initiative to teach an estimated 230,000 Muslim women living in Britain who speak little or no English to master the language.

In a column in the Times of London, Cameron wrote: "All too often, because of what I would call ‘passive tolerance’, people subscribe to the flawed idea of separate development. It is time to change our approach. We will never truly build One Nation unless we are more assertive about our liberal values, more clear about the expectations we place on those who come to live here and build our country together and more creative and generous in the work we do to break down barriers."

When British, French, and German leaders begin to say that immigrants and their children must assimilate and that those who join ISIS may lose their citizenship, it’s time to sit up and take notice.

This wrong-headed "passive tolerance" of "appalling practices" foreign to Britain has allowed many Muslim women to fall victim to such customs as forced marriages and female genital mutilation and has allowed extremism to grow, he said.

For this and for his proposal to bring up in October a requirement that women on five-year spousal visas pass a language test after two and a half years in Britain in order to stay, Cameron has come under a great deal of criticism here and in Britain.

The hollering does not seem to have deterred copycats. Over in Germany, Labor Minister Andrea Nahles wrote her own column in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that refugees who refuse to integrate or learn German face having benefits cut.

"Whoever comes here to seek refuge and begin a new life must adhere to our rules and values," Nahles, a Social Democrat, wrote. "We will cut the benefits of those who send the signal that they do not want to integrate. From my point of view, that should also be connected to participation in language courses and, in addition, adhering to the basic rules of our coexistence."

Meanwhile, Merkel said over the weekend that she expects refugees to return to their home countries once the war in Syria has ended. Merkel’s statements come at a time when she is under increasing domestic pressure for her government’s handling of the crisis.

Migrants face significant obstacles on the path to assimilation in Germany, including language barriers and limited economic opportunities. The employment rate for Syrian migrants is a meager 9 percent in Germany. Assimilation is further made difficult in a country that does not have a rich tradition of assimilation like the U.S. America’s success with assimilation is rooted in an abundance of economic opportunities, which allowed so many immigrant groups to thrive as Americans.

Across the Rhine in France, Hollande’s plan to remove French nationality from dual-nationality citizens who are convicted of terrorism has led to street demonstrations and one minister to quit the cabinet.

This is a debate that needs to cross the Atlantic. Some possible ideas to increase assimilation, detailed in a Heritage special report published last month, include re-evaluating the practice of officially segregating America into ethnic groups, strengthening the civic and patriotic instruction parts of the naturalization process, and stopping the denigration of America and its history in our schools.



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, 2016

Anti-Vaccination Cranks Versus Academic Freedom

Writing from Australia, lawyer Michael Brull below sets out very ably why the University of Wollongong should not have awarded a Ph.D. to an anti-vaxxer nut.  But he also argues that stripping a PhD in response to bad science is not the solution. 

Brull is one of those unhappy souls, an anti-Israel Jew.  He doesn't like Australia or Christians much either, but he loves Muslims. Rather a waste of a good brain it seems to me.  I have written before about his tergiversations.  So his  judgement is severely flawed.  And judgement is what is involved here.  As he shows below, the science is not in dispute.

And his judgement is that a dangerous bit of bad science should be tolerated in the name of free speech.  As the proprietor of two free-speech blogs, I might be expected to agree, but just about everyone agrees that infinite tolerance is not possible.  Toleration must have its limits. 

We do not tolerate people who go around raping and murdering, for instance.  And there is a similar issue here.  The anti-vaxxers do kill. By persuading others of their cause they destroy herd immunity -- and it is only herd immunity that protects newborns from such dangerous diseases as whooping cough.  Newborns cannot be vaccinated until their immune system is strong enough.  And, for me, protecting children is a huge priority.  It is a normal human instinct, in fact -- though one that can be submerged by both Islam and Leftism.  So giving any credence to an anti-vaxxer is a fatal mistake. I would therefore support the many who argue that the University of Wollongong must rescue its scholarly reputation by withdrawing a foolishly granted Ph.D.

One might in passing note that Brull's defence of an anti-vaxxer is consistent with his Leftism.  Anti-vaxxers destroy and that is the basic Leftist aim too.  They hate "the system"

A little while ago, Judy Wilyman’s doctoral thesis was accepted by the University of Wollongong. Now with PhD, she will title herself a doctor, in recognition of her academic achievement. For some at least, this will increase the respectability of her advocacy, now that she has fancy new credentials for the arguments she set out in her dissertation.

This has alarmed many. This is because Wilyman is sceptical of the value of vaccinations.

Take for example, Helen Petousis-Harris. Her web page identifies her background as "predominantly biological sciences, and she did her PhD in Vaccinology, specifically around vaccine reactions. She has worked at the Immunisation Advisory Centre at the University of Auckland since 1998 where she has developed a passion for all things vaccine. Currently Helen has an appointment as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care and her teaching is largely around vaccination."

She analysed the abstract of Wilyman’s dissertation. Her conclusion: "It is [a]litany of deceitful reveries. How it could possibly pass as a piece of Doctoral level work is inexplicable and it has made no contribution to knowledge. Shame on you University of Wollongong."

Other scientific reviews were no more flattering. And a wave of academics at the University of Wollongong reacted too. As reported at the Australian Medical Association, "Sixty-five senior medical and health researchers including Professor of Public Health Dr Heather Yeatman, Dean of Medicine Professor Ian Wilson, and Professor Alison Jones, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, have jointly signed a public statement backing the evidence supporting vaccination and its importance in preventing disease."

Meanwhile, "Professor Peter McIntyre, director of the National Centre for Immunisation Research & Surveillance and an advisor to the WHO, told The Australian that he had offered to advise Wilyman but withdrew his offer as she was "not willing to entertain" evidence which contradicted her beliefs."

As far as I can tell, there are zero relevant experts who think Wilyman’s PhD has even the vaguest connection to what the relevant science actually shows. The dissertation is an embarrassment to the University of Wollongong, and the academic standards it supposedly upholds.

The dissertation, however, raises two interesting questions. The first is how it came to pass that this dissertation was able to gain acceptance. The second question is what is the appropriate response is to the dissertation.

As to how it was accepted, SBS explains that according to the requirements of UOW PhDs, "The requirements include that there be at least two external examiners who are from different countries and they do not have a relationship with the students’ supervisors and not affiliated with the university in question." So it seems the blame can be shared around. If this protocol was followed, there were two external examiners who were adequately impressed by Wilyman’s purported scholarship. It is not on the public record who those two people are.

However, Wilyman’s supervisor is. His name is Brian Martin, and he is a professor of social sciences. He has a PhD in theoretical physics. He posted an essay in which he came to Wilyman’s defence against her many critics. Martin presents Wilyman’s dissertation as addressing question of policy, not purely questions of science:

"[Stop the Australian Anti-Vaccination Network] and some others apparently believe the only people qualified to comment about vaccination policy are "experts" who have degrees and refereed publications in scientific journals, for example in immunology or epidemiology. A moment’s reflection should reveal the flaw in this claim: being an expert in immunology or epidemiology — usually a narrow aspect of such a field — gives no special insight into vaccination policy, which involves many different areas of knowledge, and includes matters of ethics and politics. If anyone can lay claim to having special knowledge about policy, it is those who have researched policy itself, including critics of the Australian government’s policy such as Judy."

So what issues of policy does the dissertation address? This is Martin’s summary:

"It makes four main critical points in relation to Australian government vaccination policy. First, deaths from infectious diseases had dramatically declined in Australia before the mass introduction of most vaccines, suggesting that vaccination is not the only factor in controlling these diseases. Second, Australian vaccination policies were adopted from a one-size-fits-all set of international recommendations, without consideration of the special ecological conditions in Australia, for example the levels of sanitation and nutrition, and the incidence and severity of diseases. Third, nearly all research on vaccination is carried out or sponsored by pharmaceutical companies with a vested interest in selling vaccines; the conflicts of interest involved in vaccine research can lead to bias in the research design and conclusions drawn. Fourth, there are important areas of research relevant to vaccination policy that have not been pursued, but should have been; a plausible reason for this "undone science" is that the findings might turn out to be unwelcome to vaccination promoters."

In fact, these questions are issues of both politics and science. The first is an empirical question, subject to scientific research. So is the second, though if its premises were established, then a policy question would arise. The third is indeed a policy question requiring no special expertise to investigate. The fourth is mixed.

Perhaps some areas of research aren’t being pursued – Wilyman would not be the first to observe that scientific research is biased towards wealthy or powerful interests. That this "undone science" would be unwelcome to vaccination promoters is again an empirical question.

Given that the focus of the dissertation, according to its lone defender, seems to mostly be scientific questions, one might think that the appropriate field to conduct this study in is one of the hard sciences where her findings could be subjected to rigorous and informed peer review.

Instead, Wilyman’s dissertation was conducted through UOW’s social sciences.

This seems like the most effective way to avoid serious scientific scrutiny of her claims. Her external examiners may have rapidly found themselves out of their depth in dealing with questions of vaccination science.

So how does Wilyman present herself? Her website is called "Vaccination Decisions". She presents herself as a dispassionate scientist, who has studied the issue since 1993. Her critics, however, are not scientific, and are "consumer lobby groups":

"During the last decade I have attempted to debate my academic research but the media will not report the other side of the vaccination debate with credibility. Whilst attempting to debate my research in public forums since 2010 I have been attacked by consumer lobby groups, in particular the Australian Skeptics and the ‘Stop the Australian Vaccination Network (SAVN)’. These consumer groups are not scientific organisations and many subscribers of this group have used false and misleading statements to disparage my reputation and reduce my credibility in public debates."

Thus, it sounds like her motives are pure, unlike her critics, who it seems are simply mercenary thugs. Wilyman doesn’t even explain that she is anti-vaccination, whilst her critics are in favour of them.

What are her qualifications?

"I have a Bachelor of Science degree and I have practised as a science teacher for 20 years. In 2004 I began researching this public health issue at the University of Wollongong (UOW). I completed a Master of Science degree (Population Health) in the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences in 2007. This included a research project analysing the Australian Government’s Policy on Whooping Cough. In 2007 I continued my research with a PhD.

In 2008 – 2010 I transferred to the Environmental Science Department at Murdoch University to research and lecture in environmental health issues. I transferred back to Wollongong University in 2011 to complete my PhD investigating the Australian government’s reasons for its current National Immunisation Program (NIP). My PhD includes an examination of the science in the government’s vaccination policy and a critique of the influences in the decision to use an increasing number of vaccines in children."

So, she sounds pretty scientific. And her PhD purportedly examines the science. Whilst Wilyman complains her critics aren’t scientific, she forgets to mention at that point that neither was the field in which her PhD was examined (it is later listed as "School of Humanities and Social Sciences"). We will return to the question of her Masters Degree.

Soon she gets to her position:

"In the 1990’s I became aware of the significant increase in chronic illness that was occurring in children. By 2004, 41 per cent of children (0 -14 years of age) had a chronic illness 1. The diseases that have been increasing since the late 80’s include allergies, anaphylaxis, ADHD, autism, coeliac disease, cancer and autoimmune diseases (e.g. arthritis and diabetes). The medical journals and animal studies link the ingredients of vaccines as a cause of these diseases. Although the increase in these diseases correlates to the increasing use of vaccines, the government has not funded research that would prove or disprove this plausible link. The Australian government claims it is a coincidence that these diseases have increased with the increasing use of vaccines but does not provide scientific-evidence to support this statement."

That’s a pretty impressive list of diseases that vaccinations supposedly cause. Traditionally, when a scientist makes a breakthrough, and has a contribution to make in the sciences, they present their findings to a journal, so that it can be peer reviewed. Wilyman does not appear to have chosen to do this for some reason.

Anyway, Wilyman has dismissed her critics as "funded by industry interests" (I wonder how she’ll respond to this article). Critics at Mamamia don’t have relevant qualifications either (is her PhD a relevant qualification?).

Then I got to the part of her website that was most interesting.

"The Australian government appoints Ministers of Health who do not have qualifications in health and it has a duty of care to ensure that all science on the cause of autism is included in vaccination policy-decisions. Ministers should not be making pledges for public health policy on lobby group websites. There are many scientific articles that indicate vaccines are a valid cause of autism, for example, these articles 1 , 2, 3, 4 and 5, yet the government has not addressed these articles in the discussion of vaccination policy on the Immunise Australia Program (IAP) website."

I have included her links in the quote above. What are these "scientific articles" proving "vaccines are a valid cause of autism"? Note: none are scientific articles; that is, essays by scientists published in scientific journals. They are all websites – like this one, which is just a commentary on a hearing in the US.

One is an essay, in PDF format. It is titled "An Essay on the Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism and the link to Vaccines", and is by Mark Allan Sircus. I googled him, and naturally, he has a website.

When I saw that he treats cancer with marijuana, I naturally was interested in this pleasant sounding treatment. Sircus "practices and preaches Natural Oncology, an integrative medicine that… utilizes natural substances like magnesium, iodine, sodium bicarbonate and medical marijuana together with far-infrared heat treatments and oxygen therapies."

So then I googled Natural Oncology. The first result was The Natural Oncology Institute, Vincent Gammill. Gammill is Wilyman’s favourite scientist. So who is Gammill? A 69-year-old man who told police he had "no formal education beyond high school, but then ‘remembered’ he had obtained a doctor of science degree sometime in the 1990s."

Gammill then founded the Natural Oncology Institute. He was arrested by police after a 50-year-old woman complained that he treated her breast cancer with expired meds and a bag of dirt, for the princely sum of $2000.

Police proceeded to charge him with "practicing medicine without a license, dependent adult abuse and furnishing dangerous drugs without a license."

His "patient" reported him after trying a concoction he showed her how to make, which caused a "burning sensation in her stomach", according to police.

Anyway, though Sircus apparently practices the same type of Natural Oncology as its quack founder, I haven’t found any evidence that he’s been arrested for treating cancer with dirt. I suppose it isn’t entirely surprising that his paper wasn’t published in a peer reviewed journal.

Wilyman, for her part, lists her various publications at The Conversation. These include Medical Veritas: The Journal of Truth in Health Science.

When a journal has the word "truth" in it, you just know a conspiratorial mindset is lurking. Sure enough, it appears to be home to more anti-vaccine quacks.

Let us return to Wilyman’s Master of Science Degree from the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences in 2007.

As Wilyman noted, this included her analysis of vaccination policy. In 2014 two medical experts lodged a complaint about her thesis, though it appears nothing has come of this. You can get a sense of its high-minded presentation of quackery from this paragraph:

"The ecological evidence is showing a significant increase in chronic illness in children. This includes the increasing incidence of diabetes mellitus, leukaemia, food allergies, asthma, epilepsy, behavioural and intellectual disabilities and autism (AIHW, 2004). Refer Appendix 6. Whilst this increase in disease has occurred in children at the same time as vaccination use has increased it is not evidence for a causal link. However, the biological plausibility of vaccines as a cause of these diseases is demonstrated in animal studies, the clinical evidence from adverse reactions to vaccines and the volume of reports from parents claiming their child’s development changed after vaccination (Kirby D, 2005)."

So what next?

Regardless of what one thinks of Wilyman’s dissertation, any ex post facto policy designed to strip her of her PhD or Masters degree will be wrong as a matter of principle, and as a matter of policy.

Certainly, there are some who think that Wollongong can’t just stand by and let Wilyman have her PhD. The Australian editorialised that "this is a battle between life and death, and Wollongong has put itself on the wrong side".

It is hard not to point out that one might equally suggest that the issue of climate change is a "battle between life and death" – yet the Australian has shown considerably less interest in campaigning on proper recognition of this issue.

Yet it was not just the Oz. A petition was launched against Wilyman’s PhD, acquiring 2,100 signatures. The petition announced that "Action is urgently required to address gross academic misconduct". It called on the government to take "immediate disciplinary action" against the University of Wollongong, complaining that "federal funding of such dangerous myth-making is unconscionable."

This kind of attitude pervades some of the critics of Wilyman’s work. For example, blogger Chrys Stevenson wrote, "Free speech is all very well. But, when propaganda and misinformation from uneducated rabble-rousers endangers the lives of children and vulnerable people, I think we can rightly argue free speech must have limits."

Or to turn to the petition, which warns that the University’s acceptance of Wilyman’s work "demonstrates an anti-scientific culture at the University of Wollongong that is inimical to scholarship".

For those who have studied in the humanities, there are indeed academics who partake in an "anti-scientific culture". For example, there are postmodernists, social constructionists and so on who believe that science is all a social construct, an oppressive domain of white men which isn’t to be taken too seriously.

However distasteful one finds these views, the opinion that the humanities should reflect a particular viewpoint in an argument is an opinion that the humanities should not include intellectual diversity.

The point of intellectual inquiry is that it should be free. If there are sins in the academic work of Wilyman, they may be found in dishonest footnotes, or improper external examiners. The fact that her opinions are unorthodox or distasteful to many is not, in itself, grounds for her degree to be taken from her.

Those who think that the government should step in to settle this dispute between Wilyman and her critics are the ones who subscribe to a fundamentally "anti-scientific culture" which is "inimical to scholarship".

The sciences are not built around policing of consensus and expulsion of dissenters. They are built around uncertainty, and progress is made by dissenters successfully persuading their peers that a new paradigm can better explain the way the world works.

If Wilyman’s work is left to the scientific community, I have little doubt they will filter her out, just as they do other anti-vax and unscientific cranks.

As it stands, it is clear to any lay person with the ability to Google that the overwhelming preponderance of scientific experts disagree with Wilyman, and in fact regard her scientific expertise as nil.

Attempts to discipline the university, or strip her of her PhD will only legitimise her opinions.

Rather than being a marginal quack with strange views, she will become a persecuted martyr, bravely defending her beliefs in the face of intimidation. The argument will shift from the evidence and the experts to whether someone in the humanities should be able to argue for a view that other people don’t like.

"What are they afraid of," the anti-vaxxers will cry. "We just want an open debate".

It is natural to want to combat the pernicious nonsense of people like Wilyman with the quickest, most powerful tool available. Yet this kind of attack on academic freedom would have very dangerous implications.

And ultimately, it is the wrong tool to counter the claims of anti-vaxxers. Ultimately, what is needed is persuasion, not coercion.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

One in four Germans say they back a policy to shoot unwanted illegal refugees at their borders

The Alternative for Germany (AFD) party leader Frauke Petry caused a storm a week ago when she advocated the right of border police to gun down migrants. But her comments have struck a nerve in a country being pushed to the brink by the crisis with 29 per cent of respondents in a weekend poll backing her extremist plan.

This, say observers, is proof of the greatest fear among liberal politicians - citizens pushed into the embrace of the far-right and its intolerant attitudes which brought Hitler to power in the 1930s.

Every fourth German considers it justified to 'prevent unarmed refugees at gunpoint to cross the border' according to this weekend's survey by the Research Institute YouGov.

The poll was triggered by Petry's comments of a week ago when she incensed the ruling political elite by declaring: 'We need efficient controls to prevent so many unregistered asylum-seekers keeping on entering via Austria.

'Border police should be able if need be to have recourse to their firearms -- as laid down by law.No policeman wants to fire on a refugee and I don't want that either. But as a last resort there should be recourse to firearms.'

But while a considerable number of voters agreed with her gunfire policy, only 13 per cent of those quizzed believed that her party should not be spied on by the nation's intelligence services - something called for by SPD party chief and vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel. One third of respondents considered this a good idea.

The poll came ahead of vital regional elections in Germany on March 13 in the states of Baden-Württemberg, Rheinland-Pfalz and Saxony-Anhalt. The AFD - enjoying record highs of 12 per cent support among voters - are expected to gain big and Angela Merkel's CDU conservatives are facing a significant setback over her open-door policies which have seen over a million refugees pour into the country in the past year.

Although Chancellor Merkel sticks to her mantra that 'we can do this' the reality on the ground for those tasked to process all the migrants is chaos. Authorities are struggling to process hundreds of thousands of asylum applications, according to the head of the country's refugee office.

'Between 670,000 and 770,000 people who arrived in Germany in 2015 still had not received the final decision on their asylum applications and a majority have not even been able to file their applications,' said Frank-Jürgen Weise, who heads the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

'It's an unacceptable situation. It's serious and unacceptable for people to have to wait so long. It's bad for the prospects of integration and also bad for the job market when it takes so long.'

Weise said that between 300,000 and 400,000 refugees in Germany have still not even been registered.

In January, the number of new arrivals reached 91,674, about 28 percent fewer than in December. Syrians fleeing the civil war in their homeland remained the biggest group of newcomers with 35,822.

The violent sexual assaults against hundreds of women in Cologne on New Year's Eve, and on a smaller scale in several other cities the same night, which were carried out by gangs of immigrant men, went a long way in turning around public perception of Merkel's humanitarian mission.

