The creeping dictatorship of the Left... 

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

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


31 January, 2014

Another Black hate crime covered up?

The shooter was black;  The victims were white

As suspected from the beginning, the media outlets suggesting that the Maryland mall shooting was the result of some sort of a love triangle were merely speculating. According to the Washington Post today, they still have not established any links between the shooter and his two first victims (Aguilar shot at multiple people after killing his first two victims, wounding one who was treated and released).

They also conducted a lengthy interview with the store owner where Aguilar purchased his shotgun, and the interaction seemed quite routine.

The Post then notes this potentially very relevant detail almost in passing:

    "Two law enforcement officials, speaking on the condition of ­anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said Aguilar kept a journal in which he described suicidal thoughts. When the young man’s mother reported him missing Saturday, they said, a police detective was sent to the home. He began reading the journal, but Aguilar’s mother demanded he stop.

    Later, after authorities identified Aguilar as the shooter, police seized the journal. In addition to the references to suicide, it contains notes expressing hatred of certain groups, according to the officials, who did not elaborate in detail."

Let’s be very clear: we do not know if those targeted and shot in the mall belonged to those “certain groups” that Aguilar expressed hatreds towards. It is interesting, though, that a mainstream media so obsessed with attempting to link “certain groups” to gun crimes, is so incurious here.

Frankly, one has to wonder if the MSM fears that a minority vegan skateboarder might have hatred towards the very same groups that the Washington Post and other media outlets would like to scapegoat if they could, undermining their preferred narrative.


11-Year-Old Girl's Cupcake Business Shut Down by Government Officials

After-school jobs are tougher to keep, apparently, than they used to be.  On Sunday, a Belleville News-Democrat story featured 11-year-old Chloe Stirling of Troy, Ill., a sixth-grader at Triad Middle School who makes about $200 a month selling cupcakes.

On Monday, the long arm of the law - in this case, the Madison County Health Department - put an end to that.

"They called and said they were shutting us down," Chloe's mother, Heather Stirling, told the Post-Dispatch.

Furthermore, Heather Stirling said the officials told her that for Chloe to continue selling cupcakes, the family would have to "buy a bakery or build her a kitchen separate from the one we have."

"Obviously, we can't do that," Heather Stirling said. "We've already given her a little refrigerator to keep her things in, and her grandparents bought her a stand mixer."

Heather Stirling said she wasn't looking for special consideration for her daughter and would be willing to get the necessary licenses and permits to run a business.

"But a separate kitchen? Who can do that?" Heather Stirling said.

Amy Yeager, a health department spokeswoman, said the county was only applying the law governing all food-selling businesses.


The latest Leftist attempt to revise history

There is only one answer to the Labour demand that David Cameron apologise for Margaret Thatcher’s handling of the 1984-85 miners’ strike, and it is the one the lady herself would have given: ‘No, no, no!’

To judge from his robust response yesterday at Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Cameron seems in no mood to say sorry.

It may suit Labour to perpetuate the myth that Mrs Thatcher pursued a vendetta against the miners. The truth is quite different.

In reality the mines had long been uneconomic and had been sustained by huge state subsidies for decades before the strike.

The previous Labour governments of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan closed many more pits than Mrs Thatcher. Curiously, Mr Miliband is not offering to apologise on their behalf.

The more militant miners used violence to intimidate those who wanted to work, culminating in the so-called Battle of Orgreave, where thousands of picketing miners fought police at the Orgreave coking plant in Yorkshire.

Yesterday, with shameful cynicism, Labour moved to put pressure on the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to conduct a Hillsborough-style inquiry into police tactics.

Orgreave was not a tragedy like Hillsborough. It was a pitched battle between 10,000 miners and 5,000 police resulting in dozens of injuries and hundreds of arrests.

Police were bombarded with bricks and stones. A few officers may have used excessive force, but they were under extreme provocation.

Some miners later sued the police, with 39 of them receiving nearly £500,000 in compensation for assault, unlawful arrest and malicious prosecution. But this cannot be compared to Hillsborough, where 96 died and there was a systematic police cover-up.

There is no justification for the IPCC to mount an investigation of Orgreave, let alone a ruinously expensive inquiry, because the main facts are known and always have been.

I have no doubt Labour has mounted this campaign because they would like to change the subject from the present state of the economy — which is at last booming again — to old grievances.

It is in their interest to claim the Tories deliberately engineered and escalated the strike in order to crush the unions.

Their argument has been given a spurious plausibility by secret papers recently released under the 30-year rule, which makes public Cabinet papers three decades after they were created. Yet the new documents do not substantially alter what was already known.

No one should be surprised that contingency plans were made to declare a state of emergency and use troops to move coal stocks or food supplies if the strikes continued. It would have been irresponsible for any government not to prepare for the worst.

Nor is there anything shocking about the ‘secret’ proposal by the chairman of the National Coal Board, Ian MacGregor, six months before the strike, to close 75 pits over three years.

The pit closure programme was no secret. It was dictated by dire economic necessity.

There is nothing in these new documents to justify Labour’s conspiracy theory that the Conservatives deliberately sought to escalate the dispute ‘guided by a complete hostility to the coalfield communities’, as Labour MP Michael Dugher put it earlier this week.

The state of crisis was caused by the impossible demand by the miners’ leader, Arthur Scargill, to keep all pits open, even if they were losing huge amounts of money.

Those who do not remember the miners’ strike may find it hard to understand how desperate Mrs Thatcher’s predicament then was. Her predecessor, Ted Heath, had tried to take on the miners, imposing a three-day working week to conserve electricity.

He called a general election in 1974, asking voters: ‘Who governs Britain?’ He lost and a broken-backed Labour government, which lived in fear of the trades unions, took office.

In 1977, as a young reporter, I met the leader of the Scottish miners, Mick McGahey.

He was an unashamed Communist and boasted openly of his comrades’ determination to turn Britain into a socialist paradise. Many others saw the miners as the vanguard of socialism, including Ed Miliband’s father, Ralph.

Mrs Thatcher came to power in 1979 with the explicit aim of curbing union power. Even in her first term, however, she was forced to yield to the threats of the National Union of Mineworkers. She reluctantly granted new subsidies to uneconomic pits, because she was warned that they could bring the country to its knees.

No sooner had Mrs Thatcher, newly confident after the Falklands War victory, been re-elected, than the militant new leader of the NUM, Arthur Scargill, sought to call a national strike intended to bring down her government.

Scargill was a Stalinist who did not believe in democracy. He sought to intimidate his members, at first by mass picketing and later by mob violence, aimed not only at ‘scabs’ who crossed the picket lines but at their families and anyone who helped them.

One taxi driver, for example, was murdered for driving miners to work by having a concrete slab dropped onto his car from a road bridge.

In June came Orgreave, which marked a new escalation of violence by Scargill and his men. This is the pivotal moment in the highly charged battle which has been seized upon by today’s opportunist Labour Party.

Scargill continued to hold the country to ransom, though he was losing ground. Then, in March 1985 the leadership of the NUM defied Scargill and voted to call off the strike.

It must be admitted that Margaret Thatcher was not entirely magnanimous in victory. She could not forgive ‘the enemy within’, those militants who had sought to derail the stability and prosperity of their own country, and her enemies have not forgiven her.

This has left a bitter legacy in our culture — think of films such as Billy Elliot.

But such criticism of our greatest peacetime Prime Minister should not be allowed to obscure her achievement. Thirty years later, we can see clearly that the defeat of the miners’ strike was a blessing for the whole nation.

It made possible the Thatcher revolution — both economic and social — of which we are still the beneficiaries.

Labour’s call for an inquiry is nothing but a cynical ploy. Orgreave was no Hillsborough. And David Cameron has nothing to apologise for.


Chuck Schumer is a fascist

“It is clear that we will not pass anything legislatively as long as the House of Representatives is in Republican control, but there are many things that can be done administratively by the IRS and other government agencies — we must redouble those efforts immediately.”

That was Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), speaking at the Center for American Progress on January 23, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.

This statement did not occur in a vacuum, and there is context. It was a speech about how to “weaken” and “exploit” the tea party. And he is not referring to hypothetical rules the IRS might implement, he is telling the Obama Administration to move forward with new IRS rules proposed in November that will severely restrict the speech of tea party and other 501(c)(4) organizations.

Even though Congress has not voted to change rules governing these groups that have been in place decades. In fact, Congress explicitly rejected doing so when the issue came up in 2010 via the DISCLOSE Act. To say nothing of the fact that suppressing political speech clearly violates the First Amendment of the Federal Constitution.

Let’s be clear. Schumer thinks — like Obama who at a recent cabinet meeting said “we are not just going to be waiting for legislation” to act — that somehow the executive branch has the power to make and change law as it sees fit. And that one of the laws this all-powerful executive can enact is to restrict the speech of political opponents.

A clearer statement in favor of fascism — the ceding of legislative powers to the executive and the suppression of dissent — cannot be found in recent American discourse by an elected official.

New agency rule will squelch dissent

Merriam Webster defines fascism as “a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government.” There’s actually a bit more to the ideology, but let’s just take the plain meaning of the word.

A government where the executive can make laws without approval of the legislative branch is by definition dictatorial. The new IRS rule, which was brought to no vote in Congress, clearly falls into that category.

And that the new rule will suppress political speech of government opponents is beyond question.

It disregards the statute itself that only explicitly prohibits electioneering of 501(c)(3) charities, but not (c)(4) social welfare groups. Instead it seeks to modify a 54 year old agency rule that currently allows (c)(4) organizations to engage in electioneering activities so long as it does not constitute a majority of their activities.

Now, limitations will be imposed not simply on advocacy for or against a candidate for public office, as has been the case for decades, but on any communication that even mentions a public official who happens to be a candidate. Specifically, the regulations will define “certain communications that are close in time to an election and that refer to a clearly identified candidate as electioneering communications.”

This would be a return to the “functional equivalent of express advocacy” that was struck down in Wisconsin Right to Life v. FEC (2007).

The rule also applies blackout periods 60 days prior to the general election and 30 days prior to primary elections at the federal, state, and local level. Such blackout windows have been repeatedly ruled unconstitutional in federal court, in South Carolinians for Responsible Government v. Krawcheck, et. al (2012) and in Citizens United v. FEC (2010).

Now, the agency will no longer consider the costs of communications in determining eligibility for the 501(c)(4) tax status. It will use a far more subjective, content-based standard: “the expansion of the types of communications covered in the proposed regulations reflects the fact that an organization’s tax exempt status is determined based on all of its activities, even low cost and volunteer activities, not just its large expenditures.”

It will even consider past advocacy that occurred prior to the rule change in an ex post facto manner:  “The Treasury Department and the IRS intend that content previously posted by an organization on its Web site that clearly identifies a candidate and remains on the Web site during the specified pre-election period would be treated as candidate-related political activity.”

For organizations that operate websites that go back years or even decades, this might require purging archives of articles written that might mention an official who happens to be a candidate in particular election cycle.

To put the new rule into perspective, this particular article criticizes Chuck Schumer. But he is not up for reelection again until 2016. Under the new rule, it might be okay to leave this piece up in 2014 and 2015, but once he’s on the ballot again, we might have to take it down.

That is, lest anyone come to the realization close to the election of the indisputable fact that Chuck Schumer is, by definition, a fascist — whose views on speech and political dissent he disagrees with have no place in a free society, let alone qualify him for the elected office he seeks.

Schumer himself in the speech specifically said who the targets of the new rules are. They are meant to silence, as he put it, “Tea Party elites [who] gained extraordinary influence by being able to funnel millions of dollars into campaigns with ads that distort the truth and attack government.”

That is, the truth as he sees it. And if Chuck Schumer represents the government’s position on free speech, or the lack thereof, then Obama has truly succeeded in transforming America into a system that will punish its opponents with the force of law, political violence, or worse.

The Friends of Abe

The Schumer speech came the same week it was revealed that a group of conservative and traditionally minded entertainers in Hollywood applying for tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status wherein donations are tax-deductible had been put on the IRS “Be On the Look Out” (BOLO) target list.

Called the Friends of Abe — named after Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president — the group is claiming that in the application process, which has still not been approved after two years, the agency demanded access to its membership list. The group refused.

What makes this significant is that if the list had been made a part of the application process, it could have risked the information becoming public. Once a 501(c)(3) application is approved, it is a matter of public record.

What are not public are groups’ donors and members who, in the case of Friends of Abe, fear professional repercussions in Hollywood for being conservative.

This is precisely the sort of disclosure that the Supreme Court struck down in NAACP v. Alabama (1958). Then Justice John Marshall Harlan’s majority opinion stated, applying the First Amendment via the Fourteenth to Alabama, “We hold that the immunity from state scrutiny of membership lists which the Association claims on behalf of its members is here so related to the right of the members to pursue their lawful private interests privately and to associate freely with others in so doing as to come within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

In so doing, the Court said that a group’s membership lists could not be forcibly disclosed. Here, the Court protected a constitutional right to anonymity particularly when a disclosure requirement threatened the ability of a group’s members to speak freely.

There is no allegation that Friends of Abe was engaged in electioneering. There were no ads it purchased or mailings that were sent out endorsing candidates. Having meetings and expressing conservative values, or even engaging in a limited amount of issue advocacy — which are allowed by both the statute and rules governing 501(c)(3)s — comes nowhere near the electioneering activities prohibited under those rules.

There are thousands of (c)(3)s across the country that do the same exact thing on all sides of the political spectrum that have never had trouble getting their applications approved.

What can be done?

The only leverage Republicans in Congress have is to insist that the IRS regulations be prohibited as a condition of increasing the debt ceiling or funding the government at all.

Their refusal to do so lest there be a government shutdown is nothing short of weakness. They are in effect standing by and do nothing, making them little better than those who stood by silently in the 1920s and 1930s as political dissent was systematically squelched in Italy, Germany, Russia, and elsewhere.

Is that unfair? In the least, Republicans appear content waiting for courts to act on this issue while the censorship goes on unabated. This is not a case of the Federal Election Commission enforcing the congressionally enacted McCain-Feingold campaign finance statute, as in the past. That has already been overturned.

This is a rogue agency creating rules out of whole cloth to squelch dissent and enforcing them as if they were law in defiance of repeated court rulings calling those very rules censorship. To sit idly by now is inexcusable.

Do Republicans defend the American people’s right to dissent against government injustice, or not?

Perhaps Aldous Huxley was correct, when he wrote to George Orwell in 1949 that “the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience.”

Maybe elected Republicans are content being serfs, and they are no longer the party of Lincoln that once fought slavery in all its forms. The Friends of Abe would do well to take note.



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

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

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


30 January, 2014

Liberalism Embraces the Soul of the Soviet Union

American liberalism, like all such political philosophies that ultimately rely on coercion for policy implementation, has completed its historical journey from altruism to totalitarianism.

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), like the Obama Administration, recommends that the Internal Revenue Service be used to suppress the activities of the Tea Party because its members engage in political speech with which he disagrees.

Schumer proves that it is not unintentional bureaucratic malpractice, but brute governmental force perpetrated by one political party against those holding alternative political beliefs in order to restrict free speech and impose its own ideology on the country.

Liberals, deeming themselves morally superior, have developed the capacity to ignore a record of consistent failure because they mistakenly equate intentions with results. For liberals, public policy becomes an extension of their own self-deception and intellectual dishonesty.

Like the Soviet politburo i.e. "just one more five-year plan and we will be there, comrade," liberals are driven to retain power in order to prove that if extensive government intervention is tried often enough the results will eventually match their intentions.

It is a form of fanaticism which leads liberals to adopt an ends justify the means mentality and to apply an increasing amount of force to elicit outcomes that are not possible using the strategies they employ.

Liberals cannot win arguments on the basis of empirical evidence or logic. In a debate, they must resort to lying about their own policies, personally discrediting their opponents or suppressing the truth.

To explain their policies liberals speak in euphemisms, vague expressions or outright lies used to disguise their intent and obscure the harsh reality that will result through the implementation of those policies. It is the expropriation of language as a prelude to the expropriation of property and individual liberty. It is the fictional "Newspeak" of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four come to life, a political construction to make lies sound truthful and tyranny appear acceptable.

Liberal morality is based on the selective exploitation of, but not a belief in words like "justice" and "rights." Whether it is social, economic, racial, immigrant, reproductive or whatever faux-noble camouflage is required, it is little more than a means to leverage the politics of tribalism.

Liberal policies can only succeed in an atmosphere of totalitarian uniformity of thought and behavior, where we celebrate our collective indoctrination and genuflect at the altar of leftist orthodoxy.

Common Core, for example, is being marketed as a national standard for educational excellence, not the lowest common denominator for socialist brainwashing and homogeneity.

Abortion becomes reproductive rights, racial quotas become diversity, illegal aliens become undocumented workers, socialized medicine becomes healthcare reform, taxes become investment, propaganda becomes news, lies become spin and free speech becomes hate speech.

In Mountain of Crumbs, a memoir of childhood in the 1960s and 1970s Soviet Union, Elena Gorokhova explains the meaning of "vranyo", the Russian word for a lie or half-truth:

"In Russia we played the ‘vranyo' game on a daily basis. The government lied to us, we knew they were lying, they knew we knew they were lying, but they kept lying anyway and we pretended to believe them. "

During the Soviet era, "vranyo" became the de facto way of life, an instrument of governmental coercion as well as a coping mechanism to endure both unbearable calamities and trivial annoyances of life in a totalitarian state.

A society cannot be built on a foundation of lies. In America today we are asked to accept Liberalism's promises of a bright future, which bear no resemblance to its disastrous present.

It is time to puncture that delusion.


Money talks

Obama’s Ambassador to Norway Knows Nothing About Norway

Norwegians are not happy about the next U.S. ambassador to their country—and for good reason; he’s a top Obama bundler that knows absolutely nothing about Norway, a country he admitted he's never even visited.

    Asked by Senator John McCain what he thought it was about the "anti-immigration" Progress Party that appealed to Norwegian voters, Greek American businessman George Tsunis seemed unaware of the party's role in the ruling coalition.

    "You get some fringe elements that have a microphone and spew their hatred," he said in the pre-appointment hearing. "And I will tell you Norway has been very quick to denounce them."

    McCain interrupted him, pointing out that as part of the coalition, the party was hardly being denounced.

    "I stand corrected," Tsunis said after a pause. "I would like to leave my answer at... it's a very,very open society and the overwhelming amount of Norwegians and the overwhelming amount of people in parliament don't feel the same way."

    The blunder came after a faltering, incoherent performance from Tsunis, in which he made a reference to Norway's "president", apparently under the impression that the country is a republic rather than a constitutional monarchy.

The New York businessman and lawyer donated $50,000 to McCain in 2008 before switching parties and bundling nearly $1 million for the president in 2012. So his performance during the recent Senate confirmation hearing is utterly unsurprising but infuriating nonetheless. Tsunis is glaringly unqualified for this position and didn’t so much as read Norway’s Wikipedia page to know the slightest bit about the country’s history, politics, and culture before the hearing.

“The nomination (of Tsunis) is nothing less than an insult against Norway,” one Norwegian wrote in an online debate on document.no, NewsInEnglish reports. “This makes it clear that the US kisses up to its enemies while it’s condescending towards its friends.”

Money talks, folks, and Harry Reid’s new rules for the Senate mean there’s no possibility of a filibuster, either. Perhaps this is why McCain sarcastically signed off the way he did: “I have no more questions for this incredibly, highly qualified group of nominees.”


British voters now as worried about immigration as the economy

Immigration is now the most important issue of concern to the British people, a poll has revealed.  It came joint top with the economy in an Ipsos MORI poll of the public’s priorities for the Government.

Strikingly, in a single year, the proportion identifying immigration in their top priorities to Ipsos MORI has nearly doubled.

In the same period, the number citing the economy as their main concern fell by 11 percentage points, as unemployment and growth have picked up.

The poll is a double-edged sword for David Cameron. He will be boosted by confirmation that worries over the economy are declining.  At the same time, it will embolden both his backbench opponents, who want much tougher action to reduce migrant numbers, and Ukip.

Earlier this week the Prime Minister was accused of complacency over immigration after he said the numbers arriving from Romania and Bulgaria were ‘reasonable’.

It later became clear that Mr Cameron has no idea how many are coming into the country because official figures will not be available until May.

The poll found that 41 per cent of those questioned raised immigration or race relations in their first two answers when asked: ‘What do you see as the most important issues facing Britain today?’ The economy was raised by the same proportion.

In the past 12 months, the number citing the economy has fallen by 11 points, from 52 per cent. Immigration, by contrast, has risen from 22 per cent to 41 per cent.

It is the first time since 2008 that immigration has come out on top, Ipsos MORI said. The economy has remained at the top since then.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the MigrationWatch think-tank, said: ‘This is a most remarkable outcome. At last people feel free to give their true opinion about the impact of mass immigration on this country.’

The poll emerged as Mr Cameron was engaged in last-minute negotiations with rebel Conservative MPs demanding changes to the Immigration Bill when it returns to the House of Commons tomorrow.

Backbencher Nigel Mills is calling for rules restricting access to British jobs for workers from Romania and Bulgaria, which expired in January, to be restored.

Last night, government whips were said to be backing a compromise set of amendments proposed by another Tory backbencher, Stephen Phillips – which would give a vague duty to the Home Secretary to assess whether EU immigration is excessive in future.

A further rebel amendment, proposed by Tory MP Dominic Raab, would beef up laws on booting out foreign criminals. Last night, a Home Office memo blew a hole in the Government’s case for blocking his amendment.

Ministers have been resisting the amendment, which would make it all but impossible for overseas convicts to claim they have a right to a ‘family life’ in the UK.

They have insisted that the rules would flout the European Convention on Human Rights because they do not include sufficient safeguards.

Home Secretary Theresa May warned Downing Street last March that it could lead to a huge number of appeals being logged at the European Court of Human Rights.

She predicted the court could respond by issuing ‘a Rule 39 injunction’, which would halt up to 4,000 deportations a year for several years while all the appeals were heard.

But a memo prepared by the Home Office’s own officials, seen by the Mail, states that this is not the case. Officials working on the Bill say: ‘We do not expect interim measures under Rule 39 to be issued routinely, if at all.’

In the wake of her warning, Mr Raab failed last year in his attempt to get the amendment passed.

Last night, he said: ‘I welcome the fact that the earlier legal objections have been overcome. I hope this clears the way for the Government to accept this practical, common sense amendment, which will stop killers, rapists and drug dealers from running rings around our border controls.’

But the amendments face being defeated by being ‘talked out’. There are only around four hours set aside tomorrow to debate the Bill, including a raft of Home Office amendments.

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘We are already passing legislation in the Bill to ensure judges don’t regard the right to a family life as an absolute and unqualified one.

‘Those who commit serious crimes have no place in Britain and we are determined to see more of them kicked out of the country.’


Meet Ukip, Britain's most working-class party

Ukip have been a firm feature on the electoral map for several years now, but they remain badly misunderstood by their fellow politicians, pundits and the media. This week, we kick off UkipWatch with a series of posts dispelling the five most popular myths about the party. We start today by looking at the politics of Ukip's supporters.

Myth No 1: Ukip's supporters are all grumpy Tories

It is certainly true that new recruits to Ukip are more likely to have voted for the Conservatives in 2010 than any other party. But portraying the Ukip rebellion as simply a split on the Right glosses over two important facts.

First, focusing on trends since 2010 is misleading. Ukip has only recruited most strongly from the Conservative Party since the Cameron-led government began. When Labour were in charge of the country under Tony Blair, and then Gordon Brown, Ukip picked up more support from Labour than from the Tories. Our chart below, which shows the previous vote choices of new Ukip recruits in the Labour and Coalition governments, illustrates this.

This is important, as it provides evidence that this revolt on the Right can mobilise hostility to whoever is in charge. Labour may currently be smiling as Ukip drains support from the Conservatives, but the tables may soon turn if Ed Miliband enters 10 Downing Street in 2015, and his party again becomes the focus of voter resentment. Even now, around one third of new Ukip recruits report backing someone other than the Conservatives at the last election – a fifth of their new support comes from former Lib Dems.

New Ukip voters' recalled vote in the previous general election: Labour government 2004-10 (light bars) and Coalition government 2010-13 (dark bars)

Focusing only on vote choices at the last general election is also misleading for another reason. The media like to portray Ukip as a revolt among traditional grassroots Conservatives, who feel neglected by Cameron's more centrist and socially liberal approach. But not everyone who backed Cameron's Conservatives in 2010 was a "true blue Tory", committed to the party for life. Many, for example, were former Labour voters who had steadily lost faith in the party over its long term of office, and who by 2010 felt willing to give Cameron’s Conservatives a try.

Framing Ukip’s voters as disillusioned former Tory loyalists misunderstands the movement. Some of these voters are certainly ex-Conservative "true believers". But others are people with much weaker links to Cameron’s party.

This leads us to our second point: the social background of Ukip supporters (and we’ve looked at thousands of them). Their profile is very different to the popular image. If Spitting Image were still around they would most likely portray the average Ukipper as a ruddy faced, middle-class, middle-aged golf club bore, who lived in a suburban semi-detached house in the Home Counties, wore lots of tweed and bored his neighbours to death by droning on about the evil Eurocrats in Brussels. But this stereotype could scarcely be further from the truth.

Ukip's supporters look more like Old Labour than True Blue Tories. Ukip's supporters tend to be blue-collar, older, struggling economically, and often live in poorer, urban areas, with big pools of support in the Labour heartlands of the North. Middle-class suburbanites do not dominate Ukip. They shy away from it.

In fact, Ukip are Britain’s most working-class party. Blue-collar workers are heavily over-represented. Middle-class professionals are scarce. Such voters often express as much hostility to the Conservative party as they do to Labour. This news should not be surprising. Earlier research on Goldsmith’s Referendum Party in the mid-1990s found that they too came from across the spectrum. But despite this research the “disaffected Tory thesis” has become entrenched in the Westminster village, and now dominates misguided coverage of the party.

Why is the myth of Ukip as an army of angry, middle-class suburbanites who are obsessed by Europe and having a referendum so widespread and persistent, when the reality is so different? Most likely because of the difference between Ukip's activists and their voters.

Committed activists and politicians, the kind of Ukipper the media are most likely to encounter, very often are middle-class, Southern and suburban former Tories (particularly the Ukippers you are likely to stumble across in the Westminster village, where most journalists congregate). Add to this the continual fascination in the media with Conservative splits over Europe and it is easy to see how the “Ukip = angry Tories + Euroscepticism” formula has taken hold.

But political activism, in any party, is a minority pursuit, and those who engage in it often look very different to the voters they represent. Most Westminster journalists have been around long enough to know that the figures who loiter in the halls of Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative party conferences look, think and behave very differently to the voters who back these parties. Ukip are in many respects different from the established parties but this basic political rule – don't mistake the activists for the voters – applies to them too.



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

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

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


29 January, 2014

Yet More Sexual Insanity

One can argue that the past century has been one grand social experiment to see what life would be like if we kicked God and transcendent moral values out of the West. Well, the results are in, and it is not looking very good. When we ditch the one certain source of objective morality and absolute truth, mankind is simply left to its own devices.

We end up making things up as we go along, and everyone does what is right in their own eyes. Anything goes, and this is especially true in the area of sexuality. All boundaries are cast aside, and every kinky and bizarre thing imaginable is engaged in and sanctioned.

Everywhere we see the brave new world of unbridled sexuality. And despite what the sexual libertines say, we all suffer as a result – especially children. When we manage to foolishly convince ourselves that absolutely anything goes when it comes to sexuality, then there will always be plenty of losers.

So let me offer another handful of cases, beginning with this shocker from Italy: “Italy’s highest court has overturned the conviction of a 60-year-old man for having sex with an 11-year-old girl, because the verdict failed to take into account their ‘amorous relationship’.

“Pietro Lamberti, a social services worker in Catanzaro in southern Italy, was convicted in February 2011 and sentenced to five years in prison for sexual acts with a minor. The verdict was later upheld by an appeals court. But Italy’s supreme court ruled that the verdict did not sufficiently consider ‘the “consensus”, the existence of an amorous relationship, the absence of physical force, the girl’s feelings of love’.”

So in Italy the judges have no problem with paedophilia. Great. Of course we are doing our best to turn young children into sexual dynamos, so I guess this should come as no real surprise. Consider what they are doing to little children in New Zealand:

“A new graphic sex education program aimed at five-to-12 year-olds has been launched in New Zealand, drawing sharp criticism from parents who are shocked at the material covered. The Every Body Education program provides both in-school and out-of-school programs for children aged between 5 and 12-years-old.”

Basically nothing is left to the imagination here it seems. And never mind that no 5-year-old that I know even remotely has sex on the brain. These sexperts think we must fill our kids’ heads with all things sexual. But some parents at least are fighting back:

“One mother Carla Smith, who attended a Health Curriculum Community Evening at her child’s school in November, was disturbed the program was even being considered by her children’s school. Smith said she believes that a ‘one size fits all approach’ is ‘inappropriate’ in the school setting.

“Discussion around sexuality ‘should be introduced at home by parents at an age they determine appropriate for their individual children,’ she told 3News. ‘I just think you’re placing seeds in their head which they may not know what to do with. Who knows where those seeds are going to go in the future, and in what directions they’re going to turn?’ Smith said.”

And elsewhere we see the bitter fruit of all this. With so many Western men addicted to porn, the worldwide trafficking of children into sexual slavery is on the rise. A recent report from Cambodia makes for sickening reading, but we must be aware of what is happening. It begins:

“When a poor family in Cambodia fell afoul of loan sharks, the mother asked her youngest daughter to take a job. But not just any job. The girl, Kieu, was taken to a hospital and examined by a doctor, who issued her a ‘certificate of virginity.’ She was then delivered to a hotel, where a man raped her for two days.

“Kieu was 12 years old. ‘I did not know what the job was,’ says Kieu, now 14 and living in a safehouse. She says she returned home from the experience ‘very heartbroken.’ But her ordeal was not over. After the sale of her virginity, her mother had Kieu taken to a brothel where, she says, ‘they held me like I was in prison.’

“She was kept there for three days, raped by three to six men a day. When she returned home, her mother sent her away for stints in two other brothels, including one 400 kilometers away on the Thai border. When she learned her mother was planning to sell her again, this time for a six-month stretch, she realized she needed to flee her home.”

Just how many Westerners are fuelling all this? Other forms of sexual insanity can be found in Europe. They are also, in their own way, so very destructive of children. I have written often before about the sexual madness in Sweden. A recent article begins this way about their creepy social engineering:

“On a sunny afternoon in September, a 5-year-old girl played in a sandbox. The box contained more mud than sand, and as she whacked at it with a plastic shovel, globs of dirt stained her pink dress. But at the Nicolaigarden preschool in Stockholm, no teacher chastised her, and certainly no one told her that girls aren’t supposed to play like that. In fact, at Nicolaigarden, they try not to use the word girls at all.

“Or boys either. One of the most popular toys at the school, for both sexes, is a set of dolls designed to teach about emotions. Each wears a different expression–one smiles broadly, another frowns–but that is almost all they wear. Except for the homely knit hats that top their Nordically blond heads, the dolls are completely naked, which makes it easy to see that they have no distinguishable gender.

“And that just might be a metaphor for what this school, and perhaps Sweden as a whole, is trying to achieve. This is a country in the midst of a dramatic new experiment in gender equality–call it gender neutrality.”

This manic push for total and complete androgyny of course has to simply ignore the basic facts of biology. But radical social engineers do not let such facts stand in the way of pushing their ideological agendas. These coercive utopians will seek to implement their agendas no matter what.

And in the US more evidence of the damage we are doing to children, the family, and society. Consider this amazing news report: “A man who provided sperm to a lesbian couple in response to an online ad is the father of a child born to one of the women and must pay child support, a Kansas judge ruled Wednesday.”

Yes you read that right. The story continues: “Topeka resident William Marotta had argued that he had waived his parental rights and didn’t intend to be a father. Shawnee County District Judge Mary Mattivi rejected that claim, saying the parties didn’t involve a licensed physician in the artificial insemination process and thus Marotta didn’t qualify as a sperm donor, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

“’In this case, quite simply, the parties failed to perform to statutory requirement of the Kansas Parentage Act in not enlisting a licensed physician at some point in the artificial insemination process, and the parties’ self-designation of (Marotta) as a sperm donor is insufficient to relieve (Marotta) of parental right and responsibilities to the child,’ Mattivi wrote.”

What can I say? Welcome to the brave new world of sexual insanity. And it is getting more and more insane each passing day. A decade ago Al Mohler wrote a piece addressing such sexual suicide, referring to all this as “polymorphous perversity”. His thoughts are well worth adding here in conclusion:

“?The subversion of marriage and the family has extended to law and morality, to authority and to custom. The very habits of human life–the customs and traditions on which civilization is grounded–are now being reversed, marginalized, and discarded in an effort to eliminate all norms by normalizing the abnormal. For those whose agenda is to undermine Judeo-Christian morality and to disconnect Western civilization from biblical norms, there is no better strategy than to subvert marriage, family, and sexuality, and unleash on society an age and culture of polymorphous perversity.”


Cleared in 20 minutes: Businessman who defended his property from fuel burglars and fighting against them with a fence post

A landscape gardener who attacked two thieves he caught trying to steal from his business was cleared of grievous bodily harm in just 20 minutes today.

Andrew Woodhouse, 44, was accused of using excessive force when he broke the arms and legs of one and rugby tackled the other, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

But today the jury decided he had every right to defend his property from criminals Kevin Green and Timothy Cross, who ended up with £75 fines.

The father-of-five had faced a possible life jail sentence - but was found not guilty of two grievous bodily harm charges for the citizen's arrest of two raiders.

After being cleared at Cardiff Crown Court, a relieved Mr Woodhouse said: 'The verdicts show we have a criminal justice that works.  'When people act to defend themselves and their property it will not be considered unlawful.  'The last 10 months have been very harrowing for me, my family and the people I employ.'

Mr Woodhouse has been battling a spate of crime at his company - and sprang into action when his alarm rang after midnight as two thieves were stealing diesel.

Mr Woodhouse grabbed a fence post one was carrying as a weapon - and used it to fight back against them.

He left one with two broken legs and grappled with the other until police arrived.

But he was shocked to be charged with using excessive force in his citizen's arrest - and hauled to court four times before being cleared by a 12-strong jury of the public.

Mr Woodhouse was today celebrating his acquittal after a jury heard the case against him and ruled he was no criminal.

He also runs a machinery and tyre depot two miles from his home near Abergavenny, South Wales, which have been plagued by criminals.

'I have striven to to build businesses to provide a living for me and my family and to provide employment to others,' he said.

'On the evening in question I went to bed hoping to enjoy a good night's sleep. But I was disturbed by a call indicating intruders had entered my business premises.

'I acted to retrieve property stolen from my business and to detain the two people and in the course of the struggle it was unfortunate one of them got injured.  'It was never my intention to to injure anyone that night.

'But it might serve as a reminder to other burglars and thieves that there are sometimes unintended consequences to entering property in the dead of night.

'When in the past I have suffered thefts and burglaries I have called the police. On this occasion I did not have the chance to call them.  'I am pleased I managed to apprehend the thieves asnd pleased they were brought to justice.

'Over the last 10 months I have been fortified by the enormous support from family, friends and others who were aware of my case.   'Their support helped me no end and allowed me to gather the strength to stay strong and focus on defending myself.

'I would like to extend my thanks to all those who have assisted me in very difficult circumstances.'

Mr Woodhouse said he has repeatedly been a victim of crime at his gardening company costing him £30,000 over the past five years.

He proclaimed he was fully justified in keeping hold of the two burglars until police arrived.

Kevin Green, 53, and Timothy Cross, 32, tried to escape into a neighbouring field with jerry cans full of stolen fuel.

But Woodhouse chased Green - and caught him near their getaway car. He then attacked Green leaving him with two broken legs and a broken arm.

The court heard he then chased Cross before rugby-tackling him. He lay on top of the raider until police arrived.

Prosecutor James Wilson described it an 'unreasonable and unlawful assault.'  He said: 'It was not reasonable self-defence. Mr Woodhouse lost his temper and went over the top.  'He is a hard-working businessman but he has let his frustration get the better of him. He lost it.'

Mr Woodhouse said he was 'gutted and sickened' to learn the extent of Green's injuries.

The court heard officers found Green lying injured under a blanket - and Cross claiming the businessmen had gone 'over the top'.

Mr Woodhouse employs six staff including two of his sons at the family business, which was set up 20 years ago.

The court heard how he didn't feel like officers had given him enough assistance when he had been the victim of crime.

Green and Cross were charged with theft and later given £75 fines by magistrates.

Mr Woodhouse's eldest son, marine Josh, 24, said afterwards: 'This prosecution should never have been brought.

'My father was doing what every right-minded person would do- protecting his family and his property.

'The stress it's caused him and the whole family has been unbelievable.'

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesperson said later: 'Andrew Woodhouse was charged with grievous bodily harm with intent after careful consideration of all the available evidence.

'Our decision to charge Mr Woodhouse was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, which requires us to be satisfied that that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and that it is in the public interest to bring charges.

'In light of the evidence, including the injuries suffered by one of the intruders, it was the prosecution case that Mr Woodhouse's actions during the incident went beyond what the law allows for in terms of self-defence.

'We therefore decided that it was appropriate to bring the matter to court so that a jury could determine the issue.

'Ultimately, all evidence relating to criminal cases is tested during the trial process, with the jury being the final arbiters of guilt or innocence.  'We respect the jury's decision on this matter.'


Keep your wife happy... spend more time at work: Husbands should do longer hours at the office, study says

The key to a happy marriage is spending less, not more time with each other, it seems.

For if he wants to improve his wife’s quality of life, a husband should spend longer hours at the office, researchers claim.

The more overtime he does, the healthier she becomes, with wives benefiting most when husbands work more than 50 hours a week.

However the study, published in the journal Social Forces, found that men are doomed to the short straw either way.

For when wives work long hours, house-husbands’ health suffers – because the weight of domestic chores means they do not get enough time to exercise.

The US study set out to discover the effect on family life of greater labour market equality between the sexes since the 1970s.

Researchers studied the relationships of nearly 4,000 middle-aged men and women between 1979 and 2004. Healthiest were women whose husbands worked more than 50 hours per week, while the lowest scores were for men whose wives worked between 41 and 49 hours.

‘The greater income brought in by men’s longer hours may be protective of women’s health,’ the study said.

‘In contrast, men whose wives work moderately long hours are particularly less likely to spend as much time on vigorous exercise or sports, such as running, swimming, or bicycling.’

The authors, from the Universities of Texas and Indiana, said wives whose husbands work long hours may have enough money to pay cleaners, giving them the time to get fit – but women’s wages may not be high enough to afford house-husbands the same luxury.

Campaign group Mothers At Home Matter said: ‘This underlines the true value of the work which women have traditionally done. It remains a huge and all-consuming job.’

David Cameron has come under pressure to bring in transferable tax allowances that would mean a full-time mother could give her income tax-free allowance to a working father.

A limited version for some married couples is due to begin next year, but will be worth only £3.85 a week at most.

Analysis has shown the majority of married couples with children who will be helped will benefit by only £1.30 a week.

A recent report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation showed that the traditional family, with stay-at-home mothers and fathers who work, is now more likely to be existing below the poverty line than any other type.

In all 10.5 per cent of women now work more than 45 hours a week, up from 9.5 per cent in 2009 - an extra 186,000 people.

For men, the figure has risen from 19 per cent to 19.6 per cent.

The typical male working week is now 36.8 hours compared with 26.8 for women.


Australia:  Censorship by Poetry Editor of Leftist "Little Magazine"

It is a cliche, the way conservatives and so-called progressives are said to regard each other. On the starboard side of political opinion the general view is that the left is simply misguided, many members of its various tribes perhaps capable of better things and deeper thoughts if only someone with time and patience would make an effort to explain it all.

And on the left, where perceptions tend to be rather more simple? Well they just think we’re evil.

Then again, there are also those on the left who might normally be dismissed at a glance but, due to some act of arrogance or idiocy, draw your attention by virtue of sheer, antic inanity. That whine of unctuous self-righteousness, their grasp of higher moralities which they alone may interpret and adjudicate, the tendency to believe that “shut up” amounts to an argument – well, you know the type. Normally, you wouldn’t worry too much about these sorts, as sooner or later most will nod along with some or other epistle in The Age until they are deeply and silently asleep. The 11,381st lecture about the perils of climate change or the joys of gay marriage can have that effect, even on the most ardent.

When such a featherhead is in a position of influence, able to advance or retard reputations and careers at the stroke of a pen, a closer look is warranted, unpleasant though it may be to pore over spite and pettiness in the fetid quarters of their native environment. In this instance the individual is Peter Minter, poetry editor and academic, whose pulpit for proclaiming on the moral worth of lesser mortals is that little-read and much-subsidised quarterly Overland, “the most radical of Australia’s long-standing literary journals.”

As singer, songwriter, poet and sometime-Quadrant contributor Joe Dolce noted on our website over the weekend, Minter informed him in writing and on the record that his verse would no longer be published in Overland, which just by the way of background was blessed with $399,000 in Australia Council grants between 2010 and 2013. The reason: his association with Quadrant. Dolce, who admits to voting Labor last September, was taken aback by Minter’s zeal in appointing himself Australian poetry’s blacklister-in-chief and, as the policy of exclusion sank in, by the thought that the policy might be at odds with the Australia Council’s goals, standards and procedures. He would seem to be right about that, going by the organisation’s mission statement in regard to literary journals:

“The Literature Panel aims are to encourage the writing and reading of Australian literature, to open up opportunities for our writers to earn from their creative work, and to keep the avenues of debate, discussion, analysis and criticism open.”

Nowhere does the Australia Council state or hint that it is acceptable to bar writers who do not happen to hate and detest the same people as the magazine’s editors. Legal minds might also have opinions on whether or not such a threat constitutes a secondary boycott.

Students of the left and its conceits will need no prompting to guess at Minter’s defence of his edict. Writing on the Facebook page of  theatre critic, “best-selling author” and friend Alison Croggon, herself  a recipient of $40,000 in 2013 from the Australia Council’s Literature Board, chaired by Twitter buddy and fellow traveller on the writers’ festival circuit Sophie Cunningham,  Minter in his prolix style laid out a case that might be summed up thus: Quadrant and Nazis, same thing really.

But don’t take our word for it. In his contributions to an entertaining, if increasingly unhinged, debate, Minter stands revealed in his own words. Note the snide jabs at Quadrant’s poetry editor Les Murray in this talk-to-the-hand response to Dolce:

Peter Minter – ” Joe, let me end with a very simple (perhaps brutal) analogy. I hope this goes to the heart of the debate raised about whether poems should be judged on merit, or whether they should be judged also on their political context. Let’s imagine we are in Germany in the 1930s. We are writing what we think are good poems, free of any overt political substance, and we decide to send them to the “Nazi Literary Weekly” for publication, because the poetry editor loves poetry and everyone thinks he is going to win the Nobel Prize and so they all suck up to him in order to gain the satisfaction of feeling that they are being ordained by the holy poet. The Big Poet publishes the poems and everyone feels nice. Nevertheless, and this is the crux, history will shine its irrevocable truth upon the poets who submitted their poems to the “Nazi Literary Weekly” and they will be forever stained by the association.

Have you heard of the German philosopher Martin Heidegger? Heidegger’s philosophy is certainly wonderful and extremely influential and should be considered “on its merits” in the same way people argue that poetry should simply be judged “on its merits”. And yet, Heidegger joined the Nazi party and his reputation, and the reputation of his philosophy, is forever stained by the association.

So you can say whatever you like about how wonderful it is to be published by Les Murray (those of us who know also know that this is not what it seems!!) the fact remains that those who choose to publish in Quadrant will be forever stained by the association (or by being published in Overland, depending on your perspective). You need to get over the adrenaline rush of seeing your name in print, and start thinking about where you want to see your name in print, and what it means.

This is not about limiting freedom of expression. We are in a free society and anyone can start any kind of magazine they like and publish what they want. What this is about is editorial responsibility and making ethical decisions about how and where you chose to publish.

No more correspondence will be entered into. Bye! “

There is undoubtedly compelling evidence of original thought in Minter’s  academic work, but the dog-eared equivalence he preaches between Hitler’s followers and Quadrant’s contributors suggests one would need to wade through it with a keen eye to be sure. By contrast, only an open ear is needed to absorb the pointed inquiries made by then-Opposition spokesman on the arts, Senator Eric Abetz, at an Estimates hearing about funding allocations .

As Abetz observed, it is either a remarkable coincidence that left-wing literary journals keep scoring bags of Australia Council cash while, year by year, Quadrant sees its stipend shrink. Or maybe, as the Senator intimated, the fix is in.

After this latest episode, perhaps someone in Tony Abbott’s government might like to weigh in on a taxpayer-supported literary magazine brazenly refusing to publish the work of those it identifies, to quote Minter’s pontification, as those “who choose to publish in Quadrant [and are] forever stained by the association.”

After that, who knows? Perhaps a full, sweeping review of arts funding, who doles it out and how, and why do some seem more blessed by the Australia Council’s largesse than others.



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

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

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


28 January, 2014

I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I’m Not Sorry

By hormonal feminist AMY GLASS.  She must dislike her own mother and her own birth and her own upbringing.  If she does she deserves our pity

Every time I hear someone say that feminism is about validating every choice a woman makes I have to fight back vomit.

Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself? There’s no way those two things are the same. It’s hard for me to believe it’s not just verbally placating these people so they don’t get in trouble with the mommy bloggers.

Having kids and getting married are considered life milestones. We have baby showers and wedding parties as if it’s a huge accomplishment and cause for celebration to be able to get knocked up or find someone to walk down the aisle with. These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them. They are the most common thing, ever, in the history of the world. They are, by definition, average. And here’s the thing, why on earth are we settling for average?

You should follow Thought Catalog on Facebook.
If women can do anything, why are we still content with applauding them for doing nothing?

I want to have a shower for a woman when she backpacks on her own through Asia, gets a promotion, or lands a dream job not when she stays inside the box and does the house and kids thing which is the path of least resistance. The dominate cultural voice will tell you these are things you can do with a husband and kids, but as I’ve written before, that’s a lie. It’s just not reality.

You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.

I hear women talk about how “hard” it is to raise kids and manage a household all the time. I never hear men talk about this. It’s because women secretly like to talk about how hard managing a household is so they don’t have to explain their lack of real accomplishments. Men don’t care to “manage a household.” They aren’t conditioned to think stupid things like that are “important.”

Women will be equal with men when we stop demanding that it be considered equally important to do housework and real work. They are not equal. Doing laundry will never be as important as being a doctor or an engineer or building a business. This word play is holding us back.


The Court, the buffer zone, and the marketplace of ideas

by Jeff Jacoby

FOR ANYONE having trouble understanding why the Massachusetts law requiring a 35-foot "buffer zone" at abortion clinics is so offensive to the First Amendment, there was a moment during the oral arguments in McCullen v. Coakley — the Supreme Court case challenging the law — that crystallized the issue perfectly.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley talks to reporters outside the Supreme Court following oral arguments in the abortion-clinic buffer zone case.

Massachusetts officials have always justified the 2007 buffer law as a narrow, impartial response to the problem of obstruction, disorder, and intimidation of women seeking abortions. That concern is understandably taken seriously in the state where John Salvi murdered two employees of Planned Parenthood clinics in 1994.

But federal and state statutes already make it illegal to interfere with anyone's access to an abortion clinic, let alone to terrorize or harass women with violence or the threat of violence. No one disputes the constitutionality of those statutes, just as no one challenges Section (e) of the Bay State's buffer-zone law, which allows anyone who "knowingly obstructs, detains, hinders, impedes or blocks another person's entry to or exit from a reproductive health care facility" to be punished with fines and prison.

It is only the 35-foot exclusion zone that raises serious free-speech concerns.

Public buffer zones aren't unknown in American life — courts have upheld speech and protest restrictions around funerals, political conventions, and polling places. Even the Supreme Court plaza is off-limits to demonstrators and protests. But such "time, place, and manner" regulations must be scrupulously neutral. What pro-life advocates and even pro-choice civil libertarians have maintained all along is that this buffer zone isn't.

Jennifer Miller, the Massachusetts assistant attorney general who was lead counsel for the state, tried to persuade the justices that this was only a "congestion case." The buffer zone is aimed only at "conduct" occurring within 35 feet of clinic entrances, she said. Any effect on speech "is simply incidental to the permissible conduct." When Justice Stephen Breyer prompted Miller to explain why Massachusetts lawmakers had enacted a buffer zone far larger than the 8-foot bubble the Supreme Court had upheld in a 2000 Colorado case, she cited evidence of "pro-choice advocates swearing and screaming at pro-life advocates. . . . You had the Pink Group, which is a pro-choice organization, pushing and shoving and jockeying for position."

Well, that was a novelty: You don't usually hear the most draconian abortion-clinic buffer zone in the country defended as a response to disorderly behavior by pro-choice rowdies. But it didn't change a fundamental problem with Massachusetts' law: It explicitly exempts "employees or agents" of abortion clinics from the restrictions that apply to pro-lifers.