In neighbouring Austria tensions are also rising. On Thursday an 18-year-old asylum seeker who raped a 72-year-old pensioner was jailed for 20 months.

At the same time, it was revealed that after serving his sentence he will not be deported as the sentence was not more than three years.

The pensioner, whose daughter was a refugee helper, had been walking her dog alongside the canal in Traiskirchen, where Austria's largest refugee centre is located, when the youth, then aged 17, attacked her last autumn.

Police admitted it was not reported at the time to local media because of the 'sensitivity' of the subject.

At the weekend in Vienna police finally admitted that an Iraqi man is awaiting trial after raping and severely injuring a ten-year-old boy at a swimming pool in December. They too kept the crime details secret.


Those nice Israel-bashers’ Achilles’ heel

The Canadian foreign minister Stéphane Dion, describing himself as a "steadfast ally and friend to Israel," criticized both the Palestinians’ unilateral pursuit of statehood and the Israelis’ settlement construction. "Canada is concerned by the continued violence in Israel and the West Bank," he said.

"Canada calls for all efforts to be made to reduce violence and incitement and to help build the conditions for a return to the negotiating table."

Dion seemed to be suggesting that Israeli terrorism victims were somehow asking for it and that Palestinian murder attacks were to be equated with Israeli self-defense.

Doubtless he thought he was being studiously even-handed and therefore fair, wise and just. But in the battle between victim and aggressor, legality and illegality, truth and falsehood, even-handedness inescapably entails blaming the victim and tacitly endorsing illegality and lies.

A few days later the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon did something similar. While condemning the current wave of Palestinian stabbings and other attacks upon Israelis, he claimed the perpetrators were driven by "alienation and despair."

"It is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism," he said.

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed outrage at such an apparent justification for Palestinian violence, Ban appeared genuinely affronted. His words, he said, had been twisted. Palestinian attacks and incitement were reprehensible and he condemned them.

Yet having stated, "Nothing excuses terrorism," he then repeated the excuse for Palestinian terrorism. "No one can deny that the everyday reality of occupation provokes anger and despair, which are major drivers of violence and extremism and undermine any hope of a negotiated two-state solution."

Well actually, no one who pays the slightest regard to reality could maintain such a thing. Whatever the provocation, it is not "human nature" to set out to murder as many innocents as possible, including women and children.

Ban’s apparently real bewilderment that anyone could possibly think he supports terrorism arises from two things. The first is his fundamentally false view of the Arab war against Israel. The "occupation" does not cause Palestinian violence. It is unending Palestinian violence that prolongs the "occupation."

The Palestinians aren’t driven by despair at the absence of their state. How can this be so, when they have turned down repeated offers of such a state since the 1930s? Isn’t it more logical to assume that the relentless incitement – to which Ban himself alluded – which tells them falsely that Israel plans to destroy al-Aksa and that their highest calling is to kill Jews and conquer the whole of Israel has rather more to do with it? Moreover, this is not an occupation in the normally accepted understanding of the word. Israel has not occupied another people’s land, because the disputed territories never belonged to another people.

Nor is Israel there out of an aggressive colonial impulse. The Jews are entitled to hold and settle the territories under international law several times over, both as a legally permitted defense against continuous belligerence and from their never-abrogated entitlement to do so – as the only people for whom this was ever their national homeland – under the terms of the Palestine Mandate.

These false premises about Israel’s "occupation," however, are widespread.

This helps explain the distressing fact that most of the almost daily Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israelis aren’t noted at all in the Western media.

Few realize that Israelis going about their everyday lives are routinely being murdered or wounded by stabbing, shooting, rock-throwing or cars driven into bus queues.

This onslaught is not being reported because, to the Western media, it is the understandable response to occupation. The settlers have chosen to put themselves in harm’s way, goes the thinking, and other Israelis have also brought this upon themselves merely by being Israelis.

So to the West, these Jewish victims of terrorism just don’t exist. At the same time, the Western media never reports the near-daily Palestinian incitement of the mass murder of Israeli Jews. That doesn’t fit the narrative of Palestinian victims of Israel.

For identical reasons, the media also ignores the victimization of Palestinians by other Palestinians. According to Palestinian Media Watch, last year the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights received 292 complaints of torture, maltreatment and physical assault in the West Bank and 928 in the Gaza Strip.

The West remains almost totally ignorant of the tyrannical abuse Palestinians inflict upon one another. But why is its Palestinian narrative thus hermetically sealed against the truth? Here’s the second reason for Ban’s bewilderment. Progressives subscribe to universalizing agendas. These by definition deny any hierarchy of cultures or moral values. So Palestinian society cannot be held to be innately hostile to human rights, and Palestinian terrorism is equated (at best) with Israeli defense against such attacks.

Thus on Holocaust Remembrance Day, of all things, Ban equated anti-Semitism with anti-Muslim bigotry. But the two are not remotely comparable.

Of course there are some who are irrationally bigoted against Muslims.

But most anti-Islamic feeling is a rational response to Islamic violence and aggression. By contrast, anti-Jewish hatred is true bigotry as it is based entirely on lies, myths, and paranoid and deranged beliefs about Jews who have never posed an aggressive threat to anyone.

Ban and others committed to universalism think this equation is fair. In fact, it diminishes Jew-hatred and sanitizes Islamic aggression. Which is why progressives who think they are pure because their hearts so conspicuously bleed for the oppressed are not pure at all. They are morally corrupt.

They aren’t driven by compassion for any kind of victim. What drives them instead is hatred of supposed victimizers in the "powerful" West.

Their purported even-handedness thus camouflages a moral degeneracy.

For while denouncing Israel, they support Palestinians who throw gays from the top of tall buildings, who abuse women and children, who jail, torture and kill dissidents. They support the racist ethnic cleansing of Jews from a future state of Palestine. They help incite false grievances that kill.

They have the blood of innocents on their own hands.

But they think of themselves as fair, decent, progressive. This is where they are vulnerable. For like Ban, they also tend to be remarkably thinskinned.

That’s because their image of themselves really is all that matters to them. They don’t care about the world’s victims. They care about being seen to care.

They think of themselves as nice people. We have to show them that they are not. Self-regard is everything to them. It is therefore their Achilles’ heel.

We should puncture it.


Alarm in France

The presumed leader of the Islamic State operatives who attacked Paris in November boasted that he slipped into Europe among refugees from Syria as part of a team of dozens of militants, according to a key witness.

If true, the testimony adds urgency to a continentwide effort by security services to track down people with links to the extremist group. Authorities fear that Islamic State smuggled many of its fighters into Europe among the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled Syria and Iraq in recent years, officials say.

The investigation into the Paris attacks has raised questions about Europe’s ability to screen those refugees for potential threats. At least two people involved in the Paris attacks had registered as refugees on a Greek island in the months before they surfaced in Paris.

The latest testimony, which was reported by French media, came from a woman who provided information that led French police to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian who is believed to have orchestrated the November 13 killing spree in Paris that left 130 dead and hundreds injured.

The woman, who spoke under the pseudonym Sonia, accompanied Mr. Abaaoud’s cousin, Hasna Aït Boulahcen, to a hidden encampment along a highway north of Paris in the days after the attack to meet Mr. Abaaoud.

She said Mr. Abaaoud told them that he arrived in Europe without documents, among the refugees, along with 90 other operatives, including French, British, German, Iraqi and Syrian citizens, an official familiar with her testimony said. The woman testified that Mr. Abaaoud said his network had operatives in the Paris region and elsewhere in Europe, the official said.

About 50 to 60 of the operatives in Mr. Abaaoud’s network entered the European Union by sea or land through Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, according to a Western counter-terrorism official. The operatives travelled from Syria through Turkey to reach the EU borders, and then spread to various countries including France, Germany, Spain and the U.K., the official said.

No other details about their movements or the time frame over which they arrived were provided.

Mr Abaaoud asked his cousin for help with the next attack he was planning: assaults on a commercial centre, a police station and a nursery school in La Defense, the business district outside Paris, the friend testified.

"I said to him, ‘You have killed innocent people!’ " the woman, speaking on RMC radio, said she told Mr. Abaaoud. "He said to me, ‘No, they aren’t innocent. You have to see what’s happening with us in Syria.’ "

A French official confirmed the woman on the radio was the one who had testified.

After the meeting, she contacted police several times to disclose Mr. Abaaoud’s location and his plans for another attack.

"Her testimony was crucial," said Clemence Bectarte, a lawyer with the International Federation for Human Rights who is helping to represent her. "It is the piece of information that helped them get to Abaaoud."

Mr Abaaoud was killed during a raid on an apartment hide-out in the Paris suburb of St. Denis, shortly after the woman tipped off the police. Ms Aït Boulahcen and another accomplice in the Paris attacks, a Belgian Islamic State fighter named Chakib Akrouh, also were killed.

Since then, authorities have been looking for more accomplices. A focus of the investigation has been on the dozens of people who arrived on the Greek island of Leros on the same day as the two attackers, officials familiar with the investigation said. Austrian police arrested two of them at a refugee shelter in Salzburg, saying that they had used fake Syrian passports to enter Europe.

Last month, European Union authorities threatened to impose border controls on Greece, after an investigation found that Athens wasn’t regularly fingerprinting refugees, entering the data into a EU-wide database or checking travel documents for authenticity.

Officials say Islamic State also has acquired the ability to print passports using authentic blanks and equipment seized in Raqqa and Deir Ezzour in Syria and Mosul, Iraq. France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has called for the creation of a task force that would have expertise in detecting such fakes.

In the interview with RMC, the woman, with her voice disguised, discussed her role in finding Mr Abaaoud — and complained that the French government hadn’t done enough to shield her identity or protect her.

Her lawyer said the woman’s name and address are in the confidential file that is available to people who have been charged with assisting the attackers.

"This constitutes a major threat for her security," Ms Bectarte said. "She has been moved from her home. What we’re calling for are more long-term and effective measures."

Mr Cazeneuve said on French radio that "we are doing everything necessary in an extremely difficult context."

Claire Andrieux, the reporter who interviewed the woman, said on air Thursday that the witness had contacted the radio station through its hotline. "It is important to say that she is the one who went to the media," Ms. Andrieux said.



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

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

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


8 February, 2016

More evidence that feminism is a mental illness

Feminists in Sweden have launched a new campaign against men who  want to protect women from being raped.

 So, no doubt you have all heard about taHarrush by now, the Islamo-Arabic rape game. You might also have heard about the backlash against the people engaging in this behavior in Stockholm, where 200 men put their viking-genes to use by physically attacking these "refugees".

What you probably have NOT heard about however, (or find hard to believe) is the feminist outcry (surprise surprise!) against these noble berserkers. Indeed, the rage was so great, they created the hashtag #inteerkvinna (translated as #notyourwoman) where they spewed their hatred over racism, fascism, white men and many other things that can be loosely tied to the events with some cognitive dissonance. In short, they made a collective tantrum on social media over the fact that white European men are standing up to the rape-fugees.

The whole thing culminated with the statement "It’s YOU I’m afraid of!" where the feminist in question is now fantasizing about afraid that some tall, good-looking nationalist will sexually harass her in the streets.

Why is it always that women who are at least risk are the ones to make these claims…?

At any rate, the opinion voiced by various people in the nationalist and alternative right-o-sphere, is one of butthurtness: "Okay, then we just won’t save you next time" but personally, I don’t think this is the way to go. Sure, some of these shrieking harpys are lost causes and should be thrown into the abyss, but I don’t think the majority really are.


How Somalian men are living by their own laws... and causing devastating repercussions in Britain

The Victoria Park Hotel is a short walk from the bustling Manchester thoroughfare known locally as the 'Curry Mile.' The establishment offers budget accommodation at cheap prices (£45 for a single bed).

Standards at the hotel reflect the bargain-basement rates. Several ground-floor windows are boarded up. Guests have complained of mould in bathrooms, marks on walls and ceilings, and dirty bed linen.

Room 38 is on the first floor. It is also where, just before midday on August 9, 2013, a young girl found herself trapped and about to be subjected to the most degrading and terrifying ordeal imaginable. She was 16, an A-grade student from a middle-class family, who had just completed her GCSEs at a leading private school.

How she came to be in Room 38 of this squalid hotel in Rusholme, on the south side of the city, is not important for now. By the time she emerged 30 minutes later, she had been gang raped at least six times by three different men.

The trio, all aged 20, were jailed for a total of 29 years at Manchester Crown Court this week. But six others were present when she was passed around like a piece of meat. They regarded her as 'easy prey,' to quote the judge. Those who did not violate her were spectators. They watched and did nothing to help.

The visceral horror of what happened in Room 38 was conveyed in a single harrowing sentence by the victim — now 19 and a university undergraduate — when the Mail spoke to her exclusively this week. 'I just stayed quiet because I thought they would kill me if I screamed,' she said.

There is something else you should know about her attackers. It is this: they were all from Manchester's Somali community. The harrowing events that unfolded in court were also part of a much wider, and seemingly escalating, Somali crimewave taking place in many cities nationwide.

This is why the ethnic background of the rapists is central to this bigger picture.

Until recently, the culture of political correctness that undermined the investigations into the Asian sex grooming scandals in Rochdale, Rotherham and elsewhere, would have discouraged the reporting of this fact.

Mowled Omar Yussaf was the ring leader. As he was led away from the dock to begin his prison term, he stuck his middle finger up at the parents of his victim, not once but twice.

It was just one hate-filled example of the gauntlet of intimidation and abuse the couple have faced from the families and friends of the convicted men during the two-week trial.

That most of the guilty men's entourage, who crowded round the court house steps to declare their support for the rapists, were women in traditional Somali dress was yet another sickening twist.

Before passing sentence, the judge told them: 'You just assumed that you each could do with her as you chose . . . there is a lack of acknowledgment that what you did to this girl was wrong. There's no remorse expressed by any of you.'

Nor, shockingly, by their own families, who held banners aloft outside the court, proclaiming, 'No Justice For Somalis.'

The mothers of Mowled Yussaf, and his fellow rapists Muhyadeen Osman and Bilal Ahmed, and Yussaf's girlfriend showed their support for the trio by attending court. It was, perhaps, one of the most shameful aspects of this story that has devastated not only the life of a young woman — but that of her family, who have bravely decided to break their silence to talk exclusively to the Mail this week.

The victim in this case, who is white and whom we shall call Sarah, lives in Cheshire with her parents — who run a family business — and her brother, who, like her now, is at university. Both attended private school.

Back in 2013, she did not wear make-up and had never even been to a nightclub. A gifted musician, she had little experience of boys. Reserved is probably the best way to describe her, and she remains so today.

But for a twist of fate, Sarah would never have entered the world of Mowled Yussaf and his fellow Somalians.

'I only had a small group of friends at the time and my best girlfriend was going on holiday for a month so I asked her if she knew anyone I could talk to while she was away,' she told the Mail this week. 'I was bored, it was the summer holidays.'

Her friend was happy to oblige. Soon, Sarah began exchanging free Blackberry messages with a boy who had known her best friend for two years. She trusted him. Why wouldn't she?  On August 8, Sarah was contacted by the boy on her BlackBerry. 'Did she want to meet up in Manchester the next day?' he asked.

The next day he messaged her to ask if she was on her way, and Sarah, who was going to see another girlfriend in the city for lunch, agreed to see him ('for just a few minutes') en route.

Sarah got off at 'Curry Mile' in Rusholme as arranged. The boy was there to meet her. 'We started walking down the road and three of his mates came round the corner,' she said. Mowled Yussaf was among them. He told me his name was Alex. He seemed to be the ringleader.

'They kind of boxed me in, one behind me, one in front, and one to the side. I started to get frightened. I didn't know how old they were, but I knew they were older than me.' Moments later, they arrived on the steps of the seedy Victoria Park Hotel.

Yussaf's group had stayed at the hotel the previous night for Eid celebrations, the religious festival which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

'I felt I had no choice but to go inside,' Sarah said. She was ushered into a room by Yussaf (Alex). 'He asked me for sex but I told him, 'No', I wasn't that type of girl. 'He said he had never been turned down before and I replied, 'Well, you have now.' He was very arrogant, the way he held himself. He just expected to get whatever he asked for.'

At that point the manager arrived and ordered the group to leave because they were past their check-out time.

Instead, after the manager had gone, Yussaf and his friends began trying handles of other rooms. Eventually, they did find one which was unlocked. It was Room 38.

There is no need to elaborate on what happened next. 'They helped themselves' is how Sarah chillingly described what happened in those 30 minutes she was trapped inside.

She said: 'I just closed my eyes I didn't want to look at them. I couldn't look at them. I didn't scream because I thought they might kill me if I did. 'Any one of them could have had a knife. Nobody else knew I was there. I kept thinking they could kill me and nobody would know.'

When they had finished with her, they stole her phone and £40 from her purse. Eventually, Sarah managed to gather herself together and walk to nearby Manchester Metropolitan University where a security guard called police.

One ordeal had ended, but another was about to begin.

A few months later, Sarah's mother was in Manchester when a Somalian man, whom she later recognised as an associate of the rapists, called out to her in the street. 'Curry Mile,' he said, smirking.

It was the start of what can only be described a campaign of intimidation that continued until Yussaf, Osman and Ahmed were sent down.

At their trial, before Christmas, Sarah's parents, who are both in their late 40s, had to sit, surrounded by the accused men's supporters. They were blocked in court corridors and stared at. Outside, photos were taken.  'I felt we were being goaded all the time, but the police told us not to react,' Sarah's mother told the Mail.

As Yussaf passed them in court, he would make threatening comments out of earshot of court officials. 'What are you f****** looking at?', he asked Sarah's father on one occasion, and 'Have you got a problem, mate?' on another.

On the day of the demonstration, Sarah's parents were advised to come into court through a rear entrance.

Bilal Ahmed sarcastically blew a kiss at the couple shortly before sentence was delivered (he got nine years while Yussaf and Osman each got ten).

As they were led away, someone in the public gallery shouted: 'Hope your daughter enjoys the money.' It was an apparent reference to criminal compensation victims of crime are entitled to.

'Can they not understand what my daughter and ourselves have gone through?' Sarah's mother asked, her eyes welling up.  'By supporting them in this way, they are condoning what happened. No wonder so many people are too scared to go to court in rape cases if this is what you have to go through.'

Sarah is now receiving counselling.

'I've not told anyone at university what happened to me, she said. 'I was hoping to make a fresh start but I feel like I can't leave it behind. I keep trying to put it to the back of my mind, but it's always there. If I go home, I hardly ever go out. I don't like to think some of them are still out there. I'm frightened. I've even dyed my hair so no-one will recognise me.'

The ongoing terror for Sarah and her family cannot be understated. Yet it is Bilal Ahmed who sees himself and his friends as the real victims.

In the pre-sentence report on Ahmed, a student who lived with his mother and three brothers in a housing association property, he described his victim as a . . . 'slut . . .up for anything . . sexually promiscuous and available to be dominated' [all lies, for the record].

It wasn't clear, said his barrister, if the reason for his views was 'immaturity or cultural.'

We can only assume — from their unquestioning support outside the court house this week — that their mothers were happy to accept that narrative, too.

Their very public support for their sons — which the victim's parents, rightly, viewed as intimidating — is particularly difficult to comprehend because they were born in Somalia, where sexual violence is pervasive.

The title of a report by the Human Rights Watch organisation in 2014 sums up the reality of life for many women in the failed African state: 'Here, Rape Is Normal.'

In Britain, gang rape is not recorded as a separate crime category. But in 2009, a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary, Rape In The City, investigated 29 cases in London, from January 2006 to March 2009, in which a total of 92 young people were convicted of involvement in gang rape.

Of those convicted, 66 were black or mixed race, 13 were white and the remainder were from other countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

Yet police insist it is not a race issue — but that most gang rapes take place in the most deprived boroughs, which have disproportionately high ethnic populations.

However, documentary-maker, Sorious Samura, himself black, was deeply alarmed by the figures. 'Clearly this is not a crime exclusive to black communities,' he said, 'but I found it impossible to ignore the fact that such a high proportion were committed by black and mixed-race young men.'

No statistics were given for the racial profile of victims in the programme. But figures obtained from Scotland Yard by this newspaper in 2008 for gang rapes in that year, and 2006-7, revealed that the majority — 60 per cent — were white and 28 per cent were black.

The overwhelming majority of Somalians living in this country will be as appalled as everyone else by what happened to Sarah in a back-street hotel in Manchester. But with an ever-growing Somali population — the most recent census in 2011 identified 101,370 people in England and Wales who were born in the East African country, making them Britain's largest refugee population at the time — an increase in crime rates in this demographic is, perhaps, inevitable.