That was the point that Justice Samuel Alito deftly drove home in the oral argument's most memorable exchange.

Let's imagine, he said to Miller, that a patient about to go into an abortion clinic is approached by two women. The first, who works for the clinic, says: "Good morning, this is a safe facility." The other one, who isn't an employee, says: "Good morning, this is not a safe facility." According to Massachusetts law, the first woman has done nothing wrong, while the second has committed a crime.

"And the only difference between the two is that they've expressed a different viewpoint," Alito observed. "Now how can a statute like that be considered viewpoint-neutral?"

Eleanor McCullen, who challenged Massachusetts' buffer-zone law, at the US Supreme Court building on Jan. 15.

Miller gave it her best shot, insisting that the law isn't focused in the two speakers' opinions — only "on what they're doing in the buffer zone." The pro-life speaker wasn't guilty of expressing a disfavored opinion, Miller said; she was guilty of being within the 35-foot perimeter without a permissible reason.

But that only begged Alito's question, and Justice Anthony Kennedy didn't let Miller get away with it. Of course the Massachusetts law doesn't overtly ban people with anti-abortion viewpoints from crossing into the buffer zone. But in practical terms, that's the law's inescapable consequence, Kennedy said. "Are you saying that the consequences of what [legislators] write are irrelevant to this argument?" Ouch.

McCullen v. Coakley is bound up with abortion politics, but it could just as easily be a case about a buffer zone that barred pro-union activists from getting within 35 feet of a worksite where there was a labor dispute. It could be about antinuclear politics or animal welfare or gun control. Governments have the right to preserve public order, but only as a last resort may they do so by interfering with the marketplace of ideas. Is a 35-foot buffer zone really the last resort? I'd be surprised if the court says yes.


The death of humility is nothing to boast about

I have been writing a series of essays for Radio 3 about national characteristics that have, for better or worse (usually worse), been dispensed with in the past 30 years. These include respect for manual labour, regarding Sunday as special, not being greedy about food, gentility… and the regarding of modesty or humility as significant virtues.

Of all of them, I now realise, the last is the most striking change. It is self-evident that modesty is not prized highly in this age of the selfie, Simon Cowell, the celebrity memoir, the first-person blog, and industry awards. (For reasons too strange to go into, I used to be a regular attender of what were called “The Oscars of the Bus Industry”, until the organisers received a legal letter from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.)

I do not claim to be very humble myself. In fact, part of my animus about these changes is that they have occurred, so to speak, without anyone asking me, and in defiance of injunctions drummed into me as a child, such as – in the case of modesty: “Keep your voice down”, “Don’t draw attention to yourself”; or, if I’d already drawn attention to myself and it was too late to do anything about it, “You’re a right bighead, aren’t you?”. What was the source of these injunctions? Perhaps the New Testament and “the meek shall inherit the earth”. (The American humorist Kin Hubbard once wrote, “It’s going to be fun to watch and see how long the meek can keep the earth after they inherit it.”)

The virtue of modesty was also constantly promoted in the literature I read. Whenever I see the manager of Chelsea, José Mourinho, the self-styled “special one”, who begins every sentence “I sink” (“I think”), I recall the sporting heroes of the comics I read as a boy, such as Billy Dane, hero of the strip called Billy’s Boots. Billy knew there was nothing special about him; that all his skill was down to the ghostly properties of his boots, which had formerly belonged to a brilliant striker. Billy was a modest lad, who took a stoical attitude to failing his 11-plus. Or there was Alf Tupper, The Tough of the Track, a welder who slept on a mattress in his auntie’s kitchen, but competed to the highest of Corinthian ideals. He made a habit of rescuing little old ladies in distress, and celebrated his victories with a plate – or newspaper – of fish and chips.

Billy and Alf were working-class variants of the Victorian public-school ideal of manly reserve and stoicism, qualities thought necessary for running an Empire. They are said to have been summed up in Kipling’s poem, If (“don’t look too good nor talk too wise”). The mindset reached its peak in the First World War, currently being commemorated with a degree of hype that contrasts with the reticence shown by the survivors, of whom there are none left.

In his book, The Great War and Modern Memory, Paul Fussell discusses the style of “utter sang-froid” or “British phlegm”. The danger is minimised, and the effect could be dryly comic. Fussell quotes the war diary of one A Surfleet who (referring to howitzer rounds) wrote, “I don’t think I’ll ever get used to these 5.9’s”, and a general who noted, “On my usual afternoon walk today a shrapnel shell scattered a shower of bullets around me in an unpleasant manner.”

In my late teens, I read John Buchan’s novels featuring Richard Hannay, which are very much informed by the First World War. In Greenmantle, Hannay introduces his friend Sandy Arbuthnot. “Sandy’s not the chap to buck about himself,” he observes, having just discovered that Arbuthnot has been governing Turkey from behind the scenes. In The Three Hostages, the chum is Tom Greenslade: “Nothing came amiss to him in talk… everything in the world except himself.” In The Island of Sheep it’s Lombard who “never paraded his learning”, and who, furthermore, appears to have no Christian name.

Sometimes all modern life seems a refutation of those ideals of self-effacement and humility. Then again, those men probably did not need to boast, whereas we, in our ultra-competitive globalised world of short-term contracts and job insecurity, cannot afford the luxury of reticence. So, in my profession, everyone must be “bestselling” or “award-winning”. If you’re neither of the above, you might be able to survive for a while as “much loved”.

The bighead is now the norm, whereas in the books of my youth, the boastful character was a freak, who pointed up the virtues of the hero, as Falstaff does with Prince Hal. So Tintin had Captain Haddock; Winnie-the-Pooh had Tigger; and Ratty and Mole had self-described “handsome, popular and successful” Mr Toad, and his self-advertising motor car. I think of that vehicle when I note that, in my boyhood, personalised number plates were an extreme rarity; but there are now four million, many sported in combination with smoked-glass windows. The driver seems to be saying, “Don’t look at me” and “Look at me” at the same time, although clearly the latter message predominates.

Of course, Mr Toad is life-enhancing, as was Kenneth Grahame’s role model for the character, Oscar (“nothing to declare but my genius”) Wilde. Wilde was challenging the inhibitions of society, and a modest character is, admittedly, sometimes an oppressed character. This is true of many of Dickens’s simpering women. Charlotte Brontë described Esther Summerson of Bleak House (“I have not by any means a quick understanding”) as “weak and twaddling”, and she is actually one of Dickens’s more interesting females. Enshrinement of humility also offers the temptation of simulating that quality, hence Uriah Heep: “?'Be ’umble, Uriah,’ says father to me, 'and you’ll get on.’?”

There’s little danger of anyone trying that trick in 2014, when humility – the genuine article, I mean – cuts so little ice.


The ABC in their own charming words

Larry Pickering has some interesting hate-filled quotes from Australia's public broadcaster below

While Left-Green commercial media drowns in red ink, the taxpayer funded ABC, still pining for Gillard, continues to defy its charter, openly seeking to discredit and undermine the Abbott Government... and not a murmur of disapproval from the responsible Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

Decent journalists have departed the dying Fairfax Press in droves leaving the dross free to practise their treachery and disdain for middle ground politics.

Left-Green journalists have now taken to cannibalising their own with tweets regarding respected centre-ground journalist, Gerard Henderson with:

“Henderson…What a pompous, pretentious turd you are.” - Mike Carlton.

“What a haughty flapping half-arsed buffoon he is” - Malcolm Farr.

“You are a fool, Henderson, a malicious and mendacious piece of shit… Now F_ck off.” - Mike Carlton again.

“Old Australian saying. ‘He wouldn’t know a tram was up him unless the bell rang’. Wholly appropriate to Gerard Henderson” - Phillip Adams.

“Gerard [Henderson] is a complete f-ckwit”- Malcolm Farr again.

“The nation mourns Gerard Henderson. He’s in perfect health.” - Peter Van Onselen, SKY. I guess that means they disagree with "The Australian's" Gerard.

Sacked Left-Green scribes have drifted to the ABC, The Conversation, The Guardian On-line and other far Left media.

Sky gives Green Senators (the insane Milne and loopy Hanson-Young) exposure way beyond their political station.

Channel 7 is a rats’ nest of anti-Australian Lefties.

Channel 10 persists with "warmist" Bongiorno and his crazy pro-illegal immigrant stance.

Who really cares, they will die by their own swords soon enough, but the ABC belongs to us... and we want it back.

The pro-Jakarta public broadcaster has now placed itself firmly within the Indonesian crime syndicates’ interests and has incredibly implied the Australian Navy has insisted illegals hold on to hot pipes!

    Only a demented fool or a Green would believe the RAN practises torture.

The ABC has been allowed to run riot for far too long and the Gillard-appointed Leftie Chairman, Spigelman, and his co-conspirator, MD Mark Scott, are past their Labor Party use-by dates.

If the fiery anger in Morrison’s and Abbott’s eyes means anything then the guillotine is about to fall and Turnbull had better quickly decide what he wants to do...

...fiddle with the NBN and his donger at the same time or begin acting like a responsible Minister.



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

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

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



27 January, 2014

Rugby joins ranks of the politically correct with 'no winners' rules for children

Rugby union would seem to be one of the least likely games to be influenced by political correctness.

But the sport has risked damaging its macho image, with new rules being brought in insisting children’s “mini rugby” teams can no longer play to win.

The changes are being introduced by Surrey Rugby, a constituent body of the Rugby Football Union (RFU), for those in the six to 11 age group.

Under the rules, teams must also be “mixed ability”, and must be weakened if they are winning too easily and there must be no overall winner.

The scheme has provoked anger from many in the game. Simon Halliday, an ex-England international and board member at Esher rugby club, told the Financial Times: “We are appalled and have withdrawn from all Surrey rugby competition.

“In sport there are winners and losers. As long as you don’t demean the loser, it’s straightforward.”

Mini-rugby was developed in the 1970s to encourage children to take up the sport. They tend to play on smaller pitches, in smaller teams and with smaller balls.

The rules vary depending on the age group, but have always been scaled back to make it less physical than the adult game. However, the new changes being introduced in Surrey have led to accusations that children are being mollycoddled.

Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said: “This is a depressing confirmation of the stranglehold these misguided ideas have on our education system in the broadest sense, and it will betray generations of children.

“This is not in the interests of children. It will rob them of motivation and incentive, and does not prepare them for the real world.

“If you talk to five- or 10-year-olds they like competitive sport because children are naturally competitive.”

Mr McGovern, a retired head teacher who coached sport for 35 years added: “Rugby is a competitive sport by definition, otherwise it isn’t rugby it is just exercise.

“Children can learn from failure and they have to lose sometimes. These new rugby rules are misplaced and out-of-date, because in the 21st century our children have to compete in a global market.”

Surrey Rugby refused to discuss the new policy and referred all inquiries to the RFU.

Steve Grainger, the RFU’s development director, said: “It’s a fine line – when you allow the experience to be driven by what the adults want rather than what the kids want.

“If we are not meeting children’s needs and not presenting them with a format that suits them, we are not delivering to our customers.”

The governing body is keen to increase the sport’s popularity on the back of next year’s Rugby World Cup, which England is hosting.

Prominent internationals who came up through the mini rugby system include Jeremy Guscott, Jeff Probyn and Ben Clarke.


You can't park here... you're not fat enough

By Richard Littlejohn

Two stories stood out for me this week. Both are damning indictments of modern Britain and proof positive of the idiocy of the soft-headed, socialist imbeciles who run so much of what passes for our ‘world class public services’.

The first comes from Walsall, where obese motorists are being issued with disabled parking badges so they don’t have to waddle too far from their cars to the nearest kebab shop.

The second hails from York, where people arrested for being drunk and disorderly are being sent on courses to boost their ‘self-esteem’.

Let’s start in the West Midlands. What possessed Walsall Council to hand out ‘blue badges’ to gutbuckets? OK, so there is a minuscule number of people suffering from rare medical and genetic conditions which make it difficult to control their weight. Some of them belong in mental hospitals.

But most of those categorised as ‘obese’ are not genuinely disabled. Nor are they ‘victims’ by any stretch of the imagination. They are just fat and greedy and won’t stop stuffing their faces.

Already, the NHS spends a fortune treating patients suffering from a variety of ailments caused by self-inflicted gluttony. Diabetes and heart trouble brought on by pigging out on fast-food is said to have reached epidemic proportions.

Oh dear, how sad, never mind. Stop eating so much and start taking exercise every day, you hideous hippos. Obesity isn’t like a flu epidemic. You can’t catch obesity. It isn’t inflicted on people by dark forces beyond their control.  These selfish individuals are grotesquely overweight because they lack willpower and moral fibre.  They have the option to diet or die, but they do not deserve special  treatment funded by taxpayers.

No one should have an automatic right to an expensive gastric band provided by a hard-pressed public health service, already struggling to provide life-saving drugs to patients  suffering from real illnesses.

It is estimated that up to two million people could qualify for bariatric surgery and that by 2050 half of us will be officially ‘obese’.

By then, Britain’s population will be over 70?million. At this rate there won’t be enough gastric bands to go round and the whole country will be one giant disabled car park.

You can bet, however, that where Walsall leads, other councils will follow in the name of ‘compassion’ and being ‘non-judgmental’. They’ll be handing out blue badges by the tens of thousands to anyone who can prove they have ‘mobility issues’.

The reason these XXXXL monsters have ‘mobility issues’, though, is not because they were born with chronic disabilities, or have lost limbs in an accident or while serving their country on the battlefield.

No, their ‘mobility issues’ are caused by a revolting, self-inflicted excess of flab which their podgy little legs will no longer support over a distance of more than a few yards.

In Nottingham, they are already reinforcing the pavements to cope with the increasing bulk of the legions of Teletubby lookalikes squelching their way to the chippie, via the pub or off-licence.

One of the other curses of contemporary Britain is how the centres of our towns and cities have been blighted by binge drinking.

Every weekend, police have to deal with an orgy of vomit-splattered violence and drunken disorder.

How many times have we seen pictures of young women with their frocks round their waists and their knickers round their ankles wallowing in a pool of their own puke and urine?

This isn’t because the young men and women involved are ‘victims’ of alcohol. It’s because they set out deliberately to get utterly bladdered on cheap booze served in ghastly drinking barns. They enjoy getting mortally intoxicated.

But now York Council has decided that it’s not really their fault, poor darlings. Those legless louts and lasses lying in the gutter are actually suffering from ‘low self-esteem’ which forces them to down pint after pint and cocktail after cocktail against their will.

So anyone arrested five times for being falling-down drunk and disorderly will not be thrown in the slammer, they will be sent on a course to reflect on their ‘behaviour and self-image issues’.

Don’t you just hate that word ‘issues’, a weasely catch-all expression to excuse anyone who is unable to control their own base impulses?

Why should we be expected to accept that they are somehow victims of a disease or compelled by societal pressures to act as they do? And that they can only be ‘cured’ or indulged by a cuddle and lashings of taxpayers’ dosh? Who dreams up this drivel?

Step forward York Council’s Linsay Cunningham-Cross, who styles herself ‘Cabinet Member for Crime and Stronger Communities’ and compares the scheme to sending speeding motorists on safer driving courses. For her scintillating contribution she receives an allowance of £21,892.50 a year, plus expenses. Nice work if you can get it.

There are armies of these grandiosely-titled busybodies in Town Halls, social services departments and quangos across Britain, creating ever-expanding categories of ‘victim’ groups to justify their own superfluous existence and inventing exciting new ways of spending our hard-earned on undeserving wastrels.

This is how we end up paying for ‘self-esteem’ classes for violent drunks and handing out disabled parking badges to morbidly obese slobs.

We are all going to Hell in a handcart.


Yes, I'm a hypocrite who stopped going to mass at 13, but I'm certain church is the best place to learn right from wrong

By Tom Utley

My original plan for last week was to write about a survey from Manchester University, which had found that people who visit a place of worship regularly are less likely to commit low-level crimes than those who don’t.

But then I thought this was so unsurprising — so bleeding obvious, not to put too fine a point on it — it wasn’t worth wasting a drop of ink on discussing it.

My feelings were summed up in a sarcastic remark appended by ‘Peter, Harrogate’ to the story on Mail Online: ‘Researchers have also discovered that people who enjoy swimming in the sea are more likely to get wet than those who hate water.’

But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve realised it may be a more interesting finding than it first appeared.

Have parents, teachers and politicians been wilfully overlooking what must surely be the most potent weapon in the battle against crime, even though it’s been staring us all in the face since the day we were dangled over the baptismal font (or not, as is increasingly the case)?

Of course, many will be quick to point out the logical flaw in my argument.

Yes, we all knew, without having to be told by a PhD student from Manchester, that churchgoers are markedly less likely than Sunday morning lie-abeds to indulge in shoplifting, drug abuse or music piracy (though I’ve met some very naughty worshippers in my time, I can tell you).

But it doesn’t necessarily follow that church-going — in which I include synagogue-going and mosque-going — cuts crime.

Indeed, my immediate reflection on reading the report last week was that the sort of people who go to church these days tend to be goody-goodies in the first place, drawn to the pews by the same moral impulse that makes them inclined to obey the law.

This is what persuaded me to write instead about the only-very-slightly less obvious discovery that drinking too much alcohol does long-term damage to the memory.

But it wasn’t always so. In the days before organised religion went out of fashion and the social pressure to attend church was much more powerful than it is today, the pews were crammed with people of all sorts, not just the firm believers you would naturally expect to obey the law. Yet the undeniable fact is that Britons in general were much more law-abiding then than they are today.

In 1932, for example, only 208,175 crimes of any kind were recorded in England and Wales. Yet this was during the Great Depression — a time of real poverty (as opposed to the sort Ed Miliband cited in the Commons this week, when he claimed preposterously that 13 million Britons live ‘in poverty’ in 2014).

Now fast forward to yesterday, when the Home Office announced the comparable figure for 2013. The tally of crimes recorded in England and Wales came to a blistering 3.7 million — and that was even after the figures had been systematically fiddled to minimise the scale of the problem, as senior officers have confessed and the Office for National Statistics has confirmed.

True, the population has almost doubled since 1932, and politicians have been busy inventing new crimes, from driving without a seatbelt to smoking in the pub. But this doesn’t begin to explain why the crime rate has increased more than tenfold (and that’s discounting yesterday’s Crime Survey of England and Wales, which estimated there were eight million offences against households and adults last year).

You might think that in the desperate year of 1932, when so many were barefoot and hungry, the temptation to commit crimes would have been irresistible. Yet overwhelmingly, the population resisted it ten times more stoically than the well-shod, well-fed Britons of today. Why?

Again, it’s not strictly logical to say that because crime was much rarer when church attendance was much higher, the one fact follows necessarily from the other. But surely it cannot be altogether fanciful to suggest there may be a connection between the two?

I’m not suggesting it was fear of eternal damnation that kept my grandparents’ generation on the straight and narrow. Indeed, I strongly suspect that most of them had quite as much difficulty believing in the literal truth of Hell as the majority do today.

But from my own experience of being marched off to Mass every Sunday of my childhood, I can testify that regular churchgoing does have the subtle effect on even the most Godless mind of making one look at the world through a moral prism of right and wrong.

I should admit at once that I write as a raging hypocrite, who gave up going to church regularly when I was about 13, just as soon as my mother gave up the unequal struggle to force me out of bed on Sunday mornings. And I never made any effort to encourage our four sons to go (I left that, like so much else, to my wife).

But in the words of Francois de la Rochefoucauld, which I never tire of quoting: ‘Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.’ And it’s all the better for that.

I should also stress that I’ve often done things that I know perfectly well are wrong. But what I find so striking in my sons’ generation is that many among them who have never darkened a church doorstep in their lives, except to attend weddings or funerals, don’t even put the question to themselves: ‘Is the course of action I’m proposing right or wrong?’

Like MPs fiddling their expenses, they ask instead: ‘What are my chances of getting away with it?’ And if the answer they give themselves is anywhere between 95 and  100 per cent, they reckon that’s the clincher. No further objections.

I vividly remember trying to explain to one of my sons’ friends — a very polite and pleasant middle-class lad — that it was wrong to download music without paying for it. He was simply baffled, telling me: ‘But there’s no way you can be caught.’

Then there was his other schoolmate, from an equally nice family, who thought he was just being helpful when he told me there  was no need to give my son money for a train ticket, because they always left the side gate to the station open at that time at night and no one ever checked at the other end.

And don’t get me started on motorists who put in vast, fraudulent claims against my insurance after the gentlest conceivable touch on their bumpers (a very sore point with me at the moment, as I may have mentioned before).

As so often, P.?G. Wodehouse put it brilliantly when he said: ‘Golf?.?.?.?is the infallible test. The man who can go into a patch of rough alone, with the knowledge that only God is watching him, and play his ball where it lies, is the man who will serve you faithfully and well.’

Remove even God’s restraining influence from the equation, and what’s left to  stop any of us from sneaking the ball onto the fairway?

We can argue until the cows come home about whether or not the Almighty exists. And I’m not denying for a moment that countless non-believing, non-churchgoers have a finely tuned sense of right and wrong, while many regular worshippers are less than model citizens. The ‘Crystal Methodist’ Rev Paul Flowers springs to mind.

All I’m saying is that the habit of attending a place of worship — hate preachers aside — is almost certainly a significant factor in turning people away from crime.

So whether or not God exists, isn’t it in everyone’s interests to encourage as many people as possible to go to church?

Why does almost every modern politician seem embarrassed even to talk about something so obvious?


Fascist tendencies in Australia

Salute exceptionalism in Australia...well, hardly. We are becoming suffused with an intrusive public health mantra that is the antithesis of exceptionalism. For those who believe there are proper standards for the relationship between authority and liberty, beware of post-modern Australia, where public health (sometimes known as population health) has become a role model jealous of uniformity and groupthink.

Australian public health authoritarianism manifests as funding of interventionism, premised on some valued 'public good' for which myopic individuals are neither personally accountable nor 'willing to pay.' The maintenance of 'civil society' hence becomes an excuse for meddling bureaucracies to save us from ourselves and for government interfering - usually at considerable unrequited cost - so prescriptively and in so many aspects of our lives.

Domestic swimming pool fencing is one of the most egregious examples. Australia has become a world leader in self-righteously enforcing costly pool fencing standards with scant regard to evidence of commensurate net social gain.

Well-intentioned post-natal nurses routinely follow up new mothers with intrusive questions in quite evidently innocent family settings about domestic violence.

Baby capsules (now costing some hundreds of dollars) must be fitted in motor vehicles by authorised fitting stations and need comply with stringent criteria without parallel in comparable countries (although paradoxically, taxis remain exempt).

Rather than prioritising risky road behaviours that constitute discernible threats to welfare, police are applauded for random breath testing for alleged alcohol misuse or for relentlessly apprehending minor technical transgressions of ever changing speed limits - without yielding differences in road safety statistically significant to comparable high income countries that concentrate simply on targeting reckless driving. Small wonder the time cost of metropolitan travel has become so burdensome.

The folly of poison scheduling in Australia restricts to pharmacies the sale of many non-prescription medicines of infinitesimal risk that are generally available in most other countries at a fraction of the cost in supermarkets.

Because of diminishing personal accountability, it has become judgemental and politically incorrect to 'stereotype' or target the source of readily identifiable human risks such as foetal alcohol syndrome. Analogously, in the early 1980s authorities ran their HIV/ AIDS 'grim reaper' campaign by inefficiently targeting the whole country.

Australia should seek to engender authentic personal accountability. Instead it celebrates the tyranny of costly and inefficient paternalism that stifles a willingness to weigh our own risk exposures. Obesity is one of the principal sources of Australia's burden of disease yet, although highly social patterned, its control and prevention strategy is a conspicuous failure - principally because of neglect to acknowledge it is ultimately much less a realm of public policy than of personal or parental responsibility (or ill-chosen parents).

Australia's bureaucracies should reflect upon the limits of power that society may justifiably exercise over individuals. John Stuart Mill called this liberty.



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 January, 2014

Shock!  Horror!  Realism discovered at the BBC

A BBC guide, written for its children's channel, that describes girls as “over emotional” and boys as “activity and task focused”, has come under fire for gender stereotyping

The Guide to the CBBC Audience outlines gender differences in a section entitled “girls will be girls and boys will be boys.”

It states: “[Girls] have a tendency towards manipulation and can be over emotional. Girls have a keen interest in fashion and enjoy listening to popular music.

“Boys are activity and task focused. Most enjoy achieving goals and completing physical challenges.”

The commissioning guide is put together by the BBC’s Marketing, Communications and Audiences research department to show what CBBC children audience members “care about”, and their interests related to age and gender.

In the guide, publically available online, girls are labelled “emotionally focused” while boys are “task focused.”

It says: “[Girls] will chat enthusiastically, try to support the people they care about and form profound friendships and relationships and develop an interest in boys from age 10.”

But for boys it states: “There is a focus on doing, confrontation and physical strength and for many their football team is a top priority.

“Boys tend to have a steady group of good friends that they knock about with rather than exclusive best friends.

“They often think girls of their age are annoying but like to talk about their body parts and sex.”

Twitter users have labelled the guide “heterosexist”, “destructive/harmful” and “ridiculous”.

One user wrote: “Kids, on behalf of all adults, I'm sorry! We think you're way more diverse, intelligent and inspiring than this report.”

Another said: “Kids spend 2.5 hours a day watching this stuff, and we wonder why these stereotypes persist...”

In the last ten years CBBC have made programmes such as In the Night Garden, Young Dracula, Bob the Builder, The Teletubbies and Sadie J, a programme showing a teenage girl obsessed with dating and clothes.

A BBC spokesperson said: "The document under discussion is several years out of date and will be removed shortly," and declined to comment further on the matter.


NAACP Official: Sen. Tim Scott is a Ventriloquist’s ‘Dummy’ for 'Extreme Right Wing'

Black hate speech about a conservative black

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott was the target of “philosophical bigotry” over the weekend from none other than Rev. William Barber II, the head of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, who referred to Scott as a “ventriloquist dummy” for “the extreme right wing” in South Carolina. As a reminder, Scott is the Senate’s only black Republican, and unfortunately, this isn’t the first time he’s been the target of racial bigotry from NAACP leadership.

Scott responded on "The Kelly File" Tuesday and took the time to advance conservative principles rather than focus on the hateful comments.

In an emailed statement to The Daily Caller, however, Scott responded more directly to the insult:

“To reflect seriously on the comments a person--a pastor--that is filled with baseless and meaningless rhetoric, would be to do a disservice to the very people who have sacrificed so much and paved a way,” he said.

“Instead, I will honor the memory of Dr. King by being proactive in holding the door for others and serving my fellow man,” he continued. “And Rev. Barber will remind me and others of what not to do.”

Scott also told The DC that he's never even met Barber, suggesting that the NAACP chapter head knows nothing about him or his past.

“I did not meet him when I was failing out of high school. I did not see him on the streets of my neighborhoods where too many of my friends got off track and never recovered. I did not meet him when I was working 85 hour weeks to start my business, nor did I meet him when I was running for Congress against long odds. But who I did meet were people everywhere across this state who were willing to work hard and to help me succeed — and I them,” Scott said.


Malaysians arrested for hitting their kids while in in Sweden

A Malaysian couple with diplomatic passports have spent more than a month in Swedish jail, after being accused of hitting their children for not performing their prayers. The parents risk ten years in jail.

The husband and wife were arrested on December 18th after police received a report that they had repeatedly hit their four children, aged nine to 14-years-old.  Malaysian newspaper The Star reported that the police report stems from an incident in which the Muslim couple struck their 12-year-old son on the hands for refusing to perform his prayers.

The boy told his teachers in Stockholm about the incident, which was then passed along to the school's counselors, who in turn notified police. It has been illegal in Sweden for parents physically punish their children since the late 1970s.

A day later, authorities arrested the parents and placed the children in foster care while their parents await trial, The Star reported.

"It's a terrible situation for the parents and the children," lawyer Timo Manninen, the public defender involved in the child custody side of the case, told The Local.  "When the parents are being held on remand, they obviously can't take care of their children."

The couple has lived in Sweden for three years. The man, Azizul Raheem Awalludin, works for Tourism Malaysia in Stockholm and has worked for his country's tourism ministry since 2000. His wife, Shalwati Nurshal, is a secondary school teacher on unpaid leave. The Swedish foreign ministry said neither Awalludin nor Nurshal are registered as diplomats, leading prosecutors to conclude that diplomatic immunity does not apply in the case.

Formal charges have yet to be filed against the couple, who are being held on remand on suspicion of gross violation of integrity (grov fridskränkning) that took place between June 2011 and December 2013. The mother's lawyer, Kristofer Stahre, told The Local both parents are being held with restrictions that keep them largely isolated from the outside world and that the preliminary investigation will likely take two or three more weeks.

"There is a lot of material to go through, but everyone is now working harder to speed thing up as they recognize the sensitivity of the case," he said.

If found guilty, the parents risk being sentenced by up to ten years in prison.

Stahre added that he was unable to confirm details of the abuse reported in The Star due to confidentiality rules surrounding the case, but explained the situation was the result of a "clash of cultures".

"These are law-abiding Malaysian citizens who have raised their children according to customs and laws in Malaysia," he explained, adding that parents in Malaysia are allowed to be physical when disciplining their children.

"Many countries have a different view than Sweden when it comes to raising children. While Sweden has been a pioneer when it comes to outlawing corporal punishment, when foreigners come here they often continue with the same practices they used in their home countries. That's the case here, and it's not the first time that a diplomat has been involved in a case like this."

Stahre said what makes this case unique as that prosecutors were granted a remand order to have the parents detained during the preliminary investigation.

"It's very rare, but the prosecutor cited concerns they might flee the country, and that they might continue the crime. Another reason give was the possibility that they could affect the investigation if they remained free," the lawyer explained.

Sweden was the first country to introduce a formal ban on corporal punishment in 1979. A slew of countries have since followed suit, but the arrest and detention of the Malaysian couple has sparked outrage in their home country. Malaysian MP N. Surendran toled The Star that the actions taken by authorities in Sweden were "disproportionate and extreme".

Another MP, Datuk Abdul Rahman, acknowledged that Sweden's laws against smacking were "commendable", but also questioned how the matter had been handled.

"[The Swedes] must understand the difference between abuse and teaching a lesson," he told the paper.

On January 19th, Malaysian journalist Joe Lee launched a twitter campaign using the hashtag #SwedenLetThemGo to draw attention to the case and advocate for the couple's release. A Facebook page started to generate support for their case has garnered more than 14,000 likes.

On Wednesday, the Malaysian foreign ministry released a statement confirming it was working on the case, noting their first priority was to get the couple's children transferred to a Muslim Malaysian family in Sweden.

"The Swedish Department of Social Service has given full cooperation thus far and has treated it as a special case. It has started interviewing several Malaysian families currently living in Sweden as requested by the ministry for suitability to be given the custody," the statement said.

In addition, two Malaysian officials from the Women, Family and Community Ministry are ready to head for Sweden, if they are needed, to assist the family.

Family lawyer Manninen also cited confidentiality concerns in refusing to elaborating on the details of the case, but said he sympathized with those in Malaysia who had taken issue with how the case had been handled in Sweden.

"I completely understand their critique," he told The Local. "Things could have been in a different way so that the parents could have been involved and given their consent to where the children were placed."

He emphasized that the current situation was temporary, and put in place in the early phases of the criminal investigation.

"It's unclear what might happen next," he said.

Calls by The Local to the Malaysian Embassy in Stockholm were not immediately returned.

The case is not the first time in recent years that political officials from abroad have run afoul of Sweden's laws outlawing corporal punishment. In September 2011, a visiting Italian politician was convicted by a Swedish court for assaulting his son while on holiday in Stockholm, a case that sparked heated debate in both Italy and Sweden.


I dress to please my new man - and my girlfriends are LIVID

By Tessa Cunningham

After 22 years of friendship, I thought that there was nothing I could say which could shock Sara.

We met at our first antenatal class and have been close ever since, with never a cross word between us.

Yet last week we were sitting in a coffee shop when I found myself on the receiving end of her hostile stare.

Eyebrows shooting up in exaggerated horror, Sara gasped at my last utterance.

‘Honestly Tessa, how could you? I’d never have thought it of you,’she said, shaking her head.

The heinous crime I had confessed to? Not an affair, or neglecting my children — but simply dressing to please my boyfriend, Richard.

I’d admitted to Sara that, at the age of 55, I have grown my short hair and swapped jeans and sweaters for skirts and dresses, purely and simply to please the man in my life.

But rather than applauding my decision to put so much effort into improving my appearance — and thus my relationship — Sara and my other friends are treating me as a pariah. According to them, I have betrayed the sisterhood.

All the goodwill which they felt for me when I began dating Richard, 55, an accountant, in December 2012, has seemingly evaporated.

Coming as our romance did after my painful divorce from my husband, also called Richard, in 2009, my friends were thrilled for me.

And initially our burgeoning love affair had little effect on my appearance, other than giving me a radiant glow of happiness.

Back then, my hair barely skimmed my ears and was blissfully easy to manage.

I thought the trendy cut suited me and made me look younger, and my hair hadn’t strayed below my shoulders in almost a decade.

However, Richard disagreed.  Of course I didn’t realise this at first. In fact, he complimented me on my thick red hair. I knew its vivid colour was one of the things that had attracted him to me when he saw my profile on an internet dating site.

It was when I happened to mention two months after our first date that I was going to the hairdresser that I got the first subtle hint that a change might be in order.  ‘You have got such gorgeous thick hair. Have you ever thought of growing it?’ he asked.

‘No. I really like this style. It suits me,’ I responded firmly and, having got it cut, thought no more about it until April when, once again, I was due to visit the hairdresser.

This time Richard was more outspoken. ‘I really think your hair would look lovely long,’ he said.  ‘Oh, do you?’ I said, my hackles rising. It was on the tip of my tongue to tell him to mind his own business. Wasn’t it my hair? My choice?

But as I swallowed the sharp words I was struck by something which now seems blindingly obvious — that his opinion matters to me, a lot.

In fact, when it comes to my looks, his views matter more than anyone else’s, including my own.  I want to be as attractive as I can to the man in my life. So, if he says he likes me to look a certain way, why on earth wouldn’t I listen?

Disregarding his preferences would be equivalent to him asking for an Arctic Monkeys CD for his birthday and me giving him The Best of Barry Manilow instead.

Actually, it would be worse. He wouldn’t have to listen to Barry Manilow. But he does have to look at me (and no one else, hopefully) every day.

And so, when I visited the hairdresser two days later, I reluctantly explained that I would be growing my hair from now on. ‘That’s a surprise. It’s been looking so good,’ she said as she prepared to shave off the merest centimetre or two.

As my hair has begun to grow, I have been obliged to spend more time styling it than I ever imagined — and infinitely more than I did when it was short. But Richard’s appreciative compliments make it all worthwhile.

Once I saw the effect my longer hair was having on him, I decided to take my makeover a stage further.

I began changing the way I dress to suit his preferences, too, swapping the jeans and trousers in which I was so comfortable for knee-skimming dresses and skirts. Why? Simply because Richard has told me that he finds these attractive.

Not that dressing to please my man is always easy, especially in the midst of this freezing winter.

Earlier this week, we were getting ready to go out for dinner when  I instinctively reached for my  trusty black wool trousers and silk blouse — a fail-safe outfit for almost a decade.

As I pulled on the comfy trousers, I visualised the look of disappointment on Richard’s face when he saw my outfit and promptly slipped into his favourite shift dress instead.

Later, when he kissed my cheek and whispered that I looked beautiful, I felt more comfortable that I’d ever done in my old trousers.

Now when I go clothes shopping, I find myself gravitating towards the clothes that I know Richard will like. We are going on holiday to Marrakech next month and part of the fun will be shopping for new dresses which will please him.

Like most women — if we dare admit it — I enjoy being with someone who notices and cares what I look like. Yet while dressing to please my man seems utterly logical now, it isn’t something I’ve ever tried before.

My ex-husband didn’t seem to notice whether I was wearing a £200 Nicole Farhi dress or a pair of Primark jeans, and couldn’t have cared less.

This was flattering when we were first together, as I believed it meant he loved me for my personality.  But over time his lack of interest was a passion-killer. Because he didn’t notice, I stopped bothering, which made me feel less attractive.

While the problems in our marriage were obviously more complicated than my wardrobe, I do wonder if dressing differently could have put some of the spark back into our love life.

The simple truth is that I enjoy being with someone who’s attuned to what I look like and so appreciative when I make an effort to please him.

The only fly in the ointment? My sceptical friends’ insistence that I’m being a doormat.  Each and every one of them seems to believe that I’m betraying my principles by (shock, horror) doing something purely to please a man.

My friend Clare was one of the first to voice her opinion loudly and clearly. ‘Haven’t you heard of independent thinking, woman?’  she snapped.

I was taken aback. After all, I wasn’t asking Richard who I should vote for, or getting his permission to drive the car.

The irony is that if I told my friends that I was growing my hair at the suggestion of my daughters Ellen, 22, and Elise, 20, no one would bat an eyelid.  They would smile at the fact we have such a close relationship that we swap fashion advice.

If anything, my friends’ negative reactions have made me more convinced that I’m doing the right thing and that they should be following my lead.

‘If Tom asked me to grow my hair, I’d tell him where to go,’ snarled Liz, a friend from my book club.  ‘He once suggested I lose weight and I didn’t talk to him for a week.’

I looked at Liz in her comfy elasticated trousers. She’s a good four stone heavier than when she married Tom 20 years ago. Who could blame him for wanting her to lose weight? Or for telling her so.

It’s sad that she is so blinkered that she won’t listen to her husband. Have we really reached a stage where we pride ourselves on not pleasing our men, just to prove we are independent?

I admit that it’s easier for me, still in the honeymoon period of my relationship, to be eager to impress. But isn’t it common sense to want to be attractive to our other halves?

Also, it cuts both ways. How can women complain that their husbands have gained a paunch and lost their hair when they don’t make an effort themselves?

For my part, I like Richard’s hair short, so that’s the way he keeps it. And, knowing my preferences, he keeps an eye on his weight.

I would find it really insulting if he didn’t bother to please me. It’s proof that we care about each other and value our relationship.

Dressing to please your man might be anathema to some, but it works for me. And I suspect it would work for other women, too, if only they were brave enough to try it.



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

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

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


24 January, 2014

Oregon: Christian Businesses Must Follow Demands of Gay Customers

The owners of a Christian bakery who refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple are facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines after they were found guilty of violating the couple’s civil rights.

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries said they found “substantial evidence” that Sweet Cakes by Melissa discriminated against the lesbian couple and violated the Oregon Equality Act of 2007, a law that protects the rights of the LGBT community.

Last year, the bakery’s owners refused to make a wedding cake for Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman, of Portland, citing their Christian beliefs. The couple then filed a complaint with the state.

“The investigation concludes that the bakery is not a religious institution under the law and that the business’ policy of refusing to make same-sex wedding cakes represents unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation,” said Charlie Burr, a spokesman for the Bureau of Labor and Industries.

The backlash against Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of the bakery, was severe. Gay rights groups launched protests and pickets outside the family’s store. They threatened wedding vendors who did business with the bakery. And, Klein told me, the family’s children were the targets of death threats.

The family eventually had to close their retail shop and now operate the bakery out of their home. They posted a message vowing to stand firm in their faith. It read, in part:

“To all of you that have been praying for Aaron and I, I want to say thank you. I know that your prayers are being heard. I feel such a peace with all of this that is going on. Even though there are days that are hard and times of struggle we still feel that the Lord is in this. It is His fight and our situation is in His hands….Please continue to pray for our family. God is great, amazing and all powerful. I know He has a plan.”

Under state law, the complaint against the bakery now moves into a period of reconciliation. If they can’t reach an agreement, formal civil charges could be filed and the Kleins could face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

Last August, Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian told The Oregonian, their desire is to rehabilitate businesses like the one owned by the Christian couple.

“Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that folks have the right to discriminate,” he told the newspaper. “The goal is never to shut down a business. The goal is to rehabilitate.”

Aaron Klein told me there will be no reconciliation and there will be no rehabilitation. He and his wife will not back down from their Christian beliefs.

“There’s nothing wrong with what we believe,” he said. “It’s a biblical point of view. It’s my faith. It’s my religion.”

Klein said he’s not surprised by the ruling and called it “absolutely absurd.”

“I’ve never seen a government entity use a law to come after somebody because they have a religious view,” he said. “I truly believe Brad Avakian is trying to send a message. I don’t think the constitution of the state of Oregon means anything to these people.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told me the plight of the Klein family is another example of the consequences of redefining marriage.

“We’re seeing a steady drumbeat of the loss of religious liberty, the ability to live your life, conduct your business according to the principles and teachings of your faith,” Perkins said.

He said he was especially disturbed by the level of attacks against the Klein family.

“It shows that tolerance is one way,” he said, referring to the militant gay protests. “Those who trumpet the message of tolerance have no tolerance for people who disagree with them.”

The Kleins warned that what happened to them could happen to other Christian business owners. And it already has.

In December a Colorado baker was ordered by a judge to either serve gay weddings or face fines. Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, was told to “cease and desist from discriminating” against gay couples. Phillips is a Christian.

New Mexico’s Surpeme Court ruled in August that two Christian photographers who declined to photograph a same-sex union violated the state’s Human Rights Act. One justice said photographers Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin were “compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.”

And the Washington attorney general filed a lawsuit against a florist who refused to provide flowers for a same-sex couple’s wedding. Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers & Gifts filed a countersuit, telling the Christian Broadcasting Network she “had to take a stand” in defense of her faith in Christ.

Perkins told me that in many cases gay couples are targeting businesses owned by Christians.

“Individuals are being persecuted and prosecuted using the leverage of the government through these homosexual activists,” he said. “Government has become a weapon that homosexual activists are using against Christian business owners.”

And if you have any doubts about the validity of his claims, just ask the Klein family. They know what it’s like to incur the wrath of militant homosexual bullies. And they learned that in today’s America – gay rights trump religious rights.


In defence of Maajid Nawaz, blasphemy and (funny) cartoons of Mohammed

I've been a fan of the webcomic Jesus and Mo for years. The idea is a simple one: the two religious figureheads J Christ and Mohammed share a house and discuss matters of religious philosophy, often in arguments with a wise atheist barmaid at their local. It's funnier than I've made that sound.

It is, of course, irreligious and arguably blasphemous. (In its very first edition or episode or whatever you call it, Mo points out that it's forbidden to depict him pictorially. Jesus asks what he's doing in a cartoon, reasonably enough, and Mo claims he's a body double.) It's also very clever, informed by philosophical and religious argument, and – as mentioned – funny.

But it makes a lot of people very angry, and other people very nervous. Recently two people running the Atheist Society stall at the London School of Economics's Freshers Fair were forced to cover up the Jesus and Mo T-shirts they were wearing, because the university was worried about offending its Muslim students (the university later had the good grace to apologise).

I'd love to be able to report that the fears of well-meaning liberal milquetoasts are overblown and that actually British Muslims are far too grown-up to get upset about a line drawing on a website. And, of course, the huge and overwhelming majority are. But a few – and it is mainly Muslims – are not. Maajid Nawaz, a prospective Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate, tweeted a picture of one of the Jesus and Mo T-shirts, after the cartoons came up in a discussion on the BBC's Big Questions. Nawaz, a Muslim and a co-founder of the think tank Quilliam, which is dedicated to combating religious extremism, said that he did not find the innocuous content of the T-shirts offensive. "I'm sure God is greater than to feel threatened by it," he said, reasonably.

Promptly, Nawaz received numerous death threats ["I would be glad to cut your neck off, so your kufr [unbeliever] friends won't be amused by your humour. In sha Allah [if Allah is willing] may my dua [act of worship] get accepted"], and Mohammed Shafiq of the Ramadhan Foundation, Muslim commentator Mo Ansar and George Galloway, the Respect MP for Bradford, all called for him to be dropped as a PPC.



Muslim woman ordered by judge to remove her veil if she wanted to give evidence

A woman made legal history yesterday as she stood trial in a full face veil.

Rebekah Dawson, 22, became the first defendant to wear the covering at court after a judge ruled ‘freedom of religious expression’ should be recognised.

District Judge Peter Murphy told jurors that Dawson had a right to wear a niqab during the trial but that she would have to remove it if she wanted to give evidence.

He ruled: ‘The courts must respect and protect religious rights as far as that can possibly be done.  ‘But in my view, it is necessary to the working of the crown court in a democratic society for the court, not the defendant to control the conduct of judicial proceedings.’

At Blackfriars Crown Court yesterday, Dawson argued that forcing her to remove the veil to give evidence violated her right to a fair trial under the European Convention on Human Rights.

But Judge Murphy rejected the application, saying that jurors being unable to see her was contrary to the principle of open justice which overrides religious belief.

He invited the defendant to remove the garment, but after a brief adjournment Dawson returned to court still wearing her niqab.

Judge Murphy told jurors: ‘I am aware some people have certain feelings about it [the niqab], but if you have any feelings you must put them aside completely... ?She is perfectly entitled in this country to dress as she wishes.’

He added: ‘The courts have for many years, indeed centuries, ruled that when a jury have been asked to evaluate evidence a witness gives it is important for jurors to see them?…?It is not possible to do that if they cannot see the witness’ face.’

Dawson, and her brother Matthias, 32, are accused of threatening a caretaker at Finsbury Park Mosque, north London, after he let three female charity workers from Portugal – who were not wearing veils – enter the building on June 4 last year.

Dawson, of Hackney, east London, and her brother Matthias Dawson, of Sydenham, south-east London, deny a single charge of witness intimidation.


NYC:  Bill de Blasio Crackdown on Jaywalking Leads to Beating of 84-Year-Old Man

Bill de Blasio just rushed into City Hall and the totalitarian antics of his administration have already claimed their first victim. An 84-year-old man.

Cops bloodied an 84-year-old man and put him in the hospital Sunday when he jaywalked at an Upper West Side intersection and didn’t appear to understand their orders to stop, witnesses said.

Kang Wong was strolling north on Broadway and crossing 96th Street at around 5 p.m., when an officer told him to halt because he had walked against the light.

Police were targeting jaywalkers in the area following the third pedestrian fatality this month around West 96th Street.

Neither the hospital nor the cops would allow him to see his dad until after 10 p.m., explaining that since he’d not been admitted, he was not a patient, but a “prisoner.’’

Early Monday, cops fingerprinted Wong and charged him with jaywalking, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct.

New York City does not ticket or arrest jaywalkers under normal circumstances. Giuliani’s administration briefly tried it and gave up. Even Bloomberg, who criminalized salt and soda, left jaywalking alone.

New York is a pedestrian city and jaywalking is for places like Los Angeles that are automobile cities.

Bill de Blasio came in with a Swedish plan called Vision Zero which involves a large scale crackdown on all sorts of traffic violations in order to achieve zero fatalities.

“The goal,” Bill de Blasio stated in his campaign literature, “reduce serious injuries and fatalities on our streets to zero… with strong enforcement.”

Traffic fatalities in New York City are never going to hit zero, but Bill de Blasio’s crackdown on jaywalking has already put one man in the hospital. While Bill de Blasio campaigned against police brutality, Wong’s case didn’t seem to bother the arrogant politician one little bit.

As for Mr. Wong, Mr. de Blasio said, “I’m waiting for all the facts, and I haven’t gotten all the facts on the case, so I’m not going to comment on something until I have a better sense of it.”

“There is no larger policy in terms of jaywalking, and ticketing and jaywalking. That’s not part of our plan. But it is something a local precinct commander can act on, if they perceive there to be a real danger,” he told reporters this afternoon, after speaking at Rev. Al Sharpton’s annual National Action Network Martin Luther King Day event

An 84-year-old man crossing the street apparently represents a real danger. Meanwhile Bill de Blasio’s pal Al Sharpton who has led racial attacks on Jews and Asians is his best friend.

The cops on the barricades understand the futility of ticketing pedestrians for jaywalking. “This is just taking hard-earned money from people who can’t afford it,” an officer told the Times during Giuliani’s jaywalking crackdown of 1998. Another adds, “I just don’t think that walking across the street is a crime, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable getting down on people for doing it.”

Bill de Blasio however feels very comfortable about it. Inside every liberal is a totalitarian screaming to get out.



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 January, 2014

Gideon Bibles Removed After Atheist Group Pressures U of Wisconsin

 The  University of Wisconsin-Extension has agreed to remove all Gideon Bibles from 137 guest rooms at its conference center after an atheist group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), complained, arguing that the Bibles in the bedrooms constituted state endorsement of Christianity.

“After attempting to end the practice for several decades, the Freedom From Religion Foundation has persuaded University of Wisconsin-Extension in Madison to remove Gideon bibles from its 137 guest rooms,” the group said in a Jan. 15 statement. “In November, the complainant who encountered the bible at the Lowell Center on the UW-Madison campus complained to Madison-based FFRF, a state/church watchdog and the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists and agnostics).”