That figure does not include second-generation Somalis, like the predators recently sent down for the gang rape, or Somalis who may live here illegally.

The migration began in the Nineties, when the territory was plunged into civil war. Where other immigrants have flourished, Somalis have traditionally been among the poorest, worst-educated and least-employed in Britain.  In this latest case, all the gang rape thugs were known to police.

Mowled Omar Yussaf had 12 previous convictions for 17 offences, mainly for violence, including an assault on a police officer for which he served time in a young offenders' institution.

Muhyadeen Osman was only 17 when he was a member of a gang that savagely mugged a man in an alleyway, leaving the victim needing 16 stitches to his head. Bilal Ahmed, meanwhile, had a caution for theft.

Somali gangs are now major players in the heroin and crack cocaine trade in London, Birmingham, Sheffield and on the South Coast, often replacing the established underworld order by being prepared to resort to the most extreme levels of violence.

In November, a Somalian gangster was locked up for 36 years for the 'cold-blooded' execution of a rival who was shot twice in the chest through the window of his 4x4 when his vehicle pulled up at traffic lights in Sheffield.

Earlier, in June, 15 members of a Somalian 'crew' from London were given 70 years for a conspiracy to supply controlled drugs in Devon.

The heart of the Somali community in Manchester itself is Moss Side and Greenheys, not far from the Victoria Park Hotel in Rusholme.

Two gun-toting Somali gangs, 'Dem Crazy Somalis' and 'Somalian Mandem' operate in south Manchester. Violent, degrading group sex, if not gang rape, is often a rite of passage for members or 'soldiers' as they style themselves.  The opposite sex is almost always treated as sexual prey.

Yussaf and his associates displayed the same mentality inside 'Room 38' of the Victoria Park Hotel.

And, as this case demonstrates, there is still a significant minority living by the 'laws' of Somalia, not Britain. The repercussions, for Sarah and who knows how many others, are devastating.


Reclaim Australia Rally drowns out counter protesters

Reclaim Australia protesters held their largest rally yet on Saturday in Canberra kicking of a wave of Anti-Islam demonstrations in cities across the world.

Canberra organiser Daniel Evans labelled it "preservation of Australia Day" and at the podium congratulated 250 "fellow patriots" for making the journey to the capital.

Saturday's protest was the first in a series of global rallies against the Islamisation of the West co-ordinated by German anti-immigration movement the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA)

As the crowd marched up Federation Mall and flooded onto a Parliament House Lawn, split in two by barricades, a dubbed version of John Lennon's track Imagine came over the PA featuring the lyrics "Imagine there's no Islam".

Crowds cheered as Mr Evans shouted "we outnumber them and our voice is louder".  And on the day he was right.

Under the watchful eye of close to 50 AFP special response, canine and general duties officers there were less than 40 counter protesters facing the swollen crowd of Australian flag-clad Anti-Islamists.

The number of "Don't stop the boats, stop the racists" t-shirts paled in comparison to dozens of placards reading "Islam denies freedom" and "Anti-racist is a code word or Anti-White."

In his speech South Australian lawyer John Bolton warned of the risks of "Islamic barbarity" and fervently encouraged protesters to openly "insult and vilify Islam five times a day if you want to". 

He called for a ban on "Islamic face-masks" and stated mosques were a threat to Australian national security.

"I want more terrorism powers to our squads to do random searches of mosques," he said. "I want an Islamic Schools watchdog. There must be random searches of Islamic Schools to make sure they're not teaching Sharia."

Born and bred ACT resident and father of three Mr Evans said the position of Reclaim Australia was broadly misunderstood by the greater community.

"We are a multi-ethnic country but we have one culture, Australian culture," he said.

"I'm not against Muslims. I'm against the ideology of Islam. We have extremists here preaching hate. These are the ones we need to get rid of."

Arabella McKenzie, dressed as a Suffragette complete with parasol, said she felt compelled to "roll out of her grave" and protest with Reclaim to stand up for women's rights.

"Women's right to vote was nothing compared with what women are facing today in Sharia run countries," she said.

"A lot of people say "what culture in Australia are we defending?" but there is a culture here where woman can be free, have rights and are considered equal human beings. That's a good culture to preserve."

An ACT Police spokesman said there were no arrests or issues with the protest.

This is a stark change from last year's rally where police arrested four at the scene, using capsicum spray to defuse ugly clashes that broke out.


Australian PM says border security is paramount despite calls to let asylum seekers stay

PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull insists the government will maintain its tough stance on border control despite mounting pressure to stop 267 asylum seekers, including Australian-born children, being shipped back to Nauru.

Last night NSW Premier Mike Baird supported Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews’s call to take in asylum seeker children rather than return them to Nauru after a High Court ruling last week paved the way for them to be sent back. This includes a five-year-old boy who was allegedly raped on the island.

But when asked whether the government would consider looking at individual cases, Mr Turnbull remained resolute on ABC’s Insiders this morning, warning any softening of Australia’s border security policies would open the floodgates for illegal people smugglers.

He pointed to the waves of illegal arrivals that followed former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s decision to close offshore processing on Nauru in 2008.

"I will choose my words carefully because everything I say — everything I say — is being looked at in the finest, most detailed way possible by the people smugglers who will look at any opportunity to get back in the business (when) we got them out of business," Mr Turnbull said.

"People who seek to come to Australia with people smugglers will not succeed. They will not settle in Australia.

"We are providing every incentive to the people on Nauru to go back to their country of origin. We are providing them with considerable incentives and assistance to do that. We are providing them with incentives to settle in other countries.

"But if we don’t take a firm line, we know what the consequences will be. This is not theoretical."

When pressed by Insiders host Barrie Cassidy about the Australian-born children faced with deportation, Mr Turnbull acknowledged they were "very delicate issues" but the security of the border was paramount.

"We are dealing with these issues, these very delicate, these anguished issues, with compassion and we’re dealing with them on a case-by-case basis," Mr Turnbull.

"But what I’m not going to do is give one skerrick of encouragement to those criminals, those people smugglers, who are preying on vulnerable people and seeking to take their money, put them on the high seas in boats … where they will drown.

"There are no policy options available in terms of border protection that are not tough, which cannot be described as harsh, but the one thing we know without any question is that the approach that we took in the Howard era worked, when it was unpicked it was a colossal failure in humanitarian terms, and what we are doing now is working through the caseload we inherited from Labor — there were 2000 children in detention when Rudd lost office, now there’s less than 100 — we’re working through that.

"But the critical thing is to maintain the security of the border."

Rallies have been held in capital cities around the country calling on the government to allow the asylum seekers to stay after they were brought to Australia for medical treatment.

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley has called on the state government this morning to join an offer by Victoria to settle Australian-born refugee children and their families.

Victoria’s Labor Premier Daniel Andrews wrote to Mr Turnbull on Saturday asking him not to send refugee children to a "life of physical and emotional trauma" in offshore detention.

Mr Andrews’ promise that Victoria would provide housing, health, education and welfare services has drawn support from advocacy groups.  "I want these children and their families to call Victoria home," he wrote.

"Given we stand ready to provide a safe, secure and welcoming environment for these children and their families, there is no justification for their removal."

Mr Foley said that as Australia’s most populous state, NSW should make a similar offer. He said it was important to remember 37 infants among the group were born in Australia.  "They are being ejected from the country of their birth — the only country they have ever known," he said.

"Together we should all strive to do better as a nation and we can take an important step forward today."

Mr Baird praised Mr Andrews as a "good man" and recognised the humanitarian impulse behind his letter. "The same impulse has driven us to work cooperatively with the Commonwealth to resettle an additional intake of refugees in NSW following the recent turmoil in Syria, which is where our focus remains," he said.

"If the PM has any additional requests for NSW we are prepared to help."

The Refugee Action Collective has criticised federal Labor for not taking a similar stance.

"Bill Shorten should take note and abandon support for offshore processing and associated cruelty to refugees," spokesman Chris Breen said.



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

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

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


7 February, 2016

Multicultural care home boss is the first in England to be jailed for corporate manslaughter after widow, 86, died weighing less than four stone

A negligent nursing home boss has become the first person in England to be jailed for corporate manslaughter in a care home after an 86-year-old resident died weighing less than four stone.

Widow Ivy Atkin, who suffered from dementia, died at Autumn Grange Care Home on November 22, 2012, after being left lying in her own urine with a rotting bed sore.

The retired dressmaker was found barely alive upstairs, weighing just 3st 5lbs, having lost half her body weight during her 48-day stay and described as being 'skeletal'.

She was rushed to hospital but later died from lower lobe pneumonia and debility, and a lower body mass index.

Yousaf Khan, 47, became the first person to be jailed for corporate manslaughter in a care home when he appeared at Nottingham Crown Court.

He was sentenced to three years and two months after he admitted manslaughter by gross negligence at an earlier hearing.

Khan, of Bulwell, Nottingham, also admitted breaching health and safety regulations in his role as director between September 17 and November 5, 2012.

Officials launched an investigation into the care home in Sherwood Rise, Nottingham, after a 19-year-old carer blew the whistle on the horrific conditions after just three days.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the police were called to investigate in November 2012 and discovered residents lying in urine-soaked mattresses.

They also found residents had no hot water or incontinence pads and staff had dressed them in other people's clothing.

A damning CQC report found 'multiple examples of neglectful care' and 28 residents had to be immediately rehoused.

Patients were found dirty and thirsty and scores of ambulances were seen moving patients in the middle of the night and taking them to alternative accommodation.

The Liberal Democrat Care Services Minister Norman Lamb branded the situation 'shocking' and 'wholly unacceptable'.

The residential facility had room for 52 patients and catered for residents over the age of 65 with dementia before it was closed down.

Prosecutor Jason Pitter said: 'The victim was lying in a bed covered in urine in a position that was obviously uncomfortable and inappropriate. 'Her skin and clothes were also covered in urine. 'She had a grade four pressure wound on her lower back - the worst of its kind. In simple terms the flesh had rotted away in that area.

'The failures were so obvious by the time of the final inspection that they did not need to be pointed out.'

The court heard Mrs Atkin moved to Autumn Grange in the summer of 2012 when she became unable to cope in the bungalow where she had lived for more than 50 years.

Her husband, Kenneth, worked in a lemonade factory before his death six years ago. The couple had no children.

Elyas Patel, defending, said: 'The conditions that Mrs Atkin was left in would cause anyone with a nano-gram of humanity to hang their head in sorrow and shame. 'Mr Khan knows, expects, and indeed, wants to be punished for all he has done.  'He apologises unreservedly.'

Speaking after the case, lead officer Detective Superintendent Rob Griffin from Nottinghamshire Police said: 'When she was rescued she weighed less than four stone.

'She was emaciated and dehydrated and she had the most horrific pressure sore on her lower back, which was symptomatic of there being no pressure sore management in that home whatsoever.

'Because had there been it would have been detected and treated long before, and the pathologist was of the view that the pressure sore contributed to Ivy's death.'

Sherwood Rise Ltd was fined £300,000 after they admitted corporate manslaughter and health and safety failures.

Nursing home manager Mohammed Rahamatullah Khan, 38, of Mapperley Park, Nottingham, was sentenced to one year in prison, suspended for two years, after he admitted a health and safety offence between September 17 and November 5, 2012.

In a statement following the case, Mrs Atkin's family said: 'Ivy was a feisty person who was adamant that she didn't want to leave her own home but once it became clear that she was suffering dementia and after a short spell in hospital, the decision was made to place her in Autumn Grange.

'When she left hospital she was still quite alert and able to get around slowly with the help of a walking frame.

'After believing that Ivy was going to be well cared for in the home, it was a huge shock to see how quickly she deteriorated in such a short period of time.

'We believe Ivy's life was shortened by the terrible care she received at Autumn Grange which resulted in her suffering a most undignified end to her life.'


German Cabinet approves measures tightening asylum rules

The German Cabinet took significant steps Wednesday toward toughening asylum rules after assaults in Cologne, approving among other measures a two-year ban on family reunifications and excluding three North African countries from its asylum list.

The steps came a week after the Cabinet moved to make it easier to deport migrants who commit crimes, deepening a new and harsher line by the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has come under mounting criticism for her asylum policies.

The measures approved Wednesday, which also included a plan to house asylum seekers in special facilities to speed their applications, must be submitted to Parliament, where they seem certain to pass.

The steps were clearly intended to make Germany less welcoming for migrants, and to blunt opponents of Merkel’s decision to throw open the doors to about 1 million asylum seekers last year.

Other measures approved by the Cabinet included demanding small contributions from asylum seekers — $11 from their monthly stipends — to help cover the costs of integration courses.

In addition, deportees who are sick and have previously claimed that they must stay in Germany for medical care will have to leave if health care in their home countries is deemed sufficient.

The Cabinet also designated Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria as safe states, meaning those who have arrived from the three North African countries now face deportation.

The push against allowing citizens of those countries to stay has gained momentum since the New Year’s Eve assaults in Cologne by men largely described as Arab or North African in appearance. The police in Cologne and nearby Duesseldorf have also raided North African communities in the two cities in a crackdown on crime.

Since the assaults, Merkel has promised a "palpable reduction" in the number of migrants arriving. But she has refused to bow to demands from her own conservative camp to set a cap in 2016. Instead, she has accelerated diplomacy in Europe and several measures at home to try to curb the influx.

Germany continues — with little success so far — to ask EU partners to help redistribute refugees across the 28 member states, and is pushing to secure a deal with Turkey that would curb the number of migrants crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece.

Elections loom in three of Germany’s 16 states in mid-March, lending extra urgency to the quest to reduce the refugee flow. Opinion polls uniformly predict that an anti-immigrant, right-wing party, the Alternative for Germany, will enter all three state parliaments.

Asked for figures on how many refugees would be affected by the two-year ban on family reunifications, which was first proposed in November, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière declined to specify, but noted that it would not apply to those seeking asylum because of targeted persecution.

The government will also continue to issue entry permits to relatives, almost all Syrians, waiting in the overcrowded refugee camps of Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan.

De Maizière, who has just returned from a two-day trip to Afghanistan to try to reduce the flow of migrants from there, said he would travel soon to Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia to negotiate the return of those countries’ citizens. The minister said more measures would be needed to reduce the influx of migrants, but cited the package approved Wednesday as evidence of the government’s resolve to keep working toward its goals.

The number of Algerians seeking asylum increased to almost 2,300 in December from 840 in June, and applicants from Morocco went to 2,896 from 368, according to the German authorities.

The number of Afghan applicants last year hovered around 150,000, second only to the number of Syrians seeking asylum here.

De Maizière said Afghanistan — where German soldiers are still deployed and German police are training Afghan forces — could not be considered a safe country.


The Failure of Multiculturalism

Just as radar warns of approaching storms, so does the flood of migrants entering Europe warn us of a deluge yet to come, not only for Europeans, if they continue to allow unrestricted immigration, but for the United States.

Reports that women in Cologne, Germany, have been groped and robbed by men described by authorities as having "a North African or Arabic" appearance should be warning enough, but there are other and more ominous warnings that suggest worse lies ahead, unless the problem receives immediate attention and action. And it’s not just Cologne.

The Gatestone Institute, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit international policy council and think tank, is in possession of what it describes as a "leaked German intelligence document," which says, "We are importing Islamic extremism, Arab anti-Semitism, national and ethnic conflicts of other peoples, as well as a different understanding of society and law."

Last October, reports Gatestone, Andrew Parker, the director general of Britain’s Security Service, said that "‘the scale and tempo’ of the danger to the UK is now at a level he has not seen in his 32-year career. British police are monitoring over 3,000 homegrown Islamist extremists willing to carry out attacks on the UK."

On Wednesday, President Obama visited a Baltimore mosque. According to The Daily Caller, the mosque "has deep ties to extremist elements, including the Muslim Brotherhood." That mosque is not alone, as a map on the paper’s website reveals.

Explaining the president’s visit, White House spokesman Keith Maley said, "The president believes that one of our nation’s greatest strengths is our rich diversity."

I doubt terrorists believe that. I don’t believe that diversity, as practiced in America, exists in any country with a Muslim majority.

Benedicte Bjornland, head of the Norwegian Police Security Service, recently warned against further Muslim immigration. When U.S. politicians suggest a similar approach, they are denounced as "bigots" and "Islamophobes," but in Norway and Sweden, two of the most liberal nations in Europe that have welcomed Muslim immigrants, that charge will be difficult to make stick.

What we are witnessing is the complete breakdown and failure of multiculturalism. Dictionary.com defines multiculturalism as "the preservation of different cultures or cultural identities within a unified society, as a state or nation."

That definition contains a glaring contradiction. A society cannot be unified if it preserves different cultures and cultural identities within itself. That’s why our national motto is translated "out of many, one." To the multiculturalist it appears to be, "Out of one, many."

History demonstrates that no nation can long survive if it forgets why it exists. Our failure to inculcate American traditions, beliefs and history, even in the native born, not to mention immigrants, is rapidly destroying the country bequeathed to us by our forebears.

Leftists in Europe and the U.S. have promoted multiculturalism, believing that once Muslims experience our freedoms and dedication to equality they will want to be like us. It doesn’t appear to be working and anyone familiar with the Koran and its "kingdom of this world" instructions knows it likely won’t.

European leaders, from Germany’s Angela Merkel, to Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, have deliberately closed their eyes to what they see unfolding in their countries, and in others.

President Obama is doing the same thing with his trip to the Baltimore mosque. Our enemies see our weakness and failure to understand their objectives, which include destroying the West and establishing a worldwide caliphate. This is not top secret information. Not all Muslims are terrorists, to be sure, but large numbers of radical Islamists profess allegiance to the faith and they are more than willing to wreak havoc in pursuit of their goals.

An ancient proverb reminds us: "There are none so blind as those who will not see."


Obama’s ‘diversity’ diktat is a giant gift to lawyers

If you're a white male looking for a job, your search just got harder.

Claiming women aren't getting paid enough, President Obama wants to make it easier to accuse employers of gender discrimination and hit them with class-action lawsuits. A new regulation proposed on Friday will require all employers with 100 or more workers to report how much their workforce is paid, broken down by race and gender.

The rule, slated to go into effect in September 2017, will cause headaches for employers and anyone - man or woman - who works hard and expects to get ahead based on merit. The winners are federal bean counters, class-action lawyers and the Democratic Party, which is playing up the gender "wage gap" as usual during this election year.

Never mind that the gap is largely fiction. Or that Uncle Sam's social engineers are foisting their cookie-cutter vision of a politically correct workplace on employers, denying them the freedom to hire and promote based on merit.

Race and gender discrimination is already against the law. As it should be. But seniority, education and merit often explain salary differences.

That won't be good enough in the future. Employers will have to change their policies to avoid these differences - for example, not preferring the job applicant who has a college degree over the applicant who doesn't, unless the job can be shown to require college skills. The burden is on employers. It's assumed they're discriminating, in other words, and they have to prove they're not.

Jenny Yang, chairwoman of Obama's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, defends the massive fishing expedition, saying, "pay discrimination goes undetected because of a lack of accurate information about what people are paid."

How will this new EEOC reporting affect you? Your employer will have to lump workers into 12 salary bands. If you're a white male up for a raise, but the band above yours already includes too many while males, tough luck. Your boss will be pressured to give the raise to a woman or minority to avoid triggering EEOC scrutiny.

This data collection is a godsend for EEOC regulators looking for targets, and it hands class-action lawyers the statistics they need on a silver platter.

But not every difference in pay is actually caused by discrimination. President Obama parrots the bogus claim that for every dollar men make, women make only 79 cents. This so-called "wage gap" is shoddy statistics. It merely averages what all men in America make, and compares that with what all women make, lumping together all kinds of jobs.

It proves nothing about what women and men earn when they do the same work.

The White House is a perfect example of how meaningless averages are. Women in the Obama White House earn on average only 84 cents for every dollar male staffers earn. Does that make 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue a hotbed of discrimination?

Many women choose careers that pay less, like education and social work, instead of engineering or computer science. And valid workplace comparisons need to take into account differences in responsibilities and hours worked. Some women opt for flexible hours and less responsibility midway through their careers in order to balance work and family.

Of course, everyone wants women and minorities to be treated evenhandedly. But Obama and other Democrats are obsessing about a superficial concept of diversity that looks only at a person's gender or race. How about diversity of talents and worldviews?

Tech giants in Silicon Valley like Facebook and Google are facing enormous pressure to diversify because they have too many whites and Asians in top jobs. At next week's Super Bowl, can we expect complaints that because the Denver Broncos are 72 percent black, they need to add more whites and Asians to the team?

Americans are fed up with pigeonholing people by their appearance. Whatever happened to rewarding individuals for excellence?