Back on Nov. 4, FFRF staff attorney Patrick C. Elliott sent a letter to Chancellor Ray Cross, head of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension. (See FFRF Letter.pdf)

In the letter, Elliott wrote,  “It is our understanding that guest rooms in the Lowell Center contain bibles from Gideons International. We were contacted by a concerned complainant who informs us that the bibles are in every guest room. We understand that the bibles include a statement noting that they were placed by Gideons International.”

“It is a fundamental principle of Establishment Clause jurisprudence that a government entity cannot in any way promote, advance, or otherwise endorse religion,” said Elliott. “Permitting members of outside religious groups the privilege of placing their religious literature in public university guest rooms constitutes state endorsement and advancement of these Christian publications. Providing bibles to Lowell Center guests sends the message that the UW-Extension endorses the religious texts.”

“State-run colleges have a constitutional obligation to remain neutral toward religion,” said Elliott.

The letter went on to request that UW-Extension remove all Gideon Bibles from guest rooms in the Lowell Center and other university guest facilities, and to provide the FFRF with a written response on what actions were being taken to “remedy this constitutional violation.”

Chancellor Cross agreed to the FFRF’s demands.

In a Nov. 25 letter to the atheist organization, Chancellor Cross wrote,  “Thank you for sharing the complaint of a guest or visitor related to the placement of Gideon Bibles in the University of Wisconsin-Extension’s Lowell Center guest rooms.”

“After carefully reviewing your concern, we have decided to remove the Gideon Bibles from all guest rooms,” said Cross. “They should be removed by December 1, 2013. Thank you for making us award [sic] of this concern."  (See Chancellor Letter.pdf)

Gideon Bibles Removed After Atheist Group Pressures U of Wisconsin
On its website, the Freedom From Religion Foundation describes itself as follows:  “The history of Western civilization shows us that most social and moral progress has been brought about by persons free from religion. In modern times the first to speak out for prison reform, for humane treatment of the mentally ill, for abolition of capital punishment, for women's right to vote, for death with dignity for the terminally ill, and for the right to choose contraception, sterilization and abortion have been freethinkers, just as they were the first to call for an end to slavery. The Foundation works as an umbrella for those who are free from religion and are committed to the cherished principle of separation of state and church.”

The Gideons  International, founded in 1899, describes its mission as follows: “The mission of The Gideons International is to win the lost for Christ, and our unique method is the distribution of Bibles and New Testaments in selected streams of life. Gideons have placed or distributed more than 1.8 billion complete Bibles and New Testaments in more than 190 countries around the world . . . so far.”


A New York State of Mind: Illiberal Liberal Values

Jonah Goldberg

On paper, "liberal intolerance" is something of an oxymoron, like "jumbo shrimp," "loyal opposition" or "conspicuous absence." But what makes oxymorons funny is that they are real things. There are jumbo shrimp. Absences can be conspicuous, opponents can be loyal, and liberals can be staggeringly and myopically intolerant.

Last Friday, in a public radio interview, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered the sort of potted analysis of the national Republican Party one would expect from an MSNBC talk show. But he went a bit further. After nodding to the fact that, historically, the New York state Republican Party has been the most ideologically gelded of the breed (it is the birthplace of Rockefeller Republicanism, after all), Cuomo proclaimed that "extreme conservatives" have "no place in the state of New York."

Who are extreme conservatives? People who are "right-to-life, pro-assault weapon, anti-gay."

It's an interesting -- and repugnant -- tautology: Extremists hold extreme views, and we can identify extreme views by the fact they are held by extremists.

Of course, Cuomo frames the matter to his benefit. Opposing same-sex marriage -- the mainstream Democratic position not long ago -- is now anti-gay. Being in favor of gun rights is pro-assault weapon (whatever that means).

Most vexing and revealing, however, is that Cuomo doesn't even bother to wrap opposition to abortion in scary adjectives. Simply believing in a right to life is extremist, and such extremists have "no place in the state of New York." Cuomo claims that he was being taken out of context. He was talking about "extreme" Republican politicians, not average citizens. Fair enough.

Still, given that Cuomo is the scion of one of the most famously Catholic families in America, it's a pretty remarkable statement.

Imagine how much smoke would emanate from the liberal outrage machine if, say, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that "extremist" Democrats who support gun control or oppose gay marriage or abortion rights "have no place in the great state of Texas."

As my National Review colleague Kathryn Lopez notes, this is an extraordinary evolution from the time when Mario Cuomo occupied the governor's mansion. The elder Cuomo pioneered the notion that politicians could be personally pro-life while in all other ways pro-choice. In his famous (infamous to some) 1984 speech at the University of Notre Dame, he advised the Roman Catholic Church to be "realistic" on abortion in the same way the church had been in the 19th century on the issue of slavery.

"It is a mark of contemporary liberalism's commitment to abortion," Ramesh Ponnuru wrote in his book, "The Party of Death," "that one of its leading lights should have been willing to support temporizing on slavery in order to defend it."

As many pro-lifers suspected, being "personally opposed" to abortion but supportive of it in every legal and political way was always something of a rhetorical safe harbor rather than a serious intellectual position. In the time span of one generation, as the political climate became more supportive of abortion -- as it has in New York, thanks in part to the diligent work of the "personally" pro-life Cuomos -- the once-safe harbor of personal opposition to abortion is closed, at least rhetorically.

Of course, liberal intolerance isn't rhetorical or limited to hot-button issues; it is woven into mainstream liberal policymaking. The Supreme Court is now pondering whether nuns -- celibate, elderly nuns -- have the right to opt out of Obamacare's birth-control requirements.

New York City recently banned the use of e-cigarettes indoors as yet another "anti-tobacco" measure (in the words of Reuters), even though "vaping" involves no smoke, no tobacco and is often an invaluable tool for quitting real cigarettes. The real driver of the ban is the smug intolerance of a New York City Council that sees no reason to accommodate people who want to live in ways it disapproves of.

And it's not just policymaking either. Liberalism has a culture all its own. From cities like New York; Madison, Wis.; and San Francisco to countless college campuses in between, that culture can produce people as judgmental as the old Church Lady character from "Saturday Night Live." They'll be judgmental about different things, to be sure, but every bit as intolerant.

Tolerating opposing views and lifestyles is an abstract liberal value when politics demand it (which is why Cuomo will have a very hard time if he wants to run for president of a nation that doesn't see eye to eye with him). But given a free hand, liberal intolerance all too often ceases to be an abstract oxymoron and becomes a lived reality.


Australia: Mandatory eight-year minimum sentence for drunk punchers

MANDATORY minimum jail sentences of eight years for alcohol or drug-fuelled "coward punch" crimes will be introduced by Premier Barry O'Farrell today.

In a bid to tackle alcohol-related violence, the Premier will finally bite the bullet after The Daily Telegraph's Enough campaign called for tougher penalties in the wake of the deaths of Daniel Christie and Thomas Kelly.

Attorney-General Greg Smith's one-punch laws, which were to include a 20-year maximum, are now ­expected to also contain a minimum term if alcohol or drugs are involved - a first for NSW.

The maximum if alcohol is involved will now be 25 years.

However, if the assailant was unaffected by drugs or alcohol there will be no mandatory minimum sentence and the maximum will be 20 years.

The legislation was initially compared to laws in Western Australia - where no one has received the maximum sentence of 10 years jail.

Mr O'Farrell has been under pressure to introduce mandatory minimums for "coward punch" offences and to bring in Newcastle-style 1am lockouts to stem the violence in Sydney particularly in Kings Cross.

But it is believed his announcement today will fall short of calling for a reduction in trading hours. Yesterday Mr O'Farrell held one of the longest cabinet meetings in his time in office - about five hours - to deal with the issue. He said he was "confident the package being taken to cabinet addresses community concerns and will make a difference".

The announcement is also expected to include a "risk-based licensing scheme" under which pubs and clubs would pay extra if they had records of violence, if they traded for longer or were in designated danger spots.

Testing assault offenders for drugs and alcohol is also under consideration so that those who engaged in alcohol or drug-fuelled violence would receive tougher penalties under the legislation's "aggravating factors".

The testing would also identify to what extent the use of steroids and methamphetamine - known as "ice" - played a part in violence.

The Attorney-General's Department, in its submission to the Foggo review of the Liquor Act presented to the government last year, said that under the existing licensing scheme there was "no ongoing requirement to prove (premises) are fit to trade".

It recommended fees determined according to compliance with liquor laws.

The department also recommended tighter responsible service of alcohol training and compulsory refresher courses for bar staff, saying "some licensed premises continue to sell alcohol to intoxicated patrons".

"Around half of all non-domestic violence assaults reported to the police are alcohol related and a significant proportion of these took place within 50m of licensed premises," it said.

Labor leader John Robertson called for the government to bring in the Newcastle lockouts: "The Premier : "We have a Premier wholacks the courage to stare down the liquor industry."


Miss Pinup Australia: A beauty pageant with a difference, from a time when more was left to the imagination

I remember the 50s well and agree that there was much good in them.  I even still have some 50s furniture  -- JR

It seems that going backwards is the only way forward.

More than 100 women will compete in this year's Miss Pinup Australia, a nationwide contest that promotes "good old-fashioned values", says founder Miss Pixie, who goes by her persona to avoid unwelcome public attention. This is the competition's fifth year.

In flowing full skirts and flawless make-up, contestants will flaunt cinched waistlines and evoke the opulence of a decade characterised by conservatism and an emphasis on femininity that would make any modern feminist cringe.

Authenticity is the key: entrants are required to dress, act and present themselves in true 1950s style.

It is a chance for women of all shapes and sizes to find their "inner pin-up", Miss Pixie says.

Hopefuls compete in a state heat in their nominated categories, proceed to a state final and then go into contention for the title of Miss Pinup Australia.

Lamenting a lack of self-respect in today's society, the 45-year-old dance instructor and photographer said the competition was bringing back the lost art of modesty. "We like to be treated as ladies but to be treated as ladies, you need to act like one," Miss Pixie says.

Turning the adage "less is more" on its head, she imparts traditional values on her clients because - as far as the '50s go - more is, in fact, less, she says.

"I think there is nothing wrong with covering your knees. A woman is a present. If you wrap the present and allow a man to use their imagination, then you'll find that you'll get the respect that you deserve."

However, it is not all about glamour, immaculate hairstyles and ruby-red lips. For Miss Bells B Ringing, 33, embracing a '50s persona has become a way of life.

"We can look at it [the '50s] in hindsight, but we're actually living it right now," she says.

Getting "pinned up" every day has emboldened her, "especially being a bigger girl [because] it's been hard for me all my life to try to find a confidence within myself, and I really love the way I look now," she says.

Miss Candy Floss, 28, believes there is much to be learnt from an era in which poodle cuts and pointed busts reigned, and she admires the way women conducted themselves with dignity.

The competition is not just open to the fairer sex; men are encouraged to channel their inner James Dean.

The live events will run between April and August, and members of the public are welcome to attend the shows.



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 January, 2014

Newly chosen cardinal Fernando Aguilar says homosexuality is a defect than can be cured

What's wrong with calling it a defect?  It leads to a lot of problems  -- JR

POPE Francis's newly chosen Spanish cardinal, 84-year-old Fernando Aguilar, has described homosexuality as a "defect" that can be corrected with treatment, sparking condemnation from gay rights groups.

"A lot of people complain and don't tolerate it but with all respect I say that homosexuality is a defective way of manifesting sexuality, because that has a structure and a purpose, which is procreation," Archbishop Aguilar told Malaga newspaper Sur.

The interview was published on Sunday, a week after Archbishop Aguilar was named as one of 19 new cardinals chosen by the Pope, to be officially appointed February 22.

"We have a lot of defects in our bodies. I have high blood pressure. Am I going to get angry because they tell me that? It is a defect I have that I have to correct as far as I can," said Archbishop Aguilar, who is the archbishop emeritus of the northern city of Pamplona.

"Pointing out a defect to a homosexual is not an offence, it is a help because many cases of homosexuality can be recovered and normalised with adequate treatment. It is not an offence, it is esteem. When someone has a defect, the good friend is the one who tells him."

Aguilar was asked in the interview if he shared the view of Pope Francis, who said in July last year: "If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?"

The Spanish archbishop, who, because of his age, will not hold a vote in the conclave that elects pontiffs, said the pope shows respect to all people but is not changing the teaching of the Church.

"It is one thing to show welcome and affection to a homosexual person and another to morally justify the exercise of homosexuality," Archbishop Aguilar said.

Gay and lesbian rights group Colegas called on the archbishop to retract his comment.

"We hope that Fernando Sebastian will correct his words and we note that homosexuality is not a curable disease, but homophobia is," it said in a statement.

Nicolas Fernandez, head of the Malaga-based gay and lesbian rights group Entiende, added his condemnation.

"It is not the first time the cardinals have said we are defective," he said, calling for non-discrimination legislation that would condemn such "repugnant" statements.


Secretive, political and awash with cash: Damning report attacks British police 'union' that 'targeted' Plebgate minister and tells it to come clean about its shadowy millions

The powerful body which represents 130,000 rank-and-file police officers came under scathing attack yesterday for being secretive, overly political and awash with cash.

The Police Federation must change radically to survive, an independent review by a former Whitehall mandarin declared.

Sir David Normington attacked the organisation for sinking to the politics of ‘personal attack’ and said some senior figures were too keen to play political games.

He strongly criticised representatives who ‘personally targeted’ former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor and successive Home Secretaries.

They were ‘wrong-headed’ to respond with shouting to the reform of pay and conditions, the ex-Home Office permanent secretary said.

He also raised questions about almost £95million held by the police ‘union’ in reserves and assets.

Only three out of 43 federation branches were willing to come completely clean about the money they control.

Sir David said the cash reserves and secrecy ‘create suspicion that they have something to hide’.

He added that although he found no evidence of corruption, hidden assets were ‘not a recipe for a trusted, professional, united organisation’.

Police Federation chairman Steve Williams said the report’s findings made uncomfortable reading. ‘It shows that the organisation is failing to perform its role effectively and efficiently, is ineffective and uninfluential, has lost the confidence of its members, and is in need of urgent reform,’ he said. ‘There is no doubt that root and branch change is required.’

The review was commissioned by the Police Federation itself in December 2012 after widespread criticism of the organisation and its working practices.

The federation wields huge influence over officers across England and Wales and is responsible for campaigning on their behalf. But its name has been tarnished by scandal, including the Plebgate affair.

Sir David recommended changing it from the ‘top to bottom’ after finding a ‘worrying loss of confidence and competence’.

He said the federation is riven by in-fighting, with some local branches guilty of empire building and resisting modernisation. A vocal minority remain impervious to calls for reform, greater professionalism and transparency. ‘Sometimes they love the politics of office, rather than representing their members,’ he said.

As ministers drove through changes to police pay and conditions, the federation’s response was to ‘oppose rather than engage’, which left it with a divided and weak voice.

Sir David said federation members must stop booing the Home Secretary and other reformers when they speak in public because it is ‘tactically inept’.

The review called on federation representatives, who are paid from the public purse, to begin publishing their expenses and details of hospitality they receive.


Shriver presents report highlighting the gender wage gap to an employer – Obama – who pays females 13% less than men

Maria Shriver visited the White House this week to meet with President Obama and deliver a copy of her new report “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink” (co-sponsored by the Center for American Progress). One of the main issues being addressed in the Shriver report is the gender wage gap.

Shriver’s report tells us that the average woman is paid only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. For minority women it’s even worse – black women earn only 64 cents and Hispanic women only 55 cents for every dollar made by a white man. And that wage gap is not only unfair, it explains why so many women in America are poor. Here’s Shriver:

As the son of a single mother, President Obama said he is very sympathetic to these issues that one in three women is living on the brink of poverty in the United States of America. And one of the main reasons is the persistent wage gap that exists between men and women. While President Obama has pledged to fix the problem, Congress has been slow to respond.

Even the great labor economist Beyoncé Knowles-Carter made this contribution to the Shriver report:

"We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes."

Data on the 23% gender wage gap in the Shriver report are echoed on the White House website, where we also find out that:

Decades of research shows that no matter how you evaluate the data, there remains a pay gap — even after factoring in the kind of work people do, or qualifications such as education and experience — and there is good evidence that discrimination contributes to the persistent pay disparity between men and women. In other words, pay discrimination is a real and persistent problem that continues to shortchange American women and their families.

MP: OK, fine. Let’s ignore for now the extensive body of research that explains all or most of the 23% raw gender wage gap after controlling for the multitude of relevant variables that contribute to earnings differentials (hours worked, education, experience, continuous/uninterrupted experience, marital status, age, number of children, safety conditions of the workplace, desire for flexible work hours, etc.). In other words, let’s just ignore the empirical evidence, ignore the relevant variables that explain pay differences, and just accept the Shriver/Obama/Beyonce narrative that the raw 23% pay gap exists mainly or only because of gender discrimination on behalf of employers. I’m on board with Maria, Barack and Beyonce about the pay gap.

But now what are we to think about the fact that women working in Obama’s own White House are paid only 87 cents for every dollar paid to men working for Obama? The chart above illustrates the pay gap at the White House, based on salary data from the “2013 Annual Report to Congress on White House Staff.” An analysis of White House payroll data reveals that the 229 female employees in the Obama White House are being paid a median annual salary of $65,000 this year, compared to a median annual salary of nearly $75,000 for the 233 male White House staffers. Only gender discrimination could explain that disparity, and therefore Obama must be a sexist.

Little did Shriver know when she presented her report to the President, and got his support to address the gender wage gap, that she was meeting with a sexist employer who pays his female staffers 13% less on average than he pays his male employees. So hopefully, Obama can work with Shriver and Beyonce and set an example for the rest of America by addressing the 13% gender pay gap at the Obama White House.


Pro-Aborts Oppose Free Speech

It’s no surprise why pro-abortion forces in America don’t want free speech when it comes to raising awareness about this issue of, literally, life and death.

The more people understand the reality of abortion, the more they don’t want it as a legal, easily accessible part of American life.

Now, as 650,000 plus pro-life demonstrators are about to arrive in Washington, DC for this year’s March for Life on January 22, noting in protest the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, the Supreme Court has just heard arguments on a critical case involving freedom of speech on this issue.

Seventy-seven year old Eleanor McCullen’s challenge to a 2007 Massachusetts law, which forbids anyone other than patients and employees to stand within a 35 foot radius of the entrance to an abortion clinic, has made it’s way to the nation’s highest court.

Arguments that this prohibition is about the physical safety of women entering these clinics are absurd. There already are federal and state laws that prohibit physical interference or intimidation of clinic patrons.

This law is aimed solely to abridge the free speech of pro-life activists and prevent them from communicating with women arriving to these clinics. This abridgement of speech is a clear and flagrant violation of freedom of speech guaranteed in the constitution’s first amendment.

What a distortion it is that the pro-abortion contingent has managed to get itself labeled “pro-choice.” Choice is about light not darkness, about knowledge not ignorance.

Why do those who claim to favor “choice” fight so hard against efforts to assure that women who are considering the horrible decision to extinguish life they are carrying make as informed a decision as possible?

Unfortunately, this is often driven by elitism and racism.  Abortion clinic clientele are disproportionately poor and disproportionately black.

Across the board, poor communities and black communities have been devastated over many years by policies designed by liberal elitists convinced that they know what is best for these unfortunate souls.

The abortion clinic is often the last stop in a chain of bad information delivered into low-income communities that creates the government-dependent culture that fosters the never-ending cycle of poverty.

But good information at any stage of the cycle can change things forever. That good information can be a pro-life Christian standing at an abortion clinic.

I wrote a number of years ago about a young black woman named Ebony. When she became pregnant her boyfriend encouraged her to abort the child. She found little problem in arranging an appointment at a clinic, where they assured her she was making the right decision because abortion would be “cheaper” than having the child.

But Ebony was uneasy. Sitting up late, she called into a Christian radio talk show where she was referred to a crisis pregnancy center. At the center, she saw her baby via ultrasound and changed her mind. At the center they helped her birth and provided clothes, food, and counseling.

When I wrote about Ebony her son was four years ago and she had no doubt about the correctness of her decision. A decision made because she had the good fortune to get information.

In 1995, 56 percent of Americans polled by Gallup self- identified as “pro-choice” compared to 33 percent as “pro-life.” The last Gallup poll in 2013 showed 48 percent identifying as “pro-life” and 45 percent as “pro-choice.”

As I tour the country to speak at crisis pregnancy centers I hear the stories of sorrow, regret, and guilt from those who went down the one way street of destroying the child with which they were blessed.

America cannot be a free country without free speech.  Free speech leads us to a deeper realization that we cannot be a free country without proper respect for life.



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 January, 2014

Russian President Putin links gays to pedophiles

Mr Putin simply speaks for his people.  There is almost universal revulsion against homosexuality in Russia.  It was even abhorred in the Soviet era.  The official Soviet line on homosexuality was:  "That was before the revolution"

Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered new assurances to gay athletes and fans attending the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics next month. Yet he defended Russia’s anti-gay law by equating gays with pedophiles and said Russia needs to “cleanse” itself of homosexuality if it wants to increase its birth rate.

Putin’s comments in an interview broadcast Sunday with Russian and foreign television stations showed the wide gulf between the perception of homosexuality in Russia versus the West.

A Russian law passed last year banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” among minors has caused an international outcry.

Putin refused to answer a question from the BBC on whether he believes that people are born gay or become gay. The Russian law, however, suggests that information about homosexuality can influence a child’s sexual orientation.

The law has contributed to growing animosity toward gays in Russian society, with rights activists reporting a rise in harassment and abuse.

International worries about how gays will be treated in Sochi have been met with assurances from Russian officials and Olympics organizers that there will be no discrimination, and Putin reiterated that stance.

“There are no fears for people with this nontraditional orientation who plan to come to Sochi as guests or participants,” Putin declared in the TV interview.

He said the law was aimed at banning propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia, suggesting that gays are more likely to abuse children.

Making another favorite argument against homosexuality, Putin noted with pride that Russia saw more births than deaths last year for the first time in two decades. Population growth is vital for Russia’s development and “anything that gets in the way of that we should clean up,” he said, using a word usually reserved for military operations.

The law on propaganda has been used to justify barring gay pride rallies on the grounds that children might see them. This has raised the question of how athletes and fans would be treated for any gay-rights protests during the Olympics.

When asked about this by the ABC TV channel, Putin said protests against the law itself would not be considered propaganda.

Putin then hit back, accusing the United States of double standards in its criticism of Russia, pointing to laws that remain on the books in some U.S. states classifying gay sex as a crime. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, ruled in 2003 that such laws were unconstitutional.

Homosexuality was a crime in the entire former Soviet Union, which collapsed in 1991. It was decriminalized in Russia in 1993.

The Sochi Winter Olympics run Feb. 7-23.


Cuomo: 'Extreme Conservatives,' Pro-Lifers Not Welcome in NY

The usual Leftist bigotry

If anti-abortion activists thought those 35 feet ‘buffer zones’ currently in place around abortion clinics were restrictive, wait until they hear the boundary New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to draw for them. Calling into “The Capitol Pressroom” radio show Friday morning, the liberal leader made it clear just what he thinks about conservatives and pro-lifers:

    “The Republican Party candidates are running against the SAFE Act — it was voted for by moderate Republicans who run the Senate! Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”

Cuomo’s comments perhaps come as no surprise to those familiar with his proposed Women’s Equality Act - legislation which works opposite its title thanks to its radical abortion agenda. Although the measure was defeated last year, Cuomo, in his fourth State of the State address, declared he was determined to try again in 2014.

Dan Janison at Long Island’s Newsday asks a poignant question about Cuomo’s recent condescending remarks: What if the conservative governor of a red state made these comments about extreme liberals?

    "Just imagine for a moment if Haley Barbour or Rick Perry said: “Do you support abortion rights? Do you support same-sex marriage? Do you support gun control? Then, you have no place in this state because that's not who we are.”

    Those remarks would be ripe for some mocking exposure on MSNBC.  True, MSNBC would have no mercy on Perry and Barbour. Nor should we be soft on Cuomo. We should be attacking his comments, which alienated a large bloc of voters, just as much as the left jumped all over Romney’s ‘47 percent’ gaffe.

One more point from Janison: "Did the governor become a bit, uh, extreme in his critique of extremists?"


Secularists Need to Accomodate Themsleves to Religion

People in pursuit of the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God tend to transform ancient scripture into tradition. And those who reject such high-minded touchstones usually end up appreciating the results. So they find a way to move into the covenant-controlled neighborhood and eventually get away with parking their motorhome on the front lawn. The routine goes like this: adopt, adapt, assert.

The most contemporary example is marriage. This lifelong commitment is a religious sacrament described extensively in the Bible. At the wedding, people (especially men) vow to deny their own sexual nature, forsaking all others. Non-religious folks also find marriage agreeable and have adopted it as a cultural practice for themselves. Over time, they have adapted it more to their liking, including short-term commitments and same-sex relationships. In recent years, they have asserted this redefined institution for everyone’s acceptance using the force of law.

Many more examples are found in the annals of Western History. Charity, education, health care, and even the separation between church and state lay as casualties along the path of secular accommodation.

Religious folks have long followed scriptural instructions for feeding, clothing, and defending the poor. A recent study from Barna Group revealed that, “Among the most generous segments were evangelicals (24% of whom tithed); conservatives (12%); people who had prayed, read the Bible and attended a church service during the past week (12%); charismatic or Pentecostal Christians (11%); and registered Republicans (10%).”

The non-religious also seem to like the idea of charity, only not by way of personal contributions. Barna reports that, “Several groups also stood out as highly unlikely to tithe: people under the age of 25, atheists and agnostics, single adults who have never been married, liberals, and downscale adults. One percent or less of the people in each of those segments tithed in 2007.” So the popular demand for charity became adopted through government programs of welfare, foreign aid and FEMA. Today, the asserted level of wealth transfer creates a deficit of about ¼ of the national budget.

Hospitals were historically built by religious orders to care for people and escort mortal souls to their eternal rest. Of course, everyone quickly adopted the idea of receiving advanced care for themselves and their families. Health care has long been a dream acquisition for the left. In 1961, Ronald Reagan warned Americans about statists taking the final step in conquering this most intrusive component of freedom. Obamacare is the assertion.

Education in America, from kindergarten through university, was decidedly motivated by religious people to formalize the students’ understanding of the sciences within the context of the Creator’s design. Harvard University’s Rules and Precepts originally read, “Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the maine end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottome, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisedome, Let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seeke it of him (Prov. 2:3).” Princeton University and many other ivy leagues were established with similar foundations.

By the 1950s, a college education was widely adopted as the preferred avenue toward financial success. Today, most universities are again dominated by the teaching of religion; only now the indoctrination is for statist evangelism. And you pay for it with the left’s assertion of government-funded tuition.

And finally, with an insidious sleight-of-hand, the left transformed the most liberating text of the U.S. Constitutional into the most restrictive oppression. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The federal government does not have the authority to pass any laws regarding religion - period. In support of this sentiment, America’s third president, Thomas Jefferson, wrote a letter of assurance to the Danbury Baptists. The statists of the ACLU have successfully adapted Jefferson’s words “wall of separation between church and State” into the assertion “enact laws that confine Christianity.”

Adopt, adapt, assert. Or as Voltaire put it sometime around 1740, “Si Dieu nous a faits à son image, nous le lui avons bien rendu” (If God has made us in his image, we have returned him the favor).


Speak English or lose benefits: British government to stop payouts to immigrants who use taxpayer-funded translators

David Cameron plans to strip welfare handouts from immigrants who cannot speak English.

In a radical bid to slash Britain’s benefits bill, the Prime Minister intends to stop printing welfare paperwork in foreign languages and prevent claimants using taxpayer-funded translators at benefits offices.

The move – which would also hit British residents who cannot speak English – was due to be announced tomorrow, but has been delayed following a row with Nick Clegg.

Tories hope that axeing foreign-language versions of documents explaining how to claim benefits would make it harder for immigrants such as newly arrived Romanians and Bulgarians to cash in on the UK’s benefits system, encourage others already here to learn English – and save money spent on translators.

Referring to the controversial Channel 4 programme, one Conservative aide said: ‘The Benefits Street culture must end. Period.’

The plans were been drawn up by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. One Tory insider said: ‘The vast majority of voters will think this idea is plain common sense. It is unreasonable to expect taxpayers to spend huge sums on translators when people should be learning to read and write English.’

Former Tory Cabinet Minister Liam Fox also gave the scheme the thumbs-up, saying: ‘The principle is a good one but it needs to be introduced in a way that’s fair and reasonable.

If it is, it will meet with general public approval. The ability to speak English is one of the most empowering tools in the labour market and we should be encouraging as many people as possible to learn it.’

The announcement of the changes was delayed after a behind-the-scenes dispute between the Coalition partners – just the latest in a series of clashes between Mr Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Mr Clegg.

But Tory sources say they are ‘optimistic’ the changes will be confirmed later this week if the Lib Dems can be won over.

One official involved in the plan said: ‘Cameron and Duncan Smith are very enthusiastic about it, but the Lib Dems had a wobble. They are nervous of being portrayed as being too harsh on immigrants.’

Labour’s Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons’ home affairs committee, also expressed reservations saying: ‘In principle, it is a good idea, but it could cost the taxpayer more because if people are refused benefit and have a genuine claim, they will sue the Government.’

At present the inability of claimants to speak or write English is no bar to them obtaining benefits. Translation services are available in all Jobcentres while local councils provide information leaflets in dozens of different languages.

Latest figures show the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spends £5?million on language services a year. The vast majority, £4.5?million, is spent on face-to-face and telephone help, with £415,000 more on ‘document translation’.

The DWP used interpreters 271,695 times in the space of one year to assist foreign claimants, statistics released under the Freedom of Information Act show. Most of the money is paid to The Big Word, Britain’s biggest language services firm, which received £3.5?million in public money during 2011.

Benefits offices deal with more than 140 languages, including Icelandic and Vietnamese as well as the more common Polish, Czech, Slovak, Urdu and Gujarati.

Town halls such as Tower Hamlets in East London publish guides on how to claim benefits in foreign  languages which would be paid for separately to the DWP figures.

In most cases, a claimant at a Jobcentre would be put on the phone to an interpreter at a call centre to help them complete forms. The service receives up to 22,000 calls a month and is usually able to provide an interpreter within 60 seconds. There is also a service for face-to-face meetings, used 13,000 times a year.

Tories and Lib Dems have fallen out over several immigration and welfare issues. In October, Home Secretary Theresa May was forced to scrap sending vans with signs telling illegal immigrants to go home to areas with large ethnic populations.

The two parties are at odds over Mrs May’s plan to cut annual immigration from the EU to 75,000 a year. And they disagree over whether immigrants make the UK better or worse off.

Mr Clegg has denounced Chancellor George Osborne’s pledge to slash another £10?billion from the welfare budget. And the Lib Dem leader vetoed a move by Mr Cameron to scrap housing benefit for under 25s.

The latest proposed crackdown reflects the influence of Australian-born Tory election chief Lynton Crosby. Mr Crosby is said to have given orders that the party must produce ‘a new policy to curb immigrants and benefits’ every week.

Growing public pressure for a tougher approach to curb the UK’s ‘handout culture’, as highlighted on Channel 4’s Benefits Street series, is reflected in a policy switch Labour is set to announce this week.



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

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

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


20 January, 2014

We can't trust British crime figures: After Plebgate, now watchdog says police statistics are unreliable

Police crime figures cannot be trusted, official watchdogs ruled last night.  Amid widespread evidence of fiddling by police forces, the UK Statistics Authority withdrew its stamp of approval from the data.

It is a massive blow for ministers who have repeatedly trumpeted that crime has fallen by 10 per cent since the Coalition came to power. MPs said the decision could further harm trust in the police, which has already been hit by scandals such as Plebgate.

The statistics authority says the crime figures no longer comply with its code of practice – indicating the data cannot be trusted.

‘There is accumulating evidence that suggests the underlying data on crimes recorded by the police may not be reliable,’ said Sir Andrew Dilnot, the watchdog’s chairman.

He pointed to a warning from the Office for National Statistics that police records appear to ‘overstate the true rate at which crime has been falling’ by failing to take into account hundreds of thousands of offences.

Sir Andrew also highlighted evidence, submitted to Westminster’s public administration committee, that massaging figures to hit targets was ‘ingrained in policing culture’. Officers told MPs that high-profile and politically sensitive crimes are often reclassified.

An offence of robbery may be transformed into ‘other theft’ and a burglary may become criminal damage to downplay its significance.

Some offences are recorded as ‘no crime’ because there is no direct evidence. Where a mobile phone owner is unable to prove it was stolen it might be deemed lost.

In testimony to the public administration committee, Constable James Patrick, who analyses crime figures for the Met, said even rapes, child sex abuse, robberies and burglary were disappearing in a ‘puff of smoke’.

Forces were accused of downgrading crimes to less serious offences and even erasing them altogether by labelling them as accidents or errors.

MPs were told of a string of controversial techniques used by officers to cut recorded crime, including ‘cuffing, nodding, skewing and stitching’.

Last night Bernard Jenkin, who chairs the Westminster committee, said the inquiry had exposed complacency about crime data at all levels.

He said the downgrading of the crime figures, which are at record lows, should be a wake-up call to chief constables all around the country.

Jack Dromey, Labour’s spokesman on policing, said the damning verdict on the police figures was unprecedented.

‘It exposes [Home Secretary] Theresa May’s claim on crime reductions as baseless and out of touch,’ he added.

‘When challenged on hollowing out the police service, with 10,000 frontline police officers axed, Theresa May and ministers have repeatedly hidden behind the 10 per cent fall in police recorded crime.’

Keith Vaz, the Labour MP who chairs the Commons home affairs select committee, said: ‘This is an extraordinary step which fuels the concern around the reliability of crime statistics.

‘The recent allegations of manipulation of crime figures go right to the heart of the public trust in the police and how crime figures are compiled.’

Earlier this month, Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said there was truth to the allegation from Mr Patrick that statistics were being massaged.

Tom Winsor, Chief Inspector of Constabulary for England and Wales, who is leading an inquiry into crime statistics, has said he expects to find ‘some fiddling’.

Ex-Met commissioner Lord Stevens has said ‘fiddling of figures’ had been going on since he joined the police. He told the home affairs committee it was the ‘biggest scandal coming our way’.

Last night, Norman Baker, Liberal Democrat crime prevention minister, said: ‘It is vital that recorded crime statistics are as robust as they can possibly be – and this Government has a strong record on reinforcing their independence and accountability.

‘One of the first things we did when we came into office was to transfer responsibility for crime statistics to the independent Office for National Statistics.

‘Recorded crime has fallen by more than 10 per cent since June 2010 – and it is important to note that the separate and wholly independent crime survey for England and Wales has also fallen by more than 10 per cent over the same period.

‘It now stands at its lowest level since the survey began in 1981. So the evidence is clear: police reform is working and crime is falling.’

Responsibility for the production and publication of crime statistics for England and Wales was transferred from the Home Office to the ONS in April 2012.

But the Home Office remains operationally responsible for the collection and validation of crime figures from police forces in England and Wales, before they are passed on to the ONS for publication.

Police forces are responsible for generating recorded crime data, and each force has a crime registrar responsible for overseeing compliance with standards for recording crimes.

The next crime statistics are due to be published next week.
Glen Watson, who is the director general of the ONS, said: ‘We have already highlighted our concerns about the quality of crime recording by the police, and the variations in trends between recorded crime and our own crime survey for England and Wales.

‘I am pleased this has been recognised by the authority.’

The separate British Crime Survey – a survey of around 30,000 households – continues to have trusted status, officials said.


Mother stopped as she walked along promenade by British police after someone called 999 to report that her daughter might be COLD

Dressed in woolly tights, leggings, an all-in-one vest and fleecy top, nine-month-old Maddy Andrew seemed well wrapped up for winter.  But that did not stop a passer-by dialling 999 to report her mother Paula for exposing a child to the cold.

Two policemen were immediately sent to Scarborough seafront to question her about Maddy’s welfare.

‘We’d not even been there ten minutes when the police turned up,’ said Mrs Andrew, who has two other children aged 12 and 14.

‘They could see everything was OK, but they told me that they’d had an anonymous call saying there was a little girl playing on the promenade and she was cold.

‘I explained that she was fine and Maddy certainly looked fine. I told them that we came out to the prom all the time to play. I am not convinced police should be harassing mums playing with their babies.’

Mrs Andrew, who refused to give her name to the officers, said one had claimed it was their duty to ‘keep an eye on these things’.

The temperature was 6.7C when she was interrogated last Friday.

The 43-year-old nutritionist said: ‘Maddy was covered up and wasn’t cold, that was clear. It simply didn’t merit the hassle.

‘Where do you draw the line? Do you police children wearing too many clothes on the beach in summer? Can people dial 999 if they suspect a parent hasn’t put enough sun cream on a youngster? They’d be better off policing McDonald’s and checking that children are not eating too much in there.’

Mrs Andrew was on the promenade with Maddy while her financier husband Mike, 49, was surfing off the beach.

She added: ‘It can take more than an hour for police to turn up if I call in complaining about yobs at the back of my house and sometimes they don’t attend at all, but an anonymous call can send them racing to the promenade.’

When one of the policemen asked Mrs Andrew her name, she responded: ‘This is ridiculous.’ After refusing to reveal who she was, Mrs Andrew, from Scarborough, was asked: ‘So you don’t want to co-operate?’ She said: ‘I told them that it was a mother’s right to play with her daughter and it wasn’t a co-operation thing.  ‘I added that they’d be taking her to the social workers next if I gave them my details. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, so I walked off.’

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said yesterday : ‘All reports concerning the safety of children are taken very seriously by North Yorkshire Police and must be properly checked out.’

But Stephen Hayes, an ex-policeman and writer, said the case typified what was wrong with modern policing.

‘This is by far the barmiest cold case I have ever come across,’ he added. ‘Do officers now need a thermometer to take children’s temperatures along with their truncheons? The mother is clearly not committing a crime by taking her child for a walk along the promenade.

‘In most areas it is easier to order a takeaway pizza and get it delivered than get a response to an emergency 999 call, so it is astonishing that, when there is a swift response, it is to a totally innocent lady playing with her baby.’


UK courts must not decide the fate of foreign children, says top judge

Judges and social workers were yesterday warned that they must not seize control of the lives of foreign children.

No court can order a child from Europe to be taken from their parents or given up for adoption, said Britain’s most senior family law judge, Sir James Munby.

Overseas authorities should always have a say in cases involving their nationals, and the future of foreign children must be decided by courts in their own country, he said.

Judges and social workers must no longer keep their decisions secret or try to gag foreign media either, he added.

Sir James, the president of the Family Division of the High Court, laid down rules for judges dealing with such issues as he handled the case of a 12-year-old boy from Slovakia.

The judge said the Slovak boy - whose case has been heavily reported by newspapers in Bratislava - should live with an aunt. Slovak authorities were closely involved in the case.

It comes six weeks after the scandal over Alessandra Pacchieri, an Italian mother who was forced by a British judge in the secretive Court of Protection to undergo a compulsory caesarean.

Miss Pacchieri, 35, who suffers from bipolar disorder, was sectioned under the Mental Health Act after suffering a breakdown at Stansted Airport during a short visit to Britain.

In secret court hearings, a Court of Protection judge ordered that she undergo a compulsory caesarean, and a family court judge in Chelmsford overruled her pleas and ordered that her baby daughter should be adopted in this country.

Last month Sir James rejected an application by Essex social workers forbidding British and Italian newspapers from naming Miss Pacchieri.

He said that the attempt to deny her a right to speak out in public was ‘an affront to humanity’. Miss Pacchieri may now be named in public, while the name of her baby being brought up in Essex, and her adoptive parents, remain secret.

The case of Miss Pacchieri and the future of her baby have yet to be finalised by the courts. But yesterday in the similar case of the Slovak boy Sir James laid down a series of rules for judges ‘in a wider context’ which he said courts must follow in future.

Sir James said: ‘To seek to shelter in this context behind our normal practice of sitting in private and limiting the permissible flow of information to outsiders is not merely unprincipled; it is likely to be counter-productive and, potentially, extremely damaging.

‘If anyone thinks this an unduly radical approach, they might pause to think how we would react if roles were reversed and the boot was on the other foot.’

He added: ‘It is one of frequently voiced complaints that the courts of England and Wales are exorbitant in their exercise of their care jurisdiction over children from other European countries.  ‘The number of care cases involving children from other European countries has risen sharply in recent years and significant numbers of care cases now involve such children.

‘It would be idle to ignore the fact that these concerns are only exacerbated by the fact that the UK is unusual in Europe in permitting the total severance of family ties without parental consent.

'The outcome of care proceedings in England and Wales may be that a child who is a national of another European country is adopted by an English family notwithstanding the vigorous protests of the child’s non-English parents.

'It is one of the frequently voiced complaints that the courts of England and Wales are exorbitant in their exercise of their care jurisdiction over children from other European countries.’

The judge said children must live in Britain for British courts to hold sway.

For a family judge to act, foreign authorities must be permitted in court and kept fully informed, he added.

He said English courts should allow European judges to decide on the lives of children who live mainly in their countries, and English judges should make declarations that they have no jurisdiction in such cases.

Sir James also condemned efforts by social workers and courts in England to silence foreign newspapers.

‘As a general principle, any attempt by the English court to control foreign media, whether directly or indirectly, is simply impermissible,' he said.

'For the courts of another state to assume such a role involves an exercise of jurisdiction which is plainly exorbitant, not least as involving interference in the internal affairs of another state.

'What would we think, what would the English media think, if a family judge in Ruritania were to order the Daily Beast to desist from complaining about the way in which the judicial and other state authorities in Ruritania were handling a case involving an English mother?'


Predatory British property seizure law presumes you are guilty until proven innocent

As top model robbed by police

It's an intriguing tale involving a top international model, a money-laundering ex-boyfriend and a grey safety deposit box held at No?3 Park Street, Mayfair, just behind The Dorchester hotel.

When Oxana Zubakova opened Box 2921 nearly seven years ago and used it to store €100,000 in €500 notes wrapped in the torn-out page of a local property magazine, a £5,500 Tiffany pendant and an £11,000 Cartier necklace, she had no idea it would become a part of Operation Rize, the Metropolitan Police’s biggest crackdowns on organised crime.

Nor could she have known that her battle with the authorities would lead to her London flat being raided by 12 armed officers.

Or that she would fall victim to the unfair stereotype that if a woman is from Russia and successful, her money most come from ‘ill-gotten’ means.

At the Old Bailey last week Oxana lost her appeal to have her assets returned to her. Mr Recorder Martyn Levett ruled that they were the proceeds of crime. Now an incensed Oxana has vowed she will fight on to clear her name.

In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, the 38-year-old model accuses the authorities of ‘robbery’. Remarkably, she says her money would have been safer in Russia rather than England.

Oxana, the first Russian model to become a major success in the West, said: ‘I would understand if this was a Third World country, but in the UK? I believed institutions were honourable in this country.

'But I’ve realised over the past four years that people in power don’t care about the truth – they care about the money. And they misrepresent everything about you to get it. They don’t care about the facts. To me it’s like a total robbery.

‘In court they said, “Aren’t you exaggerating the amount of money models in the fashion world make?” implying that the money must come from something else.’

Despite the judge’s decision, Oxana’s case raises fascinating questions about Operation Rize, a £10?million crackdown by Scotland Yard in which 500 officers spent 11 days smashing their way into 6,717 safety deposit boxes scattered across the capital.
Changed life: She grew up with nothing but she was scouted by Elite at 15 and jetted the world

Changed life: She grew up with nothing but she was scouted by Elite at 15 and jetted the world

While they discovered a vast haul – including £56?million in cash, jewellery, gold, drugs and firearms – half the boxes were empty and the vast majority of those caught up in the raids were innocent. The operation led to a comparatively minor 146 arrests and 30 convictions.

Oxana said: ‘In Russia I would not be surprised by anything – you learn to protect yourself and your family. So would I be surprised by this in Russia? No. Would I be surprised in England? Yes. I was shocked.

‘During the court hearing the judge actually said, “If you’d had €20,000 in the box it would have been OK, but €100,000 is too much.”

Would I be surprised by this in Russia? No, I would not be surprised by anything - you learn to protect yourself. Would I be surprised in England? Yes. I was shocked.

‘Who can decide that €20,000 is OK but €100,000 is too much? It is a lot of money for a lot of people – it would have been a lot of money for my family when I was 15 – but now I am in a different situation.’

Despite the unanimous ruling of the court, Oxana wants to tell her story because she does not believe the facts were presented fairly.

While she may have made a mistake in the company she kept, she feels the British justice system has let her down.

Oxana was born in a small town 285 miles south of Moscow.

When she was 15, she won a modelling competition and picked up a $250,000 (£150,000) cash prize – a fortune at the time. The contest was set up by top model agency Elite, which launched the careers of Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell.

She moved to Paris aged 17, becoming friends with the Ukrainian-born model Olga Kurylenko, who played Bond girl Camille Montes in Quantum Of Solace.

Oxana graced the cover of Vogue, became a house model for Giorgio Armani, and worked for Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino.

She also took over from Christy Turlington as the worldwide face of Camay soap and set up a business importing designer clothes to Russia and Ukraine.

Oxana said: ‘It was the early days of television adverts in Russia so they played the Camay advert over and over and over again for years. I was seen on screen more than the President, which was crazy.

‘I worked with Naomi Campbell on several jobs. She was always the  star of the show but when I worked with her she was always extremely sweet but I guess we all have our bad moments.’

In 2000 she decided to move to London. ‘I loved it. I’m not a big party person, but I liked the nightclub Annabel’s and I loved the club at Momo. Mostly though I preferred going for dinner at places such as the River Café and Zuma.’

It was while she was dining at a small Thai restaurant in South Kensington in 2004 that she met Tarik Meghrabi. As far as Oxana knew he was a successful businessman who ran a luxury car-hire business.

They became lovers and the following year Oxana moved into his £3?million apartment in Upper Grosvenor Street, Mayfair.

The relationship ran into difficulties in early 2007 and it was then that Oxana opened a safety deposit box, as their flat was being renovated and she says she did not want to leave her money in the safe there.

Oxana and Meghrabi finally split up in spring 2008. She says no one was to blame – they simply grew apart. Just weeks later, on June 2, Box 2921 was seized as part of Operation Rize.

The raids had been made possible due to a controversial change in the law. The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) allows police to seize valuables and cash of £1,000 or more if they suspect it was obtained through crime. It is up to their owners to prove otherwise.

As a result, all those affected by the swoop – many of them Jewish refugees who stashed money away after escaping the Nazis in the Second World War – were left to justify why they kept their personal belongings in a safety deposit box and how they came by them in the first place.

Oxana’s assets became the subject of an investigation by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) – now the National Crime Agency – which believed they must have been linked to Meghrabi who was a co-signatory on the box.

Last February he was jailed for five years and nine months for his role in a £35?million money-laundering scam.

Oxana insists she knew nothing about her former boyfriend’s criminal activities. She also makes the point that there are vast cultural differences between the UK and Russia in terms of attitudes to money.

She said: ‘I grew up in Russia where we don’t have trust in the bank. During the Nineties and the financial collapse, people lost all their money in one day.

‘Until only a few years ago people still used to receive their wages in envelopes. It is common sense for Russians to keep their money in the strongest currency – for many years that was dollars, now it is euros.

‘Of course we have credit cards –we have adapted to the European way – but a lot of people also keep cash. Cash you can rely on.’

The model believed her lawyers had laid out a watertight case and believed it would only be a matter of time before her assets were returned to her.

Instead, her story has taken a very different turn. In October 2009, Oxana’s flat in Cranley Gardens, South Kensington, was raided.

She explained: ‘I’d been in Russia and I got back late one night – about 11.30pm. I came to the door and it fell down on one side.

‘It had been broken down with force. I walked in and everything was turned upside down. The computer was missing, the telephone. I thought I’d been robbed. But I looked at the shelf where my watches were – there were some expensive ones such as Rolex and Cartier – and they were still there.’  This was the first clue that this wasn’t a burglary. 

Oxana added: ‘I went into the corridor, not knowing what to do. My neighbours came out and said, “Twelve police officers with machine-guns arrived and were looking for you.”

‘They said they’d been there for hours and had only just gone. They ransacked my flat, blocked my cards, went through everything. I felt like I had been robbed. It just felt like such an abuse of power. Sending people after me with machine-guns to take my own money.’

Terrified, Oxana then returned to Russia.  She has not been back to England since and gave her evidence at the Old Bailey via video link.

Having engaged lawyers in Russia and England, Oxana has spent the ensuing four years fighting for the return of her assets.

A hearing was finally fixed for April 11, 2013.  The judge ruled against her.

It was her appeal against this ruling that was thrown out last week. Oxana said: ‘I have probably spent more fighting this than the value of what is in the box but it is the principle. This is my money.’

The model is also appalled at the way she was portrayed during the appeal last week. As part of her case, she explained that some of the money had been given to her by a family friend from Spain.

‘It’s true there were several connections between our bank accounts. I have been totally open. They have all the information. He’s an established businessman.

‘It is totally wrong that they talk about him in this way. Just like they wanted to say I was subsidised by Tarik, which is total nonsense.  ‘Why can I not have earned my own money?’

‘They [the prosecution] wanted to say everything bad about me. They wanted to make out I have some crazy lifestyle.

‘It’s true I bought a car in cash. Six years ago I bought a Mercedes S Class for £120,000. I intend to clear my name. I will go to the courts in Europe if I have to.

‘I felt my case was very clear-cut. I was shocked that the judge would rule in favour of SOCA.

‘I understand it is unconventional in England to have that money but everything else – the way the case was presented, the things they tried to imply about me – yes, I feel disappointed.

'I thought England would be a country with perfect justice. That you would be protected by the rules, the laws, the Government. Now I know you are not.’

Her lawyer, Jeffrey Lewis of Lewis Nedas, who has represented many other Operation Rize victims, said: ‘In my experience of Operation Rize, many innocent box holders such as Oxana have had to fight tooth-and-nail to demonstrate their lawful ownership yet it’s almost impossible to prove a negative.’

Last night a spokesman for the National Crime Agency said: ‘The judge has made his decision so it would not be appropriate for us  to comment.’



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

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

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



19 January, 2014

It's always somebody else's fault

The woman who plunged seven stories off the side of a cruise ship into the Caribbean Sea has spoken out about her terrifying experience.

Sarah Kirby, 31, fell 100 feet into the water in October 2012 and was floating for nearly two hours in fear of her life before she was plucked out of the waves.

Kirby is suing Carnival Cruises, alleging a barman 'pushed' alcohol on her, that the ship's staff delayed her rescue and they didn't treat treat her significant injuries properly. Carnival Cruises have refuted the allegations.

'I remember leaning over the balcony to look at the side of the ship and next thing I knew I was in the water. Pure terror,' Kirby told ABC.

Infrared video from the deck of the boat shows her terrible tumble from her balcony on the Carnival Destiny ship after a few drinks on a five-night Caribbean cruise with her fiance and a friend.

In the legal complaint she filed last year, Kirby claims that she became 'extremely intoxicated' after drinking Long Island Teas that a barman 'kept pushing onto the plaintiff.'

Courthouse News Service reported that the complaint stated that the bartender encouraged the group to get drunk by giving them free $5 tokens for the ship's casino the more they drank.

Kirby claims that she then returned to her cabin. The filing goes on: 'At approximately 12:10 am, the plaintiff stepped out to the cabin balcony to get some air.

'As she was holding on to the balcony's wooden banister, the plaintiff lost her grip and balance, slipped off the ground and fell overboard into the ocean.' Kirby struck a life raft on they way down.

Once in the water Kirby told ABC: 'I just prayed to God over and over please don't let me die out here.'

But she alleges that staff on the boat they refused to turn the vessel round to rescue her until they had conducted a 90-minute search of the ship, despite her party and other passengers reporting seeing her go overboard.

When they eventually turned round to pick her up, Kirby had been in the water for nearly two hours without a life jacket and had believed that 'death was imminent' from drowning or shark attack.

According to Courthouse News Service the complaint states that 'rather than treating her severe injuries, the Carnival doctors' treatment of the plaintiff was primarily limited to giving her pain medication.'

Kirby reportedly had: 'fractured orbital bones, lung contusions, hypothermia, fractured ribs, dissection of the carotid artery, heart arrhythmia, broken optical shelves, blood clots in her eyes, arms, and legs, as well as extreme hematomas all over her body.'


Sharia in Britain

Last week Liberty GB radio host, Tim Burton, was charged by West Midlands Police with racially aggravated harassment, after his post on Twitter described a prominent individual as “a mendacious grievance-mongering taqiyya-artist”.’ (for more details see the Liberty GB website)

Mr Burton was clearly expressing a personal opinion and should therefore be protected under the right to freedom of expression that Britons supposedly still enjoy. Also the issue of truth was not mentioned and to the best of our knowledge no legal proceedings have been initiated on grounds of defamation. Of course we are not making a judgement here about whether the remarks were true or false — that would be a matter for the civil courts.

The apparent heavy handed and overzealous approach of the UK police is especially worrying in that it may discourage people in the public eye, who make decisions effecting society, from being held to account — something that is essential in any functioning democracy. If this sort of official action is allowed by current hate crime legislation then it is clear that such legislation is in desperate need of review if the UK is to meet its international human rights obligations.

The fact that the Mr Burton has been charged suggests that sharia norms are increasingly becoming embedded into British society at the expense of traditional conceptions of law and justice. However, sharia is not been implemented openly and honestly, but by stealth, often via ill-defined and broadly applied ‘hate crime’ regulations.

It would appear that Mr Burton has become a victim of sharia, just like victims of bulling and persecution in many Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states where sharia provision are applied more directly. The specific sharia concepts that appear to be being implemented in this case in the UK are the concepts of slander (ghiba) and talebearing (namima).

The Islamic concept of slander is very different to what Western law recognises (see here). Western legal systems tend to require a statement in question to be untrue. However, under sharia truth is irrelevant. The well respected manual of sharia law, Reliance of the Traveller refers to slander and talebearing in the following terms:

“Slander (ghiba) means to mention anything concerning a person that he would dislike, whether about his body, religion, everyday life, self, disposition, son father, wife, servant, turban, garment, gait, movements, smiling, dissoluteness, frowning, cheerfulness, or anything else concerning him.” (page 730, r2.2)

“As for talebearing (namima), it consists of quoting someone’s words to another in a way that worsens relations between them.” (page 731, r2.3)

It therefore appears that in the United Kingdom, the Islamic concepts of slander and talebearing are being subsumed under the broad and ill-defined heading of ‘hate’. It appears that public authorities are treating non-Muslims as second class citizens, something else that sharia demands. This means that in a very stealthy and underhand manner the United Kingdom is sidestepping its obligations under international law with regard to the most basic of human rights.

In places like Pakistan such legal provisions are regularly used to persecute religious minorities. It is unfortunate that UK policy makers are either not doing due diligence when legislating or are legislating to deliberately undermine basic freedoms.

ICLA’s Recommendations to UK Authorities

ICLA believes that freedom of expression is the cornerstone of a free and democratic society. It also believes that religious and other minorities, or indeed anyone, should not be subject to discrimination and persecution and that sensible legislation that respects basic human rights is required to ensure this. We recognise the necessity for and the considerable advantages that are derived from different cultures to working together in an increasingly globalised world. However, in the interests of basic human rights and equality before the law, it does not believe that incorporating sharia principles into the legal system is the answer.

Sharia results in religious persecution and is therefore not something that should ever be used as a solution in any just and democratic society. The division of the world into Muslim and Non-Muslim that is stipulated by sharia does not serve the interests of a just and cohesive society and risks creating greater division and bad feeling. Our goal is to create a just society where people are both free to express themselves while at the same time being free from persecution and intimidation. We therefore seek to work with people and organisations from across the religious and cultural spectrum who also want to improve community cohesion and ensure a just and happy society.

We therefore make the following recommendations:

1) That in the interests of justice and to ensure that the UK meetings its international human rights obligations the petty and politically motivated charges against Mr Burton be dropped.

2) That the British Government reviews all its hate crime legislation to ensure that fundamental principles of justice are not undermined. Vague regulations need to be replaced by ones that are well defined and that can be easily understood by the general public and by law enforcement professionals.

3) That all stakeholders come together to help create a just and cohesive society.



Girls being forced to choose between God and the Brownies, Church leaders warned

Young girls are being forced to choose between God and the Brownies, the Church of England’s ruling body has been told.

The decision to drop references to God from the movement’s traditional pledge of allegiance and expel anyone who refuses to adopt the new version, amounts to “rank discrimination” against Christians, Muslims and followers of other faiths – often taking place inside church halls, according to opponents.

The attack on the new oath, which came into force in September, is contained in papers being sent to almost 500 members of the Church’s decision-making General Synod which meets in London next month.

Instead of promising to “do my best, to love my God” members of the Guides and Brownies now pledge to “be true to myself and develop my beliefs”.

The Scouts also recently introduced a new secular pledge to enable atheists to become full members but retain the traditional wording for those who wish to use it.

By contrast Girlguiding UK has been made clear that only the secular promise is valid.

One Guide group which meets in a parish church in Jesmond, Newcastle, is already in the process of being expelled from the movement for insisting on retaining the old promise.

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, the Church of Ireland has given its blessing to local groups resisting the change imposed by the UK headquarters.

Now members of the Church of England’s Synod are being asked to add their voices to a protest against the change.

The Synod is to devote time to debate a private member’s motion tabled by Alison Ruoff, a senior member, which brands the decision to have a single secular oath as discrimination against believers.

In a briefing paper distributed by Church House, Mrs Ruoff said: “Most Guide units meet in church premises and for all these units to now be banned from being able to say in the promise that I ‘love my God’ cannot be right.

“Of course many secular organisations use church premises but in this case there has been imposed from Girlguiding HQ an outright ban after over a century of use of ‘loving God’.”

While many members accept the change, many others are “extremely upset, disappointed and worried”, Mrs Ruoff wrote.  “Muslim girls are quite content to say ‘love my God’,” she added.

“From a wholly Christian perspective, how can a Christian girl or leader revert to the new promise?  “They are being forced to choose between faith and Girlguiding.”

She continued: “The Scout movement have retained their ‘old’ promise, to love God, as well as having a secular promise.  “Why therefore should the Guiding movement not be allowed to have choice?  “It is rank discrimination against the girls of this wonderful youth movement.”

A spokeswoman for Girlguiding UK said: "Girlguiding’s new promise warmly welcomes girls of all faiths, and none.

"The updated wording grew out of an extensive consultation with nearly 44,000 people.

"During this consultation, our members made it clear they wanted to retain one promise as this is what unifies all girls of all backgrounds and circumstances behind a shared set of values - to be honest, helpful, kind and considerate; to respect other people and the world around you; to develop your beliefs and have the courage of your convictions; to face challenges; to be a good friend; and to take action for a better world.

“We feel it would be inappropriate to comment on this debate until it has taken place.”


Tamera Mowry Is Not Alone

Michelle Malkin

This made my heart ache and my blood pressure spike: Actress Tamera Mowry, who is black, wept in an interview with Oprah Winfrey over the vile bigotry she has encountered because of her marriage to Fox News reporter Adam Housley, who is white. Misogynist haters called Mowry a sellout and a "white man's whore." International news outlets labeled the Internet epithets she endured "horrific" and "shocking."

Horrific? Yes. Shocking? Not at all. What Mowry experienced is just a small taste of what the intolerance mob dishes out against people "of color" who love, think and live the "wrong" way. I've grown so used to it that I often forget how hurtful it can be. Mowry's candor was moving and admirable. It's also a valuable teachable moment about how dehumanizing it can be to work in the public eye. Have we really sunk to this?

Young actresses in the 21st century forced to defend their love lives because their marital choices are politically incorrect? We're leaning backward in the regressive Age of Hope and Change.

Let's face it: Mowry's sin, in the view of her feckless detractors, is not merely that she married outside her race. It's also that she is so open about her love for a white man who -- gasp! -- works for reviled Fox News. Neither of them is political, but the mere association with Bad Things (Fox, conservatives, capitalism, the tea party, Christian activism, traditional values) is an invitation for unabashed hate.

The dirty open secret is that a certain category of public figures has been routinely mocked, savaged and reviled for being partners in interracial marriages or part of loving interracial families (for a refresher, see the video clip of MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry and friends cackling at the holiday photo of Mitt Romney holding his black adopted grandson in his lap).

And the dirty double standard is that selectively compassionate journalists and pundits have routinely looked the other way -- or participate directly in heaping on the hate.

Have you forgotten? Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was excoriated by black liberals for being married to wife Virginia, who happens to be white. The critics weren't anonymous trolls on the Internet. They worked for major media outlets and institutions of higher learning. USA Today columnist Barbara Reynolds slammed Thomas and his wife for their colorblind union: "It may sound bigoted; well, this is a bigoted world and why can't black people be allowed a little Archie Bunker mentality? ... Here's a man who's going to decide crucial issues for the country and he has already said no to blacks; he has already said if he can't paint himself white he'll think white and marry a white woman."

Howard University's Afro-American Studies Chair Russell Adams accused Thomas of racism against all blacks for falling in love with someone outside his race. "His marrying a white woman is a sign of his rejection of the black community," Adams told The Washington Post. "Great justices have had community roots that served as a basis for understanding the Constitution. Clarence's lack of a sense of community makes his nomination troubling."

California state Senate Democrat Diane Watson taunted former University of California regent Ward Connerly after a public hearing, spitting: "He's married a white woman. He wants to be white. He wants a colorless society. He has no ethnic pride. He doesn't want to be black."

Mowry is not alone. The Thomases and the Connerlys are not alone. Poisonous attempts to shame are an old, endless schoolyard game played by bullies who never grow up and can't stand other people's happiness or success.

Time doesn't lessen the vitriol or hostility. Take it from someone who knows. "Oriental Auntie-Tom," "yellow woman doing the white man's job," "white man's puppet," "Manila whore" and "Subic Bay bar girl" are just a few of the printable slurs I've amassed over the past quarter-century. You wouldn't believe how many Neanderthals still think they can break you by sneering "me love you long time" or "holla for a dolla." My IQ, free will, skin color, eye shape, productivity, sincerity, maiden name and integrity have all been ridiculed or questioned because I happen to be a minority conservative woman happily married to a white man and the mother of two interracial children who see Mom and Dad -- not Brown Mom and White Dad.

Mowry's got the right attitude. She wiped away her tears and told Oprah that haters wouldn't drag her down. Brava. Live, laugh, think and love without regrets. It's the best revenge and the most effective antidote to crab-in-the-bucket syndrome.



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 January, 2014

A Bill to silence debate, curb dissent and inhibit democratic engagement

Today all freedom-loving democrats the length and breadth of the United Kingdom look to the House of Lords (once again) to defend our ancient liberties and the health of democracy against this increasingly authoritarian, censorious and coercive Government.

Last September His Grace raised concerns about the (niftily-named and immeasurably soporific) Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill. In short, a bill intended to promote transparency and ensure greater integrity in the democratic process may greatly restrict charities and other groups from speaking out on important matters of public interest. The Government denies this, insisting that charities are already exempt from party political campaigning. But lawyers, charities and a raft of respected organisations (IEA, TFA, CPS, TPA, PEN, BBW, ASI) take a contrary view. The Christian Institute has a helpful explanatory hub.

Today their Lordships vote on Part 2 of this Bill. Bizarrely, legislation aimed at restricting the covert activities of big business, trades unions and the manoeuvres of former politicians using an old-boys' network to enrich themselves actually risks silencing any group of community-minded people which lobbies political candidates on local or national issues. The Electoral Commission said:

    "..the Bill creates significant regulatory uncertainty for large and small organisations that campaign on, or even discuss, public policy issues in the year before the next general election, and imposes significant new burdens on such organisations."

The Government did step back from the brink and made some amendments, but profound concerns remain. There has been some movement on this 'year' limitation: it is now eight months. Since we know that the next General Election will be in May 2015, this Bill, if passed, will restrict freedom of expression from September of this year. Any group which spends over a certain threshold (£20k in England) lobbying potential candidates is defined as being engaged in political campaigning. Quite what happens if the Government calls an election beforehand is not clear: how may one unknowingly fall within the eight-month purdah? And what happens in a by-election? If your group has been opposing a windfarm for a year and your MP suddenly dies, do your costs suddenly constitute an election expense? And how exactly does one distinguish between seeking to influence policy and doing so for electoral purposes?

If (say) your church opposes (say) euthanasia, and you support a candidate who shares those views, your church will be deemed to have assisted that candidate and so be subject to financial regulation. If you publish views contra a pro-euthanasia candidate, you can rest assured that every phone call, flyer and coffee morning will be scrutinised, assessed and the costs totted up. That's okay, you may say: my church wouldn't spend anything like £20k on a political campaign. But nationally they may certainly do so. And if they fail to make the appropriate returns, the Archbishop risks being imprisoned.

But this £20k limit is swept aside by a particularly sinister clause. Under the proposals, any group that spends more than £9,750 on political activity in a single constituency will have to register with the Electoral Commission. It is not remotely clear what happens if your campaign is national or geared to a wider region (whether, for example, the anti-HS2 group will need to divide their budget by the number of constituencies along the route). Astonishingly, that limit includes staff costs, which is an expenditure specifically excluded for political parties. This could greatly affect the work of churches and other non-partisan voluntary groups which may have no direct involvement in an election but which happen to employ an administrator on £10k pa. Any 'substantial' agitation by such a group may constitute political lobbying.

One can foresee lengthy court cases to establish whether monies spent denouncing or supporting political policy were, in fact, designed to affect the outcome of an election, not least because organisations may be subject to these constraints even if they do not name a particular candidate.

But what constitutes political activity? Is not the whole process of ordering lives in community a constant negotiation of one interest against another? Is not participation in the whole of civilised life therefore a political pursuit? Is not campaigning to defend the lives of the unborn as political as the siting of a windfarm, the alleviation of poverty or the care afforded to our war veterans? How may one freely express an opinion on these matters without being seen to be tacitly supporting a candidate who shares one's views?

The lobbying of politicians by any interest group is integral to a healthy functioning democracy. Of course, there should be transparency and statutory limits to prevent abuse, but not at the level of having to scrutinise the conduct or register the interests of every Neighbourhood Watch scheme. 

It is principally the uncertainty created by the Bill's imprecise wording which will deter healthy debate and democratic engagement. Your church might think twice before supporting a Christian candidate, just in case they suddenly find they're engaged in lobbying and so subject to registration and a raft of burdensome regulation. It cuts to the foundations of our democracy and constitutes a direct assault on free speech and freedom of religion.

This is not a Bill to control lobbying; it is a Bill to curb dissent and impede those who seek to challenge the status quo of the establishment. One hopes and prays today that the Lords Spiritual and Temporal will expose its disturbing implications.


Gendercide: the silence of the so-called 'feminists'

Where are the girls? The answer should shame us all. Abortion for sex selection is practised so regularly in this country that it's led to a shortfall in the population of girls. Thousands are "missing", especially in certain immigrant communities. Aborting babies because they are female has been widespread in India and China for generations: there are as many as 120 boys for every 100 girls there. Now the practice has come to distort British demography – and values.

Sex-selective abortion remains a crime in Britain, but, as the Telegraph investigation last year revealed, it is increasingly common. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has ruled that guidance for doctors in this area should be updated – but did not prosecute the two doctors exposed in the Telegraph investigation.

When parents can abort a baby because it's a girl, they are guilty of the worst kind of sexism. Rape, porn, the tyranny of beauty that compels little girls to perform plastic surgery to attain perfection: these are nothing in comparison to the mindset that will not allow for girls to be conceived in the first place.  Our daughters – and not just in immigrant communities – are learning that a girl's life is worthless. Feminists should be up in arms about this. They are not. While they have fought tooth and nail the sexist app that allows little girls to perform plastic surgery  on a Barbie, most have stayed silent on a far worse crime against women.

Why? because some so-called feminists believe the right to abortion trumps everything. Any abortion is OK by them, no matter when or why. As Sarah Ditum argued in The Guardian: "As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter why any woman wants to end her pregnancy. If it's to select for sex, that's her choice." Incredible? Pro-choice ideology has such a stranglehold on this group that they will wilfully overlook the fact that this ideology can be turned against our sex: when a woman wants to abort her baby simply because it is a girl, abortion becomes the grossest misogynist act of all.

The message inherent in gendercide strikes me as clearly hateful; yet so-called feminists have bent over backwards to accommodate this practice. Let real, pro-women feminists raise their voices in fury. No one should abort a girl because she is a girl.


Forbes Calls Out Shriver Report's 'War on Women' Agenda

The Shriver Report is a “groundbreaking series of reports that chronicle the status of American women and shifts in the American culture affecting women,” according to its website.

In actuality, it’s a misleading project by journalist Maria Shriver and several celebrities who are trying to convince the rest of us there is no such thing as “gender equality.” For instance, Beyoncé asks why women are still viewed as “less than equal” and Shriver herself laments, “For too many American women, the dream of ‘having it all’ has morphed into ‘just hanging on.’”

The cure, these women insist, is more government. Yes, more government to give women more freedom. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Well, Sabrina Schaeffer at Forbes isn’t buying it:

"The report succeeds at exposing just how vulnerable many women – especially unmarried women – are, and sheds light on some of the legitimate challenges they face. But the study does little to explore the driving forces behind these challenges, and instead focuses on perpetuating the myth that American society is inherently unfair to women and girls today, and only a growing state can change things."

The Shriver Report, however, disregards how government has created perverse incentives through a ballooning welfare state, government-run schools, and disincentives to marry, which have worsened the lives of many American women.

About a year ago, I wrote a piece about how Diana Furchtgott-Roth, the former chief of staff of President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers, debunked the glass ceiling myth. What I took away from her speech, was that while a wage gap may be apparent, several factors can explain the divide:

"More women major in fields such as English, whereas more men tend to study in the fields of math and physics – areas which typically have higher paying jobs. Also, female employees work on average 10 percent fewer hours than their male counterparts. ‘Full-time’ is considered anything over 35 hours a week. The Labor Department counts no difference, for instance, between a man working 50 hours a week and a woman working 40 hours a week."

Like Forbes’s Schaeffer, I reject the idea that a “wage gap” can only be solved by Big Brother. Here's her smarter suggestion:

"Instead we need to focus on smart government, with targeted assistance programs, but which lessen the burden on the economy to encourage job creation and a more flexible workplace, and increase opportunity for all Americans, women and men alike."

Schaeffer ends by pinpointing the Shriver Report’s real motive: Democrats need women to win future elections.

"But how tragic to think that their victory should come at the expense of creating a large segment of women who are wards of the state."


Another street preacher arrest

    “Police in Dundee yesterday arrested American street evangelist Tony Miano after a woman complained about his talk on sexual sin.      Mr Miano was arrested as part of a street preaching team holding a week-long mission in Scotland.

    He was the second speaker to address lunchtime shoppers on the city’s high street that day, and took the opportunity to talk on the different sins Jesus had come to save people from.

    When he began listing sexual sins, including adultery, promiscuity, and homosexual practice, a woman started shouting in protest, angrily yelling that her son was gay.

    The incident was witnessed by Pastor Josh Williamson of the Craigie Reformed Baptist Church in Perth, a fellow member of the street preaching team.      The pastor said: “Tony wasn’t focusing just on homosexual practice – it was about all sin. A woman was yelling at him and her friend noticed we were filming the preaching, so she ran up to me and tried to smash my camera.”

    The woman who had shouted then appeared to be calling the police, at which point a council warden arrived and suggested that although none of the evangelists were doing anything wrong, they should probably move on.

    Mr Miano finished his talk and two police officers arrived as the team of evangelists were packing up.

    “The female officer saw we had a camera and lunged for it and then the male policeman grabbed it and threw it in the police van,” said Mr Williamson.

    Following that, the male officer interviewed the women and then immediately arrested Mr Miano.  According to the Christian Legal Centre, Mr Miano was not questioned and the reasoning behind his arrest was not properly explained.

    “After Tony was put in the police van I asked why he was being arrested and was told it was for a breach of the peace and for using homophobic language,” said Mr Williamson.

    Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, Andrea Minichiello Williams, says the incident raises serious questions about police procedure and their understanding of the law.

    “This appears to be an overzealous reaction by the police,” she said.      “The incident adds to the number of arrests of Christian street evangelists for preaching from the Bible.

    “It is indicative of the suppression of the freedom to speak and live out the words of Jesus Christ in public and present the teachings of the Bible.”

    Mr Miano is a former police officer and chaplain with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and currently works as a teacher for open air evangelists.      He also volunteers as a writer for the Christian Apologetics Research Ministry run by Matt Slick.

    It is not the first time he has been arrested in the UK while street preaching. Last July, he was arrested in Wimbledon for breaching Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, which included a ban on insulting words or behaviour.

    The arrest happened after he preached on the need to abstain from sexual immorality, based on 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12.

    In his preaching, which was captured on film, he told passers-by: “My friends, the reality is, we are all going to stand before God to give account for our lives.  “And whether our sin is sexual in nature or not, if we have violated his law in any way – whether it is homosexuality, whether it is refusing to abstain from evil in the heterosexual community and we are lusting after people we are indulging in fornication, but even beyond that if we have so much as told one lie – God sees us as a violator of his law, God does not see us as good.”

    He was detained by police for seven hours before being released without charge. Ultimately the case was dropped.

    The act under which he was arrested on that occasion will no longer be in force from 1 February of 2014, thanks to the Crime and Courts Act which was passed in April last year.

It is with a sense of weary familiarity that we greet this further demonstration of our police state, where “tolerance”, that is to say the condoning of homosexuality, appears to have become mandatory. And yet again, I ask, why Christians? Orthodox Jewry and Islam, to name but two other religions, condemn homosexual behaviour in no uncertain terms. Were you to ask the elders of those religions to explain their position on them, they would not be slow to respond.

Yet it is Christians, and Christians only, who are persecuted like this. Perhaps it is because it is only Christians who, in the modern world, preach in the street (I place Abu Hamza’s street preaching in Finsbury Park in 2004 in a rather different category). I imagine that they follow the lead of John Wesley, who said “I am well assured that I did far more good to my Lincolnshire parishioners by preaching three days on my father’s tomb than I did by preaching three years in his pulpit.” and “To this day field preaching is a cross to me, but I know my commission and see no other way of  preaching the gospel to every creature”.

To this, Charles Spurgeon went further when he said, ”No sort of defense is needed for preaching out of doors, but it would need very potent arguments to prove that a man had done his duty who has never preached beyond the walls of his meeting-house. A defense is required for services within buildings than for worship outside of them.”

To their considerable credit, those who are persecuted seem to be made of stern stuff. We have discussed Dr Alan Clifford here previously; Mr Miano is also of the type who appears not to be for turning. Whether or not you agree with these men, they deserve your support; they are the enemies of the current ideology of our state and have placed themselves in direct and visible confrontation with that ideology.



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 January, 2014

The police didn't kill Mark Duggan - 50 years of liberal 'compassion' did

We asked for it. We repeatedly voted for politicians who promised compassion. And now we have compassion coming out of our ears. And we moan that we don’t like the result. Yet we carry on with the same plan, madly expecting it to have a different outcome.

It was ‘compassion’ that abolished the death penalty for murder, so forcing us to arm the police – who had until then been guarded from violent criminals by the real threat of the gallows.

Look how compassionate that turned out to be. The lone armed constable in the dark and dangerous street now has to act as prosecutor, defence counsel, judge, jury, executioner and appeal court, and all in a matter of seconds.

No wonder the inquest jury in the Mark Duggan case ruled that this was a lawful killing. Which of us knows how he would act in such conditions?

And yet why is this bloody system morally better, more just, more kind, more proof against error than a jury trial with the presumption of innocence and the possibility of appeal and reprieve?

But we’re all so compassionate that, when we’re not bombing and invading foreign countries for their own good, we feign horror at the idea of bringing back the hangman.

There’s no logic to it. The liberal bombing of Baghdad and Belgrade unavoidably and predictably killed innocent human creatures. Yet the people who backed the bombing claim that the much smaller risk of hanging an innocent makes capital punishment unacceptable.

Because abolishing the noose is compassionate, the feeble logic of the abolitionists still triumphs. Try defending the death penalty in any ‘civilised’ gathering in this country and see how quickly you are sent to Coventry and dismissed as a Victorian monster.
And then we make ourselves angry at the spectacle of modern Britain on TV, the claimers of benefits turned into a sort of national entertainment.

But why do these unhappy, hopeless people exist? Who corrupted them, by offering them the chance to live in this dreadful, doomed way, while at the same time giving them no moral guidance or help?

We did, repeatedly electing governments that offered compassion to the poor, in the form of a welfare state with its moral heart ripped out.

Try suggesting that there is a difference between the deserving and the undeserving poor, in any public forum, and feel the temperature drop below freezing. And yet a welfare state which refuses to recognise this is bound to corrupt people into idleness and worse.

Roughly 50 years ago, beguiled by smiley reformers, we chose the wrong future. We adopted ideas which were mistaken and have proved to be disastrous.

We called them ‘compassion’. But who were we really being compassionate to? Not, as it turns out, to the poor we claimed to be helping. They suffer most from the compassion of our criminal justice system – which in 2012 was so compassionate  it refused to imprison 28,997 offenders who had committed at least 25 crimes.

It is the lives of the poor that are blighted by anarchic schools that can’t teach, and by amoral handouts. It is their streets which are full of the drugs whose use we won’t punish. It  is they who have been first to experience the abolition of fathers and stable families, which leads directly to the growth of criminal gangs.

All these policies were implemented in the name of compassion. But who were we being gentle to? Why, we were being nice to ourselves, sparing ourselves the hard and unpopular decisions and choices that  make civilisation possible, like indulgent parents who mingle neglect with bribes, only on a vast scale. And we still are.

To hell with compassion. Give me good honest harshness  any day. It’s far kinder in the  long run.

Isn't it rather insulting and racially bigoted for the police to assume the ‘Black community’ will be particularly upset by  the death of a gangster?  Black people, just like everyone else, hate and fear crime  and criminals.


Gender-Neutral Dating

The progressive taste for managing the sex lives of others is of a piece with its war on private life

“It’s not possible to have a completely gender neutral date,” writes therapist Andrew Smiler in a head-clutchingly asinine essay for the Good Men Project, a repository of painfully navel-gazing male-feminist apologetics that describes itself as “not so much a magazine as a social movement.” While acknowledging the impossibility of his daunting task, Mr. Smiler goes on to offer a great many helpful tips in his “Guy’s Guide to the Gender-Minimized First Date.” But not before making a full and frank apology in advance: “I’m trying to write this guide to apply across all genders, masculine, feminine, trans*, etc. If I’ve missed or something is very wrong, I have faith someone will let me know in the comments. I’m also writing based on my own American background and referring primarily to gender roles as they currently exist in the U.S. Depending on where you’re from, you may have grown up with this approach or you may find it completely foreign.” An asterisk on that asterisk: “Trans*” I am reliably informed, is the new, more inclusive way of referring in writing to the phenomenon of transsexualism, or as the ever-helpful FAQ at “Ask a Trans Woman” explains: “Trans, sans asterisk, has a tendency to mean gender-binary folk (trans men and trans women, often by the DSM-IV, GID definition of the words.) Trans* is more inclusive.” It is getting difficult to keep up.

Mr. Smiler’s advice, almost all of which is catastrophically bad, consists in the main of pre-cooking evasive strategies for such potentially fraught issues as deciding who pays for dinner or whether to split the check in the name of sexual egalitarianism. His guidance: The party proffering the invitation pays for the party accepting it. This is the sole area in which Mr. Smiler, otherwise a celebrant of sexual fluidity, concedes that expectations may be fixed by circumstance. “You can maintain one roll [sic] . . . or you can switch around,” except when the bill comes, which is to say you can pass the rolls but not the check. Not my own style, though fair enough. (But who says you get to make the rules, Mr. Man?)

It should go without saying, here at what one hopes against hope is at long last the nadir of Western sexual dysfunction, that Mr. Smiler’s gender roles have nothing to do with anything so quotidian as the actual sex of the person with which they are associated: “Your genitalia — and your partner’s genitalia — are only relevant if you prefer some types of genitalia over others,” he writes. Possibly relevant maxims here include “De gustibus non disputandum est,” or, perhaps more apropos, Richard Fariña’s “Mea most maxima culpa, baby, ’cause this is my week for chicks.” It is emblematic of our current attitudes toward sex, which are fundamentally consumerist, that this question is approached as though it were a choice between the gluten-free lasagna and the full-on farina di grano tenero.

In truth the majority of people, so overwhelming a majority as to be nearly universal, do in fact prefer some types of genitalia over others. (I trust that this is not news to you.) Which is why Mr. Smiler immediately sets about undermining his own advice on the subject, recommending that his readers get “all gendered up” on the implicit assumption that a gender-neutral first date is in fact the last thing that anybody really wants. That is because people in the main not only prefer some types of genitalia over others, they in most cases also prefer romantic partners who seem like the sort of person who would under normal circumstances sport the sort of genitalia they fancy. If Mr. Smiler really thought that playing down sexual specifics was the way toward a happy and fulfilling romantic life, he’d be hawking those Japanese man-bras to his few good men.

In describing the quest for a gender-neutral first date, Mr. Smiler never gets around to asking why anybody would want one in the first place. The answer is that no one does.

Two other gems in Mr. Smiler’s offering: “Although it can be awkward, I recommend having at least a little conversation about gender roles — especially as they apply to dating and sex — during the first date.” And: “Decide if and how much sexual contact you want to have with this person at this time.” I will predict that if you take his advice on the former, the latter will be moot. It is almost enough to make one pine for the simpler time when first dates were mainly characterized by Wild Turkey and bad decisions. (“Depending on where you’re from, you may have grown up with this approach or you may find it completely foreign.”)

As Mr. Smiler was sharing his wisdom, International Herald Tribune fashion critic Suzy Menkes was reporting from London’s Fashion Week, discussing, under the headline “Crossing Gender Boundaries Again,” designs for men that “rekindled the masculine-feminine debate in 21st-century fashion.” There were plenty of skirts, which is nothing new in men’s haute couture, single-shoulder and backless tops, and the like. A number of women of my acquaintance reacted with unmitigated disgust, which is not surprising, though the clothes in question fell well short of the frilly-pink-man-bra mark. I myself am not nearly so bothered by dainty underthings for men as I am by the notion that functioning human beings of the age of sexual consent require advice — from a group of gentlemen constituting “not so much a magazine as a social movement” — to the effect that they need to think about whether they wish to have sex with somebody before having sex with the party in question. I have seen a couple trip and fall into San Antonio’s Riverwalk, but I have never seen anybody trip and fall into that.

To the feminists and their allies we owe the coining of the phrase “heteronormative,” which describes the moral terror that all good people are expected to feel for walking around with their bigoted heads full of the notion that, however tolerant or even indulgent we may be of our more exotically inclined friends and neighbors, there exists such a thing as sexual normalcy, and that our norms are related to that which is — what’s the word? — normal.

Conservatives are of course inclined to account for the great variety of human life as a matter of fact if not as a matter of moral endorsement: William F. Buckley Jr., upon being told that at most 2 percent of the population is gay, replied that if that were really the case then he must know all of them personally. The heteronormative is right up there with “rape culture” and various distillations of “privilege” — white, male, etc. — that together form the rogues’ gallery populating progressives’ worldview, which is at heart a species of conspiracy in which such traditional malefactors as the Illuminati and the Bilderbergers have been replaced with disembodied malice that can be located anywhere and at any time it is convenient to do so.

Like the old-fashioned conspiracy theorists they so closely resemble, progressives regard any resistance to their risible claims regarding the all-pervasive power of patriarchy/heteronormalcy/white privilege/etc. as nothing more than evidence of the reach and strength of the conspiracy’s tentacles. A regular at a coffee shop I used to frequent was known to one and all as “Conspiracy Theory Larry,” and had an explanation for everything — everything — that was wrong with the world, and my derision was enough to convince him I was a junior-league Illuminatus.

(I can only imagine that he was confirmed in his suspicion when I joined National Review, which after all was founded by this guy: “William F. Buckley Jr., the American publisher who heads the elite Janus mind-control project at NATO headquarters, was the most awful of all of them. [Ed: “Them” being reptilian shape-shifters.] Quite honestly he used his teeth a lot. He used to bite a lot. He got pleasure out of hurting people by biting them after he shape-shifted. To this very day I have an aversion to that kind of thing.” I suppose one would.)

If forays into gender-role adventurism are met with so much as a raised eyebrow, it is, in the progressive mind, evidence of a monstrous evil. As in a good conspiracy theory, every evil must be in unity with every other evil, which is why progressives can see no difference between a social norm that assumes boys do not normally wear dresses and one that assumes homosexuals will be put into concentration camps.

The ironically puritanical progressive taste for managing the sex lives of others is of a piece with its all-out war on private life, putting into action the old feminist slogan: “The personal is political.” More than a few of my more enthusiastic social-conservative friends have what I regard as an unhealthy and distasteful interest in the private lives of others, but when it comes to the volume and detail of contemplated sexual guidelines, they cannot hold a sacred eco-feminist candle to our progressive friends. The Book of Leviticus is the soul of brevity compared with the volumes of sexual moralizing produced by the Good Men Project and the like.

Together, the overzealous elements of the Right and Left are like the symbiotic police and anarchists in Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent: They form a kind of mutual-outrage society in which the ever-finer parsing of sexual proclivity gives both sides something to complain about. Some people get married and have children, some invest sobering sums in man-panties, and most of them manage to grope along in the dark with no particular need of a highly developed politics of dating. Sometimes, the personal is personal.


Black racism:  Black Actress Tamera Mowry Called A “White Man’s Whore” For Marrying White Fox News Reporter…

She's a light-skinned black, which is prestigious among blacks.  So "losing" her to a white man would be resented

If she married a white reporter from MSNBC or CNN you can be sure the “progressive” left wouldn’t be barraging her with racist insults.

Sister Sister star Tamera Mowry tearfully told Oprah Winfrey’s network that her marriage to Fox News correspondent Adam Housely had earned her scores of racially-tinged abuse on Twitter and elsewhere.

“See, this is where I get emotional, because it’s hurtful,” Mowry said on Oprah: Where Are They Now. “Because when my husband and I are so openly—we’re fine with showing love. Love. But people choose to look past love and spew hate. That’s what hurts me, because I’ve never experienced so much hate ever in my life, ever.”

“I get called ‘white man’s whore,’” she said. “The new one was ‘back in the day you cost $300, but now you’re giving it to him for free.’”


Our Crazed Sexuality Standards

Our obsession with sexuality as identity undermines the best interests of children.

The New York Times brings us the “next frontier in fertility treatment.” It’s about dissolving the prejudice against transgender people having children. “Andy Inkster, a transgender man, had always wanted biological children. So when he embarked on the transition from female to male at age 18 — changing his name, taking testosterone, and eventually undergoing surgery to remove his breasts — he left his female reproductive organs intact. In his mid-20s, he decided it was time. He stopped taking testosterone and started trying to get pregnant.”

Baystate Reproductive Medicine turned Inkster away, explaining that it didn’t have enough experience with transgender people to provide the hormones and donor sperm required. Mr. Inkster eventually found another clinic that helped him conceive via in vitro fertilization and donor sperm, and in October 2010, he gave birth to a daughter, Elise. A month later, he sued Baystate for sexual discrimination. The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination agrees with Inkster.

I never thought I’d see the words “he gave birth to a daughter” outside of science fiction, and at the risk of seeming insensitive, I think Baystate fertility clinic was right. But it’s not surprising that the civil-rights commission of Massachusetts has taken up this cause. It occupies the juncture of two appalling trends. The first is an obsession with sexuality as identity, and the second is a undermining of the best interests of children in favor of the self-expression of adults.

There are limitless identities that students could be encouraged to cultivate as they mature. A handful that leap immediately to mind: American, humorist, musician, athlete, debater, nature-lover. Instead, our universities fall all over themselves to encourage unusual sexual identities, from homosexuality and lesbianism to transgender, bisexual, transsexual, and other. It’s all done in the name of “inclusion” and non-discrimination, but, let’s face it, there’s an element of fashion in it. Non-traditional sexual behavior is “in.” There are academic courses on offer at major universities concerning “queer theory,” pornography, and “lesbian gardening.” (Truly.) How can any serious academic treat pornography as a fit subject for college study? It’s more than a devaluation of the life of the mind; it’s an assault on human dignity.

We have elevated sexual appetites — especially unusual sexual tastes — to an exalted status, worthy of study, defining our natures and experiences, and outranking other traits in importance. In many states, there are moves to outlaw psychotherapy that purports to change a person’s sexual orientation. Without excusing or approving abusive efforts to brainwash gay people straight — and there are some hair-raising stories out there of people subjected to “aversion therapy” and so forth — it is interesting that we are being asked to deny people the opportunity to change in only one direction. No one is suggesting that if a straight person wants to become gay and consults a therapist who wishes to help him make that transition, that he should be prevented from doing so.

Yet children as young as four are being permitted to style their hair, wear the clothing, and use the bathrooms of the other sex when they express the urge. This kind of change is one that liberal states approve. The state of California requires that students from kindergarten through grade 12 be permitted to choose which “gender” to be associated with (Connecticut and Massachusetts have similar rules). If a biological girl decides at the age of 12 that she wants to be addressed as a boy, play boys’ sports, and use the boys’ bathroom, state law requires that she be able to do so.

There are physicians who prescribe hormone-suppressing drugs to prevent preteens from going through puberty the better to prepare them for “gender reassignment” surgery.

This is child abuse. Children pass through phases. Nothing permanent should to be done to any child that is not medically necessary. Suppose a child decided that he wanted to be an amputee or a one-eyed pirate? We’ve lost all common sense in the face of this mania for sexual mutability.

As for Mr. Inkster and people similarly situated, the first thing a fertility clinic should say is that a child is not an adult entitlement. The best interests of the child should be paramount. Each child needs and, where possible, should have a mother and a father — and not in the same body.



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 January, 2014

Nothing like a bit of Muslim multiculturalism in Britain

Relaxing in sequinned slippers at a wedding, Kabeer Yousaf looks every inch the family man.  But the 30-year-old police community support officer has been accused of extorting money and sexual favours from prostitutes.

Yousaf, whose alleged offences include rape and blackmail, was arrested during a long-running investigation into the trafficking of women from Eastern Europe as sex workers.

The Scotland Yard civilian employee, pictured at what is believed to be a Punjabi family wedding, is suspected of demanding cash in return for keeping quiet about their activities.

Anti-corruption investigators believe he pocketed hundreds of pounds while working his beat in Upton Park, East London.

The married PCSO appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court charged with blackmail, rape and misconduct in a public office.

Watched by his mother and other family members, Yousaf was remanded in custody after the brief appearance.

The court was told he is accused of blackmailing women at a brothel on St Stephen’s Road near Upton Park Tube Station. According to the charge, he visited the illicit business in September and offered to keep police away in return for £500 a week.  It is claimed he also gave the women a mobile phone number – which ended in 999 – and told them to call him directly if they had any problems.

Yousaf allegedly later reduced the payment to £500 a fortnight.

The rape charge states that the PCSO demanded that one of  the women perform a sex act on him on December 22 in lieu  of payment.

The third charge, misconduct in a public office, involves the alleged offences of blackmail and forcing the woman to perform a sex act while on duty.

Yousaf was arrested 24 hours before his court appearance as part of what the Met described as an ‘ongoing investigation’ by its Human Trafficking Unit.

It is understood the force is examining suspected trafficking of women from Albania into London by a crime gang. This inquiry is unrelated to Yousaf’s case.

Yousaf worked in the Green Street East ward of Newham borough, alongside PCs, a sergeant and an inspector.

His role involved high-visibility patrols, meeting members of the community and dealing with low-level antisocial behaviour.

The PCSO has ambitions to be a fully-fledged police officer and had recently completed a course to help him qualify.

A Met police spokesman confirmed Yousaf was charged with rape, blackmail and misconduct in a public office last Friday. ‘The arrest follows an ongoing investigation by the Human Trafficking Unit,’ said. ‘The officer will be suspended from duty.’ Yousaf was ordered to appear  at Southwark Crown Court on January 24.

Rape and misconduct in a public office carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Anyone convicted of blackmail could face a maximum sentence of 14 years


An attention seeker

Rachel Garlinghouse and her husband, Steve are both white, and they've adopted three kids — two girls and a boy — who are African-American. "We get double-takes everywhere we go," Garlinghouse tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "You have to look at discrimination in a whole new way" as a trans-racial family.

In addition to the stares, sometimes the family meets with more direct and offensive inquiries. "We have been asked, 'Were their parents on drugs?'" Garlinghouse says. "Those questions are very hurtful to our children, if not detrimental."

Garlinghouse and her husband are raising their children to understand race and heritage. "They need to know their history as African-Americans. They are not white and we should not pretend that they are white."

So the parents look for little ways to work history lessons in, taking advantages of opportunities in line with the kids' interests at the time. "My kids love transportation — the trash truck and the school bus and things like that," Garlinghouse says. "So we talked about Rosa Parks ... and what happened when she was discriminated against."

Garlinghouse says being humble and realistic are two essential elements to being a trans-racial adoptive parent. "I'm not black, I will never be black, and my children will never be raised with black parents. Therefore, there are certain things that we need to do to help supplement that." A retired African-American couple living nearby also has adopted children, and Garlinghouse sometimes turns to them for conversations about adoption and race.

They've also hired an African-American woman to mentor and serve as a role model for the children. "We wanted a successful black Christian female to have a close, tight-knit relationship with our girls," Garlinghouse says. She says both she and her children have formed close bonds with the woman. "Now I feel like I don't know what I would do without her."

Garlinghouse hopes her kids grow up "seeing themselves as a child of God who has a wonderful purpose for their life." But she knows they will face challenges, especially her son.

"He's going to be followed in a mall, where I've never had that experience. Or he's going to get pulled over, and we're going to have to teach him what to do in that situation," she says. "We're going to have to handle ourselves carefully, and we're going to have to educate our son in the best way that we can."


Shoot down these flying pickets

By Richard Littlejohn

The right to peaceful protest is fundamental to a free society. So is the right to strike. But there must be limits.

After the industrial anarchy of the Seventies and early Eighties, the Thatcher government introduced laws to ban mass picketing. It also outlawed secondary picketing, a favourite tactic of Arthur Scargill’s National Union of Mineworkers.

This was designed to prevent the intimidation of other workers into supporting strikes that were nothing to do with them. Scargill’s thugs travelled the country attempting to close down steel works and power stations in the name of ‘solidarity’.

Violence often broke out on the picket lines. Pitched battles were fought in Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire, most notably at the Orgreave coke works.

The homes of so-called ‘scabs’ — who refused to join the strike — were attacked. Windows were broken and front doors daubed with slogans.

It wasn’t confined to the coal industry, either. In the Midlands, components factories were regularly shut by blockades organised in support of striking car workers at British Leyland’s main plant at Longbridge.  Thousands of employees who should never have been involved in these disputes were laid off and sent home without pay.

The new law was so popular that Labour declined to repeal it when Tony Blair came to power in 1997.

But while the kind of mob violence which was commonplace 30-odd years ago has disappeared from the industrial landscape — along with much of the industry which made up that landscape — nothing has ever been done to stop the militants intimidating people in their own homes.

Britain’s biggest union regularly exploits this loophole to bring ‘industrial action’ to the front doorsteps of company executives.  Unite, led by 'Red Len' McCluskey, has set up a special 'leverage squad' designed to hound managers and their families where they live

This disgusting practice first came to light in Scotland last year during the dispute at the Grangemouth oil refinery. It was organised by shop stewards in the Unite fiefdom of Falkirk, centre of a notorious Labour Party vote-rigging scandal.

In the latest case, a joinery company boss in North Yorkshire has found himself and his family on the receiving end of Unite’s bully-boy tactics. Pickets descended on the home of Matthew Ingle, in a small village near Skipton.  They carried banners, sounded horns and sirens and bad-mouthed Mr Ingle to his neighbours.

The union followed this up in thoroughly modern fashion by issuing threats on the internet. He was warned he would have ‘no peace’ unless he backed down over plans to transfer transport operations from Cheshire to East Yorkshire — a move which threatened the jobs of 53 drivers, all of whom were Unite members.

On Facebook, the protesters wrote: ‘We came to your town where you do your shopping. We came to your village and spoke to your neighbours. We came to your local pub where you have a drink. We came to your house but you hid behind your large gates.  ‘Come back to the table and talk to our Unite reps. We are not going away. We have nothing to lose.’

Mr Ingle, chief executive of Howden’s Joinery, which makes fitted kitchens, was forced to hire security guards and seek an injunction to end ‘the harassment to himself and his family and the nuisance and trespass to his property’.

But the intimidation obviously worked. The dispute has been settled and Unite has announced that it is ‘proud’ to have saved the jobs of its members.

It is worth remembering that Ed Miliband is bought and paid for by McCluskey’s union. Miliband is wary of falling out with his party’s biggest donor.

Labour could only put out a mealy-mouthed statement condemning intimidation by ‘either unions or management’.

Targeting individuals is a relatively new development on the Left and is deplorable even by Scargill’s standards.

Those who cross militant unions and voluble, single-issue pressure groups can expect to find their home addresses posted on social media, with a helpful Google map and directions on how to get there. The Government should now urgently revisit the law to make sure this appalling and unwarranted intimidation never happens again.

While strikers are entitled to picket their own workplace, provided it is proportionate and non-violent, they should never, ever, be allowed to take their grievances to the homes of their bosses, or to harass wives, children and neighbours.

As things stand, victims of this type of trades union terrorism have to seek refuge in the civil courts, after the damage has been done. The law should be changed to make it a criminal offence.