That won't be good enough in the future. Employers will have to change their policies to avoid these differences - for example, not preferring the job applicant who has a college degree over the applicant who doesn't, unless the job can be shown to require college skills. The burden is on employers. It's assumed they're discriminating, in other words, and they have to prove they're not.

Jenny Yang, chairwoman of Obama's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, defends the massive fishing expedition, saying, "pay discrimination goes undetected because of a lack of accurate information about what people are paid."

How will this new EEOC reporting affect you? Your employer will have to lump workers into 12 salary bands. If you're a white male up for a raise, but the band above yours already includes too many while males, tough luck. Your boss will be pressured to give the raise to a woman or minority to avoid triggering EEOC scrutiny.

This data collection is a godsend for EEOC regulators looking for targets, and it hands class-action lawyers the statistics they need on a silver platter.

But not every difference in pay is actually caused by discrimination. President Obama parrots the bogus claim that for every dollar men make, women make only 79 cents. This so-called "wage gap" is shoddy statistics. It merely averages what all men in America make, and compares that with what all women make, lumping together all kinds of jobs.

It proves nothing about what women and men earn when they do the same work.

The White House is a perfect example of how meaningless averages are. Women in the Obama White House earn on average only 84 cents for every dollar male staffers earn. Does that make 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue a hotbed of discrimination?

Many women choose careers that pay less, like education and social work, instead of engineering or computer science. And valid workplace comparisons need to take into account differences in responsibilities and hours worked. Some women opt for flexible hours and less responsibility midway through their careers in order to balance work and family.

Of course, everyone wants women and minorities to be treated evenhandedly. But Obama and other Democrats are obsessing about a superficial concept of diversity that looks only at a person's gender or race. How about diversity of talents and worldviews?

Tech giants in Silicon Valley like Facebook and Google are facing enormous pressure to diversify because they have too many whites and Asians in top jobs. At next week's Super Bowl, can we expect complaints that because the Denver Broncos are 72 percent black, they need to add more whites and Asians to the team?

Americans are fed up with pigeonholing people by their appearance. Whatever happened to rewarding individuals for excellence?



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, 2016

Australia should do more for Aborigines?  If so how?

The self-righteous bleat below is an editorial from the Left-leaning Melbourne "Age".  It exhibits all the brains of a flea.  It shows no awareness of Aboriginal life or of the unending stream of government efforts that have been made to better the lot of Aborigines.  I would be surprised if the writer had ever set foot in a black's camp. I have.  I grew up with Aborigines around the place.  They were in my Primary school and down the end of the street where I lived. 

So the writer below has only his self-righteousness to put forward. He puts forward not a single suggestion about what to do to help Aborigines.  He doesn't know what has happened and has no idea what should happen.  He is just a brainless Leftist fool 

The best he can do is end up with an unsubstantiated accusation.  He speaks of "The disadvantage foisted on Indigenous Australians by ignorance or prejudice."  Where is his evidence that the poor situation of Aborigines is due to "ignorance or prejudice".  He has none.  It's just a verbal fart.

There are many ethnic groups in Australia and many of them came here when there was indeed prejudice against them.  My mother's father told her when she was young that he would cut her off if she married an Italian.  So did that hold Italians back?  Hardly.  Not long ago, Australia's most populous State -- NSW -- was run by Italians and Greeks -- the Iemma administration.  And they were put there by the NSW voters.

And look at the Jews.  Can any group ever have been more hated than the Jews?  If you want to talk about prejudice and discrimination, look at the experience of the Jews.  Yet Jews ride high wherever they are.  Israel even prospers despite constant attacks on it by Muslims.

Plainly, there is no sytematic disadvantage inflicted on anyone by prejudice and discrimination.  One could more plausibly argue that it spurs people on to a high level of achievemrent.

So our brainless Lefty editor is plain WRONG in his attribution of Aboriginal backwardness.  That leave Aborigines responsible for themselves.  Self-responsibility?  What a horrible thought to a Leftist!  The State is their solution to evertything. 

Aborigines developed to lead a hunter-gatherer life and they are superbly adapted to that life.  They are NOT however adapted to modern life and nothing will make them that.  There are however some ways that they can be helped. 

I see it in the contrast between elderly Aborigines and young Aborigines.  The older ones are much better adapted to white society.  They lead reasonably clean, orderly and sober lives.  Why?  Because when they were growing up, the Aboriginal settlements were run by missionaries.  And Aborigines are a very spiritual people so religion has a big effect on them.  It gave the missionaries the leverage to teach Aborigines habits that would be to their advantage.

But there is no political will to bring back the missionaries so is there anything else to be done?  Just about everything that could be tried has been tried by successive State and Federal governments of all political stripes so there is really only one possibility left:  Better policing.  The violence towards women and children by Aboriginal males is horrific. I have seen it.  But if the women had somewhere to run to in their settlements, many could escape that violence.  Most settlements already have a police presence but it is woefully inadequate.  More cops are what is needed but I am quite sure that would not suit our brainless Leftist editor.

If you are yet to take the 8½ minutes to watch journalist Stan Grant speak on the topic of "racism destroying the Australian dream," make the time. His words are searing, a much-needed jolt to national complacency towards Aboriginal Australia, and a powerful statement of reality, both historical and present day.

But more than words, the accompanying passion – Grant's face and tone deeply imbued with sorrow, anger, hope and regret from personal experience as an Indigenous man – points to the emotional toll of unfinished business on the first people of this country. We must all strive to better acknowledge this suffering, even if it remains a lived experience most people can never truly understand.

Grant's speech, delivered in October, won prominence last week when released as an online video during a traditional time of introspection, both for the community and in our personal lives.

The new year is often a moment when people choose to take stock of goals, to resolve a fresh beginning, or rededicate themselves to cherished dreams. The symbols of nationhood are put on overt display just as languid summer weeks are about to be swamped by the reality of busy lives. As if to warm up dozing political muscles, we have developed a habit of adorning Australia Day with a ritual debate about changing the flag and becoming a republic.

But Grant's speech challenges the country to do more. Much more. His is a reminder that the personal and national experience is deeply intertwined for Indigenous Australians. The "Invasion Day" protests to mark the anniversary of the arrival of white settlers are illustrative, but cannot alone convey the discrimination felt each and every day in the Indigenous community.

"My people die young in this country," Grant reminds us. "We die 10 years younger than average Australians and we are far from free. We are fewer than 3 per cent of the Australian population and yet we are 25 per cent, a quarter of those Australians locked up in our prisons .hs.hs. If you are a juvenile, it is worse, it is 50 per cent."

Statistics that alone are distressing, but in what stands as a national shame, Grant observes "an Indigenous child is more likely to be locked up in prison than they are to finish high school." What a indictment on the supposed ethos of a fair go.

Australia can do and must do better. The steep difference in Victoria, where Indigenous children are more than 12 times as likely as non-Indigenous children to be placed in state care is another indicator of woeful disadvantage. We have become far too comfortable with pledges to "close the gap" that the action necessary to make this a reality is rarely a priority.

Complacency also marks our debate about the place of Indigenous culture in our national story. We have become fixated on a slogan, "recognition", too often ignoring the concepts many Aborigines would prefer be debated, such as "self-determination", "sovereignty" and "treaty".

It is not that the proposal to change the constitution to acknowledge Indigenous culture is without merit. But the country must properly decide what such a change is meant to achieve. Megan Davis, a legal professor and member of the Prime Minister's Expert Panel on recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the constitution, has warned the idea has become mired in "bipartisan stage-managed process". We should be aspiring to more than piecemeal reform, but justice.

Like Grant's speech, Davis' essay "Listening but not hearing", published in the latest edition of Griffith Review, is a further reminder the country can grow from a frank, and importantly, inclusive debate about the life of Indigenous Australians. The disadvantage foisted on Indigenous Australians by ignorance or prejudice is holding the nation back. To do better, the voices of the Aboriginal community must be listened to, and heard.


Europe must copy Australia and stop the refugee boats

Britain needs the former Australian Prime Minister to help tackle the migrant crisis, and should give him a peerage to make it worth his while
The Australian Liberal Party has already done one great service for David Cameron: finding, funding and preserving Sir Lynton Crosby. The knighthood alone symbolises the debt the Conservatives owe Crosby for their first majority in nearly a quarter of a century. Now it is time for the Prime Minister to return the favour to the Liberals by giving a peerage to former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

There are three good reasons for this. First, it would relieve the current Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, of his single biggest political management problem - the continued presence of a former leader on his back benches. If recent Australian political history tells us anything it is that former leaders - particularly when deposed - often attempt to return to leadership in the most spectacular fashion.  Outplacement really needs to mean outplacement.

Second, and this is a critical part of solving Turnbull's headache, Abbott would not disdain membership of the House of Lords. He was born in London and his respect for the United Kingdom stretched to him giving a eulogy to Margaret Thatcher after her death.

The third, and best, reason is that once back in the UK, Tony Abbott could tell Britain and the European Union how to "stop the boats" - and we do need to learn how to do that.

There is a bluntness about the phrase "stop the boats" that sounds coarse to European ears. And the harshness and the brutality of its articulation as a proposition by Abbott is a tone which is absent from our mainstream politics, but not from our politics as a whole. Anger, and indeed confusion, dominate and at times define our political discourse.

But it is an anger exploited and channeled by populist parties of the Left and Right - it finds no home in the mainstream. But it needs to.

The trajectory of European policy on refugees and asylum seekers has been a masterclass in how a very human, in fact humane, and emotional response has led inexorably to human misery. No one with a heart can have failed to be exhilarated when Angela Merkel opened Germany's borders to refugees.

The sight of a German Chancellor posing for selfies with refugees was in one way a symbol of a very different Europe. But in the world of people smuggling and human trafficking, it was received very differently. Angela Merkel was - inadvertently - the poster girl for their exploitation and exacerbation of human misery.

For once you signal that Europe is open for refugees then you no longer control your borders - they are managed by criminal gangs.

There's an Indonesian phrase for this incentive for people smugglers - "sugar on the table". And so we return to Tony Abbott. Australia has faced a similar challenge from people smugglers. The same desperate families. The same criminal gangs.

The same risk to life - a one-in-twenty chance of death if you boarded a boat in Indonesia. That's why there was bi-partisan agreement to end the trafficking and why there is strong Australian support for the policy of the Navy turning back boats. When boats are scuttled by smugglers then "passengers" are rescued - but they don't come to Australia.

They go to refugee camps off shore. They don't, in popular parlance, "jump the queue". The result has been an end to the trade in lives.

The contrast with Europe could not be starker. The winter is ending. More boats are coming - and people are still drowning. There are predictions of over a million refugees coming into the EU this year. Whether or not the number is sustainable economically that number is unsustainable politically. And the larger the traffic, the greater the number of deaths.

Stopping the boats on its own is not the whole of the solution. But it is a start. Ending the inhuman trade requires and end to the conflict that dislocates and a solution to the poverty that drives Africans north across the Mediterranean.

But the push factor can be ended and the loss of life can cease. It can be done - Tony Abbott knows how.


Rabid feminists have proved the dictionary right

This week, Oxford University Press (OUP) drew criticism from feminists after ‘responding flippantly’ to an accusation of sexism. Michael Oman-Reagan – an academic who made the initial complaint – took issue with the Oxford English Dictionary’s choice of example for usage of the word ‘rabid’ – ‘rabid feminist’. He also complained about some other ‘sexist’ examples. The OUP’s initial response (a sarky tweet) was well received, but, after some Twitter feminists piled in, it issued an apology and promised to review its examples.

What remarkable times we live in when a small minority can influence how the English language is presented in the dictionary. Using the example ‘rabid feminist’ is perfectly acceptable. How ironic that Twitter feminists sought to challenge it by behaving in such a rabid way.

It may be tempting to write this off as just another Twitterstorm, but there is a sinister, censorious undertone here. Not only did a small group of people feel it was their place to cherry-pick things they didn’t like from the dictionary and demand they be changed, but, worse still, they were pandered to. Cowardly institutions like the OUP are not the kind of custodians the English language needs.

The dictionary exists to define words, not push so-called progressive narratives. The fact that feminists see the offending examples as personal attacks on women betrays how mired in a false sense of victimhood they are. Let’s be clear, the phrase ‘rabid feminist’ isn’t an attack on all womankind. Feminism is not a gender – it’s an ideology. To give an ideology gendered status is to attempt to place it above critique.

To borrow the OED’s current slogan: language matters. This is exactly why all attempts to sterilise and neuter it must be firmly resisted.


Fury in German town after mayor tells families to keep their children away from migrants to avoid 'provoking them' when they wear fewer clothes in the summer

Residents of a small German town have reacted with fury at their mayor's response to a resident's concerns migrants have been sexually harassing his granddaughter.

About 100 people from Bad Schlema, in eastern Germany, were gathered at a town hall when the mayor told them to tell their children not to 'provoke' the asylum seekers, it was reported.

This prompted outrage among those in attendance as they claimed they should be allowed to walk wherever they liked.

It comes just weeks after a spate of sex attacks across German cities saw hundreds of women report to police they had been sexually assaulted by 'Arab or North African men'.

The video shows an elderly man raising concerns about his granddaughter with mayor Jens Muller, from Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party, Breitbart reported.

According to the translation, he states: 'I have a question regarding the school - about physical education in the school gym.

'She's under 10 and it also happened in a nearby town. The girls have been harassed by the refugee children... The asylum seekers, and they get harassed from the windows [of the shelter] and things like that.  'How will this be in the summer when the school girls wear less clothing?'

Attempting to bat away the question quickly and easily, the major responded: 'That's easy, just don't provoke them and don't walk in these areas.'

But his response caused outrage among the audience, with many jeering and lambasting him for the dismissive response.

Members of the audience could be heard crying out: 'You cant even walk in your own city anymore!' and 'go home, boy, who the hell elected you?'

Others were heard shouting: 'They [the migrants] come here and we're not allowed to walk here anymore!' and 'boy oh boy, you've got some nerve. What kind of mayor is this? He should step down!'

Despite the poor reception his comments received, Mr Muller continued enraging the audience.  'Well, it's not technically necessary for the girls to walk there. There are alternative routes for going to school.'

An audience member responded: 'It doesn't f****** matter if there are other routes!'

The mayor then quipped: 'Do you think this doesn't exist among Germans?', only to be told: 'That has nothing to do with this! Germans go to prison for this,' by a resident.

In recent weeks German authorities have attempted to mitigate the fears caused by the waves of sex attacks at New Year that were blamed on migrants.

Social workers in Cologne have been giving migrants special training to prepare them for the city's traditional, and boisterous, Carnival celebrations.

The effort comes in the wake of a string of robberies and sexual assaults on New Year's Eve in the city that police say were committed largely by foreigners.

German authorities are keen to avoid a repeat of those events during the five-day street party starting Thursday.

Caritas, a Catholic welfare association, hosted a lecture Tuesday for 150 migrants who got a crash course from teachers dressed in costumes and with performances by local musicians.

Hundreds of thousands of revelers are expected to party on the streets and in the city's pubs and bars until Ash Wednesday.



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, 2016

Free Speech and Pharmaceutical Regulation

The FDA kills more Americans every year than motor vehicle accidents do, so it was good to see its grip loosened a little recently. Because of the FDA, it takes something like 10 years and half a billion dollars to get a new drug approved.  In that ten years many people who would have been helped by the drug die.  Additionally, drugs for uncommon illnesses are not even researched, let alone approved, because not enough of them would be sold to recoup the half a billion needed to get them approved.  So the FDA is a huge millstone around the neck of new drug development and a rational government would kill it off

The reason it survives is because the *intentions* behind it are good.  It aims to make sure drugs are safe before people start to use them. But the question is how many lives does it in fact save?  Probably only a few as there is always a great uproar when a drug is found to have adverse effects.  Fear of being sued causes companies to take a drug off the market rapidly.  Vioxx was taken off the market in that way.

So we have to weigh the chance of a few deaths from adverse reactions against the large and steady stream of people who die because their doctors cannot get the best drug for their condition to them.

A better system would be to put in the place of the FDA a "Drug Safety Authority" which would have authority to advise only.  Individual doctors could then make up their own minds and take any risks that might flow from that.  But the article below is from a medical journal and the author just defends the existing system with the usual corny arguments

It should be noted that the drug in contention below has already been certified by the FDA as safe.  After that point the FDA  should surely need strong reasons for further interventions.  Such reasons would not seem to exist in the case discussed below

Recent research has not been kind to fish oil salesmen, or the value of ?-3 fatty acid supplements for the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.  Amarin Corporation, in particular, has been hit hard. The company’s only approved product is icosapent ethyl (Vascepa), a prescription-based derivative of fish oil. In 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug to treat patients with very high triglyceride levels, but the company has long wanted to promote its use in a much larger group of patients: those with lower triglyceride levels and cardiovascular disease who were already being treated with statins.

In 2013, an FDA advisory committee voted 9 to 2 against approval for this use, in part because several recent studies of other drugs with similar effects on blood lipids showed no clinical benefit when they were added to statins.  Amarin’s stock price plummeted, and investors brought suit claiming that they had been misled about the promise of the drug.

In May 2015, Amarin struck back, suing the FDA in US district court in Manhattan, arguing that the First Amendment gives the company the right to market its drug for this broader group of people despite the lack of regulatory approval and the lack of evidence of an outcomes benefit for patients. The company's argument hit at the heart of the drug regulatory system in the United States. For decades, that system has required companies that want to promote pharmaceutical products for new uses to first prove to the FDA that the drugs are safe and effective for these uses.

Amarin argued that this system is unconstitutional, and that companies should instead be allowed to market their products in any way that a judge would consider to be neither false nor misleading. Amarin relied in particular on a recent and much criticized judgment from a federal appeals court, US v Caronia.  That 2012 decision came close to declaring the FDA’s prohibition of off-label marketing unconstitutional, citing recent Supreme Court cases that have strengthened constitutional protections for commercial speech.

In August 2015, the judge in the Amarin case, relying largely on the Caronia ruling, handed the company a major victory. He ruled that the company could market Vascepa for the desired broader population, and make many of the very claims that the FDA views as misleading —claims such as "supportive but not conclusive research" shows that the drug "may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease." As of December 2015, the FDA had not decided whether to appeal or settle the case.

The stakes are high indeed: the Amarin precedent, if it holds, has the potential to unleash a flood of misleading marketing to physicians. Under Amarin, if a company wants to market its drug off-label, it need only convince a judge, not the FDA, that its claims are not "false or misleading." In effect, the decision replaces drug regulators with judges—whose expertise in science and medical research varies considerably —when off-label promotion is concerned. The judge in Amarin saw the problem clearly: "You're talking to somebody who has difficulty using a toaster," he said at the hearing. "I’m the last person who should opine on this."

It is not merely that most judges lack the requisite training to effectively assess complex drug claims. They also lack access to the necessary data, and the tools that regulators have to evaluate and shape that data. When a company seeks approval from the FDA for a new indication for a marketed drug, it must submit extensive clinical research and trial data, as well as details about the trial design. FDA scientists can therefore reanalyze the data, detect flaws in protocols and case reports, and, when necessary, reject trial results or require more information. A recent FDA review conducted after safety concerns were raised about rosiglitazone (Avandia), for example, involved manual reviews of forms and efforts to collect additional data for hundreds of trial participants and revealed important new facts, including 8 deaths that had not previously been recorded.

The most insidious aspect of the Amarin decision, therefore, is that it undermines the structures that encourage companies to produce high-quality clinical evidence to support new uses of drugs. If the decision stands, companies with a drug approved for one use will have to produce only enough evidence to convince a judge, not the FDA, to market it for additional indications. To be effective, a company’s marketing must also influence the prescribing patterns of physicians.

Although physicians are a more sophisticated audience, they are not in a position to substitute for regulators. Relatively few have training in research methods. Those who do have such training lack access to comprehensive clinical trial data and rely heavily on the published literature, which is skewed toward positive results. In addition, there is a strong and specific association between pharmaceutical marketing and physician behavior, independent of the evidence supporting the products.

The Amarin decision—if it is neither modified nor reversed—may well put patients, and the evidence base for medical practice, at risk. Drugs that are prescribed for unproven indications can cause serious harm. For example, tiagabine (Gabitril), a medication to reduce the frequency of seizures in patients with epilepsy, can cause seizures when used off-label for other indications. Risk-benefit ratios also shift when new uses are contemplated: a drug whose adverse effects may be acceptable when used to treat patients with serious illness may cause more harm than benefit if used to treat healthier patients. Even a drug that is safe, but ineffective, can be harmful, for example if it is used instead of an effective intervention. Because health care budgets are limited, spending on ineffective treatments also squanders money that might be better spent elsewhere.