Ministers must bring forward legislation immediately — and dare McCluskey’s glove-puppet Ed Miliband to oppose it.

Unions should have the right to strike and demonstrate. But bosses have rights, too, especially the right to freedom from thuggery on their own doorsteps.



Popular benefits cap could be slashed, Duncan Smith reveals as Tory MP suggests it could be cut to as little as £18,000

The cap on benefits of £26,000 a year could be cut, Iain Duncan Smith suggested  yesterday, telling MPs that the figure was ‘under review’.

The Work and Pensions Secretary was responding to continuing anger from Tories, who indicated that they want the figure reduced to £20,000 or lower.

MP Andrew Bridgen told the Commons that the limit was ‘considerably more’ than the average take-home pay in his constituency.

Official figures show workers in North West Leicestershire earn on average £22,130 but keep only £17,866 after tax.

Mr Bridgen urged the Minister to  continue the squeeze so benefits were always lower than earnings.

Mr Duncan Smith’s comment follows demands from Conservative MPs last week to lower the limit to £20,000. He said yesterday: ‘The only people who don’t support the cap are the Labour Opposition.’

Tory MP Philip Davies also highlighted the Channel 4 documentary Benefits Street and Channel 5’s On Benefits and Proud.

He said it showed claimants who could afford ‘copious amounts of cigarettes, have lots of tattoos done [and] watch Sky TV on the obligatory wide-screen television’.

Last week it was revealed 33,000 families claimed £26,000-plus a year in handouts before the cap was imposed last July.

It included 150 who received more than the take-home pay of someone on a salary of £65,000-a-year.

In the Commons Mr Bridgen said his constituents were astonished by the figures.  He urged Mr Duncan Smith to ‘persevere with this policy of a benefits cap and also review the level at which the cap, which is currently considerably more than the average post tax income in my constituency’.

Reducing the cap to £20,000 would be the equivalent to take take home pay of someone in work on a salary of around £25,000.

Mr Duncan Smith said: ’73 per cent of the public support the cap as it stands, nine out of 10 Londoners in a recent poll supported the cap. The only people who don't support the cap are the Labour opposition.

‘We will keep the policy under review but the one thing we should celebrate is we are reforming welfare to ensure those who need the money get it, and those who don't make sure they go back to work.’

The cap affects income from the main out-of-work benefits including Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit and other benefits such as Housing Benefit, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit and Carer’s Allowance.

However, households are exempt from the cap if someone living there receives one of a number of other benefits such as Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Industrial Injuries Benefit and the War Disablement Pension.

Mr Duncan Smith also revealed he thought the controversial Channel 4 show Benefits Street was helping to win the argument for reform.

The Tory minister said viewers were rightly 'shocked' by programmes such as Benefits Street and On Benefits and Proud, featuring people who spend their benefit money on luxuries such as cigarettes and wide-screen TVs, but that they had enabled the Government to force through measures, which he said would put an end to the abuse.

Conservative MP Philip Davies said the documentaries will leave working people 'irritated' by the spending of those living on state handouts.

The member for Shipley asked Mr Duncan Smith: 'Have you managed to watch programmes like Benefits Street and On Benefits and Proud?

'If so, have you, like me, been struck by the number of people on there who manage to combine complaining about welfare reforms whilst being able to afford being able to buy copious amounts of cigarettes, have lots of tattoos done, watch Sky TV on the obligatory wide-screen television?'

He added: 'Do you understand the concerns and irritations of many of the people who go out to work every day, pay their taxes, who cannot afford those kinds of luxuries themselves?'

Mr Duncan Smith replied: 'Many people are shocked by what they see, but the reality is that is why the public backs our welfare reform package, to get more people back to work, to end these abuses.'

He said the last Labour government, which presided over 'massive spending and trapping people in a benefit dependency' was to blame for the abuse.



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 January, 2014

GI Jane Can’t Hang

In the January 2, 2014 issue of Time Magazine online, in a story by reporter Eliana Dockterman.1 "Marines Postpone Pull-Up Requirement for Female Recruits: After more than half fail test, the Marine Corps struggles to find fair fitness test for women pursuing combat jobs," it was reported that the U.S. Marine Corps has postponed instituting its new fitness requirements for female recruits. The new requirement, which calls for a minimum of three pull-ups for women considering undergoing combat training, was found to be too-difficult for the typical female entrant. For now, the Corps will give female recruits the choice of completing three pull-ups or a fifteen second static hang - in lieu of requiring pull-ups.

The Marine Corps has argued that pull-ups replicate the same muscular strength required to carry munitions, climb walls and perform other military tasks.

However, according to spokeswoman Captain Maureen Krebs, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos has asked training officials to "continue to gather data and ensure that female Marines are provided with the best opportunity to succeed."

"Gather new data"? Perhaps the Marine Corps should devote the time instead to figuring out to extricate itself from the ridiculous and illogical corner into which it has painted itself.

The politically-correct Pentagon-speak is getting so deep one needs boots to wade through all of it. What exactly does General Amos mean by the words "best opportunity to succeed"? Tell me, General - will a jihadist suicide bomber running toward a female Marine give her "the best opportunity to succeed" before blowing himself and her to pieces?

Ms. Dockterman, the author of the Time story, commented smugly that the Marine Corps was "struggling to find a fair fitness test for women pursuing combat jobs."

Ms. Dockterman, do you think that passing a "fair" fitness test will matter when an enraged North Korean or Chinese soldier charges a female Marine, his bayonet fixed, intent upon running her through? 

The statements of General Amos and Eliana Dockterman and others in favor of putting women into ground combat roles have an air of fantasy and unreality about them. One is reminded of the 1895 H.G. Wells science-fiction novel The Time Machine. Wells imagined a world in the distant future where humanity has diverged into two separate species - the weak and docile Eloi, who live a life of corrupt ease and banality on the surface of the Earth, and the Morlocks, who live underground by day, doing the dirty work of sustaining Eloi society, while at night preying upon them.

Those who support sending women into ground combat are Eloi; they have led a life of affluence and comfort for so long that they have forgotten the meaning of pain, suffering and privation - if they ever knew them in the first place.

The ugly truth is that war is a meat grinder - the ultimate in Darwinian survival of the fittest, the strongest, and the most-aggressive. This is nowhere more truth than in the cruel reality of ground combat.

Does it matter whether a Marine can do pull-ups? Do physical strength, toughness and aggression matter in 21st century warfare? The feminists and their allies in favor of putting women into ground combat often argue that the nature of warfare has changed sufficiently to make the traditional rules barring women obsolete. In modern high-tech war, they contend, the traditional masculine attributes no longer matter - and are no longer decisive. They could not be more wrong.

On today's battlefields, raw strength, physical toughness and aggressiveness often provide the margin between accomplishing a mission and failing to accomplish it, between victory and defeat, and between living and dying.

In the First Gulf War, SAS (Special Air Service) Sergeant Andy McNabb and the members of his troop were inserted behind enemy lines to locate and destroy suspected Scud missile sites in a remote region of Iraq. Expected to operate on foot for extended periods behind enemy lines without resupply, each member of the team carried a ruck (pack) of two-hundred pounds in weight. Read that again; that is no mistake - two-hundred pounds.

Relatively few people (male or female) can carry over one-hundred pounds on their backs for any length of time - let alone two-hundred pounds; this author is aware of no woman who can manage that feat - yet the Obama White House and its allies insist that women belong in these most-elite of units. Skeptics might scoff that hundred pound-plus combat loads are atypical for the modern combat infantryman or special ops member. Think again.

Foot soldiers generally avoid carrying any excess pounds whenever possible; additional weight on a long-range recon patrol (LRRP) translates directly into more work, more pain and more fatigue. However, they do what is necessary to get the job done - and sometimes the mission calls for extremely heavy loads. Would-be "GI Janes" should know that - like their SAS counterparts - members of elite U.S. ground/special ops forces such as the U.S. Army Special Forces ("Green Berets"), Army Rangers, Delta Force, Marines/Marine Recon, and Navy SEALS, are often called upon to shoulder extremely heavy loads.

Contrary to popular belief, the basic combat load of an infantryman has not decreased over time; it has increased. Technological advances have made much of the equipment carried by today's grunts lighter and stronger, but that is more-than-offset by the additional gear the modern infantryman carries - which now may include body armor with ceramic plates, as well as sat-com gear, laptop computer, laser range-finders/target designators, and all of the other tools used by today's fast-movers - in addition to primary and secondary weapons, ammunition, explosives/grenades, first aid kit, shelter, camouflage materials, bed roll, additional clothing, and food and water. Crew-served weapons - such as mortars and heavy machine guns - and ammunition for them add additional weight.

Under the best of conditions, to be an infantryman is to be a beast of burden. That is not hyperbole. Current operations in Afghanistan provide a case in point. The Hindu Kush is one of the most-remote and inhospitable environments on earth in which to wage war; our military - which possesses unrivaled logistical capabilities - is sometimes reduced to getting men into battle in remote areas by using pack animals, horses or by walking them in.

Why? Because the remote mountains and passes where the enemy - the mujahedeen - are to be found are often roadless and too-dangerous for sustained aviation operations. Many readers will recall the now-famous photos of Special Forces soldiers riding horses into battle against the Taliban in the weeks and months after the 9-11 attacks.

In such conditions, brute strength matters; toughness matters. Good intentions aren't enough. Placing female personnel in ground combat in places like Afghanistan will get good men - and women - killed and maimed and will jeopardize the successful completion of the missions their units have been assigned.

In the old-breed U.S. Army and Marines, and - rumor has it - a few of today's surviving hard-core outfits - a pull-up bar was hung outside the mess hall. No Marine or soldier was allowed to eat unless he did his ten or fifteen pull-ups first. No muscle, no chow. It was a bare-knuckles reminder that war isn't a game and that it demands hard, tough men.

It is time for voters and military leaders - retired and active-duty alike - to demand that common sense and wisdom prevail. G.I. Jane can't hang; America's daughters do not belong in ground combat.


Parents reunited with the baby NINE MONTHS after she was taken by British social workers convinced their father was a terrorist

A couple has been reunited with their baby nine months after she was taken into care by a council who accused her father of being a terrorist and tried to put her up for adoption.

Misty Barnes was removed from her parents Cheryl Rich and Jack Barnes when she was one-month-old after social workers decided she was in danger.

In adoption papers Mr Barnes, 39, said Thurrock Council in Essex called him a terrorist and a threat to national security, who had knowledge of making bombs and had threatened to blow up buildings.

They also alleged he was a violent armed robber, who had served eight years inside Belmarsh Prison and had pumped his dogs with steroids so they could cage fight.

Mr Barnes was jailed for arson and handling stolen goods when he was younger, and has also been convicted of growing cannabis.  But he adamantly denies the claims made by the council and the couple have won a legal battle to get their child back.

Mr Barnes added: 'We have had to stay strong through this. The council tried to break us.  'I've had run-ins with the law before, and they were all a long time ago.

'I haven't got any convictions for violence. I would never hurt Cheryl or Misty.'

He said being accused of being a terrorist was just 'ridiculous'.  He added: 'I'm not perfect, but that was unbelievable. I think the council were looking for a reaction from me.

'I know how the legal system works and so I told Cheryl that we need to write everything down and keep all our evidence.'

He added: 'The council hasn't apologised to us. Now we want a full inquiry to take place.'

Jackie Doyle-Price, Tory MP for Thurrock, said the council was guilty of a major injustice and owed the couple, of Grays, Essex, a huge apology.  'While the family are reunited now, nothing can replace the time they have lost. A major injustice has taken place her,' she said, adding: 'Thurrock council owe this family a huge apology.'

In addition to the false accusations, the council managed to mix Misty's case up, putting the authority in breach of strict data protection rules.

The couple's solicitors were sent paperwork regarding the wrong child and a document was submitted to court by the council with the wrong child, wrong sex and even the wrong local authority council listed on it.

She said: 'Whilst there were reasons to be concerned for Misty's welfare, social workers treated Cheryl as a victim of domestic violence, which she was not.

'The council argue the court would not have approved the first care order unless the action was fair.  'However, the papers filed with the court by the council contained untruths which Jack and Cheryl could not challenge.'

The council refused to comment in detail on the case, but a spokesman said: 'The family has been asked to provide a detailed written complaint, setting out all their issues so it can be investigated properly by a non-council, independent person.'


L.A. mayor Garcetti bemoans white males studying too hard

The first new Los Angeles Fire Department recruit class in five years is nearly all male and mostly white despite repeated promises by the agency to diversify its ranks, according to figures released Monday evening by Mayor Eric Garcetti's office.

The class of 70 firefighters, which is scheduled to begin training Monday, has just one woman and is 60% white. Twenty-three percent of the recruits are Latino, 11% are Asian American and 6% are African American, according to the figures.

Earlier Monday, Garcetti said that he had not seen the complete breakdown for the class but was not satisfied with the racial and ethnic balance based on preliminary information he received from the department.

His office obtained complete figures and released them Monday evening after requests from The Times. 

"Mayor Garcetti thinks these numbers are unacceptable and wants the Fire Department to reflect the city it serves," spokesman Yusef Robb said Monday evening. Los Angeles is 29% white, 49% Latino, 11% Asian and 10% black, according to the Census Bureau.

Robb said the mayor's office is committed to working with the department  to improve recruiting and ensure future classes include more women and minorities.

Robb noted that recruiting for the class starting next week took place before Garcetti took office. Another class of trainees could begin later this year.

Fire Department spokesmen could not be reached Monday evening for comment.

For years, the LAFD has struggled with racial discrimination and sexual harassment, allegations that have cost taxpayers nearly $20 million since 2005, city records show.

In November, a Superior Court jury awarded $1.1 million to a black firefighter who said he had endured three decades of discrimination. The verdict followed payouts totaling $1.5 million in other bias cases for the budget year that ended in June.

Suing the fire department on some sort of discrimination grounds, as in the famous case of veteran black fireman Tennie "Big Dog" Pierce, who was given $1.5 million by taxpayers for a firehouse prank involving dog food appearing surreptitiously in his spaghetti, is known as AARP: African-American Retirement Planning.

The department, which has 3,200 sworn personnel, has diversified its ranks over the last two decades, city officials say, noting that the last four fire chiefs have been African American. But the agency is still 50% white, 31% Latino, 12% black and 7% Asian.

Those darn white fire nuts keep studying how to put out fires.
And despite past scandals involving firefighter attitudes toward female recruits, the ratio of women in the uniformed ranks remains at just under 3% - the same as in 1995.

So the huge city of Los Angeles is hiring firemen at the rate of 14 per year -- in other words, as the number of fires decline, it just doesn't need new firemen. So, this ought to be a non-issue.

Still, we get these ritual denunciations by white male authority figures of working class white males for the sin of burning the midnight oil studying how to save people from fires.

That's what important white people do these days: denounce white men. It's a very weird kabuki rite, but nobody seems to notice there's anything odd about it anymore.


Why boys need a boyhood to become good men

Comment from Australia

Given the current deep community outpourings of concern for the senseless violence present on Australian streets at night, the disturbing numbers of little boys being suspended and expelled from our schools, and the decreasing numbers of young men attending and graduating university, something is going wrong in the world of our boys.

I lay blame on society, which seems to have stolen boyhood in the name of a sanitised, politically correct, gender neutral, bland childhood.

One of the world’s leading writers on boys and men, Michael Gurian, believes the invisible drive at the biological core of manhood is the pursuit to prove self-worth. No one can give a man his self-worth – he has to give this to himself. The guidance of good men, of course, helps.

To find this place, however, boys and men seek external ways to demonstrate potency, victory and independence – and this is what helps shape their search for meaning and purpose in life from a very early age. It is the warrior unfolding from within.

There have been several shifts in society that have undermined our children and particularly impacted on our boy warriors.

In days gone by, boys had the freedom to roam unsupervised on adventures that allowed them to be massively engaged in pursuits that helped them to learn and grow using life’s greatest teacher – experience.

Our modern-day phobia that our world is unsafe, especially for our boys, is creating an environment where they are finding it ever more difficult to find that place of self-worth through external moments of potency and success. We now run the risk of creating a generation of frustrated and angry young men.

The dominant male hormone testosterone is associated with sex and aggression and the search for social power, ambition and independence. Another key influencer (alongside cultural conditioning of course) may be that men have more receptors for the hormone vasopressin – which some researchers have associated with territoriality, hierarchy, competition and persistence, as well as the capacity to bond.

Generally, boys are soft wired to be competitive and active, and are constantly in search of moments to prove their worth and value (in girls and women, oestrogen and oxytocin influence us in different ways, along with their cultural conditioning).

The playground provides an early opportunity for boys to demonstrate worth but the safe, ‘fantastic plastic’ playgrounds of today are emasculating boyhood.

We’ve removed the traditional monkey bars, seesaws and maypoles which were all wonderful opportunities to stretch oneself, hurt oneself when a poor decision was made and learn how to play well with other children – this is where we learnt healthy risk management.

Today’s playgrounds are less engaging and statistics show that children are injured more in modern playgrounds than in the scary old playgrounds because they no longer know how to cope with and manage risk. And keeping kids indoors certainly hasn’t made them any safer either.

The demise of vigorous play as a valid and accepted part of the school playground has also had an impact. Not only did it allow for boys to discharge energy, it was another way children learnt the code of good play versus bad play.

As boys tend to be less efficient at using language to resolve conflict, this is where they learnt non-verbal cues telling them it was time to leave and walk away.

Leading play expert Dr Stuart Brown argues that we only develop an understanding of ‘play code’ in our childhood from playing endlessly with other children.

Without a play code we can badly misread social situations and interpret a threat incorrectly and, without the ability to defuse the situation, this can turn into violence quickly, especially with a bellyful of alcohol.

Other trends that are sucking the healthy warrior spirit from our young lads include the ban on keeping score in junior sports competitions so nobody under 14 loses (or wins!). This must be so exasperating for lads, another stolen validation.

Some early years’ centres have banned superhero play so children are not allowed to dress in capes and masks to lead the fight of good versus bad – this actually needs to be encouraged rather than shamed as this courage settles deep within a boy’s psyche.

We’ve also seen bans on tree climbing, playing chasey and even removing sandpits to be replaced by more mat time, phonics in isolation, more desk work, less free play and homework for 4 year olds.  If I was a 5 year old today I would be angry too.

Boys need to learn at a young age what happens when they make poor choices in the pursuit of conquering the world.

Our modern-day warriors need to become accountable for their own actions before they hit the party scenes of late adolescence and make a mistake that may be life-changing.

We need to celebrate the bruises, the occasional stitches and the rare broken arm because boys learn deeply from real experience and seldom from lectures, especially from well-meaning mums. These wounds are external signs that you are a warrior.

Our children’s lives tend to be micromanaged, over-supervised and planned, and there is very little freedom and autonomy.

I believe the impact on boys is particularly negative and increasing levels of depression and mental illness in adolescence may be telling us that there are some very deep instinctual drives that need to be nurtured in a healthy way, rather than denied and crushed.

As Michael Gurian explains, the strong drive for self worth and value is a profound and sacred journey that is the core to a healthy manhood and it starts at a boy’s birth:

“This core of manhood represents maleness at its best – self sacrificing, devoted to service, loving, wise and powerful and at its worst – brutal, shaming, destructive, dangerous,” Gurian writes.

We need to seriously consider giving boys back their boyhoods and opportunities for authentic growth in the company of good men, or we are going to continue seeing more and more 'coward-hitting' warriors wreaking havoc in our communities.



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

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

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


13 January, 2014

Don't trust public with EU vote say elitist Labour grandees: Arch-Europhiles reject calls for referendum

Labour grandees were accused of showing contempt for the public last night after they dismissed calls for an EU referendum.

Arch-Europhiles, some in the pay of Brussels, rejected calls for a vote as the House of Lords debated plans to enshrine in law David Cameron’s pledge to hold a referendum in 2017.

Former European Commissioner Lord Mandelson, who will get a lucrative pension from Brussels at 65, said politicians should not entrust the public with an in-out vote on the EU as the outcome would be a lottery.

Lord Kinnock, whose family is reported to have received £10million in pay, perks and pension entitlements while he and his wife Glenys worked in Brussels, attacked the plans as an appeasement to Eurosceptics.

They spoke in a seven-hour Lords debate on a Private Member’s Bill, introduced by Tory MP James Wharton, which sailed through the Commons after Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg declined to block it.

But Labour and Liberal Democrat peers yesterday launched a coordinated assault. The Bill passed its second reading without a vote – the convention in the Lords – but critics are now expected to table hundreds of amendments in a bid to derail it.

The Bill was introduced into the Lords by Tory Lord Dobbs, who said: ‘Nobody below the age of 60 has ever had a chance to have a say on this issue. This Bill is needed and it is very much wanted.

‘A referendum is about democracy. It is not about being in Europe, it about allowing people to decide their own future. It would be a brave man who denies them that choice – and an even braver unelected peer.’

Ahead of the debate he said: 'I'm about to make the biggest speech of my life (or at least since the one I made proposing to my wife).

'I am the sponsor of the EU Referendum Bill that is designed to give everyone a vote on our membership of the European Union at some point in 2017. It's hugely important. It's time for the people to decide.'

But Lord Mandelson told the BBC: ‘Membership of the EU is absolutely fundamental to British interests and therefore we should be very wary about putting our interests in the hands of a lottery.’

In the Lords, he said Mr Cameron had been ‘taken hostage by the militant tendency’ of the Tory party. When he left Brussels, Lord Mandelson received £234,000 ‘top-up’ salary payments and a £15,000 resettlement fee. Under the terms of his pension he has to continue to show a ‘duty of loyalty to the Communities’.

The BBC was accused of ‘unbelievable bias’ over Europe yesterday after a presenter branded a referendum a ‘charade’ and suggested it would be ‘stupid’ to give the public a say.

Radio 4 broadcaster Evan Davis was accused of repeatedly interrupting Tory Lord Dobbs on the Today show but let Labour’s Lord Mandelson twice speak for almost two minutes.  Mr Davis also predicted a Labour victory in 2015 that made a Bill over the referendum pointless.

Downing Street complained, but the BBC last night said it was ‘satisfied’ its coverage was fair and balanced.

Peter Bone, Tory MP for Wellingborough, said: ‘Peter Mandelson thinks that the British people can’t be trusted. He believes the European political elites know best.’

But former Labour Foreign Secretary Lord Owen, who now sits as a crossbencher, said that while the Bill was a gimmick it was essential to placate the public. And former Tory Chancellors Lord Lamont and Lord Lawson said Britain’s future did not lie in the EU.

The Bill must still go through committee, report and third reading stages in the Lords before returning to the Commons. Because it is a Private Member’s Bill, it  can be heard only during Friday sessions – the last of which in the Commons in this Parliamentary session is February 28 – but senior Tory sources say they will not let  it be killed off.


Nine million pound blitz to stop British police fiddling the crime figures: Forces to have statistics examined every year

I have been mocking British crime figures for years

Police forces are to have their crime statistics examined every year after senior officers admitted the figures are routinely fiddled.  HM Inspectorate of Constabulary is being given an extra £9.4?million to fund the crackdown.

It is also to publish a one-off report which will expose more of the tricks used by police to keep crime rates down.

The Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Tom Winsor, admitted: ‘I have no doubt we will find a degree of fiddling of the figures.'

The Home Office is also changing how police report clear-up rates, to stop them 'chasing targets to gain easy detections' or avoiding recording crimes they could never solve.

A more detailed range of crime outcomes will be published with some categories – such as recording an offence as ‘undetected’ – being scrapped, Policing Minister Damian Green said.

As the Mail on Sunday revealed, police told a parliamentary inquiry that victims are often disbelieved in a bid to keep crimes off the books, while serious incidents are downgraded and offenders encouraged to admit extra offences.

Police chiefs told MPs how serious offences including rape, child abuse and robberies were 'disappearing in a puff of smoke' as officers manipulated figures.

Forces were accused of downgrading the nature of crimes to make them seem less serious or erasing them from data altogether.

One analyst claimed hundreds of burglaries 'disappeared' in a matter of weeks at the Met after managers intervened.

The claims were made at a hearing of Parliament’s Public Administration Committee in November.


American Street Preacher arrested again in Britain

American evangelist Tony Miano was arrested on Wednesday in Dundee, Scotland after preaching the gospel legally in a public forum. He was the second of two preachers to address shoppers in the high street during the busy lunchtime period.

Miano – a retired Deputy Sheriff, was on a week-long mission trip to Scotland from his base in Southern California, and was accompanied by Pastor Josh Williamson from Craigie Reformed Baptist Church in Perth, Scotland; who himself was arrested last year in Scotland under similar circumstances.

Miano was also arrested last year in the vicinity of the Wimbledon Tennis Courts during the annual Wimbledon ‘slam’ tournament because the language used in his sermon whilst teaching on sexual sin out of the book of 1 Thessalonians was considered homophobic .

This time, according to reports Miano talked about the nature of sin; about the different sins that Jesus had come to save people from when a woman began to shout at him.  He was preaching about sin in general and when he mentioned sexual sin including adultery, promiscuity and homosexual practice, the woman shouted that her son was gay.

As Pastor Williamson puts it ““Tony wasn’t focusing just on homosexual practice – it was about all sin. A woman was yelling at him and her friend noticed we were filming the preaching, so she ran up to me and tried to smash my camera.”

The woman apparently called the police who arrived after the men were finished with their sermons. Williamson’s account continues: “The female officer saw we had a camera and lunged for it and then the male policeman grabbed it and threw it in the police van, After Tony was put in the police van I asked why he was being arrested and was told it was for a breach of the peace and for using homophobic language.”

Unlike last year when Miano was released with a police caution, this time he was held overnight and pleaded ‘not guilty’ to a charge of ‘breach of the peace with homophobic aggravation’ before being bailed for release. He is allowed to return to the United States and but the judge ordered he must attend court again for trial on April 22nd.

Dundee is the fourth largest city in Scotland with a population of just over 150,000. An unremarkable city it is a combination of architecture from centuries old combined with 20th Century poorly planned sprawl and even more recent attempts to spruce it up. The park near the Williamson’s church has had particular problems with violent attacks since 2009.

Andrea Minichiello Williams of Christian Concern & the related Christian Legal Centre is representing Miano and said “This appears to be an overzealous reaction by the police. The incident, adds to the number of arrests of Christian street evangelists for preaching from the Bible. It is indicative of the suppression of the freedom to speak and live out the words of Jesus Christ in public and present the teachings of the Bible, (and) at the Christian Legal Centre we are committed to helping people to continue to preach the Gospel in our nation.”

Both Miano and Williamson have trained under New Zealand evangelist Ray Comfort who cut his teeth in the open-air and very liberal Santa Monica Mall; as well as at the Bellflower, California courthouse where he created a tract for those lining up outside entitled “important information you need before entering court”. Comfort and actor Kirk Cameron also made the video series ‘Way of the Master’, which the strategies of Williamson and Miano utilize.

Julian Mann, an Anglican Vicar who writes for The Guardian and at Cranmer’s well known blog, suggests that even if Miano had preached as he did inside a Scottish church, the authorities point of view may well have supported arresting him anyway had a parishioner made a similar complaint.

Indeed Mann goes on to speculate in ‘Cranmer’s Curate’ that “Given that most local churches are not very far from a public pavement, what reason have we to expect that servants of the Lord Jesus Christ will not be arrested for teaching the Bible in Scotland beyond too long?”

Mann’s comments should not be taken lightly. It is clear that the Scottish authorities while claiming a loose Christian culture have little tolerance for anybody who exercises free speech by putting forth their views on The Bible. Additionally it is unclear how far they are prepared to take it.

Moreover the restrictions on Christians are beginning to parallel the kinds of no-proselytization laws imposed in Islamic countries. Some may think that’s far fetched but it’s hard to see where this slippery slope might come to an end. Muslim groups meanwhile are no doubt protected and excused at every occurrence.


The Gender Battlefield: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Unfortunately, the state of feminism in 2013 may have hit a new low

2013 was something of an anniversary year for the modern women’s movement, marking fifty years since Betty Friedan’s best-seller “The Feminine Mystique”—which, while hardly without flaws, offered a bracingly positive vision of embracing female achievement and strength without demonizing men or sacrificing family. Some of this year’s events reflect the remarkable progress women have made in those decades. Women claimed leadership at General Motors and Lloyd’s of London, the world’s top insurance market; Angela Merkel was reelected to a third term as German chancellor while widely recognized as Europe’s leader. The Pew Research Center reported that women made up 40 percent of America’s breadwinners in families with children—and nearly 40 percent of those were married mothers with median household incomes of about $80,000 a year.

Unfortunately, the state of feminism in 2013 may have hit a new low, with much of its energy spent on battles that are either trivial or destructive. Between gender-war feminism on the left and old-fashioned sexism on the right, picking the year’s worst in relations between the sexes in easy; picking the best is much harder, but worth the effort.  Here’s my personal list, by no means intended to be complete.

Overzealous crusade of the year: The “War on Rape.” Who could be against efforts to combat this despicable crime? At the start of the year, anti-rape activists garnered widespread sympathy as they demanded justice for Steubenville, Ohio’s “Jane Doe,” a teenage girl sexually assaulted by two football players after heavy drinking at a high school party. The Steubenville case drew attention to genuinely troubling attitudes, including a tendency to excuse misbehavior by popular athletes and judge young women’s reckless behavior (such as drinking too much) more harshly. Unfortunately, the noble cause quickly succumbed to over-the-top zealotry—with lurid rumors and harassment of innocent people in Steubenville itself, and a general indictment of America as a misogynistic “rape culture” whose men needed to be “taught” not to rape women.

In this crusade, the legitimate issue of sexual assault in the military was inflated into an epidemic by using a survey that made no distinction between rape and an unwanted pat on the backside and treated every failed rape prosecution (no matter how muddled the facts) as a failure of justice. And, on college campuses, the federal government weighed in on the side of the crusaders, using its muscle to push for lower standards of proof to discipline (mostly male) students accused of rape on the basis of a simple accusation.

By the end of the year, the campus crusade against rape had descended into utter absurdity. In August, Yale University, under fire for punishing “nonconsensual sex” with mere reprimands, released a document with examples of such “nonconsensual” acts—most of them involving no force, threat, incapacitation, or even clear refusal of consent. (In one scenario, the “offender” was guilty of failing to get an explicit okay before reciprocating oral sex.)  Jezebel.com, the feminist website that had earlier accused Yale of hiding rape behind euphemisms, continued to insist that these absurd tales showed Yale’s leniency toward rapists.

And, in October, the Ohio University campus in Athens, Ohio was rocked by charges of a public rape caught on video and posted online. Actually, the video showed two drunk students engaging in a sexual act; after it went viral, the woman went to the police, claiming she had no memory of the incident and had been too intoxicated to consent. Both the video and eyewitness accounts made it clear that, far from being incapacitated, the woman was a fairly enthusiastic participant. The grand jury refused to indict the man. Nonetheless, both the university community and feminist bloggers such as Tara Culp-Ressler at ThinkProgress.org rallied behind the “victim” and denounced “rape culture.” (Talk about trivializing rape.)

In one interesting development, several men expelled from colleges on what they say were phony charges of sexual assault have filed lawsuits claiming illegal sex discrimination under a system stacked against accused males.

The three silliest feminist outrages of the year. There’s quite an embarrassment of riches to choose from. How about:

* Men taking up too much space on public transit by sitting with their legs too far apart. Seriously, feminists? After being enlightened about this so-called issue, I actually started watching for it on several trips on the New York subway. Alas, about three-quarters of the people I noticed taking up an inordinate amount of space were women (spreading out shopping bags or sitting half-turned with a backpack occupying the next seat). This is worse than silly: feminist tirades on the subject feature startlingly hateful language (with sneering references to male anatomy that would be considered vilely misogynist if directed by men at women) and the use of people’s photos taken without their consent (something that the same feminist websites have railed against when it’s men posting “creepshots” of sexy women).

* Beef stroganoff vs. rocket science. The feminist blogosphere exploded over a New York Times obituary that opened thus: “She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children. … But Yvonne Brill, who died Wednesday at 88 in Princeton, N.J., was also a brilliant rocket scientist, who … invented a propulsion system to help keep communications satellites from slipping out of their orbits.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that writer Doug Martin was not promoting stereotypes of feminine virtues but humorously subverting them, contrasting Brill’s traditional homemaker image and her very non-housewifely achievements (as some feminist commentators did point out). It is just as obvious that Brill was being honored with a Times obit for the science, not the cooking. No matter: in response to the outcry, the obit was rewritten to cut the beef stroganoff. (Speaking of stereotypes, isn’t there one about feminists and humor?)

* “Blurred Lines.” Robin Thicke’s hit single has been denounced as a virtual anthem for rape because of the “I know you want it” lyric—even though the woman addressed in the song is repeatedly invited to make a move on the man and explore her “bad girl” side. (There’s even a disparaging reference to a previous male partner who tried to “domesticate” her.) Despite feminist voices in its defense, the song has become so associated with the “rape promotion” label that it has been banned from several British college campuses and targeted for at least two censorship attempts in the United States. A particularly ridiculous blog item compared lyrics from “Blurred Lines” to actual words used by rapists to their victims; never mind that, as some commenters pointed out, rapists may also have said things like “You’re beautiful.” (Oh, and “I know you want it”—addressed to a man—was sung by a girl band, The Pussycat Dolls, in their best-selling 2005 single, “Don’t Cha.” Those rapists!)



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 January, 2014

DOD Reviewing Its 'Equal Opportunity' Training--After Anti-Christian Materials Exposed

In response to a letter from a coalition of religious liberty advocates concerned about anti-Christian bias in Defense Department "equal opportunity" training materials, the Department of Defense says it is reviewing those materials and will decide this month whether to continue using “private organizations” as resources in developing them.

The coalition specifically cited the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a group the military should stop relying upon as a source for equal opportunity training.

DOD spokesman Lt. Commander Nathan Christensen told CNSNews.com on Dec. 19 that if DOD decides to continue using private groups as resources, it will also decide whether a disclaimer should be included when those organizations are cited in DOD training materials.

Christensen did not say whether DOD would agree to meet with members of the coalition concerned about religious freedom in the military to discuss their concerns.

The Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition, a group of 23 non-profit organizations, sent their letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Dec. 6.

The coalition--which includes the Family Research Council, the Center for Military Readiness, and the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty--told Hagel it came together because “[b]y the beginning of this summer a number of events had occurred that raised concerns about the status of religious liberties enjoyed by America’s military personnel.”  (See Coalition Letter.pdf)

A report produced by the Family Research Council (FRC) cites numerous examples over the last six years of members of the military being targeted by the Defense Department for their religious beliefs.

The letter to Hagel references several cases from the report.

“In his capacity as the informal head of this coalition of like-minded groups, Gen. Boykin wrote to you on October 24, 2013 to express grave concern about equal opportunity (EO) training incidents at Camp Shelby and Fort Hood in which our colleagues at the American Family Association (AFA) were singled out and described as extremists," says the letter. "We believe this categorization was applied to AFA based on materials produced by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, a member of the coalition, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the DOD seeking training materials, including those used by the DOD’s equal opportunity training offices.

One of the training documents released as a result of this FOIA was a Powerpoint presentation, entitled “Extremism & Extremist Organizations," that was used at a March 2012 Pennsylvania Army Reserve Equal Opportunity training presentation. It states, “The number of hate groups, extremists and anti-government organizations in the U.S. has continued to grow over the past three years, according to reports by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

A page in this Powerpoint presentation is entitled “Religious Extremism.” Among a list of radical groups--such as Al Qaeda, the Nation of Islam, and the Ku Klux Klan--are also listed “Evangelical Christianity (U.S./Christian)” and “Catholicism (U.S./Christian).”

The Dec. 6 letter to Secretary Hagel details how the SPLC, which was cited as a source in this DOD presentation, inspired Floyd Corkins, the man who was convicted of domestic terrorism for a shooting attack on the Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, D.C., in 2012. Corkins told authorities he targeted FRC after he found the Christian family advocacy group’s name on a “hate map” on the SPLC’s web site.

“Despite this damning tie between the Southern Poverty Law Center and actual extremists, it is well documented that individual installation EO [equal opportunity] briefings continue to draw upon SPLC data and talking points,” the letter to Hagel states. “That would likely encourage other trainers to use their materials.”

Lt. Commander Christensen responded to a CNSNews.com inquiry about the letter to Hagel in a Dec. 19 email.  Christensen began by saying it would be “inappropriate” for him to speak for Hagel.

“However, I can tell you that the Department is taking four actions,” Christensen said. “First, the Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness has directed the Services to complete a review of their MEO training programs to ensure it comports with policy and guidance.”

“Second, the Department is now reviewing the DEOMI education and training materials for Equal Opportunity Advisors (EOAs) to make certain that, when it applies to DOD policy, it is accurate,” Christensen said. (DEOMI stands for Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute.)

“Third, DEOMI is developing, with coordination by OSD [Office of Secretary of Defense] and the Services, standardized training templates for training topics such as extremism in order to stop individuals from developing their own training materials that are neither approved nor endorsed by the Department or their component,” Christensen said.

“Fourth, OSD is working with DEOMI to determine whether DEOMI should refer to private organizations in DEOMI's training materials and, if so, what disclaimer is appropriate,” the spokesman said.

Christensen said the Defense Department anticipates completing all four actions by mid-January 2014.

Boykin praised the decision to review training materials--with a caveat.

“I’m glad to see that they are taking this seriously,” Boykin told CNSNews.com. “But I reserve my final judgment until I see what action they take.”


Girl Scouts Tweet Story That Touts abortion-lover  as a 'Woman of the Year'

The Girl Scouts of America tweeted a link last month to a Huffington Post article and video panel discussion that praises pro-abortion politician Wendy Davis (D-Texas.)

The Girl Scouts of America tweet on Dec. 18 says, “Is there anyone you’d add to this list? Incredible Ladies Who Should Be Women Of The Year For 2013 http://huff.to/1cPjrlU via @HuffPostWomen.”

The Huffington Post article,  "Incredible Ladies Who Should Be Women of the Year for 2013," includes part of a HuffPost Live video panel discussion, and talks about “which woman was the definitive standard bearer for females in 2013,” and states that “[t]he ladies in contention ran the gamut from Beyonce to Wendy Davis to the millions of intelligent women airing their views on Twitter ....”

The article also notes that education activist Malala Yousafzai, from Pakistan, was among the women whose name was often cited for acknowledgment.

During the discussion, Huffington Post associate women's editor, Emma Gray, when asked who should be woman of the year, says, “Wendy Davis or Beyonce ....”  Moderator Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani then goes on to praise Democrat Wendy Davis, a Texas state senator, saying that her long filibuster in opposition to a pro-life bill was “a great moment, though, in terms of 2013 and women.”

Concerning Davis, "it was an enormous moment, I think, for a lot of women," says Modarressy-Tehrani. "She really did stand up and stand for something, even in her pink sneakers, which many people derided."

Wendy Davis, a Democratic state senator for District 10 in Texas, held an 11-hour filibuster on June 25, 2013 to try to stop legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks (5 months), require abortion offices to meet the same health and safety regulations as a surgical center, and require that a doctor be the one who personally administers abortion-inducing drugs to a patient.

Davis’ filibuster failed and the Texas legislature passed the bill, 97-33, with 5 Democrats voting in favor of the bill and one Republican against.

During her lengthy filibuster, Davis read letters from opponents of the legislation and from one quoted, “We cannot allow the extremist minority, propelled by ignorance, misogyny, hypocrisy, political showboating, and the unconstitutional desire to impose their personal religious views on others to control what women do with their own bodies. … I believe with all my heart that the real sin is not to have an abortion, but to bring into this world a child whom you know you cannot care for properly.”

CNSNews.com contacted the Girl Scouts of America (GSUSA) for comment on their tweet and received this response from Kelly M. Parisi, “Our tweet simply asked our followers to share their opinion about what women should be included in a discussion about women in 2013 initiated by HuffPost Live.  Girl Scouts has not endorsed any politicians. Additionally, in the page we linked to, included is a second hand link.

“Our Twitter bio states that a retweet does not equal an endorsement. Our sharing a link was not to endorse any of the women featured, but to highlight the source's acknowledgement of women who made a mark in 2013. The title of the article was not created by GSUSA, but by the source.

“As the world’s premiere leadership organization for girls, we are charged with developing girls of courage, confidence and character.  We hope that all girls have the courage to make the their voices heard and welcome respectful discourse about what qualities a woman of the year should have.”

The Girl Scouts are a national organization for school-age girls (starting at kindergarten) that currently have 2.3 million girl members. Their mission statement says, “Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.”

The Girl Scouts site says, “Girl Scouting helps girls develop their full individual potential; relate to others with increasing understanding, skill, and respect; develop values to guide their actions and provide the foundation for sound decision-making; and contribute to the improvement of society through their abilities, leadership skills, and cooperation with others.”

The Girl Scouts were founded by Juliette Gordon Low in 1912. Ever since Mrs. Wilson in 1917, First Ladies have been “Honorary National President” of the Girl Scouts. In her role as the current honorary president, Michelle Obama recorded a video promoting volunteering for the Girl Scouts (featured on the Girl Scouts web site.) Mrs. Obama says Girl Scouts volunteers “can show girls that anything is possible and you can inspire them to dream bigger and go further than they ever even imagined.”


A conspiracy is afoot in the Lords to stop Britons having a say about leaving the EU

By Michael Dobbs

Today in the House of Lords, peers will be debating the EU Referendum Bill, which I am introducing. Its objective couldn’t be simpler: some time before the end of 2017, to give the British people a vote on whether to stay in the European Union or to leave. It’s a Bill the people clearly want – demand, even. It passed throughout the House of Commons with a thumping majority. But in the quiet and sometimes sleepy corners of the Lords, a conspiracy is afoot.

Newspaper reports insist that Labour and Lib Dem leaders are meeting to plot how to derail the Bill – not openly by voting it down, but surreptitiously, behind locked doors. Attempting to avoid the blame. Some peers seem to be having their FU moment.

This might seem a little surprising given that in their manifesto the Lib Dems claimed they “remain committed to an In/Out referendum the next time a British government signs up for a fundamental change in the relationship between the UK and the EU”. They’ve always stamped their feet to suggest they support a referendum, but now they’ve got the chance they seem to want only to stamp on my Bill.

There are whispers in the corridors of power of attempts by opponents to talk the Bill out or amend it to oblivion. The people won’t stand for such underhand tactics and neither, I’m sure, will my noble friends.

Labour MPs, in their turn, went to extraordinary lengths to throttle it. They tabled 86 amendments to the Bill, which is so short and simple your shopping list probably takes up more space. They delayed, filibustered, dragged things out. One even resorted to reading out a list of world religions. All to stop you getting a vote.

Some have likened it to the fiendish plots of House of Cards but it’s more like Murder on the Orient Express: a body but no sign of a suspect. One Lib Dem admitted to the BBC: “What they don’t want to do – I don’t think anyone wants to do – is have their fingerprints on the dagger that kills it.”

David Cameron’s approach is different. He wants real change in Europe, a new deal in the EU and then an In/Out referendum by 2017, so that people can have their say once and for all. He’s already made a start. He has been the first prime minister to veto an EU treaty. He has secured a cut to the budget, stopped Britain being part of the bail-out fund, and much more. He wants to carry on doing all this, and then give you a vote. We last had a plebiscite on Europe in 1975. No one below the age of 56 played any part, yet Europe has changed beyond imagination since we joined a Common Market.

We British are not anti-European. We eagerly embraced the Common Market. So why has support for our membership of Europe fallen away? Because we politicians – Conservative as well as the others – have made a mess of it. People have grown disillusioned, as promises have been broken. Mr Cameron is trying to change that.

The debate today is not about whether we should stay in the EU or leave it, but who should make that decision – the political elite or you. It couldn’t be simpler.

I am proud of the House of Lords. It’s a huge privilege to be a member, despite the mice that scamper beneath our feet from behind the ancient panelling. Yet we are an unelected House and it would be utterly reckless to destroy a Bill that seeks to give this historic vote to the people.

The European issue has become a cancer in our system. It has distorted our politics, distracted our efforts. This Bill will be a cure for that. There are some who suggest I don’t have a prayer of getting it through because of the traps that are being laid for it by our opponents, but today the Tory party will be out in force to insist that the people and not an unelected House must have the final say. There will be many decent people who are not Conservatives who will agree. So I am very optimistic.


British Government accused of 'social engineering' over WW1 plans

The government is hit by another row over its plans for the First World War centenary, amid accusations it is "whitewashing" the contributions of white colonial troops, in favour of  black and Asian servicemen

Ministers have been accused of “social engineering” over their plans to mark the centenary of the First World War, by downplaying the role of Australian and New Zealand soldiers in favour of the contribution from New Commonwealth nations.

Critics claim the government is focusing on black and Asian servicemen from other parts of the British Empire, such as India, as well as Caribbean and West African nations, at the expense of the Anzac forces, along with those from Canada and South Africa.

They have accused British ministers of “political correctness” and a “whitewashing” of history.

It is the latest First World War row to embroil the government ahead of the centenary of the outbreak this summer.

Earlier this month, Michael Gove, the education secretary, triggered a political argument over who was to blame for starting the war, prompting interventions from, among others, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, as well as Tristram Hunt, the shadow education secretary, and Boris Johnson, the mayor of London.

The latest row follows a briefing to Australian journalists by Whitehall officials that no events were being planned to mark their country’s contribution and that internal discussions on the plans do not mention Australia or New Zealand. The briefing disclosed, instead, that officials were concentrating on promoting the role played by so-called New Commonwealth countries, those which achieved independence since 1945.

The countries singled out for promotion were India, Bangladesh and Nigeria, along with other west African nations. The reports state that this is to promote “community cohesion” in the UK.

The government source said: “There has been no mention of old Commonwealth Allies like Australia or New Zealand but more interest in celebrating the role from New Commonwealth countries. I think it’s fair to say Commonwealth ties are being frayed a little on this one.”

It has led to accusations in Australia of “blatant politicisation” of the anniversary, with the UK government accused of attempting to win “political and economic favour in multicultural Britain”.

Col Richard Kemp, a former officer in the British army and commentator, said: “This seems to be an attempt by the Government to use the centenary as a means of trying to appease large numbers of immigrants. But it shouldn’t be an exercise in political correctness or social engineering.

“Countries such as India and those in West Africa did make a significant contribution and we should certainly remember that. But we should not do so in the place of Australia and New Zealand.

“The contribution of those two countries, along with Canada and South Africa, towards the Allied victory was huge and they fought incredibly bravely, and made very, very immense sacrifices. “There should be a proper reflection that we owe our liberty, to a large extent, to them.”

Murray Rowlands, an British writer on the war, who was raised in New Zealand, said the contribution from the two Australasian nations “needs recognition”.

“There is nothing in David Cameron’s program of commemoration that mentions these countries. I have seen nothin on Canada or South Africa either. The old empire is being overlooked.” he said.

A total of 62,000 Australians and 18,000 New Zealanders died in the First World War. Canada and Newfoundland - which was then separate - lost around 67,000 men, and South Africa, around 12,000 killed. British India, meanwhile, lost 74,000 men. Deaths from other British colonies have been put at 35,000.

The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs) fought, most notably, during the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign, in 1915, when an assault was launched on the Ottoman Empire, in what is now Turkey. Despite its failure, the campaign is seen as an important step in the development of a national consciousness in Australia.

There was also notable contributions from the countries on the Western Front, and in other theatres, for instance, the Gaza campaign.

The Department For Culture, Media and Sport, which is coordinating the centenary plans, confirmed there were no plans to have any specific events recognising Australia’s contribution.

However, a spokesman denied accusations of a “whitewash”, adding: “The UK will be commemorating the huge contribution and sacrifices made by members of Armed Forces from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and other Commonwealth countries and Allies in a wide range of centenary events throughout the 2014-2018 period.

“Helen Grant, Minister with responsibility for the First World War commemorations recently met the High Commissioners from New Zealand and Australia to discuss our plans. We are clear that Britain could not have prevailed without the contribution of our Commonwealth partners and our plans for the centenary will fully reflect that.”



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 January, 2014

Do rich people really think they are superior?

By Matthew Hutson (Who says of himself:  " In high school I was voted most philosophical and best hair. I live in New York City, where I am an atheist and a magical thinker)

Although Hutson is a psychologist who should know better, the whole point of the article below  is to downplay the importance of genetic inheritance.  No doubt he yearns for Stalin's "New Soviet man", whom Leftists hoped to mould into anything.

In the second paragraph he put up the straw man that all differences in economic success are a reflection of IQ.  But nobody claims that.  We all know that there are a multitude of factors  -- some inborn and some not  -- which determine how much money you will make.  But that does not erase IQ as an impoortant starting point for success.

He does however have a new swear word to amuse us:  "Essentialism".   Essentialists think they can explain important differences between people.  Why that is bad he does not really address.  I would think that looking for explanations of things is what scientists do.  But according to Hutson it is the vague and clueless who are the good guys (non-essentialists).  Not surprisingly, he reports that the vague and clueless tend to be lower class.

The bulk of the article boils down to an extended value judgement centred around this "essentialism" construct.  I have just shown  that the characteristic could be seen as a good thing.  He says it is a bad thing.  So all we have from the article are some tendentious  value judgments.

So it is no surprise to see the article conclude with a trite comment that your circumstances as well as your inheritance affect your success in life.  But it took a lot of hot air to get to that simple point.

London's mayor, Boris Johnson, drew criticism late last year for saying that economic inequality can be attributed, in part, to IQ. "I am afraid that [the] violent economic centrifuge [of competition] is operating on human beings who are already very far from equal in raw ability," he told an audience at the Centre for Policy Studies.

That's a satisfying worldview for someone who is successful and considers himself unusually bright. But a quick look at the data shows the limitations of raw smarts and stick-to-itiveness as an explanation for inequality. The income distribution in the United States provides a good example. In 2012 the top 0.01 percent of households earned an average of $10.25 million, while the mean household income for the country overall was $51,000. Are top earners 200 times as smart as the rest of the field? Doubtful. Do they have the capacity to work 200 times more hours in the week? Even more doubtful. Many forces out of their control, including sheer luck, are at play.

But say you're in that top 0.01 percent-or even the top 50 percent. Would you want to admit happenstance as a benefactor? Wouldn't you rather believe that you earned your wealth, that you truly deserve it? Wouldn't you like to think that any resources you inherited are rightfully yours, as the descendant of fundamentally exceptional people? Of course you would. New research indicates that in order to justify your lifestyle, you might even adjust your ideas about the power of genes. The lower classes are not merely unfortunate, according to the upper classes; they are genetically inferior.

In several experiments published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Michael Kraus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Dacher Keltner of the University of California at Berkeley explored what they call social class essentialism. Essentialism is the belief that surface differences between two groups of people or things can be explained by differences in fundamental identities. One sees categories as natural, discrete, and stable. Dogs have a certain dogness to them and cats a certain catness.

Researchers have found that people hold essentialist beliefs about generally biological categories such as gender, race, and sexuality, as well as about more cultural ones such as nationality, religion, and political orientation. Essentialism leads to stereotyping, prejudice, and a disinclination to mingle with outsiders. Kraus and Keltner wanted to know if we see social class as an essential category.

They started by developing a scale for measuring essentialistic beliefs about class. A diverse group of American adults rated their endorsement of such statements as "I think even if everyone wore the same clothing, people would still be able to tell your social class," and "It is possible to determine one's social class by examining their genes." On average, people rated the items a 3.43, where 1 means completely disagree and 7 means completely agree.

Participants also gave a subjective rating, from 1 to 10, of their own social class rank within their community, based on education, income, and occupational status. The researchers found that higher social class was associated with greater social class essentialism. This pattern remained even after controlling for political orientation as well as objective measures of a participant's income and education level, indicating that it's one's senseof being above or below others, not one's actual resources, that drives the result.

Kraus and Keltner looked deeper into the connection between social class and social class essentialism by testing participants' belief in a just world, asking them to evaluate such statements as "I feel that people get what they are entitled to have." The psychologist Melvin Lerner developed just world theory in the 1960s, arguing that we're motivated to believe that the world is a fair place. The alternative-a universe where bad things happen to good people-is too upsetting. So we engage defense mechanisms such as blaming the victim-"She shouldn't have dressed that way"-or trusting that positive and negative events will be balanced out by karma, a form of magical thinking.

Kraus and Keltner found that the higher people perceived their social class to be, the more strongly they endorsed just-world beliefs, and that this difference explained their increased social class essentialism: Apparently if you feel that you're doing well, you want to believe success comes to those who deserve it, and therefore those of lower status must not deserve it. (Incidentally, the argument that you "deserve" anything because of your genes is philosophically contentious; none of us did anything to earn our genes.)

Higher-class Americans may well believe life is fair because they're motivated to defend their egos and lifestyle, but there's an additional twist to their greater belief in a just world. Numerous researchers have found that upper-class people are more likely to explain other people's behavior by appealing to internal traits and abilities, whereas lower-class individuals note circumstances and environmental forces. This matches reality in many ways for these respective groups. The rich do generally have the freedom to pursue their desires and strengths, while for the poor, external limitations often outnumber their opportunities. The poor realize they could have the best genes in the world and still end up working at McDonald's. The wealthy might not merely be turning a blind eye to such realities; due to their personal experience, they might actually have a blind spot.

There is a grain to truth to social class essentialism; the few studies on the subject estimate that income, educational attainment, and occupational status are perhaps at least 10 percent genetic (and maybe much more). It makes sense that talent and drive, some portion of which are related to genetic variation, contribute to success. But that's a far cry from saying "It is possible to determine one's social class by examining his or her genes." Such a statement ignores the role of wealth inheritance, the social connections one shares with one's parents, or the educational opportunities family money can buy-not to mention strokes of good or bad luck (that are not tied to karma).

One repercussion of social class essentialism is a lack of forgiveness for criminals and cheaters. In one of Kraus and Keltner's experiments, subjects read one of two fake scientific articles: One reported that we genetically inherit our work ethic, intelligence, and ultimately our socioeconomic status; the other held that socioeconomic status has no genetic basis. Then the participants read scenarios about someone cheating on an academic exam and rated how much they endorsed various punishments, including "restorative" ones such as community service and ethics training. Those who read the essay supporting essentialism showed more resistance to restorative punishments. "When people cheat the academic system they unfairly ascend the social class hierarchy," Kraus says. Some of us might attribute a cheater's seeming subpar intelligence or preparation or integrity to upbringing and see room for improvement. An essentialist will see bad genes. And if you think people can't change, then there's no use in trying to help them.

Kraus and Keltner think social class essentialism (and the historically even more harmful race essentialism) might push our justice system toward giving certain people long prison sentences instead of chances at rehabilitation. Spreading the notion that social categories are constructed could counteract the belief that lower-class people's behavior is genetically determined, and it could also lead to greater support for drug treatment programs, affirmative action, Head Start, an increased minimum wage, and multiple other causes benefiting the less affluent.

Social class essentialism is basically inciting social Darwinism. This distortion of Darwin's theory of evolution, in one interpretation, is the belief that only the fit survive and thrive-and, further, that this process should be accepted or even accelerated by public policy. It's an example of the logical fallacy known as the "appeal to nature"-what is natural is good. (If that were true, technology and medicine would be moral abominations.) Social class essentialism entails belief in economic survival of the fittest as a fact. It might also entail belief in survival of the fittest as a desired end, given the results linking it to reduced support for restorative interventions. It's one thing to say, "Those people can't change, so let's not waste our time." It's another to say, "Those people can't change, so let's lock them away." Or eradicate them: Only four years ago, then-Lt. Gov. of South Carolina Andre Bauer told a town hall meeting that poor people, like "stray animals," should not be fed, "because they breed."

Kraus' even more recent work, not yet published, goes beyond what high-status individuals believe in order to maintain the status hierarchy and explores what they do. Consider Congress. Members' median net worth, in 2011, was $966,000. "They're quite wealthy individuals," Kraus says. "And because they're wealthy they're likely to engage in not only these essentialistic [mental] processes, but these people actually have power to enact laws to maintain inequality." A top adviser to the U.K.'s education secretary just produced a report arguing that "discussions on issues such as social mobility entirely ignore genetics." He claimed that school performance is as much as 70 percent genetic and criticized England's Sure Start program as a waste of money. (As Scott Barry Kaufman, an intelligence researcher at NYU and the author ofUngifted, points out, "Since genes are always interacting with environmental triggers, there is simply no way to parse how much of an individual child's performance is due to nature or nurture.")

It may be easy to demonize upper-class politicians as out of touch. But given how easily Kraus and Keltner triggered social class essentialism in everyday Americans, and given the frequency with which we toss around terms like white trash, redneck, welfare queen, and (across the pond) chav, we might want to question the degree to which we all see status as a marker of a deeper identity. If you were born under other circumstances, your resume  might look very different. Privilege is often invisible, especially one's own.


A church of hate

An open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Justin Welby

I read with interest your Christmas Day sermon, in which you said:

`The Christian meaning of Christmas is unconditional love received, love overflowing into a frequently love-lost world.'

I wonder how you reconcile this with the fact that one of your churches, St James's Piccadilly, chose Christmas to turn itself into a church of hate?

As I am sure you know only too well, this church spent eight months preparing its Christmas stunt, the erection of an 8 metre-tall, 30 metre-long replica of the Israeli `wall' that it claims surrounds Bethlehem and imposes `desperate hardship' on the town's inhabitants.

Although the church acknowledges in passing that the original purpose of this `wall' was `to protect Israeli citizens from terrorism', it suggests instead that its only result has been to oppress and harass innocent Palestinians. The inevitable effect of this wholly mendacious and malevolent travesty will be to incite hatred against Israel and all who support its defence against the war of extermination being perpetrated against it. 

St James's has put out a pious statement that it:  `. opposes all forms of racism including antisemitism and supports the right of the State of Israel to exist with secure internationally recognised borders'.

I'm afraid this really is the most nauseating cant.

If this church were really concerned to stop antisemitism and allow Israel to live in peace with its neighbours, it would have acknowledged that Palestinian children are being routinely taught to hate and murder Israelis (see this or this for example).

If this church really supported Israel's right to exist within secure borders, it would have acknowledged the refusal by Mahmoud Abbas (leave aside Hamas) ever to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state; or the repeated Palestinian attempts to attack and murder Israelis, too many of which have been all too successful.

But the church made no mention of any of this. Instead, its `wall' stunt is based on an eye-watering collection of the most vicious and blatant lies and distortions. Here are some truths it has omitted:

*      The `wall' does not surround Bethlehem.

*      For most of its length it is not a wall at all but a simple chain link fence.

*      It has been constructed not to oppress Palestinians but solely to prevent Israelis from being murdered by Arabs.

*      This security barrier has had to be built as a wall alongside one area of Bethlehem because a fence here - cheek by jowl with Jerusalem -- would be insufficient to prevent the very real threat of some of its inhabitants murdering large numbers of Israelis.

*      The undoubted hardships caused by this barrier are solely the result of the ever-continuing attempts by some of those living behind it to murder yet more Israelis.

*      Since this security barrier was constructed, the number of Israelis murdered in terrorist attacks has decreased by some 70 per cent - while the number of attempted attacks remains high.

Those like St James's Church who want the barrier to be demolished thus inescapably imply that they are indifferent to the murder of Israelis. Is this what you meant, Archbishop, by

`unconditional love received, love overflowing into a frequently love-lost world'?

There are other glaring omissions and distortions. The church makes no mention of the fact that, as shown here, Rachel's Tomb, one of Judaism's holiest sites which is very near Bethlehem and where many attacks have taken place against Jewish worshippers, really has been walled off and turned into a kind of fortress - to protect Jews from further attacks by Arabs.

It unaccountably makes no mention of the fact that, while the Christians of the Middle East are - as you said in your sermon and as Michael Curtis details here - being persecuted and murdered, the only country in the region where Christians are thriving and increasing, in a society that allows them total freedom of worship, is Israel.

It unaccountably makes no mention of the fate of the Christians of Bethlehem and other areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, detailed here in The Commentator by Steve Apfel:

`One of the few Arab Christians who has dared to break the silence is Pastor Reverend Naim Khoury of the Bethlehem Baptist Church. At the risk of his life he notes that animosity towards the Christian minority in areas controlled by the PA has worsened and that, "people are always telling Christians, convert to Islam." Khoury may have lived to tell the tale, but he moved Palestinian leaders to close down his Bethlehem church.'

St James's makes no mention of any of this. Instead, from tomorrow it will host a hate-fest of anti-Israel activists and personalities, whose contribution to the store of love and truth in the world is described by Richard Millett here.

Israel is currently the victim of a mind-bending campaign of demonisation and delegitimisation based on falsehoods, libels and gross distortions. Your church, Archbishop, has now become part of this sinister and wicked attempt to exterminate a country by reversing truth and lies in the minds of decent people.

You surely do not need me to tell you that this anti-Israel bigotry in your church - going far beyond St James's, Piccadilly - is infused by a revival of the ancient Christian calumny that the Jews have forfeited God's love and all the promises he made to them on account of their refusal to believe in Jesus, as a result of which they were to be considered in league with the devil.

This terrible doctrine of `supersessionism', which was responsible for centuries of Christian persecution and mass murder of the Jews, has become resurgent in recent years through the influence of Palestinian Christians who have attempted to rewrite the Bible as a lexicon of hate to further the cause of Palestinianism. To that end, they have attempted to airbrush the Jews out of their own history, while seeking to appropriate the Christian story itself by depicting Palestinians as suffering the torments of Jesus. Cashing in on this trend, Mahmoud Abbas ludicrously referred in his own Christmas message to Jesus - the Jew from Judea -- as a Palestinian.

The influence upon your Church, Archbishop, of this virulent cocktail of ancient theological bigotry and exterminatory Palestinianism cannot be exaggerated.

In a climate in which every Jewish communal or religious event, every Jewish school and institution in Britain has to be guarded against attack, and in which there is a direct correlation between the emotive lies told about Israel and attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions, for one of your churches to lend itself to such incitement is simply obscene.

The `wall' is of course a stunt. But the damage it has done to the Church of England is immense. Because what it does is put the Church on the side of lies and hatred against truth and justice. It has put the Church of England on the side of evil.

The only purpose of Israel's security barrier is to save life and prevent mass murder. The only purpose of the St James's Church `Bethlehem Unwrapped' stunt is to stir up hatred.

To stay silent is to make the rest of the Church an accessory to this obscenity. I therefore trust that you will take all necessary steps to counter the calumny promulgated by St James's and prevent the stain upon the wider Church from now spreading.


Ban immigrants claiming benefits for TWO YEARS, says Boris Johnson weeks after the government extended it to three months

Immigrants should be banned from claiming benefits in Britain for two years, Boris Johnson declared today in a direct challenge to government policy.

Weeks after the David Cameron rushed through new laws to extend the ban to three months, the London Mayor said a much longer limit was needed to stop Britain being seen as a 'magnet' for people from poor parts of Europe.

It comes as a poll shows more than three-quarters of British people want to see a cut in immigration.

The government is under pressure after restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians working in Britain were lifted at the start of the year.

Amid rising public anxiety before Christmas, Mr Cameron announced EU migrants will have to wait for at least three months before they can claim any out-of-work benefits under emergency regulations which took effect from January 1.

EU migrants had been able to start claiming jobseeker's allowance and other benefits within weeks of arriving - prompting concern that some people are arriving, signing on and only then looking for work.

But today Mr Johnson claimed the Prime Minister's curbs were too weak and failed to send out a clear message that Britain was not open to benefit claimants.

Taking questions on his monthly radio phone-in, Mr Johnson told LBC 97.3: 'Where I think the Prime Minister is completely right is to say, look, we don't want to be slamming up the drawbridge, being completely horrible to people.

'If you want to come and work here, you can do that, but there should be a period before which you can claim all benefits and it seems entirely reasonable to me, that they should extend that to two years.'

He went on: 'My general view on this is get a grip on illegal immigration, crack down on that, restore confidence to the system, I think very largely the Government is doing that, has done that.

'But number two, be realistic about the way Britain acts as a magnet for people whose benefit systems in their own countries are much, much less generous and put in measures to stop us acting us such a magnet, such as extending the period before which you can qualify.'

Britain has become embroiled in a war of words with Poland over access to child benefit for migrants.

Mr Cameron insisted it was wrong that the British taxpayer is giving cash to 40,000 children who live elsewhere in the European Union, and vowed to stop it.

He warned stopping the export of benefits across the EU would `take time' because a deal would need to be struck with other member states or wait for the new treaty he hopes to negotiate if he is still Prime Minister after the next election.

The plan was backed by Mr Johnson, who said: 'Why should British taxpayers be paying the child benefit of people who may be working in Britain but whose children are living in Poland.

'Now, the payment of benefits, your system for paying benefits, actually, is one of those areas under EU law that is devolved to government.

'We have freedom to decide this, we can decide who qualifies for child benefit, you've just seen the Government's just changed the rules, there's no reason, in my view, why that anomaly should not be corrected.  Nick Clegg said "oh, you can't do that" - well, why not? Why can't you do that?'


New soft justice disgrace in Britain: Half of child sex attackers, arsonists and burglars avoid a prison term

Tens of thousands of criminals escape jail every year despite being found guilty of horrific offences, figures reveal.

Sex attackers and child abusers routinely walk from court, despite ministers' promises to end soft justice.

About half of burglars, people convicted of plotting murder and those who have sex with children aged under 13 escape custodial sentences.

The same is true of three quarters of those found guilty of cruelty to a child or death by reckless driving. Almost all those found guilty of drugs possession escape jail.

Among those found guilty but not handed prison terms in 2012 were 69 rapists, 1,147 convicted of sexual assault, 736 arsonists, 77 kidnappers and 162 who caused death by reckless driving.

Attempted murderers and those convicted of manslaughter also walked from court last year.

The figures were uncovered by Labour justice spokesman Sadiq Khan following a parliamentary question. They show that of almost 200,000 criminals convicted of serious offences, just 52,000 were jailed. Of these, just 6,715 were sentenced to more than four years behind bars.

Hundreds of child abusers escaped justice. Of those who had sex with a child under 16, more than 300 walked. The same was true for 107 who had sex with a child under 13.
Labour suggested that the reluctance to send some serious offenders to jail could be linked to a desire to save money

Labour suggested that the reluctance to send some serious offenders to jail could be linked to a desire to save money

Some 48 found guilty of abducting a child - over half  the total - escaped jail, along with almost a quarter of kidnappers and those convicted of false imprisonment.

Some 11,005 burglars avoided jail, as did half of those found guilty of sexual assault, leaving 1,147 back on the streets.

Just 262 sex attackers received jail terms longer than four years, with those who assault a man more likely to be locked up than those who attack women.

Astonishingly, 69 rapists were not jailed, 6 per cent of the 1,145 total convicted.

Thirteen people who committed manslaughter were not jailed, and nor were four found guilty of attempted murder.

Just 27 per cent of those who caused death by dangerous driving were given prison sentences along with 46 per cent of arsonists, while just 40 per cent of joyriders and car thieves went to jail.

Tory MP Priti Patel said: `Once again we see the criminal justice system letting down victims of serious crimes because the courts are too soft on paedophiles and other horrendous criminals. We need strong deterrents and that means tougher sentences.'

Another Conservative MP, Douglas Carswell, blamed the presence of Liberal Democrats in the coalition government for the sentencing figures.

`The people who run the system are more interested in rehabilitation than punishment,' he said. `A proper Conservative government would understand those problems and do something about it. Unfortunately we've got [Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander] at the heart of this government who seem to veto anything that looks like proper Conservative policy.'

Mr Khan suggested violent criminals were let off because British prisons are almost full. Figures for the last week of 2013 show all but 1,561 of 85,953 prison places were filled. `Victims of crime need confidence that those guilty of these serious crimes are properly punished,' Mr Khan said. `There is a concern that one of the reasons for so many non-custodial sentences for serious offences is to save money.

`This government needs to get a grip on this, and ensure that dangerous and violent crimes are properly dealt with.'

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling replied: `Since 2010 those who break the law are more likely to go to prison for longer, and we are continuing to overhaul sentencing to ensure that the toughest measures are available to the courts. I'll take no lessons on being tough on crime from a Labour Party that let thousands of criminals out of prison early because they hadn't provided enough places; who let thousands of offenders off with a slap-on-the-wrist caution instead of proper punishment; and who, to add insult to injury, failed to get any money from prisoners' earnings for their victims.

`Under Labour's watch, reoffending rates simply remained the same, and they had no idea what they were going to do about it. Our reforms will help criminals away from a life of crime - and help them stay away from it.'



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

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

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


9 January, 2014

Multicultural medical care in Britain from Muslim doctor

A mother listened to an answerphone message recording the final moments of her daughter - who was sent home by a GP who `wouldn't give her the time of day'.

The walk-in-centre doctor carried out a `substandard' examination on 20-year-old Evelyn Purchase, failing to notice that she had pneumonia, a coroner ruled.

Barely 36 hours later, and as the arts student lay dying in bed, she tried to call her mother Tara but was forced to leave a message on her mobile.

Speaking yesterday, Miss Purchase said: `Evelyn was still poorly the day after her trip to the doctor, which was my birthday, and she decided to stay at home while I went out with her sister, Dana.

`We came home and I went to check on Evelyn, and found her  lifeless in her bedroom, clutching the phone.  `My heart broke in two and I will never get over it.  `I later realised I had a voicemail message and when I listened to it, I realised that Evelyn had tried to call me and I could hear her dying in the message.  `She has left a huge hole in all of our lives, and we will never get over her death.'

Coroner Robin Balmain said a number of assumptions were made by the doctor about the talented illustrator's condition and that the assessment had been `less than optimal'.

Recording a narrative verdict, he stopped short of saying Evelyn's death could have been prevented.  But he added: `This is a tragedy. This is the death of a young girl at the start of her adult life.

`It seems to me that what went  on during the course of that examination was probably incomplete.' Evelyn, a second year student at Hereford College of Arts, visited a doctor at Holly Hall walk-in centre in Dudley, West Midlands, on April 5 last year, with her mother,  complaining that she felt unwell.

Mahmud Ahmed, who had previously treated Evelyn, diagnosed her with a chest infection and  prescribed antibiotics.  He failed to realise he had already given her two courses of antibiotics which had failed to work.

Believing depression to be the cause of her loss of appetite, he also prescribed anti-depressants - without carrying out a mental health examination.

Dr Ahmed told the inquest: `I did not check her oxygen levels as she was not unduly short of breath. I thought that the infection was not so serious for her to be admitted to hospital.'

Miss Purchase, whose daughter Dana is 16, said: `I will never be able to forgive myself for not being there for her when she needed me. I wish someone had told us how ill she was.

`We begged the doctor to send her for a chest X-ray, but he wouldn't. Evelyn was such a bright, clever young girl and she had her head screwed on.  `She was a shy character who  concentrated on her studies, rarely partied, and she never lost focus of her achieving her ambitions.

`We were incredibly close and she had never been kissed, didn't have a boyfriend because she knew where she wanted to go in life and knew that she required focus to do so.'

The maths and English teacher from Halesowen, who has divorced Evelyn's father David, plans to bring the case before the General Medical Council.

`I'm not saying that she wasn't treated but she was not treated appropriately for her condition and, as a consequence, she died on my bed, in my bedroom, in unbelievably bad circumstances,' she said.  `If she had been placed into  hospital she would have had the opportunity to fight for her life.

`I'd taken Evelyn to a few doctors' appointments in the days before her death and we went to the walk-in centre as her condition severely worsened - but I just feel he didn't have the time of day for us.'

Cause of death at the inquest in Smethwick on Monday was given as extensive bilateral pneumonia with pulmonary abscesses as a  contributing factor.


Israeli Arabs: We Do Not Want to Live in Palestinian State

Renewed talk of land swaps between Israel and a future Palestinian state has left many Israeli Arabs worried about losing their status as citizens of Israel.

According to the Israeli daily Ma'ariv, Israel has proposed to the Americans transferring Israeli Arab communities to the Palestinian Authority as part of a land swap that would place Jewish settlements in the West Bank under Israeli sovereignty.

The proposal means that some 300,000 Israeli Arabs would be allowed to stay in their villages in the "triangle" area along the border with the West Bank. However, these citizens would find themselves living under the jurisdiction of a Palestinian state.

The new-old proposal has been strongly rejected by leaders of the Israeli Arabs, who expressed outrage over the idea.

It was hard this week to find even one Israeli Arab who publicly supported the proposal.

"This is an imaginary proposal that relates to the Arabs as if they were chess pieces that could be moved around according to the wish of the players," said Ahmed Tibi, an Arab member of the Knesset.

Another Arab Knesset member, Afu Ighbarriyeh, said, "Citizens of a democratic state are not tools or hostages in the hands of their government."  Both Tibi and Ighbarriyeh are from towns in the triangle area; Taybeh and Umm al-Fahm.

But what the Arab Knesset members are not saying openly is that they do not want to wake up in the morning and discover that they are citizens of a Palestinian state. It is much easier for them to accuse Israel of racism than to admit that they do not want to be part of a Palestinian state.

A public opinion poll conducted by the Arab Center for Applied Social Research in November 2007 found that more than 70% of Israeli Arabs are opposed to any proposal to annex towns and villages in the triangle area to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for the annexation of the settlements to Israel.

Another poll by Professor Sammy Smooha of the University of Haifa showed that three-quarters of Israeli Arabs believe Arab representatives should deal with daily issues and not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The poll also showed that over the past ten years, Israeli Arabs have become more extreme in their views toward Israel and its Jewish majority.

Professor Smooha said that Israeli Arabs are interested in receiving the benefits that the state provides them - stability, democracy, services and so on. The Arab leadership is more critical of Israel than the Arab public, which is "much more pragmatic than their leaders," he explained.

The Knesset has 120 members, 12 of whom are Arabs. Some of the Arab parliamentarians have over the past two decades acted and spoken in a way that has caused damage to the interests of the 1.5 million Arab citizens of Israel.  They are first and foremost responsible for radicalizing a large number of Israeli Arabs and turning them against the state.

These parliamentarians have, in fact, spent more time defending the interests of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip than those of their voters.

A Knesset member who openly identifies with Fatah or Hamas or Hezbollah is responsible for the situation that many Israeli Jews today see Israeli Arabs as a "fifth column" and an "enemy from within."

These Knesset members are fully aware that they would lose most of their privileges under most Arab regimes -- the real reason why they are strongly opposed to the latest proposal.

The Palestinians have their own parliament in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But this parliament, known as the Palestinian Legislative Council, has been paralyzed since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

In most Arab countries, parliament members who dare to criticize their rulers often find themselves sitting at home or behind bars.

If the Arab Knesset members are so worried about becoming citizens of a Palestinian state, they should be working toward integration into, and not separation from, Israel. The Arab parliamentarians need to listen more to what their constituents are telling them and not to the voices of Fatah and Hamas.


Record support for severe curbs on immigration to Britain

Support for sweeping curbs on immigration to the UK has reached record levels, a major study of public opinion shows.  Almost eight out of 10 Britons now believe that the number of new arrivals should be limited and nearly six in 10 want to see major reductions in the number allowed in.

The numbers advocating a large cut have swelled by more than 40 per cent since before the expansion of the European Union, according to the latest findings from the British Social Attitudes survey, which has been charting public opinion for more than 30 years.

Strikingly, it shows that even among those who believe that immigration has boosted Britain's economy and enriched its culture, clear majorities now want to see it cut.

There is also a sharp divide along class lines, with an elite of highly paid and highly qualified people twice as likely as workers from middle and lower income families to view immigration in positive terms.

Significantly, attitudes have also hardened even among those from immigrant families themselves with less than half now convinced that it is good for the economy and a quarter doubting the cultural benefits.

The findings came as Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, underlined divisions with the Coalition over immigration insisting that the Government "certainly won't achieve" its target of getting numbers below 100,000 before the General Election next year.

Speaking in a BBC documentary, The Truth About Immigration, he described the cap, a flagship Conservative policy, as "not sensible".

In the same programme, Jack Straw, the former Home Secretary, described Labour's estimates of migrant numbers ahead of the main eastward expansion of the EU in 2004 as "completely catastrophic".

And David Blunkett, his successor, admitted that the Blair government had not spelt out likely the full impact because of a "fear of racism".

Nick Robinson, the BBC's political editor, who presents the programme, said at the weekend that the corporation had made a "terrible mistake" in downplaying public concerns over immigration.

The study of more than 3,000 people found that 77 per cent want immigration reduced, with only four per cent favouring an increase.

Fifty six per cent support reducing it "a lot" - a record level. In 1995, when the question was first asked, only 39 per cent supported major reductions and two years ago only 51 per cent did.

Although the number of people believing that immigration benefits the economy is marginally higher than two years ago, it is still a view held by less than a third of Britons, compared with almost half who see it as harmful.

Only one in three Britons believe immigration enriches Britain culturally, against 45 per cent who think it is detrimental.

Significantly, 54 per cent of those who see immigration as good for the economy still want to reduce it, including a quarter who would support severe reductions. Among those who see immigration as culturally beneficial, 55 per cent now support curbs.

Penny Young, chief executive of NatCen Social research, which conducted the study, said other issues not specifically covered by the questions - such as pressure on the NHS or housing - could be at work.

"Reducing immigration is technically about stopping more immigrants coming to Britain so it may well be that people have got to the point where they think that we are `full'," she said.

"They may think that it has been good for the economy or culturally but that if it carries on it may have a problematic effect."

Strikingly, the proportion of first or second generation immigrants who believe migration is good for the economy has slipped below half in the last two years. A quarter of migrants now even doubt that it immigration is even benefiting Britain culturally.

When responses were analysed along class lines, one of the most notable findings is that only a third of those in the top earnings bracket see immigration as bad for the economy compared with around half of those in the middle.

David Cameron has pledged to reduce net migration to the "tens of thousands" rather than hundreds of thousands . But figures published in November show it rose markedly ni the last year and now stands at 182,000.

Aked whether he thought the target was realistic, Mr Cable said: "It's not sensible to have an arbitrary cap because most of the things under it can't be controlled.

"So it involves British people emigrating - you can't control that. It involves free movement within the European Union - in and out. It involves British people coming back from overseas, who are not immigrants but who are counted in the numbers. So setting an arbitrary cap is not helpful, it almost certainly won't achieve the below 100,000 level the Conservatives have set anyway, so let's be practical about it."

Asked whether it was "nonsense", he said: "The idea it should come down to 100,000 is something the Liberal Democrats have never signed up to because we simply regard it as impractical."

Immigration is expected to dominate the agenda in the lead up to the European elections later this year and a General Election next year.

While the UK Independence Party is expected to take votes from the Conservatives over the issue, the study shows that Labour voters are the most sharply divided over immigration.

Similar proportions of Labour voters - roughly four out of 10 - see immigration as helping or harming the economy and Britain's cultural life.

Government estimates a decade ago were that around 13,000 people from Eastern European member states would come to Britain a year. According to the ONS there are now just over a million people from Poland and the seven other countries which joined the EU in 2004 living in the UK.

"The predications were completely catastrophic," Mr Straw told the programme.  "I mean they were wrong by a factor of 10.  "On immigration, it was bluntly a nightmare and it got more and more difficult"

Mr Blunkett addeds that the Treasury was convinced that the economic benefits would outweigh the disadvantages.  "We didn't spell out in words of one syllable what was happening, partly because of a fear of racism" he said.


Nazi Roots of the Knockout Game

Mr. V. Pfeffer a Jewish survivor of Majdanek concentration camp in Poland described a "favorite sport of the SS men was to make a `boxing sack' out of a Jew. This was done in the following way: Two Jews were stood up, one being forced to hold the other by the collar, and an SS man trained giving him a knock-out."

Fast forward to 2013 and the Nazi SS Knockout Game is recycled and open for business.  On November 24, 2013, Shmuel Pearl, an Orthodox Jew, was hit in the face by Amrit Marajh as part of the `Knockout Game'.  Mr. Pearl testified he overheard his attacker talking about the game before the assault.  Amrit Marajh was released on $750 bail which in and of itself is a travesty of justice.

On November 25 Police were investigating a 72 year old woman who was hit in the face while walking to a Brooklyn Jewish community center.

The majority of reported `Knockout Game' attacks are black on white crimes.  However, on November 26, 2013, the Caucasian Conrad Barrett, was charged with a hate crime by the US Department of Justice for punching a 79 year old black man in a `knockout game' style attack.

Attempted Murder

From my sparring days I can tell you a solid punch to the face is no innocent game.

An unaware victim of a punch to the face or head while walking down the street is attempted murder.  The punch itself can easily break the 7 fragile orbital bones surrounding the eye potentially sending bone fragments inside the eye socket causing permanent blindness or permanent disfiguration.

It doesn't take much strength to break or dislocate the jawbone resulting in painful surgery and months of post operative care costing tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical and rehab bills.

Imagine standing upright with your hands tied behind your back and free falling onto a concrete surface.  The potential damage and breakage of bones, shoulders, hips, skulls, and backs are not uncommon.   Just for visual purposes, I want you go into your refrigerator and grab that melon that is about the same size as your head.  With both hands hold the melon even with your head and drop it on your tile floor or outside on the concrete.

As the cowardly criminals are laughing about dropping you in one punch - your head is that melon free falling from 6 feet onto the concrete.  The thud you hear when the melon hits ground is massive soft tissue damage and a guaranteed concussion.  In many cases the trigeminal nerve trunks in the face are damaged resulting in a lifetime of unbearable pain with limited and costly surgical fixes.

These types of serious internal bodily injuries created from a punch to the head and subsequent fall onto hard concrete often results in long term physical ailments lasting years and decades after the attack.  Victim's injuries after the attack rarely if ever make the evening news.

Disruption of Life

In many cases, a victim of this `knockout game' may be unable to work for weeks or months after the attack dealing with medical and rehabilitation issues.  Imagine the financial stress heaped upon your family if you should suddenly lose your primary source of income for 2-3 months or more.

If the victim works in an office they will be lucky if they are not replaced because a fractured jaw alone impedes clear speech and every social aspect required in the normal course of the work day.   Imagine how hard it would be to do your job if your jaw is wired shut.

There is also mental trauma that is more difficult to quantify.  The criminals who engage in this `knockout game' crime statistically prey on those who appear weak and unable to defend themselves.  Now walking down the street becomes a stressful if not a terrifying proposition.  A victims world view changes as they see every person on the street as a potential threat, life is not meant to be lived that way.

Strong Are Supposed To Protect The Weak

The only recourse our society has to combat pre-meditated attacks on innocent pedestrians is incarcerating these predators in prison for a very long time.

A punch to the head is attempted murder.  If you doubt me, Google `Knockout Game' and watch the hundreds of videos.

I was outraged that Amrit Marajh was let out on only $750 bail after punching Shmuel Pearl for no other reason than trying to knock him out in one punch to the head.  Now this piece of garbage Amrit Marajih is walking free but will be smarter and less likely to get himself busted again.


 This `Knockout Game' was practiced in the Nazi SS Concentration Camp guards and is being practiced again on the streets of New York City and across the country.

If `We The People' do not demand our State and Federal Justice systems increase the sentencing for these types of `knockout game' crimes it will have an incremental corrosive effect on our society.

Our Society functions by the rule of law and the fear of being thrown in jail.  Once the criminals no longer fear law enforcement and the judicial system, it is a short slippery slope to chaos and civil unrest.

The mainstream media reports this `knockout game' as a joke and not a very serious crime.  I have proven beyond a shadow of doubt the serious consequences of taking an undefended punch to the head.

The predators who commit these premeditated violent attacks against complete strangers have one objective that has not been reported by the media.

The ultimate objective of the `knockout game' is to kill a man or woman with one punch.  Charging these predators with attempted murder will quickly put an end to this vile practice whose roots are linked to the Nazi concentration death camps of World War 2.



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 January, 2014

Germany started the Great War, but the Left can't bear to say so

In this centennial year, it's more important than ever that we treat the truth with respect

By Boris Johnson

I think Boris is being a little contentious below.  The German declaration of war on Russia was the final nail in the coffin of peace but the actual first strike in the war was the Austrian declaration of war on Serbia.  That itself may not have come to much but for the Tsar  -- who immediately ordered the mobilization of his forces.  It was only that mobilization which caused Germany to declare war.  At the risk of sounding like The Skibbereen Eagle,
I personally blame the Tsar. -- JR

One of the reasons I am a Conservative is that, in the end, I just can't stand the intellectual dishonesty of the Left. In my late teens I found I had come to hate the way Lefties always seemed to be trying to cover up embarrassing facts about human nature, or to refuse to express simple truths - and I disliked the pious way in which they took offence, and tried to shoosh you into silence, if you blurted such a truth.

Let me give you a current example of this type of proposition. It is a sad but undeniable fact that the First World War - in all its murderous horror - was overwhelmingly the result of German expansionism and aggression. That is a truism that has recently been restated by Max Hastings, in an excellent book, and that has been echoed by Michael Gove, the Education Secretary. I believe that analysis to be basically correct, and that it is all the more important, in this centenary year, that we remember it.

That fact is, alas, not one that the modern Labour Party believes it is polite to mention. According to the party's education spokesman, Tristram Hunt, it is "crass" and "ugly" to say any such thing. It was "shocking", he said in an article in yesterday's Observer, that we continued to have this unacceptable focus on a "militaristic Germany bent on warmongering and imperial aggression".

He went on - in a piece that deserves a Nobel prize for Tripe - to mount what appeared to be a kind of cock-eyed exculpation of the Kaiser and his generals. He pointed the finger, mystifyingly, at the Serbs. He blamed the Russians. He blamed the Turks for failing to keep the Ottoman empire together, and at one stage he suggested that we were too hard on the bellicose Junker class. He claimed that "modern scholarship" now believes that we have "underplayed the internal opposition to the Kaiser's ideas within the German establishment" - as if that made things any better.

Perhaps there was some more "internal opposition" to the Kaiser, as Hunt thinks. Whoever they were, these internal opponents, they weren't much blooming use, were they? It was Germany that pushed Austria to make war on Serbia. It was Germany that declared war on Russia, on August 1 1914. It was Germany that decided it was necessary to invade Luxembourg, and it was Germany that deployed the Schlieffen plan (devised in 1905, incidentally) and sent her troops smashing through neutral Belgium and into France.

Why was it necessary to follow up some rumpus in Sarajevo by invading France, for heaven's sake? It wasn't. The driving force behind the carnage was the desire of the German regime to express Germany's destiny as a great European power, and to acquire the prestige and international clout that went with having an empire. That is why Tirpitz kept increasing the size of the German fleet - in spite of British efforts to end the arms race. That's why they tried to bully the French by sending a gunboat to Agadir in 1911.

That, in a nutshell, is why millions died in the trenches of the western front and elsewhere, 15 million in all. It was an even greater tragedy for Germany, and for the world, that within two decades of the end of that conflict there should arise another German leader who decided to revive what was essentially the same military/political objective - a massive expansion of German influence in Europe and beyond; and though Hitler was admittedly even more nasty and militaristic than the Kaiser, it was no coincidence that he used a very similar plan: first take out France and the Low Countries, then go for Russia.

In both wars, huge numbers of British people, military and civilian, lost their lives in the struggle to frustrate these deranged ambitions. They were, in essence, fighting on the right side, and it should not be forbidden to state that fact. The Second World War arose inexorably out of the first, and in both wars I am afraid the burden of responsibility lies overwhelmingly on German shoulders. That is a fact that we should not be forbidden from stating today - not just for the sake of the truth, but for the sake of Germany in 2014.

Hunt is guilty of talking total twaddle, but beneath his mushy-minded blether about "multiple histories" there is what he imagines is a kindly instinct. These wars were utterly horrific for the Germans as well as for everyone else, and the Germans today are very much our friends. He doesn't want the 1914 commemorations to pander to xenophobia, or nationalism, or Kraut-bashing; and I am totally with him on that.

We all want to think of the Germans as they are today - a wonderful, peaceful, democratic country; one of our most important global friends and partners; a country with stunning technological attainments; a place of incomparable cultural richness and civilisation. What Hunt fails to understand - in his fastidious Lefty obfuscation of the truth - is that he is insulting the immense spiritual achievement of modern Germany.

The Germans are as they are today because they have been frank with themselves, and because over the past 60 years they have been agonisingly thorough in acknowledging the horror of what they did. They don't try to brush it aside. They don't blame the Serbs for the 1914-18 war. They don't blame the Russians or the Turks. They know the price they paid for the militarism of the 20th century.

They don't try to mitigate, palliate, or spread the blame for the conflict. They tried that in the Thirties, and they know that way lies madness. The Germans know the truth about the world wars, and their role. They have learnt, and they have changed. It would be a disaster if that truth became blurred today. I can hardly believe that the author of this fatuous Observer article is proposing to oversee the teaching of history in our schools.

If Tristram Hunt seriously denies that German militarism was at the root of the First World War, then he is not fit to do his job, either in opposition or in government, and should resign. If he does not deny that fact, he should issue a clarification now.


Buffering out the right to hear

by Jeff Jacoby

 EVIDENCE THAT misery doesn't love company is common at pro-life gatherings, where women holding poignant signs - "I Regret My Abortion" - urge others not to make a mistake that haunts them.

As the US Supreme Court prepares to hear a constitutional challenge to the Massachusetts abortion-clinic "buffer zone" law this month, the justices are being reminded that the First Amendment protects more than just a speaker's right to express ideas. It also protects a listener's freedom to hear those ideas. Stifling that freedom near abortion clinics can mean - as 12 women argue, from personal experience, in a compelling friend-of-the-court brief prepared by Carrie Severino of the Judicial Education Project - that individuals in a crisis pregnancy are denied essential information at the moment they may need it most.

There is nothing eccentric about the idea that the Constitution shields the right to receive information. "The dissemination of ideas can accomplish nothing if otherwise willing addressees are not free to receive and consider them," wrote Justice William Brennan in 1965. "It would be a barren marketplace of ideas that had only sellers and no buyers."

But the practical effect of the Massachusetts law, which forces pro-life protesters, advocates, and counselors to stay at least 35 feet away from the entrance to any abortion clinic, is to make a reasonable exchange of ideas extremely difficult, if not impossible. The law, signed by Governor Deval Patrick in 2007, makes no allowance for peaceful or quiet protest. It doesn't permit an individual to simply stand in silence, holding a sign or offering pamphlets. It forbids approaching even a willing listener who would like to hear - who might be desperate to hear - about a realistic alternative to abortion. The 35-foot boundary is marked with paint, and anyone who steps over it can be arrested, prosecuted, and sentenced to as much as 2« years in prison.

Anyone, that is, except for "employees and agents" of the abortion clinic. They're exempted from the buffer law, and can approach pregnant women or prospective patients at will. Planned Parenthood, for example, deploys official "escorts" at its large Boston facility. They function, in Planned Parenthood's description, "like ushers in a theater: They help people figure out where to go and keep foot traffic moving."

Meanwhile, prolife advocates are kept so far away that they have to call out to be heard - they can't initiate a normal conversation, in a gentle voice with a reassuring smile. Yelling from a distance is rarely a good way to engage in a respectful dialogue about anything with anyone. It is surely not the best way to offer support and empathy to a woman on the point of getting an abortion. Even someone deeply ambivalent or anxious about ending her pregnancy is unlikely to respond well to messages shouted from 35 feet away.

The result, not surprisingly, is that sidewalk counselors like Eleanor McCullen, the 76-year-old lead plaintiff challenging the Massachusetts law, are far less successful than they used to be at persuading women to consider alternatives to destroying their unborn baby. That, in turn, means more abortions - and more women who end up regretting them.

Women such as Paula Lucas-Langhoff, whose story is one of those recounted in Severino's amicus brief.  Pregnant at 19, she was under pressure by her boyfriend to get an abortion. But the prospect filled her with trepidation. "The night before the abortion, I wandered the neighborhood looking for someone, anyone, that I could talk to who could help," she recalls. She had been assured by the abortion clinic staff that the procedure would be "easy"; in fact it was physically excruciating and emotionally traumatizing.

"I would give anything to change the past," Lucas-Langhoff tells the court in her sworn statement. "If pro-life counselors had been outside the abortion clinic that evening, my child would be alive today, but I was too young and frightened to know what to do. . . . My baby died because I was alone and had no one to help me."

Abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood insist that "most women ultimately feel relief after an abortion." But there are many women who are left with lifelong regrets, and who assert that they would never have chosen to have an abortion if only, at that last, critical moment, they could have received a different message. The Constitution protects their right to receive that message - whether the Commonwealth of Massachusetts likes it or not.


A very sick woman

She appears to be unaware that most women enjoy sex.  Her term  PIV stands for "Penis in vagina"

Just to recall a basic fact: Intercourse/PIV is always rape, plain and simple.

This is a developed recap from what I've been saying in various comments here and there in the last two years or so. as a radfem I've always said PIV is rape and I remember being disappointed to discover that so few radical feminists stated it clearly. How can you possibly see it otherwise? Intercourse is the very means through which men oppress us, from which we are not allowed to escape, yet some instances of or PIV and intercourse may be chosen and free? That makes no sense at all.

First, well intercourse is NEVER sex for women. Only men experience rape as sexual and define it as such. Sex for men is the unilateral penetration of their penis into a woman (or anything else replacing and symbolising the female orifice) whether she thinks she wants it or not - which is the definition of rape: that he will to do it anyway and that he uses her and treats her as a receptacle, in all circumstances - it makes no difference to him experiencing it as sexual. That is, at the very least, men use women as useful objects and instruments for penetration, and women are dehumanised by this act. It is an act of violence.

As FCM pointed out some time ago, intercourse is inherently harmful to women and intentionally so, because it causes pregnancy in women. The purpose of men enforcing intercourse regularly (as in, more than once a month) onto women is because it's the surest way to cause pregnancy and force childbearing against our will, and thereby gain control over our reproductive powers. There is no way to eliminate the pregnancy risk entirely off PIV and the mitigating and harm-reduction practices such as contraception and abortion are inherently harmful, too. Reproductive harms of PIV range from pregnancy to abortion, having to take invasive, or toxic contraception, giving birth, forced child bearing and rearing and all the complications that go with them which may lead up to severe physical and emotional damage, disability, destitution, illness, or death (See factcheckme.wordpress.com for her work on the reproductive harms of PIV, click on the "intercourse series" page or "PIV" in the search bar). If we compare this to even the crappiest online definition of violence: "behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something". Bingo. It fits: Pregnancy = may hurt, damage or kill. Intercourse = a man using his physical force to penetrate a woman. Intention / purpose of the act of intercourse = to cause pregnancy. PIV is therefore intentional harm / violence. Intentional sexual harm of a man against a woman through penile penetration = RAPE.

If we look at the act in more detail (skip this parag if you can't take it), PIV is a man mounting on a woman to thrust a large member of himself into her most intimate parts, often forcing her to be entirely naked, banging himself against her with the whole weight of his body and hips, shaking her like he would stuff a corpse, then using her insides as a receptacle for his penile dejection. How is this a normal civilised, respectful way to treat anyone? Sorry for the explicit picture, but this is what it is and it's absolutely revolting and violating.


Pentagon’s new warfare: Battle of the sexes

As the armed forces shrink and withdraw from some global hot spots, their agenda for the battle of the sexes grows.

The Pentagon under the Obama administration has devoted considerable hours in public and private to sorting out same-sex relationships, the roles of women in the foxhole and ways to stop sexual assaults. Now, another issue has arisen: gender transformation.

The sexual revolution has some traditionalists wondering whether the Pentagon is taking its eye off the ball — the enemy.

"Every conceivable form of PC is being enforced upon our hard-pressed military with a zeal that only a Russian army zampolit — a political officer — would truly appreciate," said Ken Allard, a retired Army colonel and commentator. "We are seemingly concerned about everything except the most basic thing: how to fight and win the nation's wars. If we have forgotten that constraint, let me assure you that our enemies have not, from the Taliban to the drug cartels to the Iranian Quds Force."

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has made stamping out sex abuse a top priority, having met with President Obama, delivered public statements and appointed a board to recommend fixes.

Meanwhile, the Army, Marine Corps and U.S. Special Operations Command have immersed themselves in surveys and studies to evaluate physical standards for direct ground combat. It's a two-year lead-up to putting women in infantry, tank and commando units.

The process is time-consuming and daunting. The Pentagon has made it clear that it does not want to retain irrelevant standards that women cannot meet — and it wants women introduced into combat units in sizable numbers to develop mentoring and female camaraderie.

"Yes, there is too much focus on social issues in the armed forces driven by external proponents with special interests, focused agendas and, in many cases, lack of knowledge about the armed forces," said retired Gen. Carl Mundy, Marine Corps commandant from 1991 to 1995. "The military services are without question the most open element in our society, and the very nature of that openness, together with the fishbowl in which they exist, make them ripe and easy targets for activists with an agenda."

Women and the Corps

The Marines in particular face a challenge in finding enough women, who make up 7 percent of the Corps. Women account for 14 percent of Army soldiers.

Before retiring as Marine commandant in 2010, Gen. James Conway testified before a congressionally created commission on military diversity. He said he doesn't believe Marine women want to be in land combat.

"I don't think you will see a change because I don't think our women want it to change," Gen. Conway testified. "There are certain demands of officers in a combat arms environment that our women see, recognize, appreciate, and say, 'I couldn't do that. In fact, I don't want to do that because I don't think it best prepares me for success if I am trying to do those things against the male population at lieutenant, captain, major and lieutenant colonel [ranks].'"

"Now that's not to say that we don't have women doing a tremendous job in combat where you have a pretty amorphous environment, no real front lines in a counterinsurgency environment. And their contributions are appreciated and recognized and rewarded," the commandant added.

"In talking to them, I think they feel like that's probably enough. So I don't see the day coming where we would change our culture necessarily and, in the process, go against what I think the vast majority of our women would want to see — stay pretty much like it is."