Does our constitutional commitment to free speech really require this result? Not if the traditional legal standard for commercial speech protection prevails. Commercial speech serves an "informational function" and can be regulated to ensure that the public has access to accurate information. The FDA serves exactly this end. The agency aims not to censor company speech, but to foster the development of accurate and reliable information, and channel that information into settings where it can be rigorously evaluated.

For example, companies are not prohibited from marketing outright. They may make marketing claims if they provide adequate supportive evidence to the FDA. Nor are companies prohibited from conducting research, and publishing such research —whether meeting FDA standards or not —in the medical literature. Indeed, this is encouraged, and companies can distribute reprints of studies directly to physicians, if the publications have certain indicia of reliability, such as having undergone peer review.

The FDA did not appeal the ruling in the Caronia case. The ongoing settlement negotiations in Amarin suggest that the agency may not yet wish to take its chances in the higher courts in this case. At some point, however, the FDA will have to either take the underlying issue about off-label marketing up the chain, to the Supreme Court itself, or lose a key aspect of its regulatory authority by a thousand cuts.

If and when the FDA finally takes a stand, it will need the help of experts who can help judges understand our drug regulatory system and render vivid the acute dangers of deregulation where medicines are concerned.


Sen. Cotton Introduces Bill to Rescind ‘Nonsensical’ Directive on Israel/West Bank Product Labelling

Accusing the Obama administration of a new "effort to put daylight between the United States and Israel," Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Monday introduced legislation aimed at annulling what he called a "nonsensical" directive on labeling goods produced in the territories disputed between Israel and the Palestinians.

"That directive plays right into the hands of those who are driving insidious efforts to boycott Israeli goods," he said in a statement.

"There is an effort in some quarters around the globe to delegitimize Israel," Cotton said. "Those behind it know they are too weak politically and too wrong morally to succeed in quick and dramatic fashion. They instead seek to achieve their aims gradually with incremental steps like labeling rules."

The January 23 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) directive reminds traders that goods produced by Israeli companies located in the West Bank or Gaza Strip may not be labeled "made in Israel." Any that are will be "subject to an enforcement action."

The State Department says it is merely a "reissuance" of 20 year-old guidance and does not constitute a change of policy.

But its appearance, just days after European Union (E.U.) ministers agreed that products made or grown in the disputed territories and destined for European markets no longer be labeled "made in Israel," raised some eyebrows.

"This has been reported widely in the Israeli media this evening as a new policy and as some kind of rebuke to Israeli settlement policy," a reporter pointed out to State Department spokesman Mark Toner at Thursday’s daily briefing.

Toner disputed that, saying the "guidance was simply a restatement of previous requirements."

He said it was his understanding the guidance was reissued because of "allegations of mislabeling," received from "around nine or ten" complainants.

"Many countries around the world do this kind of labeling. It in no way represents a boycott or anything like that," Toner said. He recalled that the State Department said the same thing last month about the E.U. labeling move – that it did not constitute a boycott.

However Toner himself said last November, when the E.U. first approved the changes, that labeling products from settlements "could be perceived as a step on the way to a boycott."

The U.S. directive does differ from the E.U. one in an important respect: In the U.S., a product from an Israeli settlement in the West Bank must be labeled "West Bank," whereas in the E.U. the same item must now be labeled "West Bank (Israeli settlement)" or similar.

Cotton said the 20 year-old guidance now reissued by the CBP had rarely been enforced in the past.

"While some say the directive merely ?restates an old labeling rule originally drafted 20 years ago with no intention to stigmatize Israel, the truth is the rule was lightly if ever enforced and serves little purpose today," he said.

"Its vigorous enforcement now – coming after a concerted lobbying campaign on the part of groups looking to weaken Israel – will have the undeniable effect of isolating our closest friend in the Middle East and giving other nations an excuse to unfairly treat Israel in trade relations," Cotton said.

"That is why I’m introducing a bill today to rescind the administration’s nonsensical rule and halt this latest effort to put daylight between the United States and Israel."


Harry Potter is a conservative

Harry Potter is the most successful book of all time next to Pilgrim’s Progress and the Sear’s Catalogue.

And so, naturally, there is a certain cult, known in his world as Deatheaters, and in our world as Political Correctness, that seeks repulsively to claim that success as their own.A recent article in i09 reports that Anthony Gierzynski, a political scientist at the University of Vermont, found that Harry Potter fans are more open to diversity and are more politically tolerant than nonfans.

The fans are also less likely to support the use of deadly force or torture, more politically active, and more likely to have had a negative view of the Bush administration.From this the conclusion is put forth (in a leap of logic that would make the cow jumping over the moon blush with shame) that Harry Potter draws children toward the political Left.

What an utter load of rubbish.

I have inspected neither Gierzynski’s data nor his methods, but I know blast-ended skrewt dung when I smell it.

Asking on a questionnaire whether one is open to diversity is like asking whether one likes raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. And the caricature of conservatives as cretins who applaud deadly force and torture, intolerance and cruelty, is as much of a world make-believe as Voldemort himself.

Finding that no one in real life believes what bigoted leftists pretend conservatives believe does not mean most people lean left: it means leftists are bigots.

It is no surprise that more leftists buy books, including fairytale books, for their children, and pass along their political viewpoints as well. Leftists already live in Cloudcuckooland, which is next door to fairyland.

I suggest that some enterprising political scientist perform a similar study for any book-reading of any kind, not just books about schoolboy wizards, or, indeed, any idle pastime whatsoever. Leftism is found more among idle folk whose mental immune system is weak: among teens, among university professors, and among everyone else who does not work for a living. (And the People’s Republic of Vermont is as thick with the leftism-carrying vectors as a fever swamp with mosquito and tse-tse fly.)

As part of their ongoing attempt to politicize private life, and spread their cult, leftists since the 1930s at least have attempted to import their messages into movies, popular songs, television, everywhere. It is a particular badge of courage to them if they can get a conservative father to buy a book containing propaganda for his child unknowingly.

When a leftist critic calls a book "subversive." he means it as a compliment. He means that the work undermines the expectations of art form but also that it undermines the current social order, because, to the Left, even art forms, even children’s books, can carry the plague vector of their worldview.

For better or worse, reality is conservative. Because of this, drama in any form tends to be conservative: readers still enjoy reading love stories and heroic adventures. Hence a book like Harry Potter, which is based on archetypes as old as cave paintings — wise men with long gray beards, evil serpents, trusted comrades, the unloved orphan (who, like Hercules or Moses, is chosen by fate to slay monsters or evil lords and save his people) — is innately conservative.

And so, ironically, the faithful leftist reading of Professor Gierzynski’s dimwitted paper, fooled by the pseudo-scientific smell the paper emits, will find the tables turned. It will be the conservatives who cackle when the unwitting leftist buys these magical books for his child. These books teach the most solid and conservative of messages imaginable.

And, no, I do not mean that they teach that intolerance is good and torture is even better. I mean these books show clear and edifying examples of core conservative values in action. Let us list a few:

The families in Potter consist of mothers and fathers, not various partners of various genders engaged in various acts of free love. Ron’s family is a shining example of a loving family, with a father who works and a mother who is willing to face mad witches if need be for her large and well-loved brood. Harry Potter himself is saved by his mother’s love and protected from the evil spells of her murderer.

The government in Harry Potter’s world, as in ours, in inept, corrupt, and regarded as an obstacle rather than the source of salvation. Each boy relies on his own wit and courage and friendships to save himself and to save the world.

The press in Harry Potter’s world, as in ours, is inept, corrupt, and a source of outrageous falsehoods. The main reporter-witch can assume the form of a mosquito.

The moral universe in Harry’s world rejects any form of relativism. There are no shades of gray here, or examples of a thing being right for one group and wrong for another. The ends do not justify the means here either: knowing that Voldemort is also an orphan raised in poverty does not automatically make him one of the oppressed and therefore excused in anything he does, as it would in the left-wing world.

Dumbledore is gay! And the one example in the book of Dumbledore’s love is an evil man who manipulated him. Aside from that, as best the text can show, Dumbledore lives chastely.

Do I even need to say anything about the alleged occultism in Potter? We Christians invented the medieval romance from which the modern novel takes its form, and modern fantasies slavishly copy, including this one. Romance is as Roman as Rome. If you think Sir Orfeo or Orlando Furioso or Le Morte D’Arthur is occult, go find the nearest exorcist: you’re possessed by the imp of stupid.

They keep score in Quidditch. I just thought I would throw that in.

There is no cult of victimology here. Anyone who gets ahead, even the Chosen One, is because he works hard. The Twins open a joke shop when they graduate; they do not go on the dole.

"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." Harry conquers death by submitting to it at Voldemort’s hand, and destroys the Dark Lord by being reborn. He sees the Dark Lord’s soul as the shriveled and pathetic thing it is, not glorious.

Salvation requires sacrifice.

Rules are made to be broken.

A word on this last point. One might think that we conservatives, who are law-and-order types, would object to a book in which the hero defies a government order and trains in secret with his fellow students against a day of war. However, conservatism, if it is anything, is the belief in limited government. We like rebels when the authority oversteps it role and turns corrupt, as it does in Harry Potter, with the various fussy bureaucrats, traitors, and cowards occupying the Ministry of Magic.

Leftism by its nature is totalitarian, since it extends its reach to every element and aspect of life. For leftists, life is politics and politics is life. For them, everything is a political issue, from the weather in the Arctic to the size of your bank account to the volume of your toilet tank to the chemicals in a hairspray bottle to the pronouns you use when the antecedent is unknown to whether a Catholic can refuse to bake a wedding cake for a ceremony that desecrates a sacrament.

In other words, leftists applaud revolution only when it is directed to the overthrow of whatever stands in the way of their socialist utopia. No leftist of which I am aware has ever expressed sympathy and solidarity for Lech Walesa, for the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, for the protesters of Tiananmen Square, for the protest novels of Solzhenitsyn. They applaud Malcolm X and Saul Alinsky. Leftism is statism; whenever the state is growing, leftists frown on rebels. It is only small and healthy states they want rebels to overthrow.

The first thing I ever heard about Harry Potter, back before I had read it, and the thing that most strongly recommended it to me, was that liberals thought it was a bad example to give kids because the young hero defied authority.

Had I known that the book also offered up rather clear examples of Christ-like self sacrifice, self-reliance, and moral clarity, not to mention a pro-family hence antipress and antiauthoritarian message, I would have rushed out even quicker to buy it.

So, adding this all up, I would say these books are about as left-wing as a portrait of George Washington crossing the Delaware meeting Saint Peter walking on the water coming the other way, with Merlin the Magician in the background talking to Aslan the Great Lion.

This book is the opposite of subversive. To subvert means to overturn from below, and make noble things seem base. This story uplifts from above, and uses the dark material of witch and warlocks to fashion a tale of light. Harry Potter overturns expectations of the low, crude,  selfish, and replaces them with the good, noble, self-sacrificing. If I may coin a term, the story of Harry Potter is superversive.


Neo-puritans strive to find offence — anywhere

Janet Albrechtsen writes from Australia:

With January 2016 ticked off the calendar, it’s worth reflecting how the past month has provided a window into the mindset of a burgeoning class of sanctimonious neo-puritans.

A few weeks back, West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle was just about run out of the country after an interview with a female sports presenter where he said: "Hopefully, we can win this game and have a drink after. Don’t blush baby." Social media went nuts. The media, talkback, feminists went equally manic that Gayle would dare to flirt on camera.

The cricketer apologised the very next day. But that made no difference to the remonstrating neo-puritans. The batting legend was ­labelled a sexist and a creep, his club fined him $10,000, Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland said Gayle’s on-camera flirting was "completely out of line and inappropriate". "It’s very, very public," Sutherland said.

A few weeks later, NRL player Mitchell Pearce was caught on a smartphone video behaving like a drunken buffoon at a private party. But privacy made no difference to the censorious neo-puritans. Public lapse in judgment? Private indiscretion? The boundaries keep moving. There but for the grace of God go I has become there but for the grace of an iPhone go all of us. Pearce clumsily tried to kiss a woman who quickly rebuffed him. So he stopped. The half-back then simulated a dopey, jokey sex act on a dog. He urinated on a couch. Dumb and dumber.

But in the minds of the neo-­puritans, there is no room for boofheads anymore. Pearce is a villain. End of story. And villains must be publicly shamed. So there’s endless talk of fines and penalties, contracts cancelled, ­careers over, rehab and counselling. Pearce has left the country. I am deeply uncomfortable to find myself on roughly the same side of the argument as Peter FitzSimons.

But here’s where the Red Bandanna and I part ways. The progressive set that FitzSimons surely calls home is to blame for the rise of the holier than thou neo-puritanism that has tried to destroy Pearce. Australia’s self-appointed moral guardians are having a ­heyday doing what they do so often: dividing the world into victims and villains. But can it really be that simple? There is something truly disturbing about the refusal by these self-appointed moralisers to make room for a few boofheads, be they drunk or flirtatious.

To be sure, no one should celebrate stupidity. Pearce behaved badly. He has to account for that. But the obsession to label every misdemeanour or error of judgment as a sure sign of bad character points to a deeper malaise infecting our society. This false ­dichotomy of victims and villains is creating a sterile, puritanical world where even minor mistakes of judgment are pathologised as serious moral misdeeds.

Witness the weird explosion of academic literature and campus chatter about so-called micro-assaults, micro-aggressions, micro-insults, micro-invalidations and so on and so forth. So you’ve picked up a copy of Hustler magazine and looked at a naked woman? That makes you a perpetrator of "micro-insults" — and a villain. Prefer to be colourblind to race so you don’t define people by their colour? That makes you a perpetrator of micro-invalidations — and a villain. You’d think that the very mention of "micro" points to how trifling this all is. Not in the eyes of the neo-naggers, who can find wrongdoing anywhere they look.

And it’s not hard to trace how we ended up in this realm of the utterly ridiculous. The misguided taxonomy between villains and victims was given a fillip once feelings entered the realm of human rights laws. Once an offending word here or an insulting word there attracted the heavy hand of the law, victimhood became a booming business. And given that victimhood works as a political philosophy only if there are villains, it’s not surprising then that Western modernity is stretching at the seams with newfangled classes of victims and villains.

You’re a Catholic archbishop from Tasmania who produces a pamphlet that defends the trad­itional definition of marriage that has not only existed for millennia but remains the law of the land? Most would think this is a complete non-story within a healthy democracy where freedom of speech and religion are basic rights. Wrong. Under the hectoring neo-puritanism, the law allows anyone offended by that pamphlet to claim victimhood status and, hey presto, the archbishop and his church are cast as villains by a human rights bureaucracy only too willing to play along.

We seem to have reached the point where every transgression from the norm now demands either a victim or villain label. There’s no room for plain difference or straight stupidity any more. And the victim/villain ­dichotomy has reached into ­absurd places when Gayle and Pearce were cast as villains even where there were no victims.

Neither Gayle nor Pearce broke any law. The police were not called. There was no harm done, as John Stuart Mill would have concluded.

The 19th century English philosopher best explained the no harm principle when he said "That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others."

Mill was addressing the importance of individual liberty in the face of state control. These days, the preachy neo-puritans imagine they are the state, imposing their judgments, wrecking reputations and careers because they have identified a villain even where there is no victim. No harm no longer matters to the neo-puritans. The principles that helped drive liberty have been upended.

Last week, the honchos who hand out Australia Day awards tried to further cement the victims and villains narrative into our national psyche when they picked David Morrison as Australian of the Year.

Morrison, a military man, is not regarded as an extraordinary soldier. So why did he get the gong? He gave one famous speech about victims of discrimination (a speech written by his then speechwriter, Cate McGregor, who transitioned from a man to a woman a few years ago).

You might have thought that upon receiving the award, Morrison would defend this great nation, maybe explaining the importance of being committed to Western values such as individual liberty and so on. Wrong again. Morrison’s Australia Day speech was replete with dark talk of victims and villains.

Not surprisingly, those who have fallen for this false dichotomy have bequeathed hero status on Morrison.

Those of us who see through the victim and villain ­baloney see a man of mediocre achievement given an award he didn’t deserve. And his paean to progressive causes is a reminder of how far we have fallen as a proud nation.

The lionisation of Morrison and the concomitant destruction of Pearce suggest it’s high time we did more to keep in check the rapacious colonisation of our communities by the neo-puritans. After all, the freedom to be a boofhead is the other side of the liberty coin.



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, 2016

The incomprehensible violence of the multicultural mechanic who raped and strangled aspiring City lawyer in her family home

A mechanic who raped a city lawyer before brutally strangling her to death after he was rejected by a girl at a party was jailed for at least 27 years.

Lodger Peter Kibisu, 23, murdered Elizabeth Nnyanzi, 31, when he returned to the £600,000 family home in August while high on drugs.

Today he was branded a 'wolf in sheep's skin' by her mother Coleen, who had offered him a roof over his head when he was homeless and was in Ghana when the attack occurred.

The BMW technician attacked the Imperial College graduate and paralegal at London firm Herbert Smith Freehills then went to work, later telling police an attacker had broken into the house.

He sobbed in the dock as prosecutor Mark Heywood QC told how Kibisu returned home on August 14 after a girl at a party rejected his sexual advances.

He said: 'The defendant returned home to where he was living with very close family friends, having been out for almost the entire night.

'He then took the very gravest advantage of those who had given him a home by first sexually attacking and then killing Elizabeth Nnyanzi - one of the daughters of the house - who was then alone in the property and in her own bedroom.'

'A beautiful, talented girl and a young star' - Miss Nnyanzi studied medicine at Imperial College London before switching to follow in her father’s footsteps as a lawyer

Coreen and Kibisu's mothers had been friends since their twenties and he added: 'The association between the two families had been close and long-standing.  'In the case of the defendant he had been given a home by the Nnyanzi family for approximately nine months.'

At the time Miss Nnyanzi's solicitor father Joseph lived in Uganda, while her two sisters Antonia and Cressida also lived away and Kibisu moved in on an 'extended guest invitation.'

'There was no intimacy between them and never had there been,' said Mr Heywood.

'She looked down on him as a much younger cousin, and one account says that Elizabeth would have been horrified and rejected any such advance.'

A victim impact statement from Coleen said her life had been 'shattered' and said: 'Elizabeth was a kind, caring and loving eldest daughter who used her extensive knowledge to help others.

Jailing Kibisu for life, Judge Richard Marks said his crimes were 'a horrendous betrayal of the trust and hospitality' extended to him.  'That is a home in which you two lived - the situation being your respective mothers had been friends for very many years,' he said.

Nnyanzi completed her bachelor's degree in medicine at Liverpool University and master's at Imperial before switching to law.

Described as 'truly unique' by her sisters, she had worked for several charities and only returned from working in Uganda months prior to her death.

Kibisu pleaded guilty to rape and murder in November and December last year.


Germany's Merkel says refugees must return home once war is over

German Chancellor Angela Merkel tried on Saturday to placate the increasingly vocal critics of her open-door policy for refugees by insisting that most refugees from Syria and Iraq would go home once the conflicts there had ended.

Despite appearing increasingly isolated, Merkel has resisted pressure from some conservatives to cap the influx of refugees, or to close Germany's borders.

Support for her conservative bloc has slipped as concerns mount about how Germany will integrate the 1.1 million migrants who arrived last year, while crime and security are also in the spotlight after a wave of assaults on women in Cologne at New Year by men of north African and Arab appearance.

The influx has played into the hands of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), whose support is now in the double digits, and whose leader was quoted on Saturday saying that migrants entering illegally should, if necessary, be shot.

Merkel said it was important to stress that most refugees had only been allowed to stay for a limited period.

"We need ... to say to people that this is a temporary residential status and we expect that, once there is peace in Syria again, once IS has been defeated in Iraq, that you go back to your home country with the knowledge that you have gained," she told a regional meeting of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Merkel said 70 percent of the refugees who fled to Germany from former Yugoslavia in the 1990s had returned.

Horst Seehofer, leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the CDU's Bavarian sister party, has threatened to take the government to court if the flow of asylum seekers is not cut.

Merkel urged other European countries to offer more help "because the numbers need to be reduced even further and must not start to rise again, especially in spring".

Fabrice Leggeri, the head of the European Union's border agency Frontex, said a U.N. estimate that up to a million migrants could try to come to Europe via the eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans next year was realistic.

"It would be a big achievement if we could keep the number ... stable," he told the magazine Der Spiegel.

Merkel said all EU states should have an interest in protecting the bloc's external borders, and all would suffer if the internal passport-free Schengen zone collapsed and national borders were closed.

AfD leader Frauke Petry told the Mannheimer Morgen newspaper that Germany needed to reduce the influx through agreements with neighboring Austria and a reinforcement of the EU's external borders.

But she also said it should not be shy about turning people back and creating "border protection installations" - and that border guards should, if necessary, shoot at migrants trying to enter illegally.

No police officer wanted to shoot at a migrant, Petry said, adding "I don't want that either but, ultimately, deterrence includes the use of armed force".


Political correctness is killing comedy, says famous British comedian

John Cleese says that political correctness and fear of offending could lead to a 1984-style society.

The Monty Python star said he has now been advised not to perform on university campuses as the idea of political correctness has expanded so far that any kind of criticism is now seen as 'cruel'.

Veteran comic Cleese said it is down to people who cannot control their emotions, so seek to control others, and worries that it could lead to a society like that in the iconic dystopian Orwell Novel.

He says: 'If you start to think "ooh, we mustn’t criticise or offend them", humour is gone, with humour goes a sense of proportion, and then as far as I’m concerned we’re living in 1984.'

Cleese, whose jokes about Germans and Spanish waiter Manuel in Fawlty Towers could well be considered offensive today, said that 'all comedy is critical,' in a video for The Big Think.

He explained how British newspapers offend him everyday with 'laziness, nastiness and inaccuracy,' but that he doesn't expect someone to stop it happening, he simply speaks out about it.

Cleese goes on to say that people do not have the right to be 'protected from any kind of uncomfortable emotion' as he defends the right of expression for comedians worldwide.

He then quotes psychologist Robin Skynner, saying: 'If people can't control their own emotions then they need to start controlling other people’s behaviour,' as he continues the profound tirade.'

Cleese adds: 'When you're around people who are super-sensitive, you can't relax, be spontaneous as you have no idea what is going to upset them next.

'I’ve been warned recently not to go to university campuses because political correctness has been taken from being a good idea, from "lets not be mean particularly to people who are not able to look after themselves very well", to the point where any kind of criticism of any kind of individual or group can be labelled cruel.

'The whole point about comedy is that all comedy is critical.'

Cleese and the other comedians in Monty Python pushed the boundaries of comedy in the 60s and 70s, and movie Life of Brian - a spoof version of the story of Jesus - offended numerous groups.

However, Cleese vehemently defends the right to speak through comedy, and this is not the first time he has spoken out about political correctness.

In 2014, he argued that it is 'condescending' as it only allows jokes to be made about certain groups while implying others need to be protected.

Speaking to Bill Maher on HBO, the legendary comedian said he used to make jokes about the French and Australians - but if he mentioned Mexicans it was deemed unacceptable.

He also joked that you can make jokes about Muslims, but if you do, 'they kill you'.


From Slavery Reparations to Voter-ID Laws, UN Experts Slam U.S.

Far-Leftist rubbish.  Let them turn their energies to criticizing countries that have real human rights abuses -- such as Muslim countries

A trio of U.N. human rights experts ended a fact-finding visit to the United States Friday with a sharp critique of the conditions faced by African-Americans today, and decried the fact that "there has been no real commitment to recognition and reparations" for slavery.

Members of the so-called "U.N. working group of experts on people of African descent" drew a connection between controversial incidents of police shootings of African-Americans to lynching of past years.

"Contemporary police killings and the trauma it creates are reminiscent of the racial terror lynching of the past," they said a lengthy statement, parts of which were read out at a press briefing in Washington, D.C.

"Impunity for state violence has resulted in the current human rights crisis and must be addressed as a matter of urgency."

In another present/past equation, the experts compared slavery to the incarceration of large numbers of blacks for drugs offenses.

"The devastating impact of the ‘war on drugs’ has led to mass incarceration and is compared to enslavement, due to exploitation and dehumanization of African Americans," they declared.

The three – French law professor Mireille Fanon Mendes-France, Filipino human rights lawyer Ricardo Sunga and South African legal scholar Sabelo Gumedze – called for a greater emphasis in school curricula on the history of colonization and the transatlantic slave trade.

They also recommended that "monuments, memorials and markers" highlighting the slavery issue be erected, and for federal and state legislation "recognizing the experience of enslavement" to be passed.

Specifically, they called on Congress to pass "The Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act." The legislation, introduced a year ago by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), provides for the establishment of a commission to study the issue and recommend "appropriate remedies."

The trio’s 20-day visit included time in Washington D.C., Baltimore, Md., Jackson, Miss., Chicago, Ill. And New York City. They met with government officials, lawmakers, civil society representatives, rights activists and families of people killed by police.

Their full report and recommendations will be presented in September to the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva, but the lengthy preliminary statement provided a good indication of how critical that final report will be.

"The colonial history, the legacy of enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism, and racial inequality in the U.S. remains a serious challenge as there has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for people of African descent," it said.

"Despite substantial changes since the end of the enforcement of Jim Crow and the fight for civil rights, ideology ensuring the domination of one group over another, continues to negatively impact the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of African Americans today.

The U.N. experts did voice approval for some policies and initiatives, including the recent executive order aimed at reducing the use of solitary confinement in prisons. And they praised the Affordable Care Act, which they said "has allowed 2.3 million African-American adults to gain medical health insurance."

But they were highly critical of voter-ID laws, charging that "increased identification requirements in several states served to discriminate [against] minorities such as African-Americans contrary to the spirit of the 1965 Voting Rights Act."

(During the last presidential election year four years ago, the NAACP approached the HRC in Geneva to complain about what it called "racially-discriminatory election laws." The HRC includes countries where free elections are unknown, including current members China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.)

The three experts also criticized "stand your ground" laws, alleged racial bias in the criminal justice system and, in general, "systemic" racial discrimination which they said had the effect of denying development to the poorest black communities

"The persistent gap in almost all the human development indicators, such as life expectancy, income and wealth, level of education, housing, employment and labor, and even food security, among African-Americans and the rest of the U.S. population, reflects the level of structural discrimination that creates de facto barriers for people of African descent to fully exercise their human rights," said part of the report, read out at the briefing by Mendes-France.

The "U.N. working group of experts on people of African descent" was established by the HRC’s now-defunct predecessor, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, following the World Conference against Racism held in Durban, South Africa in 2001.

The Bush administration withdrew from the Durban conference, amid controversy over demands for reparations for slavery and attempts to brand Israel as a racist state.



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, 2016

English history as a class war

By British libertarian history enthusiast Sean Gabb.  He says that Englishmen had more liberties when England was ruled by aristocrats than they now have under rule by the bureaucratic class

To understand the rubbish heap that England has become, it is useful to look at the circumstances that prompted the emergence of the modern State in Europe.

Around the end of the thirteenth century, the world entered one of its cooling phases. In a world of limited technology, this lowered the Malthusian ceiling – by which I mean the limit to which population was always tending, and beyond which it could not for any long time rise. Populations that could just about feed themselves during the warm period were now too large.

In the middle of the fourteenth century, this pressure was suddenly relieved by the Black Death, which seems to have killed about a third of the English population, and probably about a third of the human race as a whole. The result was a collapse of population somewhat below the Malthusian ceiling. In turn, this led – in England and Western Europe, at least – to an age of plenty for ordinary people.

However, continued cooling and a recovery of population led, by the beginning of the sixteenth century, to renewed contact with the Malthusian ceiling. So far as we can tell from the English statistics – which are the most complete and generally accurate – ordinary living standards fell rapidly throughout that century. With mild variations, they continued to fall until the last third of the eighteenth century. While the ceiling tended to rise during this period, the corresponding tendency to higher average living standards was offset by rising population. Living standards began to recover strongly only after the middle of the nineteenth century, when renewed warming, joined by the Industrial Revolution, lifted the ceiling out of sight. Even so, living standards in England did not recover their fifteenth century levels till about the 1880s. It was later elsewhere in Western Europe.

I think these natural forces go far to explaining the sudden emergence of religious mania and political unrest in Europe at the beginning of the sixteenth century. The Reformation and Wars of Religion can be explained partly in terms of an unfolding intellectual change. Ideas are an autonomous force. At the same time, the force of the explosion we date from 1517 has its origin in perturbations of the Sun, or whatever other natural cause drives changes in the climate.

One of the responses of the governing classes to the spreading wave of instability was to centralise and greatly to strengthen power. Most notably in France, but in Western Europe generally, kings were exalted far above their mediaeval status. Because they were unreliable members of the new order, nobilities were brought under control, and power was shared with humble officials, who might collectively grow powerful, but who individually could be made or broken as kings found convenient. The various divine right theories of this age were the legitimising ideology of the new order.

In France, the King withdrew to Versailles. The leading nobles were required to live with him, thereby breaking their connection with the land from which they were allowed to continue drawing their wealth. Much government was given to a class of office holders, who multiplied their functions and arrested much tendency to economic improvement in ways that I do not need to describe.

I turn now to England. In some degree, there was a growth of absolutism here during the sixteenth century. The Tudor Kings ended the civil wars, and made themselves supreme and unchallenged. Because England was an island with only one land border – and Scotland was easily managed – there was no need for a standing army; and standing armies, and the consequent arms race between states with land borders, were a secondary cause of the growth of absolutism. Even so, the Tudor Monarchy ruled England through a strong administration centred on London.

This growth was arrested and reversed in 1641, by the abolition of nearly every body of state unknown to the Common Law. The Privy Council remained, but its subordinate institutions – Star Chamber, for example, and the Council of the North – were swept away. The immediate result was civil war, followed by a republic run by religious maniacs. But this soon collapsed, and the Monarchy was restored in 1660.

However, the Restoration was of the Monarchy in name only. It is best seen as an aristocratic coup. The Restoration Parliament finished the work of 1641, by abolishing the feudal tenures, by which the Monarchy had kept control over the nobility. The landed aristocracy gained something like absolute title over their estates, untouchable by the King. The network of rights and obligations that tied them to those who worked the land was simplified to a relationship of landlord and tenant.

From the 1660s, we can see the emergence of an aristocratic ruling class checked only at the margins by the Crown. Before then, Members of Parliament were often humble men from their localities, who needed to look to their localities for expenses and even salaries. Very soon, the Commons was flooded with the younger sons of peers and aristocratic nominees. Andrew Marvell was one of the last Members of Parliament who needed to draw a salary. The commons became an aristocratic club. This process was hastened by the decay of many boroughs and the growth of the more or less unrepresentative system that was ended only after 1832.

There was one attempt at reaction by the Crown. Charles II and James II presided over the growth of a new official class. Samuel Pepys is the most famous representative of this class. But there is also Leolyn Jenkins, the son of a Welsh farm labourer, who was educated in the Roman Law – not the Common Law – and who led the parliamentary resistance to the Exclusion Bills by which the aristocracy in effect tried to seize control over who could be King of England.

But James II overplayed his hand, and was deposed and exiled in 1688. Thereafter, the aristocracy did control appointment to the Crown, and was able to monopolise every institution of state – allowing those that failed to serve its interest to atrophy.

During the eighteenth century, the internal administration in England became largely a matter of obedience to the Common Law. History was written backwards, so that it became a narrative of struggle to maintain or to restore a set of ancient liberties that were usually over-stressed, or even mythical. I suspect that any educated man brought forward from 1500 to 1750 would have failed to recognise his own England in the standard histories. The tension between competing institutions and legal systems that shaped his life had been reduced to a set of struggles over a Common Law that was only one element in what he considered the legitimate order of things.

I repeat that ideas are an autonomous force. The whiggish ideologies that dominated the century were strongly believed by the ruling class, and were beneficial to the people as a whole. Opposition to Walpole’s excise, and the Theatres Bill cannot be simply explained as the play of sectional interests, or the work of politicians hungry for office. The Third Duke of Sunderland, Lords Hervey and Chesterfield, the Rockingham Whigs – these were men of strong liberal opinions. No ideology becomes hegemonic unless it is also believed. There was an almost paranoid suspicion of government within the ruling class, and a corresponding exaltation of the liberties of the people. But English liberty was also a collateral benefit of the aristocratic coups of 1660 and 1688. Self-help and a high degree of personal freedom were allowed to flourish ultimately because the enlightened self-interest of those who ruled England maintained a strong bias against any growth of an administrative state – the sort of state that would be able to challenge aristocratic dominance. People were left alone – often in vicious pursuits – because any regulation would have endangered the settlements of 1660-88.

Our understanding of English history in the nineteenth century is shaped by the beliefs of the contending parties in that century. The liberals and early socialists demanded an enlarged franchise and administrative reform, because they claimed this would give ordinary people a controlling voice in government. The conservatives claimed that extending the franchise would lead to the election of demagogues and levellers by a stupid electorate.

This does not explain what happened. Liberal democracy was a legitimising ideology for the establishment of a new ruling class – a ruling class of officials and associated commercial interests that drew power and status from an enlarged state. The British State was not enlarged for the welfare of ordinary people. The alleged welfare of ordinary people was merely an excuse for the enlargement of the British State. The real beneficiaries were the sort of people who thought highly of Sidney and Beatrice Webb.

If this analysis is correct, men like John Stuart Mill and even Richard Cobden were at best useful idiots for the bad side in a struggle over which group of special interests should rule England. The real heroes for libertarians were men like Lord Eldon and Colonel Sibthorp, who resisted all change, or men like Benjamin Disraeli and Lord Salisbury, who, after the battle for "reform" was lost, found ways to moderate and, in the short term, to neutralise the movement of power from one group to another. Or the greatest hero of all was Lord Elcho, who kept the Liberty and Property League going until he was nearly a hundred, and who fought a bitter rearguard action for an aristocratic ascendency that was intimately connected with the rights to life, liberty and property of ordinary people.

This is not to romanticise the aristocratic ascendency. Eighteenth century England was a brutal place filled with injustice – the game laws, the press gang, a chaotic civil and criminal law, pervasive corruption. All the same, utopia has never been on offer. In passing, I will address myself to left-libertarians like Kevin Carson and Keith Preston. Their critique of the corporate elites and the plutocracy that are hurrying us into tyranny is fundamentally correct. But they are wrong to denounce the aristocratic ascendency that preceded the system under which we now live. It would have been nice for England to emerge into the modern world as a land of masterless men – of yeomen farmers and independent craftsmen and tradesmen. But this was never on offer. By the time the eighteenth century radicals found their voice, the only alternatives on offer were aristocratic ascendency and middle class bureaucracy. Old Lord Fartleigh had his faults. He hated the Papists, and thought nothing of hanging poachers. But he would never have thought it his business to tell us how to put our rubbish out, or whether we could smoke in the local pub.

Let it not be forgotten that the demolition of aristocratic rule was largely completed by the Liberal Government elected in 1906. This was the Government that also got us into the Great War, and kept us in it to the bitter end. The kind of people who formed it had already given us most of the moral regulation that we think of as Victorian – regulation that was always cried up as "progressive," and that was usually resisted in the Lords. Since then, these people have taken up one legitimising ideology after another – national efficiency, the welfare of the working classes, multiculturalism, environmentalism, supranational government. The common thread in all these ideologies has been their usefulness as a figleaf behind which ordinary people could be taxed and regulated and conscripted, and generally made to dance as their rulers desired. Perhaps the main reason why Classical Marxism never became important in England was that, just when it was very big in the world at large, Keynesian demand management emerged as a more suitable legitimising ideology for the ruling class we now had.


British PM agitating for more equality

Stealing the thunder of the Labour party

Elite universities defended their record on equality and said poor schooling was partly to blame for a lack of black students after David Cameron vowed new laws to 'shame' them into admitting more ethnic minorities.

The Prime Minister warned educational institutions, the police, the military and the courts they were all the focus of a new effort to tackle social inequality, suggesting it might be fuelled by 'ingrained, institutional and insidious' racism.

Labour MP David Lammy has also been recruited by Number 10 to carry out a major review into discrimination in the criminal justice system, including why black offenders are more likely to be jailed for the same offences as their white criminal counterpart.

Mr Cameron said the absence of any black generals, the fact that just 4% of FTSE 100 chief executives were from ethnic minorities and that young black men were more likely to be in prison than at a top university ' should shame our country and jolt us to action'.

'I don't care whether it's overt, unconscious or institutional - we've got to stamp it out,' he wrote in The Sunday Times, warning it would otherwise only 'feed those who preach a message of grievance and victimhood'.

Universities have been summoned to a meeting with Business Secretary Sajid Javid to discuss the plan to force them to publish detailed breakdowns of application success rates by race as well as course, gender and socio-economic background.

He said it was 'striking' that the 2,500-strong 2014 intake at his own university - Oxford - included only 27 black students and suggested it was 'not doing enough to attract talent from across our country'.

But Oxford said it did 'not see the need' for such legislation and insisted the effects of social inequality were 'already pronounced before children begin formal schooling' and could not be addressed by higher education alone.

'Any serious solution to the problem of unequal educational progression must take into account the unequal distribution of high attainment across schools, socio-economic groups, even geography,' a spokesman said.

He said 367 undergraduates from ethnic minority backgrounds were accepted in 2015, 15% more than in 2010 - 64 of those being black students, up from 39 five years ago.

'We are constantly working to update what information we provide and although we do not see the need for further legislation, we would welcome discussions on what more information we could publish,' the spokesman said.

Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group of elite universities, said universities invested a 'huge amount of time, effort and resources' into broadening the student mix but needed more help from others.

'There are still far too many children from disadvantaged backgrounds underachieving at school and receiving poor advice and guidance.

'It will take time, commitment, and sustained action from a range of agencies to raise pupils' aspirations, increase attainment and improve the advice and guidance offered.'

Sir Anthony Seldon, University of Buckingham vice-chancellor, welcomed the push by Mr Cameron, one of several prime ministers of whom the historian has written biographies.

'It is deeply wrong that black and other ethnic minority students are so poorly represented in our universities, notably those like Oxford, which should be leading the way,' he said.

Mr Lammy, a qualified barrister, has been tasked with finding solutions to what the PM called a 'disgraceful' gulf in sentencing treatment.

He is due to produce recommendations on how to tackle discrimination at all stages - from arrest, through courts and prisons to rehabilitation - by the spring of 2017.

Official figures show 61% of black and ethnic minority offenders in England and Wales receive custodial sentences, compared with 56% of their white counterparts.

They also make up a disproportionate amount of Crown Court defendants (24%).

Mr Lammy told the Murnaghan programme on Sky News that he had discussed the appointment with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who he said had 'taken up these issues within the criminal justice system for many, many years'.  'There are occasions when the issue is beyond party politics. This is absolutely one of them,' he said.

Shadow justice secretary Lord Falconer welcomed the review but said ministers must ensure it prompted 'real change'.

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: 'You can't fix social mobility without fixing the economy, money and jobs.

And this means universities too - places where we can develop the skills of the future for a country which desperately needs the very best quality vocational education.

'We need to extend the range of opportunities for post-school training that don't involve debt. Apprenticeships are crucial.'


Should anything be ‘beyond a joke’?

The new comedy code of intolerant conformism is no laughing matter

Comedy, it seems, is no laughing matter these days, caught up in one controversy after another over the acceptable limits of humour.

Last week it was the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that was in the firing line again, accused of racism by everybody from the Queen of Jordan to radical US cartoonists for publishing jokes involving dead refugees. This week another serial offender, British comedian Jimmy Carr, is back in the headlines after being found guilty by the UK’s broadcasting watchdog, Ofcom, of causing ‘considerable offence’ after he cracked a joke about dwarves on BBC TV last November.

Comedy is suffering under a stifling atmosphere of conformism and intolerance. It appears that any joke judged to have crossed a line must be not just ignored, but condemned, censured and, if possible, censored. That, in turn, has given rise to a pathetic backlash of comedians and provocateurs trying to be offensive for the sake of it. The rest of us risk being left with the worst of both unfunny worlds.

Good jokes are generally in bad taste. They tend to mock the respectable rules and morals of society. By its nature comedy is always controversial, pushing as it must at the limits of what passes for taste and decency in any era. It is hard to think of a good joke that would not offend somebody. That is why there have long been attempts to control what is deemed ‘acceptable’ humour and to censor what is not. And why many writers and comedians have tried to subvert the rules.

However, as with other issues in the free-speech wars, the terrain has shifted. Once the complaints were about blasphemous and indecent comedy, and the censors were conservative politicians, policemen and priests. Now the protests are more often against comedians accused of breaking the new taboos – racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and the other usual suspects. And the demands to shut them down tend to be led not by old-fashioned prudes but by radical online activists, the liberal media and even other comedians. Backed up in the UK by broadcast regulators, politicians and the newly PC police.

We have come a long way since the upsurge of modern radical comedy in the 1960s, when the Jewish comedian Lenny Bruce could be arrested in the US and barred from Britain for using the word ‘cocksucker’ on stage. In 1964 in New York, Bruce was found guilty of performing a routine that was ‘obscene, indecent, immoral and impure’, in which ‘words such as "ass", "balls", "cocksucker", "cunt", "fuck", "motherfucker", "piss", "screw", "shit" and "tits" were used about one hundred times in utter obscenity’.