Since autumn, six female Marine officers have tried to complete the mandatory combat qualification course. All failed or dropped out because of injuries. The Corps now is attempting to compile a checklist of physical attributes that identifies female officers who can perform direct ground combat. It plans to apply the same inventory to enlisted Marine women.

The transgendered soldier

The combat debate was preceded by and now coincides with a running debate on openly serving gays. The Pentagon spent a year preparing every unit for open homosexuals in the ranks. Now it is churning out regulations on gay marriage, authorized leave for same-sex weddings and domestic benefits.

Told of complaints from combat veterans, a Pentagon spokesman said that, in the case of same-sex marriage, the Defense Department is complying with a Supreme Court decision that struck down most of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

"The Department of Defense remains committed to ensuring that all men and women who serve our country, and their families, are treated fairly and equally," the spokesman said. "Expeditious implementation of the decisions announced in Secretary Hagel's memorandum will help the Department remain true to its commitment."

Elaine Donnelly, who runs the Center for Military Readiness, keeps track of the Pentagon's sex-related bureaucracy — and she says it is growing.

Besides a committee that advises the defense secretary on women's issues and a task force devoted to surveying sex-abuse victims, the services themselves are setting up satellite organizations to do the same things.

"There is also a task force that deals with the service academies alone," Ms. Donnelly said. "And lots of individual committees set up within each service, which spend countless hours conducting internal meetings and writing reports.

"Then there are outside contractors such as Rand Corp., and even entertainers who do shows like 'Sex Signals,' which include edgy language and scenarios that are inconsistent with standards of professional propriety," she said.

Now another social debate is emerging. Army Pvt. Bradley E. Manning, convicted of leaking thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, wants to undergo a sex change while serving his sentence at a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. The Army says it does not provide such hormone therapy.

But the gay-rights movement, a big supporter of Mr. Obama, has demanded that the military ranks be open to transgenders as well as gays.

The social focus has emerged amid a military drawdown and retrenchment. The last combat troops left Iraq in December 2011, and most are due to leave Afghanistan next year. Mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration are squeezing a force already slated to shrink.

"It appears to me as if neither the administration nor much of the Congress is focused on military readiness," said retired Army Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, a former Delta Force commando and Pentagon intelligence official. "Yet they tell me that I must sacrifice constitutional liberties in the interest of national security.

"Give that line a rest, because if they care one whit about national security, they would stop the sequestration and social engineering of the most important element of national security."

Military priorities

Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, Army chief of staff, announced in June that he was eliminating 10 brigade combat teams, with an aim of trimming 80,000 soldiers over four years.

The Navy said it lacked the money to send a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, even though the commander in charge requested it.

The Air Force jet fighter inventory has shrunk by more than 500 over the past 10 years to about 2,000 planes as it consolidates units. Retired fighter jocks have taken to calling it a "geriatric Air Force."

Even though women have piloted fighter aircraft for nearly 20 years, Air Combat Command is not immune to the social agenda. It conducted sweeping inspections of work and living spaces to root out any digital or hard-copy material deemed offensive to women.

The week of Aug. 12 illustrated the Pentagon's dual role as war fighter and social engineer: It held a press briefing on the Afghanistan War on Aug. 14. That same day, it announced policies extending benefits to same-sex spouses of service members.

The Pentagon had to work through the circumstance that not all military couples live in states that permit same-sex marriage. The answer: Those personnel will be granted extra leave time to travel to states that allow same-sex weddings.

"We recognize that same-sex military couples who are not stationed in a jurisdiction that permits same-sex marriage would have to travel to another jurisdiction to marry," the Pentagon said. "That is why the department will implement policies to allow military personnel in such a relationship non-chargeable leave for the purpose of traveling to a jurisdiction where such a marriage may occur."

The next day, Aug. 15, top officials briefed the press on sexual assault prevention and response.

That afternoon, the Pentagon put out two statements from Mr. Hagel within seconds of each other.

One dealt with war — the secretary's call to Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as the military cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood. The second: sexual harassment.

"Eliminating sexual assault from the armed forces remains one of the Defense Department's top priorities," Mr. Hagel said.

Said Gen. Mundy: "My greatest concern is the impact on the morale and steadfastness to service among some of the finest and most selfless leaders this nation produces, together with the equally fine young men and women they lead who are barraged with being branded as or tolerating sexual predators or anti-equal opportunity. I cannot help but believe that there is long-term impact on the effectiveness of our armed forces from this in terms of morale, recruiting, retention and public confidence and support."



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 January, 2014

Multicultural home invaders in Britain

Two thieves were caught red-handed when a schoolgirl called police from under a bed when they broke into her home.

Marcus Speirs, 32, and Richard Ansah, 29, broke in to the home in Erdington, Birmingham, by breaking down a back door. They then began searching the property for valuables.

But the burglars hadn't realised a 13-year-old girl and her brother, nine, had run upstairs and grabbed a phone.

The quick-thinking teenager, who was alone in the house with her younger brother, hid under a bed and dialled 999 before Speirs spotted the siblings. When he did he threatened them with a garden hoe.

Police officers arrived at the family home within four minutes of the emergency call and arrested the pair.

Speirs, from Hockley, Birmingham, was charged with aggravated burglary whilst Ansah, from Sutton Coldfield, West Mids., was charged with burglary.

The pair were sentenced to nine years and four years in prison respectively at Birmingham Crown Court on December 20 after admitting the charges.

Speaking after the hearing, West Midlands Police Detective Sergeant Mark Langley, said: 'The young girl showed extreme courage and, crucially, had the awareness to grab a phone and take cover whilst dialling 999.

'She remained calm throughout what was undoubtedly a terrifying incident and was able to clearly and accurately relay details to a police call handler.

'The girl's textbook actions meant we were able to get officers to the scene within four minutes and catch both men in the act.

'These are two dangerous offenders - men who put young children through a shocking ordeal - and they have rightly been handed lengthy terms behind bars.'

The two thieves - one of whom was armed with a metal bar - broke into the address just before 6.30pm on May 7 last year.

The court heard Speirs was the main aggressor who snatched the phone from the 13-year-old girl and threatened her with the garden hoe.  He was later found with the handset when searched in police custody.

Det Sgt Langley, added: 'The evidence against both men was overwhelming and they pleaded guilty at an early stage.  'It meant neither child needed to give evidence - but had they been required to we have special measures in place to assist vulnerable witnesses when giving evidence and officers on hand to guide them through the process.'


Basic principle of Enoch Powell's Rivers of Blood speech was right, says Nigel Farage

There are many people in  Britain today who say: "Enoch was right"

Nigel Farage yesterday said `the basic principle' behind parts of Enoch Powell's notorious Rivers of Blood speech was right.

The Ukip leader was asked if he agreed with a statement about how the `indigenous population found themselves strangers in their own country'.

He said it was true - but appeared thrown when he was told the statement was made by the controversial Tory minister of the 1960s.

The passage from the speech read to Mr Farage was: `The indigenous population found themselves made strangers in their own country, their wives unable to obtain hospital beds in childbirth, their children unable to obtain school places, their homes and neighbourhoods changed beyond recognition.'

Mr Farage said it was true `in a lot of England' - before being told on Sky News that it was part of the 1968 warning of racial violence that led to Mr Powell being sacked from the Tory front bench and politically marginalised.

He said: `Is it? Well, what he was warning about is that if you have a large influx of people into an area that changes an area beyond recognition, there is tension, that basic principle is right.'

Asked if Mr Powell `saw it coming', he replied: `Well no ... for different reasons, for different reasons and on a completely different scale.

`I mean when immigration was being discussed in the 60s and 70s and 80s we were talking about an annual net inflow to the country of between 30,000 and 50,000 people.

`What we have had in the last 13 years is net four million extra migrants who have come to Britain so we are dealing with something now on a scale that hitherto we couldn't even have conceived.'

In 2008, Mr Farage courted controversy by naming Mr Powell as his political hero in an interview and saying the country would be better today if his words had been heeded.  He said at the time: `I would never say that Powell was racist in any way at all.'

Mr Powell, then shadow defence spokesman, had told a Conservative association meeting that Britain was mad to allow in 50,000 dependants of immigrants every year - and compared it to a nation building its own funeral pyre. He said: `Like the Roman, I see the river Tiber foaming with much blood.'

Mr Powell lost his job after the speech, which was denounced by Tory leader Edward Heath [Pansy Ted].


Secret Court orders autistic man's teeth to be removed: Decision 'taken behind closed doors to stop him from self-harming'

An autistic young man had all his healthy teeth removed on the orders of doctors, it was revealed yesterday.

The permanent operation left the man facing the rest of his life subsisting on liquids or forced to use dentures to chew solid food.

The decision to carry out the procedure and inflict a long-term disability was not tested in a court of law or approved by a judge, according to evidence provided by lawyers who work in the secretive and controversial Court of Protection.

Instead it was taken in secret by health workers who said it was necessary to stop the man from harming himself.

The harsh and radical dental operation was disclosed in files presented to a House of Lords committee investigating the Court and the law which gave birth to it, Labour's 2005 Mental Capacity Act.

It follows the scandal last month over the decision of a Court of Protection judge to order a forced caesarean operation on a pregnant Italian woman who had been detained under mental health laws after suffering a breakdown at Stansted airport.

The treatment of Alexandra Pacchieri - whose baby was taken by Essex social workers for adoption in Britain - led to a renewed wave of calls for greater openness in the courts and from social and health workers who take life-changing decisions about families and patients behind closed doors.

The removal of the autistic man's teeth came in a submission to peers by a group of lawyers who work regularly in the Court of Protection, which was set up by Labour's mental capacity law to take decisions on health care and finance for people too ill to decide for themselves.

Led by barrister Victoria Butler-Cole, the lawyers said that among the defects of the law and the Court is `confusion about what counts as serious medical treatment and when health professionals need to go to court to obtain declarations.'

They added: `One example is a case in which an autistic young adult had all his teeth permanently removed to stop him self-harming, without the Court's involvement.'

In keeping with the secrecy surrounding such decisions in the NHS, children's and adult social work departments, and often in the family courts and the Court of Protection, no further details of the incident were discussed in nearly 2,000 pages of evidence which has now been published by the Lords committee.

The lawyers called for a string of reforms to the Mental Capacity Act and the Court of Protection, including changes to the `deprivation of liberty' powers which allow judges to order someone to be detained in a care home.

The Lords committee, which is expected to report this year, was also told about research into the workings of the Act commissioned by the Department of Health, but never publicised.

Researchers from Bristol and Bradford Universities said aspects of the law were `worrying' and criticised the way the Court of Protection decides when someone has no capacity to think for themselves.  They said there was confusion over `the distinction between unwise decisions and a lack of decision making capacity.'

The case of the young man whose teeth were taken out comes after months of growing disquiet at the high-handed and secretive behaviour of Court of Protection judges.

Concerns were raised in April last year after the Daily Mail revealed that a judge had jailed a woman called Wanda Maddocks for contempt of court after she tried to take her father away from a care home where he had been ordered to stay.

Miss Maddocks, who had no lawyer to represent her in court, was imprisoned secretly and no-one was allowed to know her name until the Mail investigated the case.

The most senior family court judge, Sir James Munby, has since ordered that no-one should ever again be jailed in secret.

He is also pressing judges to break the routine Court of Protection secrecy by publishing judgements. New rules are also expected this year to allow greater public access to Court of Protection hearings.


Welby casts out 'sin' from christenings: Centuries-old rite rewritten in 'language of EastEnders' for modern congregation

Parents and godparents no longer have to `repent sins' and `reject the devil' during christenings after the Church of England rewrote the solemn ceremony.

The new wording is designed to be easier to understand - but critics are stunned at such a fundamental change to a cornerstone of their faith, saying the new `dumbed-down' version `strikes at the heart' of what baptism means.

In the original version, the vicar asks: `Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?'

Prompting the reply: `I reject them.' They then ask: `Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?', with the answer: `I repent of them.'

But under the divisive reforms, backed by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and already being practised in 1,000 parishes, parents and godparents are asked to `reject evil, and all its many forms, and all its empty promises' - with no mention of the devil or sin.

The new text, to be tested in a trial lasting until Easter, also drops the word `submit' in the phrase `Do you submit to Christ as Lord?' because it is thought to have become `problematical', especially among women who object to the idea of submission.

The rewritten version - which came after reformers said they wanted to use the language of EastEnders rather than Shakespeare in services - is designed as an alternative to the wording in the Common Worship prayer book, rather than a replacement.

But insiders predict this draft will become the norm for the Church's 150,000 christenings each year if, as expected, it is approved by the General Synod. It may discuss the issue as early as this summer.

But the idea has angered many senior members of the Church, who feel it breaks vital links with baptisms as described in the Bible.

Writing in The Mail on Sunday, former Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali said the reform should be scrapped before it further reduced Christianity to `easily swallowed soundbites'. 

And one senior member of the General Synod, who did not wish to be named, said: `This is more like a benediction from the Good Fairy than any church service.

`The trouble is that large parts of the Church of England don't believe in hell, sin or repentance. They think you can just hold hands and smile and we will all go to Heaven. That is certainly not what Jesus thought.

`There is so much left out that one wonders why do it at all? If you exclude original sin and repentance there is very little substance left.

`It doesn't just dumb the service down - it eviscerates it. It destroys the significance of the rite by watering down the concept of sin and repentance.

'A humanist could say "I renounce evil." If you take out repentance you immediately strike at the heart of the whole idea of needing to be baptised.

`John the Baptist only baptised those who came and were repentant. This rite is saying to people you don't need to be particularly repentant. Just come and join the club.'

Alison Ruoff, a lay member of the General Synod from London, said the new version was `weak and woolly' and lacked conviction.

She said: `By removing all mention of the devil and rebellion against God, we are left to our own vague understanding of what evil might or might not mean.'

The draft was drawn up by the Church's Liturgy Commission to redress fears the current version was too off-putting for lay people who only go to church for baptisms, weddings or funerals.

The Bishop of Wakefield Stephen Platten, who chairs the commission, said repentance was implied in phrases urging people to `turn away from evil', and defended the omission of the devil by saying it was `theologically problematic'.

He said: `We are certainly not dumbing down. Far from it. What we are concerned about is to make sure that people who are coming to baptism understand what is being said.'

Other changes do away with the cleric saying: `Do not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified,' to which the congregation replies: `Fight valiantly as a disciple of Christ against sin, the world and the devil, and remain faithful to Christ to the end of your life.'

The new version - which refers to sin once in an optional prayer -  replaces this with: `Do not be ashamed of Christ. You are his for ever,' to which the congregation answers; `Stand bravely with him.   Oppose the power of evil, and remain his faithful disciple to the end of your life.'

The baptism ceremony had not been altered for more than 400 years until it was changed in 1980. This is the third revision in 30 years.



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

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

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


6 January, 2014

Multiculturalism in an English nightclub

Police investigating the death of a man shot dead inside a nightclub on Boxing Day have released pictures of two people they want to trace.

Hassan Mohammed Omer Isman, 31, from Poplar in east London, died in hospital after suffering multiple gunshot wounds in the West End club.  The incident happened at 3am on December 26 during a private function in Shaftesbury Avenue's Avalon club.

Scotland Yard is appealing for information about Danny Walker, 32, and 30-year-old Gavin Allen.  They believe Allen may have travelled abroad.  Anyone who sees either man is urged not to approach them, but to call police on 999.

A 24-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder remains in custody at an east London police station.

Two men - a 31-year-old and a 34-year-old - arrested on suspicion of murder have been bailed to a date in mid-February, pending further enquiries.

The Avalon Soho describes itself as a cocktail lounge with live DJs every night.

Its website says it is 'a revitalised venue that oozes creativity and class' which brings 'a unique and stylish vibe to the heart of the West End's party scene'.

A DJ who was at the event tweeted: 'RIP to the person who lost his life last nite in front of me.  'I don't know who you are but I wish god has taken you into his hands.'

A Metropolitan spokesman said at the time: 'Police and London Ambulance Service attended to find a man suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

'He was taken by London Ambulance Service to hospital, where he died from his injuries.

'Detectives are continuing to appeal to anyone who was inside the Avalon nightclub at the event, or who witnessed events inside the club, to contact them.'


Congress Defends Religious Freedom for the Troops

It was a rare and welcome victory for religious freedom for our all-volunteer military. Congress approved—and President Obama the day after Christmas signed—the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This new law contains stronger language than ever before that assures our service members do not have to give up their own freedoms while protecting ours.

This new law contains some of Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-Utah) provisions to assure better implementation of freedom guarantees. In the past, the Obama administration has largely ignored protections for service members. This law provides clear deadlines for the Defense Department to issue new regulations. Military commanders should no longer be in doubt about America’s historic commitment to religious freedom in the ranks.

This underscoring of basic freedoms by our Congress should never have been necessary.

We have seen under this administration an unprecedented looking away as the basic rights of service members have been infringed. Political correctness seems to be the Order of the Day. This administration has been more interested in using the military as a laboratory for radical social experimentation than as the sword and shield of the republic.

The need to protect such freedom goes all the way back to Gen. George Washington in the Continental Army. When he assumed command of the Army in Massachusetts in 1775, he soon learned there would be an anti-Catholic demonstration by some zealots among the largely Protestant force. “Pope’s Day” had been observed for more than a century among New England Puritans. It featured sports and games, but it ended with a spectacle. An effigy of the Pope was stuffed with straw and live cats. Set ablaze, the screaming of the cats was said to be the screaming of the Popes in hell.

His Excellency put a quick end to such overt religious bigotry. He reminded his officers that the cause of America needed help, maybe from Catholic Quebec, surely from Catholic France. And he sternly forbade such a “childish” and “ridiculous” display. Washington put an end to Pope’s Day, not only in the Army, but in the nation at large.

This is a far cry from today, when Bibles have been banned at Walter Reed military hospital near Washington, D.C. Family Research Council (FRC) quickly sought congressional support to have those Bibles restored to our wounded warriors.

We have regrettably seen the U.S. Air Force Academy whipsawed by zealous atheizers. These people claim to be for religious freedom, but they jump at every opportunity to impose atheism in the ranks.

Prodded by Mikey Weinstein and his mirfs from the so-called Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the Superintendant the Air Force Academy suddenly dropped “So Help Me God” from the Cadet oath. Too bad.

But with this new law, every Cadet and every Midshipman at every service academy should know: “So Help Me God” is protected speech. No one can take it away.

For assurance, these young military trainees can consult the National Park Service’s Mount Rushmore. Each of these Commanders-in-Chief took the Oath of Office as president. Each one placed his hand on the Bible and said: So Help Me God

With the passage and signature of the 2014 NDAA, the right of each member of the military to say “So Help Me God” in enlistment, in promotion, and in taking their initial oaths, has been written, so to speak, in stone.

My FRC colleague, Tony Perkins, is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. Tony commended the brave stand of Coast Guard Admiral William Lee. The admiral boldly said if he knew one of his young men had attempted suicide, he would not hesitate to offer that suffering sailor a Bible.

Tony said of Congress’ passage of the 2014 NDAA: “Defending America’s freedom shouldn’t mean surrendering theirs.” This is especially the case when the Constitution they swear to defend guarantees the first freedom of all Americans.


Marines delay female fitness plan after half fail

Men and women ARE different

More than half of female Marines in boot camp can't do three pullups, the minimum standard that was supposed to take effect with the new year, prompting the Marine Corps to delay the requirement, part of the process of equalizing physical standards to integrate women into combat jobs.

The delay rekindled sharp debate in the military on the question of whether women have the physical strength for some military jobs, as service branches move toward opening thousands of combat roles to them in 2016.

Although no new timetable has been set on the delayed physical requirement, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos wants training officials to "continue to gather data and ensure that female Marines are provided with the best opportunity to succeed," Capt. Maureen Krebs, a Marine spokeswoman, said Thursday.

Starting with the new year, all female Marines were supposed to be able to do at least three pullups on their annual physical fitness test and eight for a perfect score. The requirement was tested in 2013 on female recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., but only 45 percent of women met the minimum, Krebs said.

The Marines had hoped to institute the pullups on the belief that pullups require the muscular strength necessary to perform common military tasks such as scaling a wall, climbing up a rope or lifting and carrying heavy munitions.

Officials felt there wasn't a medical risk to putting the new standard into effect as planned across the service, but that the risk of losing recruits and hurting retention of women already in the service was unacceptably high, she said.

Because the change is being put off, women will be able to choose which test of upper-body strength they will be graded on in their annual physical fitness test. Their choices:

—Pullups, with three the minimum. Three is also the minimum for male Marines, but they need 20 for a perfect rating.

—A flexed-arm hang. The minimum is for 15 seconds; women get a perfect score if they last for 70 seconds. Men don't do the hang in their test.

Officials said training for pullups can change a person's strength, while training for the flex-arm hang does little to adapt muscular strength needed for military tasks

The delay on the standard could be another wrinkle in the plan to begin allowing women to serve in jobs previously closed to them such as infantry, armor and artillery units.

The decision to suspend the scheduled pull-up requirement "is a clear indication" that plans to move women into direct ground combat fighting teams will not work, said Elaine Donnelly, president of the conservative Center for Military Readiness and a critic of allowing women into infantry jobs.

"When officials claim that men and women are being trained the same, they are referring to bare minimums, not maximum qualifications that most men can meet but women cannot," Donnelly wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "Awarding gender-normed scores so that women can succeed lowers standards for all. Women will suffer more injuries and resentment they do not deserve, and men will be less prepared for the demands of direct ground combat."

The military services are working to figure out how to move women into newly opened jobs and have been devising updated physical standards, training, education and other programs for thousands of jobs they must open Jan. 1, 2016, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Christensen, a Defense Department spokesman. They must open as many jobs to women as possible; if they decide to keep some closed, they must explain why.

Military brass has said repeatedly that physical standards won't be lowered to accommodate female applicants. Success for women in training for the upcoming openings has come in fits and starts.

In fall 2012, only two female Marines volunteered for the 13-week infantry officers training course at Quantico, Va., and both failed to complete it.

But the following fall, three Marines became the first women to graduate from the Corps' enlisted infantry training school in North Carolina. They completed the same test standards as the men in the course, which included a 12-mile march with an 80-pound pack and various combat fitness trials such as timed ammunition container lifts and tests that simulate running under combat fire.

Officials had added specific training for female recruits when the pullup requirement was announced in December 2012, and they came up with a workout program for women already serving.

Military testing for physical skill and stamina has changed over the decades with needs of the armed forces. Officials say the first recorded history of Marine Corps physical fitness tests, for example, was 1908 when President Theodore Roosevelt ordered that staff officers must ride horseback 90 miles and line officers walk 50 miles over a three-day period to pass. A test started in 1956 included chinups, pushups, broad jump, 50-yard duck waddle and running.

The first test for women was started in 1969: A 120-yard shuttle run, vertical jump, knee pushups, 600-yard run/walk and situps.


As persecution of Christians intensifies, freedom of thought is at risk

Much of the world has just celebrated the most sacred Christian holiday, yet persecution of Christians has never been fiercer, especially in the Middle East. The birthplace of Christianity threatens to become a land without Christians.

Other faiths also suffer varying degrees of persecution — Jews, Hindus, Bahai’s, and Muslims, the latter sometimes even in Muslim countries. However, nonbelievers also are often mistreated. The lack of religious belief is less likely to be punished by communist and former communist regimes which discourage, often violently, competing transcendent world views. But such systems punish almost all independent thought in politics and elsewhere for being, well, independent. Moreover, atheists and other freethinkers are particularly at risk in theocratic systems, and especially aggressively Muslim states. The International Humanist and Ethical Union recently published its second annual report, Freedom of Thought 2013: A Global Report on the Rights, Legal Status, and Discrimination Against Humanists, Atheists, and the Non-religious.

America’s Founders enshrined religious liberty in the U.S. Constitution because they understood the imperative of freedom of conscience and thought, and the necessity of every person to respond to their understanding of the transcendent. Although the latter most often is reflected in theism embodied by the major global religions, a failure to believe is no less fundamental. And punishing a lack of belief is as great a violation of conscience and the very essence of the human person as persecuting someone for holding religious convictions.

The two sides of religious liberty are, in many ways, the canary in the mine for individual freedom. If a state is unwilling to respect a person’s most fundamental and intimate views, his or her Weltanschauung, the foundational beliefs which govern his or her life, then government is unlikely to respect other beliefs, including dissident political opinions. And if it refuses to leave people alone in their beliefs, it is unlikely to leave them free to act. Argued IHEU, “when thought is a crime, no other freedom can long survive.”

Freedom of Thought 2013 addresses the status of the non-religious — “whether they call themselves atheists, or agnostics, or humanists, or freethinkers or are otherwise just simply not religious.” The report cites a 2012 global survey in which 13 percent of people declared themselves to be atheists and another 23 percent said they were not religious. Non-belief, like belief, cannot be privatized. Instead, the failure to believe implicates a variety of liberties: assembly, association, belief, conscience, expression, religion, and thought. Fundamental to most beliefs is both sharing them with others and acting on them in one’s own life.

Unfortunately, governments routinely violate the liberty not to believe. Concluded IHEU: “the overwhelming majority of countries fail to respect the rights of atheists and freethinkers. There are laws that deny atheists’ right to exist, revoke their right to citizenship, restrict their right to marry, obstruct their access to public education, prohibit them from holding public office, prevent them from working for the state, criminalize their criticism of religion, and execute them for leaving the religion of their parents.” At stake is not just occasional inconvenience, but sometimes life itself.

Restrictions are many. “In some countries, it is illegal to be an atheist. For example, every citizen of the Maldives is required to be a Muslim and the penalty for leaving Islam is death.” IHEU figures that “in effect you can be put to death for expressing atheism in 13 countries,” all Muslim.

More common, according to the report, “are the criminal measures against expressing atheist beliefs.” The toughest punishments, including death, are applied to “blasphemy laws that outlaw criticism of protected religions or religious figures and institutions.” Pakistan implemented its blasphemy law in 1988 and has prosecuted more than 1000 people of very different beliefs. Lesser penalties attach to “hate speech” and other commentary. According to Freedom of Thought 2013: “These crimes — of expressing ‘blasphemy’ or offending religious feelings — are still a crime in 55 countries, can mean prison in 39 of those countries, and are punishable by death in six countries.” So-called blasphemy also can be used as evidence of apostasy, which is more likely to carry the death penalty.

Persecution often fades into discrimination, less virulent but still offensive to basic human rights. Noted IHEU: “Other laws that severely affect those who reject religion include bans on atheists holding public office, and some governments require citizens to identify their religion — for example on state ID cards or passports — but make it illegal, or do not allow, for them to identify as an atheist or as non-religious.” Especially in Muslim nations, family law often is governed by Shari’a courts implementing Islamic law.

Moreover, “Religious privilege is one of the most common forms of discrimination against atheists.” Much of this is tangible, especially state funding for religious education and other activities. Rather more controversially the organization includes “religious discrimination, or religious privilege, in this report even when its supporters claim it is merely ceremonial or symbolic.” The latter is common in the U.S. and, argues IHEU: “what it symbolizes is the state’s preference for religion and the second class status of the non-religious.”

Not all persecution emanates from government. As against religious minorities, extra-legal violence is common and governments often do little or nothing in response. There is little practical difference between state actors doing the killing and failing “to hold violent non-state actors to account,” as detailed in Freedom of Thought 2013.

Some religiously faithful may be inclined to dismiss the freedom not to believe. However, Matt Cherry, the report’s lead author, emphasizes that “the fight for the rights of the non-religious [are] inextricable from the fight for the rights of the religious.” All possess a fundamental right of belief and conscience, and an equally fundamental right to act on belief and conscience.

Government practices vary dramatically around the world. The IHEU uses five categories: Free and Equal, which means no known cases of discrimination (few nations meet this standard); Mostly Satisfactory, which means some limited, anomalous, or symbolic religious preferences (the U.S. falls into this small group); Systematic Discrimination, which means various restrictions on free expression, some religious privileges, and occasional limits on criticism of religion; Severe Discrimination, which means severe restrictions on expression and activities of non-religious, significant religious privileges, and limits or even prohibitions on criticism of religion; Grave Violations, which means tyrannical control over belief and expression, treating ideology as theology, and turning the state into a de facto arm of religion.

Obviously, one can disagree over details. For instance, the descriptions offered suggest that some cases of “severe” discrimination are less severe than others. Sometimes the designation seems exaggerated, even though discrimination/privilege remains real and inappropriate. For instance, state churches in Europe are obnoxious anachronisms, but appear to have only a limited impact on people’s liberties.

Similarly, unfair treatment in European countries has a different feel than in Muslim nations. In the survey Denmark and Germany join Turkmenistan and Zimbabwe among states judged to suffer from “severe” discrimination. However, one suspects that most freethinkers would note a marked difference between living in the first two and the second two.

Moreover, in a world in which a majority of people are religious it should not surprise that social, cultural, and governmental institutions often reflect those religious beliefs. Hence America’s “Mostly Satisfactory” rating. No doubt this kind of assumed Christianity sometimes makes atheists and other nonbelievers feel uncomfortable, though broader cultural practices might be more important in that regard than anemic state symbols such as the declaration “In God We Trust” on coins. (Absent America’s founding history, such examples likely would not withstand constitutional scrutiny today.) While inappropriate, they remain relatively limited infringements on liberty comparable to many other challenges of living in a diverse, even fractious society.

Nevertheless, Freedom of Thought 2013 addresses a genuine and very serious threat to liberty. Governments the world over impose many limits on the most basic freedoms of belief, thought, and expression. Moreover, it is easy to ignore the negative, even deadly impact on individual lives if one shares the majority’s religious or other worldviews.

Basic human rights are at risk when the nonreligious and independent thinkers of all sorts are targeted by state institutions. Indeed, in Islamic states nonbelievers are at greater risk than Jews and Christians, whose faith at least is recognized by the Koran. Far too many nations punish independent thinking. Those who believe in human liberty as the basis for human flourishing have an obligation to defend everyone’s rights.

IHEU judges 46 countries (counting the Palestinian territories) as involving “severe discrimination.” Although a few seem improbable entries in this category (Denmark, El Salvador, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iceland, New Zealand), others are more obvious additions, such as Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Burma/Myanmar, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Israel, Kazakhstan, Laos, Russia, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and more.

However, the greatest problems come from the 29 nations categorized as guilty of “grave violations.” These states cover the globe.

Afghanistan: Limits on freedom of expression and assembly, apostasy and blasphemy punished by death, law based on Islam, discrimination against nonreligious, religious privileges.

Bangladesh: Restrictions on freedom of expression, blasphemy and criticism of religion punished, law based in part on Islam, religious privilege, violence by non-state actors ignored by state.

Brunei: Freedom of expression restricted, law based on Islam, government promotion of Sunni Islam, punishment of blasphemy and criticism of religion,

China: Significant limits on freedom of expression, association, and assembly, restrictions on religious liberty, privileges for communist ideology.

Comoros: Pervasive discrimination against non-Muslims, prosecution of apostasy and blasphemy, significant privileges for Muslims.

Egypt: Infringement of free expression, blasphemy prosecutions limit criticism of Islam, violence by non-state actors against nonreligious left unpunished.

Eritrea: Brutal suppression of virtually all independent expression, including of theists and atheists alike.

Gambia: Severe limits on free expression and assembly, penalties for apostasy and blasphemy, ban on advocating secularism, religious privilege.

Indonesia: Freedom of expression limited, especially for the non-religious, government discrimination against religious minorities and non-believers, atheist groups cannot officially register, blasphemy punished, Islam privileged.

Iran: Freedom of expression and assembly severely restricted, law based on Islam, apostasy and blasphemy punished by death, pervasive discrimination against nonreligious, privileges for Islam.

Iraq: Freedom of conscience, expression, thought, and religion frequently violated by government and affected by sectarian violence, law based on Islam, privileges for religion and especially Islam, apostasy punished.

Jordan: Restrictions on freedom of belief, expression, and assembly, law based on Islam, family status determined by Shari’a courts, apostasy, blasphemy, and criticism of Islam punished, official identification and government employment require religious identification, privileges for Islam.

Kuwait: Some limits on freedom of association and assembly, law based in part on Islam, apostasy and blasphemy punished, privileges for Islam, illegal to register a non-religious organization.

Libya: Increasing restrictions on free expression, law based on Islam, Shari’a law governs family life.

Malaysia: Restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and assembly, law based on Islam, apostasy and blasphemy are punished, Islam is promoted and other beliefs discriminated against, illegal to create non-religious NGO.

Maldives: Limits on freedom of expression, citizenship tied to Islam, law based on Islam, apostasy, blasphemy, and criticism of Islam punished, privileges for Islam.

Mauritania: Citizenship tied to Islam, law based on Islam, apostasy and blasphemy punished, discrimination against non-Muslims and privileges for Islam.

Morocco: Significant limits on free expression, penalties for criticizing Islam, ban on nonreligious organizations, privileges for religion.

Nigeria: Freedom of expression violated, apostasy and blasphemy punished in some states, law based on Islam in some states, religious privileges.

North Korea: No freedom of expression, association, or assembly, quasi-state religion centered around the Kim family.

Pakistan: Freedom of expression frequently violated, blasphemy and criticism of religion punished, law based in part on Islam, family law controlled by Islam, Islam privileged, state actors ignore or collude in non-state violence against non-Muslims, applications for national identification cards and passports require religious identification.

Qatar: Significant limits on freedom of belief, expression, and assembly, apostasy, blasphemy, and criticism of religion punished, law based on Islam, illegal to register non-religious group or advocate secularism, family law controlled by Shari’a, Islam privileged as the state religion.

Saudi Arabia: No freedom of belief, expression, or assembly, law based on Islam, apostasy and blasphemy are death offenses, criticism of Islam punished, registration of nonreligious groups or advocacy of secularism illegal.

Somalia: Law based on Islam, freedom of expression restricted, death imposed for apostasy and blasphemy.

Sudan: Significant restrictions on free expression, death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy, illegal to create nonreligious organizations, law based on Islam, pervasive privilege for Islam.

Syria: Severe restrictions on freedom of expression, religious privileges, family law based on religion, limited liberties observed in the past are “being violated on a massive scale by all sides” in ongoing civil war, which has developed “a strong sectarian religious dimension.”

Swaziland: Limited freedom of expression and assembly, privileges for religion.

United Arab Emirates: Severe restrictions on freedom of belief, conscience, and expression, law based on Islam, the state religion, family law based on Shari’a, apostasy and blasphemy punished, Islam privileged, illegal to register non-religious group or advocate secularism.

Yemen: Significant limits on freedom of belief, expression, association, and assembly, Islam the state religion and source of law, apostasy and blasphemy punished, privileges for Islam, illegal to register non-religious group or advocate secularism, discrimination against non-Muslims.

The world, while seeming to grow freer in certain ways, obviously remains a very unfree place in important aspects. Unfortunately, the majority of the world’s population lives in nations which do not fully protect freedom of conscience. No crusade for freedom of thought is going to succeed overnight. But U.S. officials should include the liberty of non-believers in Washington’s human rights dialogue with other nations.

Moreover, the rest of us should work to protect freedom of conscience abroad. Not by coercing and invading other countries, but by convincing, encouraging, pestering, pushing, pressuring, and embarrassing. All of us, from citizens to policymakers, have a stake in expanding liberty for those around us.



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

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

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


5 January, 2014

British government minister blasts 'Blackadder myths' about the First World War spread by television sit-coms and left-wing academics

Left-wing myths about the First World War peddled by Blackadder belittle Britain and clear Germany of blame, Michael Gove says today.

The Education Secretary criticises historians and TV programmes that denigrate patriotism and courage by depicting the war as a ‘misbegotten shambles’.

As Britain prepares to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the war, Mr Gove claims only undergraduate cynics would say the soldiers were foolish to fight.

In an article for the Daily Mail, Mr Gove says he has little time for the view of the Department for Culture and the Foreign Office that the commemorations should not lay fault at Germany’s door.

The Education Secretary says the conflict was a ‘just war’ to combat aggression by a German elite bent on domination.

‘The First World War may have been a uniquely horrific war, but it was also plainly a just war,’ he says. ‘The ruthless social Darwinism of the German elites, the pitiless approach they took to occupation, their aggressively expansionist war aims and their scorn for the international order all made resistance more than justified.’

Britain has pledged £50million in public money to mark the event, with school trips to battlefields and ceremonies planned over four years. The French government has also embraced the centenary, planning 1,500 events across the country. But there are few plans for events in Germany itself.

Mr Gove, who has rewritten the school history curriculum to give pupils a better grasp of the broad sweep of British history, reserves his greatest scorn for those who have sought to depict the soldiers as lions led by donkeys.

He says: ‘The war was, of course, an unspeakable tragedy, which robbed this nation of our bravest and best.  ‘But it’s important that we don’t succumb to some of the myths which have grown up about the conflict in the last 70 or so years.

‘The conflict has, for many, been seen through the fictional prism of dramas such as Oh! What a Lovely War, The Monocled Mutineer and Blackadder as a misbegotten shambles – a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite.’

Mr Gove turns his fire on ‘Left-wing academics all too happy to feed those myths by attacking Britain’s role in the conflict’.

He singles out Richard Evans, regius professor of history at Cambridge University, who has said those who enlisted in 1914 were wrong to think they were fighting to defend freedom.

Mr Gove writes: ‘Richard Evans may hold a professorship, but these arguments, like the interpretations of Oh! What a Lovely War and Blackadder, are more reflective of the attitude of an undergraduate cynic playing to the gallery in a Cambridge Footlights revue rather than a sober academic contributing to a proper historical debate.’

The Education Secretary says it is time to listen to historians such as Margaret Macmillan who has ‘demonstrated how those who fought were not dupes but conscious believers in king and country, committed to defending the western liberal order’.

He also cites the work of Professor Gary Sheffield, who has reassessed the damaged reputation of British commander Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig.  {Haig did at least want an armistice long before anybody else in authority did]


Rose Parade Gay 'Marriage' Float Degrades Family Event, Say Conservative Activists

Two homosexual men will be married on a float in the 2014 Rose Parade on Wednesday, Jan. 1,  in what critics are saying transforms the family-friendly event into a vehicle for promoting the gay rights activists’ political agenda.

Aubrey Loots and Danny Leclair were chosen by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation by lottery to be married atop a float made to resemble a wedding cake.

“The decision to allow two gay couples to ‘marry’ on a float during the Rose Parade denigrates this once family-friendly event,” said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization of Marriage. “It’s another ‘in your face’ example that should serve as a teachable moment for the American people.”

“Once marriage is redefined to make it genderless, this perverse construct of ‘marriage’ is forced on everyone,” Brown said.

The Pasadena Star-News reported on Thursday that San Diego, Calif. , resident Karen Grube started a Facebook page protesting the same-sex wedding.  “Gay marriage is illegal in over 30 states, why would they promote something that is blatantly illegal?” Grube said in the article. “That’s just stupid.” 

In 2008, voters in California passed Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman. In June the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the matter meant that an earlier California U.S. District Court decision that the law was unconstitutional could stand and same-sex marriage has continued in the state.

On her Facebook page entitled ”Boycott the 2014 Rose Parade,” Grube calls for a boycott of the parade and to protest its sponsors, which include Disneyland, the Hallmark Channel and Coca-Cola.

In the “About” portion of the Facebook page, which has more than 5,600 likes, Grube decries the political nature of the gay marriage-themed float.

“The Rose Parade shouldn't be used by gay activists to promote the gay agenda, and a Rose parade float is no place to flagrantly display a gay wedding,” the text states. “But I guess they think they can pervert this year's theme, ‘Dreams Come True, to allow this disgusting exhibition.”

The Tournament of Roses Association has expressed support for the float, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The article published on Tuesday said the Times had acquired a statement for the association stating it is “pleased” that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has a float in the parade.

According to news reports, about 700,000 will watch the parade live at the scene and about 45 million Americans will watch it on television, with an additional 25 million viewing internationally.


Sarah Silverman's Insult Act Gets Old

Sarah Silverman celebrated Christmas in her usual mode: mocking Christians and religion in general. On Twitter, she wrote "Happy Birthday, Jesus! I'm sorry (you) were murdered by people afraid of new ideas!"

Her last HBO special in 2002 was even mockingly titled "Jesus Is Magic." Her new special is called "We Are Miracles." Once again, in the new show, she makes fun of the death of Jesus, as a Jew: "You're welcome. If we hadn't killed him, he wouldn't even be famous."

Silverman then mentions Scientology as crazy, but adds, "it's no more bats—t crazy than every single religion. It's just new. Christianity is super-old, but its f—-ing crazy." Silverman turned to mocking Catholics and confession. She claimed that Hitler could kill 6 million Jews, and then go to confession and have a priest say, "'No problem. Say 10 Hail Marys,' and Hitler goes to heaven!"

She also praised the late Mother Teresa for not being obsessed with her body image, and then went for the humor by calling her "stick thin," and adding "f—-ing bitch." Silverman and Bill Maher are religion-trashing peas in a pod for HBO. This woman lives for gags like this: "Don't forget, God can see you masturbating. But don't stop. He's almost there."

Silverman hates how separation of church and state — which leftists always think is actually text in the Constitution — is a joke in America, since "In God We Trust" is on the money, and witnesses in court swear to tell the truth on the Bible and say "so help me God." She sputtered, "If I tell the truth, it's because I tell the truth, not because I put my hand on a book and made a wish. It's f—-ing crazy!"

The "We Are Miracles" title refers to the "science-based" miracle that "we were all once a microscopic speck," leading to a joke she begins in her father's testicles and then flopping spectacularly into an incest joke. At least this atheist who just hosted a New York telethon for free abortions in Texas didn't attempt to reconcile her "unborn speck miracle" talk with her fist-pumping feminism. She might have pulled a mental muscle.

Silverman also unloaded a typically scabrous joke about "praying" for Republican sperm that dies inside the rear ends of prostitutes. "Surely there are Democrats that have butt sex with prostitutes, and you're 100 percent right there are, but Democrats aren't trying to take my rights away."

Silverman spares nothing in her attempts at humor. She made up a fake study saying Sept. 11 widows are better at casual sex acts, and said she loved rape jokes because who would object? "I'd say rape victims, but they're traditionally not complainers."

Comedians like this are too busy making a living being "hilariously" insensitive to contemplate what it's like to be on the other end of the ridicule.

At a recent roast for James Franco on Comedy Central, actor Jonah Hill unleashed on Silverman: "Sarah is a role model for every little girl out there. I mean, every little girl dreams of being a 58-year-old single stand-up comedian with no romantic prospects on the horizon. They all dream of it, but Sarah did it." (She's 43.)

Hill then added another insult: "People say it's too late for Sarah to become successful in movies at her age. I again do not agree. It's not impossible. I mean, it's not like they're asking you to bear children or anything like that."

Silverman admitted in a TV interview it took her several days to get over the insults. "As soon as a woman gets to an age where she has opinions, and she's vital and she's strong, she's systematically shamed into hiding under a rock. And this is by progressive pop culture people!"

She added in self-defense: "These issues always come up when an actress hits a certain age and has a voice she can use. It's not any kind of new notion. It's just new for me, you know what I mean? I love all those guys (at the Franco roast). Still, I think it was OK to admit that it cut me. We're just made of feelings."

As if Silverman's targets don't have feelings? Like rape victims and 9/11 widows don't have a little more reason to be spared than Silverman does?

As Silverman has now announced her comedy role model for the future is half-plastic Joan Rivers, the size of her ridicule target is only going to enlarge. Why would a godless comedian refrain from insulting her for archaic religious concepts like charity, or mercy, or respect for your elders?


The Dubious Future of Romance

Suzanne Fields

The New Year explodes with dire prophesies for men and women and their mating patterns. If they're correct, or even close to it, the lot of men will not be a happy one -- nor will the women who love them (and want one of their own).

That future, in fact, is almost here. In their failure to appreciate the biological differences obvious to most of us, second- and third-wave feminists have downsized men and denigrated their values, forging a radical imbalance in the way the two sexes relate to each other. Women surpass men in formal education, and the male and female elites of the upper economic brackets compete with each other in courtroom, boardroom -- and, inevitably, in the bedroom.

The traditional divisions of labor among working-class men and women have gone from bad (and bed) to worse in the recession as service jobs favor women. Jobs that once required heavy lifting are gone with Detroit's emblematic bankruptcy, and President Obama's promised shovel-ready jobs never arrived in the numbers he said we could count on. Role reversals abound where PowerPoint dominates.

Camille Paglia, a prominent feminist critic and unhappy prophet of heterosexual doom, thinks we're watching civilization commit suicide. She warns her sisters they must beware, lest they turn themselves into Komodo dragons, hammerhead sharks and pit vipers, who will have to clone themselves by parthenogenesis if they are to reproduce themselves.

"Is it any wonder," she asks, "that so many high-achieving young women, despite all the happy talk about their academic success, find themselves in the early stages of their careers in chronic uncertainty or anxiety about their prospects for an emotionally fulfilled private life?" These questions have been asked before, of course, but never with such growing urgency as women debate male abdication of responsibility to them.

The metaphor of the popular movie "Her" is the stalemate in male-female relationships posed for the near future. "Her" is about a computer geek -- the actor Joaquin Phoenix actually looks like one in the movie -- who has a love affair with a highly advanced computer operating system. He gets paid for writing letters in purple ink for others. He's tongue-tied to a machine when he's speaking for himself.

The voice in the computer is called Samantha and belongs to Scarlett Johansson, conjured in imagination by Theodore, her geek lover. Her sotto voce voice is silky, smooth and sexy, and she reads Theodore's emails and gains electronic omniscience. She straightens out his filing system, too. She confesses she has 8,316 other conversations going, and she's in love with 641 others. She loves him most, of course.

This is an almost-believable fantasy because nearly everyone in it is isolated by their computers, from which they seek friendship and love. Broad scans of the camera expose men and women walking and talking alone, speaking to the air, phone buds hidden in ear canals. That future, as all can see, is now.

When Theodore attempts a kiss with a woman of flesh and blood and their lips touch, she begins a monologue of instructions as if she's the voice of a GPS -- brake pressure on lips, move nose, turn left with tongue -- until she bursts into tears to ask if he'll be another one of those guys who only wants to take her to bed and will never call again.

If the disembodied computer voice is a fantasy of the feminized and passive man of the future, who seeks the perfect woman to respond to all his needs, the flesh-and-blood woman who tries to control the kiss is a real-life nightmare, aggressive and hysterical and terrorized by her ticking biological clock. There's real-life urgency in their failure to connect. He has been emotionally neutered and escapes into a relationship with a computer that "reads" his every need. She has grown aggressively angry about the way real men have treated her in seductive encounters.

This is the inevitable metaphor for what happens after decades of narrowing feminist ignorance of the natural and enduring differences between men and women. Glib how-to books that tell women how to take control can't teach them how to excite the masculine drive for creating and protecting a family.

In the movie "Her," a computerized woman with a husky voice goes a long way to seduce a man, but ultimately it's the feelings of a frustrated, angry human woman that leaves us questioning the direction for men and women moving into the new year and the future. The sequel is likely to be called "Him."



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

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

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


3 January, 2014

Mazel Tov, Christians! Most Jews wish you a Merry Christmas

Dennis Prager 

As a Jew, and a religious one at that, I want to wish my fellow Americans a Merry Christmas.  Not “Happy Holidays.” Merry Christmas.

I write, “my fellow Americans” because, as reported by the Pew Research poll released just last Wednesday, nine in ten Americans say they celebrate Christmas.

Apparently, many Americans have forgotten that Christmas is not only a Christian holy day, but also an American national holiday. Just as we wish one another a “Happy Thanksgiving” or a “Happy Fourth,” so, too, we should wish fellow Americans a “Merry Christmas.”

It doesn’t matter with which religion or ethnic group you identify; Christmas in America is as American as the proverbial apple pie. That is why some of the most famous and beloved Christmas songs were written by . . . guess who? Jews.

“White Christmas” was written by Irving Berlin (birth name: Israel Isidore Baline).

“Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” — Johnny Marks.

“Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” — composed by Jule Styne, lyrics by Sammy Cahn.

“Silver Bells” — by Jay Livingston (Jacob Harold Levison) and Ray Evans (Raymond Bernard Evans).

“The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” — Mel Tormé and Robert Wells (Robert Levinson), both Jews.

“Sleigh Ride” — lyrics by Mitchell Parish (Michael Hyman Pashelinsky).

There are many others as well.

The notion that non-Christians are excluded is absurd.

Americans who feel “excluded” are not excluded. They have decided to feel excluded. Which is, of course, entirely their right to do; no one forces anyone to celebrate any American holiday. But attempts to remove Christmas from the public sphere are destructive to our society. It would be as if Jehovah’s Witnesses attempted to remove public celebrations and references to the Fourth of July because they don’t celebrate national holidays.

Why are these attempts destructive? Because the entire society — Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and atheists as well as Christians — benefits from the goodness and joy that the Christmas season engenders.