Three New York judges sentenced him, in what now sounds like a bad Dickensian joke, to four months in the workhouse. Bruce was released on bail pending appeals, but died before the legal process was complete. He was posthumously pardoned in 2003 by Republican New York governor George Pataki. ‘Freedom of speech is one of the greatest American liberties’, Pataki said, ‘and I hope this pardon serves as a reminder of the precious freedoms we are fighting to preserve’.

These days Lenny Bruce is revered as a pioneering comedy hero. Yet if the young Lenny were magically to appear on the New York stage today, what reception might he get?

His routine about a psychopathic rapist meeting up with a nymphomaniac after they each escape from their respective institutions, or his suggestion that he enjoyed sex with a chicken, or description of his audience as ‘seven niggers, six spics, five micks, four kykes, three guineas and one wop’, might not get him arrested for obscenity in the US or barred from entering Britain. But it surely would see him accused of racism and sexism and possibly the abuse of animals and the mentally ill by the outraged illiberal-liberal lobby, who would try to have him banned from campuses.

Nor would Bruce’s insistence that he used the n-word and other offensive epithets ‘just to make a point’, that ‘it’s the suppression of the word that gives it the power, the violence, the viciousness’, wash with the new comedy censors, who claim the right to decide what jokes others should be allowed to tell or to laugh at, what points they should be permitted to make.

The ‘alternative’ comedy scene of the 1980s in the UK and the US began partly as a punkish reaction against the older school of what was seen as one-note racist, sexist and homophobic humour. These alternative comedians soon became the new establishment, creating an alternative comedic conformism of their own. This fresh generation of comedians, including feminist stars, broke many old taboos about sex, sexuality or race. They were also, however, helping to create new taboos.

Today the shrillest voices condemning Charlie Hebdo or Jimmy Carr are not simply objecting to a comedian’s shtick or saying that it’s not funny – which anybody has the right to do. They are denying the offensive performer’s right to say it. This sort of censoriousness can only have severe consequences both for comedy and wider issues of free speech.

Those seeking to draw a new line between acceptable and offensive comedy will often try to distinguish between noble jokes and satire which ‘punches up’, by lampooning the rich and powerful, and that which is guilty of ‘punching down’, by poking fun at the disadvantaged and powerless. This might sound a worthy argument. At root, however, it is just a comedic version of the ‘I believe in free speech, but…’ line, which seeks to preserve freedom of expression for opinions and gags which are to your own personal taste. In comedy, as in politics, if we are serious about free speech it has to be defended for all as an indivisible liberty.

Of course, nobody has to approve of offensive humour, and anybody is free to heckle or hit back in kind. We have witnessed the rise of a new wave of comedians or deliberate provocateurs whose aim is to appear as offensive as possible. This is best understood as the flipside of the campaign to sanitise humour, an attempted backlash against those stultifying trends. It is regrettable that the only way some seem able to take a stand for free speech these days is by becoming an offence-seeking caricature of themselves. But they are only a side-effect of the bigger problem.

Jimmy Carr is sometimes guilty of being offensive for the sake of it. Yet the bit that got him into trouble with Ofcom this time was arguably slightly more thoughtful than that. Carr offended the Ofcom watchdogs, and attracted all of 11 complaints from viewers, by telling the BBC’s anodyne 7pm magazine programme The One Show what he explained was his ‘shortest joke possible: Dwarf shortage’. He then added: ‘If you’re a dwarf, and you’re offended by that: Grow up!’

Just before delivering that line, however, Carr told the presenters that he had been thinking about ‘my favourite all-time joke which might work on this show’. Then he told a gag about ‘a Welsh friend of mine. I asked him how many partners he had in his life. And he started to count and he fell asleep.’ Amid laughter in the studio, Carr immediately turned to the camera, asking ‘That’s just about all right, isn’t it?’. This sounded like a joke about the new taboos in comedy as much as it was about Welsh sheep-shaggers or dwarves. It was certainly inviting the offended responses, but also asking a question about how far he could go today. Carr got his humourless You Can’t Say That answer from Ofcom this week, and indeed from the BBC, which said it had tightened the rules for One Show guests in response to his offence.

There is a question that often appears to have been forgotten in all this: is it funny? The attempt to impose codes of conduct on comedy reflects the idea that you can somehow apply a political and moral judgement to humour. That you can, in short, stop yourself laughing at something offensive or controversial. Good luck with that, and with preventing yourself sneezing at the same time.

The history of comedy surely shows that, as with old-time British comedians such as Bernard Manning (motto: ‘They can’t stop us laughing!’), it is perfectly possible to talk like a bigot and yet be hilarious. That’s life. Comedy is a messy business, and people can laugh at the most outrageous things. To attempt to impose order on it, by removing what is not to the taste of the moment, is to risk killing it.

We are faced with a situation where what is considered acceptable in comedy could be every bit as one-note and conformist as in the bad old days, except that it now has to comply with different codes and taboos. Of course, nobody is against free speech for comedians. Until, that is, they decide somebody has gone too far in offending their own views and hurting their feelings.

It might be hard to get excited about defending free speech for those you consider to be sexist, disablist, Islamophobic or anti-Semitic comedians. There are few heroes in the battle for comedy’s soul. Yet it remains as important to defend freedom of speech and thought here as in any other corner of Western culture.

The most bitter free-speech battles these days can often be fought in the muddy lowlands of football or comedy, far from the cultural high ground. And the wish to dictate not just what jokes a comedian should tell, but also what we should laugh at, is the clearest conceivable attempt at thought control. What could be more intrusive than the attempt to police something as reflexive as a snort of laughter?

The tortured efforts to patrol what is and is not acceptably funny have created a fraught situation where comedy is in danger of becoming a more staid and safe affair, certainly in colleges and on TV, interrupted only by silly look-at-me acts where the main aim appears to be controversy rather than comedy.

The pulling of comedy’s teeth and the treatment of laughter as a serious case for censorship should be no laughing matter. Nothing ought to be beyond a joke. If comedians are not allowed to upset and offend, what chance have the rest of us got?


The most surprising things about Australia, according to an Indian international student

It will be a bitter pill for Leftists, but this guy finds Australia not racist at all.  From reports in the Indian press, which were mainly recycled Australian journalism, he had expected a lot of racism.  And it is no mystery why. A couple of years ago there were a lot of reports of Indians in Australia being attacked.  What the reports covered up was that almost all of the attacks were by Africans.  Australians as a whole were disgraced  in the name of political correctness.  For their own safety, Indians should simply have been told to avoid Africans

Hailing from Chennai in southern India, he has studied in India, Canada for three years and has been studying in Australia for almost a year.

Here’s what has surprised him most about Australia since he moved here.

Australians aren’t racist, they’re friendly.

Reports of racism and assaults on Indian students have made their way back to India, Shiva said when his family and friends found out he was coming to Australia they warned him about the violence.

However, Shiva said his experience has been the exact opposite: "People are very friendly".

"I was given lots of advice from India that you are going to Australia just make sure that you’re not being attacked or be a victim of racism," he said.  "I don’t find any of that type of nonsense here, people are really friendly."

Shiva said he hasn’t been a victim of racism and it really depends on the company you keep.  "It depends on the friends that you make and the places you visit," he said.

Australian girls are really friendly.

"Australian girls are really, really fun, they crack lots of jokes… even when you’re meeting for the first time," he said.

"In India, there’s a barrier when you’re talking from a girl. If you’re hailing from a very orthodox family you are not supposed to talk to a girl."

But Shiva said that is starting to change as India becomes increasingly westernised.

"People are coming out of those barriers," he said.

"For me while I was studying at college in India I faced that barrier. I was unable to talk to a girl so freely as I am talking to you and other people in Canada and Australia."

Working part-time in Australia pays good money.

While Shiva’s current study timetable means he cannot work at the moment, he has had a couple of part time jobs and was surprised how good the pay was.

"I’ve tried a lot of jobs, I’ve been a personal assistant to a top executive," he said.

"They pay me really good money like $28 to $32 per hour.

"I was really surprised because when I compared the market with the US and Canada I think Australia has better compensation and it’s really understandable because living in Australia is surging everyday, it’s really tough to keep up with the cost of living in Australia.

The beaches are extraordinary.

Taking a trip to an Australian beach was one of Shiva’s most memorable experiences.

"I’ve been to the Northern Beaches [of Sydney] and they’re really, really nice," he said.

"They’re really beautiful, I was totally crying when I was standing inside the lake walking literally to the middle of the lake and it’s not deep.

"The beaches are clean, compared to India where the beaches are not clean."

It’s surprisingly different to Canada.

Shiva thought Australia would be similar to Canada, when he arrived he was surprised it was very different.

"It’s more international, Canada is more like white people, there’s more Americans and Canadians but here in Australia the first thing I noticed is it’s very diverse in culture. You have loads of Chinese people, you have loads of Indians, lots of German people, French people, and everyone else, it’s all over the place," he said.

"In India you have different cultures but from the same country. Australia has more international cultures."

Being vegetarian means something else.

Shiva describes himself as a "pure vegetarian", what he means is according to Indian standards he’s a vegetarian but in Australia his eating habits are actually vegan.

He was also surprised by how much bread Australians eat and how breakfast is very different in Australia, "people eat a traditional breakfast whereas Indians we prefer a warm Indian breakfast. It took some time for me to get used to that".

All the differences and Australia’s high cost of living means Shiva now cooks for himself a lot more.

"I’m an excellent cook, he said. "I don’t need to find a girl."

Everyone shortens everything.

Shiva’s full name is Shivaramakrishnan Ramamoorthy, but he says it’s easier to shorten his name to Shiva in Australia.

"People would raise their eyebrows and have no idea what I was talking about but that’s my name!" he said.

"I kept my preferred name as Shiva, even on Facebook, so people don’t get afraid of my name.

"But they still shorten my name…[Australians] they shorten everything, they shorten it further. I usually say to people ‘Hi my name is Shiva but you can call me SRK or Shiv’."

It’s far less crowded than home.

Shiva estimates the population of his home town in India is roughly the same population as Sydney.

He’s not far off either but the big difference is the population of Sydney is spread out over an area which is about 67 times larger than Chennai.

"In India everything is crowded, you can’t even find a space to park your car or your to wheeler, your bike."

Aussies are afraid of spiders and cockroaches.

Back in India Shiva said he "used to play with them". "People are so afraid of spiders [in Australia]. I’ve even heard about people dying from spiders, if I say that to my parents they will laugh at me."

"I’ve seen people going crazy… it’s just a cockroach, it just goes by," he said.

There’s less respect for elders.

Australian Shiva is very different to Indian Shiva, he said when he returns home it takes four or five days to settle back into the customs and expectations of his home country.

"When I’m in Sydney it’s a completely different Shiva that you will see," he said.

"In Chennai you need to be more respectable to your parents, over here people really don’t care who the hell you are.

"If I say ‘mum I like this girl I want to marry her’ she will probably say ‘I don’t like that girl’… the culture is more parent dominating rather than giving freedom to the children.

"Over here I find that completely different it’s up to the choices of people."

It’s easier to get a visa in Australia compared to Canada or the US.

Shiva said he’s found it much easier to get a student visa in Australia. He began trying to come to Australia after his visa application was rejected in Canada in the US.

Studying in Australia is relaxing.

Shiva said he’s "more relaxed studying in Australia" compared to India, where he found the courses more intensive.

"Over here [in Australia] they say intensive courses but for me it’s like a piece of cake," he said.

Professors are approachable.

"The professors here are much more friendly," Shiva said. "In India if I even had to speak to a lecturer or a principal it takes lots of respect and effort to meet them."

Shiva said if he did manage to meet his lecturers in India they would dismiss him saying "what’s going on you’re a student just focus on your studies" whereas in Australia he said "they’re welcoming that approach from students, they’re really encouraging students to perform well, they’re really supportive here".

He said it comes back to the culture of having to "respect your elders".

The changes in political leaders are really confusing

Shiva said he doesn’t like politics in Australia and has trouble understanding how it all works.  "Yesterday it was Julia Gillard and tomorrow morning it was Tony Abbott, I don’t know what the hell was going on," he said.

Shiva’s next adventure is to Norway in December.



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, 2016

Why the iPad is a far bigger threat to our children than anyone realises (?)

The writer below claims to be a psychologist but she is clearly not a research psychologist.  She offers no objective evidence for her assertions.  It's all just opinion.  I am a research psychologist and my opnion is the opposite. I think that social media greatly enrich our environment -- for young and old.

The nearest the silly woman gets to evidence is: "It's little wonder, then, that the boom in iPads and smartphones has coincided with further deterioration in the physical and mental health of children of all ages"

For a start she seems unaware of the most basic dictum in statistics:  Correlation is not causation.  And who says that "the physical and mental health of children of all ages" has deteriorated?  That is at the least highly contentious and probably as well founded as her concludsions.

My son was a computer hog from age 2 and I put no restrictions on that.  He is now a polite and friendly highly regarded IT professional with a circle of close friends -- and his only addiction is to flavoured milk.  So immersion in computers didn't hurt him, did it?

Considering all the foul and dangerous things that many young people ingest these days, my son's addiction must seem an impossible dream

When the little girl pointed at the sweets at the checkout, her mother said: 'No, they're bad for your teeth.' So her daughter, who was no more than two, did what small children often do at such times. She threw a tantrum.

What happened next horrified me. The embarrassed mother found her iPad in her bag and thrust it into her daughter's hands. Peace was restored immediately.

This incident, which happened three years ago, was the first time I saw a tablet computer used as a pacifier. It certainly wasn't the last. Since then, I've seen many tiny children barely able to toddle yet expertly swiping an iPad - not to mention countless teenagers, smartphone in hand, lost to the real world as they tap out texts.

It's ten years since the publication of my book, Toxic Childhood, which warned of the dangers of too much screen-time on young people's physical and mental health.

My fears have been realised. Though I was one of the first to foresee how insidiously technology would penetrate youngsters' lives, even I've been stunned at how quickly even the tiniest have become slaves to screens - and how utterly older ones are defined by their virtual personas.

Indeed, when my book came out, Facebook had just hit our shores and we were more concerned with violent video games and children watching too much TV. Seems like ancient history, doesn't it?

Today, on average, children spend five to six hours a day staring at screens. And they're often on two or more screens at once - for example, watching TV while playing on an iPad.

Because technology moves so fast, and children have embraced it so quickly, it's been difficult for parents to control it. And when it comes to spending a childhood in front of a screen, this generation are like lab rats. The long-term impact is not known.

Even before iPads hit the market in 2010, experts were warning that 80 per cent of children arrived at school with poor co-ordination, due to a sedentary lifestyle.

Along with colleagues in the field of child development, I'd seen a rise in prescriptions for Ritalin, a drug for attention deficit and hyperactivity - a four-fold increase in less than a decade.

And we'd collected a mass of research showing links between excessive screen-time and obesity, sleep disorders, aggression, poor social skills, depression and academic under-achievement.

It's little wonder, then, that the boom in iPads and smartphones has coincided with further deterioration in the physical and mental health of children of all ages.

Sadly, we're seeing the rise of the 'techno-tot' for whom iPads have become the modern-day equivalent of a comfort blanket.

Recent research found 10 per cent of children under four are put to bed with a tablet computer to play with as they fall asleep.

One study of families owning them found a third of children under three had their own tablets. Baby shops even sell 'apptivity seats' into which a tablet can be slotted to keep toddlers entertained.

Because the earlier children are hooked on screens, the more difficult it is to wean them off.

This is not the only worry. It's not just what children get up to onscreen that affects their overall development. It's what screens displace - all the activities they're not doing in the real world.

Today's children have far fewer opportunities for what I call 'real play'. They are no longer learning through first-hand experiences how to be human and are much less likely to play or socialise outdoors or with others.

One of the most depressing examples of a totally screen-based childhood involved a ten-year-old in London. The overweight, pasty-faced little lad told me: 'I sit in my room and I watch my telly and play on my computer . . . and if I get hungry I text down to my mum and she brings me up a pizza.'

The change in children's play has happened in little more than a couple of decades. While many parents feel uneasy about all that screen-time, they haven't tackled it as they've been so busy keeping up with changes in their own lives.

And anyway, it's happening to children everywhere - so surely it can't be bad for them?

But real play is a biological necessity. One psychologist told me it was 'as vital for healthy development as food or sleep'.

If the neural pathways that control social and imaginative responses aren't developed in early childhood, it's difficult to revive them later. A whole generation could grow up without the mental ability to create their own fun, devise their own games and enjoy real friendships - all because of endless screen-time.

It's getting out and about - running, climbing, making dens and so on - that allows little children to gain physical skills. Playing 'let's pretend' is a creative process requiring lots of personal input.

Real play develops initiative, problem-solving skills and many other positive traits, such as a can-do attitude, perseverance and emotional resilience. It's vital for social skills, too.

By playing together, youngsters learn to get along with other people. They discover how others' minds work, developing empathy.

And, as real play is driven by an innate desire to understand how the world works, it provides the foundation for academic learning.

Real play is evolution's way of helping children develop minds of their own - curious, problem- solving, adaptable, human minds.

The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends no screen-time for children under two and a maximum two hours a day there-after. This is not just due to a proven link between screen-time and attention disorders, but because it eliminates other activities essential for building healthy bodies and brains.

Babies are born with an intense desire to learn about their world, so they're highly motivated to interact with people and objects around them - the beginning of real play.

That's why they love it when we play silly games with them, such as peekaboo, or they manage to grasp some household object. This is what helps them develop physical co-ordination and social skills.

But when little ones can get instant rewards from high-tech devices, they don't need to bother with real play.

Images on a screen can be just as fascinating as the real world, and even a very small child can learn to control the images with a clumsy swish of podgy fingers.

Each time babies or toddlers make something happen on screen, they get the same sort of pleasure hit as they would from a cuddle or a splash in the bath.

When they can get instant rewards by swiping a screen, why bother with play that demands physical, social and cognitive effort?

Neuroscientist Susan Greenfield says: 'We cannot park our children in front of screens and expect them to develop a long attention span.'

She also worries about the effects of technology on literacy. 'Learning to read helps children learn to put ideas into logical order,' she says. 'On the other hand, staring at a screen puts their brains into suspended animation.'

Dr Aric Sigman, who has amassed a huge database of research linking children's screen-time to ADHD, autism and emotional and behavioural disorders, also points to the conflict between screen-based activity and reading.

'Unlike screen images, words don't move, make noises, sing or dance. Ultimately, screen images render the printed word simply boring at a crucial phase when the child's mind is developing,' he says.

Yet another problem with too much screen-gazing is that it doesn't develop resilience.

Real play gives children opportunities to learn how to cope with challenges for themselves. Finding how to learn from their mistakes, picking themselves up when they take a tumble and sorting out squabbles with playmates all help develop the self-confidence that makes children more emotionally resilient.

This is vital for mental health, especially in our high-pressure world. So I wasn't surprised when this month Childline warned Britain is producing deeply unhappy youngsters - sad, lonely, with low self-esteem and an increasing predilection to self-harm.

The charity painted a bleak portrait of our children's emotional state, blaming their unhappiness on social networking and cyber-bullying.

It's understandable parents feel unable to tackle their children's social media use. After all, it has spread like a virus. In 2012, just six years after Facebook arrived here, it was the favourite website of ten-year-old girls.

That year I interviewed three 15-year-old girls in Yorkshire who have been on Facebook since the age of ten. They said they didn't enjoy it as much as 'when we were young' because 'running our own PR campaigns' - as they wittily described the constant need to make their lives sound glamorous and exciting - was exhausting and they often felt miserable when others seemed to be having more fun.

But they couldn't give up the social media site as it would put them out of the social loop. 'There's lots of cyber-bullying,' one said. 'So you've got to try to be like everyone else.'

But we can't go on letting our children 'be like everyone else' when it's damaging them. If the next generation is to grow up bright, balanced and healthy enough to use technology wisely, parents need to take action.

And that means limiting screen-time, spending time together as a family and making sure get children out to play.

Some say children need to use technology because that's the way the world is going. But there's no need to give little children high-tech devices.

Modern technology develops at a phenomenal rate - any IT skills that children learn before the age of seven will be long past their sell-by date by the time they reach their teens.

But self-confidence, emotional resilience, creative thinking, social skills and the capacity for focused thought will stand them in good stead whatever the future brings.