It never occurred to my Orthodox Jewish family not to enjoy this season. It was a tradition in our home to watch the Christmas Mass from the Vatican every Christmas Eve (unless it was a Friday evening, and therefore the Sabbath, when no television watching was allowed). Had you visited our home, you would have seen my mother — and my father, my brother, and me, all wearing our kippot (Jewish skullcaps) — watching Catholics celebrate Christmas.

Nor did it ever occur to my brother, Dr. Kenneth Prager, an Orthodox Jew, not to sing Christmas songs when he was a member of the Columbia University Glee Club. He happily sang not only secular Christmas songs, but religious Christ-centered Christmas songs as well.

So when and why did this pernicious nonsense of non-Christians being “excluded” by public celebrations of Christmas develop?

It is nothing more than another destructive product of the 1960s and 1970s, when the Left came to dominate much of the culture.

One way in which the Left has done this has been through “multiculturalism,” the Left’s way of dividing Americans by religion, ethnicity, race, and national origin.

The other way has been through its aim of secularizing America — which means, first and foremost, the removal of as many Christian references as possible.

The Left regularly mocks the notion that there is a war against Christmas, a description that left-wing writers almost place within quotation marks, as if it were a manufactured falsehood.

The most obvious and ubiquitous example of this war is the substitution of “Happy Holidays” for “Merry Christmas” almost throughout the culture. Employees in most retail operations are told not to say “Merry Christmas.” As a result, in much of America today, wishing a stranger “Merry Christmas” is almost an act of courage.

And, of course, many, if not most, public schools have banned Christmas trees and the singing of any Christmas song that hints of Christianity. Last week, for example, the school choir at a Long Island school, the Ralph J. Osgood Intermediate School, sang Silent Night with the lyrics changed. “Holy infant,” “Christ the savior,” and “Round yon virgin, mother and child” were all deleted.

Let me end where I began: speaking as a Jew.

Overwhelmingly the Jews who are active in the removal of Christmas from society — such as Mikey Weinstein, the anti-Christian activist (with a soft spot for Islamists) who led the campaign to remove the manger scene from Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina — are not religious Jews. They are animated by one or both of two factors: One is Leftism, which serves as a substitute religion for Judaism (and among many non-Jews for Christianity). The other is a psychological need to see Christianity suppressed; many people who have little or no religious identity resent those who do.

According to Fox News, Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation “said they were alerted by an undisclosed number of Airmen who said they were emotionally troubled by the sight of [the nativity scene].” That sentence should be reworded. Those who claim to be emotionally troubled by the sight of a nativity scene are not emotionally troubled by the sight of a nativity scene. They are emotionally troubled.


Vexatious liberal ‘lexicons’

Over the years, as part of the planned ruination of our culture and society the liberal left has endeavored to label and define activity, by use of words they choose and phrases they create.  All the while, our side, acquiesces and accepts and even uses those terms and then wonders why they always lose the propaganda battle.

Liberal words and phrases: some examples: "Giving back"

This may be one of the most irritating and misleading liberal slogans being used everyday and accepted by those being targeted by it.  The nefarious inference here is that those who have earned or created enough wealth to give charitably, have somehow, by odious or unscrupulousness activity, acquired that wealth from their victims and hence, need to give it back.

Giving back is something one does if caught taking what is not his.  What giving actually is, is those working and earning something are taking some of those earnings and giving it to those who have not earned it, nor have they ever had it taken or stolen from them.

Conservatives, by astronomical amounts, give more of what they have earned to those in need than the liberal side of the donation spectrum.  This is a fact as well as it is a fact that liberals would much prefer to give to those who have not earned it from the pockets of those who have. Provided of course it comes not from their pockets.

It is time those giving what is theirs, to help those receiving it, cease allowing this term to be used.  It not only degrades the giver but also degrades the charitable nature of that which is being given.  If the next time you see the term Giving Back on a donation or charity event form, before you send your check, use a maker and x-out the back word.  Unless of course you have stolen what you are returning.

Redistribution:  Vexatious liberal lexicons

While it may be true that most progressive leftist politicians love this word and its concept, it is also true, they hide from it.  Those who espouse Marxism and follow that manifesto, such as the “Forger in the White House”, push policies which confiscate what others have earned and secretly love the term Redistribution of Wealth, even as they publicly deny that is what they are doing.

Why did Marx use that term? It’s quite simple.  It is used, as is required to build and hold onto power, to create separation, envy, covetousness and malignity between the so-called classes.

For things such as money, property or other forms of wealth to be re-distributed, it must first have been distributed.  Clearly that indicates it wasn’t earned or created.  It was distributed to some and not to others. The only recourse then would be to redistribute it, more fairly.

Its time we stopped using this leftist term and began calling it what it is, confiscation and disbursement.

Common sense gun laws

When you hear this term being used by politicians and law makers, you had better check for the latest shredding of our Constitution.  As with every bill or law that slithers out of state and national legislative sessions, whatever they name it, for sure, it will represent exactly the opposite.  Case in point, “The Affordable Health Care Act”.

These heavy thinkers consider it Common Sense to announce that no one in schools or public places will be armed and able to stop mass killings.  And that those who may be planning to slaughter people, will carry out their attack in a location where there are armed defenders. After all, it’s just common sense that if no guns are allowed no one will commit a crime with one.  Makes one feel so safe and snugly.

Who could argue that restricting magazine capacity for law-abiding citizens is anything but Common Sense?  With these laws working to protect us, no self-respecting terrorist, drug cartel member or homicidal maniac would take advantage of their victims by flouting magazine capacity laws.

These of course a just a few examples of legislative “Common Sense”.  It appears that Common Sense is not very Common anymore.


Un-transforming America

I always considered Barack Obama an empty suit, a coffeehouse communist, doomed to replay the tragic political and economic mistakes of the past because he lacked any sense of history beyond the clichés of fashionable and comfortable college Marxism.

Like the characters and events in his autobiography "Dreams from My Father" written by unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers, Obama is a composite, the manifestation of a liberal fantasy, a man who, like his acolytes, exists in a political "Twilight Zone" somewhere between reality and narcissism.

Obama's political talent is based on his mastery of the platitude; a banal or meaningless statement, generally directed at soothing the social, emotional, or cognitive unease of uninformed, easily misled voters or desperate liberals in search of a Messiah.

His ascension to the Presidency can largely be attributed to a combination of corruption and cowardice.

Since 2008, pressured by a biased, left-leaning media, a spineless Republican Party leadership joined the Democrats in refusing to vet Obama in violation of the Constitution and common sense. Out of fear or complicity, a conspiracy of silence has descended upon the public discourse regarding all questions related to Obama's background and fitness for office. Despite the enormous historical and Constitutional implications, the politicians and the media, not only have remained silent, but have actively suppressed legitimate inquiry.

When the truth is eventually told, the chronicles of the Obama years will represent the most sordid in American history.

Having been granted immunity from any uncomfortable questions about his personal history, Obama has established lying as an instrument of government policy e.g. Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS, NSA and Obamacare. He has also attempted to render Congress powerless by unlawfully assuming executive authority not granted under the Constitution in order to continue, unobstructed, his fundamental transformation of the United States.

Left unimpeded, the inevitable result of Obama's policies will be a dystopia, characterized by a cataclysmic decline of society, in which a totalitarian government enforces ruthless egalitarianism by suppressing or denouncing ability and accomplishment, or even competence, as forms of inequality. Obama aims to create dependency on the state and will continue efforts to prevent the family from reestablishing itself as America's primary social institution.

Like "Nineteen Eighty-Four," Obama's dystopia will be a world of perpetual crisis, omnipresent government surveillance, misinformation and manipulation by state-controlled media; all governed by a privileged and oppressive political elite led by a quasi-divine party leader who enjoys an intense cult of personality and considers personal liberty as a source of unhappiness.

In his article, "Why Americans Are Not Taught History," Christopher Hitchens, identified the vulnerability of America's present-tense culture to the utopian myth.

That is, for the truly blissed-out and vacant servitude required by the Obama strategy, you need an otherwise sophisticated society to lose any sense of its own history and traditions. Using media deception and historical revisionism, the low-information voter will slouch towards Obama's utopia by a combination of governmental coercion as in George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" and the hedonist nihilism of a painless, amusement-sodden, and stress-free consensus managed by the nanny-state found in Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World."

In the book "Amusing Ourselves to Death," Neil Postman notes that in "Nineteen Eighty-Four," people are controlled by inflicting pain; in "Brave New World," they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture. Obama plans to do both.

Ultimately, when the government is ruled by individuals unconstrained by law, there are few things that power cannot do. It can make political allies rich or paupers of political enemies. It can waste billions of dollars without accountability and destroy an economy without responsibility. It can make incompetent men high officials or make extraordinary men corpses.

The accumulation of excessive power in the federal government transforms it into a dysfunctional super-state dedicated to maintaining its own power irrespective of truth or the well-being of the country. The bureaucrats can ignore both morality and the lessons of history, in order to protect their appetite for and the use of raw power. Under such circumstances, the government need not fear that any of its agencies will intervene on behalf of the people, nor will it hear any protests from their elected representatives, nor anything but polite questions from the national media.

We now have a government and media of perfidious men and women, who are willing to risk the survival of the country rather than risk the truth.

There is a Cold Civil War underway in the United States to determine who should control the federal government. It is not a contest between the Democrat and Republican ideologies, but a battle between the entrenched power of the bipartisan political establishment versus the rights and liberties of the American people.

Representative and responsible government will not return to America simply by removing Obama. It will only be restored when Americans feel empowered by their political institutions, not misled or oppressed by them.

Rather than serve the country, many in the federal government have succumbed to political expediency and avarice, thereby perpetuating an atmosphere of permanent corruption in Washington, D.C.

Clearly, those who are a fundamental part of the problem can no longer be considered as potential participants in a solution.

Ordinary Americans must now take a stand against the political-media elite to restore the Constitution and the rule of law, to establish political and fiscal sanity and to return the government to the people


50 years ago a new elite came to power in Britain. We're still paying the price for their contempt for ordinary people

Just imagine that when you woke up this morning, you found yourself catapulted back in time exactly 50 years, to Britain in the first days of 1964.

At first, you might well be surprised how different things were half a century ago.

This was a world in which shops closed on Sundays, pubs shut at 10.30?pm and homosexuality was a criminal offence.

Britain in January 1964 had just two television channels, with BBC?2 arriving only in April that year.

In the industrial North, thousands of families still made do with an outside toilet.

Computers were virtually unknown, and even the currency was very different, with heavy two-shilling and half-crown coins instead of today’s homogenised (and soon-to-be plastic) bank notes.

Yet there are also striking similarities. This was a country falling in love with consumerism, liberalism and the cult of youth. It is often claimed that the Sixties really began in 1963.

Indeed, the poet Philip Larkin famously claimed that the sexual revolution began in 1963 ‘between the end of the Chatterley ban?/?and the Beatles’ first LP’.

But I think the real dividing line fell during the following year, and that 1964 was the watershed that marked the birth of a new Britain.

This was the year that saw The Beatles, the Kinks and the Rolling Stones break through to become international icons. It saw the birth of Terence Conran’s household store Habitat, the boutique Biba and Radio Caroline, as well as the advent of a reforming new Labour government.

Perhaps, above all, it saw the rise of a new kind of permissive liberalism, which was meant to set us free from the disciplines of the past but had consequences that its architects had never imagined — and that we are still grappling with today.

Looking back, the extraordinary thing about life in Britain in 1964 was the sharpness of the juxtaposition between old and new.

It is bizarre to think that when the Rolling Stones were celebrating their first Number One hit single, the man in Number 10 was Sir Alec Douglas-Home, a tweedy Conservative aristocrat who had been born in 1903 and had given up his peerage to become prime minister.

Although Sir Alec was tirelessly ridiculed by the newly-fashionable Oxbridge satirists — launching a trend for irreverent mockery that continues to this day — he was a decent, serious and dutiful man.

 Even so, he was a ridiculous choice to lead Britain into the mid-1960s. Not only was Home a member of the House of Lords, but the Tory MPs had not even been allowed to choose their own leader. Instead, Home had been parachuted into the premiership by a ‘magic circle’ of Old Etonians.

That made him an easy target for Labour’s Harold Wilson, who in October 1964 ended 13 years of Conservative rule and entered Downing Street as the youngest prime minister of the century.

The first modern prime minister to make a virtue of his modest, grammar-school background, Wilson ostentatiously presented himself as the champion of the common man, even boasting: ‘If I had the choice between smoked salmon and tinned salmon, I’d have it tinned. With vinegar.’

In reality, Harold Wilson was a master of spin. Like Tony Blair, who borrowed heavily from his predecessor’s repertoire, he wanted to be seen as youthful, classless and, above all, modern.

He promised to forge a new Britain in the ‘white heat’ of the scientific revolution, sweeping away tradition and turning us into a technological superpower.

Alas, Wilson’s ambitions turned to dust. By the time he finally left office 12 years later, Britain’s economic star had fallen lower than ever. But, at the time, his infatuation with modernity struck a chord.

But in 1964, by which time the British Empire had almost totally disintegrated, 20 years of affluence had given ordinary families their first cars, TV sets and washing machines, while free healthcare and state education had created a generation of youngsters who were literally bigger, more adventurous and more assertive than ever.

To the leading lights of this new generation — a metropolitan elite who would go on to dominate the arts, universities and the BBC in the decades to come — the past was an unwelcome legacy.

Across the country, planners were misguidedly tearing down Victorian town centres to make way for dual carriageways, tower blocks and multi-storey car parks. Not even the Luftwaffe had wreaked such havoc on Britain’s architectural heritage.

Perhaps the worst crime was the transformation of Birmingham, which in 1964 resembled a gigantic building site. Already work was underway to destroy the Victorian core of England’s second city, turning it into something more like a particularly unsightly East German power station.

Yet when the travel writer Geoffrey Moorhouse visited Birmingham in 1964, he bubbled with enthusiasm for its ‘forward movement’. One day, he predicted, developments like the concrete Bull Ring would ‘show up’ more conservative towns.

Birmingham, he said, needed only to demolish the Victorian streets at the fringes of the city centre: then it could ‘start talking about itself with justification as the most go-ahead city in Europe’.

In its way, that last sentence absolutely captures the spirit of the Sixties — a combination of high-minded optimism and utterly disastrous naivety.

Even the painful term ‘go-ahead’, which people at the time used completely without irony, now smacks of the most dreadful hubris, shortly to be punished by total catastrophe.

But to the new liberals of 1964, the idea of redevelopment — whether architectural, social or moral — seemed to be automatically a good thing.

A classic example was Labour’s rising star Anthony Crosland, who became Education Secretary in January 1965. For Crosland, as for so many of his friends, the immediate priority was to tear down the legacy of the past.

He was determined to impose comprehensive schools in every corner of Britain, whether parents wanted them or not. ‘If it’s the last thing I do,’ Crosland notoriously told his wife, ‘I’m going to destroy every f***ing grammar school in England.’

Then there was his friend Roy Jenkins, who entered the government in 1964, became Home Secretary in 1965 and gave a crucial impetus to the reform of the homosexuality, abortion and divorce laws a few years later. This was the birth of what we now call the permissive society.

Indeed, 1964 was a key milestone in Britain’s journey towards greater moral liberalism.

For it was at 8am on August 13, 1964, that two unemployed petty criminals called Peter Allen and Gwynne Evans, who had murdered a van driver in Cumberland, became the last men to be executed in the United Kingdom.

They were hanged simultaneously: Allen in Walton, Liverpool, and Evans in Strangeways, Manchester.

A year later the death penalty was suspended for a trial period of five years, and in 1969 it was abolished completely.

I am no fan of the death penalty; indeed, I would be horrified to see it return. But even I have to admit this was a classic example of the new elite completely ignoring public opinion.  The plain fact is that just 23 per cent of the British people wanted capital punishment to be scrapped, while support for it never fell below 60 per cent.

For the liberals, however, public opinion was neither here nor there. In this respect they were just like the planners busy ripping up our town centres.

One anecdote captures the wider story. One day in the mid-1960s, the prestigious Architectural Review was planning a special issue on housing. One of the staff suggested that they should try to find out what sort of homes ordinary people wanted.

The journal’s editor, the idealistic Hubert de Cronin Hastings, stared at him in astonishment. ‘But we know what should be done!’ he said in disbelief.  For Hastings, as for his contemporaries in other fields, ordinary people were there to be improved — whether they liked it or not.

There was, I can see, an admirable dimension to the liberals’ commitment to building a better world.

We often forget that one of their principal motives was the determination to prove that Western capitalism could deliver a kinder, fairer way of life than the Communists’ brutally repressive alternative.

But all too often — as in the dreadful tower blocks that still disfigure so many of our cities — their idealism did great harm.
'Indeed, 1964 was a key milestone in Britain’s journey towards greater moral liberalism'

Even in 1964, there were premonitions of disaster. I always enjoy the story of the first (and now largely forgotten) incarnation of the original Sun newspaper, which was launched as a Leftish paper for the middle-classes by the Mirror Group in October 1964, to replace the working-class Daily Herald.

The paper’s owners thought the Herald had a lamentably cloth-capped image. They wanted a new paper — metropolitan, classless and liberal-minded — to match their dream of ‘society tomorrow’.

The Sun’s first edition, which banged on at great length about young people and computers, sold more than three million copies. But then sales began to fall, and within a few months it was doing worse than the old Herald.

Eventually, its chastened owners sold it to a young man called Rupert Murdoch. And whatever you think of him, he had a rather better idea of what people wanted.

Yet the Sun’s infatuation with youth was absolutely typical of the age.  For much of 1964, newspaper headlines were dominated by teenagers, from the screaming fans who drowned out Beatles concerts to the mods and rockers who fought pitched battles on the beaches of the South Coast.

A few brave souls dared to question the cult of youth.  In February 1964, the columnist Paul Johnson produced an infamous piece attacking Sixties teenagers: ‘huge faces bloated with cheap confectionery and smeared with chain store make-up, the open, sagging mouths and glazed eyes, the hands mindlessly drumming in time to the music, the broken stiletto heels, the shoddy, stereotyped, “with-it” clothes’.

Perhaps he was being a bit unfair to the youngsters of 1964 — most of whom, after all, are now perfectly respectable pensioners. But in his dissection of the ruthlessly commercialised cult of the teenager, Johnson was onto something.

Rampant commercialism was already changing the face of British life. It was in 1964, for example, that the Conservatives abolished Resale Price Maintenance — the law that had prevented supermarkets undercutting small, independent shops, by compelling them to charge the same price for the same goods.

Its abolition was meant to benefit the consumer. In the long run, though, it dealt our High Streets a blow from which they have never recovered, eventually turning them into abandoned ghost towns.

Behind so many of these changes was the politicians’ obsession with appearing modern. During the October 1964 election campaign, party leaders felt compelled, for the first time, to worship at the altar of youth. Harold Wilson famously associated himself with The Beatles, even awarding them MBEs a year later.

What was really revealing, though, was that even stuffy Sir Alec Douglas-Home tried to jump on the bandwagon. His book of collected speeches even boasted a section entitled ‘I Call on British Youth’, which opened with the laughably untrue sentence: ‘Few subjects fascinate the Prime Minister more than youth.’

It was little wonder that older voters felt abandoned.

‘Governments! What do they care about us? We don’t belong to the great future. We’re not teenagers,’ mutters an elderly character in Angus Wilson’s excellent novel Late Call, published in 1964. ‘We ought to be bloody dead.’

Half a century on, things have hardly changed. Many cities never recovered from the disastrous experiments of the 1960s, while our politicians are keener than ever to present themselves as young, fashionable and forward-looking, typified by their embarrassing enthusiasm for Twitter and ‘selfies’.

Yes, the Sixties made us a more open and tolerant country. Who would want to return to the years when gay men lived in fear of the law, or when landladies put up ‘No Coloureds’ signs?

But those colourful times have been absurdly over-romanticised. Looking back, there was often something fundamentally commercialised, superficial and selfish about them.

In the rush to embrace the new, Britain too often lost sight of the value of the old. Fifty years on, it is time we learned our lesson.



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 January, 2014

2014: A Bad Year for the Left?

Most political indicators point to a terrible 2014 for American leftism amidst an auspicious resurgence of conservatism throughout the nation.

As Americans continue to suffer in the weak Obama-era economy and as their anxiety over President Obama’s hated health care program grows, an electoral tsunami appears to be in the offing.

Americans have never bought into President Obama’s contention that income inequality was what he called “the defining challenge of our time.” The AP-Times Square New Year’s Eve Poll conducted by GfK shows under 1 percent considered that issue the most important news story of 2013. Topping the list of issues was the implementation of Obamacare which was deemed the number one issue in 2013 by 26 percent of respondents. The next-highest ranked issues were identified as the “death of Nelson Mandela” and the “federal government’s budget troubles: sequestration, the fiscal cliff and the government shutdown,” both weighing in at a mere 8 percent each.

Obama’s approval ratings continue to drop and Americans now consider big, overweening government to be the biggest threat to the nation. An astounding 72 percent of Gallup respondents now believe that big government poses a greater threat to the U.S. than big business or big labor, a record high since Gallup started asking the question almost a half century ago. “(The findings) may be partly a reaction to an administration that favors the use of government to solve problems,” the Gallup organization said in a quaint understatement.

Democratic strategists who say that the public is warming up to Obama and Obamacare  are in denial. Millions of Americans, largely in the individual marketplace, have lost their health insurance because of the misnamed Affordable Care Act. Next year tens of millions of Americans will lose their employer-sponsored health coverage as Obamacare works its mischief on the nation’s health care system. The continuing catastrophe that is Obamacare will be the political gift that keeps on giving all the way to the midterm congressional elections in November. (To boot, a slew of new Obamacare taxes takes effect in days.)

Republicans are pummeling Democrats in CNN’s generic congressional ballot by 49 percent to 44 percent after Obamacare implementation began on Oct. 1. As The Hill newspaper observes,

“That’s a huge 13-point swing from October, when Democrats had the edge following the government shutdown. At that point, Democrats were up by 50 percent to 42 percent on a generic ballot test. The new numbers are the latest bad polling news for Democrats, indicating the GOP has a chance to pick up House seats and win control of the Senate.”

With critical midterm elections now less than a year away, and assuming that present trends will continue, Republicans seem certain to take over Congress. Republicans are poised to retain majority control of the House of Representatives and are also on-track to easily take over the Senate. The only question is how big the GOP Senate majority will be.

This does not, however, mean that 2014 will be the year in which the leftist project is finally discredited, as some high-profile conservative pundits gripped by an irrational triumphalism have predicted in recent weeks. Obamacare’s failures will not somehow finish off progressivism. The programs and fallout from the abysmal failures known as the New Deal and the Great Society are still with us and yet a large segment of the population continues to believe that redistributionism works. When and if Obamacare collapses, leftists will simply start over again, this time pressing for the single-payer universal health care system that they’ve always wanted.

Of course, Republicans could still snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

For example, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) continue to send out signals that they intend to capitulate to the open-borders lobby next year. Boehner and McConnell support a politically unpopular amnesty for potentially tens of millions of illegal aliens, which is the key policy component of so-called comprehensive immigration reform.

They do so in the mistaken belief that flooding the labor market and rewarding illegal behavior will somehow make left-leaning voters and immigrants on a path to citizenship fans of the Grand Old Party.

Passing amnesty legislation would seriously undermine conservative grassroots support for Republican candidates.

But that doesn’t mean the congressional GOP won’t do it.



People who are religious or spiritual have 'thicker' brains which could protect them against depression

A large cortex is the chief brain marker of humanity so are religious people more evolved?

They say religion is a matter of the heart – but it seems the shape of our brains could also have a role to play.

Believers or those with a spiritual side have ‘thicker’ sections of brain tissue than other people, a study suggests.

And in welcome news for the faithful, the researchers think that this thickening could also help to stave off depression.

‘Our beliefs and our moods are reflected in our brain and with new imaging techniques we can begin to see this,’ Dr Myrna Weissman, a professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University, told Reuters Health.

‘The brain is an extraordinary organ. It not only controls, but is controlled by our moods.’

While the new study suggests a link between brain thickness and spirituality, it cannot say that thicker brain regions cause people to be religious or spiritual, Dr Weissman and her colleagues noted in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

It might hint, however, that being religious can enhance the brain's resilience against depression in a physical way, they wrote.

Previously, the researchers had found that people who said they were religious or spiritual were at lower risk of depression.

They also found that people at higher risk of depression had thinning cortices, compared to those with lower depression risk.

For the new study, the researchers twice asked 103 adults between the ages of 18 and 54 how important religion or spirituality was to them and how often they attended religious services over a five year period.

In addition to being asked about spirituality, the participants' brains were imaged once to see how thick their cortices were.

All the participants were the children or grandchildren of people who participated in an earlier study about depression.

Some had a family history of depression, so they were considered to be at high risk for the disorder. Others with no history served as a comparison group.

Overall, the researchers found that the importance of religion or spirituality to an individual - but not church attendance - was tied to having a thicker cortex. The link was strongest among those at high risk of depression.

‘What we're doing now is looking at the stability of it,’ Dr Weissman, who is also chief of the Clinical-Genetic Epidemiology Department at New York State Psychiatric Institute, said.

Her team is taking more images of the participants' brains to see whether the size of the cortex changes with their spirituality.

‘This is a way of replicating and validating the findings,’ she said.

Dr Dan Blazer, the Professor of Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Centre in Durham, North Carolina, said the study is very interesting but is still exploratory.

‘I think this tells us it's an area to look at,’ Dr Blazer, who was not involved in the new study, said. ‘It's an area of interest but we have to be careful.’

For example, he said there could be other areas of the brain linked to religion and spirituality. Also, spirituality may be a marker of something else, such as socioeconomic status.


Free to be hired

John Stossel

If you saw a fat man in a sleigh distributing presents this week, he was in violation of several government regulations.

The Federal Aviation Administration has complaints about his secret flight path. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources might shoot his unauthorized reindeer the way they shot a baby deer named Giggles at an animal shelter this year. His bag of gifts definitely violates numerous charity tax rules.

In real life, government barely lets people give each other rides in cars. But now the Internet has given birth to some exciting new businesses that challenge this conceit.

Companies called Lyft, Uber and Sidecar offer a phone app that allows people who need a ride somewhere to connect to a driver nearby who'd like to make a few extra bucks. It's like creating an instant taxi business -- which is why it makes existing taxi businesses nervous.

I became a Lyft driver. Once I passed a criminal background check and got my Lyft driver app, I pressed a button on my phone saying I was "available." I quickly got a message from someone nearby who wanted a ride.

My passenger was easy to find -- my phone gave me directions. He wanted to go to a grocery store. After I dropped him off, I told my phone app I was "available" again. No cash changed hands. My passenger's phone suggested he give me a credit card "donation" based on time and distance. He could have stiffed me, but if he did, it would appear on his Lyft "rating," and he'd have trouble getting another ride.

My next passenger was a woman. Why would she feel safe getting into a stranger's car? Again, the rating system protects both her and me. Her phone showed her my picture and ratings from other passengers (with me, she took a chance, as I was a new driver).

Because of the ratings, both passengers and drivers have an incentive to behave well. The higher your rating, the easier it is to get or give rides. In the end, I made money, and my passengers saved money (Lyft rides are about 20 percent cheaper than taxis). Win-win!

But regulators and taxi companies don't see it that way.

Taxi companies aren't happy about losing business to people like me, driving my own car. One cabbie complained, "We have to pay big money for licenses, get fingerprinted, have commercial insurance. (Lyft) has nothing! Sidecar has nothing!"

But it's not "nothing." I had to have a driver's license, a state-inspected car and there was that background check. But more useful than all that: the ratings. This instant feedback gives drivers and customers more reliable information than piles of licensing paperwork spewed out by regulatory agencies.

Do you pick a contractor or dentist after examining their licenses? No, you consult friends or websites like Yelp to determine the sellers' reputation. Feedback from customers is more useful than any bureaucrat's stamp of approval. Internet apps like Lyft's make this feedback ever better.

Will government crush innovations like Lyft? Maybe. Seattle moved to limit it. Nashville declared it illegal to charge anything less than $45 for rides, so there's no way for a company like Lyft to compete by undercutting regular cabs' prices.

Regulators want their fingers in everything. A new idea gives them an excuse to draw attention to themselves as "consumer protectors." In addition, existing taxi companies request regulation. They want politicians to regulate new competition out of existence.

Luckily, technology and capitalist innovation sometimes move faster than the lazy dinosaur that is government. Lyft, Uber and Sidecar have quickly become popular, and this may help them avoid being crushed. By contrast, politicians don't hesitate to destroy things that people think of as weird or dangerous.

Ride-share companies, perhaps sensing that it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission, offered rides without first seeking approval from every regulator. Now they have millions of customers. Politicians often fear regulating things that are widely liked.

Government is as crude and annoying as a speed bump, but individuals looking for better ways to do things keep cruising ahead. Sooner or later, if we restrain the regulators, the market might even produce flying sleighs.


The English question will need an answer

I think England should have a purely English assembly to decide on domestic English matters.  Non-English MPs could simply be asked to abstain on such matters  -- JR

By Allan Massie

In September, we in Scotland may vote for independence, thus bringing the United Kingdom, which came into being when the Treaty of Union was signed in 1707, to an end. As Michael Caine might have said, “Not a lot of people know that”; or, more precisely, a lot of people in England don’t seem to have realised that this may happen. Some of those who have are, it seems, quite relaxed about it. They think they might be better off if they were rid of us, and many assume that our departure would free them from the possibility of ever again suffering a Labour government.

I think they are wrong there; people get tired of governments and eventually vote for change. If, however, they are right, that would be bad for England too, for it would leave the Labour-voting North permanently disgruntled and in effect disfranchised. England would then be an uncomfortably and bitterly divided country.

There would be other unhappy consequences south of the border. Tax revenues from North Sea oil may be lower than they were when Margaret Thatcher was able to rely on them to finance her political programme, but they are still substantial, and most would now flow to the Scottish treasury, not to London. This would make it even more difficult for an English chancellor of the exchequer to reduce the government’s structural deficit and eventually balance his budget.

So a Scottish secession wouldn’t be all good news for England, no matter what some think. And this is before you take into account the diminished status – all right, only somewhat diminished status – of the no longer United Kingdom. London would remain what London is, a great global city and financial powerhouse, but the break-up of the UK would be widely regarded as further evidence of Britain’s, now England’s, post-imperial decline.

Of course, it may not happen. Present indications are that it won’t. Opinion polls in Scotland have steadily shown a majority in favour of the Union. Things may change over the coming months. There may be a nationalist surge. Yet the bookies (often better judges than political pundits) still make the Unionists odds-on favourites. If they’re right, the UK will hold together, a bit shaken by the winds of nationalism, but not uprooted.

Even so, things won’t remain just as they are. In negotiating the agreement that enabled the Scottish Parliament to hold the referendum, David Cameron insisted that there should be only one question on the ballot: Independence, yes or no? However, previously opinion polls had indicated that a second question offering an extension of devolution would have commanded more support than either independence or the status quo.

Recognising this, the three Unionist parties have all promised that they will at least consider how best to grant further powers to the Scottish Parliament, even beyond those it will have when the Scotland Act of 2012 comes into force. There is much to be said for this. In particular, the Scottish executive should have responsibility for raising most of the money it spends, rather than receiving this as a block grant from the Treasury in London. This would make for more responsible administration in Edinburgh, and might remove, or at least alleviate, an English grievance.

It is also true that further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament – and also to the Welsh Assembly, possibly to the Northern Irish one, too – would materially alter the structure of the United Kingdom. The country would end up being reshaped in an asymmetrical federal or confederal form. This might satisfy the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish, all enjoying – if that is the right word – a considerable degree of self-government. But where would it leave England?

A light would then be shone on the English question (otherwise known as the West Lothian question), which is something easier to state than to solve. There would be matters in the devolved parts of the UK over which Westminster and the UK government had no control. Those same matters, notably health and education, would in England remain the responsibility of a Parliament and government drawn from all parts of the UK. They might be affected by the votes of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs. Moreover, the UK government itself – especially if it was led by Labour – might have no majority on purely English matters. But the Westminster Parliament and the government drawn from its members would be England’s only political authority.

There is no evident appetite for an English parliament, still less for the creation of elected regional authorities. The proposal that the Speaker of the House of Commons might designate certain measures as “England only”, and debar members from the devolved parts of the Kingdom from participating in debates or voting on such measures, has its attractions. Yet, conceivably, this might mean that a government with a majority on UK measures had no majority on England-only ones.

The English problem is already apparent. It will be more acute when more powers are devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Whatever the result of the Scottish Referendum, England will have to brace itself for change. Is it ready to do so?



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 January, 2014

Are Conservative Women Happier than Liberal Women?

Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, has found women’s secret to happiness: be conservative.

Political junkies might be interested to learn that conservative women are particularly blissful: about 40 percent say they are very happy. That makes them slightly happier than conservative men and significantly happier than liberal women. The unhappiest of all are liberal men; only about a fifth consider themselves very happy.

Brooks’ findings come from the University of Chicago’s General Social Survey, a survey of Americans conducted since 1972, which the author says has produced consistent and reliable findings for decades.

In the New York Post, Ramesh Ponnuru writes about another interesting discovery relating to the “happiness” spectrum:

“Women who say they have turned down a promotion or made some other work sacrifice for the sake of their families report high happiness levels.”

I guess that debunks feminists’ insistence that women should put their careers first. Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg wrote a book called Lean In, encouraging women to reach for more leadership roles at the office. This is something to be admired, of course, but not to the extent that it engenders maternal neglect.

One writer at the New York Times loved Sandberg's book, explaining how it encouraged women not to “hold themselves back” in their careers. So, apparently choosing to be a more visible mother instead of overseeing more employees is “holding one’s self back?”

Yes, children can often produce just as many headaches as a day at the office, but the difference is the former can be cured with a hug. Instead of focusing on children as burdens, we should focus on the joy they bring to growing families. The bond between a woman and her child is stronger than any bond she can have with her office cubicle.

This is just one of the differences conservative women seem to understand.

The Washington Post is casting doubt on Brooks' theory, but to some, the writer's research may not be all that surprising – especially considering some liberals nowadays always seem to be angry about something and offended by everything. Whether it’s Chris Matthews yelling at the TV screen every night or left-wing feminists aggressively arguing we "don't need anymore male leaders" and that Republican leadership will somehow roll back women's rights, conservatives are looking friendlier than ever.


British minister's call to ban spanking angers family groups: Campaigners say there are times when parents need to strike their child

A call by the Children’s Commissioner for England for a total ban on smacking children has angered family campaigners.

Maggie Atkinson said smacking children should be made illegal because it was akin to ‘physical abuse’, and the current law gave pets and adults more rights to protection from violence than youngsters.

She sparked controversy by calling for a total ban which would see parents facing criminal action for corporal punishment.

However, family campaigners claimed there were times when parents needed to smack young children because they were blatantly ignoring other punishments or warnings.

Under current laws, it is illegal for a parent to smack a child if it leaves a bruise, but a lighter smack or ‘reasonable chastisement’ are allowed.

Dr Atkinson said: ‘Personally, having been a teacher, and never having had an issue where I’d need to use physical punishment, I believe we should move to ban it.

‘In law you are forbidden from striking another adult, and from physically chastising your pets, but somehow there is a loophole around the fact that you can physically chastise your child.’

Dr Atkinson, who has two adult step-children, said that despite her strong feelings about the issue, her office was not planning to fight for a ban next year.

Phillip Noyes, of the NSPCC, said: ‘It’s right that we continue to push to get children equal protection in law.

'It would not be intended to criminalise good parents but to put into law what more and more parents are already moving towards – finding better ways than smacking to discipline their children.’

But Margaret Morrissey, of family group Parents Outloud, branded Dr Atkinson’s comments as ‘extremely irresponsible’.

She said: ‘Of course nobody should thrash or beat or abuse a child but there are times when you have to show a child that the parameters have been passed.

‘Children have to realise there’s a limit beyond which you can go.’

A Government spokesman said: ‘Our policy on smacking is clear. We do not condone violence towards children. However, we do not wish to criminalise parents for issuing a mild smack.’


How Outlawing "Rape Porn" Misses the Point

Cathy Reisenwitz

UK Prime Minister David Cameron recently announced sentences of up to three years in prison for anyone possessing porn depicting simulated rape. This is all part of an all-out British assault on internet pornography, which includes forcing all new customers of Britain’s two major internet service to choose whether they want all pornographic sites blocked.

In addition, Cameron’s government recently began stringent enforcement of the U.K.’s Communications Act, leading to the shutdown of JessicaPressley.com until the site owners do more to keep photos and videos out of children’s reach. Already, some in the US are pushing for similar speech restrictions. A petition onwhitehouse.gov would require Internet subscribers to opt in to be able to view porn.

The laws are aimed at preventing violence against women and protecting children from running across pornography. While many people reasonably find depictions of rape disgusting, unfortunately porn bans only work to allow governments to continue to ignore the real sources of violence against women while restricting citizens’ right to free speech.

Before censoring rape porn, it might be wise to first establish that it poses any threat to women’s safety. Looking at the data reveals that defenders of the ban will have a hard time doing so. As Alexander Abad-Santos points out in the Atlantic Wire, “The connection between actual real-life violence and porn is blurry at best — India, which bans all forms of porn, has been in the news thanks to a rash of brutal rapes. Meanwhile, in the United States the incidence of rape declined 85 percent over a period of 25 years while access to pornography has increased.” Reason has also reported that where porn becomes more accessible, rates of violence against women fall.

Perhaps we can make a connection between people with rape fantasies and those who go on to commit rapes. Surely there’s a clear connection. Again, the data does not make a good case for would-be censors. Four in 10 women admitted having rape fantasies in nine surveys conducted from 1973 through 2008. It’s doubtful that a significant percentage of them are rapists.

As the United States contemplates restrictions on internet porn, this may be a good time to evaluate other tactics for protecting American women from sexual assault. First, it’s interesting to note that the sentence for owning rape porn in the UK is exactly the same as the average sentence for actual sexual assault in the United States.

Here’s a partial list of crimes which will get you more prison time in the US than violently raping another human being: stealing mail, selling the wrong kind of orchid, driving through New York with a shotgun shell casing, money laundering and owning illegal substances.

And that’s if rapists are charged. Public universities across the United States have policies in place encouraging rape victims not to contact police but instead rely on peer tribunals which often humiliate victims while giving perpetrators slaps on the wrist in order to protect schools’ reputations. Unfortunately, this isn’t just a problem at the college level, as the Steubenville, Ohio and Maryville, Missouri cases demonstrate. That stories of high school girls’ rapes and coverups by authorities required, respectively, one diligent blogger who was then joined by Anonymous in one case and the victim’s house being burned down in the other to make national news indicates that these are not isolated incidents.

In a small discussion group on the campus of American University, I heard a chilling story of a police officer showing up along with an ambulance to take a rape victim to be treated and to gather evidence against her assailant. The officer repeatedly yelled at the victim, saying, “What did you do wrong?” He then, presumably interested in avoiding another case to investigate, told the paramedic in front of the crying victim and her friend not to take her to the hospital because he didn’t believe she’d been raped. Firing officers who actively inhibit victims’ ability to pursue justice will do far more to decrease instances of rape than a porn ban.

Another way to combat rape that doesn’t require censoring depictions of a common fantasy is to end the massive backlog of untested rape kits expiring by the thousands in police departments across the country.

Spiked Online interviewed former American Civil Liberties Union president Nadine Strossen. She stressed how porn-related speech restrictions “let violent men off the hook and treat women as wimps who need to be protected from certain words and imagery.”

 As a feminist, I vehemently disagree with the idea that women are sex objects, that women should be raped, that women should be discriminated against or treated unfavourably in any way. And yet, to paraphrase Voltaire, I would defend to the death your right to say any of those things, and to say them explicitly, and to say them using sexual language.

Whether we find it disgusting, titillating, or a bit of both, banning rape porn threatens women’s (and men’s) right to speech far more than allowing it threatens their safety. Doomed-to-fail efforts to suppress porn may be more politically popular than increasing sentences for actual rapists. And holding schools and law enforcement accountable for collecting evidence, actually testing rape kits, arresting offenders is no easy task. But we can’t let speech-squelching laws allow politicians to pretend do something about sexual violence while real, important reforms languish.


The “Mommy Wars” Are Over

Women used to be faced with a dilemma: forgo a career to stay at home and raise children, or sacrifice the upbringing of your children in order to pursue a career. Since the 1960’s, feminists and conservatives have sparred over this choice. Feminists criticized mothers who stayed at home, claiming women could instead “have it all;” pursue a career while putting their kids in daycare. Conservatives criticized women who put their career first, correctly observing that a parent in the home raising the children is better for the children. This debate was known as the “mommy wars.”

The war is now essentially over and the feminists have won, although not because they were more persuasive. Only 12 percent of moms believe that working full time is an ideal situation for children, and 74 percent of adults say that mothers working outside the home makes it harder to raise children. About half of adults surveyed believe that children are better off if the mother does not work.

Yet today, only three in ten mothers do not work outside the home. The reason the feminists have won is because it is now difficult for men - as well as women - to make enough money from one job to support the entire family. As economic conditions continue to spiral down under Obama, employers have been forced to cut jobs, hours and benefits. Jobs that used to pay decently have been replaced by free student labor, or “internships.” Most parents are lucky to find full-time jobs that pay slightly better than minimum wage. There are fewer people working now than anytime within the past 35 years; only 63 percent of working-age Americans are in the workforce. At the same time, the cost of healthcare, gas, food and other necessities continues to increase.

The median annual household income across the U.S. in 2011 was $50,054. It is extremely difficult for a family of four or more to survive on that level of income. Many parents have student loans, credit card debt from a temporary loss of employment, or huge medical expenses from procedures not covered by insurance. Times have greatly changed since the Ward and June Cleaver era of the 1950’s; workers can no longer count on stable employment, and student loan costs have soared.

Attempting to be a stay-at-home mom on a husband’s meager salary is difficult. Low-income stay-at-home moms, where the annual household income is less than $36,000, report higher levels of unhappiness. Over half report they are struggling, and four percent say they are suffering. Only 46 percent say they are thriving.

Men no longer have more college education than women, making it less likely men will have a high income. Women now make up approximately half of the U.S. labor force. In 1970, they only accounted for 38 percent.

Compounding the problem is the increase in single parents. The number of households led by single mothers has more than tripled since 1960, to 25 percent of households. It is more expensive to support two households than one, not to mention all the additional ongoing legal costs from child support and custody battles. When parents divorce, even if one parent was making a decent income, everything becomes more expensive. In this area the feminists have won some ground; they have successfully removed the stigma of being a single parent, making it easier for parents to walk away from their marriages rather than try and work things out for the good of the children.

What does this mean for families and children? Children are spending more time in daycare and less time with their parents. Over 60 percent of children under age five are in some type of regular child care arrangement. According to research from the Heritage Foundation,

Numerous academic studies suggest that more hours spent in daycare in a child’s earliest years is associated with lower social competence and negative behavioral outcomes, and that these persist through childhood and adolescence. Greater amounts of time spent in non-maternal care and younger age of entry into daycare were associated with a greater likelihood of socio-emotional problems and lower cognitive skills. The cumulative effect of extensive daycare was associated with lower academic achievement and poorer emotional health. As one comprehensive study that tracked 1,300 children from infancy through age 15 found, the quality of daycare was significantly less important regarding social and emotional outcomes than the number of hours spent in daycare. The negative effects of day care were more persistent for children who spent long hours in center-care settings.

Additionally, children are learning values from someone who likely does not share the values of the parents, which is especially troubling for conservative parents. The feminists have pushed hard for this in the name of women’s rights and this is the result.

When the left finds itself losing on a particular issue, it finds a sneaky way instead to ram its agenda through. Having failed to convince women it is better to put their kids in daycare and work full time, Obama and the left are forcing them to do so by continuing the dismal economic conditions. This is just one of many issues Obama is forcing through by artificially extending the recession. The same can be said about Obamacare. Making healthcare unaffordable is opening the door for single-payer (socialist) healthcare.

The left’s ultimate goal of putting both parents in the workforce and their children in daycare has nothing to do with their pretense of “choice” for women. It has everything to do with gaining control over our children at a young age and indoctrinating them in the left’s values. Daycare regulations are increasing and soon parents will have very little control over what happens at them. The only way to stop this is to put conservatives back in power in order to revive the economy with adequate jobs. Times have changed, especially with more women going to college than men, and so the real choice should be whether the mother or father stays at home with the children.



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

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

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


Examining political correctness around the world and its stifling of liberty and sense. Chronicling a slowly developing dictatorship

BIO for John Ray

I record on this blog many examples of negligent, inefficient and reprehensible behaviour on the part of British police. After 13 years of Labour party rule they have become highly politicized, with values that reflect the demands made on them by the political Left rather than than what the community expects of them. They have become lazy and cowardly and avoid dealing with real crime wherever possible -- preferring instead to harass normal decent people for minor infractions -- particularly offences against political correctness. They are an excellent example of the destruction that can be brought about by Leftist meddling.

I also record on this blog much social worker evil -- particularly British social worker evil. The evil is neither negligent nor random. It follows exactly the pattern you would expect from the Marxist-oriented indoctrination they get in social work school -- where the middle class is seen as the enemy and the underclass is seen as virtuous. So social workers are lightning fast to take children away from normal decent parents on the basis of of minor or imaginary infractions while turning a blind eye to gross child abuse by the underclass

Although I am an atheist, I have great respect for the wisdom of ancient times as collected in the Bible. And the command in Leviticus 20:13 that homosexuals should be put to death makes considerable sense to me. In an era when family values are under constant assault, such a return to the basics could be helpful. Nonetheless, I approve of St. Paul's advice in Romans chapter 1 that it is for God to punish them, not us. In secular terms, homosexuality between consenting adults in private should not be penalized but nor should it be promoted or praised. In Christian terms, "Gay pride" is of the Devil

The homosexuals of Gibeah set in train a series of events which brought down great wrath and destruction on their tribe. The tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out when it would not disown its homosexuals. Are we seeing a related process in the woes presently being experienced by the amoral Western world? Note that there was one Western country that was not affected by the global financial crisis and subsequently had no debt problems: Australia. In September 2012 the Australian federal parliament considered a bill to implement homosexual marriage. It was rejected by a large majority -- including members from both major political parties

Gender is a property of words, not of people. Using it otherwise is just another politically correct distortion -- though not as pernicious as calling racial discrimination "Affirmative action"

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

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

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

So why do Leftists say "There is no such thing as right and wrong" when backed into a rhetorical corner? They say it because that is the predominant conclusion of analytic philosophers. And, as Keynes said: "Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”

Children are the best thing in life. See also here.

Juergen Habermas, a veteran leftist German philosopher stunned his admirers not long ago by proclaiming, "Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [than Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter."

Consider two "jokes" below:

Q. "Why are Leftists always standing up for blacks and homosexuals?

A. Because for all three groups their only God is their penis"

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

The latter "joke" is not a joke at all, of course. It is a comparison routinely touted by Leftists. Both "jokes" are greatly offensive and unfair to the parties targeted but one gets a pass without question while the other would bring great wrath on the head of anyone uttering it. Why? Because political correctness is in fact just Leftist bigotry. Bigotry is unfairly favouring one or more groups of people over others -- usually justified as "truth".

One of my more amusing memories is from the time when the Soviet Union still existed and I was teaching sociology in a major Australian university. On one memorable occasion, we had a representative of the Soviet Womens' organization visit us -- a stout and heavily made-up lady of mature years. When she was ushered into our conference room, she was greeted with something like adulation by the local Marxists. In question time after her talk, however, someone asked her how homosexuals were treated in the USSR. She replied: "We don't have any. That was before the revolution". The consternation and confusion that produced among my Leftist colleagues was hilarious to behold and still lives vividly in my memory. The more things change, the more they remain the same, however. In Sept. 2007 President Ahmadinejad told Columbia university that there are no homosexuals in Iran.

It is widely agreed (with mainly Lesbians dissenting) that boys need their fathers. What needs much wider recognition is that girls need their fathers too. The relationship between a "Daddy's girl" and her father is perhaps the most beautiful human relationship there is. It can help give the girl concerned inner strength for the rest of her life.

The love of bureaucracy is very Leftist and hence "correct". Who said this? "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything". It was V.I. Lenin

"An objection I hear frequently is: ‘Why should we tolerate intolerance?’ The assumption is that tolerating views that you don’t agree with is like a gift, an act of kindness. It suggests we’re doing people a favour by tolerating their view. My argument is that tolerance is vital to us, to you and I, because it’s actually the presupposition of all our freedoms.

You cannot be free in any meaningful sense unless there is a recognition that we are free to act on our beliefs, we’re free to think what we want and express ourselves freely. Unless we have that freedom, all those other freedoms that we have on paper mean nothing" -- SOURCE

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

Germaine Greer is a stupid old Harpy who is notable only for the depth and extent of her hatreds

Even Mahatma Gandhi was profoundly unimpressed by Africans