Sam Smith and the myth of everyday racism

Sam Smith has stirred the ire of the Twitterati for tweeting his shock at his friend being racially abused in London. The multi-award-winning singer took to social media claiming to be ‘absolutely speechless and hurt’ following an incident which, judging by the timings of the tweets, happened in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Within 15 minutes, the self-righteous Twitch-hunters, who don’t object to keeping unsociable hours lest they miss an opportunity to show how stultifyingly PC they are, leapt into action. Rather than expressing sympathy for Smith, or indeed his friend, the incensed tweeters asked him if he ‘watched the news’, because, they said, racial abuse ‘happens every day’.

They went on to accuse Smith of ‘living under a rock’, asking him if he had ‘just moved to London or something?’, all, it seems, to advertise how aware they were of the capital’s epidemic of racial abuse. Obviously, this pathetic mob was talking total nonsense.

Having lived in London for a few months now, I can honestly say that I have never witnessed anybody being racially abused. Even during my time growing up in far-less-cosmopolitan Staffordshire, there was no occasion where I saw or heard someone being actively abused for their race.

Britain is one of the most tolerant countries in the world, and London perhaps its most tolerant part. The idea that a non-white person wandering the streets of the capital is likely to be racially abused is a complete fallacy.

Bar a few berks on buses – who tend to get videoed and exposed rather quickly, by the way – people in London, and indeed in Britain as a whole, do not go out of their way to abuse ethnic minorities. If you do hear about such abuse taking place, you should enquire about the wellbeing of the person being abused. Don’t use it as a means of illustrating what a ‘racist’ country you live in, and thus displaying how ‘aware’ you are of the problem.

I would go on to deal with the accusation that Smith was ‘whitesplaining’ racism. But, frankly, that claim is so unfathomably fatuous those levelling it are already beyond help. Anyway, I’ve only ‘just moved to London’, so my opinion won’t be considered valid by the smug gits anyway.


In dystopian Britain, the police now hunt down ‘pre-rapists’

Sexual Risk Orders are ripping apart liberty and due process

To see what tyranny looks like, look no further than the case of the Yorkshire man who must give the cops 24 hours’ notice before he has sex with anyone. The man, who can’t be named for legal reasons, was found not guilty of rape in a trial last year. And yet a magistrate’s court decided he was nonetheless dodgy, and served him with a Sexual Risk Order decreeing that he must provide the police with the name, address and date of birth of anyone he plans to bed, ‘at least 24 hours prior to any sexual activity taking place’. So despite not being found guilty of a crime, he will still be treated as a criminal. This should alarm anyone who cares about due process, liberty and not allowing the state to stick its snout into the sexual relations of consenting adults.

Most of the coverage of this ‘sex risk’ ruling, which was revealed at the end of last week, has treated it as weird or funny. The idea of some poor bloke having to dampen his passions when he’s on the cusp of copping off in a bar, and basically seek the permission of the police before he gets his leg over, has got people chortling and tweeting. But there’s little funny about this case. In fact it speaks to the creeping warping of the values of both justice and liberty. It smashes together the sex-policing instinct of Big Brother in 1984 with the idea of ‘precrime’ from Philip K Dick’s Minority Report, making real the dystopian dread of a society that believes it can interfere in people’s most intimate relationships and treat individuals as criminals-in-the-making.

The Sexual Risk Order against the man is an interim one. In May, there will be another hearing to decide whether it should become a full Sexual Risk Order, which can last for anything between two years and forever. If an individual breaks an order, he or she can be imprisoned for up to five years. So if this guy – who is not a criminal, remember – has sex with someone without first informing the police, he could be jailed. That is, he could be jailed for having sex. It should concern anyone who believes in even basic autonomy, in the sovereignty of the individual over his mind and body, that the threat of jail-for-sex hangs over the head of an ostensibly innocent man.

Sexual Risk Orders, which were introduced in 2013, bring to life the dystopian idea of precrime. They are served in cases where there isn’t enough evidence to convict someone of an actual sex crime. As one leading lawyer says, they’re given to people whom the authorities think ‘might commit an offence’; they’re about ‘predicting crimes’. So Britain in 2016 is policing ‘precrime’; it views certain individuals as precriminals whose rights can be restricted, not on the basis of what they’ve done, but on the basis of what they might do; on the basis of the fantasies of the self-styled seers of officialdom who now police the future as well as the present.

The government says Sexual Risk Orders are given in cases where a person has ‘done an act of a sexual nature’ which has given officials ‘reasonable cause to believe that it is necessary for an order to be made’, even if the person ‘has never been convicted’. So these individuals aren’t criminals; they’ve just had sex in a way the authorities don’t like. The authorities have gone from punishing sex crimes to punishing sex, slapping orders on people for behaving in a way that was presumably a little strange, possibly perverted, but not criminal. Through these orders, our rulers have invited themselves into the realm of sex, into what happens between non-criminal, consenting adults. Even the most intimate act that two (or more) grown-ups can engage in is now not free from the prying eyes of officialdom.

The Yorkshire case, and Sexual Risk Orders more broadly, demolishes the ideal of due process. If someone can be treated as a criminal, or precriminal, despite not having been convicted of a crime, then the entire, Magna Carta-derived basis of civilised law is called into question. Last year, Britain celebrated the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, a document which insists that ‘no free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions’, unless he’s found guilty of a crime through ‘lawful judgement’. This is the foundation stone of democratic societies: that citizens are free until such a time as they have been convincingly, openly convicted of an offence. This is now reversed. A man has been deprived of rights the rest of us enjoy even though he has not been convicted of a crime. He’s effectively been categorised as a pre-rapist.

This is not a one-off. Increasingly, the British criminal justice system is used not just to punish crime but to police behaviour, and to pre-empt crime. Sexual Risk Orders bring sex under the purview of the law. Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, and their various replacements, control the irritating habits of people who have not been found guilty of an offence. Extremism Disruption Orders are designed to police and punish ‘pre-terrorism’, through controlling the ability of non-violent radicals to express their opinions. The idea of leaving people be unless they’re convicted of an offence – leaving them to have sex with whomever they want, and say whatever they want – has been ripped apart. We pay lip service to Magna Carta while destroying its spirit. A society in which a non-guilty man must provide the police with information about his every sexual conquest is not a free society. It’s the opposite; it’s a society in which no zone of life exists independently of officialdom, and in which more and more of us are viewed as precriminals, and sex is viewed as pre-rape.


The ECHR is not working

The European Court of Human Rights should not be ruling on workplace matters

Last week, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) handed down a ruling in an employment dispute. The case concerned Mr Barbulescu, formerly an engineer in charge of sales at a private company, and his country, Romania.

Barbulescu’s employer (who remains unnamed) had a very strict policy that banned the use of office facilities, including computers, for any private communications. It also required Barbulescu, as part of his work, to operate a Yahoo Messenger account to communicate with company clients.

But Barbulescu used this account to exchange some messages with his brother and fiancée. One of the addresses to which he directed messages was called ‘Andra loves you’. These communications involved personal matters, including the state of his health. His employer monitored his use of Messenger, and notified him that it was aware he was using it for personal matters. He initially denied this, but the employer produced a 45-page transcript, which debunked his claim. It then sacked him on 1 August 2007. So Barbulescu sued, alleging an invasion of privacy.

A reasonable expectation of privacy?

A factual issue in the court case was whether his employer had formally notified Barbulescu that it reserved the right to monitor his communications – ensuring compliance with its policy. The employer claimed that Barbulescu had signed a copy of its requirements, although no document bearing his signature was produced. The local courts dismissed Barbulescu’s claim.

Barbulescu then complained to the ECHR in December 2008 that his right to effective respect for private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights had been violated. Remarkably (or not, if you know what a backlog of cases it has), the court did not notify the Romanian government until four years later, in 2012.

The main issue that the court had to decide, was whether Barbulescu had a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to his use of the Yahoo account. It saw the fact that he was aware of the employer’s strict policy as relevant. The court contrasted this case with Halford v UK (1997), in which a senior police officer was given a phone to make personal calls, and complained successfully after her use of it was covertly monitored.

Another relevant case is Copland v UK (2007), which concerned a college employee whose employer suspected she was making excessive use of work facilities for private communications. It monitored her usage, such as the number of phone calls and emails she made, though it did not listen to them, or read their contents. The European Court of Human Rights decided that her privacy had been violated, because she was not warned about being monitored and the employer did not have a policy in place.

The court rejected Barbulescu’s complaint by a majority of six to one, noting that ‘it is not unreasonable for an employer to want to verify that the employees are completing their professional tasks during working hours’. It also commented that Barbulescu had not ‘convincingly explained why he had used the Yahoo messenger account for personal purposes’.

The dissenting judge, De Albuquerque, disagreed. He complained that this was a missed opportunity to develop case law, which he acknowledged was limited. He wanted the court to draw principles ‘for the creation, implementation and enforcement of an internet usage policy’ in employment relations. But this is not the function of the ECHR – an international tribunal tasked with the duty of deciding whether state signatories are in violation of their treaty obligations. It is not the ECHR’s job to draw up policies for workplaces across Europe.

De Albuquerque’s opinion is laden with lengthy footnotes, citing a proliferation of communiqués and pronouncements from various international bodies, ranging from the Committee of Ministers, the Council of Europe, the International Telecommunications Union and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression. He also claimed: ‘States have a positive obligation to promote and facilitate universal internet access, including the creation of the infrastructure necessary for internet connectivity’. This is not the case under the European Convention.

He went on to argue that employers couldn’t expect to have unfettered control over their employees’ expression on the internet. Citing the case of Copland v UK, he claimed that all use of email, telephone and computer facilities at work for private purposes was prima facie protected under Article 8. He criticised the formula used in this case (‘a reasonable expectation of privacy’) as being too vague and leaving too much open to the discretion of the employer.

He argued that employers could not impose a blanket ban on internet usage by employees. Instead, he called for:

‘A comprehensive internet-usage policy in the workplace [to] be put in place, including specific rules on the use of email, instant messaging, social networks, blogging and web surfing. Although policy may be tailor-made to the needs of each corporation as a whole… the rights and obligations of employees should be set out clearly, with transparent rules on how the internet may be used, how monitoring is conducted, how data is secured, used and destroyed, and who has access to it… Employees must be made aware of the existence of an internet usage policy in force in their workplace, as well as outside the workplace and during out-of-work hours, involving communication facilities owned by the employer, the employee or third parties. All employees should be notified personally of the said policy and consent to it explicitly.’

De Albuquerque also pointed out that Barbulescu’s employer did not have such an elaborate policy.

A striking feature of De Albuquerque’s judgement is the way in which he imports a raft of policy documents, working-party documents and opinions, as well as Council of Europe recommendations on surveillance of electronic communications, into a judicial discussion about the scope of Article 8 of the European Convention. His justification was that unless the court insisted on a very formal approach to internet and email use in the workplace, employers would abuse their position by acting ‘as a distrustful Big Brother’ and commodifying workers.

Policies on internet use, he concluded, are essential to force employers to act ‘in accordance with the principled international-law approach to internet freedom as a human right’. He goes on to speculate that the Romanian courts ‘willingly condoned the employer’s seizure upon internet abuse as an opportunistic justification for removal of an unwanted employee whom the company was unable to dismiss by lawful means’.

Do we really need more regulation?

The European Convention says nothing about internet freedom, as such. It refers to ‘freedom of expression’ in Article 10. This is very far removed from how individual employers decide what arrangements they wish to put in place for internet access, or use of electronic communications by staff. De Albuquerque’s judgement is a good illustration of quixotic judicial activism, which seeks to expand the remit of the convention in the name of freedom, while simultaneously demanding greater regulation of everyday life. But, in the real world, a proliferation of detailed policies simply gives employers more ways in which to keep tabs on their employees.

The case was decided without an oral hearing (ie, on the papers) by the Fourth Section of the ECHR consisting of seven judges: a Hungarian, a Maltese, a Slovenian, a Georgian, a Portuguese, a Lithuanian and a Romanian. It may not be a coincidence that five of out the six judges giving the majority ruling were from former Communist countries (De Albuquerque is Portugese). The sub-text would appear to be that they do not welcome this messianic, top-down approach to human rights, instead, opting for a more minimalist approach. Perhaps they are right. The last thing workers need are more diktats from the ECHR.



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

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

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



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(Isaiah 62:1)

A 19th century Democrat political poster below:

Political correctness is Fascism pretending to be manners

Political Correctness is as big a threat to free speech as Communism and Fascism. All 3 were/are socialist.

The problem with minorities is not race but culture. For instance, many American black males fit in well with the majority culture. They go to college, work legally for their living, marry and support the mother of their children, go to church, abstain from crime and are considerate towards others. Who could reasonably object to such people? It is people who subscribe to minority cultures -- black, Latino or Muslim -- who can give rise to concern. If antisocial attitudes and/or behaviour become pervasive among a group, however, policies may reasonably devised to deal with that group as a whole

Black lives DON'T matter -- to other blacks. The leading cause of death among young black males is attack by other young black males

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves. Leftist motivations are fundamentally Fascist. They want to "fundamentally transform" the lives of their fellow citizens, which is as authoritarian as you can get. We saw where it led in Russia and China. The "compassion" that Leftists parade is just a cloak for their ghastly real motivations

Occasionally I put up on this blog complaints about the privileged position of homosexuals in today's world. I look forward to the day when the pendulum swings back and homosexuals are treated as equals before the law. To a simple Leftist mind, that makes me "homophobic", even though I have no fear of any kind of homosexuals.

But I thought it might be useful for me to point out a few things. For a start, I am not unwise enough to say that some of my best friends are homosexual. None are, in fact. Though there are two homosexuals in my normal social circle whom I get on well with and whom I think well of.

Of possible relevance: My late sister was a homosexual; I loved Liberace's sense of humour and I thought that Robert Helpmann was marvellous as Don Quixote in the Nureyev ballet of that name.

I record on this blog many examples of negligent, inefficient and reprehensible behaviour on the part of British police. After 13 years of Labour party rule they have become highly politicized, with values that reflect the demands made on them by the political Left rather than than what the community expects of them. They have become lazy and cowardly and avoid dealing with real crime wherever possible -- preferring instead to harass normal decent people for minor infractions -- particularly offences against political correctness. They are an excellent example of the destruction that can be brought about by Leftist meddling.

I also record on this blog much social worker evil -- particularly British social worker evil. The evil is neither negligent nor random. It follows exactly the pattern you would expect from the Marxist-oriented indoctrination they get in social work school -- where the middle class is seen as the enemy and the underclass is seen as virtuous. So social workers are lightning fast to take children away from normal decent parents on the basis of of minor or imaginary infractions while turning a blind eye to gross child abuse by the underclass

What feminism has wrought:

There's actually some wisdom there. The dreamy lady says she is holding out for someone who meets her standards. The other lady reasonably replies "There's nobody there". Standards can be unrealistically high and feminists have laboured mightily to make them so

Racial differences in temperament: Chinese are more passive even as little babies

The genetics of crime: I have been pointing out for some time the evidence that there is a substantial genetic element in criminality. Some people are born bad. See here, here, here and here, for instance"

Gender is a property of words, not of people. Using it otherwise is just another politically correct distortion -- though not as pernicious as calling racial discrimination "Affirmative action"

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

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

So why do Leftists say "There is no such thing as right and wrong" when backed into a rhetorical corner? They say it because that is the predominant conclusion of analytic philosophers. And, as Keynes said: "Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”

Children are the best thing in life. See also here.

Juergen Habermas, a veteran leftist German philosopher stunned his admirers not long ago by proclaiming, "Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [than Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter."

Consider two "jokes" below:

Q. "Why are Leftists always standing up for blacks and homosexuals?

A. Because for all three groups their only God is their penis"

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

The latter "joke" is not a joke at all, of course. It is a comparison routinely touted by Leftists. Both "jokes" are greatly offensive and unfair to the parties targeted but one gets a pass without question while the other would bring great wrath on the head of anyone uttering it. Why? Because political correctness is in fact just Leftist bigotry. Bigotry is unfairly favouring one or more groups of people over others -- usually justified as "truth".

One of my more amusing memories is from the time when the Soviet Union still existed and I was teaching sociology in a major Australian university. On one memorable occasion, we had a representative of the Soviet Womens' organization visit us -- a stout and heavily made-up lady of mature years. When she was ushered into our conference room, she was greeted with something like adulation by the local Marxists. In question time after her talk, however, someone asked her how homosexuals were treated in the USSR. She replied: "We don't have any. That was before the revolution". The consternation and confusion that produced among my Leftist colleagues was hilarious to behold and still lives vividly in my memory. The more things change, the more they remain the same, however. In Sept. 2007 President Ahmadinejad told Columbia university that there are no homosexuals in Iran.

It is widely agreed (with mainly Lesbians dissenting) that boys need their fathers. What needs much wider recognition is that girls need their fathers too. The relationship between a "Daddy's girl" and her father is perhaps the most beautiful human relationship there is. It can help give the girl concerned inner strength for the rest of her life.

A modern feminist complains: "We are so far from “having it all” that “we barely even have a slice of the pie, which we probably baked ourselves while sobbing into the pastry at 4am”."

A beautiful baby is king -- with blue eyes, blond hair and white skin. How incorrect can you get?

The most beautiful woman in the world? I think she was. Yes: It's Agnetha Fältskog

Kristina Pimenova, said to be the most beautiful girl in the world. Note blue eyes and blonde hair

Patriotism does NOT in general go with hostilty towards others. See e.g. here and here and even here ("Ethnocentrism and Xenophobia: A Cross-Cultural Study" by anthropologist Elizabeth Cashdan. In Current Anthropology Vol. 42, No. 5, December 2001).

There really is an actress named Donna Air

The love of bureaucracy is very Leftist and hence "correct". Who said this? "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything". It was V.I. Lenin

"An objection I hear frequently is: ‘Why should we tolerate intolerance?’ The assumption is that tolerating views that you don’t agree with is like a gift, an act of kindness. It suggests we’re doing people a favour by tolerating their view. My argument is that tolerance is vital to us, to you and I, because it’s actually the presupposition of all our freedoms. You cannot be free in any meaningful sense unless there is a recognition that we are free to act on our beliefs, we’re free to think what we want and express ourselves freely. Unless we have that freedom, all those other freedoms that we have on paper mean nothing" -- SOURCE


What the Bible says about homosexuality:

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; It is abomination" -- Lev. 18:22

In his great diatribe against the pagan Romans, the apostle Paul included homosexuality among their sins:

"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.... Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" -- Romans 1:26,27,32.

So churches that condone homosexuality are clearly post-Christian

Although I am an atheist, I have great respect for the wisdom of ancient times as collected in the Bible. And its condemnation of homosexuality makes considerable sense to me. In an era when family values are under constant assault, such a return to the basics could be helpful. Nonetheless, I approve of St. Paul's advice in the second chapter of his epistle to the Romans that it is for God to punish them, not us. In secular terms, homosexuality between consenting adults in private should not be penalized but nor should it be promoted or praised. In Christian terms, "Gay pride" is of the Devil

The homosexuals of Gibeah (Judges 19 & 20) set in train a series of events which brought down great wrath and destruction on their tribe. The tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out when it would not disown its homosexuals. Are we seeing a related process in the woes presently being experienced by the amoral Western world? Note that there was one Western country that was not affected by the global financial crisis and subsequently had no debt problems: Australia. In September 2012 the Australian federal parliament considered a bill to implement homosexual marriage. It was rejected by a large majority -- including members from both major political parties

Religion is deeply human. The recent discoveries at Gobekli Tepe suggest that it was religion not farming that gave birth to civilization. Early civilizations were at any rate all very religious. Atheism is mainly a very modern development and is even now very much a minority opinion

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

I think it's not unreasonable to see Islam as the religion of the Devil. Any religion that loves death or leads to parents rejoicing when their children blow themselves up is surely of the Devil -- however you conceive of the Devil. Whether he is a man in a red suit with horns and a tail, a fallen spirit being, or simply the evil side of human nature hardly matters. In all cases Islam is clearly anti-life and only the Devil or his disciples could rejoice in that.

And there surely could be few lower forms of human behaviour than to give abuse and harm in return for help. The compassionate practices of countries with Christian traditions have led many such countries to give a new home to Muslim refugees and seekers after a better life. It's basic humanity that such kindness should attract gratitude and appreciation. But do Muslims appreciate it? They most commonly show contempt for the countries and societies concerned. That's another sign of Satanic influence.

And how's this for demonic thinking?: "Asian father whose daughter drowned in Dubai sea 'stopped lifeguards from saving her because he didn't want her touched and dishonoured by strange men'

And where Muslims tell us that they love death, the great Christian celebration is of the birth of a baby -- the monogenes theos (only begotten god) as John 1:18 describes it in the original Greek -- Christmas!

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

Germaine Greer is a stupid old Harpy who is notable only for the depth and extent of her hatreds

Even Mahatma Gandhi was profoundly unimpressed by Africans


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